Dots on the Stones<sup>1</sup>

Mohammad Talib

in Writing Labour

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780198067719
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080083 | DOI:
Dots on the Stones1

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This chapter presents four case profiles of stone quarry workers in Delhi. These profiles, based on workers' oral accounts, suggest that there is no ‘pure’ social category of free workers, who exchange their only possession — their labour — for a wage to eke out subsistence. Instead, the workers featured in this chapter are people who may be living in families or households and, sometimes, in a state of indebtedness that curtails their freedom. The workers' personal profiles reveal what each worker considered to be most significant and specific about life in the stone quarry workers' community. The profiles contain elements of quiescence and protest, hope and despair. All four profiles point to a remarkable consistency in the workers' collective experience of poverty.

Keywords: personal profiles; labour; indebtedness; quiescence; hope; protest; despair; poverty

Chapter.  7502 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Occupations, Professions, and Work

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