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Britishness, Clubbability, and the Colonial Public Sphere: The Genealogy of an Imperial Institution in Colonial India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2014


The ubiquity of the European social club in the European empires in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has been widely recognized in both popular and academic writings on European, and particularly British, imperialism. The “European” ascription of imperial social clubs derived from their predominantly whites-only membership policy in which all elite Europeans, whatever their nationalities, were potentially included. Although each individual club often catered to a very different and distinctive clientele among elite Europeans in the empire, the “clubland” as a whole served as a common ground where elite Europeans could meet as members, or as guests of members, of individual clubs. These clubs, it has been argued, represented an oasis of European culture in the colonies, functioning to reproduce the comfort and familiarity of “home” for Europeans living in an alien land. The popular narrative of the club, as is evident from the account by the official historian of the Bengal Club, one of the oldest social clubs in India, easily oscillated between an understanding of the club as a broadly European cultural institution and as a specifically British one. Either way, the cultural values that it represented were understood as transplanted to the colonies: “It is the practice of European peoples to reproduce as far as possible in their settlements and colonies in other continents the characteristic social features of their natural lives …. For more than a century no institution has been more peculiarly British than the social club.”

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Copyright © North American Conference of British Studies 2001

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1 The focus of this article, for reasons that will be obvious, is on the “gentleman's clubs” as opposed to the far more numerous “working men's clubs” in Britain and their counterparts in the empire. The emphasis here, moreover, is on social clubs as opposed to clubs that were formed for specific purposes such as the numerous “sporting clubs.”

2 During the outbreak of war, however, some of the clubs in India, as in Britain, imposed certain restrictions on members from enemy countries. The Bengal Club, like the Oriental Club in London, put a ban on Europeans of German or Austrian descent in 1916; see Club Committee Meeting, 27 June 1916, Committee Proceedings of the Bengal Club, 1906–1919, Bengal Club Archives, Calcutta, India (BCA).

3 Panckridge, H. R., A Short History of the Bengal Club, 1827–1927 (Calcutta, 1927), p. 1Google Scholar, emphasis added.

4 Quoted in Hunt, Roland and Harrison, John, The District Officer in India, 1930–1947 (London, 1980), pp. 127–28Google Scholar.

5 Quoted in Allen, Charles, ed., Plain Tales from the Raj: Images of British India in the Twentieth Century (New York, 1976), p. 99Google Scholar.

6 See Chirol, Valentine, Indian Unrest (1910; reprint, New Delhi, 1979), p. 290Google Scholar. There was even a popular myth among the British that Motilal Nehru, the famous member of the Congress, had turned against British rule because he had been “blackballed” at the Allahabad Club. This myth was successfully challenged by his son; see Nehru, Jawaharlal, An Autobiography (1937; reprint, New Delhi, 1988), pp. 287–88Google Scholar. I have retained the popular nineteenth-century usage of the term “Anglo Indian” to refer to the British in India. It was only later in the twentieth century that the term came to signify an individual of “mixed” British and Indian parentage.

7 There has been little serious scholarship on the clubs despite the recent proliferation of work on “imperial culture.” Rich's, Paul J., Chains of Empire: English Public Schools, Masonic Cabalism, Historical Causality and Imperial Clubdom (London, 1991)Google Scholar remains one of the few books to engage with the implications of clubland in the empire. Also see Chan, Wai Kwan, The Making of Hong Kong Society: Three Studies of Class Formation in Early Hong Kong (New York, 1991), pp. 3840Google Scholar.

8 See Stoler, Ann and Cooper, Frederick, “Introduction” in Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley, Calif., 1997)Google Scholar. John Mackenzie, as editor of the pioneering Studies in Imperialism series published by Manchester University Press, helped to lay the groundwork for this shift in contemporary imperial historiography. Said's, EdwardOrientalism (New York, 1978)Google Scholar, however, is widely credited for having inaugurated many of the recent trends in the new interdisciplinary scholarship on imperialism. For some recent books that trace the impact of empire on domestic British history, see Burton, Antoinette, Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women and Imperial Culture, 1865–1915 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1994)Google Scholar; Tabili, Laura, “We Ask for British Justice”: Workers and Racial Difference in Late Imperial Britain (Ithaca, N.Y., 1994)Google Scholar; Coombes, Annie, Reinventing Africa: Museums, Material Culture, and Popular Imagination in Victorian and Edwardian Britain (New Haven, Conn., 1994)Google Scholar; and McClintock, Anne, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (New York, 1995)Google Scholar. For a discussion of this trend in imperial historiography, see Sinha, Mrinalini, “Britain and the Empire: Toward a New Agenda for Imperial History,” Radical History Review 72 (Fall 1998): 163–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 I owe this cautionary note about the “domestication” of empire to Mani, Lata and Frankenburg, Ruth, “Crosscurrents, Crosstalk: Race, ‘Postcoloniality’ and the Politics of Location,” Cultural Studies 7, no. 2 (1993): 292310Google Scholar; and O'Brien, Susan, “The Place of America in an Era of Postcolonial Imperialism,” Ariel 29, no. 2 (April 1998): 159–83Google Scholar.

