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    The remittance cultures of Indian labourers: the Punjab 1850-1947.

    Bibi, Sugra (2022) The remittance cultures of Indian labourers: the Punjab 1850-1947. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    The dissertation focuses on the remittance flows of Punjabi labourers as they voluntarily and involuntarily migrated to new places between 1850 and 1947. Migrant labour circulated around the province towards the canal colonies and urban areas, and further afield to the Persian Gulf with the military, and to the plantation economies of the West Indies. Once situated, they remitted their savings back to their village. These, alongside visits home, served to reinforce the connectedness and familial ties between the labourers and the villages. This research examines how labourers remitted their savings, the indigenous and modern architectures they used, and whether they adopted the emerging technologies. I look at how remittances were spent by those receiving and sending these, and the extent to which these supported changes back in the village. Although the primary subject of the thesis is remittances, the related aspects of subaltern lives and livelihoods have also been dealt with as far as possible, including the practical considerations and labour-related conditions that impacted labourers’ working lives. Moreover, social and political contexts influenced the flows of labourers and this dissertation explores the impact of these on the lived reality of labourers. Though there exists a deep historiography of the migration of merchants and labourers around the Indian Ocean, the remittances of labourers are mentioned in the context of other topics. This research focusses on labourers’ financial histories. It unearths archival materials and engages with oral narratives to show that throughout this period, labourers used both indigenous technologies and modern systems and were never fully integrated into modern systems; and modern technologies never superseded indigenous systems. The remittances were used in different ways and sometimes supported changes in labourers’ lives. Overall, modernity transformed the remittances of labourers and in turn the remittances of labourers massively subsidised the financial flows of the State.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 12 May 2022 15:22
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:33


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