Volume 51 supplement 14 (2006)


IRSH 51 supplement

Coolies, Capital and Colonialism: Studies in Indian Labour History

Edited by Rana P. Behal and Marcel van der Linden

Recent years have witnessed a renewed scholarly interest in the historical studies of labour in India. The prospect of India as one of the world's major manufacturing hubs and destinations for services outsourcing in the coming decades, and the context of globalization, has pushed the labour question centre stage. The concerns of this new labour history are not confined to the traditional working class alone; much attention is also paid to migrants and the persistent phenomenon of labour mobility, the self-employed and processes of informalization of labour, and indentured labourers and issues of free and unfree labour. Transcending the chronological divide that has resulted in a marked emphasis on the colonial period, labour historians are giving more attention to pre-colonial and pre-industrial Indian labour history. This volume seeks to showcase some of the best new research inspired by those developments. This collection is dedicated to the memory of Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, one of the foremost Indian labour historians, who died unexpectedly in April 2006.


Rana P. Behal and Marcel van der Linden, Preface

Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Introduction

Michael Fisher, Working Across the Seas. Indian Maritime Labourers in India, Britain, and In-Between, 1600-1857 [summary]

Jan Lucassen, The Brick Makers' Strikes on the Ganges Canal in 1848-1849 [summary]

Ian Kerr, On the Move. Circulating Labour in Pre-Colonial, Colonial, and Post-Colonial India [summary]

Ravi Ahuja, Mobility and Containment. The Voyages of South Asian Seamen, c. 1900-1960 [summary]

Rana P. Behal, Power Structure, Discipline and Labour in Assam Tea Plantations during Colonial Rule [summary]

Prabhu P. Mohapatra, "Following Custom"? Representations of Community among Indian Immigrant Labour in the West Indies: 1880-1920 [summary]

Shankar Ramaswami, Masculinity, Respect, and the Tragic. Themes of Proletarian Humour in Contemporary Industrial Delhi [summary]

Willem van Schendel, Stretching Labour Historiography: Ideas from South Asia [summary]

Editorial Introduction
Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, War on the Shopfloor [summary]