The group of strong, young friends in their 20s, had all signed up for their foreign adventure when the wily recruiters passed through the farming village in Bancoorah District, West Bengal promising steady jobs and good money.
But within weeks of their May, 1838 arrival in British Guiana, the men quickly realised how reckless and naive they had been giving up their simple homes and valued freedom, when the ill-treatment and severe beatings – by a sadistic superintendent serving as sole interpreter thrust into a fresh position of power – intensified on the Vreed-en-Hoop sugar estate owned by prominent businessman and former British Member of Parliament John Gladstone.
From the low-ranking “cultivating, earth-working, and palanquin-bearing caste” called “Bauri/Bauria” recorded as “Bourree” in the historical files, the band of barefoot-brothers communicated in the obscure “Bauria” language, reflecting Rajasthani and Gujarati influences. They quietly started plotting permanent escape from the hot, hungry hell they had sailed to, following an almost four month-long voyage featuring cholera, death and extortion aboard the “Hesperus.”
Probably accustomed ….