The term Indian Diaspora refers to people of Indian origin staying in countries other than India. Indians accounted for 6% of the global migrant population in 2015. The number of Indians and people of Indian origin staying abroad is around 15.6 million according to the UN World migration report 2018. They contributed about 80 billion dollars to India’s GDP in 2018. India is the largest source of the global diaspora followed, by Mexico, Russia, China and Bangladesh.

When Indians first started migrating overseas, is not clear, but there is evidence which suggests that Indians had trade relations with several countries such as Egypt, China, Philippines, the Arab region, Persia, Central and South East Asia since over two millennia. Evidence suggests that Indians first started migrating to countries in Africa, Europe and Central Asia in the mid-fifteenth century. The next significant migration of Indians happened during the British colonial rule in the first half of the nineteenth century when a large number of people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were taken as labourers to other British colonies under the Indenture system. Indians from Punjab, Sind, Gujrat and some other business communities migrated to regions in Africa, Europe, North and Latin America from the late nineteenth century onwards. Migration to Australia mostly started after India’s Independence from British rule.

The community has maintained its identity and connection to the Indian subcontinent through traditional customs and practices. There are matrimonial columns in Indian newspapers published by the community which act as a reminder of their Indian roots. Many Indian women living overseas continue to wear the Saree and a dot on their forehead, following traditional Hindu customs. Many second and third generation emigrants continue to use their mother tongue as a second or third language. The community still uses Indian cuisine even after staying overseas for over a century. The Indian diaspora has contributed immensely to the growth and development of the countries in which they live. A large number of them are wealthy and better educated than the local population.

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