Advertisement

Tying the Knot: Early Depictions of Indenture

  • Alison Klein
Chapter
Part of the New Caribbean Studies book series (NCARS)

Abstract

Chapter 3 examines two novels by authors writing at the time of indenture, Edward Jenkins’ Lutchmee and Dilloo and A.R.F. Webber’s Those That Be in Bondage. In both, a British man in power develops a relationship with a beautiful young Indian woman, raising her out of the degradation and harsh life of field labor and into a world of civilization and refinement. This represents the primary justification of colonization: Britain would protect its helpless colonies and civilize them. Both authors wrote their novels to suggest that the system of indenture needed corrections, but was generally beneficial to Britain, India, and the Caribbean nations involved in the system. Yet Jenkins and Webber reveal more than they perhaps intended. The tragic ending of Lutchmee and Dilloo, for example, in which a noble Indian man is turned vicious by the evils of the system, counters Jenkins’ argument that indenture benefits the Indian people. In Those That Be in Bondage, Webber, who was of African and European descent, reveals an ambivalence toward empire. Though he was an advocate of Guianese independence, the depictions of his characters suggest that he accepts the colonial notion of a racialized hierarchy of civilization, with Britain at the top.

Bibliography

  1. Ali, Khalil Rahman. 2013. Sugar’s Sweet Allure. Hertfordshire: Hansib Publications.Google Scholar
  2. Atteck, Helen. 2004. Bound for Trinidad – An Historical Novel. St. Catharines, Ontario: Wanata Enterprises.Google Scholar
  3. Bahadur, Gaiutra. 2014. Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Beaumont, Joseph. 1871. The New Slavery: An Account of the Indian and Chinese Immigrants in British Guiana. London: W. Ridgway.Google Scholar
  5. British Guiana. 1870. Evidence and Proceedings: Commission of Enquiry into the Treatment of Immigrants. Ed. William E. Frere, Chairman. Georgetown, Demerara: “The Colonist” Newspaper.Google Scholar
  6. Cannadine, David. 2001. Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cudjoe, Selwyn R. 2009. Caribbean Visionary: A. R. F. Webber and the Making of the Guyanese Nation. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.Google Scholar
  8. Dabydeen, David. 2003. Introduction. In Lutchmee and Dilloo: A Study of West Indian Life, ed. David Dabydeen. Oxford: Macmillan Education.Google Scholar
  9. de Lisser, Herbert G. 1972. Jane’s Career: A Story of Jamaica. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  10. Fanon, Frantz. 2004. Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  11. Faruqee, Ashrufa. 1996. Conceiving the Coolie Woman: Indentured Labour, Indian Women and Colonial Discourse. South Asia Research 16 (1): 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guha, Ranajit. 1963. A Rule of Property for Bengal; An Essay on the Idea of Permanent Settlement. Paris: Mouton.Google Scholar
  13. Hall, Stuart. 1995. Negotiating Caribbean Identities. New Left Review 209: 3–14.Google Scholar
  14. Harris, Wilson. 1990. A Note on A. R. F. Webber’s Those That Be in Bondage. Callaloo 13 (1): 147–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jenkins, Edward. 1871a. The Coolie, His Rights and Wrongs. New York: George Routledge and Sons.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 1871b. The Colonial Question: Being Essays on Imperial Federalism. Montreal: Dawson Brothers.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 1871c. Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes. London: Strahan & Co.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2003. Lutchmee and Dilloo: A Study of West Indian Life. Edited by David Dabydeen. Oxford: Macmillan Education.Google Scholar
  19. Kale, Madhavi. 1992. Casting Labor: Empire and Indentured Migration from India to the British Caribbean, 1837–1845. PhD Diss., University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  20. Lloyd, David. 2000. Colonial Trauma/Postcolonial Recovery? interventions 2 (2): 212–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Look Lai, Walton. 1993. Indentured Labor, Caribbean Sugar. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Lowe, Lisa. 2015. The Intimacies of Four Continents. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Marx, Karl. 1986. Karl Marx: A Reader. Edited by Jon Elster. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  24. McKay, J.D. 1914. Under the Southern Cross: A Tale of Love and Missions. W.F. and H.M.S. (Eastern Division).Google Scholar
  25. Mittelhölzer, Edgar. 1970. Corentyne Thunder. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  26. Mohammed, Patricia. 2002. Gender Negotiations Among Indians in Trinidad, 1917–1947. New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pearson, J.D., ed. 1890. New Overseer’s Manual: or the Reasons Why of Julius Jugler. Georgetown: Argosy.Google Scholar
  28. Phillips, Leslie H.C. 1961. Single Men in Barracks: Some Memories of Sugar Plantation Life. Timehri 40: 23–24.Google Scholar
  29. Poynting, Jeremy. 1986a. East Indian Women in the Caribbean: Experience, Image and Voice. Journal of South Asian Literature 21 (1): 133–180.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 1986b. John Edward Jenkins and the Imperial Conscience. The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 21 (1): 211–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Roopnarine, Lomarsh. 2003. East Indian Indentured Emigration to the Caribbean: Beyond the Push and Pull Model. Caribbean Studies 31 (2): 97–134.Google Scholar
  32. Singh, Vishnudat. 1986. From Indentured Labourer to Anglo-Indian Immigrant: A Study of A.R.F. Webber’s Those That Be in Bondage. Caribbean Quarterly 32 (1/2): 47–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1999. A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Stoler, Ann Laura. 2002. Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule. Berkeley: University of California.Google Scholar
  35. Webber, A.R.F. 1931. Centenary History and Handbook of British Guiana. Georgetown, British Guiana: “The Argosy” Company.Google Scholar
  36. Webber, A.R. 1988. Those That Be in Bondage: A Tale of Indian Indentures and Sunlit Western Waters. Wellesley: Calaloux Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Klein
    • 1
  1. 1.Thompson Writing ProgramDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations