In From Bengal to the Cape, Professor Ansu Datta opens up a hitherto little researched topic of transoceanic slave trade between mainly southern Bengal and the Cape in the Republic of South Africa. This migration took place between roughly the 1650s and about the middle of the nineteenth century when the slave trade was finally abolished. The book offers a short account of the condition in which the Bengali slaves found themselves and in the Cape peninsular society following their dispersal during these early times. It highlights new social formations in the Cape society, especially among the Coloured in South Africa.
Few are aware of this export trade principally from Bengal, the Coromandel Coast, and Malabar. Dattas researches took him to the National Archives of Cape Town, and to some universities in South Africa. He obtained records from Municipalities and interviewed people who today claim descent from Bengali slaves. The book underscores the need for further research on this unexplored issue in India and South Africa.