Coolitude: An Anthology of the Indian Labour Diaspora

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Anthem Press, 2002 - History - 248 pages

Coolitude is both an intellectual interpretation of and a poetic and artistic immersion into the world of the vanished coolie. This collection of previously unpublished texts, poems and sketches captures the essence of the Indian plantation experience and deconstructs traditional depictions of the status of the coolie in the British Empire.

The concept of 'coolitude' encompasses the experiences of first generation workers together with those of their descendants spread across the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean islands today. The symbolic value of the word lies in both the scope it gives us to interpret the specificities of the coolie experience and its use as a comparative tool. The book embraces 'coolitude' in its various incarnations: the shared experience of the voyaging migrants, the walk from village to port town and the weeks spent on board ship. All Coolies, irrespective of whether they went to Fiji, South Africa, the West Indies or the Indian Ocean islands, underwent an exile from their Indian homeland. 'Coolitude' emphasizes their shared history.

 

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Contents

I
1
II
17
III
45
IV
88
V
117
VI
143
VII
214
VIII
217
IX
227
X
240
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About the author (2002)

Marina Carter has worked and studied for many years in Mauritius, where she founded a pioneering NGO called the Centre for Research on Indian Ocean Societies (CRIOS). She was recently appointed as Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh.

Khal Torabully completed his PhD in Lyon in 1976. His interest in mosaic identity brought forward an innovative book, 'Cale d'étoiles-coolitude', the founding text of the coolie migration viewed from the sea voyage, as space of identity construction/deconstruction in the post-modernist sense.

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