Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - Ephemeral Mobility: Analysing the Maistry System of Indian Migration to Burma (c. 1880-1940)

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

Burma is of immense significance to the history of Indian and global migration studies as it single-handedly witnessed about 50 percent of total Indian migration during the century 1830-1940, cumulating to approx. 15 million migrants. The 1880s saw the end of the Anglo-Burmese wars, the culmination of the stage-wise annexation of Burma, its integration with British India, for “administrative, military and economic conveniences”, and beginning of large-scale mass migrations of Indians to Burma. Unlike the Indenture system, this mobility was largely regulated informally through networks of ‘kin-intermediaries’ called Maistries. The study of the maistry system becomes crucial as it helps to shift our focus from the overarching shadow of Indentured sugar colonies in Caribbean and Pacific, which have been the dominant regions of study of Indian migration, towards the British colonies in the Indian Ocean's Bay of Bengal rim, that was the recipient of the bulk of colonial Indian migrations. The study of the distinctive pattern, functioning and nature of maistry system contributes significantly to the canvas of migration studies as it not only challenges the conventional historiographical parameters which have defined the characteristics of Indian migration for long but also helps to complicate the Eurocentric presumptions on the non-European migration in the framework of global migration studies, at multiple levels.

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1 - Ephemeral Mobility: Analysing the Maistry System of Indian Migration to Burma (c. 1880-1940)



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