Leaving India: My Family's Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents
Two journalists reflect.
Hajratwala, a journalist at the San Jose Mercury News , tells of the Indian diaspora experience through a part-personal, part-reported story of her extended family. Hailing from the small northwest Indian region of Gujarat, her family's ancient origins begin with the myth of a race of warriors and kings. Their migration begins in the wake of the famine of 1899, when Hajratwala's great-grandfather Motiram left to learn the tailor's craft in Fiji, leaving his wife and children behind. In the same, tireless spirit echoed in generations to come, Motiram founded a family business in his new home, then built it with the support of relatives who followed to join him. His shop eventually became one of the largest department stores in the South Pacific isles. Other family branches developed in South Africa; the U.S., where Hajratwala's parents immigrated as part of India's earliest wave of “brain drain”; and other locales, totaling nine countries in five continents. Throughout sojourns across cultures and across time, the family endures—and succeeds—in spite of discrimination and bigotry. Told with the probing detail of a reporter, the fluid voice of a poet and the inspired vision of a young woman who walks in many worlds, Hajratwala's story offers an engaging account of what may be one of the fastest-growing diasporas in the world. (Mar.)
Release date: 03/01/2009