10 For the heuristic model of the “imperial social formation,” see Sinha, Mrinalini, Colonial Masculinity: The “Manly Englishman” and the “Effeminate Bengali” in the Late Nineteenth Century (Manchester, 1995)Google Scholar, and Teaching Imperialism as a Social Formation,” Radical History Review 67 (Winter 1997): 175–86Google Scholar.

11 My thinking about a distinctively “colonial public sphere” draws, of course, from the analysis of the classic bourgeois public sphere in the work of Jürgen Habermas; see his The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Burger, Thomas (Cambridge, Mass., 1991)Google Scholar; originally published in Berlin in 1962. See also Calhoun, Craig, ed., Habermas and the Public Sphere (Boston, 1992)Google Scholar. For the literature on “the public” in colonial India, see the editor's introduction and the essays in Freitag, Sandra B., ed., special issue on the “public,” South Asia, 14, no. 1 (1991), esp. 1–13Google Scholar; also see Sarkar, Tanika, “Talking about Scandals: Religion, Law and Love in Late Nineteenth Century Bengal,” Studies in History 1, no. 1 (1997): 6395CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 Amin, Samir, Eurocentrism (New York, 1989)Google Scholar. Also see Shohat, Ella and Stam, Robert, Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media (London, 1994)Google Scholar.

13 See Rich, Chains of Empire.

14 While Christopher Bayly calls for reintegrating the British and Britain into studies of South Asia, I argue for an emphasis on the specifically “colonial” dimension—neither entirely British nor Indian—of public life under the Raj. See Bayly, Christopher A., “Returning the British to South Asian History: The Limits of Colonial Hegemony,” South Asia 17, no. 2 (1994): 125CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 See Clark, Peter, British Clubs and Societies, c. 1580–1800: The Origins of an Associational World (Oxford, 2000)Google Scholar. Unfortunately, I was unable to make use of this book in time for this article.

16 See The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, vol. 1 (1933; reprint, New York, 1977) (hereafter cited as OED), p. 534Google Scholar. Also see Darwin, Bernard, British Clubs (London, 1943), p. 8Google Scholar.

17 For the seventeenth-century coffeehouses as constitutive of an early modern public sphere in Britain, see Pincus, Steve, “‘Coffee Politicians Does Create’: Coffeehouses and Restoration Political Culture,” Journal of Modern History 67, no. 4 (December 1995): 807–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

18 This point has been made in Glinga, Werner, Legacy of Empire: A Journey through British Society (Manchester, 1986), pp. 2–3, 8Google Scholar.

19 For the role of the nineteenth-century “voluntary societies” in consolidating a new middle-class public elite in Britain, see Morris, R. J., “Voluntary Societies and British Urban Elites, 1750–1850: An Analysis,” Historical Journal 26, no. 1. (1983): 95118CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and Clubs, Societies and Associations” in The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750–1950, vol. 3, ed. Thompson, F. M. L. (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 395443Google Scholar. Also see Morris, R. J., Class, Sect and Party: The Making of the British Middle-Class, Leeds, 1820–1850 (Manchester, 1990)Google Scholar. John Seed is correct in claiming that the social clubs in Britain were “about much more than good cigars, billiards, and brandy”; see his Capital and Class Formation in Early Industrial England,” Social History 18, no. 1 (January 1993): 1730CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For a similar analysis of social clubs in providing cohesiveness to an American ruling elite, see Domhoff, G. William, “Social Clubs, Policy-Planning Groups and Corporations: A Network of Ruling Class Cohesiveness,” Insurgent Sociologist (“New Directions in Power Structure Research,” ed. Domhoff, G. William) 5, no. 3 (Spring 1975): 173–84Google Scholar.

20 The above information is from Glinga, , Legacy of Empire, pp. 24Google Scholar; and from Lejeune, Anthony, The Gentlemen's Clubs of London (New York, 1978)Google Scholar.

21 See Panckridge, , A Short History, pp. 12Google Scholar; and Pioneer (30 April 1880) on the East India United Services Club. See also Forrest, Denys, The Oriental Life Story of a West End Club (1968; reprint, London, 1979)Google Scholar.

22 Quoted in Darwin, , British Clubs, p. 7Google Scholar. The popular spelling of the term, however, is “clubbable”; see OED, p. 535.

23 Glinga, , Legacy of Empire, p. 4Google Scholar; and Lejeune, , Gentlemen's Clubs, p. 15Google Scholar.

24 See extract from Vanity Fair, quoted in Englishman (12 October 1883), p. 3Google ScholarPubMed. See also Davenport-Hines, Richard, “In Good Company,” Times Literary Supplement, no. 4 (8–14 June 1990), pp. 1213Google Scholar. The class character of the culture of the “ruling elite” in nineteenth-century Britain continues to be a subject of debate among British historians. For the classic argument of the “gentrification” of Britain's middle-class or bourgeoisie, see Weiner, Martin J., English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit, 1850–1980 (Cambridge, 1981)Google Scholar. It is perhaps symptomatic of the argument being made in this article that much of the debate on the class character of Victorian Britain has gone on without significant recognition of the constitutive impact of Britain's imperial position; this point is made in Callinicos, Alex, “Exception or Symptom? The British Crisis and the World System,” New Left Review 169 (1988): 97107Google Scholar.

