A brief history of Bihari migration

Indentured labourers migrating from India was first recorded in the 1830’s and over a period of 100 years, 1,194,957 Indians relocated to 19 colonies.  The arrival of large groups of immigrants in the receiving colonies had immense repercussions, many of which are still being felt today.  The Indian Diaspora had an enormous impact on the local economy, the politics and the socio-cultural makeup of the colonies.  Out of this number 60% were from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.

 Indian indentured labour importing colonies

Name of Colony

Number of Labourers Transported

Mauritius

453,063

British Guiana

238,909

Trinidad

143,939

Jamaica

36,412

Grenada

3,200

St Lucia

4,350

St Kitts

337

St Vincent

2,472

Reunion

26,507

Surinam

34,304

Fiji

60,965

East Africa

32,000

Seychelles

6,315

Total

1,194,957

Indian contact with the Emirates that now constitute the UAE dates back several centuries, as a result of trade and commerce between the emirates and India. More recently, the UAE has experienced a tremendous increase in the population of Indians who, having migrated to the country as a result of opportunities in petroleum, construction and other industries, far outnumber the population of local Emiratis. Indians in the United Arab Emirates constitute the largest part of population of the country. Over a million Indian migrants were estimated to be living in the UAE in 2000, they form over 30% of the total population of the UAE.  A majority of Indians live in the three largest cities of the UAE — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. While most Indian migrants support the manufacturing and transport industries, a sizable minority of migrants are involved in professional services and entrepreneurship. Relations between India and the UAE have traditionally been friendly, though recent incidents relating to the treatment of the Indian migrant labour force by companies in the UAE have been the source of friction between the two nations.

 

Resources

1.  Click here to visit the UK National Archive website and their guide to searching UK held records for Indian Indentured labourers.

2.  Click here to visit The Caravan website and read one women’s journey to find her families ancestral village in Bihar.

3.  Click here to visit the Bodhgaya Tourism website and find out more about Bihar.

4.  Click here  to visit the Leiden Universitywebsite and find out more about the Autobiography of an Indian Indentured labourer, Munshi Rahman Khan (1874 – 1972).

5.  Click here to visit the Mahatma Gandhi Institute and Rabindranath Tagore Institute Folk Museumto access articles and photographs relating to the history and origins of migration.

 6.  Contact details for some

National Archives of Trinidad & Tobago
105 St. Vincent Street
Port of Spain
Republic of Trinidad & Tobago
Phone/Fax: 1 – 868-265-2689
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

National Archives of Surinam

Ministry of Home Affairs
Doeg Oost 18 A / Zorg en Hoop
Paramaribo
Suriname
Phone: (597) 498222 or (597) 464943
Fax : (597) 498222
e- mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The National Archives of Guyana

26 Main Street
Georgetown
Guyana
Tel: 00 579 (227) 7687
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The National Archives of Fiji

25 Carnarvon Street,
Suva,
Fiji.
Phone: (679) 3304144
Fax: (679) 3307006
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7.  Click here to visit the UK National Archive website.