Title

Finding Lascar ‘Wilful Incendiarism’: British Ship-Burning Panic and Indian Maritime Labour in the Indian Ocean

Abstract

From the 1790s to the 1850s, three dozen major merchant ships burned in India's important ports. Panic-stricken British shipowners, merchants and East India Company officials apprehended disruption of their intercontinental trade, so vital to the burgeoning British Empire. In all these cases, they accused Indian seamen (lascars) of selfish ship-burning. As a context, the lascars had, for centuries prior to European arrival in the Indian Ocean, worked collectively under their own petty officers. They and Indian recruiters in each port had long resisted colonial efforts to appropriate their maritime labour system. Britons used this half-century of alleged arson to finally impose British controls over lascar recruitment ashore and conditions of service aboard ships.

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Publication Date

3-1-2012

Publication Title

South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

Department

History

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1080/00856401.2011.635590

Keywords

Lascar, Arson, Bombay, East India Company, Indian Ocean, Maritime labour, Merchant shipping, Ship-burning

Language

English

Format

text

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS