The Indian diaspora is a diverse community of migrants who live dispersed around the globe. This includes the situation of Indian emigration to Thailand, which has been ongoing for hundreds of years. Several scholars in Indian Diaspora Studies have previously contributed to an understanding of the different social groups of the heterogenous Indian diaspora in terms of ethnicities, religions, periods of migration, and social and political consciousness. However, Indian Diaspora Studies in Thailand undertaken by Thai scholars over the past decade have only focused on the Siamese Brahmin and the Thai-Indian Sikh and Muslim diaspora in Thailand, and have tended to view Hindu immigrants to Thailand as a homogeneous group. Their contribution is constrained by considering migrants only through the lens of ethnicity, and dualistically conceptualising ethnic boundaries between Indianness and Thainess as a result. This paper, in conversation with previous scholarship, applies the notion of heterogeneity to understand the complexity of the Indian Hindu diaspora in contemporary Thai societies. This article, based on case studies in the Chiang Mai province, asserts that the Thai-Indian Hindu diaspora consists of heterogeneous groups that utilise multi-ethnic-religious identities as cultural strategies to establish their self-identification. Therefore, the Indian Hindu diaspora in Thai society is associated with the (re)formation and recombination of traditional and modern diasporic types of consciousness, reflecting the complexity of the Indian Hindu diaspora in Thailand today.
In this article, I examine the discourse surrounding “listening stations” (surveillance outposts) that the Indian government has built to counter Chinese infrastructural projects in the Indian Ocean. As surveillance technologies are placed on out-of-the-way islands and deep underwater, the ocean is discursively situated in the press and diplomatic circles as a site where the geopolitical and sonic ‘noise’ of the metropole is evaded in virtue of the seeming fidelity of the sea, thus garnering potential for the listening stations to reveal China’s true geopolitical intentions. Drawing on classic securitization theory, as well as writings in the anthropology of security and sound studies, I argue that the positioning of listening stations as sites defined by listening and protection from Chinese encroachment obfuscates how they function as geopolitical speech and an expansion of Indian power. I coin the term “surveillance acoustemology” to refer to the ways that India’s listening stations spatialize India’s projected influence and its ability to hear its Chinese rival across the Indian Ocean.
To celebrate independence from France and promote better understanding between “continents, races, and cultures,” in 1966 Senegal produced the World Festival of Negro Arts. Forty-five nations participated. At its core were diplomatic goals involving music. Not only could music help Africans recover their pre-colonial heritage, it encouraged dialogue among cultures and cultural development fueling liberation from the colonial past. Listening for what was shared, as in jazz, and cooperating internationally, as in the Gorée spectacle and recordings competition, encouraged mutual understanding, the basis of alliances world-wide, essential for prosperity. By including African Catholic music, anglophone as well as francophone contributions, and radio broadcasts across Africa, the festival promoted inter-African alliances, necessary for lasting peace in Africa. Here, amid the cold war and this diverse soundscape of musical activities in Dakar, an African mode of diplomacy found its voice and its power. Dialogue, exchange, and cooperation would inspire a new future.