“Without His Consent?”: Marriage and Women's Migration in Colonial India
01 Apr 2004-International Labor and Working-class History (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 65, pp 77-104
TL;DR: The authors examined the diverse patterns of women's migration challenges abiding stereotypes of Indian history: the urban worker as a male "peasant-proletariat" and women as inhabiting a timeless rural past.
Abstract: An examination of the diverse patterns of women's migration challenges abiding stereotypes of Indian history: the urban worker as a male “peasant-proletariat” and women as inhabiting a timeless rural past. When men opted for circulation between town and country, wives and children undertook the actual labor of cultivation for the survival of “peasant-proletariat” households. Men retained their status as heads of the family and, even though absent for long periods, their proprietary interests in the village. Yet towards the end of the nineteenth century, many unhappy, deserted, and barren wives, widows, and other women were able to escape to the burgeoning cities of Calcutta and Bombay and the coal mines, where they experienced new processes of social and economic marginalization. Much attention has been given to women's migration to overseas colonies and the Assam teagardens. Such migration has been seen as doubly negative, not only harnessing women to the exploitative contract regimes, but also subjecting them to sexual violation. A general assumption is that women were deceived, decoyed and even “kidnapped,” since there was no possibility of “voluntary” migration by women. Such a view of women's recruitment was produced by a variety of interests opposed to women's, especially married women's, migration, and eventually influenced the colonial state to legally prohibit, in 1901, women's “voluntary” migration to Assam plantations. This provision was an explicit endorsement of male claims on women's labor within the family.
TL;DR: The India Migration Bibliography as mentioned in this paper covers over 3,000 books, research articles and reports written on the subject of internal migration, international migration and diaspora, related to India.
Abstract: The India Migration Bibliography covers over 3,000 books, research articles and reports written on the subject of internal migration, international migration and diaspora, related to India. The bibliography is inter-disciplinary and provides sections with selected publications by themes, regions, cities, overseas destinations and sample surveys. It will be of considerable interest to academics and non-academics working on migration related issues.
TL;DR: Boyk et al. as mentioned in this paper examined the history of Patna, a small city in the north Indian region of Bihar, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and argued that Patna's urbanity was inextricably linked with its provinciality.
Abstract: Author(s): Boyk, David Sol | Advisor(s): Bakhle, Janaki | Abstract: Scholarly and popular discussions of cities tend to concentrate on the largest exemplars—Bombay and Calcutta, in the case of South Asia—and to neglect the smaller cities and towns where most urban people live. This dissertation examines the history of Patna, a small city in the north Indian region of Bihar, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Patna had been a bustling center of trade, culture, and administration for much of the early modern period but, like many cities in the Gangetic plains, it was marginalized by the political and economic changes of the nineteenth century. To many observers, it seemed to have become part of the provincial hinterland or, to use the term that developed under colonial rule, the "mofussil."Even a diminished and demeaned Patna, however, remained a major center. Despite the city's apparent decline, it sustained its connections with other mofussil towns and with the rest of the world, and maintained ways of being urban and urbane that distinguished it from larger cities as well as from more rural places. Patna was still Bihar's economic and political hub and a central node in the dynamic public culture that linked Patnaites with readers and writers in nearby towns and distant cities. Questions of the "backwardness" of Patna and Bihar entered national politics when activists based in the city began to call for Bihar to be separated from Bengal and established as a new province with Patna as its capital. When they succeeded in 1912, the city itself was reshaped along with its forms of community and authority. The same transformations that seemed to reverse Patna's decline also weakened its links with the networks that had defined its public culture.This dissertation documents Patna's distinctiveness and vitality by combining several approaches. First, it is a cultural history of provinciality and urbanity that shows how these concepts were formed through social practice. Secondly, it is an urban history that examines the city's politics and social geography together with its relationships with its region. And thirdly, it is a social history of intellectuals that locates their literary and scholarly activities within their urban community. Ultimately, it argues, Patna's urbanity was inextricably linked with its provinciality.
TL;DR: The authors suggest that the agent had roots in the traditional economy, and represented an incorporation of putting out and the authority of the headman inside modern work sites, and that this incorporation of traditional authority in a modern setting gave rise to contradictions.
Abstract: A figure in part a foreman, in part a headman, and in part a recruiting contractor, formed an indispensable part of labour organization in mills, mines, ports and plantations in nineteenth-century India, and in the tropical colonies where Indian emigrants went for work. Historians have explained the presence of such a figure by the needs of capital for intermediaries, or needs of labour for familiar relationships in an unfamiliar environment. The significance of the labour agent for economic history, however, seems to go beyond these needs. The universal presence of a worker who embodied a variable blend of roles prompts several larger questions. Was the labour agent an institutional response to an economic problem? Were modern forms of agency rooted in older modes of labour organization? The scholarship discussed the gains for employers. Were there costs too? This paper is a preliminary attempt at framing these larger issues. I suggest here that the agent had roots in the traditional economy, and represented an incorporation of putting out and the authority of the headman inside modern work sites, and that this incorporation of traditional authority in a modern setting gave rise to contradictions.
