Little India, Singapore

Little India, Singapore

Little India, Singapore

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Little India is an ethnic neighbourhood found in Singapore that has Tamil cultural elements. Little India lies to east of the Singapore River—across from Chinatown, located west of the river—and north of Kampong Glam. Both areas are part of the urban planning area of Rochor.

Little India is distinct from the Chulia Kampong area, which, under the Raffles Plan of Singapore, was originally a division of colonial Singapore where Tamil immigrants would reside under the British policy of ethnic segregation. However, as Chulia Kampong became more crowded and competition for land escalated, many ethnic Tamils moved into what is now known as Little India. (The Chulia Kampong district no longer exists as a distinct area.)

The Little India area is reported to have developed around a former settlement for Tamil convicts. Its location along the Serangoon River originally made it attractive for raising cattle, and trade in livestock was once prominent in the area. Eventually, other economic activity developed, and by the turn of the 20th century, the area began to look like a Tamil ethnic neighbourhood.

Although ethnic Tamils no longer tend to stay solely segregated in one place as previously arranged under the modern People's Action Party (PAP) policy of racial harmony, for the sake of cultural heritage, many of the ethnically Tamils commercial or cottage industry usages are concentrated in Little India, although Tamil-dominant commercial zones are also found in HDB estates. This...
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