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2 - India in Global Human Circulations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 March 2021

Claude Markovits
Affiliation:
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris
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Summary

Departing from the ‘culturalist’ orientation of most recent studies of the Indian diaspora, I choose a ‘labourist’ approach that privileges the labour market in India and globally as the main explanatory mechanism of human circulations both from and towards India. I cover the emigration of indentured labour to the sugar-producing colonies of the British Empire, as do most narratives of Indian migrations, but I give as much attention to other forms of circulation such as the slave trade, the export of convict labour, and kangani and maistry migrations to Ceylon, Burma and Malaya. I illustrate a trend of ‘globalisation’ of Indian labour migrations beyond the limits of the British Empire, and also pay attention to migrations into India of Europeans, Middle Easterners, Chinese and others. I cover often overlooked post-indenture labour migrations, as well as the circulation of commercial personnel through extended merchant networks. Finally, I look at the new mass migrations towards First World and Gulf countries. The migration of highly educated professionals is an entirely new phenomenon, with repercussions in India at the economic and political levels.

Type
Chapter
Information
India and the World
A History of Connections, c. 1750–2000
, pp. 51 - 85
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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