25 For a useful introduction to “British Cultural Studies,” see Turner, Graeme, British Cultural Studies: An Introduction (Boston, 1990)Google Scholar; also see Hall, Stuart, “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies,” in Cultural Studies, ed. Grossberg, L., Nelson, C., and Treichler, P. (New York, 1992), pp. 277–94Google Scholar.

26 See esp. Colls, Robert and Dodd, Philip, eds., Englishness, Politics and Culture, 1880–1920 (London, 1986)Google Scholar. Scholars, no doubt, differ on the precise historical moment/moments in which an “Englishness” was crystallized; see Samuel, Raphael, ed., Patriotism: The Making and Unmaking of British National Identity, vols. 1–3 (London, 1989)Google Scholar, esp. Samuel's, Introduction,” 1:xviiilviiGoogle Scholar. Also see Colley, Linda, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, Conn., 1992)Google Scholar.

27 See Viswanathan's, Gauri critique in “Raymond Williams and British Colonialism,” Yale Journal of Criticism 4, no. 2 (Spring 1991): 4766Google Scholar. Sara Suleri similarly argues for the antecedence of imperialism in the making of English India, see Suleri, Sara, The Rhetoric of English India (Chicago, 1989), pp. 122Google Scholar.

28 See Mackenzie, John, Propaganda and Empire: The Manipulation of British Public Opinion, 1880–1960 (Manchester, 1984), p. 2Google Scholar.

29 For the marketing of imperialism in Britain in the late nineteenth century, see ibid. Other titles in the Manchester University Press Studies in Imperialism series also demonstrate the impact of imperialism on British culture; for some examples, see Richards, Jeffrey, ed., Imperialism and Juvenile Literature (Manchester, 1989)Google Scholar; Mackenzie, John, ed., Imperialism and Popular Culture (Manchester, 1986)Google Scholar; Mangan, J. A., ed., Making Imperial Mentalities: Socialisation and British Imperialism (Manchester, 1990)Google Scholar.

30 I see this as the underlying theme of Said's, EdwardCulture and Imperialism (New York, 1993)Google Scholar, esp. chap. 1.

31 The term is from Viswanathan, , “Raymond Williams,” p. 48Google Scholar. For an application of this idea, see Viswanathan, , The Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (New York, 1989)Google Scholar. Her study of the origins of modern English studies reveals that what has hitherto seemed as a strategy developed for class management at home and later exported to the colony was in fact developed for the management of natives in India and only later exported to Britain. For the impact of empire on class politics in Britain, also see Semmel, Bernard, Imperialism and Social Reform in Great Britain, 1900–1914 (1960; reprint, Cambridge, Mass., 1979)Google Scholar; Holt, Thomas, The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832–1938 (Baltimore, 1982)Google Scholar; Tabili, “We Ask for British Justice”; and Hall, Catherine, “Rethinking Imperial Histories: The Reform Act of 1867,” New Left Review, no. 208 (1994), pp. 329Google Scholar; and for India, in particular, see Stokes, Eric, The English Utilitarians and India (Oxford, 1959)Google Scholar; Majeed, Javed, Ungoverned Imaginings: James Mill's “History of British India” and Orientalism (New York, 1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Gupta, Partha Sarthi, Imperialism and the British Labour Movement (London, 1975)Google Scholar.

32 For the intersection of ideas about race, gender, and class in the construction of mid-nineteenth-century British masculinity, see Hall, Catherine, “The Economy of Intellectual Prestige: Thomas Carlyle, J. S. Mill and the Case of Governor Eyre,” Cultural Critique, no. 12 (Spring 1989), pp. 167–96Google Scholar. Also see Hall, Catherine, White, Male and Middle Class: Explorations in Feminism and History (Cambridge, 1992)Google Scholar.

33 I make this argument in the context of the politics of masculinity; see Sinha, Colonial Masculinity.

34 For a sophisticated use of the “separation of spheres” ideology for analyzing nineteenth-century British history, see Davidoff, Leonore and Hall, Catherine, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780–1850 (Chicago, 1987)Google Scholar. For a critique of the use of “separation of spheres” ideology in histories of British women, however, see Vickery, Amanda, “Golden Age to Separate Spheres? A Review of the Categories and Chronology of English Women's History,” Historical Journal 36, no. 2 (1993): 383414CrossRefGoogle Scholar. I am using the term “separation of spheres” very broadly to refer to the set of ideas about gender that was dominant in the nineteenth century.

