COOLIE WOMAN THE ODYSSEY OF INDENTURE

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Coolie Woman

Author : Gaiutra Bahadur
ISBN : 9780226043388
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 22.46 MB
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In 1903, a young woman sailed from India to Guiana as a “coolie”—the British name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on sugar plantations all around the world. Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies, disappeared into history. In Coolie Woman—shortlisted for the 2014 Orwell Prize—her great-granddaughter Gaiutra Bahadur embarks on a journey into the past to find her. Traversing three continents and trawling through countless colonial archives, Bahadur excavates not only her great-grandmother’s story but also the repressed history of some quarter of a million other coolie women, shining a light on their complex lives. Shunned by society, and sometimes in mortal danger, many coolie women were either runaways, widows, or outcasts. Many of them left husbands and families behind to migrate alone in epic sea voyages—traumatic “middle passages”—only to face a life of hard labor, dismal living conditions, and, especially, sexual exploitation. As Bahadur explains, however, it is precisely their sexuality that makes coolie women stand out as figures in history. Greatly outnumbered by men, they were able to use sex with their overseers to gain various advantages, an act that often incited fatal retaliations from coolie men and sometimes larger uprisings of laborers against their overlords. Complex and unpredictable, sex was nevertheless a powerful tool. Examining this and many other facets of these remarkable women’s lives, Coolie Woman is a meditation on survival, a gripping story of a double diaspora—from India to the West Indies in one century, Guyana to the United States in the next—that is at once a search for one’s roots and an exploration of gender and power, peril and opportunity.
Category: Biography & Autobiography

Coolie Woman

Author : Gaiutra Bahadur
ISBN : 1849046603
Genre : Brahmans
File Size : 46.43 MB
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In 1903 a Brahmin woman sailed from India to Guyana as a 'coolie', the name the British gave to the million indentured labourers they recruited for sugar plantations worldwide after slavery ended. The woman, who claimed no husband, was pregnant and travelling alone. A century later, her great-granddaughter embarks on a journey into the past, hoping to solve a mystery: what made her leave her country? And had she also left behind a man? Gaiutra Bahadur, an American journalist, pursues traces of her great-grandmother over three continents. She also excavates the repressed history of some quarter of a million female coolies. Disparaged as fallen, many were runaways, widows or outcasts, and many migrated alone. Coolie Woman chronicles their epic passage from Calcutta to the Caribbean, from departures akin either to kidnap or escape, through sea voyages rife with sexploitation, to new worlds where women were in short supply. When they exercised the power this gave them, some fell victim to the machete, in brutal attacks, often fatal, by men whom they spurned. Sex with overseers both empowered and imperiled other women, in equal measure. It also precipitated uprisings, as a struggle between Indian men and their women intersected with one between coolies and their overlords.
Category: Brahmans

Coolie Woman

Author : Gaiutra Bahadur
ISBN : 9789350096475
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 32.9 MB
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In 1903, a Brahmin woman sailed from India to Guiana as a ‘coolie’ – the British name for indentured labourers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on sugar plantations all around the world. Pregnant and travelling alone, this woman, like so many of the indentured, disappeared into history. Now, in Coolie Woman, her great-granddaughter Gaiutra Bahadur embarks on a journey into the past to find her. Traversing three continents and trawling through countless colonial archives, Bahadur excavates not only her greatgrandmother’s story but also the repressed history of some quarter of a million other coolie women, shining a light on complex lives. Many were widows, runaways or outcasts who migrated alone in epic sea voyages – traumatic ‘middle passages’ – only to face a life of hard labour, dismal living conditions and sexual exploitation. As Bahadur documents, however, it was precisely their sexuality that gave coolie women a degree of leverage. In new worlds where they were the scarcer sex, they could have their pick of Indian partners. This often incited fatal retaliations by the men who were spurned. Meanwhile, intimacy with white overseers sometimes conferred privileges. It also provoked plantation uprisings, as a struggle between Indian men and their women intersected with one between coolies and their overlords. The women’s shortage gave them sway but also made them victims, caught in a shifting borderland between freedom and slavery. Coolie Woman is a meditation on survival, a gripping story of a double diaspora – from India to the West Indies in one century, and from Guyana to the United States in the next – that is at once a search for roots and an exploration of gender and power, peril and opportunity.
Category: Biography & Autobiography

We Mark Your Memory

Author : David Dabydeen
ISBN : 1912250071
Genre :
File Size : 66.19 MB
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To mark the centenary of the abolition of indenture in the British Empire (2017-2020), a groundbreaking new anthology brings together writing by descendants of indentured labourers from across the Commonwealth. Through the mediums of poetry, short stories and essays, the book explores - for the first time - the controversial legacy of indenture.
Category:

