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 The Anglo-Indians.

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: The Anglo-Indians.   Fri 04 Jan 2013, 19:55

As a Belgian I wans't aware of this group, which is perhaps well know by the British community?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20857969

When I was in Hongkong I saw in the "streetscene" many typical representants of the (in my opinion) British physiognomy...sunburnt red face...tall types...In that time (2001) I supposed that it were the "remnants" of the British presence in the former Crown Colony...perhaps these "survivors" will go the same way as the Anglo-Indians...?

Other thought, sparked by a contribution from an intervenant on the French forum Passion Histoire...he proves with maps and statistics that the Catholic regions of the Weimar republic didn't vote that widely on the Nazis and Hitler as the Protestant regions...from that we came to (he is as worse in deviating as I am...) the mixing (mating) of white colonizers with the local population...and also there, there seems to be quite a difference between "Catholic" and "Protestant" colonizers...although I have some thoughts about the plantations in the US...white bosses with black labour...some more mixing?...but after all the whole 13 colonies weren't fully Protestant...but yes if you compare with the Brazilian plantations...about "mixing"...

Kind regards,

Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Fri 04 Jan 2013, 21:02

There's a fair dollop of Burmese blood in my own family courtesy of an ancestor's stint as wife of a British officer stationed there who, after his unfortunate early death from illness, then delayed her own return before finally coming back with two children in tow, both of whom were hers. However the youngest through sheer mathematics could never have been his.

In the society and class in which she operated at the time this anomaly was simply never discussed, least of all by her, and the child - who could pass as a sallow complexioned European all his life - was simply incorporated into the family and raised no differently to his sibling (though interestingly his surname was changed when she remarried later to that of his stepfather whereas his brother retained his bilogical father's name). It was in subsequent generations that the Burmese features popped up as his genetic legacy was realised through his descendants' sexual reproduction.

My uncle, one who inherited these features and who became intrigued by the family history which had contributed to them, had a cousin who worked as a pioneer in police forensics at the time in Ireland. Between them they developed a pre-runner of the "photo fit" identity kit through which one could mix and match so-called "distinctive" racial features within the aspects to one face, and in doing so "created" hundreds of different facial types which betrayed "mixed" genetic heritage but which also were instantly recognisable as actual faces commonly enough encountered on any busy Dublin street even in the years long before immigration added huge and even more easily recognisable diversity to the mix.

In later life his interest in geneology led him to make contact with hundreds of others in Ireland and the UK with similar racial backgrounds and in which British colonial history and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of British citizens abroad over several hundred years played a huge role - the common thread in all their lives being that at no stage were they ever classed as "mixed race" or even recognised as such. Also, as in his own family, the circumstances surrounding how these anomalies originally occurred, while not shrouded in secrecy, simply had never been seen as a topic worth raising within the family down through the generations. And this despite the fact that the high standard of record keeping in the armed forces meant that many of these anomalies were highly traceable even all this time later. "Open secret" was a term much used by many to describe the presence of the anomaly within their own family lines.

In sociological terms the phenomenon amounts to a form of racial "colour blindness", but it is important to add the caveat that this blindness was prevalent once the product of these genetic blendings was assumed to "belong" to the culture of the colonist, not the colonised. The fate of others who were forced through circumstances to retain the identity of the non-British culture is rather less simple to ascertain. In India, for example, their fate was very tied in with whatever caste they belonged to, and from what I can gather only the lowest and the very high castes (for quite different reasons) emulated what was happening within the British culture at the time.

In this day and age it is hard to imagine just what people actually felt or thought with regard to this issue at the time - more recent social change and a direct influx of genetic variation on "home soil" have led to a complete reappraisal of what constitutes "mix", how it is interpreted and how society as a whole reacts. Even now these ideas are being sometimes very painfully evolved. Yet it is worth remembering that if this evolution is bringing about more tolerance (and hopefully it is) then in some ways it is simply steering people back to a mindset which is actually closer to the social norm that prevailed in the generations immediately preceding our grandparents, at least in terms of what was communally judged to be permissible and no big deal anyway within the strictly defined boundaries of what constituted mainstream British culture.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Sat 05 Jan 2013, 01:12

Paul - you might like to get hold of a copy of the 1956 film Bhowani Junction which is the fictional account of the trials of an 'Anglo-Indian' family in India at the time of the end of the British Raj in 1947:

http://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/1582

The family is described in the film as being 'Anglo-Indian' although the term 'Britanno-Indian' might be more accurate as the character of the father in the film Mr Jones is clearly Welsh (although he is played by Yorkshireman Edward Chapman just to add to the confusion).

