Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorBallantyne, Tony
dc.contributor.advisorStenhouse, John
dc.contributor.authorMcMenamin, Dorothy
dc.identifier.citationMcMenamin, D. (2019). Anglo-Indian lives in Pakistan through the lens of oral histories (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractAnglo-Indians are the legacy of European colonialism in South Asia. They are of mixed Indian and European descent. Since the late 20th century Anglo-Indians have been the focus of much ethnological research that generally depicts them as a “marginalized” group due to “racist” British policies. Anglo-Indians are a tiny minority in a vast native population, but the natives did not protect them from marginalization. Why? This dissertation explores the question because my personal experience, being born into an Anglo-Indian family and schooled in Pakistan, had no resonances with the impoverished lives depicted in scholarly accounts. All Anglo-Indians are Christians and in India live within a majority Hindu population, whereas in Pakistan they reside amongst a Muslim milieu. To date no research has focused specifically on Anglo-Indians in or from Pakistan, and using oral histories, my thesis fills this gap. I outline the establishment of British institutions in the North West region from the mid-1850s, particularly schools, government services and industries, showing that the connection of the periphery of empire to metropolitan centres in India drew Anglo-Indians into the region. The religious and cultural mentalities of Hindus and Muslims are described to explain how these cultural traditions affected the lives and social status of Anglo-Indians. The religious differences led to the creation of Pakistan in August 1947 amidst sectarian violence, witnessed by many Anglo-Indians. The oral histories reveal the exclusion of Anglo-Indians as a group from being targets of violence. Following the withdrawal of the British in 1947 a wave of Anglo-Indian emigration occurred. In India the socio-economic situation of many Anglo-Indians diminished, whereas I show that in Pakistan they moved out of subordinate government employment, many rising to senior positions in professional capacities and the armed forces. Descriptions given of Anglo-Indian lives in Pakistan from 1947 until recent times, focusing on schooling, employment and intermarriage, demonstrate the social status of Anglo-Indians, and Pakistani acceptance of their lifestyle. A case study of an Anglo-Indian children’s home and the residents’ subsequent lives is given; these do not reflect the penurious situation of Anglo-Indians described by scholars in Indian ghettos. Political changes in Pakistan from the 1970s are outlined showing the constraints imposed on Anglo-Indian lifestyles by Islamist agendas. Radical reforms introduced in the 1980s placed Christians at risk, again inducing Anglo-Indians to emigrate. The lives of the Anglo-Indians who stayed on, because of good jobs or marriages into upper class Pakistani families, are described. Resettlement stories provided by emigres to England, New Zealand and Australia show a shift in attitude, that of permanence, towards residence in their new homeland. This signifies that Anglo-Indian identity had not been rooted in South Asia due, I suggest, to their unknown native ancestry and polluting status as outsiders, feringhis and mlecchas, to high caste Hindus in India. This finding supports persistent notions that Anglo-Indian identity lay outside South Asia, and after emigration, their status was confirmed as transnationals with an indelible western colonial identity.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectNew Zealand
dc.subjectChristian, Goan, Hindu, Muslim, Islamist, Brahmin, partition, endogamy, intermarriage, mleccha, caste/jati status, social hierarchy, migrant, colonial, identity, religion, culture, racism, education.
dc.titleAnglo-Indian lives in Pakistan through the lens of oral histories
dc.language.rfc3066en & Art History of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
 Find in your library

Files in this item


There are no files associated with this item.

This item is not available in full-text via OUR Archive.

If you would like to read this item, please apply for an inter-library loan from the University of Otago via your local library.

If you are the author of this item, please contact us if you wish to discuss making the full text publicly available.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record