Indians in Uganda

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Indians in Uganda
Mahmood Mamdani.jpg
Total population
Regions with significant populations
English, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil
Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin, Desi

There are currently over 12,000 people of Indian origin living in Uganda, but this is a far cry from their heyday. In the late 1800s, over 30,000 Indians, mostly Sikhs, were brought on 3 year contracts, with the aid of Imperial British contractor Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee to build the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Kisumu by 1901, and to Kampala by 1931. Some died, while others returned to India after the end of their contracts, but around 7,000 chose to stay. They were joined by Gujarati traders called "passenger Indians",[1] both Hindu and Muslim free migrants who came to serve the economic needs of the indentured labourers, and to capitalise on the economic opportunities.

Over time, these Indians became very prosperous and dominated the entire economy, which caused anti-Indian resentment among the African population. After independence, these resentments came to a crisis, when Idi Amin ousted Milton Obote after a military coup d'etat. He quickly proceeded to expel all Asians from Uganda. See Expulsion of Asians in Uganda in 1972 for a detailed account of events.

As a result, many Indians migrated to the United Kingdom, the United States and elsewhere and began rebuilding their lives. The fate suffered by the Ugandan Indians, are among the most extreme cases of Indophobia in recent times. This has been the subject of several works of fiction and movies, most notably Mississippi Masala, Charas and The Last King of Scotland.

Notable Ugandan people of Indian descent[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hiralal, Kalpana. "Indian Family Businesses in Natal, 1870–1950". Natal Society Foundation. Retrieved 2010.