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Status of female convicts under British colonial rule (Penal Settlement) in Andaman-India: An analysis

Biswas, Swapan Kumar (2014) Status of female convicts under British colonial rule (Penal Settlement) in Andaman-India: An analysis. In: 23rd International Conference of Historians of Asia 2014 (IAHA2014), 23 - 27 August 2014, Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia.

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British colonial expansion policy had brought the Andaman and Nicobar Islands under its control. As it was a gateway of Indian subcontinent, protection and control of these islands from foreign powers was the utmost priority of British Authority.By setting up the Andaman Penal Settlement, a permanent colony of convicts, the Britishers tried to welcome the families of the convicts from mainland India.To invite wives of the convicts and later on transporting the female convicts to Andaman was a well planned imperial policy.British colonial aggrandizement policy compelled the ordinary Indians to migrate as workforce in the newly built colonies.Accordingly, the British authorities instrumented the policy to transport prisoners from Indian jails to Penang, Burma, Malacca , Ceylon, Burma, Mauritius, Surya Nam, South Africa, Fiji to support workforce to develop industrial activities and thus the economy.Colonial policy was very regressive, especially, the Penal colonies had mercilessly devalued the status of Indian women. The position of convicted females was very pathetic and were used in many ways in these colonies .The females were brought forcefully to these colonial society to develop intimacy with civilians as entertainers , entertain petty officers and soldiers as prostitutes or to have marital relations with convicted prisoners in Penal Settlement in Andaman .Due to disproportion in sex ratio, a number of immoral and bad habits developed in the convicted society in Andaman. Most of these heinous crimes took place due to illegal connection or extramarital relations of wives with other males or vice-versa.The interest of the empire was to use these females for different purposes. In penal colony, the condition of females was very pathetic.The main objective behind their presence in the colony was to have sexual pleasure. Even the attitude of their male partners was not reliable.On many occasions the convicts used their wives for prostitution because even if they were caught they were not sent to jail.High rate of abandonment of convict-wives by male convicts was found when the latter were released from the Andaman.Hence, the abandonment had become a regular feature.The regretful plights were very common with convict wives, when the male ex-convicts abandoned their wives and children on disembarking the Port Towns. As a result many such unfortunate females either ended up in the brothels of Rangoon or Calcutta.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: ISBN 978-967-0474-77-9 Organized by: Universiti Utara Malaysia and Malaysian Historical Society (Persatuan Sejarah Malaysia).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Penal Settlement, Female convicts,Andaman,prostitution ,heinous crimes
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: School of International Studies
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2015 02:04
Last Modified: 12 May 2016 01:15

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