Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Of the Indian immigrants to Rangoon about one-third come from Calcutta and one-third from the Coromandel ports, the Hindustanis coming from the former and the Telugus from the latter Uriyas are said to come from both. The remaining important classes of immigrants are the Tamils from Madras and the Chittagonians from Chittagong. The immigration is entirely uncontrolled, but it is not entirely unassisted. Employment in the rice mills is secured on a system with which we deal in more detail later, and which involves the grant of practically all responsibility for labour to maistries or contractors. We quote the following from Mr J. J. Bennison's Report of an Enquiry into the Standard and Cost of Living of the Working Classes in Rangoon :—
" Most of the paddy carriers are recruited in India. The sub-maistries either themselves go to India or send their agents there about October to negotiate with prospective recruits. These recruits are generally well-known to the sub-maistries and are often residents of the same or a neighbouring village. Advances are paid to them, about its. 25 being the usual amount, bat as much as Ra. 100 may be paid if the recruit has a little property. With this advance the recruit may pay off any small debt outstanding ; he also leaves a certain amount with his family to cover their maintenance charges for some weeks. The recruits are then brought to Rangoon bf the sub-maistries or their agents, who bear all the expenses for the journey. On arrival in the mill the recruits are usually made to sign their names or give their thumb impressions on a printed form of agreement or on a piece of blank paper. The amount is afterwards entered by the maistries. Sometimes they are made to sign promissory notes for sums never less than the total amount spent on them."
As regards the means by which the rest of the immigrants are enabled to come, the evidence is far from clear. At least one of the shipping companies maintains recruiters in the Coromandel Districts " to recruit and assist deck passengers " ; but this is essentially an advertising campaign, and not the equivalent of recruitment. The great majority of immigrants receive no direct assistance from employers in Burma. Probably a large number are financed by relations is already in Burma or by borrowing in India. Many who have been in Burma, are no doubt able to meet the cost of the return journey from savings,.and there are, especially outside Rangoon, a number of Indian workers who take holidays to India at intervals. But there are no figures to show what proportion of the immigrant labour represents workers returning to Burma.