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Gaiutra Bahadur

Gaiutra Bahadur is the author of Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture (University of Chicago Press, 2013), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Orwell Prize. Her reporting, criticism, and essays have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Nation, Dissent, Foreign Policy and Ms., among other publications. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Nieman Fellow, a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellow, and the 2016-2017 Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center/DuBois Institute.


Photograph by Gaiutra Bahadur

Hew Locke’s Wine Dark Sea

April 18, 2016

1. Nave (as in a church) has as its root the Medieval Latin word for ship, “navis.” The etymology cues a tradition dating back to at least the fifteenth century: Survivors of shipwrecks and captains prosperous at sea would donate miniature m [...]

Coolie Women Are in Demand Here

Spring 2011 | Memoir

Our journey took us past endless fields of flowering yellow along the northern banks of the Ganges. When we pulled into towns, we asked for directions, from children balancing loads three times their size on their heads, from crouching women tending baskets of cauliflower and eggplant by the roadside, from men in the stores that stared open-faced onto the street, framing a tailor at his sewing machine or a man pumping air into bicycle tires. We sought the guidance of random people on the route, turning to them as to a massive human compass. And they obliged. They pointed us along bumpy roads bracketed by tiny pastel altars made to worship the sun, until one man finally indicated a rocky path. "That way," he said.