Amitav Ghosh: Sea of Poppies

(779 words)
  • John Thieme (University of East Anglia)

Sea of Poppies (2008) is set in the period when the economy of Bengal and the poppy fields along the banks of the Ganges were dominated by the East India Company’s monopoly of trade in Indian-grown opium and there are hints of the wars of the South China Seas to come. This, however, is only part of the novel’s agenda; the human story of this aspect of imperial commerce is intertwined with that of another tangled and shameful chapter in British history. The action takes place at the moment in the late 1830s, when, shortly after Emancipation, the plantations of the Caribbean, Mauritius and Fiji were in search of a new labour force and the system of indentureship came into being, with “coolies” signing girmits (a…

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Thieme, John. "Sea of Poppies". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 December 2008
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Indian Prose Fiction in English