35 For a spoof on the clubs along these lines see Timbs, John, Club Life of London (London, 1886), 1:248Google Scholar. Timbs quotes from a poem by a Mr. Hood entitled “Clubs Turned up by a Female Hand”: “of all the modern schemes of man / That time has brought to bear / A plague upon the wicked plan / That parts the wedded pair / My female friends they all agree / They hardly know their hubs; / And heart and voice unite with me / We hate the name of Clubs!” For bourgeois domesticity as an important site for the construction of nineteenth-century middle-class masculinity in Britain, see Tosh, John, A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England (New Haven, Conn., 1999)Google Scholar.

36 See Glinga, , Legacy of Empire, pp. 2122Google Scholar.

37 For an examination of a very different sort of “mixed” club, see Walkowitz, Judith R., “Science, Feminism, and Romance: The Men and Women's Club, 1885–1889,” History Workshop Journal 21 (Spring 1986): 3759CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Bland, Lucy, “Rational Sex or Spiritual Love: The Men and Women's Club of the 1880's,” Women's Studies International Forum 13, nos. 1/2 (1990): 3348CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

38 Darwin, , British Clubs, p. 33Google Scholar. Similarly another historian of the clubs suggests that “socialists, like women, are not on the whole clubbable,” see Lejeune, , Gentlemen's Clubs, p. 14Google Scholar.

39 Pateman, Carole, The Sexual Contract (Stanford, Calif., 1985)Google Scholar. See also Clark, Anna, “Contested Space: The Public and Private Spheres in Nineteenth-Century Britain,” Journal of British Studies 35 (1996): 269–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The gentleman's clubs, indeed, differ from the seventeenth-century coffeehouses that Pincus demonstrates were more inclusive both in terms of gender and class; see Pincus, “‘Coffee Politicians Does Create.’”

40 Partha Chatterjee, in a different context, has already complicated the usefulness of the public/private dichotomy when extended to civil society in colonial India; see his The Nationalist Resolution of the Women's Question,” in Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History, ed. Sangari, K. and Vaid, S. (New Brunswick, N.J., 1990), pp. 235–53Google Scholar.

41 For the history of the consolidation of British rule in India, see Bayly, C. A., Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire (New York, 1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For British social life in early colonial India, see Spear, Percival, The Nabobs (London, 1963)Google Scholar; and Marshall, P. J., “British Society in India under the East India Company,” Modern Asian Studies 31, no. 1 (1997): 89108CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For a nineteenth-century British community in India, see Cohn, Bernard S., “The British in Benares: A Nineteenth-Century Colonial Society,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 4, no. 2 (January 1962): 169–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For the exclusivity of Anglo-Indian social life, also see Kennedy, Dane, The Magic Mountains: Hill Stations and the British Raj (Berkeley, 1996)Google Scholar.

42 For the implications of changing attitudes toward interracial sex and interracial unions in the colonial empires, see Stoler, Ann, “Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Colonial Cultures,” American Ethnologist 16, no. 4 (November 1989): 634–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For colonial India, see Ballhatchett, Kenneth, Race, Sex and Class under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and Their Critics, 1793–1905 (New York, 1980)Google Scholar.

43 See Pearson, R., Eastern Interlude, A Social History of the European Community in Calcutta (Calcutta, 1954), p. 22Google Scholar.

44 J.A.D., Notes on an Outfit for India and Hints for the New Arrival (London, 1903), p. 41Google Scholar.

45 This is how Dennis Kincaid explains the “club-addiction” of Anglo-Indian society; see his British Social Life in India, 1608–1937 (1938; reprint, New York, 1971), p. 281Google Scholar.

46 These figures are from Brown, Judith, “India,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 4, The Twentieth Century, ed. Brown, Judith and Louis, W. Roger (Oxford and New York, 1999), p. 423Google Scholar. For the demographic composition of the European community in India, see Macmillan, Margaret O., “Social and Political Attitudes of British Expatriates in India, c. 1880–c. 1920” (D.Phil, thesis, Oxford University, 1974)Google Scholar.

47 Panckridge, , A Short History, p. 1Google Scholar; Pearson, , Eastern Interlude, p. 204Google Scholar. Also see Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Bengal Club, Limited, with Bye-Laws and List of Members [corrected to 1st Oct. 1917] (Calcutta, 1917), pp. 5557Google Scholar.

48 Quoted in Allen, , Plain Tales, p. 100Google Scholar.

49 Horne, W. O., Work and Sport in the Old ICS (London, 1928), p. 23Google Scholar. A shared social life for white men and white women was of greater importance in a racially divided society. Macmillan writes that “generally men and women shared the same social life, indeed more, perhaps, than their contemporaries at home”; see her Women of the Raj (New York, 1988), p. 154Google ScholarPubMed.

50 Rivett-Carnac, J. H., Many Memories of Life in India: At Home and Abroad (London, 1910), p. 15Google Scholar.

51 Allen, , Plain Tales, p. 99Google Scholar.

52 Cited in Macmillan, , Women of the Raj, pp. 160–61Google Scholar. See also reference to white women's involvement in the clubs in Lind, Mary Ann, The Compassionate Memsahibs, Welfare Activities of British Women in India, 1900–1947 (Westport, Conn., 1988), p. 21Google Scholar.

