Indian Indentureship

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Madhdvie Bhagwandeen
Professor Mangru
History 277
Exam III

After the Emancipation in the Caribbean in 1824, the British brought Indians to the Caribbean through indenture ship. They were given a five year contract as an indentured laborer, with the condition of returning home (India) with a free passage. Many were not given this opportunity for various reasons. Indian immigration in British Guiana came to a halt but reopened in 1845. While working on the plantations, indentured laborers were subject to many labor laws that were forced upon them by planters. These laws controlled there every movement; and although they were brought over to a foreign land to work for wages, they were still incompetent and had to depend on the plantations to survive.

“The plantations East Indians worked and lived on were like prisons without walls”. Laws were passed on nearly everything a worker did, even on actions you would not even think is punishable. Indentured workers were given five tasks per week to complete and at the same time, they were to follow the labor laws. If they disobeyed the laws they were fined and/or faced imprisonment. Many of the planters, who were against the abolishment of slavery, took this chance to take full advantage of these laws and punished these workers for any little error they might have undertaken. Indians were not used to doing task work, so they worked a bit slower that durable Black workers. Although they were paid for whatever they finished for the week, some were still accountable for punishment because they did not complete a whole week’s worth of tasks. Workers were also fined and/or imprisoned for not attending or wanting to work. Besides those actions, an employer could bring legal action against the workers for negative behavior, threats towards the employer, being physically and verbally abusive and for desertion. As for desertion and refusing to attend roll call, if a worker was fined for that action, it would be about $24...
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