chapter  5
39 Pages

Work, education, and mobility after freedom

WithMatthew Maycock

Prior to 2000, the Kamaiya were largely engaged in unskilled agricultural labour in rural areas. However, following freedom Kamaiya men are engaging in an increasing diversity of work, in an increasingly varied range of settings (including urban areas). Following the transition to freedom, Kamaiya men are competing with other poor Nepali men for daily wage labour, creating much uncertainty. This chapter includes a case study of a Kamaiya man who moved to a local urban area and was working as a rickshaw puller. Within the Kamaiya system, very few Kamaiya received formal education, and many remain illiterate following freedom. Formal education is only recently emerging as something that some Kamaiya are able to experience. Finally, prior to 2000, the Kamaiya as bonded labourers could not migrate as a direct consequence of the Kamaiya system of bonded labour. However, following freedom Kamaiya men are migrating in ways that were previously inconceivable.