Eric Swift
Page 40

“On the political side the British in India became divided. There appeared to be three classes of British. The British in authority, the British settler who used to classify himself as Anglo-Indian but changed to ‘Domiciled European’ and the Anglo-Indian. These three categories of the British community were quite separate in their thinking and attitudes when their numbers were small. However, over a period of several generations, due to inter-marriage, it was difficult to determine into which category a person belonged. The genuine Anglo-Indian community, the third classification mentioned above, themselves were riddled with prejudice and often the determination of the classification of an Anglo-Indian was impossible. The ‘white’ Anglo-Indians considered themselves in a different class to the darker skinned Anglo-Indian, who in turn looked down upon the black skinned Anglo-Indian.”

“The matter was further complicated by the offspring of the French, Dutch, Portuguese and other Europeans marrying into the Anglo-Indian and British community. Another community which complicated the situation much further was the very large numbers of Indian Christians, who were the Indians converted to Christianity by the Church of England, the Roman Catholic church and a hoard of missionaries of various denominations. These Indians had English style, usually biblical names like John David or Paul Anthony, etc.. These English style names made it difficult to determine the Indian Christian from the Anglo-Indian, especially the darker skinned Anglo-Indian.”

Page 41

“These complications were further enhanced by the fact that the Anglo-Indian (including the British settler) was a privileged class in the eyes of the British Government, in whose mind the events of the American Colonists and their eventual Declaration of Independence, was paramount. The British Government during its long rule in India could not come to terms with the Anglo-Indian community on whom they were so reliant. The Anglo-Indians controlled India and they operated all the major institutions and organizations, including senior positions in the army, the civil service, the railways and the post and telegraph services. Anglo-Indians also became involved in trade and commerce but to a lesser degree than the Indian or British organizations, for whom many worked. With these extra privileges offered to the Anglo-Indian, the aim of most of the other smaller communities in India was to become a part of this British community.”

“Perhaps because of the infiltration of other communities, the Company and later the British Government, could not quite make up its mind who were the Anglo-Indians and how to treat them. Their attitude changed from administration to administration but in times of danger, such as the sepoy revolt and when in fear of the rise of Anglo-Indian political power, they would introduce preferential treatment regarding jobs, status and general well being of the Anglo-Indian. Thus ensuring that the Anglo-Indian became heavily dependent on the British regarding their political, economic and social standing in India.”