“You are an Anglo-Indian?” Eurasians and Hybridity and Cosmopolitanism in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-07-01 17:01Z by Steven

“You are an Anglo-Indian?” Eurasians and Hybridity and Cosmopolitanism in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

The Journal of Commonwealth Literature
Volume 38, Number 2 (April 2003)
pages 125-145
DOI: 10.1177/00219894030382008

Loretta Mijares

The term “Anglo-Indian”, emerging as early as 1806, originally referred to the British in India. In India today, however, the term is universally understood to refer to the mixed-race descendants of British-Indian liaisons. In between these two historical markers lies a complex history of changing notions of racial mixture and affiliations with colonial power. At the same time, the “half-caste” has been a perennial figure in colonial fiction, and continues to appear regularly in contemporary Indian writing in English. Discussion of the literary figure of the half-caste, however, has taken place (if at all) by and large in the absence of any acknowledgement of the history of this community. A literary analysis of the “half-caste” attentive to this history offers valuable lessons about the usefulness and limitations of such theoretical notions as “hybridity” by calling attention to the shifting historical valences of literal experiences of hybridity. As a case-study in such an approach, this essay examines the role of racial mixture in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, with due attention to the Anglo-Indian community in India. This reveals how racial mixture in the literary imagination often becomes a metaphor for something else, and in this process of metaphorization is alienated from the history from which it originates. This process has parallels in literary theory: theoretical abstractions such as hybridity have become rarefied and need to be reconnected to their geographical and historical contexts if they are to retain any efficacy in explaining the processes of identity construction they claim to describe.

In India, the mixed-race population was known as “Eurasian”, with “half-caste” as a derogatory term. By the late nineteenth century, however. “Eurasian” had likewise accumulated a pejorative connotation…

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Midnight’s Orphans: Anglo-Indians in Post/Colonial Literature

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2011-10-17 21:22Z by Steven

Midnight’s Orphans: Anglo-Indians in Post/Colonial Literature

Peter Lang
265 pages
Weight: 0.370 kg, 0.816 lbs
Paperback ISBN: 978-3-03910-848-0
Series: Studies in Asia-Pacific “Mixed Race”

Glenn D’Cruz, Senior Lecturer
School of Communication and Creative Arts
Deakin University, Australia

Anglo-Indians are the human legacy of European colonialism. These descendants of European men and Indian women regularly appear as disconsolate and degenerate figures in colonial and postcolonial literature, much to the chagrin of contemporary Anglo-Indians. Many significant writers, such as Rudyard Kipling, Maud Diver, John Masters, Salman Rushdie and Hari Kunzru, have created Anglo-Indian characters to represent the complex racial, social and political currents of India’s colonial past and postcolonial present.

This book is the first detailed study of Anglo-Indians in literature. Rather than simply dismissing the representation of Anglo-Indians in literary texts as offensive stereotypes, the book identifies the conditions for the emergence of these stereotypes through close readings of key novels, such as Bhowani Junction, Midnight’s Children and The Impressionist. It also examines the work of contemporary Anglo-Indian writers such as Allan Sealy and Christopher Cyrill.

Presenting a persuasive argument against ‘image criticism’, the book underscores the importance of contextualizing literary texts, and makes a timely contribution to debates about ‘mixed race’ identities, minoritarian literature and interculturalism.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Seven Deadly Stereotypes
  • Chapter Two: Regulating Bodies: Dangerous ‘Others’ and Colonial Governmentality
  • Chapter Three: Beyond the Pale: Imperial Power and Scientific Regimes of Truth
  • Chapter Four: The Poor Relation: Social Science and the Production of Anglo-Indian Identity
  • Chapter Five: Midnight’s Orphans: Stereotypes in Postcolonial Literature
  • Chapter Six: ‘The Good Australians’: Australian Multiculturalism and Anglo-Indian Literature
  • Chapter Seven: Conclusion: Bringing it all Back Home
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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