Anglo-Indians

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by rockey 71, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. rockey 71

    rockey 71 Regular Member

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    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/2014...veteran-at-a-dinner-dance-in-sydney-last-year



    VERY FEW MAY BE AWARE OF THE ORIGIN, HISTORY AND ‘THE EXOTIC COCKTAIL’, AS THE AUTHOR PUTS IT, THAT ANGLO INDIANS EVENTUALLY BECAME.


    Anglo-Indians

    This was a speech given by a senior Anglo-Indian army veteran at a dinner dance in Sydney last year.....


    Good Evening Ladies & Gentleman. Welcome to this special evening. I'm attempting to condense over 300 years of Anglo-Indian history in to 10 minutes.

    The British Empire once held absolute power in over 52 countries. About two-fifths of the world. But there was only one jewel in the crown - India. The first European settlers in India were the Portuguese in 1498 about 100 years before the British. The Dutch, French and the British followed.

    They were all here for the duration. The inevitable happened and a new mixed race community emerged. Even though the British came in peacefully as merchants and traders they soon colonized the sub-continent of India. But the British needed allies to protect the jewel in the crown and so began a deliberate policy, encouraging British males to marry Indian women to create the first Anglo-Indians.

    The East India Company paid 15 silver rupees for each child born to an Indian mother and a European father, as family allowance. These children were amalgamated into the growing Anglo-Indian community, forming a defensive structure for the British Raj. This was a deliberate act of self preservation by the English.

    This unique hybrid individual was ethnically engineered by the occupying British so much so that the Anglo-Indians were the only micro-minority community ever defined in a Constitution. Article-366 of the Indian Constitution states.An Anglo-Indian means a person whose father or any of whose male ancestors 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 there-in and not established there for temporary purposes only.

    So you can see we were intended to be a permanent micro-minority. In 1830, the British Parliament described the Anglo-Indian as those who have been English educated, are entirely European in their habits and feelings, dress and language. They were more "Anglo" than "Indian". Their mother-tongue was English, they were Catholic or Anglican and their customs and traditions were English. While most of them married within their own circle, many continued to marry expatriate Englishmen. Very few married Indians.

    Without Anglo-Indian support British rule would have collapsed.

    RAILWAYSWe ran the railways, post and telegraph, police and customs, education, export and import, shipping, tea, coffee and tobacco plantations, the coal and gold fields. We became teachers, nurses, priests and doctors. If it had any value the British made sure we ran it. And when it came to secretarial duties no one could touch our Anglo-Indian girls - the best stenographers in the world and with beauty to match.

    Were we favored? Yes, the English trusted us. After all we were blood related. We worked hard. We became indispensable. We lived comfortably and were protected by the British raj. Like the British we had servants to do all our domestic work. The average Anglo-Indian home could afford at least three full time servants - a cook, a bearer and the indispensable nanny (ayah). Part time servants included a gardener, cleaner and laundry man (dhobi). Of course we learned to speak Hindi to be able to argue, give orders, bargain, accuse and terminate employment and throw in a dozen Hindi expletives.

    Imagine our horror when we were later to migrate to England, Canada and Australia and we no longer had servants to do our domestic chores. Who can remember looking at our first toilet brush and asking 'what do we do with this?' We had to learn to cook, clean, garden, do the laundry and take the garbage out and look after the kids.

    CHRISTMAS CAKE
    The tradition of making your own Christmas cake was a sacred Anglo-Indian custom. Each family had a secret cake recipe, handed down from our grandparents. About a week before Christmas, the local baker was contacted. He would turn up to your home with two very large terracotta bowls that looked more like satellite dishes. One for the egg whites and one for mixing. Mum would dish out the ingredients. This was all mixed together under her watchful eye and distributed in to about dozen or so cake tins and labeled with your name on it. This labeling was all important. We did not want him to return that evening with someone else's cake recipe. Heaven forbid.

    MUSIC/DANCEMusic, movies and socializing were high on the agenda. We loved a dance. Afternoon dance jam sessions were a magnet for the teenagers where we jived, jitterbugged, tango'd or just fox trotted.

