• Abstract

    In the early nineteenth century, several indentured laborers and their descendants were exposed to political, social, and cultural shifts and instabilities that perpetuated over the decades. Simultaneously, in the pandemic era of COVID-19 and the colonial period, women workers had to overcome numerous hurdles, as they migrated without proper sustenance. The main objective of this study was to examine the working conditions, physical and psychological conditions, and sustenance of contracted laborers, especially migrant women, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them are inequality in the labor markets, domestic workloads and workspaces, sexual abuse, mobility crises, child abuse, xenophobic attitudes, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). By adopting a qualitative approach and critical examination, it is observed that the vulnerabilities of low-skilled women, the exploitation of migrant labor, as a matrix of identities, behaviors and power relationships are discernible in capitalist expansion, and the disparities that they induce while taking into account how the market mimics the prevalent sexual division of labor.

  • References

    1. Agarwala, H., & Kaur-Ghumaan, S. (2021). Agarwala and Ghumaan_Covid-19_Impact of Covid-19 on women in South Asia. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/6ycqz
    2. Akbar, Muhammad-Najm. (2022). Indian Indentured Labor to Fiji, 1879 to 1920: the Impact of the Caste System on Indian Indentured Laborers and Their Descendants. California State University, Fresno. https://www.proquest.com/openview/915e29047868e7d8fa59d0cd27388c52/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
    3. Al Rasheed, J. (2023). “Still dreaming”: Exploring the experiences of employment and discrimination in female, Muslim migrant communities globally [University of Pittsburgh ETD, University of Pittsburgh]. http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/44648/
    4. Andrews, M. A., Areekal, B., Rajesh, K. R., Krishnan, J., Suryakala, R., Krishnan, B., Muraly, C. P., & Santhosh, P. V. (2020). First confirmed case of COVID-19 infection in India: A case report. The Indian journal of medical research, 151(5), 490–492. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_2131_20
    5. Aspers, P., & Corte, U. (2019). What is Qualitative in Qualitative Research. Qualitative Sociology, 42(2), 139–160. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-019-9413-7
    6. Azeez E P, A., Negi, D. P., Rani, A., & A P, S. K. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on migrant women workers in India. Eurasian Geography and Economics, 62(1), 93–112. https://doi.org/10.1080/15387216.2020.1843513
    7. Baas, M. (2020). Labour Migrants as an (Un)Controllable Virus in India and Singapore. The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 18(14). https://apjjf.org/2020/14/Baas.html
    8. Basu, R. (2020). Kunti’s cry: Responses in India to the cause of emigrant women, Fiji 1913–16. Studies in People’s History, 7, 180–191. https://doi.org/10.1177/2348448920951547
    9. Bondarenko, S. I. (2022). Gender differentiation on the international labour market. Sumy State University. https://essuir.sumdu.edu.ua/handle/123456789/88044
    10. Calabrò, D. G., Kant, R., Maharaj, S., & Kaur, J. (2022). Behind the Mask: Intersectional (In)Visibility of Indo-Fijian Queer Experiences. In M. Texler Segal & V. Demos (Eds.), Gender Visibility and Erasure (Vol. 33, pp. 33–50). Emerald Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-212620220000033010
    11. Chander, R., Murugesan, M., Ritish, D., Damodharan, D., Arunachalam, V., Parthasarathy, R., Raj, A., Sharma, M. K., Manjunatha, N., Bada Math, S., & Kumar, C. N. (2021). Addressing the mental health concerns of migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: An experiential account. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 67(7), 826–829. https://doi.org/10.1177/0020764020937736
    12. Chatterjee, E., & Desai, S. (2020). Physical versus Imagined Communities: Migration and Women’s Autonomy in India. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46(14), 2977–2996. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2019.1585016
    13. Chirico, F., Heponiemi, T., Pavlova, M., Zaffina, S., & Magnavita, N. (2019). Psychosocial Risk Prevention in a Global Occupational Health Perspective. A Descriptive Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(14), 2470. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142470
    14. Das, R., & Kumar, N. (2020). Chronic crisis: Migrant workers and India’s COVID-19 lockdown | South Asia@LSE. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/southasia/2020/04/08/chronic-crisis-migrant-workers-and-indias-covid-19-lockdown/
