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Little India  
Story : Jira Bunprasop, Krisakorn Wongkorawut
Photos : Bunkit Suthiyananon
Click to Bigger     As Sunanta adjusts her light blue sari, the morning sun catches the magnificent gold bangles firmly resting high on her left arm. She smoothes down her waist-length, thick, black hair, and begins to tidy up shop in time for her first customers. On one side of the shop rests a beautiful collection of saris, all colors and prints, next to which lie hundreds of those colorful bangles so popular with the Indian girls. Outside, the street begins to come alive. I take a peek and there's a flurry of red, green, and gold saris, complemented by white and blue turbans. I notice a food stall just opening to the left, and immediately catch the delicious aroma of basmati rice wafting through the cracked window in Sunanta's shop. Before her first customer arrives, she kindly spares a moment - "Yes, I was born here in Pahurat, Bangkok, and have lived here all of my life. I'm second generation Indian... my parents migrated to Thailand around 60 - 70 years ago..." 
Click to Bigger     Besides the earlier influx of passersby through Thailand, during colonial British India and the reign of Rama IV, the Sikhs and Hindus came to Thailand as forced laborers. The first Indians to actually migrate and permanently settle in Thailand after that were the Sikhs, during the reign of Rama V. Out of the chaos that ensued from England's division of India, combined with the inevitable displacement and clash of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs seeking to establish their independent states in 1947, more refugees from India flooded into Thailand.
    With the help of family connections, a booming garment industry, and hard work, having survived through adversity both from home and in Thailand, Sikhs and Hindus have prospered and currently live peacefully among the rest of the 60 million in Bangkok. Thailand has given them a home, and they in turn have enriched us with their culture.

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