The Britishers ruled over India and many countries of Africa during the 19th and the 20th centuries and for satisfying their economic interests they occasionally jeopardized the lives and welfare of Indian labourers whom they utilized for various projects away from India.
One such project was undertaken by the British [even after widespread protests in the British Parliament] in Eastern Africa the project was meant to construct a nearly 1050km Railroad between Mombasa[in Kenya] and Kampala [in Uganda], considering the difficult terrain and inherent dangers the project had been written-off as impossible in those days but the British were hell-bent of getting it done using Indian workers.
Ultimately a fleet of more than 30000 Indian labourers were sent to Africa in steamers the construction under the said project continued for many years at a stretch the arduous works and the vagaries of hard-work lead to a toll of more than 2500 workers dying due to illness or hard work.
More than 7000 workers were maimed due to the many accidents that occured during the construction and the most gruesome end was for the more than 140 workers who were devoured by the killer lions more popularly known even today as “The man-eaters of Tsavo” later the engineering marvel of the railway line construction was published as a book that had no mention of the Indian workers who built it.
Most of these Indian workers stayed back in Kenya and Uganda and also flourished to establish textile mills, sugar factories and other large industrial units in Uganda but it was to soon to be called happy ending. The worse situation for these Ugandan Indians was still to come.
Their difficulties were magnified by the gory dictator Idi Amin who proclaimed and ordered that all Indians who were brought to the East African country had been brought there on a contract and their contract ceased to exist then when the construction of the railway was completed and they had no rights whatsoever to stay back in that country. He [Idi Amin ] proclaimed an ultimatum of 90 days for such Indians to leave the country with an allowance of just 55 GBP per head this lead to a difficult plight of more than 70000 Indians in Uganda.
Further, when these Indians requested Indian Government to give access to their home country, they were denied by the Indian Government. Indian Government said that the Indian workers were taken by The Britishers it is their responsibility to take care of them. After much hustling Britain Government accepted them. Airlifting process of Ugandan Indians started by East African Airways, BOAC and British Caledonian.
A total of 27,200 Ugandan Indians were shifted to United Kingdom by November 17, 1972. I consider them lucky as they have managed to escape Idi Amin’s empire and also corrupt Indian Government scenario. They are at much better place in United Kingdom and Canada.
As of now, the remaining Indians still face hatred of Ugandans.
Read More : 1972 Indian Expulsion