Prison Labour in Colonial India: A Case Study of Assam

Main Article Content

Dimpy Das
Dr. Barnali Sarma

Abstract

This paper examines the attitude of the British government towards the prisoners of Assam. Moreover, it investigates the policies adopted by the government about prison labour.


Prisons in Colonial India were known as the ‘house of industries’ rather than the house of rehabilitation and the disciplinary system that existed inside the prison walls emphasised more on attaining profit by instrumenting various types of punitive labour and rigorous methods of punishment. Throughout the Colonial period, the rules for prison administration was shaped and reshaped according to the needs of the colonial state and prisoners were squeezed in the name of discipline through prison labour. In India, the idea of reformation was boastfully propagated but never fully implemented inside the prisons. Prison and prison labour in colonial India has been discussed over a period of time in various academic platforms; however, no such discussions were made on the context of prisons of Assam. Therefore, through this study, an attempt has been made to offer an overview of the recommendations of the Prison Reform Committees and its implementation about prison labour and manufactures.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Das, D., & Sarma, D. B. (2020). Prison Labour in Colonial India: A Case Study of Assam. Space and Culture, India, 8(1), 91-100. https://doi.org/10.20896/saci.v8i1.621
Section
Special Articles
Author Biography

Dr. Barnali Sarma, Gauhati University

Associate Professor, Department of History, Gauhati University

References

A Memorandum dietaries of labouring prisoners in Indian jails. (1878-79). Manuscript, Collected from Assam State Archives. Assam.
Arnold, D. (1994). The colonial prison: Power, knowledge and penology in nineteenth century India. In D. Arnold and D. Hardiman (Eds.), Subaltern studies VIII: Essays in honour of Ranajit Guha (pp. 148-179). New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.
Bernault, F. (2007). The shadow of rule: Colonial power and modern punishment in Africa. In I. Brown and F. Dikotter (Eds), Cultures of confinement: A history of the prison in Africa, Asia and Latin America (pp.55-94). New York, USA: Cornell University Press.
Bora, L. (1984). Mukti Jujar Sowaran (1st ed.). Guwahati: Publication Board of Assam.
Bose, S. (1940). The penal reform in India In Forward Bloc, 1 (30). 33-67.
Council resolution regarding discontinuance of oil pressing tasks in jails of Assam. (1931).
Manuscript, collected from Assam State Archives. Assam.
Das, A. K. (1983). Jivan-smriti (1st ed.). Guwahati: Publication Board of Assam.
Desai, A.R. (2010). Social background of Indian nationalism (6th ed.). Mumbai: Popular Prakashan Pvt. Ltd.
Flynn, N. (1998). Introduction to prisons and imprisonment (1st ed.). New York: Waterside Press.
Gibson, M. (2011). Global perspectives on the birth of the prison. In The American
historical review, 116(4), 1040-1063. doi: 10.1086/ahr.116.4.1040
Hunter, W. (1879). A statistical account of Assam (1st ed.). London: London Trubner & Co.
Inspection notes. HJ/45/1930. Manuscript, Collected from Assam State Archives. Assam.
Jail code J-82/1919-20 B- 652-54. Manuscript, Collected from National Archives of India. New Delhi.
Jail manufactures HJL 88/ 1914. Manuscript, Collected from Assam State Archives. Assam.
Kalita, B. (1994). Phulgurir dhewa (1st ed.). Nagaon: Rubi Press.
Kohn, Margaret and Reddy, Kavita (2017). Colonialism in the Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy Fall Edition. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2017/entries/colonialism/
Lichtenstein, A. (1996). Twice the work of free labor (1st ed.). London: Verso.
Manufacturing of Moonj mats. GJL/156/1934. Manuscript, Collected from Assam State Archives. Assam.
Muncie, J. (2001). Prison histories: Reform, repression and rehabilitation, In E. McLaughlin and J. Muncie (eds) Controlling crime, (2nd ed.) (pp. 172-198). London, UK: Sage publications.
Nagda, P. (2016). A socio-legal study of prison system and its reforms in India (Ph.D).
Mohanlal Sukhadia University.
Nandy, A. (1983). The intimate enemy: Loss and recovery of self under colonialism (1st ed.) New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Nicholas, S. (1990). Australia: An economical prison?. The economic history
review, 43(3), 470. doi: 10.2307/2596944
Notes on jail matter. H/J 34C/1883. Manuscript, Collected from Jorhat District Office.
Phukan, M. (1998). Rise of the modern West (1st ed.). New Delhi: Macmillan India.
Report of the administration of the jail of the province of Assam. (1931). Manuscript, Collected from Assam State Archives. Assam.
Roychowdury, R. (2004). Black days in Andaman and Nicobar Island (1st ed.). Delhi: Manas Publications.
Rusche, G., & Kirchheimer, O. (2017). Punishment and social structure (10th ed.). Columbia: Columbia University Press.
Sarma, D. (1980). Herai jowa dinbor (1st ed.). Guwahati: Shree Guru Press.
Sarma, K. (1972). Krishna sarmar diary (1st ed.). Guwahati: Publication Board of Assam.
Sarma, P. (2018). Bilator galpa aru jailor jibon (1st ed.). Guwahati: Chandra Prakash Publication.
Shah, A., & Scherrer, C. (2017). The political economy of prison labour: From penal
welfarism to the penal state. Global labour journal, 8(1). doi: 10.15173/glj.v8i1.2774
Treatment of political prisoners. Aug 827/1934. Manuscript, Collected from West Bengal Archives. West Bengal.
Treatment of political prisoners in jail. (1921). Home/Confidential II (b). Manuscript, Collected from Assam State Archives. Assam.
Vinacke, H. (2006). A History of the Far-East in modern times (6th ed.). New Delhi: Surjeet Publications.