Monday, August 26, 2019

The IndoCaribbean Women's Experience of Indenture Essay

The IndoCaribbean Women's Experience of Indenture - Essay Example The few who dared to revolt or oppose inevitably faced the consequences of their actions. They were ridiculed, humiliated, subjected to the whims of their British masters, at times sexually exploited, and put back in their places for it was not a criminal act in the eyes of the law for the British nationals to exploit their workers. Society then was not as liberal as it is today. It was considered all right by the authorities to kill people at the slightest provocation. Indian women were killed and there was not much enquiry into the incident if it was felt that she had died as the result of her husband's suspicion about her character. Between 1838 and 1917 during the indenture period, Indians lived in poor sanitary conditions. They had to do everything as expected of them. Indian women were not allowed maternity benefits during pregnancy. Women worked carrying their babies in the field until they could leave their babies home under the care of an older child (Janet A. Naidu). The position of the Indian woman in the Caribbean has perceptibly changed now. But the change can hardly be expected to be on the lines of a person living in a free country. It is over ninety years now since the indenture discontinued in 1917. However, social and cultural knots continue to fetter the Indian woman living in the Caribbean. There were few Brahmins in the Caribbe... However, social and cultural knots continue to fetter the Indian woman living in the Caribbean. There were few Brahmins in the Caribbean during the indenture period. They were sought for on religious and auspicious occasions. Indians mostly comprised the agricultural caste or low caste. Since the number of Indian women was few, it became difficult for the Brahmins to seek girls from higher castes making them vulnerable to marry girls from the lower echelons. Transformation of gender relations The Indian women living in the Caribbean can now thank their stars that they did not see the persecutions of their counterparts early in the 20th century or during the greater period of the 19th century. I deliberately use the term 'persecution' because that is what she must have felt in an alien land. The male female ratio did not cross the halfway mark in favor of the male since the time the first Indian landed in the Caribbean. The best that happened was 50 females for every 100 males at that time. This was in 1860. The figure slipped back to 41 females for every 100 males in 1890. The Indian male fared no better with his British master because the working and attitudinal conditions forced on them by the colonizers were slavery and demeaning. The Indians came to work on a 5-year contract as 'indentured laborers'. Up to 1862, they were provided with free travel back home after the completion of the 5-year period. From 1862, they had to pay their own way to the Caribbean or else work 10-years to get a free trip back home (Janet A. Naidu). The Indians contributed significantly to the economy of the Caribbean. Their population although as minority was quite significant. However, they did not enjoy commensurate representation in

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