M.H. Ilias. 2018. “Memories and Narrations of ‘Nations’ Past: Accounts of Early Migrants from Kerala in the Gulf in the Post-Oil Era,” Oxford Middle East Review 2 (1), pp. 69-88.
Abstract: This paper investigates a set of narratives revolving around the experiences of early post-oil migrants from Kerala to the Gulf States. These narratives take different forms such as individuals’ spoken memories, recollections, perspectives, and narrative accounts of events and experiences.
Their themes range widely from the simple renditions of experience of travel to their subjective account of the history of nation-building in the host countries. As witnesses to many seminal events in the history of the Gulf states, memories of migrants from Kerala must not be merely seen as personal storytelling about the past. Rather, they could be interpreted as a collective effort to retell history in an alternative way.
They are particularly useful as they open a window into the early South Asian ordinary migrants’ perceptions about a plethora of historical events, such as post colonial transition of Gulf societies, state formation, and nation-building. Such narratives are generally absent from the “standard” records of history of the region.