The concept of diaspora has been much debated during the past decade in terms of the essential and additional features that go with it, arguing which groups or communities could beuld not be designated as diaspora. The Indian diaspora today, with a strong community constituting more than 20 million and spreading across a hundred countries, continues to grow in size and making its transnational presence felt. This collection of essays traces some of the plurality with the Indian context as well as in the context of globalization, and transnationalism.

The book discusses the migratory movements that have led to the formation of the Indian diaspora and formation to diasporic practices-the ways and means of remembering and enacting diasporic belonging and the sites and spaces where such narratives of belonging are performed and how these issues are played out through texts, and rituals such as pilgrimages and building temples.

Introduction

Introduction
BrijMaharaj

The Indian diaspora may well be regarded as an international phenomena—it has a presence in more than 100 countries globally. The chapters in this section discuss the roots of the contemporary Indian diaspora that can be traced to the colonial domination by the British and the exploitation of cheap indentured labour from the Asian subcontinent in different parts of the colonial empire. In the nineteenth century, the British instituted indentured labour—a ‘new form of slavery’ (Tinker 1974). The ‘indentured “coolies” were half slaves, bound over body and soul by a hundred and one regulations’ (Joshi 1942: 44). In 1884, the British consul in Paramaribo stated that ‘the Surinam planters … found in the meek Hindu a ready substitution for the negro slave he had ...

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