53 For a sample of some of the complaints against the presence of women in the clubs, see Boxwallah, , An Eastern Backwater (London, [1916]), pp. 45, 55, 275Google Scholar. See also Allen, , Plain Tales, p. 105Google Scholar.

54 Cited in SirSharp, Henry, Goodbye India (London, 1946), pp. 137–38Google Scholar.

55 Allen, , Plain Tales, p. 99Google Scholar. The members of the Bengal Club were even alarmed at the idea of an “At Home” for women on its premises for its centenary celebrations in 1927; see R. I. Macalpine, Bengal Club, 1927–1970, pt. 2, BCA.

56 See Edwardes, Michael, The Sahibs and the Lotus: The British in India (London, 1988), p. 226Google Scholar.

57 Quoted in Allen, , Plain Tales, p. 103Google Scholar.

58 Guilaumin, Colette, “Race and Nature: The System of Marks,” Feminist Issues 8 (Fall 1988): 41CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also the discussion of this point in Lloyd, David, “Race under Representation,” Oxford Literary Review 13, nos. 1–2 (1991): 6294CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Abel, Elizabeth, “Black Writing, White Reading: Race and the Politics of Feminist Interpretation,” Critical Inquiry 19, no. 3 (Spring 1993): 470–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In the context of colonialism, moreover, scholars have argued for the need to balance scholarship on the colonized with attention to the constitution of the colonizer; see Trotter, David, “Colonial Subjects,” Critical Quarterly 32, no. 3 (Autumn 1990): 320CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Chrisman, Laura, “The Imperial Unconscious? Representations of Imperial Discourse,” Critical Quarterly, 32, no. 3 (Autumn 1990): 3858CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see also the critique of these moves in Pimono, Paulus, “The Centre Writes/Strikes Back?Critical Quarterly, 33 no. 3 (Autumn 1991): 4347CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

59 Abel aptly characterizes this project as the “racialization of whiteness”; see her “Black Writing, White Reading.” Today a number of scholars are calling for closer critical attention on the articulation of whiteness; see Carby, Hazel, “The Politics of Difference,” Ms. (September-October 1990), pp. 8485Google Scholar; Morrison, Toni, Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (London, 1992)Google Scholar; and the whole development of scholarship on “whiteness” in recent years, see Roediger, David, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (London, 1999)Google Scholar; Frankenburg, Ruth, White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness (Minneapolis, 1993)Google Scholar; Lipsitz, George, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Philadelphia, 1998)Google Scholar; and Hill, Mike, Whiteness: A Critical Reader (New York, 1997)Google Scholar.

60 For the “contradictory desires” in the representation of “whiteness” under the specific conditions of late nineteenth-century India, see Mohanty, Satya, “Kipling's Children and the Colour Line,” Race and Class 31, no. 1 (1989): 2140CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Mohanty identifies the desire both for “invisibility” and “spectacularization” as “two extreme forms of an imperial subjectivity … both perhaps tracing the outlines of an impossible abstraction” (p. 37).

61 The work of Ann Staler has been especially useful in de-naturalizing the constructs of “colonizer” and “colonized”; see her Rethinking Colonial Categories: European Communities and the Boundaries of Rule,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 31, no. 1 (January 1989): 134150CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: European Identities and the Cultural Politics of Exclusion in Colonial Southeast Asia,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 34, no. 3 (July 1992): 514–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and “Making Empire Respectable.”

62 Timbs, , Club Life of London, pp. 23Google Scholar.

63 See Mohanty, , “Kipling's Children,” p. 37Google Scholar.

64 Arnold, David, “European Orphans and Vagrants in India in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 7, no. 2 (1979): 104–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Ernst, Waltraud, Mad Tales from the Raj: The European Insane in British India, 1800–1888 (London, 1991)Google Scholar.

65 Mohanty, , “Kipling's Children,” p. 30Google Scholar. For one Anglo Indian's views on the problem of “poor whites” in nineteenth-century India, see McGuire, Thomas, Professional Beggars: Being Sketches of Beggars, Begging Letter Writers and Impostors From Personal Observation (Calcutta, 1884)Google Scholar.

66 An anonymous British soldier, describing his life in late nineteenth-century India, contends that the social chasm dividing the “upper” and “lower” class Europeans was greater in India than in Britain; see H.S., The Young Soldier in India: His Life and Prospects (London, 1889), pp. 202–5Google Scholar. For the military, which accounted for the majority of the European presence in India, see Stanley, Peter, White Mutiny: British Military Culture in India, 1825–1875 (London, 1998)Google Scholar.

67 For the importance of Freemasonry in the British empire, see Rich, Paul J., Elixir of Empire: The English Public Schools, Ritualism, Freemasonry, and Imperialism (London, 1989)Google Scholar; and also Pick, F., Smythe, F. and Knight, G. Norman, The Pocket History of Freemasonry, 6th ed. (London, 1991)Google Scholar. For Freemasonry in British India, see Moreno, H. W. B., Freemasonry Revealed! Being a Series of Short Stories of Anglo Indian Life Concerning Masons and Masonry (Calcutta, 1907)Google Scholar. For an example of an Indian who was admitted into the “mysteries of the Craft” as early as the first half of the nineteenth century, see Edwardes, S. M., Kharsedji Rustomji Cama, 1831–1909: A Memoir (London, 1923), pp. 5154Google Scholar. The comasonry movement, however, did not get on the ground until the first half of the twentieth century under the initiative of Annie Besant.

