Here Is How The First Indians Migrated And Struggled In These 7 Countries
With a population of about 25 million, the Indian diaspora is the 2nd largest in the world.
While, most of the diaspora resulted from free migration in the late 20th and 21st century, a large number of early settlers in the 19th century was due to the Indian indenture system.
The Indian indenture system, devised by the British as a way to provide labour for their colonies, transported close to 3.5 million Indians outside of India.
The labourers were made to work under harsh conditions for long hours in plantations at British colonies.
Moreover, the earliest Indian migration was in the 11th century when the Chola rulers travelled to Southeast Asia, the influence of which is evident in some parts of Indonesia (Bali) and Thailand, where Hinduism is followed.
Here we look at the first migrations of Indians to these seven countries:
1. United Kingdom
Three Lascars on the Viceroy of India – Source
17th century: As servants and nannies by returning East Indian Company agents and British families
18th century: As sailors (lascars) of ships owned by the East India Company
2. South Africa
1684: As slaves sold to Dutch by Mughals
1860: As indentured workers for the British Colony in Natal, SA and later Gujarati traders went as free immigrants
A camel driver with his camel – Source
19th century: As convicts brought by Britishers in the early 19th century and later as camel drivers, domestic workers and laborers from Punjab, who took part in the ‘Victorian Gold Rush.’
4. West Indies
1834: As indentured laborers/coolies for sugarcane plantations under the British Raj
5. New Zealand
1896-1912: As hawkers and laborers from Punjab (Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur) and Gujarat (Navsaria and Surat)
6. United States of America
Sikh Lumber Workers – Source
1900: As Sikh laborers from Punjab working for sawmills, farms, and railways
Komagata Maru – Source
1904: As farmers from Punjab, arrived via British Troops in Hong Kong
1914, Komagata Maru incident: A Japanese ship full of Indians from Punjab, mostly Sikhs, arrived in Vancouver via Hong Kong and only 24 out of 352 Indians were allowed to enter Canada, while the rest were returned to India.
Read about how Indians are progressing outside India here.
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