AFRASO-Lecture by Prof. Ajay Dubey: India and its Diaspora in Africa

17. June 2014
PEG 1.G147 (PEG Building)

AFRASO-Lecture by Prof. Ajay Dubey (Visiting Professor Kansai University, Japan & Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)

Tuesday, June 17th 2014 at 6 p.m. in Room PEG 1.G147 (PEG Building).

India and its Diaspora in Africa

There are three million People of Indian Origin in Africa. They are spread in Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and Arabic speaking  Africa. Indian went there in different capacity- as  merchants, indentured workers, railway construction workers and professionals. Though bulk of them went during colonial rule as indentured workers to replace slave labour. Historically an African diasporic Indian, Mohan Das K. Gandhi, after 21years of his stay in South Africa, became instrumental to get India liberated from the British rule.  He developed all tools of his struggle in South Africa- Satyagrah, civil disobedience, non-violence and peaceful protest- which he successfully used in Indian freedom struggle. During colonial period a wing of Indian National Congress and Gandhi had close interactions with Indian Diaspora in Africa. However, first P.M. of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru adopted a policy of active disassociation with Indian Diaspora in Africa. This was followed all through the cold war period.  India watched with little reaction the Africanisation of Kenyan and Zambian economy where business licenses were taken away from Indian settlers and short notice expulsion of Indians from Uganda. However, by early 1990s, India under its economic crisis and imperatives of globalization, decided to take a U turn on its diaspora policy globally, including in Africa. It launched its pro-active aggressive diaspora policy. Unlike Indian Diaspora in developed countries, African Indians and African governments were initially very apprehensive and unwilling. However, as African diaspora emerged as an important resource for African countries as well as for African Union itself, as other countries started utilizing their Diasporas as a heritage resource and cultural capital to promote bilateral economic and cultural linkages, African governments warmed up to Indian diaspora policy and presented Indian Diaspora as an additional resource for promoting their bilateral ties with India. However, Indian diaspora in Africa still does not seem to be fully ready. The paper would analyse the nature and potential of Indian diaspora in Africa as a resource for bilateral relations and examine the importance of Indian Diaspora under emerging economic engagement of India  in Africa.