Foreign Elements and Orders in Colonial Assam: Tea, Enclosure, Migrant Labour and Labour Legislation

Foreign Elements and Orders in Colonial Assam: Tea, Enclosure, Migrant Labour and Labour Legislation

ABSTRACT

In the later part of the nineteenth century the tea plantations in Assam has witnessed an extensive growth alonwith the mobilization of the labour force. The recruitment and migration of the labour force involved extended miseries due to the unrestrained power of the contractors in the process of recruitment. Moreover, it has a long history of physical and social control of the labours in the tea gardens that pressurized the colonial government to intervene by taking certain legislative measures. On the basis of the archival source, the paper offers a historical analysis of the labour legislations enacted for the tea gardens and its labour force by the colonial government. It also probes into the effectiveness of the labour laws in safeguarding the interest of the labourers.

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