Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Story of Gulab: A Boy Trapped in Bonded Labour

This is not the story of rose – this is Gulab working as virtually Gulaam (slave) though formal slavery was/is not there in India. Some of the labourers remain attached to land, some tied, some bonded, some forced, some unpaid and so on. Gubal comes from Prajapati sub-caste that is from the bottom caste in Uttar Pradesh. And caste is a major determining factor in UP.
Gulab has his non-working parents, home-maker wife, one son, two brothers and one sister – all dependent on the income that Gulab earns subject to the mercy of the administration of the social science research Institute where he is temporarily engaged as a helper in the Mess. Gulab does not dare to question his labour that remains unpaid – the labour that he has to release from his residue energy in the house of the administrator of the Institute every day after his normal working hours are over (pl. don’t read it as sale of labour power). Gulab’s labour is compensated at a rate more than the minimum wage rate fixed for the labourers in UP. Per month he expects to earn Rs. 6,500. Per capita per month income comes to be around Rs. 800, or less than Rs. 30 per capita per day. I did not ask him how could he manage his household expenditure – these people remain in fear; lest they talk much with me they may invite danger.  My understanding is Gulab has accepted his life at this level as fait accompli. He hopes that his son will come out from this poverty-vulnerability one day. I am not sure. Are you?

Bhaskar Majumdar

Bhaskar Majumdar

Bhaskar Majumder is at present Professor of Economics in G.B. Pant Social Science Institute. Previously he served as Professor and Head of the Centre for Development Studies, Central University of Bihar, Patna. He got his Graduation, Master's Degree, M. Phil., Ph.D., all in Economics, from the University of Calcutta. He is engaged in teaching and research for more the past 39 years in Calcutta, Allahabad and Patna in a number of Institute and Universities.
Professor Majumder has written and published so far nine books on social sector. He has authored so far sixty nine research papers in around twenty referred journals. In addition, he has contributed thirty chapters in books on social sciences, apart from several review articles for journals and magazines, plus publications in national and international Conference proceedings. He has so far completed 23 research projects sponsored and supported by World Bank, Ministry of Rural Development (GoI), Planning Commission, ICSSR (GoI), Industries including NTPC and Tata Chemicals. Many students got D.Phil. from the University of Allahabad under his supervision.
Bhaskar Majumdar

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