Desis in Europa

People marked as 'South Asians' in Sweden

The presence of those marked as 'South Asians' in Sweden rose from 45 in 1900 to 21,418 in 1997. The rise was gradual till the 1970s when with the arrival of 'South Asians' from Uganda the numbers went up considerably . Since then further refugees and asylum seekers have come, especially from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The major form of immigration is, however, family reunion. From the 1970s onwards the adoption of 'South Asian' children, particularly from India and Sri Lanka, has also played an important role. Sundaram (2000) gives the account of a young 'Swede', who 24 years after having been adopted, finds his 'Indian' family.

Hole (1997) argues that the relatively small number of 'South Asians' has resulted in a special diaspora situation. There are too few Hindus not only to differentiate among each other according to caste and other religious markers, but also to keep totally separate from non-Hindu 'Indians'. Already since the middle of the 1970s the most important organisation in Sweden is the Swedish-Indian Association which brings together Indians of all religions and Swedes with an interest in India. Hindus in Sweden develop rather 'pan-Indian' than religious markers of ethnicity. They form social networks beyond caste and religious boarders. Muslim 'Indians' join them in the Swedish-Indian Association to foster an 'Indian' identity, but join also the Swedish-Pakistani Association for their religious belonging.


Further Literature

For statistical material click here (pdf-file).

© Urmila Goel, / Europa or english / europe 2002/2012