Arising From Bondage: A History Of Indo-Caribbean People

HISTORY (London, I.B.Taurus, 2000)

afbFullThis book is an epic story of the extra-ordinary perseverance and courage of the Indo-Caribbean people since their arrival in British Guiana in May 1838 as cheap, disposable labour to replace the emancipated African slaves. These are the East Indians, the indentured migrants from the Indian subcontinent who have contributed significantly in almost every sphere of life in the former British, French, Dutch and Spanish colonial territories.

But Arising from bondage is far more – it is a major contribution to diaspora history. It is the story of Indian peasants, uprooted and transported over the ‘black water’ to neo-slaver, risking the loss of religious and ethnic identity, regulated by a paternalistic colonial administration and yet building a distinct Indo-Caribbean identity. Their contribution to the political, socio-economic, religious and cultural life of the region ultimately extended to North America. With millions of people of South Asian descent living outside South Asia – the Indian diaspora – this work will complement studies of Indian populations in other parts of the world and will be placed at the centre of Caribbean historigraphy.

Arising from bondage fills a major gap and is a study based not only on official reports and papers but also on unpublished material from disparate British, Indian and Caribbean sources. With its invaluable bibliography it will be essential for students of Imperial history, labour history and migration studies and for those interested in the rich mosaic of cultures in the Caribbean. It will also attract general readers, bringing us closer to a more informed view and better understanding of the people and problems of the Caribbean.

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