Postcard image of “Coolie Types, Trinidad” Micheal Goldberg Collection, University of the West Indies

Nearly a quarter million women left India between 1838 to 1917 as indentured laborers. They went from India to Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad, British Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica and a few other Caribbean islands to work on plantations. Who were these women? Why did they leave India? What were their motivations for leaving?

Indentured labor was a replacement for the labor shortage left after the abolition of slavery. Plantations turned to their colonies to entice cheap labor to continue their production. The colonists offered economic incentives to motivate the laborers. …


A.K. Mozumdar (Second from right) Source: mozumdar.org

The first East Indian Hindu to acquire American citizenship obtained it by arguing that he was Caucasian or a “free white.” It was the year 1913, the U.S. at the time granted citizenship to “free white persons.” He was Akhay Kumar Mozumdar. Ironically, he also was one of the first Indians to have his citizenship revoked based on the landmark case United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, 261 U.S. …


Photo by British Library on Unsplash

Recent nomination by Vice President Joe Biden of Senator Kamala Harris as the Vice Presidential nominee to the Democratic ticket has been deemed groundbreaking as it will be the first time a biracial woman with an Indian and Caribbean heritage will run for high office. Both her parents, Donald Harris and Shymala Gopalan were immigrants to the United States who came to pursue higher studies at the University of California, Berkeley. When this announcement was made, there were several headlines regarding Kamala Harris’s Indian roots and inquiry into the influence it may have had on her upbringing.

Upon reading the…

Shivani

Is a writer, whose work focuses on immigrant stories and histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from India and the South Asian subcontinent.

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