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The Hadrami Diaspora

The Hadrami Diaspora: Community-Building on the Indian Ocean Rim

Leif Manger
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Hadrami Diaspora
    Book Description:

    The Hadramis of South Yemen and the emergence of their diasporic communities throughout the Indian Ocean region are an intriguing facet of the history of this region's migratory patterns. In the early centuries of migration, the Yemeni, or Hadrami, traveler was both a trader and a religious missionary, making the migrant community both a "trade diaspora" and a "religious diaspora." This tradition has continued as Hadramis around the world have been linked to networks of extremist, Islamic-inspired movements-Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda and descendant of a prominent Hadrami family, as the most infamous example. However, communities of Hadramis living outside Yemen are not homogenous. The author expertly elucidates the complexity of the diasporic process, showing how it contrasts with the conventional understanding of the Hadrami diaspora as an unchanging society with predefined cultural characteristics originating in the homeland. Exploring ethnic, social, and religious aspects, the author offers a deepened understanding of links between Yemen and Indian Ocean regions (including India, Southeast Asia, and the Horn of Africa) and the emerging international community of Muslims.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-978-9
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introducing the Issues
    (pp. 1-16)

    This book aims to contribute to an understanding of the fascinating migration history of the Hadramis of South Yemen and the resulting emergence of Hadrami diasporic communities throughout the Indian Ocean region. Migration from Hadramaut was always a result of many different factors. It was initiated by drought and tribal wars at home in Hadramaut, but was also the result of people pursuing trading opportunities in the Indian Ocean region. Some Hadramis traveled as Islamic missionaries. The migration has brought the Hadramis to South East Asia, parts of India, the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean, the Swahili and Somali...

  5. Part One: Diasporic Communities Within Empires and Nation States

    • CHAPTER ONE Singapore— Making Muslim Space in a Global City
      (pp. 19-41)

      Welcome to Singapore … the Garden City. For the first time visitors, the multicultural society of this Lion City will fascinate you with their warm hospitality and ensure your pleasant stay throughout. And for those who have been here before, the rapid infrastructure development will make you feel as if you have missed out on many things and places in our previous visits. There’s certainly more for you to see and experience during your stay here. Let Concierge Ali offer you some tips on how to best make your stay an enjoyable and memorable one.

      I found this ad in...

    • CHAPTER TWO Hyderabad— From Winners to Losers
      (pp. 42-64)

      During one of my visits to Hyderabad, my friend and colleague Dr. Sudhakar Rao brought me a book he had picked up in a local bookshop. The title wasHyderabad ofThe Seven Loaves,” which didn’t tell me very much. The subtitle said a bit more and was potentially of importance to my work:A Historical Account of the Asaf Jahi Dynasty, with an Autobiographical Sketch of the Author, Covering the Events of Hyderabad’s Merger with the Indian Union(el Edross 1994). But the most important thing was the fact that the author was Major-General Syed Ahmed el Edross, a...

    • CHAPTER THREE Hadramis in Sudan— A Red Sea Tale
      (pp. 65-85)

      I first met Ahmed Abu Bakr Bajabr in Mukalla, in the southern part of Yemen on the Gulf of Aden, in 1994. Or rather, he met me. He had heard me speaking Arabic with someone in a government office, noticed my Sudanese accent and came over to find out what strange incident had given akhawajahsuch an accent. As Ahmed indeed was from Sudan, he came to represent a special case for me, too. It turned out that he was visiting from Port Sudan, trying to establish a poultry farm in the area, which was his way of joining...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Ethiopia— The Problem of Being “Arab,” “Somali,” “Capitalist,” and “Terrorist”
      (pp. 86-106)

      The story of Hadramis in Ethiopia begins in the capital, Addis Ababa. Dr. Getachew Kassa, at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, introduced me to several Hadrami families in Addis. It was through him that I got in touch with Awad Saeed, the then leader of the Yemeni Association in Ethiopia. Tragically, Awad died only a short time after our first meeting. Before his death, however, we met many times at his house in the huge Merkato market district, considered the largest open-air market in Africa. It serves as a meeting point for Hadramis in Addis. People come here to do...

  6. Part Two: Identities in the Making

    • CHAPTER FIVE Maintaining a Hadrami Identity in the Diaspora
      (pp. 109-127)

      This chapter discusses the maintenance of different Hadrami identities in the various diasporic communities. We have seen that the reproduction of Hadrami identity is ongoing. But “Hadrami” is not the only collective identity. Hadramis can also be characterized as “Arabs,” thus also being grouped with people of non-Hadrami origin but of Arab descent. And today we also see the emerging label of “Yemeni,” actualized by the unification of North and South Yemen. But we also know that in many cases these ethnic identities are irrelevant, as earlier Hadrami migrants intermarried with local people and their descendants embraced the indigenous ethnic...

    • CHAPTER SIX Homeland-Diaspora Dynamics— Problematizing Diasporic Consciousness Among Sada and Non-Sada Groups
      (pp. 128-149)

      The point of departure for my discussion in this chapter is the reproduction over time of the Hadrami stratification system both at home and in the diaspora. The general system of stratification in Hadramaut is in principle similar to what we find in Yemen as a whole. The major groups are the Sada or Seiyd, people who claim descent from the Prophet Mohammed and, because of this, occupy a privileged position in the religious and social hierarchy.

      Next in the hierarchy are the Mashaikh or Sheikh, who cannot show descent from the Prophet, but who are members of local lineages...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Resisting the West— Muslim Universalism Versus Western Globalization in the Indian Ocean
      (pp. 150-172)

      The representation of Hadrami diasporic communities in chapters one to four, and the more specific discussions in chapters five and six, make several general conclusions. The earlier chapters show that there are “world system” dynamics at play, that the Indian Ocean region is a meeting place of “civilizations,” and, indeed, that from a very early period there have been elements we now associate with “globalization.” These elements include the movement of large numbers of people across the ocean and the early formation of diasporic communities, primarily in trading towns, now perhaps better described as “world cities” of their time.


  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 173-198)
  8. Index
    (pp. 199-201)