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Celebrating Centennial of the official abolition of Indian indentureship or girmitya labour - 20th March 2017

Descendants of indenture system

Trinidad and Tobago, March 18 (UITV)- The Indian indenture system was an ongoing system of indenture(agreement), a form of debt bondage in 1834 to 1917 during which 3.5 million Indians were transported to various colonies of European powers to provide labour for the  plantations(mainly sugar).This resulted in the development of large Indian diaspora, which spread from the Indian Ocean  to Pacific Ocean, to the Atlantic Ocean and promoted the growth of Indo-Caribbean, Indo-Fijian, and Indo-African population.

So 20-march-2017 marks the centennial of the official abolition of Indian indentureship or girmitya labour, an era spanning  the years 1834 to 1917 .

Workers were emigrating to different parts of the world,Mauritius was the largest recipient of Indian labour under the indenture system. The movement to British Guiana, the largest importer in the Caribbean, commenced in 1838 .

Within this 80-year period roughly 238,979 Indians landed in Guyana (143,900 in Trinidad and 36,412 in Jamaica) from the ports of Calcutta and Madras, of which 65,538 were repatriated(send (someone) back to their own country). By 1917 Indians comprised 42% of the Guyanese population (today around 43% according to the 2001 census). It is estimated that today they form roughly 20% of the English-speaking Caribbean.

The Indian Diaspora Council, in collaboration with many prominent and well established organizations and institutions in various countries, is coordinating a series of high profile global events to mark the centennial of abolition of Indian Indentureship befitting of this historic occasion.


Early Girmatiya labourors from India


There are several coordinated events planned/proposed for countries impacted by Indian Indentureship:

  • 12th September, 2016 in New York, USA - Kick-off press conference and seminar.
  • 23rd October 2016 in New York - Gandhi’s Influence on Indian Indentureship and Civil Rights.
  • 4th January, 2017 - Conference session at Uttar Pradesh Divas 2017 (Lucknow, India).
  • 8th January, 2017 - Session on Girmityas at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2017 (Bengaluru, India).
  • 5th March, 2017 - Commemoration seminar at Indian Consulate in New York, USA.
  • 4th – 6th March 2017 – Simultaneous country commemoration conferences and cultural presentations in impacted countries: Mauritius, Fiji, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda,Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, Jamaica, Grenada, France, Reunion Island, Seychelles, Guadeloupe and Martinique – as well as UK, Netherlands, Hong Kong and India (New Delhi, Patna, Lucknow, Kolkata,Bhopal, Ranchi and Chennai).
  • 17th March 2017 - Release of book titled: "Centennial of Abolition of Indian Indenturedship: End of an Eraof Indian Migration, New Frontiers and Achievements".
  • 17th – 20th March, 2017 - Global Convention in Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago). Conferences, panel sessions, workshops, resolutions, action items team, cultural presentations and receptions. Several heads of state in neighbouring Caribbean countries invited for a special discussions.

Video Source: Youtube