The Anglo Indian Enigma

The Anglo Indian Enigma

The Anglo Indian Enigma

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I have lived my life with the Anglo Indian community since my childhood days at Wodehouse Road and later Strand Cinema , a community that has got a very raw deal from the government and a system that sucks.

The written word my spoken English I owe to my earliest contacts with the Anglo Indian community ,

One of my finest frend was Lorraine Rhubottom , from Grants Building , she molded my personality to a large extent we worked at Treasurs of India at Dhanraj Mahal early 70s.

I dont thnk I could have reached this far without my association wth her , her family .

The other person who helped me along the way was Betty Talent ..

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anglo-Indians are people who have mixed Indian and British ancestry or people of British descent born or living in India, now mainly historical in the latter sense.[7][8] The British residents in India used the term "Eurasians" for people of mixed European and Indian descent (cf. George Orwell’s Burmese Days).

The Anglo-Indian community in its modern sense is a distinct, small minority community originating in India. They consist of people from mixed British and Indian ancestry whose native language is English. An Anglo-Indian’s British ancestry was usually bequeathed paternally.

Article 366(2) of the Indian Constitution defines Anglo-Indian as "a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or was born within such territory of parents habitually resident therein and not established there for temporary purposes only".[9][10] This definition extends "Anglo-Indian" to include Indians of purely European (male) ancestry.

This definition also embraces the descendants of the Indians from the old Portuguese colonies of both the Coromandel and Malabar Coasts, who joined the East India Company as mercenaries and brought their families with them.[11] Similarly the definition includes mestiços (mixed Portuguese and Indian) of Goa and people of Indo-French, and Indo-Dutch descent.[12]

Anglo-Indians formed a significantly small portion of the minority community in India before independence, but today more live outside India than within it. Their numbers in India have dwindled significantly as most emigrated to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and, to a lesser extent, Canada and the United States

The term Anglo-Indian was also used in common parlance in Britain during the colonial era to refer to those people (such as Rudyard Kipling, or the hunter-naturalist Jim Corbett) who were of strictly British descent, but were born and raised in India, usually because their parents were serving in the colonial administration or armed forces;[13] "Anglo-Indian", in this sense, was synonymous with "domiciled British".

The term should not be confused with the similar-sounding "Indo-Anglian," an adjective applied to literature in English produced by Indian authors.[14]

[edit] History
[edit] India
The first use of the term was to describe all British people living in India. This is the definition contained in the Indian Constitution. However in popular usage the term changed to describe Anglo-Indians as people who were of mixed blood descending from the British on the male side and women from the Indian side.[13] People of mixed British and Indian descent were previously referred to as ‘Eurasians’ but are now more commonly referred to as ‘Anglo-Indians’.[15]

During the British East India Company’s rule in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it was initially fairly common for British officers and soldiers to take local Indian wives and have Eurasian children, due to a lack of British women in India at the time.[16][17] By the mid-19th century, there were around 40,000 British soldiers but less than 2,000 British officials present in India.[18] As British females began arriving to British India in large numbers around the early to mid-19th century, mostly as family members of British officers and soldiers, intermarriage became increasingly uncommon among the British in India and was later despised after the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857,[19] after which several anti-miscegenation laws were implemented.[20][21] As a result, Eurasians were neglected by both the British and Indian populations in India.

Over generations, Anglo-Indians intermarried with other Anglo-Indians to form a community that developed a culture of its own. Anglo-Indian cuisine, dress, speech and religion all served to further segregate Anglo-Indians from the native population. They established a school system focused on English language and culture and formed social clubs and associations to run functions like their regular dances at occasions like Christmas and Easter.[13]

Over time Anglo-Indians were specifically recruited into the Customs and Excise, Post and Telegraphs, Forestry Department, The Railways and teaching professions – but they were employed in many other fields as well. A number of factors fostered a strong sense of community among Anglo-Indians. Their English language school system, their Anglocentric culture, and their Christian beliefs in particular helped bind them together.[22]

Originally, under Regulation VIII of 1813, they were excluded from the British legal system and in Bengal became subject to the rule of Mohammedan law outside Calcutta – and yet found themselves without any caste or status amongst those who were to judge them. In 1821, a pamphlet entitled "Thoughts on how to better the condition of Indo-Britons" by a "Practical Reformer," was written to promote the removal of prejudices existing in the minds of young Eurasians against engaging in trades. This was followed up by another pamphlet, entitled "An Appeal on behalf of Indo-Britons." Prominent Eurasians in Calcutta formed the "East Indian Committee" with a view to send a petition to the British Parliament for the redress of their grievances. Mr. John William Ricketts, the first noble pioneer in the Eurasian cause, volunteered to proceed to England. His mission was successful, and on his return to India, by way of Madras, he received quite an ovation from his countrymen in that presidency; and was afterwards warmly welcomed in Calcutta, where a report of his mission was read at a public meeting held in the Calcutta Town Hall. In April 1834, in obedience to an Act of Parliament passed in August 1833, the Indian Government was forced to grant government jobs to Anglo-Indians.[22]

