Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
In other directions, too, there is evidence that the labourer's liberty is incomplete. The workers, for the most part, live in lines to which the public have no right of access. Access is not ordinarily withheld in practice, but, whenever the manager considers it necessary, a watch is maintained on visitors, and there are almost always chaukidars, part of whose duty is to observe movements to and from the lines. It is contended by planters that no amount of vigilance can keep a labourer who is determined to leave; and chaukidars are probably employed more to prevent other employers from enticing labourers than to prevent the labourers themselves from leaving. At the same time, we had evidence that workers who wanted to leave even a good garden without permission found it advisable to do so by night. In speaking of a labourer who goes without permission the term universally used is " abscond "; and this term reflects accurately the position in which the labourer on some gardens finds himself when he wishes to seek employment elsewhere.