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 Kalimpong Kids

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Caro
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PostSubject: Kalimpong Kids   Sun 03 Feb 2013, 23:37

I thought there might have already been something here about the stolen generations of Aborigine children or the kids taken from Britain to the colonies during wartime or from orphanages, but I can’t see it.

An interesting story of Indian or Nepalese children has just been revealed here, because of a young woman’s work on her history PHD thesis. She has found 130 children were sent from India to New Zealand in the early 1900s because they were of mixed blood. The "Kalimpong Kids" were removed from their families by a Scottish Presbyterian missionary. The children of English tea-planters and their Indian or Nepalese workers were loved but welcome in neither culture and Doctor James Graham felt their prospects should be improved, given their European blood. They were educated at his residential school and when they were 15 or 16 were sent off to the ‘more egalitarian colonies’ where jobs would be found for them.

It seemed to work – the overall outcome was positive though the kids found Dunedin’s winters a challenge. (The first 30 were taken to Dunedin. The boys worked on farms, the girls provided domestic help.) However these children kept their secret in many cases all their lives. Ms Jane McCabe’s grandmother was one of them and never talked of her Indian background. Jane McCabe found out her history when she found an old photograph of her grandmother at the school almost thirty years after her death.

Few of the children ever saw their mothers again, though some had relationships with their fathers. Miss McCabe’s grandfather came to New Zealand later and his daughter lived with him till she married and he lived with her family for the rest of his life. Some of the men kept up a correspondence with their Indian wives after they left India. Jane McCabe is trying to follow up families and descendants of employers. Till now I think nothing was known of this addition to our country. As far as I can tell the decision to send them to New Zealand was taken with the approval of the family (or perhaps just the fathers). There was nothing in the article about how the children lived prior to be taken to the St Andrews Colonial Homes – I don’t know if they lived with their mothers or their fathers, or if there was a mixture of the two. There must have been some sad lonely stories among these children, both in India and perhaps in New Zealand too. They had by then been educated in English and given useful skills but still it would have been a wrench to come at that age to a new country – or maybe a real exciting new life was looked forward to.

I gather the school still operates – I saw a site about the kids going to perform in a choir in Scotland.

http://www.kalimpongkids.org.nz/

http://www.odt.co.nz/campus/university-otago/242258/anglo-indians-story-revealed
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Kalimpong Kids   Mon 04 Feb 2013, 05:48

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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: Kalimpong Kids   Mon 04 Feb 2013, 07:58

Oh, thanks ID. I did read the earlier parts of that thread and remember Nordmann's story of his ancestor. But I hadn't lnked them - hadn't really remembered the context, I suppose.

Probably I should shift this to fit there, but I don't think I could close this one, so it won't matter. My impression of the people who came here is that they didn't deny their Indian ancestry but they played it down a lot and wouldn't discuss it. It wasn't the Indian part that was difficult, I think, so much as the stigma that had been felt as a mixed-race person.

130 people isn't a lot, though other small communities have made their presence felt, but these youngsters were just teenagers and would have been scattered on farms and households, so presumably not able to form an Indian community as such, or join ones already here.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Kalimpong Kids   Mon 04 Feb 2013, 09:08

It sounds similar to the stolen generation children in Australia, all seperated and placed in white households for 'anglicisation'. Except these poor kids must have faced racism from both sides, and felt that they belonged neither here nor there in the world.
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