During the independence movement, many Anglo-Indians identified (or were assumed to identify) with British rule, and, therefore, incurred the distrust and hostility of Indian nationalists.[citation needed] Their position at independence was difficult. They felt a loyalty to a British "home" that most had never seen and where they would gain little social acceptance. (Bhowani Junction touches on the identity crisis faced by the Anglo-Indian community during the independence struggle.) They felt insecure in an India that put a premium on participation in the independence movement as a prerequisite for important government positions.

Most Anglo-Indians left the country in 1947, hoping to make a new life in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Nations, such as Australia or Canada. The exodus continued through the 1950s and 1960s and by the late 1990s most had left with many of the remaining Anglo-Indians still aspiring to leave.[23]

Like the Parsi community, the Anglo-Indians are essentially urban dwellers. Unlike the Parsis, the mass migrations saw more of the better educated and financially secure Anglo-Indians depart for other Commonwealth nations.[13]

There has been a resurgence in celebrating Anglo-Indian culture in the 21st Century, in the form of International Anglo-Indian Reunions and in publishing books on Anglo-Indians. There have been seven reunions with the latest being held in August 2007 in Toronto. Books on Anglo-Indians recently published include Anglo-Indians – Vanishing Remnants of a Bygone Era [24] published (2002), Haunting India [25] published (2003), Voices on the Verandah [26] published (2004), The Way We Were – Anglo-Indian Chronicles [27] published (2006) and The Way We Are – An Anglo-Indian Mosaic [28] published (2008).

[edit] Britain
In contrast to Anglo-Indians (then known as ‘Eurasians’) born in British India who usually acquired their British ancestry paternally and Indian ancestry maternally, Anglo-Indians born in Britain usually acquired their Indian ancestry paternally and British ancestry maternally. Interracial marriage was fairly common in Britain since the 17th century, when the British East India Company began bringing over thousands of Indian scholars, lascars and workers (mostly Bengali and/or Muslim) to Britain, most of whom married and cohabited with local white British women and girls, due to the lack of Indian women in Britain at the time. This later became an issue, as a magistrate of the London Tower Hamlets area in 1817 expressed disgust at how the local English women and girls in the area were marrying and cohabiting almost exclusively with foreign Indian lascar seamen. Nevertheless, there were no legal restrictions against ‘mixed’ marriages in Britain, unlike the restrictions in India.[29][30][31] Families with South Asian lascar fathers and white mothers established interracial communities in Britain’s dock areas.[32] This led to a growing number of "mixed race" children being born in the country, which challenged the British elite efforts to "define them using simple dichotomies of British versus Indian, ruler versus ruled."[18] The number of women of colour in Britain were often outnumbered by "half-caste Indian" daughters born from white mothers and Indian fathers.[33]

By the mid-19th century, there were more than 40,000 Indian seamen, diplomats, scholars, soldiers, officials, tourists, businessmen and students who had come to Britain.[17] By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were around 70,000 Indians in Britain,[34] 51,616 of whom were lascar seamen (when World War I began).[35] In addition, a number of British officers and soldiers who had Indian wives and Anglo-Indian children in India often brought them over to Britain in the 19th century.[36] Anglo-Indians in Britain usually assimilated into British society through marriage with the local white population, thus Anglo-Indians in Britain never formed their own distinct community like those in India, where Anglo-Indians usually married among one another instead.

In 1902, Sir William Hutt Curzon Wyllie and Lord George Hamilton expressed concerns over Indian students, rajas (royalty), sepoys (soldiers) and lascars (seamen) in Britain having relationships with local white females.[37] In 1909, the journalist C. Hamilton McGuiness noted that it was common to see Indian males with white females "on the tops of buses, in the streets, at the theatres and almost everywhere one goes". He advocated police intervention against such interracial liaisons to protect the "honour" of white females, but without much success.[38]

During World War I, there were 135,000 Indian soldiers serving in Britain and France, where many intermarried and cohabited with white females.[39] While French authorities were not concerned with interracial relationships, British authorities attempted to limit such activity by implementing curfews for wounded Indian troops in British hospitals and preventing female nurses from taking care of them.[40] Following World War I, there was a large surplus of females in Britain,[41] and there were increasing numbers of seamen arriving from abroad, mainly the Indian subcontinent. This led to increased intermarriage and cohabitation with local white females, which raised concerns over miscegenation and led to several race riots at the time.[42] Concerns were repeatedly voiced over white adolescent girls forming relationships with Indian seamen in the 1920s.[43] In the 1920s to 1940s, several writers raised concerns over an increasing ‘mixed-breed’ population, born mainly from foreign Asian (mostly Indian) fathers and local white mothers, occasionally out of wedlock. They denounced white girls who mixed with Asian men as ‘shameless’ and called for a ban on the breeding of ‘half-caste’ children, though these attempts at imposing anti-miscegenation laws were unsuccessful.[44] As Indian women began arriving to Britain in large numbers from the 1970s, mostly as family members, a majority of Indians in Britain chose to marry among one another, leading to decreased intermarriage rates but an overall population growth in the British Indian community.