    15. Dubey, S., Biswas, P., Ghosh, R., Chatterjee, S., Dubey, M. J., Chatterjee, S., Lahiri, D., & Lavie, C. J. (2020). Psychosocial impact of COVID-19. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome, 14(5), 779–788. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsx.2020.05.035
    16. Daniel, E., Roxanna;Essien,Lawrence S. ;Levinstein,Michael. (2022). U.S. labor market shows improvement in 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on the economy: Monthly Labor Review: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly Labour Review. https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2022/article/us-labor-market-shows-improvement-in-2021-but-the-covid-19-pandemic-continues-to-weigh-on-the-economy.htm
    17. Bordoloi, M., Pandey, S., & Farooqui, M. (2020, November 25). Social Security for Informal Workers in India. CPR. https://cprindia.org/briefsreports/social-security-for-informal-workers-in-india/
    18. Straubhaar, P. A. F., Reiner Martin, Thomas. (1997). Interdependencies between Development and Migration. In International Migration, Immobility and Development. Routledge.
    19. Ganguly, A. (2021). A Study of Internal Migration and External Migration of the Indentured Labourers in Colonial India:Understanding the Making of Coolies with Reference to Selected Bangla Literary Texts. Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism, 7(3).
    20. Gogoi, G., & Nath, K. (2023). Inter-State Migrations in North-East India: A Statistical Analysis. Resmilitaris, 13(2), Article 2.
    21. Irudaya Rajan, S., Sivakumar, P., & Srinivasan, A. (2020). The COVID-19 Pandemic and Internal Labour Migration in India: A ‘Crisis of Mobility’. The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 63(4), 1021–1039. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41027-020-00293-8
    22. Jatav, M., & Nair, J. (2022). Determinants of Participation in India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Three Southern States. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 58(7), 00219096221076111. https://doi.org/10.1177/00219096221076111
    23. Jayaram, N. (2019, December 14). Protection of Workers’ Wages in India: An Analysis of the Labour Code on Wages, 2019 | Economic and Political Weekly. Engage. https://www.epw.in/engage/article/protection-workers-wages-india-labour-wage-code
    24. Joji, S. (2022). Indian Indentured Diasporic formations: An Exploration into Coolie Migration [Thesis, St.Teresa’s college (Autonomous), Ernakulam]. http://localhost:8080/xmlui/handle/123456789/2115
    25. Kataoka, Masaki. (2022). Reconceptualization of Girmit Memory: Fiji’s Response to the Re-evaluation of the Colonial Past. Práticas da História. Journal on Theory, Historiography and Uses of the Past (15): 151-182. https://doi.org/10.48487/pdh.2022.n15.30059
    26. Dalmia, S., & Lawrence, P. (2005). The Institution of Dowry in India: Why It Continues To Prevail. The Journal of Developing Areas, 38, 71–93. https://doi.org/10.1353/jda.2005.0018
    27. Khoo, S.-E., Smith, P. C., & Fawcett, J. T. (1984). Migration of Women to Cities: The Asian Situation in Comparative Perspective. International Migration Review, 18(4), 1247–1263. https://doi.org/10.1177/019791838401800417
    28. Krishna, P., & Raj, A. (2022). Health Condition of Internal Migrants in India: A Review. Indian Journal of Human Development, 16(1), 169–179. https://doi.org/10.1177/09737030221101567
    29. Kukkakorpi, M., & Pantti, M. (2021). A Sense of Place: VR Journalism and Emotional Engagement. Journalism Practice, 15(6), 785–802. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2020.1799237
    30. Kumar, N., Udah, H., Francis, A., Singh, S., & Wilson, A. (2022). Indian Migrant Workers’ Experience During the COVID-19 Pandemic Nationwide Lockdown. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 57(5), 911–931. https://doi.org/10.1177/00219096211046278
    31. Kumar, R. (2020). Migrant in my own country: The long march of migrant workers in India during the COVID-19 pandemic 2020—Failure of postcolonial governments to decolonize Bihar and rebuild Indian civilization after 1947. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 9(10), 5087. https://doi.org/10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2045_20
    32. Lusome, R., & Bhagat, R. B. (2020). Migration in Northeast India: Inflows, Outflows and Reverse Flows during Pandemic. The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 63(4), 1125–1141. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41027-020-00278-7
    33. M. R., Anjali, & Chaudhary, P. (2023). Gendered Space and Alpha Male in The Great Indian Kitchen (2021). Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 0(0), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/10509208.2023.2274787
