The Anglo-Indians: ‘Home’ in Australia and the Dilemma of Identity


  • Sheila Pais James


The Anglo-Indian, as a distinct ethnic identity, was the product of the racialised social hierarchies of British India. Set off from the Indian majority by the community’s claims to British heritage, they were, because of their mixed ancestry, never accorded full status as British. At the end of British rule, their anomalous status was confirmed in certain protections, including employment quotas, enshrined in the Indian constitution. Despite this, the Anglo-Indian community in India declined in the decades after Independence as many chose to leave. Climate, proximity, and the country’s British roots meant that many considered Australia a desirable destination. This paper focuses on the concept of ‘home’ in relation to the Anglo-Indians as transcolonial migrants in Australia. It explores the constructions of identity and the possibility of identity dilemmas among the Anglo-Indians as transcolonial migrants in a multicultural Australian society.