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Don't call yourselves Asian! Uganda's Indians and the problem of naming

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Duration: 0:20:57 | Added: 27 Jun 2022
Taushif Kara (Cambridge) as part of the Conference - Expulsion: Uganda’s Asians and the Remaking of Nationality

The partition of the subcontinent in 1947 presented a unique problem for its diaspora. Trading communities in places like Gwadar often found themselves forced to choose between Indian and
Pakistani citizenship but desiring neither, while in colonial Tanganyika many sought British nationality. But attached to the persistent problem of nationality there was also the question of
naming, as the once porous category of Indian was now linked to a specific post-colonial state. These communities were often described for the first time as “Asian” as a way to elide this problem. This paper explores the unique genealogy and debates over this novel term amongst the communities in Uganda who considered it for themselves. I focus, however, on the groups that ultimately rejected it and instead decided to claim the name “African” instead, showing that it was at precisely this
moment that they were expelled.
Taushif Kara is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies and Jesus College, Cambridge. He obtained his PhD from the Faculty of History at Cambridge in 2021 with a thesis on the Khoja diaspora around the Indian Ocean world. Kara previously studied Islamic history and philosophy at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London and served as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Religions and Philosophies at SOAS.

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