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Indian Merchant Networks Outside India In The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries: A Preliminary Survey

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to set a new agenda for research on Indian migration. So far, migration history has concentrated almost exclusively on emigration or immigration. Statistics present migration as a one-way process, ignoring the fact that many emigrants returned after relatively short periods of time abroad. The chapter focuses indentured laborers, who are often migrated multiple times for short periods. The result was a constantly circulating regime of migration, based on village and familial units, which requires focus not on the land of destination, but on the social and economic transformations within the regions of migrant origin. The chapter is particularly important for studies of South Asia, where migration has only recently become an historical subject. More than any other world region, the Indian Ocean possesses a formidable and fairly comprehensive archive on migration compiled by the personnel of European imperial powers and Indian contractors.

Keywords:emigration; indentured laborers; Indian Ocean; migration; South Asia



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