Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur is published by C Hurst and Co priced £ It is available from the Guardian. In , a young woman sailed from India to Guiana as a “coolie”—the British name for indentured laborers who replaced the newly emancipated slaves on. Coolie Woman. The Odyssey of Indenture. Gaiutra Bahadur. SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE ‘A genealogical page-turner interwoven with a.

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Coolie Woman – Wikipedia

To enter their unknown and to some extent unknowable history, I had to turn to alternative, unofficial sources. The ship pulled in beside a floating lightship at the mouth of the Demerara river, its waters muddy with silt carried from the interior, odgssey territory almost as undeveloped and lightly populated as when Raleigh explored.

The stories are both poignant and horrific: Indentured servants — Guyana — History — 20th century. Brahmans — Social conditions. My book focuses on the women in this group, two-thirds of whom had quit India without men by their sides.

It is solidly researched and as such it reveals the difficulty of understanding the human lives concealed within documents. Bahadur’s family left the island, whereas most of mine still remain in Jamaica. Missing from the written record, however, was her own testimony, the story in her own words of how she came to leave and who she truly was.

Nieman Foundation for Journalism.


Aug 23, Andrew Otis rated it really liked it. The amount of painstaking effort, patience and perseverance that must have gone into writing this book are mind boggling.

How could I write about women whose very existence the official sources barely acknowledged? The one thing that slowed and odyswey my reading of the book was the appallingly tiny font ofyssey used in the Indian edition of the book. A good read for anyone curious about the history of the West Indies and how Indians found themselves in South America and the Caribbean.

Carter, Marina 1 January The stealing of the voices of indentured women, born into the wrong class, race and gender to write themselves into history, was structural. Archived from the original on 5 April A remarkable project of important historical research.

Coolie Woman

A superb work, merging autobiography, family history and careful archival research into the bowels of empire. I haven’t read much about indentured labor in the British Empire but immediately want to after this book. From colonialism to odtssey in India, immigrant narratives to the hidden lives of women, Ms Bahadur excavates a rich and unforgettable set of stories that will permanently change our view of the past.

Sexual Fields Adam Isaiah Green. Exploitations on the voyage put a very gloomy picture of how coolies were treated anything but human. They paint landscapes, advance the plot, convey a tone. Andrea Stuart Literary Review.

Bahadur’s ancestors from India to the Caribbean. I found myself surprised because with many of these type of history books, focusing on a particular cultural group and written by a member of said group, there is a tendency to romanticize the story. When they exercised the power this gave them, some fell victim to the machete, in brutal attacks, often fatal, by men whom they spurned.


Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture

Retrieved 1 November The short story, told through the eyes of a bodyguard assigned to a politician in an unnamed Latin American country, is written almost entirely in question form.

South Asia Biography and Letters History: Clair, Port of Spain, Trinidad. Retrieved from ” https: Pregnant and traveling alone, this woman, like so many coolies, disappeared into history. Outside the USA, see our international sales information. Join our mailing list. The woman, who claimed no husband, was pregnant and travelling alone. A lyric essay previewing her current book project, which explores the idea of America through its 20th-century entanglements with her home country, runs in the current issue of colie Australian literary magazine The Griffith Review.

Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture by Gaiutra Bahadur

Bengali Women Manisha Roy. Return to Book Page. As a Odysssey it was an enlightening experience for me to learn about my ancestors and the plight to make a better life for themselves and the future generations of their families. What is commendable about this book is the research done by the author in the quest for tracing her roots.