IJSSH 2015 Vol.5(9): 812-815 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2015.V5.562

Creating the 'Primitive': A Study of British Colonialism and Migrant 'Coolies' in the Tea Plantations of Assam Valley, 1860-1900

Anisha Bordoloi
Abstract—Most historical works have focused on the plantation as an economic venture which launched Assam on the passage of modernity with the advent of capitalism or as a political space defining the struggle between the workers and capitalists. This paper, however, views plantations as a political space where colonial ideas surrounding the ‘modern’ and the ‘primitive’ gets entrenched. This would help in understanding the deeper ramifications of the present condition of the labour community of plantations also known as ‘coolie’ who are mired in poverty, harsh working conditions and their treatment as outsiders in Assam even in the post-independence era of the country. It explores a complex process of subjugation which created and legitimized the kind of labour specific to the tea plantations of Assam. The paper views the plantations as a space where the relationship between the ruler and the ruled, the powerful and the powerless gets intensified.

Index Terms—Coolie, modern, primitive, tea plantations.

Anisha Bordoloi is with the Department of History, Faculty of Social Sciences University of Delhi, New Delhi (e-mail: anishabordoloi.8@gmail.com).

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Cite: Anisha Bordoloi, " Creating the 'Primitive': A Study of British Colonialism and Migrant 'Coolies' in the Tea Plantations of Assam Valley, 1860-1900," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 5, no. 9, pp. 812-815, 2015.

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