EMOTIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF CASTE SLAVERY: EXPLORING THE MISSIONARY WRITINGS ON KERALA

  • P. Sanal Mohan, Author Indian Institute of Advanced Study

Abstract

Compared to other parts of India, Kerala had a historically evolved form of caste slavery that made the slave caste men, woman and children objects of transaction. Anglican Missionaries belonging to the missionary organizations of the Church Missionary Society and the London Missionary Society, based in the native states of Travancore and Cochin in the nineteenth century wrote extensively on slave caste men, women and children highlighting their sufferings and oppression. Extensively used in the nineteenth and early twentieth century writings, the term slave castes denoted the communities such as the Pulayas, Parayas and Kuravas who were enslaved by the upper castes and exploited as chattel. In the colonial period Kerala was divided into three administrative units viz, the British Malabar, and the native states of Travancore and Cochin. The southern princely state of Travancore had as per 1836 census a slave population of 1,64,864 out of the total population of 1,280,663 (Saradamony, 81). In 1856 the Malabar region had 187,812 slaves out of a total population of 1,602,914 (Logan, 148) while Cochin State had in 1854 more than 50,000 slaves owned by landlords and 6,589 (Day, 65) owned by the government that together constituted one sixth of the total population. In addition to these castes, there were also numerically smaller communities that also would be treated as slave castes. Employed in the wetland paddy fields and dry lands, they provided the necessary labor to the landlords in cultivating their  lands in the pre-colonial and colonial times. These landlords, wereupper caste Hindus and traditional Syrian Christians. 

Published
2018-03-21
How to Cite
MOHAN, P. Sanal. EMOTIONS IN THE CONTEXT OF CASTE SLAVERY: EXPLORING THE MISSIONARY WRITINGS ON KERALA. Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 22, n. 2, p. 34-54, mar. 2018. ISSN 0972-1401. Available at: <http://iias.ac.in/ojs/index.php/shss/article/view/99>. Date accessed: 13 dec. 2018.