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Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772-1843$
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Andrea Major

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781846317583

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317255

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‘This Household Servitude’: Domestic Slavery and Immoral Commerce

‘This Household Servitude’: Domestic Slavery and Immoral Commerce

(p.131) 4 ‘This Household Servitude’: Domestic Slavery and Immoral Commerce
Slavery, Abolitionism and Empire in India, 1772-1843
Liverpool University Press

This chapter challenges the paradigm of benign domestic slavery in India that was prevalent in metropolitan debates about slavery and abolition during the first forty years of the nineteenth century, focusing on the official East India Company records contained in the volume of Parliamentary Papers published in 1828. It argues that comfortable metropolitan assumptions of mild or benevolent slavery were deliberately selected and were not accurate reflections of the actual experiences of Indian slaves. The chapter highlights some of the inconsistencies and contradictions between the Board of Control's presentation of the typical Indian slave and those encountered by colonial officials ‘in the field’ in India. It begins by focusing on the abduction and subsequent claims for restoration of a female slave named Jummia before turning to the issues raised by this incident in the context of the Board of Control's image of the typical domestic slave.

Keywords:   India, slavery, abolition, East India Company, Parliamentary Papers, Board of Control, abduction, restoration, slaves

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