Deconstructing the Colonialist Conception of Indentured Labour: Amitav Ghoshâ€™s Sea of Poppies as a Counter Historical Narrative
Keywords:Migration, Power, History, Postcolonial, Diaspora
The wide spread assumption among social scientists and historians was that indentured labour was essentially a new form of slavery. But, according to critic R.B. Allen, such assumptions only â€œretrace the colonialist and nationalist discourses in a contemporary formâ€ (Bates). He suggests the need for a careful examination of different migrant experiences from a subaltern perspective. Through his historical novel, Amitav Ghosh explores the journey of the first batch of Indian diaspora, the indentured labourers of the 19th century who supplied cheap labour to the British after slavery was abolished. This paper aims to explore indentured labour in Ghoshâ€™s Sea of Poppies and examines how this subject aids in making the novel a counter-historical narrative. It attempts to examine how Ghoshâ€™s novel serves to break the historical meta-narrative of migration by tracing the heterogeneity and the complex power structure embedded within the idea of a migrant community.
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