Women and Labour in Late Colonial India: The Bengal Jute Industry

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Cambridge University Press, May 6, 1999 - History - 265 pages
Samita Sen's history of labouring women in Calcutta in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries considers how social constructions of gender shaped their lives. Dr Sen demonstrates how - in contrast to the experience of their male counterparts - the long-term trends in the Indian economy devalued women's labour, establishing patterns of urban migration and changing gender equations within the family. She relates these trends to the spread of dowry, enforced widowhood and child marriage. The book provides insight into the lives of poor urban women who were often perceived as prostitutes or social pariahs. Even trade unions refused to address their problems and they remained on the margins of organized political protest. The study will make a signficant contribution to the understanding of the social and economic history of colonial India and to notions of gender construction.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Migration recruitment and labour control
21
womens work in the rural economy
54
womens work in the mills
89
4 Motherhood mothercraft and the Maternity Benefit Act
142
wives widows and prostitutes
177
6 Workingclass politics and womens militancy
213
Select bibliography
248
INDEX
264
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Christopher Alan Bayly was born on May 18, 1945 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, United Kingdom. He graduated from St Antony's College. He was the pre-eminent historian of India and the British Empire and a pioneer of the field of global history. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including The Local Roots of Indian Politics; Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars; Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire; Imperial Meridian; Empire and Information; The Origins of Nationality in South Asia; The Birth of the Modern World; and Recovering Liberties. In 2005, he received the Wolfson prize for history for his entire body of work. In 2007, he was the first scholar to be knighted "for services to history outside of Europe." He died of a heart attack on April 18, 2015 at the age of 69.

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