ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Freedom Denied-Indian Women and Indentureship in Trinidad and Tobago, 1845-1917

One of the long-held myths about Indian women immigrants in Trinidad and Tobago is that they migrated with their families under the power, authority and control of their male relatives and were docile and tractable. These views ignore the historical documentation on the 'Indian Women Problem' which confronted the colonial office as far back as 1845 when Indian indentureship to Trinidad began. Contemporary research in women's history has revealed that a large proportion of Indian women did make a conscious decision to seek a new life elsewhere. They came as workers and not as dependents. However, the planters saw women as 'unproductive' labour and policies facilitated their exploitation as cheap labour In addition the hierarchical social structure of the Brahminic- Sanskritic tradition brought about a conflation of interests between migrant Indian men and the colonial capital. Indian women in the colonies did not easily or willingly submit to these designs.
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