Friday, January 12, 2018


An illustration I did towards the end of last year for The Indian Quarterly was for a story called The Circle, featuring the last of the Anglo Indians, the prejudices inherent in them and how it ultimately destroys them.
The print has turned out a bit darker than the original, so I am adding the complete original below along with a detail of the illustration.

The haunting story which makes us cringe at the extent of prejudice and perceived superiority that one community has for another reminds me of the remark made by a friend of mine after she had broken up with her Anglo-Indian fiancee. She said, "How long are these Anglo-Indians going to prefix "Anglo" to define themselves? They are Indians!" This is true of course, but try telling that to Anglo-Indians, you'd probably make them writhe in agony.

Once, some years ago, during coffee an Anglo Indian acquaintance of mine remarked that the father of her niece was a Malayalee. When I expressed surprise, my acquaintance hastily added, "But she (the niece) is not Malayalee! She is one of us! She is one of us!" I was perplexed at the absurdity of that remark and at the determination of my Anglo-Indian acquaintance to completely erase the Indian aspect from her family.

Some explanation for these mindsets can be found in William Dalrymple's The White Mughals and more briefly in City of Djinns.
Here are a couple of memorable quotes from City of Djinns -

'And they're a fascinating people, the Indians. I'll say that for them.'
I've always had friendly relations with them, mind. It's their country. That's what my father always used to say.'
'That's right. The Indians are a nice people. Provided you treat them as human beings.'

'You see we're not Britishers', said Mr Smith. 'We're something different.'


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