We are happy to introduce this general issue of the journal, in which our authors address matters of post-colonial legacies of race, religion, culture, nationality and identity. Rima Bhattacharya explores the poetry of Eunice D’Souza, probing her triply marginalized position being Goan, Catholic, and a woman negotiating her sense of belonging in India. Although not about Anglo-Indians as such, Bhattacharya contends with the mixed racial heritage shared by some Goan Catholics and how that has historically been overshadowed or subsumed by their religious affiliation and emerges in D’Souza’s poetry. Encouraging Goan-Catholics to unite with the larger Indian Hindu community, De Souza’s poetry, Bhattacharya argues, provides a new perspective to understanding the Goan-Catholic identity. The poet dismantles her community’s assumption of being superiorly “different” from the rest of India by highlighting its flaws, while simultaneously embracing a compassionate perspective in order to find an answer to the sense of intolerance that Goan-Catholics exhibit towards followers of other religions in India, especially Hinduism. Further, De Souza’s poetry is shown to set an example for other Goan-Catholics by embracing and celebrating a “hybrid” identity that allows for being a part of the heterogeneous yet coherent Indian nation.
Richard O’Connor documents the Anglo-Indian diaspora, exploring not just why and how Anglo-Indians have migrated out of India, but also how they have maintained a sense of community and connection though dispersed across many nations. O’Connor assesses whether the decision to emigrate has been a productive one for individual Anglo-Indians and examines the challenges and opportunities encountered by members of the diaspora in the course of their settlement overseas, especially in Australia. He also looks at the role of nostalgia for the past among diasporic Anglo-Indians, their concern for the less fortunate of their community in India and the question of whether India remains their homeland.
Finally we have Jyothsna Belliappa’s review of Sudarshana Sen’s 2017 monograph, Anglo-Indian Women in Transition: Pride, Prejudice and Predicaments, which offers a valuable feminist understanding of Anglo-Indian women’s location within intersecting axes of inequality based on gender, ethnicity and class. Based on one hundred interviews (ninety with women and ten with men), disaggregated by generation, amongst the Anglo-Indian community in Kolkata, Sen explores women’s subjective experience of marginalisation both within and outside the community, arguing that women are positioned within multiple and intersecting patriarchies which limit their autonomy and life choices.
Robyn Andrews holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Massey University in New Zealand, where she is a senior lecturer in anthropology. Her Ph.D. thesis was on the Anglo-Indian Community (2005), about which she continues to research and write extensively in collaboration with other Anglo-Indian Studies scholars in various disciplines. Contactable via [email protected]
Brent Howitt Otto, S.J. is a Ph.D. candidate in South Asian History at the University of California, Berkeley. In the course of post-graduate degrees in international and global history from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, and a theological degree in Indian Church history, Brent has researched Indian Catholic education, Anglo-Indian migration and diaspora, and Christian religious identity and performance. Contactable via [email protected]
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