Bechu: 'Bound Coolie' Radical in British Guiana 1894-1901 (Paperback)
Now who was this Bechu? He was, in Seecharan's words, "an indefatigable gadfly," who in letters to the local press revealed the conditions of Indian indentureship: poor wages, sexual exploitation of women by overseers and managers, and the virtual impossibility for Indians to obtain justice because of the collusion between colonial authorities and the planters. This knowledge we owe to economic historian Alan Adamson who "discovered" Bechu in the 1960s. Yet the man himself remained somewhat of a mystery, something Bechu himself seems to have cultivated. Seecharan has now filled a number of lacunae in our understanding with this two-part volume. The first section focuses on Bechu and the British Guianese environment in the late nineteenth century, while the second part includes letters and memoranda by Bechu (and reactions to them by local opponents).