The New York Times Interview


A Conversation With Author Gaiutra Bahadur


Nov. 21, 2013


In “Coolie Woman,” the Guyanese-American journalist Gaiutra Bahadur excavates the forgotten story of her great-grandmother Sujaria and a quarter of a million women like her who left eastern India in the mid-1800s as indentured labor. The book, which was released last week in the United States and last month in India, is deeply personal yet assiduously researched. From the treacherous sea voyage to the colonial outpost of British Guiana to the sexual privileges conferred on indentured women as the scarcer sex, Ms. Bahadur reconstructs the “coolie” woman’s fate in astonishing detail.

In an email interview with The New York Times’ India Ink, Ms. Bahadur explained how the story of indentured women is “a lost history within a lost history,” as she put it.

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