Feature

Sep 2010

India and Scotland

Migration from South Asia to Scotland began in the 18th century as cultural and trading ties were forged.

The first migrants were servants of colonial administrators and seamen, known as Lascars, hired as cheap labour in Indian ports and then unable to find a way home once they arrived on Scottish shores.

The well-trodden migration route

By the 1920s economic migrants seeking a better life were settling in Glasgow and Edinburgh. When India became independent in 1947 more migrants followed the well trodden path throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Migrants worked in the jute mills of Dundee and the buses and trains in Glasgow, or opened small shops and businesses, or an increasing number were able to find employment as doctors, nurses, and teachers.

Now there are more than 55,000 people of Asian origin living in Scotland. They make up a small but significant 1 per cent of the total population with communities based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Stornoway.

Students too

In addition, there are more than 4,000 Indian international students currently studying at universities and colleges in Scotland.

Since 1995, the Edinburgh Mela has been an annual cultural festival with a distinctly multi-cultural flavour.

And Bollywood

And Bollywood, the world’s most successful commercial film industry, has shot more than a few films in Scotland in recent years, using the mountains and and glens as a Caledonian backdrop for a traditionally Asian dramatic art.

Find out more about Scotland's Indian connections

Edinburgh Mela

The Scottish Asian Business Awards

New Scots Exhibition