Indenture Labour Route Project connects countries with shared histories, experience: MoS Muraleedharan

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MoS) External Affairs, V Muraleedharan. (File Photo)
MoS) External Affairs, V Muraleedharan. (File Photo)

New Delhi [India], July 16 (ANI): The Indenture Labour Route Project is a unique project that connects countries with shared histories and shared experience of indentured labour system, said MoS External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Friday.

Speaking at the virtual first ministerial meeting on the Indentured Labour Route Project (ILRP) by the Government of Mauritius, Muraleedharan said, "India has, over the years, endeavoured to forge strong ties with its diaspora present across the globe. Our diaspora is present across 140 plus countries and we are proud of their achievements and contributions to their new homes."

The migration of indentured labour--bonded labour--is a lesser-known part of the history of slavery and that of Indian migration.

Indentured servitude from India started in 1834 and lasted up till 1922, despite having been officially banned in 1917 by British India's Imperial Legislative Council after pressure from freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi.

The practice of indentured labour resulted in the growth of a large diaspora with Indo-Caribbean, Indo-African and Indo-Malaysian heritage that continues to live in the Caribbean, Fiji, Reunion, Natal, Mauritius, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc.

This migration started after the abolition of slavery to run sugar and rubber plantations that the British had set up in the West Indies.

The British Empire was expanding to South America, Africa and Asia and they needed new labour, but slavery was considered inhuman. So they developed the concept of contract labour.

The British turned to India that had a large population and found the surplus-labour they needed to run these plantations in the new colonies.

"We believe that initiative of the Government of Mauritius has enormous potential to unlock the hitherto unexplored treasure of knowledge and historical data and will spur further studies and research in fields of history, cultural studies, linguistics, sociology, anthropology and archaeology," added Muraleedharan.

The International Indentured Labour Route Project was approved by UNESCO in 2014 to give a voice to the descendants of indentured labour without any interlocutors.

"ILRP brings together countries linked by the shared experience of migration of indentured labour from India. The ILRP project holds enormous potential to promote research and studies on this important chapter of human history and forging closer bonds amongst the 'Girmitiya' communities globally," tweeted the MoS. (ANI)

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