Archive for the 'General History of Indenture' Category

09
Mar
10

Indian Indentured Migration to the Caribbean by Steven Vertovec

The abolishment of slavery and the emancipation of th slave population marked a turning point in the history of the West Indies. The British government passed the Act of Emancipationin 1833 and declared it law in the following year., freeing a slave population of around 665 000 in the British Carribbean… see more here

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15
Sep
09

Aapravasi Ghat

The Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund was set up by an Act of Parliament in 2001 with the main objectives to establish and promote Aapravasi Ghat as a national, regional and international memorial site, set a museum at Aapravasi Ghat, create public awareness in the history of the site and depict the arrival, settlement and evolution of the immigrants in Mauritius. It also has to identify and acquire sites, buildings and structures linked with the history of the arrival of immigrants and promote the social and cultural aspects of Aapravasi Ghat.

14
Sep
09

Indentured Labour in the British Empire, 1834-1920

The West Indies and Indentured Labour Migration – the Jamaican Experience
by

William A. Green

03
Sep
09

East Indians preparing rice, Jamaica [circa 1890]

East_indian_Jamaica

About 16 percent of the 37,000 indentured Indian immigrants who arrived between 1845 and 1917 were Muslims. Despite their small number and the adverse environment, they established Islamic institutions. The inner struggle for self-purification replaced the defensive jihad of the Maroons and the Muslim African slaves. This revitalized Islam in Jamaica. India had been ruled by Muslims from the early 13th century. The Moghuls (1526-1858) enriched India by building a great empire that still is a source of pride in modern India.

Slavery had lost its importance by the 1830s. India and China were prominent in Britain’s commerce ad trade, making enormous contributions to its industrialization and economy.

After losing the North American colonies, Britain sought to make India a classical-style colony. The British exchequer knew of the East’s immense wealth, as the East India Company’s trade in silk, muslin, cotton and piece goods had generated great wealth for Britain since the late seventeenth century.

India was the home of cloth manufacturing and the greatest and almost sole supplier of cotton goods, precious stones, drugs, and other valuable products. Evidence suggests that “all the gold and silver of the universe found a thousand and one channels for entering into India, but there was not a single outlet for the precious metals to go out of the country.”

The empire’s opulence and religious harmony gave way to violence and plunder as Britain, following its victory at the Battle of Plassey (1857), pursued a divide-and-rule policy. Evidence suggests that probably between Waterloo (1815) and Plassey a sum of £1 billion was transferred from India to British banks. Between 1833-47, another £315 million flowed into the British economy.

But Britain was not content. To meet its labour needs in the British West Indies, Britain exported about 500,000 East Indians to the Caribbean (1838-1917).

Out of 80,000 Muslims, about 6,000 came to Jamaica during the indentureship period. Their small numbers and challenges of plantation life (starvation, un-Islamic diet, deplorable living conditions in barracks shared by 25-50 adults of different origin, ages, sex, religion, kinship, and 9-hour work days) strengthened their spiritual struggle.

Many came from such predominantly Muslim cities as Lucknow, Allahabad, Ghazipur, Gorakpur, and Shahabad, all of which had witnessed the zenith of Islamic culture and social life. These Muslims ensured the preservation of Islamic identity through community solidarity, adherence to Islamic culture and values, and Islamic education.

This unity manifested itself in the establishment of 2 masjids, which institutionalized Islam in Jamaica.

Muhammad Khan, who came to Jamaica in 1915 at the age of 15, built Masjid Ar-Rahman in Spanish Town in 1957, while Westmoreland’s Masjid Hussein was built by Muhammad Golaub, who immigrated with his father at the age of 7.

This masjid was named in honor of its first imam, Tofazzal Hussein. The two masjids became the community’s spiritual centers, and united the Muslims by teaching them about Islam and its practices. They functioned like the Holy Mosque in Makkah in worship, and like the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah in terms of the community’s spiritual, educational, social, and political life. The indentured Muslims laid the foundation of the 8 other masjids established in Jamaica since the 1960s, with the advent of an African Muslim community that now forms the largest Muslim ethnic group.

With the Indian indentured Muslims, and then with others from the Subcontinent, came the rich Moghul culture’s culinary arts, fashion, lifestyle, and aesthetic arts. Gastronomy and exotic delicacies and entertainment dishes have been appreciated at state functions, special ceremonies, and restaurants bearing such Moghul names as The Taj Mahal and Akbar.

Since the 1960s, the variety of Moghlai dishes has increased by new immigrants from the Subcontinent. These Moghul-inspired delicacies are cherished in Jamaica, and more particularly in Trinidad and Guyana.

Taken from: http://www.caribbeanmuslims.com/authors/443/Dr.-Sultana-Afroz

28
Aug
09

Global Diasporas: An Introduction By Robin Cohen

Labour and Imperial Diasporas

Indentured Indians and the British

21
Aug
09

Pamphlet on conditions of Indenture in British Guyana

HILL COOLIES. A BRIEF EXPOSURE OF THE DEPLORABLE CONDITION OF THE HILL COOLIES, IN BRITISH GUIANA AND MAURITIUS, AND OF THE NEFARIOUS MEANS BY WHICH THEY WERE INDUCED TO RESORT TO THESE COLONIES

14
Aug
09

Indentured Indian Workers in Mauritius, Natal and Fiji

Indentured Indian Workers in Mauritius, Natal and Fiji

By Ravinder K. Thiara

published in

The Cambridge survey of world migration