ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Space, Agency, Remigration

A Historical Geography Approach to Indian Indenture

The Indentured Archipelago: Experiences of Indian Labour in Mauritius and Fiji, 1871–1916 by Reshaad Durgahee, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, New Delhi and Singapore: Cambridge University Press, 2021; pp xix + 275, `978.

The Indian indenture trade was one of the most important labour movements of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Bound by five-year labour contracts, more than a million Indian labourers migrated to plantation colonies across the world (particularly the Indian Ocean and Caribbean region) between 1837 and 1916. The indenture trade and the experiences of indentured Indians have been studied extensively by historians of labour, empire, and migration. In this crowded field, Reshaad Durgahee has located a crucial but previously understudied niche—the spatial experience of indentured Indians. The Indentured Archipelago: Experiences of Indian Labour in Mauritius and Fiji, 1871–1916 offers a deep and detailed history of how Indian indentured labourers negotiated and manoeuvred the space in Britain’s two indenture colonies—Mauritius and Fiji—between 1871 and 1916. In so doing, Durgahee reveals a complex network of plantation colonies that saw constant movement of labourers between them. In the 80-year long history of indenture, Mauritius, as one of the earliest colonies to import indentured labour, represented its beginning. As one of the last colonies to import indenture, Fiji represented its end. The history of these two colonies, which inhabited disparate geographical spaces but were connected by the common thread of remigration, offers the ideal backdrop for this study of transoceanic subaltern mobility.

Spatial Experience and Subaltern Agency

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Updated On : 5th Dec, 2022
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