08 March, 2021

Syria Diary

"I am the Indian... My name is Mohammed Ali al-Hindi. My ancestors came to Syria 200 years ago from Calcutta. We were Buddhists then. I am now a Muslim"

Syria Diary
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The Real al-Hindi

I and three other Indian journalists were standing amid the 2nd century Roman ruins of red stone in Palmyra, about 200 km northeast of Damascus. A dark-skinned man emerged from the shadows of the ruins and said, “Are you from India?” We told him we were. “No. You are not Indians,” said the man, who spoke fluent English, unlike most Syrians. “I am the Indian. Look at the colour of my skin. My name is Mohammed Ali al-Hindi. My ancestors came to Syria 200 years ago from Calcutta. We were Buddhists then. I am now a Muslim. But I don’t know about the future.” That was our introduction to Syria’s Indian connection. Anybody who has the sobriquet of al-Hindi or al-Hindawi in the Arab world is a person of Indian ancestry. There are a few thousand al-Hindi or al-Hindawi families in Syria. And there are...

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