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From hell to paradise?: voluntary transfer of convicts to the Andaman Islands, 1921–1940

By Taylor C. Sherman


The paper attempts to understand the challenges and opportunities which the penal settlement at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands presented to colonial governments in twentieth-century India. To this end, the paper examines a scheme drawn up in the 1920s which saw the introduction of a much more liberal regime for convicts in Port Blair. Under these plans, convicts were granted access to land and encouraged to bring their families from the mainland. This research reveals that the policies which determined the history of the settlement in this period were defined by two tensions. First, there was a constant battle between the central authorities and provincial governments over the shape and purposes of the settlement. Second, there was a contradiction between the penal objectives of the colony and the larger strategies which aimed to develop the islands for the greater British empire

Topics: DS Asia, HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1017/S0026749X08003594
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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