    34. Mini, D. S., & Baishya, A. (2022). Reimagining the Migrant in the Time of Pandemic (pp. 34–43). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003262251-7
    35. Miyamura, S. (2021). Turbulence ahead: Labour and struggles in times of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. Canadian Journal of Development Studies / Revue Canadienne d’études Du Développement, 42(1–2), 165–177. https://doi.org/10.1080/02255189.2021.1894415
    36. Raju, P., Abraham, R., & Jain, S. (2022, September 16). Code of Wages Act, 2019 | PDF | Wage | Employment. Mondaq. https://www.scribd.com/document/599233217/Code-of-Wages-Act-2019
    37. Nedelcu, M., & Soysüren, I. (2022). Precarious migrants, migration regimes and digital technologies: The empowerment-control nexus. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 48(8), 1821–1837. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1796263
    38. Pandey, S. (2023). Relocating Cultural Identity: Pattern and Conditions of Indian Diaspora in Fiji. In Literature of Girmitiya (pp. 145–177). https://ouci.dntb.gov.ua/en/works/7XGypEq9/
    39. Parray, I. (2021). Humour in the Age of Contagion: Coronavirus, ‘Janata Curfew’ Meme and India’s Digital Cultures of Virality. In S. Mpofu (Ed.), Digital Humour in the Covid-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from the Global South (pp. 279–293). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-79279-4_13
    40. Pillai, D., & Dam, L. (2020). Saga of Migrant Workers in India: Measures to Strengthen Social Security (SSRN Scholarly Paper 3784814). https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=3784814
    41. Raghunathan, R. (2022). Migrant Intimacies and Ambiguities of Law: The Case of Wife Enticement Among Indians in Colonial Singapore, 1900–1940. Gender & History, 34(1), 135–152. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12523
    42. Sebastian, I. R., & Kumar, P. (2020). A Long Haul: Revisiting International Migration from India during the 19th and 20th Centuries. In Shaping India (1st ed., pp. 295–319). Taylor & Francis. http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780367818128-16
    43. Salangi, Mohammad Mullah. (2022). A Brief Study of Sati Custom in India. Bulletin of History, 104 (1): 12-17. https://doi.org/10.26577/JH.2022.v104.i1.02
    44. Sarkar, T. (2021). Strishiksha, or Education for Women. In Gender and Education in India, 98-123. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003191612
    45. Sen, M. (2023). COVID-19: Impact on migrant Workers in India. Ournal of Emerging Technologies and Innovative Research, 10(1), c513–c518. https://www.jetir.org/view?paper=JETIR2301267
    46. Shahare, V. B. (2020). Covid-19 Lockdown and Fate of Migrant Labours in Delhi. Journal of Advanced Research in Humanities and Social Science, 7(1), 9–13. https://doi.org/10.24321/2349.2872.202001
    47. Srivastava, R. (2020, August 24). Understanding Circular Migration in India: Its Nature and Dimensions, the Crisis under Lockdown and the Response of the State. K. N. Raj Library - Content Alerts. https://knrajlibrary.wordpress.com/2020/08/24/understanding-circular-migration-in-india-its-nature-and-dimensions-the-crisis-under-lockdown-and-the-response-of-the-state/
    48. S., S., & Sudha, S. (2020). India’s Initiative: One Nation One Ration. 10(7), 148–152.
    49. Terrazas, J., & Blitchtein, D. (2022). Rural–urban migration as a factor associated with physical and sexual intimate partner violence Peru 2015–2017: A secondary analysis of a national study. BMC Women’s Health, 22(1), 67. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-022-01648-7
    50. Teweldebrihan, M. D., Pande, S., & McClain, M. (2020). The dynamics of farmer migration and resettlement in the Dhidhessa River Basin, Ethiopia. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 65(12), 1985–1993. https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2020.1789145
    51. The Wire. (2022). How Many Migrant Workers Left Cities During the COVID-19 Lockdown? (2022, June 20). https://thewire.in/labour/how-many-migrant-workers-left-cities-during-the-covid-19-lockdown
    52. Yadav, S., & Priya, K. R. (2021). Migrant Workers and COVID-19: Listening to the Unheard Voices of Invisible India. Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, 70(1), 62–71. https://doi.org/10.1177/2277436X20968984

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2024 Malque Publishing

How to cite

Rani, A. M., & Chaudhary, P. (2024). Lives and sustenance of migrant Indian women in Indenture and COVID-19. Multidisciplinary Reviews, 7(5), 2024095. https://doi.org/10.31893/multirev.2024095
  • Article viewed - 142
  • PDF downloaded - 91