The Kingdom of Bahrain is an island nation in Western Asia, situated between Qatar and the northeastern coast of Saudi Arabia. Indians in Bahrain are one of the largest expatriate communities in the county. Here is everything you need to know about the Indian community in Bahrain.
Bahrain has a land area of 786 square kilometres and a population of 1.5 million. As of 2021, Bahrainis account for 48% of the population and non-Bahrainians for 52%. Indians in Bahrain are one of the largest expatriate communities in the county.
Bahrain is the sixth most densely populated country in the world, with a population density of 1912 people per square kilometre. The capital city is Manama. Bahrain’s King HM Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa has been in power since 14 February 2002.
Indians in Bahrain
There are approximately 350,000 Indians in Bahrain as of 2022, making them one of the country’s largest expatriate groups. Most of them come from Kerala, a southern state in India.
According to the Indian Embassy, approximately 200,000 are from Kerala, 50,000 from Tamil Nadu, 40,000 from Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, 25,000 from Karnataka, and the rest from Punjab, Rajasthan, UP, Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.
In terms of profession, the Indian Embassy estimates 70 per cent of Indians in Bahrain to be unskilled workers. Bahrain also has many Indian doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, bankers, managers, and other professionals. There is great goodwill toward Indian expatriates from Bahraini authorities and employers alike.
India and Bahrain enjoy excellent bilateral relations characterized by cordial political, economic, and cultural exchanges. It is believed that Indian spices were traded with Bahraini pearls by ancient Bahraini traders.
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. By around 1925, nearly 2500 Indian families had settled in Bahrain.
Many prominent figures in Bahrain have close ties to India. There are many Indians in senior and middle management positions in Bahraini business houses, banks and finance companies.
There was a time when Bahrain was a British protectorate, and the Indian rupee served as legal tender.
There are several places of worship of different religions, including a 200-year-old Hindu temple, five churches, and three gurudwaras. Bahraini authorities have provided cremation facilities for Hindus, and the first crematory was given almost 100 years ago. Several major Indian festivals are celebrated in Bahrain, which are attended by Indians and Bahrainis, including members of the royal family.
There are 30 registered Indian cultural associations/clubs in Bahrain and many unregistered associations and clubs promoting Indian art and culture among Indians in Bahrain. There are also 8 Indian schools catering to Indian students in Bahrain.
Bahrain’s Little India
A project called ‘Little India in Bahrain‘ was launched in December 2015 to recognize and celebrate the contribution of the Indian community to Bahrain’s history and progress.
Several buildings were restored and renovated, and a small public space was created to hold regular markets, fashion shows, Indian food stalls, and cultural performances.
Located near the 200-year-old Indian temple in Manama Souq, the 5000 square meter area holds regular markets, fashion shows, and cultural events.
Indian Embassy in Bahrain
The Indian Embassy in Bahrain was opened in January 1973. H.E. Piyush Srivastava was appointed as Ambassador of India to Bahrain on 28 July 2020. Below are the contact details of the Embassy:
Embassy of India, Bahrain
Building 1090, Road No.2819,
Block No.428, Al-Seef, Manama
Telephone for consular services: (+973) 39078546
24X7 Emergency Number: (+973) 39418071