Centre for Historical Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University
organising a lecture on
Concubinage, Race, and Law in Early Colonial Bengal
Dr. Ruchika Sharma
Mata Sundari College, University of Delhi
On 27th September 2023
in Room No. 326, CHS, SSS-III at 3 PM.
Abstract: The presentation will analyze the history of interracial households and domestic relations that British men came to establish with native Indian women in early colonial Bengal. On the basis of a large number of wills left by the British men who came to India in an official or economic capacity, it will be demonstrated that these wills were unique personal records in which men penned down details of their native mistresses, household objects, everyday affairs, and non-marital cohabitation. Issues of theft, violence, rape, bequeathment, and property rights which the women had to contend with, and the experiences of the mixed-race children who were a product of these relationships are some of the themes that will be discussed.
Dr. Ruchika Sharma is currently an Assistant Professor in History at Mata Sundri College. She was awarded the 'Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Book Writing Fellowship’ in 2019. Dr. Sharma has published widely on themes of mixed-race domesticities, legal archives, nautch women, European travel literature, literary figures of sakhi/duti in the Riti poetry, and service culture. An expert on the history of gender in medieval and early modern India, Dr. Sharma is the author of a monograph titled Concubinage, Race and Law in Early Colonial Bengal. Bequeathing Intimacy, Servicing the Empire, recently published by Routledge, Taylor, and Francis Group.