Explained:Who was Manilal Doctor?

News:Recently,January 8 was observed as the death anniversary of Manilal Doctor who was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and is also known for his efforts towards helping abolish the indentured labour system.


About indentured labour system:

  • In 1833,the British Parliament has banned slavery and the practice became illegal throughout the Empire. 
  • However,to maintain the supply of labour in their territories,colonial authorities effectively replaced slavery with the indentured labour system.
  • The ‘indenture’ (meaning contract) system required Indians to sign a legal agreement stating their consent to move abroad for a minimum of five years to work mainly on sugar estates.
  • Many were lured to distant lands, such as the Caribbean, South Africa, Réunion, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Fiji where they ended up living in miserable conditions.
  • In the mid 19th century, over 35 lakh Indians were transported to British, French and Dutch colonies around the world.The system was officially banned in 1917.

How did Manilal Doctor helped in ending the indentured labour system?

  • Mauritius(1907-1911):He organised the Indian community in the Mauritius which consisted of indentured and non-indentured workers.He founded Hindustani newspaper in Mauritius and also helped establish the Arya Samaj in Mauritius.
  • Fiji (1912-1920):He emerged as the leader of the Indian community in Fiji.He started ‘The Indian Settler’ newspaper and also helped set up the Indian Imperial Association.