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Indentured Labour- A Forgotten Past Of India

Discussion in 'General History' started by Levina, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. Levina

    Levina Guest


    Indentured labour- a forgotten past of India





    Few days back I spotted an Indian "looking" trainee in my class. During the first session of the training when trainees introduced themselves to me, I came to know that the guy belonged to some island in the Caribbean. Flummoxed, i suppressed my emotions. Must be my reaction which forced him to reveal that he has Indian roots. Few days later during one of our tea break discussions Ramcharan told me the story of his ancestors and how they ended up thousands of miles away from India. Not that I wasnt aware, that lots of Indians had moved to different colonies during the pre independence era but what i wasnt aware was the plethora of sufferings these migrants had to go through.


    It all started 182 years back.
    This is a story full of pain and suffering endured by more than half a million men, women and children of India. Many historians compare this to modern mass immigration since they assume that most of the Indians were seeking a better future through immigration,but Indian indenture system was nothing short of slavery under the garb of debt bondage.
    Indentured labour was a windfall for Western entrepreneurs, who had invested heavily in slavery and lost their deposit on its abolition in 1833. As the workers were generally illiterate, the system came to be known as ‘Girmit’ (derived from the word agreement), and later the labourers came to be called ‘Girmitiyas’.
    “Girmitiya” or the indentured worker were mostly Indian farmers, who faced the brunt of man made famines. In the recruitment of workers, the districts of Gonda, Basti, Faizabad, Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Jaunpur, Shahabad and Rae Bareilly in the United Provinces and Bihar were targeted. These were the districts which often suffered natural calamities in the form of droughts, floods and famines.
    Around this time, East india company turned to India looking for people to work on the sugar plantations to perpetuate their colonial domination in the hey day of the industrial revolution and the nascent days of capitalism.
    Destitute peasants who left their homes in search of work were easy prey for deceitful recruiters. The recruiters known as Sirdarsor Mistries also played their role in luring away these innocent coolies, many of whom believed that the Mirich Desh (as Mauritius was called back then) was just to the north of North India. They were also promised a payment of Rs8 per month and vacations.
    Not many knew that this was going to be their one way ticket to far away islands, which would take them away from home...forever.
    Thus began one of the most massive migrations of Indian labour.

    So what is indenture?
    Oxford dcitionary describes the word as

    upload_2016-10-25_13-44-53.png

    Thus, the indenture was not based on the principle of equality or natural justice. While the system differed from slavery in that workers were hired for periods of five years, it was still based on deceit and exploitation.
    Most of the ships with girmityas, departed in darkness so that the recruits were unable to perceive visually their laceration from the motherland.
    Surgeon Gen Liang writes
    upload_2016-10-25_13-57-19.png

    Paucity of women created grave social conditions. Polyandry was common in many plantations, and women bore the brutishness of the Girmit system, with no rights to justice.
    Interestingly the figure of the “Girmitiya” is quite well known in Hindi literature though academic narratives and figures have almost never populated the pages of South Asian fiction.
    I leave it to the audience's imagination as what the living conditions on these plantations , far away from home, must have been like.


    Our forgotten past...

    upload_2016-10-25_13-58-59.png

    New indenture workers from India in trinidad.



    upload_2016-10-25_14-4-3.png



    upload_2016-10-25_14-4-55.png


    upload_2016-10-25_14-55-30.png




    @PARIKRAMA @nair @SpArK
    Frankly, there was so much more that i wanted to pen down, but it was getting more and more depressing with each article that i read on the Indian indenture system. Not sure how my trainee came to terms with his past.

    @scorpionx I hope i havent made any blunders in describing the events.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2016
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  2. seiko

    seiko VETERAN ELITE MEMBER

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    There are lots of people from South India went to work in the cotton cultivation and later rubber estates of British Empire in Malaysia. The decendent of these guys didnt have even citizenships in Malaysia.. Not so long ago we have seen how their protests were suppressed by Malaysian authorities.
     
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  3. Levina

    Levina Guest

    Yes, they were shipped from Pondicherry somewhere around 1829.
     
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  4. nair

    nair Guest

    Well written..... How Britishers treated us can be gauged from this.....
     
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  5. TickTickIndian

    TickTickIndian BANNED BANNED

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    Indentured coolie was slavery reinvented.
    Today the same thing is happening with Indians in Arab nations with their visas confiscated.

    You vote bastard parties up, things even worse will keep happening.

    Fight to restore the glory of the motherland, and also to avenge all these exploited people when the time comes.
     
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  6. Levina

    Levina Guest

    Do you mean Passport?
    Visas can not be confiscated.
     
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  7. TickTickIndian

    TickTickIndian BANNED BANNED

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    Yes.
     
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  8. SrNair

    SrNair Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Unfortunately,we still have some sort of mass migration .Most importantly to GCC nations .

    But that is still far better than these brutality experienced those Indians in this article
     
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  9. Tejasmk3

    Tejasmk3 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    The movie "Paradesi" by bala.... very very depressing, extremely hard watch, but will tell you a lot about the conditions in such plantations.


    I think the full movie is on yt aswell.
    This movie is based off a book called "Red Tea" that interviewed

    It's amazing how such things are completely hidden from the public and they talk about railways etc
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2016
  10. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    It came as a shock to see you writing this.
     
  11. Inactive

    Inactive Guest


    Why?:to_pick_ones_nose:
     
  12. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    You might like to read about the same thing, more or less, in a somewhat sugar-coated but nevertheless authentic form:
    • Sea of Poppies
    • River of Smoke
    • Flood of Fire
    All by Amitav Ghosh. This is the same author who wrote about the centuries-old connection of Kerala with the Middle East, in this case, with Egypt. If you have not already done so, you might well enjoy reading his "In an Antique Land", and "The Imam and the Indian".
     
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  13. Joe Shearer

    Joe Shearer VETERAN MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Because of her political and social views. I had written her off. She is to be found mainly with right-wingers; I am allergic to those who wear their political affiliations on their sleeves, right-wing, left-wing, or plain, rotten Congress.
     
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  14. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    LOL ... I found her to be left winger at times ... basically someone winging along?
     
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  15. Levina

    Levina Guest

    I'm sorry but that's offending to me for I'm a political mugwump.
    There are times I have supported Congress, AAP and BJP. As a leader I like Modi but there have been times I have criticised him.
    Have you seen any right winger support Palestinians? I do.
    The only proof to this is that I have been repeatedly trolled by right wingers and left wingers for I refused to confirm to any political and religious bracket.
    I'm what I'm.

    If you are allergic to me (as you've revealed) then requesting you to pls stop quoting me and visiting my threads.
    @SpArK @PARIKRAMA
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2016
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