68 For the construction of a white British self in India in such abstract and unspecifiable terms, see Mohanty, “Kipling's Children.” For the Englishman's ability to be as one with the natives and yet their superior, see also Dawson, Graham, “The Blond Bedouin: Lawrence of Arabia, Imperial Adventure and the Imagining of English-British Masculinity,” in Manful Assertions: Masculinities in Britain since 1800, ed. Roper, Michael and Tosh, John (London, 1991), pp. 113–44Google Scholar.

69 Allen, , Plain Tales, pp. 101–2Google Scholar.

70 Club Committee Meeting, 7 November 1872, Committee Proceedings of the Bengal Club, 1869-1888, BCA, p. 68.

71 See Bagchi, Amiya, Private Investment in India, 1900–1939 (Cambridge, 1972), pp. 165–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Also see Misra, Maria, Business, Race and Politics in British India, c. 1850–1960 (Oxford, 1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The actual phrase, however, is from Ray, Rajat, Urban Roots of Indian Nationalism: Pressure Group and Conflict of Interest in Calcutta City Politics, 1875–1939 (New Delhi, 1979), pp. 56Google Scholar; also see Ray, Rajat, Social Conflict and Political Unrest in Bengal, 1875–1927 (Delhi, 1984), pp. 2129Google Scholar.

72 Ex-Civilian, Life in the Mofussil or the Civilian in Lower Bengal (London, n.d), 2:253Google Scholar.

73 See Statesman (3 June 1927), p. 3Google ScholarPubMed.

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75 For a history of the indigo disturbances, see Kling, Blair, The Blue Mutiny: The Indigo Disturbances in Bengal, 1859–1862 (Philadelphia, 1966)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Also see Guha, Ranajit, “Neel Darpan: The Image of a Peasant Revolt in a Liberal Mirror,” in Peasant Resistance in India, 1858–1914, ed. Hardiman, David (Delhi, 1992), pp. 160Google Scholar.

76 See SirCotton, Henry, New India or India in Transition, rev. ed. (London, 1909), pp. 6263Google Scholar.

77 Ex-Civilian, Life in the Mofussil, vol. 1, p. 51Google Scholar.

78 Quoted in Hunt, and Harrison, , District Officer, p. 12Google Scholar.

79 Newcombe, A. C., Village, Town and Jungle Life in India (London, 1910), p. 166Google Scholar.

80 For the rebellion of 1857 and its implications on race relations in India, see Metcalf, Thomas, The Aftermath of Revolt: India, 1857–1870 (Princeton, N.J., 1964)Google Scholar; and also see his Ideologies of the Raj (Cambridge, 1997)Google Scholar.

81 For an account of the controversy over the Ilbert Bill, named after the Law Member C. P. Ilbert, see Hirschmann, Edwin, “White Mutiny”: The Ilbert Bill Crisis in India and the Genesis of the Indian National Congress (Delhi, 1980)Google Scholar; for the race and gender politics of the “white mutiny,” see Sinha, Mrinalini, “‘Chathams, Pitts and Gladstone's in Petticoats’: The Politics of Gender and Race in the Ilbert Bill Controversy, 1883–84,” in Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance, ed. Strobel, Margaret and Chaudhuri, Nupur (Bloomington, Ind., 1991), pp. 98116Google Scholar.

82 Cited in Bengalee (18 August 1883), p. 385Google ScholarPubMed. For the club as the center of the opposition against the bill, see Kipling, Rudyard, Something of Myself for My Friends Known and Unknown (New York, 1937), p. 57Google Scholar. For some contemporary news reports on Anglo-Indian protest meetings held in the clubs, see Englishman (13 April 1883); Bengalee (3 November 1883), p. 495Google ScholarPubMed; and Pioneer (7 March 1883), p. 4Google ScholarPubMed.

83 The leading opponents of the bill in Calcutta were all important members of the Club Committee of the Bengal Club, including J. J. J. Keswick, the president of the Club; J. C. MacGregor, the Calcutta correspondent of The Times; J. H. A. Branson, a leading Calcutta barrister; G. H. P. Evans, a member of the Viceroy's Council; and General Wilson and Colonel George Chesney, of the Army; see Committee Proceedings of the Bengal Club, 1869–1888, BCA, pp. 347–49.

84 For the patronage of the governor-general and then the viceroy, see ibid., p. 70. For a brief history of the European and Anglo Indian Defence Association, see Renford, Raymond K., The Non-Official British in India to 1920 (Delhi, 1987)Google Scholar.

