SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

‘To Shake Hands Across the Ocean’: International Networks of Indian Seamen and Revolutionaries in the Interwar Period

Naina Manjrekar (SOAS)

Date: 6 May 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 6 May 2014Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B104

Type of Event: Seminar

Indian merchant seamen, or “Lascars” had been crucial to the manning of British shipping. One historian has called them “the muscles of empire”. On the eve of the First World War, 52,000 lascars were employed, making up 17.5% of the whole. The First World War left its mark on all the combatants involved. With the world in turmoil, they were exposed to a variety of political developments.   This paper will look at the politicisation of lascars. The story takes place along international trading routes, in a string of international sea-ports. I will look at the period from the end of World War I, which saw the beginnings of organisation among seamen, till the 1930s Depression.

Organiser: Dr Roy Fischel and Dr Shabnum Tejani