Libmonster ID: IN-1336
Author(s) of the publication: F. YURLOV

A book by a senior researcher at the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography named after V. I. Abramovich. Peter the Great (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Historical Sciences I. Y. Kotin "Banyan shoots: population migration from India and the formation of "nodes" of the South Asian Diaspora "(St. Petersburg: Petersburg Oriental Studies, 2003, 268 p.) is an innovative comprehensive study of this interesting and relevant problem. It refers to 20 million Indians, as well as several million residents of other South Asian countries who emigrated in different years to many countries in Asia, Africa, Central America, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. I. Kotin's book is devoted both to the actual migration of Indians, and to their cultural, domestic, economic and political adaptation.

The author rightly notes that the Indian diaspora is an important economic and political factor in a number of countries. In 2001, the annual income of foreign Indians was estimated at $ 300 billion.

In a separate chapter, I. Kotin examines the initial period of international migration from India and the formation of ethnic minorities of Indian origin in the XIX-early XX centuries in the countries of Central America, Asia and Africa. For all the differences in the specific reasons for migration to different countries, what was common was that nineteenth-century Indian migrants were formed from indentured labourers who were brought to these countries after the abolition of slavery in the British colonies in 1833. This led to an outflow of Negroes from the plantations and a shortage of workers on them. Under pressure from the planters, the colonial government in India passed a law in 1844 allowing the emigration of Indians. By 1921, the number of Indian immigrants in Trinidad alone had reached more than 120,000 - a third of the country's population.

Indian immigration to Fiji began in 1879, and currently 335,000 people of Indian origin live there - 51% of the country's population. The picture is almost similar on the island of Mauritius, where by 1970 the Indian community numbered 575,000 - more than 65% of the country's population.

A small but capacious section of the monograph devoted to Indian emigration to South Africa, which began on a massive scale in the 60s of the XIX century, deserves attention. But even earlier, in the mid - 17th century, the Dutch brought Indian slaves to the Cape Colony. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were more than 150,000 Indians in South Africa, who, through their hard labor on plantations, contributed to the fact that the Cape Province and Natal became one of the richest colonies of the British Empire. By the 1980s, there were almost 800,000 foreign Indians living in South Africa. However, by the 1990s, their number had dropped to 350,000. Most of those who left South Africa moved to Europe.

The author writes that India's trade and cultural ties with East Africa (present-day Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) led to the emergence of an Indian colony there long before the arrival of the British. But it was only after the introduction of the British colonial order that Indian migration became widespread. By the beginning of the 21st century, there were 85,000 foreign Indians in Kenya and Tanzania. And in Uganda, where most Indians were evicted under the Idi Amin regime in the 1970s, there are only about 15 thousand. From East Africa, Indians moved mainly to the UK, where their number reached 200 thousand.

The situation is somewhat similar in Malaysia and Singapore, where 1 million 600 thousand and 200 thousand Indians now live, respectively.

After India achieved independence in 1947, the emergence of new independent states in the former British colonies was accompanied by inter-ethnic struggle and the displacement of Indians from them. So, out of one million Indians in Burma by the end of the 1960s, about 250 thousand remained.

Since the 1950s, the unskilled labor force has been replaced by specialists in the flow of Indian emigration. At the same time, migration took place mainly in developed countries - Great Britain, Canada and the United States, which, as the author writes, became "the main nodes of the diaspora."

The author explores a wide range of issues related to Indian immigration to these countries. Among them are factors that "push out" emigrants from India and other South Asian countries, including overpopulation and unemployment. The article examines the mechanism of chain migration, mainly related to traditional institutions of Indian society-religion, caste, family ties, etc. On the other hand, the authors analyze the factors of "attraction" of immigrants to developed countries, including such factors as cheap labor, and in recent years, high qualifications.

Other causes and patterns of Indian migration to the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, as well as the problems and difficulties faced by immigrants in the process of economic, cultural, and political adaptation are also studied in detail. The number of Indians in the United States has more than doubled in the last decade of the 20th century. They have become the third largest "Asian" population group there, behind only the Chinese and Filipinos. If the current population of Indo-Americans continues to grow, their number could double in the next decade.

Indians in the United States have achieved considerable success. Their average income is 25% higher than the American average. Almost all Indians own their own homes. 80% of Indians have higher education, and 65% are employed as managers and highly qualified specialists. Indo-Americans are programmers, doctors, biologists, lawyers, financiers, journalists, scientists, and hotel owners. A significant number of Indian Americans are elected and appointed to federal and local legislatures. Indian entrepreneurs and professionals have formed an influential political lobby, including in the US Congress, which often advocates for India's interests.

The book covers a wide range of issues related to the preservation of socio-cultural and economic ties between Indian immigrants and India. The article analyzes the problems associated with the labor migration of almost 3 million Indians to the Persian Gulf countries.

I. Kotin's monograph is the result of his fieldwork in India, Great Britain, the USA and Canada. The author relies on a wide range of sources such as population censuses, official documents and reference books, the press, publications of the diaspora itself, as well as Internet websites. Many of them were first introduced into scientific use. This work deserves careful reading by both specialists and the wider public.


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F. YURLOV, Reviews. MIGRATION OF INDIANS ABROAD AND THE FORMATION OF THE INDIAN DIASPORA // Delhi: India (ELIB.ORG.IN). Updated: 06.06.2024. URL: https://elib.org.in/m/articles/view/Reviews-MIGRATION-OF-INDIANS-ABROAD-AND-THE-FORMATION-OF-THE-INDIAN-DIASPORA (date of access: 21.07.2024).

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