Indians in Oman
|Regions with significant populations|
|Malayalam • English • Arabic|
|Islam • Christianity • Hinduism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Person of Indian Origin|
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Although Indian migration to Oman is apparently for the purpose of spreading their commercial activities and mutually sharing the profits, their mutual good relations are believed to have existed as early as the 7th century. It was however, in 15th century since when the Indian merchants had started undertaking commercial activities in Muscat in a quite systematic manner. As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman, Muscat attracted foreign tradesman and settlers, such as the Persians, the Balochs and Gujaratis.
The Indian community then consisted essentially of traders and financiers from Kutch and Sindh. Some of the earliest Indian immigrants to settle in Oman were the Bhatias of Kutch in Gujarat, who have had a powerful presence in Oman dating back to the 16th century. It was during the 19th century that some Khojas reached there, and who are presently well-integrated in Oman; some of them hold even ministerial positions. A few Indian families predominantly from Gujarat which have been living in Oman since many centuries, have developed their enterprises into the colossal business houses.
Admittedly, the settlement of the Indian migrants in Oman has become possible only because of Omani government's liberal policy in granting its citizenship to foreign nationals. It is conceivably the only Arab country in Arabian Peninsula, which has taken such dynamic initiative, which has proved to be enormously beneficial to them in many respects. Any person irrespective of his religion or race, who has completed at least 20 years in Oman, is treated as eligible to apply for its citizenship. That's why about a thousand Indians have so far became Omani citizens.
Oman holds an exceptional position among all the Persian Gulf countries in terms of Basic Law of the State promulgated in December 1996, which guarantees the freedom of worship to all its inhabitants, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Such liberal policy of the government has made it possible that presently there are two Hindu temples where congregations are held regularly. One of these temples is more than hundred years old. The Hindus have been granted the rights of cremation as per their religious rites. There are nearly four temporary gurudwaras (2 in Muscat, 1 in Salalah and Sohar each), which have been built in the labour camps. Oman also has seven churches for various Christian sects living in this country. Recently the Omani government has allowed the Indian Community to build a permanent gurudwara and a temple in Oman of the likes that are seen in India itself (The current temples and gurudwaras are small, temporary, and bounded to a compound).
The Indian community in Oman is regarded to be among the prosperous communities in the country. At present, the Indians constitute almost 20% of Oman's total population i.e. 2.3 million, as it is the largest expatriate community in this country. There are 448 thousand Indian migrant workers in Oman. The Indians in Oman belong to various professions and businesses. Almost 25% of them are unskilled workers, 30% of them comprises semi-skilled and 35% are the skilled ones. The rest 10% consists of professionals such as engineers, bankers, financial experts, managers/executives and businessmen. There are around 2,000 Indian doctors in Oman, who work in different hospitals and healthcare centres of the country.
Some of them are working with the local newspapers and journals; particularly those being published in English language. The majority of the Indians in Oman come from South India, constituting almost 80% of all Indians living in the country; out of these, there are Malayalees who alone account for 60% of the population.
There are a number of Indian curriculum and community-run schools in Oman, including
- Indian School (Darsait)
- Indian School (Al-Ghubra)
- Indian School (Al Wadi Al Kabir)
- Indian School (Muscat)
- Indian School (Sohar)
- Indian School (Seeb)
- Indian School (Nizwa)
- Indian School (Ibri)
- Indian School (Ibra)
- Cordell Crownover. Ultimate Handbook Guide to Muscat : (Oman) Travel Guide. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman, Muscat attracted foreign tradesman and settlers, such as the Persians, the Balochs and Gujaratis.
- Bharat Yagnik. "Oman was Gujaratis’ first stop in their world sweep". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
Oman's capital Muscat was the first home for Gujarati traders away from the subcontinent. The Bhatia community from Kutch was the first among all Gujaratis to settle overseas — relocating to Muscat as early as 1507! The Bhatias' settlement in the Gulf is emphasized by Hindu places of worship, seen there since the 16th century. As historian Makrand Mehta asserts, "Business and culture go together."
- Khalid M. Al-Azri (2013). Social and Gender Inequality in Oman: The Power of Religious and Political Tradition. Routledge. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-415-67241-2. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
Hindus had settled in Oman by the sixteenth century, and from at least the early nineteenth century Omani commerce and trade has been conducted by Hindu Banyans of Bhatia caste deriving from Kutch in Gujarat.
- Global Indian Origin - Migration Oman
- Runa Mukherjee Parikh (May 11, 2013). "World's only Hindu Sheikh traces his roots to Gujarat". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
"We see achievements as milestones in the quest for excellence. We just want to be the best," says the 77-year-old tycoon, Kanaksi Khimji. Not sales and volumes, Khimji believes that the most important measure of success for his family's business is how far it has helped advance the national development plans laid out by Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said. In fact, Khimji with his Indian roots was one of the first to embrace Omanisation, a directive to train and empower Omani professionals. Such a rare honour makes Khimji the most distinguished Indian in this Middle Eastern country.
- Muscat: Oman to allow temple, gurdwara « New Front World
Indians In Oman Community