rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Last updated on: October 28, 2010 12:20 IST

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

     Next

Next
Shishir Bhate in Kuala Lumpur

Sitting cheek by jowl to modern glass-and-steel architectural monstrosities is a quaint little borough in Kuala Lumpur's Brickfields precinct.

Incontrovertibly exuding Indian-ness in all its cultural and traditional manifestations, this is the Malaysian capital's very own 'Little India', an enclave that showcases the trials and tribulations of the Indian community here.

This quarter that appears ancient, perhaps even a little downcast, as if time has passed it by while its neighbourhood acquired a modernity that rivals great European or American cities.

Click on NEXT to read further...



Photographs: Shishir Bhate/Rediff.com
     Next

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

On any other day, the place is an amalgam of routine human activity: animated chatter of its predominantly Tamil residents, laughter of school kids, the grumbling of oldsters and harried housewives.

Here Rajnikanth and Ajith are the hot favourites, followed by Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.

The very smells and sounds of the place make you feel as if you are in a Chennai locality.

But Wednesday was different. Hundreds of people from the Indian community gathered at various streets in the area, there was an expectant hush in the air, and the vibrant way of life seemed to take a pause as it were.

After all two prime ministers were to visit the enclave and the air was electric with glee.




Photographs: Shishir Bhate/Rediff.com
Prev     Next

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak on Wednesday launched 'Little India', Kuala Lumpur's Indian enclave in Brickfields.

The 'launch' was marked by much enthusiasm, with children and elders alike performed dances and sang songs to welcome the two leaders.

For the Indians in Malaysia, who made this country their home thousands of moons ago, it was a momentous occasion. Most of these Indians came to the country as labourers or clerks when the British held sway over it.

Having aided in the administration of this beautiful country, they made it their home.



Photographs: Shishir Bhate/Rediff.com
Prev     Next

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Life was good, even if strenuous. But, with time things changed.

The concept of Bhumiputras (sons of the soil) sidelined the Indians and other immigrants, with the natives getting the icing on the cake.

That seed of discontent has now grown into a feeling of discrimination and thus the visit of the Indian and Malaysian prime ministers to Brickfields was not a mere symbolic gesture.

It was more a political statement, with both the leaders sending the message that there is space for all communities in the Malaysian society and that the powers that be would stand by these people, who feel marginalised in their own country.



Photographs: Shishir Bhate/Rediff.com
Prev     Next

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The ceremonial launch of Little India happened when the two prime ministers unveiled a large, colourful fountain -- said to be the tallest in Malaysia at 7.6 metre -- to signify the warm governmental and people-to-people relations between the two countries.

Little India covers the area from Jalan Travers to Jalan Tun Sambanthan.

A total spend of 35 million ringgits has been allocated for the project, which will be fully complete by December.

Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad has developed the first phase of the project.



Image: Dr Manmohan Singh and Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak jointly launching the Little India
Photographs: PIB
Prev     Next

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The two-phase project will see construction of new business premises and a parking complex.

Street vendors will soon have permanent structures to operate from.

"This is more than a symbol. This will be a tourist place and will certainly benefit the people here," Najib said, while delivering a speech at the event attended by more than 5,000 people amid tight security.

Dr Singh, in his speech, said Malaysia represented the best of Asia. It is home to people of different races who live in peace and harmony. It co-exists together.

This is what we are trying to do back home in India."




Image: Dr Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur at the launch of Little India
Photographs: PIB
Prev     Next

Dr Singh unveils 'Little India' in Kuala Lumpur

Prev     More
Prev

More

"The Indian community has made important contributions to the development ofMalaysia during the past hundred years. They have worked with sincerity and dedication. They have excelled at medicine, law, engineering and accountancy. They have participated at each stage in the building of Malaysia," he said.

The Malaysian government's decision to dedicate the area of Brickfields, which is one of the oldest Indian settlements in the country, as 'Little India' is a tribute to the contribution to nation building of all Malaysians of Indian origin, the Indian prime minister said.

"As citizens of Malaysia, the Indian community's hopes and aspirations, life, family and future lie in this country. Yet they have maintained cultural and spiritual links with India. We welcome their desire as Persons of Indian origin to re-connect with their cultural roots even as they serve their country of adoption. The Indian community is well placed to be the bridge of friendship and understanding between India and Malaysia," the Indian prime minister added.

"The event is graced by Dr Manmohan Singh himself, signifying his deep desires to have a closer government-to-government relationship. But this relationship should also touch the hearts of the people," Najib said.



Photographs: Shishir Bhate/Rediff.com
Prev     More