The death anniversary of Manilal Doctor was observed on January 8.
- Manilal Maganlal Doctor was a colonial-era barrister who fought for the rights of Indian-origin people in Mauritius and Fiji. He was born in 1881 in Vadodara.
- An associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Doctor is known for his efforts towards helping abolish the indentured labour system that Indian immigrants in many parts of the British Empire were subjected to.
- He founded ‘The Hindustani’ newspaper in Mauritius, which had the motto “Liberty of Individuals! Fraternity of Men!!! Equality of Race!!!”.
- In Fiji, Doctor started ‘The Indian Settler’ newspaper, and helped set up the Indian Imperial Association.
- In 1922, Doctor was able to move to Gaya in Bihar, where he could practise law. He later practised for many years in Aden, also then a British colony, and died in Bombay in 1956.
Important Info :
The indentured labour system?
- In 1833, the British Parliament 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. The system was officially banned in 1917.
Source : Indian Express