Mobilizing India

Author : Tejaswini Niranjana
ISBN : 9780822388425
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 65.46 MB
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Descendants of indentured laborers brought from India to the Caribbean between 1845 and 1917 comprise more than forty percent of Trinidad’s population today. While many Indo-Trinidadians identify themselves as Indian, what “Indian” signifies—about nationalism, gender, culture, caste, race, and religion—in the Caribbean is different from what it means on the subcontinent. Yet the ways that “Indianness” is conceived of and performed in India and in Trinidad have historically been, and remain, intimately related. Offering an innovative analysis of how ideas of Indian identity negotiated within the Indian diaspora in Trinidad affect cultural identities “back home,” Tejaswini Niranjana models a necessary project: comparative research across the global South, scholarship that decenters the “first world” West as the referent against which postcolonial subjects understand themselves and are understood by others. Niranjana draws on nineteenth-century travel narratives, anthropological and historical studies of Trinidad, Hindi film music, and the lyrics, performance, and reception of chutney-soca and calypso songs to argue that perceptions of Indian female sexuality in Trinidad have long been central to the formation and disruption of dominant narratives of nationhood, modernity, and normative sexuality in India. She illuminates debates in India about “the woman question” as they played out in the early-twentieth-century campaign against indentured servitude in the tropics. In so doing, she reveals India’s disavowal of the indentured woman—viewed as morally depraved by her forced labor in Trinidad—as central to its own anticolonial struggle. Turning to the present, Niranjana looks to Trinidad’s most dynamic site of cultural negotiation: popular music. She describes how contested ideas of Indian femininity are staged by contemporary Trinidadian musicians—male and female, of both Indian and African descent—in genres ranging from new hybrids like chutney-soca to the older but still vibrant music of Afro-Caribbean calypso.
Category: Social Science

The Guyana Story

Author : Odeen Ishmael
ISBN : 9781479795901
Genre : History
File Size : 51.17 MB
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The Guyana Story—From Earliest Times to Independence traces the country’s history from thousands of years ago when the first Amerindian groups began to settle on the Guyana territory. It examines the period of early European exploration leading to Dutch colonization, the forcible introduction of African slaves to work on cotton and sugar plantations, the effects of European wars, and the final ceding of the territory to the British who ruled it as their colony until they finally granted it independence in 1966. The book also tells of Indian, Chinese, and Portuguese indentured immigration and shows how the cultural interrelationships among the various ethnic groups introduced newer forms of conflict, but also brought about cooperation in the struggles of the workers for better working and living conditions. The final part describes the roles of the political leaders who arose from among these ethnic groups from the late 1940s and began the political struggle against colonialism and the demand for independence. This struggle led to political turbulence in the 1950s and early 1960s when the country was caught in the crosshairs of the cold war resulting in joint British-American devious actions that undermined a democratically elected pro-socialist government and deliberately delayed independence for the country until a government friendly to their international interests came to power.
Category: History

Indentured Labor Caribbean Sugar

Author : Walton Look Lai
ISBN : 0801877466
Genre : History
File Size : 26.14 MB
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Exploring living and working conditions as well as the makeup of immigrant communities and their cultures, Look Lai offers a "dialectical pluralist" model of Caribbean acculturation that contrasts with the more familiar "melting pot" or "pure pluralist" model.
Category: History

Chinese Cubans

Author : Kathleen López
ISBN : 9781469607122
Genre : History
File Size : 86.16 MB
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Chinese Cubans: A Transnational History
Category: History

The Sly Company Of People Who Care

Author : Rahul Bhattacharya
ISBN : 1429929235
Genre : Fiction
File Size : 48.10 MB
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In flight from the tame familiarity of home in Bombay, a twenty-six-year-old cricket journalist chucks his job and arrives in Guyana, a forgotten colonial society of raw, mesmerizing beauty. Amid beautiful, decaying wooden houses in Georgetown, on coastal sugarcane plantations, and in the dark rainforest interior scavenged by diamond hunters, he grows absorbed with the fantastic possibilities of this new place where descendants of the enslaved and indentured have made a new world. Ultimately, to fulfill his purpose, he prepares to mount an adventure of his own. His journey takes him beyond Guyanese borders, and his companion will be the feisty, wild-haired Jan. In this dazzling novel, propelled by a singularly forceful voice, Rahul Bhattacharya captures the heady adventures of travel, the overheated restlessness of youth, and the paradoxes of searching for life's meaning in the escape from home. The Sly Company of People Who Care is the winner of the 2012 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.
Category: Fiction

At The Heart Of The Empire

Author : Antoinette Burton
ISBN : 0520919459
Genre : History
File Size : 45.36 MB
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Antoinette Burton focuses on the experiences of three Victorian travelers in Britain to illustrate how "Englishness" was made and remade in relation to imperialism. The accounts left by these three sojourners—all prominent, educated Indians—represent complex, critical ethnographies of "native" metropolitan society and offer revealing glimpses of what it was like to be a colonial subject in fin-de-siècle Britain. Burton's innovative interpretation of the travelers' testimonies shatters the myth of Britain's insularity from its own construction of empire and shows that it was instead a terrain open to continual contest and refiguration. Burton's three subjects felt the influence of imperial power keenly during even the most everyday encounters in Britain. Pandita Ramabai arrived in London in 1883 seeking a medical education and left in 1886, having resisted the Anglican Church's attempts to make her an evangelical missionary. Cornelia Sorabji went to Oxford to study law and became the first Indian woman to be called to the Bar. Behramji Malabari sought help for his Indian reform projects in England, and subjected London to colonial scrutiny in the process. Their experiences form the basis of this wide-ranging, clearly written, and imaginative investigation of diasporic movement in the colonial metropolis.
Category: History