Book delves into Indian communities

Clinton Moodley, takes a look at Indian communities in the book, 'Beyond the Fields.'

What started off as a page three feature documenting the rich history and tapestry of Indian communities within KZN in the Tribune Herald, has now been turned into a coffee table book.

‘Beyond the Fields’ was officially launched at Coastlands on the Ridge last Thursday, among special guests such as MEC for Human Settlements, Ravi Pillay, Bishop Rubin Phillips, MPL, Omie Singh, speaker of the house, Logie Naidoo, and former editor and author, Brijlall Ramguthee.

The book takes readers into 50 communities and “focuses on their history, culture and the people who shaped them,” according to Tribune reporter, Clinton Moodley, who researched and wrote most of the content. He was also assisted by fellow journalists, Neesha Maharaj, Nabeelah Shaikh and Mervyn Naidoo.

The former Rising Sun writer said, “The feature was a hit among our readers and the popularity of course led to our decision to turn it into a coffee table book. From the cane cutters in Tongaat to Overport’s little India, to the beautiful architectural religious institutions in Phoenix, Beyond the Fields tells the story of how our forefathers in KZN built their homes here.”

The proud resident said that he was personally enriched by the assignment as it felt as if he lived in each community he wrote about. “What I found was communities steeped in culture and tradition, but modern at the same time. These stories are a reminder that if we put our minds to something, we can achieve anything despite the odds against us,” he said.

Moodley said his research involved interviewing roleplayers in each community such as councillors, religious and civic leaders, visiting the areas and “uncovering their untold stories and its hidden attractions.” He added that the accuracy and clarification of facts was vital when documenting the history.

The book adds to the growing collection of literature recording the history of the Indian community in South Africa. Moodley believes that it is important to have books like ‘Beyond the Fields’ especially in a “world taken over by technology and a younger generation consumed with the latest entertainment icons.” “The book paints a picture of life in the past and how our forefathers paved a way for a better future. Each of these communities had their fair share of hardships, whether it was standing up for basic human rights or finding ways to fight crime, it was ultimately their determination to live a happy and prosperous life in KZN.”

Ramguthee, who originally suggested that the feature be compiled into a book, wrote the foreward. MEC Pillay described the book as a powerful contribution to capturing the contemporary history of our communities. If you wish to obtain the book, call Sushie Munsamy on 031-308-2437 or email [email protected]

Camara Moodley
Sub Editor

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