Ugandan Indians

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Ugandan Indians
Mahmood Mamdani.jpg
Charli XCX @ Postivus 2013 (9819955206).jpg
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Kampala, Jinja
English, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil
Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin, Desi

There are currently over 20,000 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 by military coup d'etat in 1971. The following year Amin ordered the expulsion of Asians living in Uganda.

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. However, since Idi Amin's death more Indians who were born in Uganda started migrating back.

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.