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10 - Community, Identity and Sport: Anglo-Indians in Colonial and Postcolonial India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2012

Megan S. Mills
Affiliation:
York University
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Summary

Introduction

The Anglo-Indian community is a tiny remnant of a class that represents some of the uncomfortable paradoxes of colonial legacies (Carton 2000). Once granted privileges as a social group because of the blood relations with the colonial masters at the same time they were rejected and kept at a distance both by the colonizers and the colonized as somehow tainted by the ‘Other’. Now that those colonial masters have departed they nevertheless remain in India as an uneasy reminder of the presence of the former. In the postcolonial nation they find themselves stranded with community institutions and practices that had been developed to emphasize separateness from all things Indian and at one with all things British. Their identity as ‘almost-British’ sits at odds with the urge, in postcolonial India, to privilege all things Indian.1 This essay considers the place of sport in the development of an Anglo- Indian identity and the search for a role in postcolonial India by members of the community. In 1947 there were around 500,000 Anglo-Indians in South Asia and current assessments suggest an ongoing presence of 250,000 to 300,000 in a total Indian population of 1 billion. Another 300,000 Anglo- Indians have resettled in the West since India obtained Independence. In spite of the community's microscopic size, it has produced numerous Olympians as well as coaches, organizers and technical delegates at every level.

Type
Chapter
Information
Subaltern Sports
Politics and Sport in South Asia
, pp. 205 - 216
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2005

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