85 Englishman (8 March 1883), p. 2Google ScholarPubMed.

86 See Renford, , Non-Official British in India, p. 335Google Scholar.

87 Pioneer (28 April 1883), p. 1Google ScholarPubMed.

88 Committee Proceedings of the Bengal Club, 1906–1919, BCA, p. 245.

89 Cited in Allen, , Plain Tales, p. 104Google Scholar.

90 Horne, , Work and Sport in the Old ICS, pp. 101–2Google Scholar. White women were just as likely to offer similar defenses of the club; see the similarity in Ethel Savi's defense of the club quoted in Greenberger , Allen J., “Englishwomen in India,” British History Illustrated 4 (1978): 46Google Scholar.

91 For some salutary reminders of the importance of reinscribing class—as much as race and gender—into contemporary analyses of the working of colonialism, see Ahmed, Aijaz, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (London, 1992)Google Scholar; and Sarkar, Sumit, Writing Social History (Delhi, 1998)Google Scholar.

92 See Choudhury, Ranabina Ray, ed., Calcutta: A Hundred Years Ago (Bombay, 1988), p. 46Google Scholar.

93 Ibid. See also Statesman (23 March 1883), p. 3Google ScholarPubMed; and the report in the Illustrated London News (25 August 1887) on the maharaja's role in founding the club, cited in Vadgama, Kusoom, India in Britain: The Indian Contribution to the British Way of Life (London, 1984), p. 52Google Scholar. Dev's, Benay KrishanThe Early History and Growth of Calcutta (1905; reprint, Calcutta, 1977), p. 175Google Scholar, however, attributes the foundation of the club to Keshub Chunder Sen, the maharaja's father-in-law.

94 Statesman (24 March 1882), p. 3Google ScholarPubMed.

95 Among the Indian members some prominent names included the following: R. C. Mitter, Jotendra Mohun Tagore, Rajendra Lala Mitra, Nawab Abdool Luteef, H. M. Rustomjee, Keshub Chunder Sen, Bankim Chandra Chattterjee, and Rev. K. M. Bannerjee. Some prominent European members, included Sir Henry Harrison, chairman of the Calcutta Corporation; Sir Henry Cotton of the ICS; and Rev. Father Lafont. Harry Lee, Harrison's successor at the Calcutta Corporation, also played an active role in the club. See Choudhury, , Calcutta, pp. 132–33Google ScholarPubMed; Hindoo Patriot (16 June 1883), p. 280Google Scholar; and Hindoo Patriot (18 August 1890), pp. 390–91Google Scholar.

96 The membership on 31 December 1888 was 763; see Bengal Club Annual Accounts Book, 1860–1890, BCA, pp. 77.

97 Blunt, Wilfred Scawen, India under Ripon (London, 1909), p. 115Google Scholar.

98 Quoted in Choudhury, , Calcutta, p. 46Google ScholarPubMed.

99 Pioneer (28 April 1883), p. 1Google ScholarPubMed.

100 The incident was first reported in the Indian Daily News. It prompted one European member of the club to resign in protest, see Englishman (3 April 1883), p. 3Google ScholarPubMed. Indians present, however, denied that such an incident had taken place in the club, see Englishman (6 April 1883), p. 2Google ScholarPubMed.

101 See Gandhi, M. K., An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, trans. Desai, Mahadev (Boston, 1957), p. 229Google Scholar; originally published in Ahmedabad, India, in two volumes in 1927 and 1929.

102 Brajendranath, De, “Reminiscences of an Indian Member of the ICS,” Calcutta Review 32, no. 2 (August 1954): 95Google Scholar.

103 Ananda Bazar Patrika (9 April 1993), p. 167Google Scholar, in Report on Native Papers Bengal Presidency (January-December 1883), no. 16.

104 See Shukla, J. D., Indianisation of All-India Services and Its Impact on Administration (New Delhi, 1982)Google Scholar. For the transformation of the ICS, also see Potter, David, India's Political Administrators, 1919–1983 (Oxford, 1986)Google Scholar. Several contemporary memoirs testify to the awkwardness created by the ban on entertaining Indian guests in the clubs; for Anglo-Indian accounts see Cotton, , New India, pp. 5051Google Scholar; and SirLawrence, Walter Roper, The India We Served (London, 1928), p. 16Google Scholar; for accounts by Indians see the recollections of M. A. Hussein of the ICS (Punjab cadre) quoted in Hunt, and Harrison, , District Officer, p. 127Google Scholar.

105 Cited in Hunt, and Harrison, , District Officer, pp. 127–28Google Scholar.

106 Vira, Dharam, Memoirs of a Civil Servant (London, 1975), p. 1617Google Scholar.

107 Cited in Sinha, M. K., In My Father's Footsteps: A Policeman's Odyssey, 1908–1980 (Delhi, 1981), p. 24Google Scholar.

