Migration story: The ‘mini Somalia’ in Hyderabad’s Tolichowki

By Usama Hazari

Hyderabad: Leaving one’s homeland is rarely simple, and for a lot of, it’s typically one thing unimaginable. And for the sake of a greater future, these from war-torn nations are sometimes compelled to flee to different safer havens. Somalia, one such nation affected by strife, has discovered such a connection in Hyderabad.

Due to racism, language boundaries, excessive value of dwelling and costly schooling in most developed nations, Hyderabad has in truth develop into the go-to possibility for a lot of Somalis fleeing their homeland which had been affected by civil strife.

Hyderabad doesn’t need an integration campaign, we live like brothers with our (local) friends. We go to school/college with them, work, pray and eat side by side with them as well,” says Aboody(identify modified), a Somali scholar who’s at the moment finding out in the town.

For many like him, Tolichowki has develop into the house, and in truth homes Hyderabad’s largest immigrant inhabitants, together with different international college students from varied components of Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

Two Somali ladies strolling on a avenue at Paramount Colony in Tolichowki, Hyderabad. (Photo:

One can go to any avenue in Paramount colony and uncover a complete new world laced with Arabian and Somali-themed eating places crammed which are sometimes stuffed with African and Middle-eastern immigrants enjoyable on chairs. Many principally spend their days right here in leisure, when they don’t seem to be busy, and may be discovered in their conventional clothes as effectively.

It is in truth a little bit just like Barkas, which is actually a Yemeni settlement from about 150 years in the past in Hyderabad below the Asaf Jahi period or the Nizams (1724-1948). 

This new world has typically been known as “Mini Somalia” by many Hyderabadi meme pages on Instagram. In truth, native pages on social media have additionally created memes on Tolichowki’s Paramount colony, meant in good humour, because of the massive presence of Somalians in the world. 

“Most Somali people choose India because India is one of the best places for education in South Asia and Hyderabad specifically because it basically feels like home here with so many Somali and Muslims. The food here is also the best, with all types of cuisine from around the world at affordable prices and it’s also a family-friendly place” says Abdullahi, who’s from Mogadishu in Somalia.

He has been dwelling in Hyderabad for 2 years, and is finding out mass communication in the St.Mary’s faculty. 

Abdullahi in truth desires of staying right here and constructing a movie profession in Bollywood. “Overall, the quality of life in Hyderabad is good and the locals here are understanding people. I personally have never faced any racism, but I’ve heard about a few minor incidents here and there from others which are still much better than the situation in most countries.” he opined, when requested if he has confronted any racism in normal.

Since most educated Somalis are fluent in English, additionally they have  no downside speaking with locals in Hyderabad. Many of them in truth plan to remain right here for lengthy by way of authorized recourse (jobs and careers), and ultimately develop into  a part of Hyderabad. Second-generation immigrants who develop up in Hyderabadi faculties are additionally fluent audio system of Dakhni Urdu (the spoken language of the town).

Even although most of them can’t deal with spicy meals, an excellent proportion of them nonetheless love Hyderabadi Biriyani. To make ends meet, a few of them have additionally now begu to work in small-scale companies and eating places, whereas some others work in the IT sector.

Lockdown troubles 

During the nationwide lockdown that was imposed final yr because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was additionally arduous for a lot of Somalian households to handle their households right here. Immigrant college students had been capable of get by with the cash they obtained from their relations again house, however those that had been dwelling in Hyderabad with their households barely managed to maintain themselves. 

A Somali man, dressed in his conventional apparel, on his solution to a neighborhood market in Tolichowki, Hyderabad. (

“All the shops were closed and we could hardly manage with the savings. We had to survive with one or two meals per day and the local population stopped coming to our shops because of fear (of infection) . Our community supported us well or else God knows what could’ve happened,” recalled Ebrahim (identify modified), one other scholar rom Somalia finding out in Hyderabad.

For somebody who doesn’t dwell in Tolichowki, it might sound a little bit odd at first when to see so many foreigners dwelling informally with locals. However, for individuals in Tolichowki, dwelling with immigrants is as regular as anything, on condition that many Hyderabadis dwelling there (or no less than a couple of family members) are non-resident Indians (NRIs) who returned to their motherland after working/finding out in the gulf and different western nations.

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