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6 - Indians and Others

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 March 2021

Claude Markovits
Affiliation:
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris
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Summary

I look at Indians as guests in foreign lands and as hosts at home and the people they have met abroad or at home. The sources are mostly travel and sojourn narratives by Indians and their guests or hosts. They reveal a pattern often marked by a degree of misunderstanding that sometimes resulted in open hostility. I present a record of the main episodes of anti-Indian violence in the twentieth century, but I also focus on instances of cultural fusion and rapprochement. I contrast the capacity of most Indians for linguistic adaptation, and their propensity to jettison their own languages, with their fierce attachment to their religions and their strong reticence vis-à-vis métissage with other non-Europeans, an intriguing pattern that often resulted in a degree of alienation from other populations. As to relations with Europeans in India, I show them to be also marked by a degree of mutual hostility, easily explicable by the racist attitudes deployed by most of those Europeans. Indian xenophobia remained nevertheless on a limited scale, as hostility among different groups of India’s population was a much more massive phenomenon.

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India and the World
A History of Connections, c. 1750–2000
, pp. 180 - 214
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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