In 2019 Tunisia, a small country in North Africa, commemorated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi by releasing new postage stamps of him.
That seems surprising for a country that has barely 100 people of Indian origin living there, but not so surprising when you consider the fact that an Indian-born person was among those who drafted the constitution of Tunisia.
Riddhi Dasgupta, who was born in Kolkata, is an alumnus of Cambridge and Oxford universities, He is the chief draftsman for the British think-tank, The Wilberforce Society. According to Dasgupta, Indian and Tunisian societies bear similarities, and this was instrumental in his advising and drafting of the country's constitution.
He said that the Indian in him spoke while crafting the document. In his words, "My view of international and comparative law is influenced by the cultural richness of India. As a child in West Bengal, I loved Shantiniketan and the university. It's nice to be able to take that Indian essence and deliver it to the rest of the world."
Mostly, the Indians living in this North African country are there because they work in Tunisia's Indian and foreign companies. A few among them are employees of the African Development Bank, located in the capital city of Tunis.
There are some Indian families whose association with this Republic is decades old. These limited numbers of families form the permanent Indian community of this country.
The Indian connection in Tunisia goes back to post-revolution days.
At the time of the Civil War in neighboring Libya, many Indians had escaped to Tunisia. The Indian government's Operation Safe Homecoming evacuated around 3,500 Indian citizens who had fled Libya. Their rescue was made possible via the ports of Djerba and Tunis in the North African Republic.