A History of Indo-Canadians in Ottawa: A Journey Across Generations
This book is a history of the Indian Diaspora in Ottawa―from 3 in 1947 to 30,000 today. “This fascinating book offers a unique and in-depth study of the collective history and achievements of the Indo-Canadian community in Ottawa. It meticulously documents the significant growth and prosperity of the community... from its early beginnings to the present.” ... Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa More
ABOUT THE BOOK: Indo-Canadians are among the relative newcomers to Ottawa. There were hardly any immigrants from India in Ottawa in 1947—80 years after Canada became a self-governing Dominion.
Several years ago, the authors of this book, along with Dr. Indu Gambhir, recognized that some of the earliest arriving Indo-Canadians in Ottawa were dying and their precious memories were being lost to the community of Indo-Canadians as well as to the community at large. The authors applied for and received a grant from the City of Ottawa’s Heritage Program, to document the history of the Indo-Canadian community and its growth. The authors set about interviewing some of the old-timers.
The first two Indo-Canadians to settle in Ottawa were Pritam Sunga and Ranjit Hall. Pritam Sunga had passed away by then, but his widow, Jeet Sunga provided some vivid memories of the early days. Ranjit Hall was in his mid-nineties then, but he was quite alert during the two sessions with the authors. He has since passed away.
By the end of the 1960s, the Indo-Canadian community had grown considerably into several hundred. The authors held detailed interviews with a select few of these post-world-war immigrants and documented the trials and tribulations of these early arrivals and how they met various challenges individually and as a group in building community institutions. Several focus groups were also held that included later immigrants, women, entrepreneurs, and second-generation Indo-Canadians, to obtain their perspectives on various issues to specific groups.
QUOTE 1: “This fascinating book offers a unique and in-depth study of the collective history and achievements of the Indo-Canadian community in Ottawa. It meticulously documents the significant growth and prosperity of the community... from its early beginnings to the present.” ... Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa ~~~
QUOTE 2: "Nand Tandan and Prabir Neogi have traced the growth of the community from the arrival of the first Indo-Canadian in 1948 to its present state ... The Indo-Canadian community in Ottawa is, in a sense, a microcosm of India's diversity, reflecting the many faiths, cultures, and languages of India." ... Vikas Swarup, High Commissioner of India in Canada ~~~
QUOTE 3: "Not much is known about the history of their early migration to Ottawa and the subsequent growth of the (Indo-Canadian) community... Nand Tandan and Prabir Neogi have documented the history of Indo-Canadians in Ottawa, tracing the growth of the community from the arrival of the first Indo-Canadian in 1948 to its present state." … Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament
An essential component of this study is an analysis of the limited statistical data available primarily from Statistics Canada on Indo-Canadians in the National Capital Region and a comparison of their numbers and employment situation with the general population in the region. The authors made liberal use of the secondary data available on the Internet, especially from the websites of various community associations, religious, cultural and charitable institutions as well as language schools and dance schools.
Finally, both the authors are themselves among the early immigrants. They drew upon their own memory bank and experiences to add to the insights garnered from the various other sources. They have tried to paint a picture of a dynamic, successful and evolving community whose second and even third generations are now making their mark in the National Capital Region.
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