A slice of India in the MaldivesNovember 11th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS
Male, Nov 11 (IANS) The sunny side of life - Maldives’ seductive call to tourists and honeymooners has also worked its charm on nearly 25,000 Indians who have made the Indian Ocean nation their home. Doctors, teachers, chartered accountants, bank managers, business executives, travel trade professionals - Indians have left their imprint in just about every walk of life in this country of 370,000 people that is making a new tryst with democracy. Building upon their professional success, they are now itching to make their presence felt in public life with the India Club - an umbrella organization that brings together all Indians, cutting across caste and language divides, living in the Maldives.
The club, the first foreign organization registered as a voluntary body early this year, is in the forefront in bringing Indians working together on the occasion of festivals like Diwali and Holi and channelising their energies in a range of charitable activities like blood donation camps.
“We want to bring the Indian community together to give them a sense of oneness. Our Independence Day function was a great success,” Aparna Faujdar, wife of a hotel executive based in Male, told IANS. Faujdar came to the Maldives nearly four years ago and has fallen in love with this country replete with sun-drenched islands, pristine beaches and turquoise lagoons. “I love the country. It’s so peaceful. It’s hard to experience this sense of peace anywhere,” she said.
The India Club brings together government agencies like SBI and Indian Airlines and eminent local personalities for the betterment of the community and the development of Indo-Maldivian relations, says A.K. Pandey, India’s high commissioner to the Maldives.
The envoy, who is clearly seduced by myriad charms of the Maldives, organized a function at Kurumba Resorts, a 15-minute boat from Male, to honour visiting Vice President Hamid Ansari in the presence of the Indian community. Informally interacting with prominent Indians, Ansari also lauded the enormous contribution of the Indian community to the life and economy of Maldives.
The India Club also helps Indian labourers in distress who sometime face harassment at the hands of their employers.
Dr R.J.C. Pandian, who words at ADK hospital, is also upbeat about life in the Maldives. “It’s good clean life here. Maldivians feel a sense of connection with India and treat Indians with a lot of affection and respect,” Pandian told IANS. Maldivians feel specially grateful to India for its efforts in promoting education and human resource development as over half the population in this country is under the age of 30.
Almost every Maldivian can recall with affection what he learnt from his Indian teacher. Over 6,000 Indian teachers teach at various schools and colleges in the Maldives. India has helped set up the Faculty of Engineering College and Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies. The only government-owned hospital in the Maldives has been set up by India and is named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi which has become an enduring symbol of Indo-Maldives friendship.
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