ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Call of the Funeral Pyre

Burning the Dead: Hindu Nationhood and the Global Construction of Indian Tradition by David Arnold, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021; pp 268, $70.

From Servitude to Underclass

Malaysian Indians form 7% of Malaysia’s population and 80% of them are descendants of the British Empire’s “coolies.” Though an integral part of the nation’s polity, they are a marginalised underclass. The roots for this lie in colonial capitalism and the postcolonial state’s race-based policies, which displaced them from their traditional plantation and public sector work enclaves, into low-paying jobs and poor housing. Successive governments have failed to ameliorate their suffering, offering them only political expediency for electoral gains. The coolies’ plight can be resolved through a class-based policy strategy that addresses the root cause of their social and economic precarity.

Japanese Occupation of Nicobar Islands

Primarily based on archival research, especially an unpublished diary of Nicobarese stalwart leader John Richardson, this article gives a glimpse of the sufferings that the Nicobarese endured under the Japanese colonial regime during World War II. The regime exposed the indigenes to war, slavery, torture, and executions. At the same time it engendered leadership in the Nicobar Islands which consolidated these historically isolated people into a community and ended their prolonged economic and sexual exploitation.
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