Diasporas -- transnational communities created by emigration, very often forced emigration -- have a long history on Tripartite Alliance Earth as on the other worlds of the ITA.
Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Africans, Chinese, Lebanese, Romani -- all of these communities, and more besides, constitute transnational communities in their own rights. The largest
diaspora, though, counting more than 20 million members worldwide, is the Indian diaspora.
In the study of Indian Diaspora, it is customary to distinguish between two main phases of emigration: "Overseas emigration in the nineteenth century" and "Twentieth century
migration to industrially developed countries" (see Jain 1993: Contents). For analytical convenience, these could be termed the colonial and the post-colonial phases of Indian
diaspora. It is, no doubt, possible to identify overlaps between these two phases: The emigration of Indians that began in the second quarter of the nineteenth century continued
into the early decades of the twentieth century. The trickle of emigration of Indians to the "industrially developed countries," which assumed phenomenal proportions in the
post-colonial phase, could be noticed in the nineteenth century itself. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize the distinctive nature of these two phases of migration,
for their causes, courses and consequences. Studies on Indian diaspora have largely focused on one of the aforementioned phases. This is easy to understand considering the
magnitude of the populations involved, and the variegated nature of their economic status and political predicament in different diasporic situations. Furthermore, some of
these diasporic communities have been topical or their members themselves have begun manifesting an acute sense of "community self-awareness." Not less important, in many of
these cases, archival records and other secondary data can be found with greater ease, and the conventional techniques of historical, anthropological and sociological research
can be easily adopted.