It was a hard life, as Tulsi Mohinani describes in his article, ‘My Ordinary Life: Seventy Years and Five Continents’

It was a hard life, as Tulsi Mohinani describes in his article, ‘My Ordinary Life: Seventy Years and Five Continents’

A unique lifestyle, sustained over generations

Young men from the Bhaiband families of this community would go to work by the time they were 15 or 16 years old; sometimes even sooner. They would invariably live above the store in an apartment shared by other employees of the company, who were also Hindu Sindhis from Hyderabad. They worked all day with little or no social life and were quite often mercilessly exploited by their capitalist bosses who preferred them to stay uneducated and unaware of their rights, and encouraged them to take recourse in alcohol, as T.K.M. Mirchandani notes.

The employees worked in the foreign countries for two to three years at a time, during which their expenses were taken care of and their salaries were paid directly to their families in Hyderabad. At the end of the contract, a period known as musafri, they went back home on a break of a few months. Most young men returning after their first musafri would now enter into a ily. At the end of the two or three month holiday, he would go back to work either with the same company or another, possibly in another country. By the time he came back on his next home visit, his first child would be a few years old and often enough it would be the first meeting between father and child. This routine continued until the man retired at around the age of 40, and returned to settle in Hyderabad. By that time, many would have branched out from the firms they had worked in and started businesses of their own, which they would now leave to their sons. They would also employ other young men from Hyderabad.

There were cases of Bhaiband men who married local wives and settled in the faraway lands; some maintained families in both places. (more…)