This book is a response to a series of questions: how does living elsewhere, making a home overseas, being powerful and wealthy in another country, belonging to the foreign minority, but wielding incredible power and authority over the native majority, living your day-to-day reality in this new space, imagining it to be your new home, interacting daily in a hierarchically superior position with most people, eating different foods, living in a different climate, different housing, and wearing different clothes, and moving up the social ladder, in comparison to where you came from, change you, as well as impact on your writing? Do you unlearn your previous self? Do you redefine this new self? How does being cut off from the site of your racial and national history, while acting in its name, impact on the way in which you constitute yourself? Is there a seamless continuum between the nation of origin (Britain) and the colony (India), in which the minority functions as the hegemonic group? Or is there a transformation of the self, caused by the displacements, discontinuities, and discomforts that permeate the compromises of everyday life?
These questions have, in turn, generated a further set of questions. Do geographical movements affect social structures and relationships? Specifically, do they affect the discursive constructions of race, gender, and sexuality? Is the comprehension of gender learned at ‘home’ pertinent to new spaces, new climes, and new situations? If gender is redefined and reanimated, what does it do to the experience of sexuality? How do you prevent yourself from feeling sexually attracted to the other, when you grow up together and they surround you, take care of you, and are present within your home? How are sexuality and intimacy experienced, then?
In the broadest sense, how do political and historical transformations impact on issues of race, gender, and identity in Anglo-India? It is these questions that have initiated and directed our reading of Anglo-India, premised on issues of diaspora, nostalgia, fear, and restlessness, as much as on power, aggression, colonialism, racial hierarchies, and gender difference. This introduction consists of two parts: first, Anglo-Indian identity is interpreted as diasporic; second, the impact of the diasporic status on questions of sexuality, gender, and intimacy is examined.