    Many a lasting liaison was forged on the dance floor and today many of us are celebrating 40-year plus marriages. Our mums sat around gossiping and seldom took their eyes off their darling daughters. I know I speak from experience. I met my wife at one such event and now 44 years later I still fancy her.

    The Anglo-Indian railway and cantonment towns that sprung up around the major cities cultivated a unique social and industrial blend with a heartbeat. Their dances were legendary. At the drop of a hat, the city cousins would jump on a train and travel for anything up to six hours to get to that up-country dance.


    Many of our lives revolved around the biggest and best railway system in the world. And the trains ran on time!

    Today, the Indian Railways transports over 5 billion passengers each year employing more than 1.6 million personnel. Between 1853 and 1947 we built and managed 42 rail systems. This was a legacy we can be proud of.

    CONTRIBUTIONS
    During World War 1 about 8000 Anglo-Indians fought in Mesopotamia, East Africa, and in the European theatre - Eleven Anglo-Indians were awarded Victoria Crosses.

    In World War II they fought at Dunkirk and flew in the battle of Britain - Guy Gibson of the Dam Busters was one such Anglo-Indian, and we were in North Africa, Malaya and the fall of Singapore.

    Actress Vivien Leigh, actor Boris Karloff, actor Ben Kingsley, actress Merle Oberon, writer Rudyard Kipling, dancer Juliet Prowse, singer Cliff Richard, singer Engelbert Humperdinck, singer Tony Brent, Ex Beatle Pete Best, track & field star Sebastian Coe, hockey player Leslie Claudius, cricketer Roger Binny, billiards player Wilson Jones, stand up comedian Russell Peters, are all Anglo-Indians
    The Anglo-Indians took India to Olympic hockey glory. From 1928, India won five consecutive Olympic hockey gold medals. In fact, when India faced Australia in the semi-finals of the 1960 Olympics in Rome, it was a unique occasion. The captains who came face to face were both Anglo-Indians - Leslie Claudius and Kevin Carton.

    EDUCATIONEnglish education played a major role amongst the Anglo-Indians. Anglo-Indian schools numbered close to 300 and were prized. They stretched from Bangalore in the south to the cooler northern hill stations of Darjeeling in the foothills of the Himalayas. Each was modeled on the posh English Public school system. We ran them as teachers and principals and to this day these schools are coveted across the sub-continent.

    IDENTITY DILEMMA
    The Anglo-Indian has always faced an identity dilemma because of our mixed origins. Europeans said they were Indians with some European blood; Indians said they were Europeans with some Indian blood. The world of Anglo-India vanished on August 15th 1947, when India became the largest independent democracy in the world.

    The British packed and went home.

    Over 300,000 Anglo-Indians remained. We felt apprehensive and abandoned.So we too packed our bags and began to migrate to Australia, Britain, Canada, the U.S.A. and New Zealand! Many of you will remember the dreaded Income Tax Clearance document you need to leave the country and further faced the strict Indian foreign exchange regulations that allowed you only 10 pounds each. Imagine starting life in a new country with 10 quid in your pocket. Some had to leave behind their savings; others simply resorted to the risky black market losing a 30% of your savings.

    IDENTITY
    The Anglo-Indian identity is disappearing.We have found new lives and merged into the mainstream. Our generation, sitting here tonight, who were born in India, growing up in the 40s thru to 60s, are possibly the last true Anglo-Indians.

    Look around you. Where is the next generation? Most of our children were born abroad and their connection to Anglo-India is very fragile.They have married Aussies, English, Canadian or other Anglo-Indians born outside India. They prefer to be regarded as English, Australian or Canadian.Our grandchildren will assimilate and forge a new identity based on their country of birth.

    Putting aside history I believe we could regard ourselves as an exotic cocktail that had its origins over 300 years ago. We have matured and become a unique aromatic spirit, generously flavored and very stimulating.

    We were a force to be reckoned with.


