I returned to India in December 2005 after
spending over three years in China. My initial interest in the Chinese
community here was a personal desire to interact with them, a way to bridge my
years in China and subsequent return to India. Over time, I began to document
their lives to better understand the community.
Even though they had a presence in India for over 200 years, they started settling permanently after the Communists came to power in China, in 1949. In 1962, during the Sino-Indian border conflict those suspected of having links with China, were interned in Deoli, Rajasthan. Scarred by the memories of this era and the subsequent struggle for survival, several chose to leave India.
Many who remained were forced to start life afresh. This period brought with it significant economic and social change within what was once a closed community. The results are more visible among the younger generation. Posters of Indian film stars share space with calendars and masks imported from Hong Kong, photographs of ancestors in every home to images of Jesus Christ, all reflect the transition within the community.
Even though they still share a bond with China, India is a part of their lives and identity. To the Chinese here, India is ‘home’.
Mr Chen, Kolkata.
Tiretty Bazaar, Kolkata.
Yee Hing Club, Kolkata.
Hugh Brothers, New Delhi.
Teresa Tan and Li Ying Liang (seated), Chennai.
Edwin Liao, Kolkata.
Chinese New Year, Kolkata.
William Chang (sitting on the steps) photographing a Chinese wedding, Kolkata.
The Mall, Shimla.
Fu Xing Sun, Shillong.
The Ma family, Chennai.
Kou Kou, Chennai.
Mrs Leong, Kolkata.
S Y Tan (left) at his brother’s home, Chennai.