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Breaking the Bonds of Indentureship


Dave Ramsaran


Large numbers of Indians were brought to Trinidad as indentured labourers in the post emancipation period to replace slave labour on the sugar plantations. Being employed in the least desirable jobs in the society and being culturally alien, they were relegated to the bottom rung of the social ladder and had few opportunities for social mobility. This book examines the successful entrepreneurs in the society.

The author describes the societal constraints imposed on the Indians in the period of indentureship and their attempts to break the bonds of indentureship by making use of the opportunities available to them on and around the plantation for advancement in the world of business. While some opted to accept the return passage to India at the end of their contractual period, others accepted land and cash in lieu of repatriation and utilized these assets to accumulate capital.

How Indians have achieved the current high level of involvement in business activities is examined through a survey in which questions were asked about the manner in which the resources of family, ethnicity, land and national financial and developmental institutions were used and with what effect. The findings of the survey are reported in the book.

Qualitative examples of the mechanisms used by some of the more successful Indo-Trinidadian business families to effect the transition from indentureship to full economic citizenship are described in nine case studies. Not only do the case studies flesh out the substance of the quantitative data generated by the survey, but they also provide reading that is interesting and informative.




976 618 016 4


US$12.00* TT$30.00 *US$ Inclusive of Handling & Postage


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