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Tea Plantation Labour And Facades Of Healthcare In Munnar

Appropriation of the native people as labourers is an integral feature of colonial enterprises. It often tended to ignore the basic human needs of the subjugated.Colonial rulers started several plantations across India and Munnar tea estate is one among them. Large areas in the high ranges were deforested and migrant labourers were brought with their families. The adverseclimatic conditions in an alien land made life in the hills miserable for the labourers, especially for women and children.They were accommodated in congested coolie lanes, which were shared by other families.Contagious diseases were prevalent among them and many succumbed to death. This compelled the planters to take some measures against the health hazards. As the plantations were a separate entity in itself, intervention from government authorities was minimum. Yet the plight of the labourerscompelled the authority to enact some laws for the well being of the workers. In addition to these, some steps were taken by the planter community itself to enhance the health condition of the labourers.This paper dwells on the question whether there was any deliberate negligence on the part of colonial authorities or it was a natural result of the peculiar conditions inherent in the plantations?

Keywords: Climate, Contagion, Health, Migrant Labour, Colonialism, Labour Laws

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