At least 30,000 Indians stay in Greece, with 18,000 of them being legal immigrants, according to reports. Some of them, along with others from the subcontinent, have set up small businesses at the Varvakios market in central Athens.
The market is the biggest and oldest market in Greece for food — fish, meat and vegetables. Since Greece adopted the euro in 2001, more and more immigrants from the Indian subcontinent have been visiting the market.
Many of those who’ve been staying in Greece for a while feel the strains of the current crisis. Most do not want the Greeks to part with the euro.
Kuldeep Singh Heer, who works in a butcher shop and is from Hoshiarpur, Punjab, said, “I’ve been living in Greece for the last 15 years. I don’t know whether they’ll vote for the euro or against it but I think I’ll probably head back home to India if the drachmas comes in.”
Harvansh Singh Salaria is a vegetable shop owner, has been living in Greece for the last 25 years. He said, “We want the euro. But these people are in dire straits. The same people who would earlier spend 10-20 euros at my shop, now spend only 2-3 euros.”
Mohammad Mintoo Sardar, a vegetable vendor from Bangladesh, agreed, “They think the drachmas is good for them. But we know the euro is better or us. I send money home to my family. The conversion from drachmas is less interesting for me.” Imran Khan, a fish monger from Pakistan, too said a “yes vote would be better for us”. “If they leave Europe, I’ll have to go back to Pakistan.”