The Indentured Archipelago
From Reshaad Durgahee
Indian indenture ensured the continued production of sugar in the British, French, Dutch and Danish colonies of the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific Oceans after the abolition of slavery. It involved the movement of over 1.5 million Indian men, women and children, centring on contractual labour. This film brings to life selected cases from the archives in Mauritius, the first British colony to commence using Indian indentured labour, and the last, Fiji. Using witness statements, petitions and letters, a voice is given to these labourers, set against the backdrop of contemporary cane field landscapes of Mauritius and Fiji. Thought provoking, and often emotional, the excerpts in this film aim to offer a semblance of what indentured life was like in multilingual 19th and early 20th century Mauritius and Fiji, immersing the viewer into the time and space of the Indentured Archipelago.