Encyclopedia of Diasporas

2005 Edition
| Editors: Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember, Ian Skoggard

South Asian Diaspora

  • Padma Rangaswamy
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-29904-4_28


The South Asian diaspora 1 is estimated to be around 24 million, or about 2% of the South Asian population, with 20 million Indians comprising the lion’s share (see Table 1). The history of this diaspora is usually told in two distinct phases—the nineteenth-century colonial phase and the twentieth-century postindependence phase. There are sharp contrasts between these two phases, but there is also a continuity in the history, especially for the descendants of nineteenth-century migrants who migrated to new lands in the twentieth century, such as Indian Caribbeans in Canada, or Indians who migrated from Uganda to Britain and thence to the United States. Their widespread, divergent, yet interconnected histories capture the full range of diasporic experiences, but also reveal the inadequacy of the term diaspora in describing this population. Diaspora denotes “scattering of seeds,” suggesting movement only in one outward direction, with the idea that once people leave, they...


Middle East Indian Population Liberal Democratic Party Indian Origin South Asian Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bhachu, P. (1985). Twice migrants. East African Sikh settlers in Britain. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, R. H., & Coelho, G. V. (1986). Migration and modernization. The Indian diaspora in comparative perspective. Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary.Google Scholar
  3. Buchignani, N., Indra, D. M., & Srivastava, R. (1985). Continuous journey. A Social history of South Asians in Canada. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.Google Scholar
  4. Chandrasekhar, S. (Ed.). (1982). From India to America. A brief history of immigration: Problems of discrimination, admission and assimilation. La Jolla, CA: Population Review.Google Scholar
  5. Clarke, C., Peach, C., & Vertovec, S. (Eds.). (1990). South Asians overseas. Migration and ethnicity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Helweg, A. (1986). Sikhs in England, 2nd ed. Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Heidemann, E (1992). Kanganies in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Munich: Anacon Verlag.Google Scholar
  8. Jain, R. K. (1993). Indian communities abroad. Themes and literature. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Jayawardena, C. (1963). Conflict and solidarity in a Guianese plantation. London: Athlone Press.Google Scholar
  10. Leonard, K. I. (1992). Making ethnic choices. California’s Punjabi Mexican Americans. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. (2002). Report of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora, 2002, Table 1. Available at: www.indiandiaspora.nic.inGoogle Scholar
  12. Motwani, J. K., Gosine, M., & Barot, J. (Eds.). (1993). Global Indian diaspora. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. New York: Global Organization of People of Indian Origin.Google Scholar
  13. Rangaswamy, E (1996). The imperatives of choice and change: Post-1965 immigrants from India in Metropolitan Chicago. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois).Google Scholar
  14. Rangaswamy, E (2000). Namaste America: Indian immigrants in an American metropolis.University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Schelbert, L. (1985). Emigration from Imperial Germany overseas, 1871–1914: Contours, contexts, experiences. In V. Duis, & K. Harms, & P. Hages, (Eds.), Imperial Germany (p. 126). (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.)Google Scholar
  16. Singh, I. J. Bahadur (Ed.). (1979). The other India. The overseas Indians and their relationship with India. Delhi: Arnold Heinemann.Google Scholar
  17. Tinker, H. (1974). A new system of slavery. The export of lndian labour overseas 1830–1920. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Tinker, H. (1977). The banyan tree. Overseas emigrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. van der Veer, P. (Ed.). (1995). Nation and migration. The politics of space in the South Asian Diaspora. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  20. Walker, A. R. (Ed.). (1994). New place, old ways. Essays on Indian society and culture in modern Singapore. Delhi: Hindustan Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  21. Ward, R., & Jenkins, R. (Eds.). (1984). Ethnic communities in business. Strategies for economic survival. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Werbner, P. (1990). The migration process. Capital, gifts and offerings among British Pakistanis. New York: Berg Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Wood, D. (1968). Trinidad in transition. The years after slavery. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Padma Rangaswamy

There are no affiliations available