Day 1: Who are the Anglo-Indians?

This post is part of the Anglo-Indian Project Holiday Season series 2017


There are lots of competing definitions of what an Anglo-Indian is. The starting point is usually the legal definitions and the official line evidently that an Anglo-Indian is a person descended from a European male line whose family is permanently resident in India. But, human beings are more than a political-definition.

Searching for a definition of ‘Anglo-Indian’ presents many issues. A legal definition for one particular country gives us a baseline for understanding how Anglo-Indians are defined through the eyes of the state and prescribed in law, however, tells us very little about the perception of Anglo-Indians from the general public, their culture, tradition, socio-economic place, community and their identity. 

AIP (2015) What is an Anglo-Indian?

It’s problematic to define a person based on collective characteristics, aggregated demographics or political definitions; considering the context is critical. Some characteristics used in relation to Anglo-Indians include: 

  • Generous
  • Gifting
  • Caring
  • Grit and Determination
  • Resilience
  • Loving
  • Family
  • Modesty 

Whilst not an exhaustive account, the welcoming spirit and resilience of Anglo-Indian’s is clear. Some have described Anglo-Indians as ‘quite the saddest result of British imperialism’. Others have suggested that the community is dying out

Dr Richard Johnson offers some insightful thoughts on the Anglo-Indian community, including its lack of critical appraisal, and some strengths for the future of the Anglo-Indian community. 

Anglo-Indians

The Anglo-Indian Project aims to keep the fire burning and celebrate Anglo-Indians globally.

See also:

 


Coming Soon: In Search of Ancestors in British India: Where to Start – Sign up here

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Cover photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash

 


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