108 See various individual memoirs, for example: Menon, K. P. S., Many Worlds: An Autobiography (London, 1965), esp. pp. 89147Google Scholar; Chettur, S. K., The Steel Frame and I: Life in the ICS (London, 1962)Google Scholar; Rai, E. N. Mangat, Commitment My Style: Career in the Indian Civil Service (Delhi, 1973)Google Scholar; [Nehra, A.], Letters of an Indian Judge to an English Gentlewoman (London, 1934)Google Scholar; Rustomjee, Nari, Enchanted Frontiers (Bombay, 1971)Google Scholar; and Tyabji, Badr-ud-din, Memoirs of an Egoist, vol. 1, 1907–1956 (New Delhi, 1988)Google Scholar. See also the recollections of Indian ICS officers in Punjabi, K. L., The Civil Servant in India (Bombay, 1965)Google Scholar and Hunt and Harrison, District Officer.

109 See Hunt, and Harrison, , District Officer, pp. 126–27, 29Google Scholar.

110 Cited in Masani, Zareer, Indian Tales of the Raj (London, 1987), p. 53Google Scholar.

111 Cited in Ray, Rajat, Urban Roots, pp. 231–32Google Scholar.

112 The incident involving Willingdon is mentioned in Trevelyan, Humphrey, The India We Left: Charles Trevelyan, 1826–1865, Humphrey Trevelyan, 1929–1947 (London, 1972), pp. 112–13Google Scholar. Details are also given in Masani, , Indian Tales, pp. 5152Google Scholar. While Indian princes were not allowed in the clubs in British India, they belonged to the same clubs as Europeans in their own princely states; see the recollections of the son of the Nawab of Palanpur in Allen, Charles and Diwedi, Sharada, Lives of the Indian Princes (London, 1984), p. 158Google Scholar.

113 See Calcutta Club: Memorandum and Articles of Association 1922, National Library, Calcutta, pp. 48, 51Google Scholar.

114 Quoted in Masani, , Indian Tales, p. 52Google Scholar.

115 Quoted in ibid., p. 68. For the decline in the popularity of the clubs see also Kincaid, , British Social Life, pp. 276–77Google Scholar. For one Anglo Indian's perception of the growing “crises of whiteness” in late colonial India, see Schwarz, Bill, “An Englishman Abroad … and at Home: The Case of Paul Scott,” New Formations, no. 17 (Summer 1992), pp. 95105Google Scholar.

116 Cited in Bonnerjee, N. B., Under Two Masters (Calcutta, 1970), pp. 117–18Google Scholar.

117 Ibid.

118 Quoted in Masani, , Indian Tales, p. 16Google Scholar

119 Ibid., p. 25.

120 Ibid., p. 55. There were many others, of course, who made full use of the social opportunities for bridge, sports, and other activities that the clubs provided, see Sengupta, Padmini [Sathianadhan], The Portrait of an Indian Woman (Calcutta, 1956)Google Scholar.

121 See Rau, Dhanvanthi Rama, An Inheritance: The Memoirs of Dhanvanthi Rama Rau (London, 1977), pp. 99–100, 119Google Scholar.

122 See Letter From Sorabji to Elena [Alice Bruce] Richmond, dated 24 February 1926, in “Cornelia Sorabji Papers: Correspondence and Private Papers,” January-April 1926, India Office Library and Records, London, folder no. 40.

123 See report of the incident in Renford, , Non-Official British, pp. 309–11Google Scholar.

124 See the recollection of this episode in Dutt, Kalpana, Chittagong Armoury Raider's Reminiscences (1945; reprint, New Delhi, 1979), pp. 4044Google Scholar. For Indian women's participation in revolutionary terrorist organizations, see Forbes, Geraldine H., “Goddesses or Rebels: The Women Revolutionaries of Bengal,” in Women, Politics and Literature in Bengal, ed. Seeley, Clinton B. (East Lansing, Mich. 1981), pp. 317Google Scholar.

125 For a recollection of this incident, see the writings of Indian suffragist Sen, Mrinalini, Knocking at the Door: Lectures and Other Writings (Calcutta, 1954), p. 150Google Scholar.

126 The Lyceum Club was founded on 20 June 1904 as a place where “women of every nationality meet in a freedom of intercourse hitherto unavailable;” see the report on the tenth anniversary of the club in its paper, The Lyceum (June 1914), in Papers of Lady Strachey [longtime vice president of the Lyceum Club/, Fawcett Library, London Guildhall University, London, Box 92. Sarojini Naidu was, perhaps, among its earliest and most famous Indian members. Many important connections among Indian women, such as those among Naidu, Kamala Sathianadhan, Padmini Sengupta, and Hansa Mehta, had been cemented first in 1919 in the Lyceum Club in London, see Sengupta, Padmini [Sathianadhan], The Portrait of an Indian Woman (Calcutta, 1956), pp. 114–16Google Scholar; Sengupta, Padmini, Sarojini Naidu (Bombay, 1966), p. 158Google Scholar; and Mehta, Hansa, Indian Woman (Delhi, 1981), p. 188Google Scholar.

127 Vittachi, Varindra Tarzie, The Brown Sahib (London, 1962), p. 10Google Scholar; see also his The Brown Sahib Revisited (New Delhi, 1987)Google Scholar.

128 Midgley, Clare, “New Imperial Histories,” Journal of British Studies 35 (1996): 547–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar.