Feb. 15, 2022

History and Insight: Exploring Thailand’s Indian Community [S5.E48]

History and Insight: Exploring Thailand’s Indian Community [S5.E48]

One of the great things about Thai culture is the many facets that make up the whole. One of them is the Indian community, and Greg is happy to welcome Ram Sachdev, a first generation Thai-Indian and founder of , a leading voice of the Thai-Indian...


One of the great things about Thai culture is the many facets that make up the whole. One of them is the Indian community, and Greg is happy to welcome Ram Sachdev, a first generation Thai-Indian and founder of Masala Magazine, a leading voice of the Thai-Indian community, to talk about it. 

We begin by going over the many historical cultural connections between India and Thailand, from Sanskrit’s influence on Thai language to Buddhism’s origin in India, in addition to the myriad Thai holidays which can be traced back to ancient Indian celebrations. No doubt the Indian influence on Thai culture is more than it might appear on the surface, and more than most Thais might admit. 

Ram then expertly describes the Indian diaspora to Malaysia and later Thailand that resulted from the partition of India after World War II. This leads to a discussion of Thai-Indian identity in Thailand, which K. Ram contends is still misunderstood. This includes a discussion of the common word used by Thais for South Asians, “khaek”. Another common misconception is to group Hindu Indians along with Malaysia Muslims. Greg and K. Ram discuss the struggle of Thai-Indians to be recognized as truly Thai, but also of Hindu Indian descent. 

The conversation continues to cover many aspects of Indian-Thai life in Thailand, revealing Thailand to be a society that is more multicultural than most people realize. 

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