After 15 Years: A Look Back at Glenn D’Cruz’s Midnight’s Orphans: Anglo-Indians in Post/Colonial Literature


  • Debojoy Chanda


This article locates Glenn D’Cruz’s Midnight’s Orphans: Anglo-Indians in Post/Colonial Literature (2006) against the greater backdrop of Anglo-Indian Studies. Sketching an outline of the field in extremely broad strokes, it claims that D’Cruz’s text helped Anglo-Indian Studies navigate across a moment of scholarly stagnation that set in during the late 1990s, marked by a spiraling reiterative decrying of certain pejorative stereotypes associated with Anglo-Indians since at least the nineteenth century. Outlining the arguments that D'Cruz’s text makes, I show that it breaks free from this stagnation by calling for an examination of the contextual truth-effects that the stereotypes produce, as opposed to iterating the stereotypes themselves.  

D'Cruz’s claim in Midnight’s Orphans, that the racism Anglo-Indians face changes with shifts in sociopolitical coordinates, holds good to the present. In addition, the text’s performative quality sets an example for scholars to move away from institutional scholarly objectivity toward greater emotional gains. These and other factors help Midnight’s Orphans maintain its position as a seminal work with enduring relevance to the field of Anglo-Indian Studies fifteen years after its publication.