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INDENTURED WORLD > Indendutred Systems of labour Migration
slavery was abolished in 1834, the freed Africans either opted not to work
on the sugar plantations or asked for better living conditions. Coming out
from centuries of slave experience, Africans did not have any collective
bargaining power or organized leadership for raising their demands.
demands of the freed Africans for basic wage structure and better living
conditions were met with severe opposition from white colonial planters.
To undermine the bargaining power of former slaves and to save the
plantation economies from total collapse, European planters started
searching for alternate cheap labour from different parts of the world.
they imported poor labourers from the Portuguese island of Madeira and
other parts of Europe, freed Africans from USA and Chinese from southern
provinces. All these labourers were thrown into the same slave barracks
once occupied by the African slaves, and had to perform the same tasks
once done by the African slaves. But none of these labourers could withstand the horrible
working and living conditions of the plantations. In their effort to save
the sugar plantations, which was the OIL of 19th century
planters, planters finally found India as the major source of cheap
An impoverished India after the First War of Independence, or Great Mutiny in 1857, became the perfect source of cheap labour for recruitment. A new system of contractual slavery termed "Indentured Labor Contract", was soon developed by the colonial administration to bring migrant laborers from the Indian subcontinent.
nearly eighty years, between 1834 and until the abolition of
indenturedship in 1917, the plantation economies in countries ranging from
Sri Lanka in South Asia to Surinam (formerly Dutch Guiana) in South
America imported hundreds of thousands of Indians as indentured labourers
or "Coolies". The Indians who left under this notorious contract
or GIRMITIA from the ports of Calcutta, Madras, Pondicherry and Karaikal
were thrown to the wilderness of the NEW WORLD to generate wealth for
Copyright IGNCAŠ 2007