The one of the oldest ports in the world




The Indian Culture Impact on

South Yemen

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24/25, February, 2018



Addressed to:





Mokhtar Ahmed Al Shana

Farida Ali Al Qadasi





In This paper we are concentrating the
light on the Indian-Yemeni relationship that began in ancient times through the
exchange of spices and Boswellia sacra between the two countries. The reason
for the strength of that relationship between the two civilizations is the geographical
location where only the Arabian Sea is separated between them. That relation
was strong before and after Islam until the modern era. And the customs and
traditions of Indian People in food, Mehndi, spices, art of architecture and
the music have transferred to Aden (south of Yemen) in particular, because Aden
and India were under British colonial rule. Dozens of Indian families moved
from Mumbai to Aden.

The Indian people in Aden have a
specific places that they live in, such as the Indian’s Neighborhood and the
Bohra Market in Crater. They also got married from Yemeni citizens and now they
are having the Yemeni citizenship.

In result to that culture mix between
both countries, (The Indian citizen) whom used to work in Aden for many years
with his son Mukish Ambani whom born in Aden itself became one of the richest
business man in India nowadays.

In addition, many Yemeni scholars in
jurisprudence, history, literature and linguistics moved to India and Indian scientists
were influenced by what Yemeni scientists brought to them from outside India.















Aden (south of Yemen) one of the
oldest ports in the world and it considers as a trading center since over
3000 years. In 1839  Aden became an important transit port and coaling
station for trade between British
India , the Far East, and Europe. The British occupation
was continued for over a century till 1967.During this period south of Yemen
trade with India flourished because both countries were colonies under the British
rule. Also in this period of time many Indians migrated and settle down in Aden.

The resident Indian community in Aden
set up several temples in order to cater to their religious needs, taking
advantage of the religious tolerance of the British regime. These
were constructed on plots of land purchased or leased from government
or private sources or acquired as grants from the British government.
Historical records point towards the existence of at least ten Indian temples
in Aden, which included a Jain temple and several Hindu temples. In 1972, when
the Southern Yemen was under the Communist regime, all religious properties,
including those belonging to the Indian community, were taken over by the
Ministry of Endowments and Guidance. After the unification of the South and
North Yemen in 1990, these properties were declared as state properties and
brought under the administrative control of the Ministry
of Endowments and Guidance.


The emergence of Indian
society in Yemen


Although Arabic is the official
language of Yemen, there are at least 250,000 Yemeni-Indian in Yemen who have
maintained Indian culture through family ties, and by (Bollywood) The dream of
Indian youth in Yemen. Where Yemeni-Indian Youth love Bollywood’s films and
they are keen to watch them in order to learn Hindi and not to forget it.


Art of Architecture:

Indian immigrants brought with them
the Indian art of Architecture Through the temples constructed in Aden at that

There are number of temples that
existed in Aden:

Shree Hingraj Mataji Mandir:

Built sometime in the
early 1900s, this temple is located in a picturesque mountainous location in a
large cave in the Khusaf Valley, in the Crater area of Aden. This is the
only temple in Aden where a regular ‘puja’ or worship is performed by the
members of the Indian community every Friday evening. Since the past
couple of years a congregation is also held once a month for performing the
Ayyappa puja. The day-to-day maintenance of the temple is done by
the Indian Association in Aden.

(Sheikh Othman) Hanumanji Temple:

The temple was built
in 1882 and was spread over an area of five acres in the Sheik
Othman district. It reportedly used to have a garden with a pool
which was used by the devotees for bathing. It also had two lodgings for
the Indian community. The temple no longer exists now.

Shree Shankar Hanuman Temple:

It was built in the
nineteenth century and was located inside a large cave in the Dashmi Bazar,
Khusaf Valley in the Crater area. The temple no longer exists now.

Shree Ramchanderji Temple:

This temple was built in
1875 by the Indian military officials and is located near the Police Academy
College (Fattha Camp) in the Tawahi district of Aden. The temple is currently
in a defense area and is not open to public.

Shree Trikamraiji-Haveli Temple:

This temple was
constructed in 1862 and was located in the Hassan Ali Street of the Crater
region. It was called the ‘Haveli Temple’ as it was housed in
a double storeyed building with a ‘Bharat Library’ attached to
it. Several shops and residences have come up in the area of the temple,
butthe temple itself is intact and is kept locked.

Shree Jain Swetamber Temple:

Located near the Cloth
Bazaar in Crater, it was built in 1882 and was controlled by the
“Aden Mahajan and Panjarapole”. The temple is intact but currently kept
locked and is not in use.