Also a few years ago the BBC did a genealogy series called Who Do You Think You Are? In it one of the subjects was the impersonator Alistair McGowan who was revealed to have 'Anglo-Indian' (actually Hiberno-Indian) roots:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/whodoyouthinkyouare/past-stories/alistair-mcgowan.shtml
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Sat 05 Jan 2013, 10:03

Paul, the Anglo-Indian community have had a long association with the Indian Railways and the BBC have made a number of documentaries on this subject. If you go into Youtube you should find a lot of examples. Here's one for a start. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=on+tracks+of+empire&oq=on+tracks+of+empire&gs_l=youtube-reduced.3..0.18687.25224.0.25570.19.9.0.10.10.0.463.1149.7j1j4-1.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.Zlm1OAGx9UU
There is also a series on the Hill railways.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Sat 05 Jan 2013, 16:03

@nordmann wrote:
In sociological terms the phenomenon amounts to a form of racial "colour blindness", but it is important to add the caveat that this blindness was prevalent once the product of these genetic blendings was assumed to "belong" to the culture of the colonist, not the colonised.
Some anthroplogists use the term 'hyperdescent' to denote someone of mixed parentage (i.e. one parent from the ruling group and another from the ruled group) who is deemed to belong to the ruling group. The opposite variant is 'hypodescent' whereby they are deemed to belong to the ruled group.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Wed 09 Jan 2013, 22:04

Re: message 4 January 22h02

Nordmann,

thank you very much for the extended answer to my message.

As for:

"In sociological terms the phenomenon amounts to a form of racial "colour blindness", but it is important to add the caveat that this blindness was prevalent once the product of these genetic blendings was assumed to "belong" to the culture of the colonist, not the colonised. The fate of others who were forced through circumstances to retain the identity of the non-British culture is rather less simple to ascertain. In India, for example, their fate was very tied in with whatever caste they belonged to, and from what I can gather only the lowest and the very high castes (for quite different reasons) emulated what was happening within the British culture at the time."

I will try to reply to Vizzer on the same subject.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Wed 09 Jan 2013, 22:08

Re: Message 5 Jan. 2h12.

Vizzer,

thank you for these interesting links, I learned a lot from them.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Wed 09 Jan 2013, 22:21

Ferval,

I started this evening with looking to the six episodes you mentioned in your links. Takes some time but it was worth it. From my childhood in 1949 on the Belgian trains and still interested in all things related to the trains, I greatly enjoyed the series. And indeed the relationship between Anglo-Indians and the railway is also treated. And what a superb history too of the Indian continent ruled by the British. And yes it is only a start, if you wish you can go on and on.

Thanks for these links, you are a source of everyday new knowledge.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Wed 09 Jan 2013, 22:35

@Vizzer wrote:
@nordmann wrote:
In sociological terms the phenomenon amounts to a form of racial "colour blindness", but it is important to add the caveat that this blindness was prevalent once the product of these genetic blendings was assumed to "belong" to the culture of the colonist, not the colonised.
Some anthroplogists use the term 'hyperdescent' to denote someone of mixed parentage (i.e. one parent from the ruling group and another from the ruled group) who is deemed to belong to the ruling group. The opposite variant is 'hypodescent' whereby they are deemed to belong to the ruled group.

Vizzer and Nordmann,

I am not that knowledgeable about the mixed descent of people from our former Belgian colony, but I have the impression from the bit I learned about it that the "hyperdescent" wasn't seen that well in the ruling family, especially when it was a white woman, who had the "hyperdescent", while on the other hand the sons and daughters, the "hypodescents" were seen better in their community...

There was a great discussion going on on the French "Passion Histoire" about the subject. If someone understands French I will seek for the link. And yes, there are many aspects on the questions. It all boiled down into a new thread from a discussion about catholic colonists more "mixing" than their protestant counterparts...

Kind regards and with esteem to both,

Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The Anglo-Indians.   Wed 09 Jan 2013, 22:48

And the link on the French forum.

A heated discussion, which is closed by a moderator because of the "heat":

http://passion-histoire.net/n/www/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=33199&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Kind regards, Paul.
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