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Indian Community

Embassy of India



Indian Community in Bahrain


        Bahrain, a small island country both in terms of geography (765 sq. kms) and population (1.4 million), has been a favourite destination for Indian nationals working as expatriates which is reflected by the fact that Indian community in Bahrain constitute 30% of total population and is the largest expatriate community in Bahrain.  The Indian community has created a substantial, visible imprint on the social milieu of Bahrain.  The presence of large Indian community in Bahrain constitutes an important link between our two countries.  The Kingdom of Bahrain has been exceptionally friendly to India and Indians. Hosting of around 350,000 Indians on its soil speaks for the goodwill that Indians enjoy in Bahrain.

Historical Background

2.     Throughout the history of Bahrain there are inevitable and numerous signs of Indian connection starting from Dilmun civilization in Bahrain to the Indus valley civilization in India.  Indians are known to have come to Bahrain as early as 3000 BC when ships plied between Harappan settlements, Oman and Bahrain en-route to Mesopotamia in pursuit of trade. Ancient Bahraini traders are believed to have carried out flourishing trade of Bahraini pearls with spices from India.  

3.     In more recent times, Indian merchants established themselves in Bahrain towards the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  Others moved to Bahrain from Baghdad and Basra.  These merchant families came from the province of Sindh and Kathiawad region of Gujarat.  By around 1925 nearly 2500 Indian families had settled in Bahrain.  Most of them were involved in small time retailing.

4.     The discovery of oil in 1932 led to immigrant manpower gravitating towards the oil industry and its’ off shoot development activities.  With the subsequent expansions of the Bahraini economy Indians started immigrating to Bahrain to start business or take up jobs as managers, salesmen, assistants, workers etc.  Many of Bahrain’s most prominent figures have close Indian connections.  When Bahrain was a British protectorate, Indian Rupee was a legal tender in the country[100 Phil is still called by native Bahrainis as One Rupee].

Demographic features and the Indian Work-force

5.     Of the nearly 650,000 expatriates, approximately 350,000 Indian nationals form the largest expatriate community in Bahrain along with Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Filipino, Indonesians and Arabs of different nationalities. Majority of Indian community members are from Kerala (about 200,000) followed by Tamil Nadu (about 50,000) and rest from Maharashtra, Goa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

6.     Today over 65 percent of the Indian expatriate workforce is employed in the construction, contracting and maintenance sectors.  There is also a relatively small number of Indian housemaids estimated at around 12000-15000 coming mostly from Andhra Pradesh / Telangana.  In addition to the predominant blue-collar labour force, there are a sizeable number of doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, bankers, managers and other professionals who play a vital role in Bahrain’s economic development.

7.     There is hardly any established Bahraini business organization that does not have a senior or middle level Indian employee playing an important role in its operations.  The top Bahraini business houses, banks and finance companies etc. have Indians in their senior or middle management cadres.

8.     It is a known fact that Indian expatriate workforce is preferred over expatriate community from other nationalities due to their work ethics, integrity and apolitical approach. The Bahraini leadership publicly acknowledges their contributions to the development and growth of Bahrain and has been forthcoming in ensuring safety and welfare of the Indian community / workforce in the Kingdom.

9.     In recognition of Indian community’s contribution to the history and progress of Bahrain, a ‘little India in Bahrain’ project was launched in December 2015 covering an area of 5000 square meters in the heart of Manama Souq area (where 200 year old Hindu Temple is located) and has been made focus of tourists’ attraction by holding regular markets, fashion shows and cultural performances. 

Socio-cultural aspects

10.   Bahraini philosophy of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence is one of the reasons for making it a favourite destination for Indian expatriates.  The Indian community in Bahrain is permitted a great deal of freedom for social and religious activities.  There are a number of worship places of different religions including 200 year old Hindu Temple, 5 churches and 3 gurudwaras. The cremation facility for Hindus has been made available by the Bahraini side and the first cremation ground was given almost 100 years back.  All major Indian festivals are celebrated in Bahrain which are participated not only by Indians but also by Bahrainis including members of royal family, with equal enthusiasm.

11.   There are 30 registered Indian community socio-cultural associations/clubs and an equal number of unregistered associations/clubs in Bahrain thus giving an opportunity to the Indian expatriate community to promote Indian art and culture including Indian classical dances, classical music and art.  Presence of a number of institutes on performing art has made it possible for the children of Indian diaspora in Bahrain to keep their roots with India alive, keeping them connected with India.  Through the State Facilitation Fund, Embassy provides its support to various state/socio-cultural associations to promote tourism and create opportunities for increasing trade / investment by organising roadshows, seminars etc.

12.   The presence of 8 Indian schools (the Indian School the biggest community school in Gulf was established in 1950) in Bahrain caters to the educational needs of the children of Indian expatriates and these schools have also made a mark amongst the Bahrainis.

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