Convicts in the Indian Ocean: Transportation from South Asia by C. Anderson

By C. Anderson

Whilst the British took keep an eye on of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius quickly after the abolition of the slave exchange, they have been confronted with a labour-hungry and almost certainly adverse Franco-Mauritian plantocracy. This booklet explores the context within which Indian convicts have been transported to the island and positioned to paintings construction the infrastructure essential to gasoline the growth of the sugar undefined. Drawing on hitherto unexplored archival fabric, it really is proven how convicts skilled transportation and built-in into the Mauritian social and fiscal textile.

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Additional info for Convicts in the Indian Ocean: Transportation from South Asia to Mauritius, 1815–53

Sample text

60 A new circular on convict management ± `Instructions for the Officers in charge of working parties, relative to the Employment and Discipline of the Convicts' ± was simultaneously issued. It was reaffirmed that the convicts should be employed in public service only. Their hours of work were to be daybreak to 4 pm in summer and to 3 pm in winter. On Saturdays they were to finish work at noon. They were then to wash their clothes and bedding. On Sunday mornings, each working party would be inspected; convicts were to appear `perfectly clean in their persons and dress'.

When the first group of convicts arrived in Mauritius, they were numbered and then placed under the control of the Procureur GeÂneÂral and Chief of Police, M. Virieux. They were unchained, except for a single ring. 11 The first convicts were thus a relatively distinct group. For this reason, although penal dress was at this time being developed in Australia,12 Indian convicts in Mauritius were not required to wear a demarcating uniform. In any case, almost half of the Bengal convicts were tattooed on their forehead by the process known as godna.

The amount of labour to ensure moral reformation was calculated proportionately, the 9±10 hours daily prescribed conveniently corresponding to a hard working day. 3 This combination ± removing, working and disciplining convict bodies ± was viewed as key to the success of transportation as a penal strategy. The importance of convict labour was also underlined. 4 The relationship between discourse, practice and effect within historical relationships, however, is often less straightforward than is 34 C.

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