Your Obedient Servant?

Peter Robb

in Sentiment and Self

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780198075127
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080878 | DOI:
Your Obedient Servant?

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This chapter discusses the working law, master–servant relations, household intimacies, and crime and punishments. It discusses the regulation of labour and employment in colonial Calcutta and their effect on both the masters and servants. The general lot of servants showed the character of Richard Blechynden's household. Master, guests, bibis, servants, and children constituted the household, and important aspects of its character were determined by the ways in which servants were treated. In Blechynden's case, master-servant relations were a mixture of indulgence, sentiment, and censure on all sides. Contract was important to Blechynden as an idea; but above all, he was concerned with purposeful management and schedules. Breaches of trust, the irritations of poor timekeeping, unreliability, and dishonesty that comprised the servants' contractual failures became stereotypes of the Indian worker in European minds.

Keywords: master–servant relations; contracts; Indian character; Richard Blechynden; colonial Calcutta

Chapter.  15966 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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