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Migration — Re-Migration — Circulation: South Asian Kulis In The Indian Ocean And Beyond, 1840–1940

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Chapter Summary


The loss to the poorer societies involved the investment in raising and educating (or, at least, training) before migration children and adolescents who, after migration, would invest their human capital and pay their dues to the society, i.e. taxes, in a different country. Routes in the seas and across oceans left no trace that historians, not seafarers themselves, could discern. Knowledge of the world was created as much through seafaring and human seaborne mobility and migrations and its scholarly and philosophical analysis as through land-based surveying and interpreting. Concentrating on the seas may be as limiting as the landlubber's single-minded emphasis on continents. It is littorals with water's edge technologies that connect the two and offer a choice between land- and water-centered modes of transportation.

Keywords:migration; seaborne mobility; seafarers; seas


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Southeast Asia was one of two main destinations of mass migration (the other being the United States) and Indian and Chinese labor migrants dominated migration flows. This chapter analyses the important pathways linking the British Empire, the complex exchanges, and opportunities associated with the global trade in commodities, and labor crossings in the region. It examines the forces that shaped Indian emigration to Southeast Asia against the backdrop of India's pivotal role in the region and the interconnections between different societies in Asia. The chapter focuses on Indian Ocean crossings and Indian labor migration to Burma and Malaya to establish and explain these imperial and global connections.

Keywords:Burma; Chinese labor migrants; Indian labor migration; Indian Ocean crossings; Malaya; Southeast Asia




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