     
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  3. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    The British gave you a parting gift to 100,000 Anglo Indians in 1947, land and perpetual ownership in and around Raipur, at that time called Central Provinces. No other community ever got that type of gift ever for free. Many other communities shed more blood in WWI and WW2 than any Anglo Indian ever did, but others were fundamentally ignored. What the Anglo Indians wanted was British Citizenship, which for some reasons, the British were unable to consider.

    Yes sir, Anglo Indian played a major role in running British India, no sir but they were not considered British. The forgoing says it all. They should have loved their land instead of running away to Australia, South Africa, Rhodesia etc and cast away their Indian - ness. Trust me, they are not as prosperous in their adopted countries, as they would have been had they stayed.

    There are still some, but the cream is gone. In their adopted countries they have lost their identity. No matter what they try, they will never be British.
     
  4. TODELU

    TODELU Regular Member

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    When British were present,they were favored,not because they were considered white,but because they could use a Mongrel(mixed blood) to be used to control their Colony.
    now no favors here nor in English nations,As even UK is in dire straits and its Economy in doldrums,All that looted money from India vanished because they simply sat,ate and enjoyed good time,now neither do the british have the landmass,nor the economy to support such activities.
    So yeah the Anglo-Indian time has ended and their group will vanish in time.
     
  5. Berkut

    Berkut Regular Member

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    My $0.2

    Living in the Antipodes my experience with the anglos have been varied

    A couple we know in Western Australia are first generation migrants. They hate everything about India. They especially hate Modi :) it's a totally irrational hate though. They play victims to hindu hegemony but cannot answer when counter questioned. They are migrants from UP

    A couple we know in New Zealand, migrants from Hyderabad are very different. True blue anglos , with a history with the railways. Husband is a hard core Christian (yoga is something Christians can't do) but with the Ashok Chakr tattooed across his heart, only Modi can steady the Indian ship. Hates anything to do with the goras. Wife is very much your "typical" desi wife but missing the pallu!!!
    They are migrants from Hyderabad.
     
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  6. TODELU

    TODELU Regular Member

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    The Hyderabadi couple must from the area near Mettuguda,MoulaAli,Tarnaka, as these areas are where the Railways quarters and establishment are and most Anglo Indians in Hyderabad are found in these places.Do ask them if they are from a area near Tarnaka or Osmania University campus.
     
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  7. bose

    bose Senior Member Senior Member

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    I remember while growing up, in school we used to have many Anglo Indians friends in class and we were specially one's born after independence used to look at them as if they have come from some other planets [ as most of them we white skinned].

    Most of the Anglo Indians are very good at games and mostly in Railways as drivers... I can recall the Rajdhani express used to have Anglo Indian drivers... With time the Anglo Indians started to migrate to Australia and by end of 70's their population was minuscule ...

    There was an Anglo Indian war veteran from 71 war the name I am forgetting ... Cardozo I am not sure...

    Kolkata until late 60's had the typical Anglo Indian culture ... in and around Park Street / Rippon Street earlier called as European Quarters [ Indian were prohibited in British times].

    I still cherish memories of my Anglo Indian friends ...

    Lastly I remember we used to tease [ misbehave is the right word] one Anglo Indian old lady in 70's as "RED MONKEY"...
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
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  8. TODELU

    TODELU Regular Member

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    There are many Anglo Indians still in Hyderabad,I know Diana Hayden's (Miss India and Miss World 1997) as my friend was dating her cousin sister :biggrin2:. The old bunch are left,not sure about the Young ones if they are still here or migrated to western nations.
     
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  9. bose

    bose Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Younger one's have left for either Australia or NZ... In 70's it is easy to migrate to Australia...

    In Kolkata we still see Anglo Indians in the central and Park Street area...

    Derek O' Brian is an Anglo Indian guy...
     
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  10. TODELU

    TODELU Regular Member

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    I think the migration is lesser in case of Hyderabad as there are pockets of Anglo Indians still.
    Marriage is not exclusive ( Anglo Indians marrying another Anglo) nowadays,they tend marry people of other faiths too.Some of my friends are married to Anglo-Indians even though they are Hindus.
     
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