The Anglo-Indian Diaspora: Post-Colonial Challenges, Connections and Contributions

Richard O'Connor

Abstract


The Anglo-Indian Community has been a microscopic minority in India, and its numbers have dwindled considerably, thanks to emigration to other countries, so much so that there may be more Anglo-Indians in the diaspora than in India. Forged out of the union between European men and Indian women over a 500-year period of colonial rule, the Anglo-Indian Community had come to acquire a life and colour of its own. Before Independence, the Anglo-Indian presence was significant in the Railways, Police and other arms of the Government, and the Community was well represented in the Round Table Conferences and other parleys of the freedom movement.  However, its voice was diluted during the clamour of Partition, and notwithstanding the presence of its leaders in the Constituent Assembly, Anglo-Indians chose to leave their families and their belongings in India, in a move akin to that of refugees, in favour of a ‘better life’ abroad. 

This paper seeks to determine whether the decision to emigrate has been a productive one for individual Anglo-Indians.  It examines the challenges faced by the diaspora in the course of their settlement overseas, especially in Australia, and how these challenges were dealt with.  It analyses the ways in which Anglo-Indians have sought to contribute to and benefit from the opportunities provided by their host countries.  While doing so, it also looks at their sense of nostalgia for the past, their concern for the less fortunate of their community in India and whether India has remained their homeland in their hearts.

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