According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, British Asian men from all South Asian ethnic groups intermarried with another ethnic group (including white and black) more than Asian women. Among Asians, British Indians intermarried with a different ethnic group the most both absolutely and proportionately, followed by British Pakistanis and British Bangladeshis. White and Indian marriages account for 11% of all inter-ethnic marriages in Britain, while 26% of inter-ethnic marriages in Britain are between white and ‘mixed-race’ (including Anglo-Indian) people.[45] As of 2005, it is estimated that at least a fifth of Indian males in Britain have white partners.[46] As of 2006, there are 246,400 British citizens of mixed white and South Asian (mostly Indian) descent in Britain.[47] This accounts for 30% of the ‘British Mixed-Race’ population.

[edit] The present Anglo-Indian community
Constitutional guarantees of the rights of communities and religious and linguistic minorities permit Anglo-Indians to maintain their own schools and to use English as the medium of instruction. In order to encourage the integration of the community into the larger society, the government stipulates that a certain percentage of the student body come from other Indian communities.[citation needed]

There is no evident official discrimination against Anglo-Indians in terms of current government employment but it is widely perceived that their disinclination to master local languages does not help their employment chances in modern India.

Anglo-Indians distinguished themselves in the military. Air Vice-Marshal Maurice Barker was India’s first Anglo-Indian Air Marshal. At least seven other Anglo-Indians subsequently reached that post, a notable achievement for a small community. A number of others have been decorated for military achievements. Air Marshal M.S.D. Wollen is often considered the man who won India’s 1971 war fighting alongside Bangladesh.[48] Anglo-Indians made similarly significant contributions to the Indian Navy and Army.[49]

Another field in which Anglo-Indians won distinction was education. The most respected matriculation qualification in India, the ICSE, was started and built by some of the community’s best known educationists including Frank Anthony, who served as its president, and A.E.T. Barrow who served as its secretary for the better part of half a century. Most Anglo-Indians, even those without much formal education, find that gaining employment in schools is fairly easy because of their fluency in English.

In sporting circles Anglo-Indians have made a significant contribution, particularly at Olympic level where Norman Pritchard became India’s first ever Olympic medallist, winning two silver medals at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, France. In cricket Roger Binny was the leading wicket-taker during the Indian cricket team’s 1983 World Cup triumph. Wilson Jones was India’s first ever World Professional Billiards Champion.

Several charities have been set up abroad to help the less fortunate in the community in India. Foremost among these is CTR (Calcutta Tiljallah Relief – based in the USA), which has instituted a senior pension scheme, and provides monthly pensions to over 300 seniors. CTR also provides education to over 200 needy children.[50]

Today, there are estimated to be at least 80,000 Anglo-Indians living in India, most of whom are based in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Anglo-Indians also live in Kochi, Goa, Pune, Secunderabad, Visakhapatnam, Lucknow, Agra, and in some towns of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Also a significant number of this population resides in Orissa’s Khorda town, which is a busy railway junction.[3]

Most of the Anglo-Indians overseas are concentrated in Britain, Australia, Canada, USA, and New Zealand. Of the estimated million or so (including descendants), who have emigrated from India[citation needed] , some are settled in Asia including Pakistan and Myanmar, and also in European countries like Switzerland, Germany, and France. According to the Anglo-Indians who have settled in Australia, integration for the most part has not been difficult.[51] The community in Myanmar frequently intermarried with the local Anglo-Burmese community but both communities suffered from adverse discrimination since Burma’s military took over the government in the 1962, with most having now left the country to settle overseas.

[edit] Political
The Anglo-Indian community is the only Indian community that has its own representatives nominated to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) in India’s Parliament. This right was secured from Nehru by Frank Anthony, the first and long time president of the All India Anglo-Indian Association. The community is represented by two members. This is done because the community has no native state of its own. States like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar,West Bengal,Karnataka and Kerala also have a nominated member each in their respective State Legislatures.

Posted by firoze shakir photographerno1 on 2015-06-19 15:54:44

Tagged: , anglo indians , lorraine rhubottom , betty talent

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