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ANGLO-INDIANS

Vanishing Remnants of a Bygone Era
by Blair R Williams

 

 

"Anglo-Indians - Vanishing Remnants of a Bygone Era" is based on research conducted by Blair Williams in India, the UK and North America from 1999 to 2001.

The central question asked was, "In the 21st Century, are Anglo-Indians merging into the mainstream of the country where they are now domiciled?" "How or why not?"

Being an engineer by education and occupation (as distinct from a sociologist), Williams uses statistics extensively and allows the evidence to determine conclusions. He examines cultural, social and psychological factors that determine, influence and reflect the stage of integration. Factors such as inter-marriage, friends, language, education, socio-economic status, self-identity and so on, are all examined and the current status of each is documented.

 

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I think you have been very successful in what you set out to do - i.e., compiling a significant watershed study of the Community's attitudes, mores and patterns of social integration at the point of the millennium.

In addition it is an absorbing read, and one which will be of overwhelming interest to the Community world-wide, not to mention its value in the broader based field of sociological studies.

I have no doubt whatsoever that it will sell-out very quickly and I'm very proud to have had the privilege of seeing this take shape during the gestation process.

Thank you for your gracious acknowledgement in the preface, (which was out of all proportion to my minuscule contribution!) and my heartfelt congratulations on presenting a complexity of material in such a cohesive, precise and clear-cut form.

I think the Community owes you a huge vote of thanks for all the hard work and dedication that has gone into a publication which we can all regard with pride as a fascinating commentary on "our" past, present and future.

And finally, but very far from least, the most laudable thing of all, is that its success will benefit those who need it most - the destitute folks on the streets of Calcutta.

Bravo Blair!

 

Margaret Deefholts
Author of "Haunting India"
Freelance Travel Writer
Canada

 

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It is not often that a study of ethnic integration into a larger society is performed in great quantitative detail. Yet that is what Professor Williams has done in undertaking to understand the state of integration of Anglo-Indians in three countries, India, the U.K. and North America.

His extraordinary effort has spanned 3 years and included more than 200 interviews, reference to a considerable number of authorities, the use of church marriage records and those from Anglo-Indian schools. Being an Anglo-Indian himself, he was able to avail himself of an intimacy with his interviewees that was used to great advantage.

 

As Professor Williams relates, Anglo-Indians have a long history in India, being the products of marriages between European (usually British) males and Indian females. Initially favored by the British colonizers with government jobs (railroad, postal, administrative, etc.), the Anglo-Indians as a group were nevertheless marginalized by both British and Indian societies, a circumstance that is only recently being ameliorated 50 years after Indian independence. After independence (1947), fearing loss of social and economic status, about half the Anglo-Indian community emigrated to the U.K. and North America where their state of integration is carefully detailed.

 

The author provides a powerful analytical tool by enumerating 15 different social factors that either determine or reflect the state of Anglo-Indian integration in each country, or strongly influence it, by using quantitative data to base his conclusions on. It is here that the strength of his approach manifests itself --- no matter what outward appearances might suggest, the hard information provided by inter-marriage rates, numbers and ethnicity of friends, levels of economic status, and many others leave little to idle speculation.

 

The conclusions Professor Williams arrives at on the state and quality of integration in current India, on the one hand, and the U.K. and North America on the other proves to be interesting and absorbing. The insights the author brings to the study in explaining the various results are knowledgeable and compelling.

 

This detailed investigation of generational changes in the integration status of Anglo-Indians in the several places will be of interest, not only to Anglo-Indians, but to all those who are interested in social studies on the assimilation of minorities

 

Nat Levine
Retired Director
Bell Laboratories
USA

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Vanishing Remnants
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