Colonising the Penal Capital: Locating The Bengali Convicts In Cosmopolitan British Malaya | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


This study focuses on two interrelated issues for “rediscovering” Bengali felons’ quotidian life in Malaysia and Singapore during the colonial period. First, it narrates the colonial policies regarding convicts’ labourers and their categorical ambiguities in the Straits Settlements. The second set of issues illustrates the transportation and governing system of the convicts and their integration process with mainstream society. By examining a range of archival and non-archival records, this study shows the inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility of convict labourers and the making of cosmopolitan society in British Malaya. Furthermore, it suggests that the Bengali convicts were significant among other South Asians, and this study opens up a new avenue of mobility and subaltern studies on Asia.


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