The University of Cambridge is going to launch a first-ever fellowship into the history of indentured labour in India. The programme allows the most controversial system, which involves millions of Indians replacing the slavery system introduced during British colonialization.
Last week, Selwyn College appointed Guyanese-American Professor Gaiutra Bahadur, who is also the author of ‘Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture’. The book revolves around the lives of Indian women who became indentured labourers during British colonialization.
According to Bahadur, funding was not available in the area at the time she began conducting research in this field. Selwyn College and the Ameena Gafoor Institute, which researches indentureship and its legacy, worked closely to establish the programme that enables students to spend eight weeks conducting research at the university.
The duration of the programme is initially set to be five years.
According to David Dabydeen, the Guyanese poet, professor, novelist, and director of the Ameena Gafoor Institute, he remarked on the same thing. He considers the history and study of indentureship a valuable asset that is largely included in the syllabi of British and European universities.
The Institute for the Study of Labour and Employment claims that between 1834 and 1920, 2 million Indians and thousands more from across Asia, Africa, and Oceania suffered slavery under a system designed to replace enslaved African labour in the Caribbean and Mauritius through indenture, a temporary contract between employer and labourer. In the Cambridge Advisory Group, a recommendation was made according to which a study of indentureship and its legacies was suggested in the report ‘Legacies of Enslavement’. Further, it is expected that the funding will be raised eventually.