Shree Shanker Hindu Temple:

It was located on the
Queen Arwa Road in the Crater area, near to the then National
Cinema. The adjoining area was used as a Hindu cemetery for
cremation. The temple is currently not in use.

Shree Krishna Panjrapole:

It is believed that a
‘Goshalla’ (resting place for cows) used to be maintained inthe Crater area by
members of the Gujarati community.

Holy Fire Temple:

This was a Parsi
Temple, established in 1873 in the Tawila area of Aden by the family of
the legendary Parsi figure Shri Nusserwanji Dinshaw, which was in
the business of shipping. The Holy Fire was transported safely from
Aden in 1976 in (Lhotse) as specially chartered Air India Boeing 707 with all
Parsi crew, and installed at the Adenwala Agiary at Lonavala, near Mumbai, with
the active support and assistance from the Government of India, which was then
headed by Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The Parsi temple complex had
several properties attached to it, including a ‘Tower of Silence’ and a
crematorium for Parsis.


Hindu Crematorium:

A small temple was
reportedly located in Holkat Bay, Crater, which had a 99-year lease
signed on 29th, June 1932. Currently a Hindu crematorium or (Shamshan)
exists in this area, which is run by the Indian Association in
Aden. Services are rendered free of charge to Indian nationals
and on a small fee for other nationalities.



Food and Beverage:

Indian Immigrants influenced the
Yemeni Culture with so many kinds of food and beverages such as:

Biryani: It called
in Yemen Zurbian and Kabsa





Suji ka halwa

Masala chai





The Indian Culture had an impact on
the Aden’s Society through the Indian melodies which came with the Indian
immigrants and included in many Yemeni heritage songs, and that led to form the
Yemeni folklore, which includes a collection of ancient arts, stories, tales
and legends.


Artists influenced by Indian art:

Mohammed Juma Khan:
He was born in Mukalla in the days of the Qu’aiti Sultanate with close ties to
India. His father was a member of the Chaosh Group in India. He grew up in an
artistic family, joined the Royal Band’s choir and continued to listen to the
songs of the Egyptians and the oud songs they were playing. His musical culture
was subjective.

He had a great role in
the development of the color of Hadrami singing and was introduced to a lot of
tunes and Indian rhythms.

Abdulqader Bamkhrma:
He has been famous in singing a lot of famous Yemenite songs including Indian





Considering that the port of Aden is
one of the largest and most important ports in the world and during the fifties
of the last century was classified as the second port in the world after New
York to supply ships with fuel. And it links Indian Ocean and Africa, so the
spices trade has spread in Yemen since ancient times.




Some researches argue he originated
in ancient India while others claim it was brought to India by Egyptian moghuls
in the 12th century C.E. Still others will contend that the tradition of
applying henna to the body began in the Middle East and North Africa in ancient

Yemen is one of those countries that
influenced by Mehndi and they still using it for body decoration in all
occasions till now.




Dherobhai Ambani (Father)

Due to the regression of financial
situation of the Dherobhai Ambani’s family, his father sent him to work in
Yemen – Aden at the age of seventeen and with a salary of Rs. 300 for his work
as a fuel station worker and then he worked in an office work. That made him
good communicating business men and traders. He worked so much to collect sum
amount of money to start his own business and after realizing the signs of the
disappearance of British rule in Yemen, he and his family left for India and
told his friends (I will own an oil company one day). He returned to complete
his own business in several fields and then called his son Mukish, whom was studying
in the United States, so he returned back to work with his family.

Dherobhai Ambani, who has defeated
poverty by his determination, Honesty and sincerity in selling and promises and
his ability to win others trust by giving them a chance to profit with him
rather than exploiting them. His quotes become an immortal in Indian culture
and other cultures: “Think big, think fast, think forward; ideas are not A
monopoly for anyone. ”



Mukish Ambani

Mukish Ambani, the owner of the largest
industrial group in India (Reliance Industries Limited) with 44.7% of its
shares. Mukish is one of the richest people not only in India but also in the
world. Derubhai Ambani is his father and Anil Ambani his brother.

Although Mukish Ambani is an Indian
citizen however was born in Aden – Yemen on April 19, 1957.




India’s culture is highly
characterized by interfaith harmony and multiculturalism. It has succeeded in
preserving old traditions while absorbing all the modern changes of our time. Indian
was and still a source of tolerance, interfaith coexistence and
multiculturalism, it has influenced many societies around the world, including