Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book Review: After the Raj by Hugh Purcell

The Comments of Warren Brown on “After The Raj: The Last Stayers-On and the Legacy of British India” by Hugh Purcell

The recent book on the Anglo-Indians of India does not do justice to the community, as do so many others:

1. It is just a collection of facts gleaned from other books, written by men who have never lived in India like the stalwarts Frank Anthony among others, who made a big difference in India, as a Founder of the Frank Anthony Public schools.

2. The community has been the object of ridicule and shame for over four hundred years now, since the first British and European men had affairs with Indian women resulting in their progenies called Anglo-Indians or Eurasians.

3. Nothing new can be written about the community, but old facts in new packages. Those of us who attempt to read the books need to endure the unfair comments which the writers offer their readers, in glossy covers, with acid print.

4. Outsiders cannot do justice to the Anglo-Indian community or depict the community in the right light. It is similar to a Texan writing about an Inuit in Iceland.

5. Anglo-Indians are not a disappearing race. It is just that they are invisible. Thousands of Anglo-Indians have migrated to other parts of the world, they are still of Anglo-Indian origin, but they hold the Nationalities of other countries as they blend into world cultures. The numbers of Anglo-Indians in India are decreasing, but there is still a sizeable number present in the country, who are struggling to survive and maintain their unique identity.

6. The community originated in the 17th century. This is now the 21st century, it is time to move on, as the world changes and cultures mix more freely and the borders between countries and nations are disappearing. The community needs to move with the times and so do those outsiders who write about the "history" of the community, which has been recorded for over four centuries now.

7. Melvyn Brown, the Anglo-Indian “Chronicler of the community” may seem like a joke, to many who visit him and who hear him talk about the community and all that he has accomplished. He has done so much work over the past five decades of his life, as an individual, when organizations who carry the banner Anglo-Indian have not achieved a quarter with all the funds and resources at their disposal. Melvyn Brown has done the following in his lifetime and with more to come in the future.

- Book publishing on the community
- Lectures and seminars on the community
- Sports for the young people of the community in the 1980-1990s.
- Concerts for the Musicians and Singers of the Community from 1979- 1990s.
- Community Awards from  1979 till the present on an Annual basis.
- Assisting researchers with facts collected on the community over the last four decades.
- Christmas Trees and social gatherings for members of the community
- Several endeavours undertaken single-handedly with limited resources, but with the singular intention of Anglo-Indian Community Preservation.

How do I know that what I have described about the community in this essay is true?
I am the son of Melvyn Brown and I have lived the Anglo-Indian experience, under the guidance of this great Legend and Icon of the community.

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