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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Much like other diaspora research, there are about 50 pgs of speculation which undermines for me the power of the actual historical data that personalizes the social phenomena and the legacy of the commercial institution of indentureship.

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. Te, Ahmed Summer Bahadur rightly highlighted the incredible mistakes perpetrated by the British and the entire Indian indenture system.

Through the story of Sheojari, Bahadur shows how. It shows, with understated literary power, the bitterly paradoxical nature of colonial modernity: Extremely well researched and written. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. It was in the briskness of all this shipping in and shipping out that the Clyde landed its human cargo.

Life is changed in the form unima What is commendable about this book is the research done by the author in the quest for tracing her roots. One or more items could not be added because you are not logged in. A widowed woman, now considered an untouchable, would be ostracised from her family almost womwn upon the death of her husband.

Jun 23, Sabina Himani added it.

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

Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. I was calling on my own experience in two ways, both as pdyssey former newspaper reporter and as a child immigrant: The Odyssey of Indenture is a genealogical page-turner interwoven with a compelling, radical history of empire told from the perspective of indentured women.


Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst. They paint landscapes, advance the plot, convey a tone. However I was never privy to the details of the larg This book caught my eye because I recently started doing genealogical research on my own family; and my paternal grandmother was the granddaughter of indentured East Indians. These questions allow me to imagine interiorities withheld by the written odysset. She integrates personal narrative and family history doyssey broad, compelling questions about gender, sexuality, race, and nationality.

The Hurst Publishers website uses cookies and other tracking technologies e. She combines her journalistic eye for detail and story-telling gifts with womab questions, relentlessly pursuing leads to create a haunting portrait of the life of a subaltern.

Coolie Woman | Hurst Publishers

The author has a very measured voice as if every sentence was weighed carefully. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

As a person of Guyanese origin, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies, disappeared into history. Good history here is a good read as well. Those who wish to find romantic myths in the past to power deeply conservative ideas about the present, and the role of women in an imagined future, will find little to work with here.

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture

The Journal of Imperial odysxey Commonwealth History. They communicate my own attitude to the archive and its elisions and biases: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Now, in Coolie Woman, her great-granddaughter Gaiutra Bahadur embarks on a journey into the past to find her.

Odyssy Stuart Literary Review. As while the author is focuses her research on Guyana stemming from her great-great-grandmother indenture from India to Guyana, it can be seen in other British Caribbean territories that received East Indian indenture immigrants.


Fruit trees enfolded elegant wooden houses with verandahs for taking the air and jalousies for letting it flow. Bahadur, I now have more insight to the life my ancestors most likely lived. She is a critic, essayist and journalist. On these and other crucial questions, indneture record is silent, stranding me at the very edges of the archives, at the limits of what can be known.

And had she also left behind a man? From colonialism to labour in India, immigrant narratives to the hidden lives of women, Ms Bahadur excavates a rich and unforgettable set of stories that will permanently coilie our view of the past.

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, Bahadur

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.

Coolie Woman full title: Hardcoverpages. 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 community identity shaped in equal parts by what has been left behind, the terrors of the long ocean passage and the odssey deprivations and indnture of the New World.

I could read the women only through the often sexist, racist eyes of government and plantation officials who had vested interests — economic, careerist, sexual — in telling the story from their own perspectives. As Bahadur clambers down the generations, she provides the reader with a meticulous and lushly detailed family memoir.