Coolies

Railway Porter

Railway Porter

Like the backs of many Dhurandhar cards, this one bears the blind stamp and price ["A.H.W. Rs. 0-1-0," e.g. 1 anna] of A.H. Wheeler & Co., at 47 Hornby Road, the bookstall chain and contractor for advertising on Indian Railways.

Calcutta Coolies

Calcutta Coolies

[Original caption] Calcutta Coolies. The Coolies of Calcutta, otherwise porters or carriers, are men of fine physique, and are able to carry exceptionally heavy weights supported on their heads.

A Hill Coolie Girl

A Hill Coolie Girl

Although a coolie – "a hired labourer, or burden-carrier"(Hobson-Jobson, p. 249) – were at the bottom of the social ladder, and the word is said to originally come from Kolis, a hill-people in the Western Ghats, "whose savagery, filth and general

Coolie with his Basket

Coolie with his Basket

A postcard by the great Indian painter M.V. Dhurandhar illustrating an Englishwoman looking over a coolie offering his services with an empty basket. Note the cleverly positioned Indian woman with a basket on her head in the background.

The message

A Hill Coolie Girl

A Hill Coolie Girl

"The professional photographers of Darjeeling generated innumerable prints depicting those whose toil supported the lifestyles of the colonialists in their homes and businesses, and who created products they loved to consumer," writes Claire Harris

Simla Timber Coolie

Simla Timber Coolie

Kolkata-based Bourne & Shepherd was one of the oldest photographic studios in India, and certainly one of the most famous, having built its reputation on the albumen photography of Samuel Bourne during the 1860s.

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