Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur is published by C Hurst and Co priced £ It is available from the Guardian. In , a young woman sailed from India to Guiana as a “coolie”—the British name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on. Coolie Woman. The Odyssey of Indenture. Gaiutra Bahadur. SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE ‘A genealogical page-turner interwoven with a.

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The book does many things well that others in the ot might: At times I could not believe the amount of records the book contains. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Gaiutra Bahadur: ‘How could I write about women whose existence is barely acknowledged?’

They paint landscapes, advance the plot, convey a tone. Open Preview See a Problem? Bengali Women Manisha Roy. Very much detail about the lives of an indentured people. South Asia Biography and Letters History: An illuminating study of how an empire was built on the labour of the dispossessed. Afzal, Ahmed Summer Drawing from a notable range of pertinent primary and secondary sources, the work can definitely be used as a source of valuable corroborative details in both academic and nonacademic engagements with the Indian indenture system.

Nov 11, Chet Pagoda rated it it was amazing. Good history here is a good read as well. I was quite impressed with the amount of notes and bibliography, 38 pages of notes and 9 pages of bibliography, for pages text, seems very well researched.

The narrative is a multi-layered exploration of exile, colonialism, gender dynamics in a world of mercilessly skewed gender ratios, the ensuing jealousies and violence against women spoiled for choice of sexual partners and the forging of a new te identity shaped in equal parts by what has 4.

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Coolie Woman | Hurst Publishers

Through the story of Sheojari, Bahadur shows how. Archived from the original on 5 April An excellent piece of reading especially of a period of Caribbean history which seems to have taken on a HIStory part and unspoken her-story remains silent. Retrieved from ” https: Although through the generations, the outcome was different Jamaica is not as economically distressed as Guyana Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies, disappeared into history.

This spellbinding account of a story that needed to be told is highly recommended. However I was never privy to the details of the large-scale importation of Indian indentured servants to the Caribbean. No real transition or flow. As a Guyanese-American it was an enlightening experience for me to learn about my ancestors and the plight to make a better life for themselves and the future generations of their families.

Bahadur, I now have more insight to the life my ancestors most likely lived. This is a book that will both be of great use to scholars and a compelling text for non-specialists. The one thing that slowed and marred my reading of the book was the appallingly tiny font size used in the Indian edition of the book.

Coolie woman : the odyssey of indenture

The existing archives that document indenture contain coolke and elisions. The stories are gripping, one goes through a myriad of emotions at the plight of the subjects – idyssey, sadness, outrage and frustration just a few among many more.

It is also a uniquely affecting piece of work. Life is changed in the form unimaginable in India. But the book is more than this: Bahadur handles this history without compromise, imbuing it with prismatic context, deepening the true stories that can be told about the journeys that so many women undertook. In spite of her family’s story being based idnenture Guiana, and my personal story in Jamaica, the parallels of origin were fascinating.


Indentured servants — Guyana — History — 20th century. When they exercised the power this gave them, some fell if to the machete, in brutal attacks, often fatal, by men whom they spurned. Took me so long to read because these are very difficult stories of violence and loss. She contextualizes historical and contemporary sexual and GBV in the context of indenture and colonialism, a worthwhile antidote to the racist discourse which uses GBV violence to justify white supremacy as if it was created in a vacuum.

The connection to slavery and colonialism is bare and neces an incredibly readable inxenture fascinating history and analysis. But it also shows that in that messy complexity there is, then as now, resilience, innovation, renewal and courage.

As Bahadur explains, however, it is precisely their sexuality that makes coolie women stand out as figures in history.

As Bahadur explains, however, it is precisely their sexuality that makes coolie women stand out as figures in history. Bahadur, chose the title to acknowledge the stigma, [5] but also as a metaphor for the baggage women carried as a result of colonialism.

In weaving myself into the narrative, I was tracing not only roots but also the inheritance of harm. She was born in Guyana and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of six.

Thanks for telling us odyszey the problem. Carter, Marina 1 January Coolie Woman is such a book, destined for a unique place in the multi-mirror of Caribbean culture.

These were experiences shared by other recruits. It is a riveting read and if anyone was compelled to trace their family history, this will be a hard act to follow.