Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 347-351

Suicides of Punjabi hawkers in 19th- and early 20th-century Australia

Institute for Land, Water and Society – Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Dirk H R Spennemann
Institute for Land, Water and Society – Charles Sturt University, P. O. Box: 789, Albury, NSW 2640
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_379_17

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Background: During the late nineteenth century, a considerable number of young Punjabi men sought their fortunes in the Australian colonies, working as hawkers and farm labor. While in Australia they experienced marginalization and high levels of racial vilification by the Anglo-Celtic settler community. Aims: To assess the frequency and nature of suicides of Punjabi workers in nineteenth century Australia. Materials and Methods: The paper draws on archival sources and contemporary newspaper reports. Results: A wide range of methods of suicides were observed, with drowning the preferred method. Conclusions: This article is the first to collate the data on the suicides and suicide attempts by young Punjabi men working in an immigration country. It can be shown that the suicide rate among Punjabi was almost six times higher than that of the host community.



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