TL;DR: In the first Maroon War, violent battles between Maroons and British colonists were frequent and violent as discussed by the authors, and how then, after the peace treaties, did former enemies negotiate their new positions as...
Abstract: During the First Maroon War, violent battles between Maroons and British colonists were frequent and violent. How then, after the peace treaties, did former enemies negotiate their new positions as...
01 Jan 2011
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that the gender politics around movement provides an enabling condition for both state restrictions and the burgeoning of informal / illegal processes, and compare their position and experience of migration with that of emigrant nurses on the one hand and outmigrant fish processing workers on the other.
Abstract: Restrictions imposed by the Government of India on the emigration of women in ‘unskilled’ categories such as domestic work are framed as measures intended to protect women from exploitation. Special protection for certain categories of emigrant women workers makes way for gendered conceptions of citizenship and sovereignty through the use of gender to assert control over space in ways that curtail women’s access to mobility and emigrant work opportunities. However, restrictions have directed potential migrants to the use of informal / illegal processes in connivance with state agencies. Whereas, intermediaries, including recruiting agents and government officials, profit from the use of informal / illegal processes by prospective emigrants and hence they have an interest in rendering these more effective than formal processes established by the state, we argue that the gender politics around movement provides an enabling condition for both state restrictions and the burgeoning of informal / illegal processes. To spell out the implications of state policy on emigrant women domestic workers, the paper compares their position and experience of migration with that of emigrant nurses on the one hand and outmigrant fish processing workers on the other. It also explores the nature of women’s agency involved when domestic workers resist state policy and social norms to emigrate through informal / illegal means.
01 Jan 1998
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors analyze how sexuality has been framed by the law, within social movements, or has been the site for patrolled caste, ethnic or gender identities, and analyze cinematic, televisual and literary representations of sexuality.
Abstract: Has there been a "conspiracy of silence" regarding sexuality in India, be it within social movements or as a focus of scholarship? This study analyzes this assumption in order to thematize a crucial field. Prefaced by a detailed introductory overview, the essays use diverse perspectives to develop an understanding of the institutions, practices and forms of representation of sexual relations and their boundaries of legitimacy. From unravelling the "Kamasutra" (the text) to investigating Kamasutra (the condom), the volume includes essays on how sexuality has been framed by the law, within social movements, or has been the site for patrolled caste, ethnic or gender identities. Other essays analyze cinematic, televisual and literary representations of sexuality.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that this pattern of circular migration was not enforced by employers' strategies or economic forces alone, but was determined by an interplay of economic, social and cultural forces.
Abstract: In 188o, the area north of Calcutta was a 'jungle', an area with swamps and marshes and a few scattered villages. With the expansion of the jute industry, the area was rapidly transformed. Factories were set up, and large numbers of people came to the area in search of work. Until the late 1920s, the industry prospered and the population of the industrial area increased enormously, but since then employment growth has stagnated and the population has increased only moderately. At present, the industrial area still shows the features described in the reports at the beginning of this century: 'mill lines' crowded with migrant labourers, bad housing conditions, particularly in the private bastis, small houses with little ventilation and light, open drains, public bathing places. This paper is about labour migrants who came to the industrial area of Calcutta, in particular to the jute mill town Titagarh where I carried out field-work in 1991 and collected the life and work histories of eighty families. Even today, Titagarh is still predominantly inhabited by migrants, people from outside Bengal who have come to work in the jute and paper mills. Although gradually settling more permanently, many have remained migrants, and the regional languages are still spoken. 'Unsettled settlers' are migrants who came to the industrial areas, but have continued to maintain their rural connections, going back regularly during their working life and after retirement. I will argue that this pattern of circular migration was not enforced by employers' strategies or economic forces alone, but was determined by an interplay of economic, social and cultural forces. It is my contention that the historiography of labour in Bengal has ignored the perspectives of the people it describes, the motives of migrants, their hopes and aspirations. With my study I hope to add a perspective largely ignored in many studies in this field: people's decisions to migrate, and to return, and their choices on the labour market. People's actions cannot be understood without understand
TL;DR: In this article, Indian Women and Indentureship In Trinidad and Tobago 1845-1917: Freedom Denied, the authors present a survey of Indian women and men in Trinidad.
Abstract: (1986). Indian Women and Indentureship In Trinidad and Tobago 1845–1917: Freedom Denied. Caribbean Quarterly: Vol. 32, East Indian—West Indians, pp. 27-49.
10 Oct 1996
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that women's political activities, their class-specific existence as daughters, wives, mothers, and widows as well as their education and employment are examined in this framework.
Abstract: The author argues that 'Purdah' in early twentieth-century Bengal meant far more than secluding women behind veils and walls: it entailed an all-encompassing ideology and code of conduct based on female modesty. Women's political activities, their class-specific existence as daughters, wives, mothers, and widows as well as their education and employment are examined in this framework.