© 2018

The Well-Being of the Labor Force in Colonial Bombay

Discourses and Practices


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Priyanka Srivastava
    Pages 1-27
  3. Priyanka Srivastava
    Pages 197-240
  4. Priyanka Srivastava
    Pages 241-254
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 255-283

About this book


This study draws on extensive archival research to explore the social history of industrial labor in colonial India through the lens of well-being. Focusing on the cotton millworkers in Bombay in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the book moves beyond trade union politics and examines the complex ways in which the broader colonial society considered the subject of worker well-being. As the author shows, worker well-being projects unfolded in the contexts of British Empire, Indian nationalism, extraordinary infant mortality, epidemic diseases, and uneven urban development. Srivastava emphasizes that worker well-being discourses and practices strove to reallocate resources and enhance the productive and reproductive capacities of the nation’s labor power. She demonstrates how the built urban environment, colonial local governance, public health policies, and deeply gendered local and transnational voluntary reform programs affected worker wellbeing practices and shaped working class lives.


Cotton Textile Industry India Social Service Millworkers Gender

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

About the authors

Priyanka Srivastava is Assistant Professor of History and Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA.

Bibliographic information