Anglo Indians a Micro-Minority
The Anglo-Indian effort in building Ethnicity, pluralism, removing conflict - is a Resolution for Nation Building in democratic India.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru while moving the Aims and Objectives of the draft Constitution of India stated :
"LAWS ARE MADE OF WORDS BUT THIS RESOLUTION IS
SOMETHING HIGHER THAN THE LAW. IT IS NOT A LAW; BUT IT IS SOMETHING THAT BREATHES LIFE IN HUMAN MINDS
IT IS A DECLARATION.
IT IS A FIRM RESOLVE.
IT IS A PLEDGE AND AN UNDERTAKING
AND IT IS FOR ALL OF US, I HOPE, A DECLARATION."
Pandit Nehru by these words inspired a generation to believe in themselves and the destiny of this great country. The Anglo-Indians - one of the few ethnic communities in the country rallied around this trust and served it with a glorious record that few communities in the country can match in proportion to their numbers. This was a collage of multi-dimensional colours spun together to establish the vision of unity in diversity, permeating all narrow domestic walls.
THE ANGLO-INDIAN COMMITMENT:
The history of the Anglo-Indian community is one of outstanding contributions to the armed forces, education, railways, posts and telegraphs, nursing and customs.
The Anglo-Indian community has played a notable part out of all proportion to their numbers. This tribute is all the more meaningful when viewed from the perspective that the community throughout its history has had to struggle for its identity.
The Anglo-Indians were the only minority community that was defined in Article-366 of the Indian Constitution : "An Anglo-Indian means a person whose father or any of whose male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or was born within such territory of parents habitually resident there-in and not established there for temporary purposes only, "
THE ANGLO- INDIAN ETHOS :
The Anglo-Indian ethos, a happy blend of the East and the West has influenced a wide section of the Urban Indian population due to their exposure to Anglo-Indian schools. The Anglo-Indian ethos is no longer a monopoly of the community. It is a value independent of religion or communal alliance. The Anglo-Indian influence has worked to shape the modern Indian Mind thereby creating a new "ANGLO-INDIA" a vital example of how ethnicity coupled with pluralist tolerance can shape a nation.
THE NEW AWAKENING :
After independence many Anglo-Indian had started to leave the country of their birth - the flow receded on the assurance that the community would be accorded equal rights and privileges with other citizens. After 1960 the outflow resumed to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., this was when- " reservations " for the community ceased and the community were left with no anchor.
Today there is a new awakening within the community to establish itself from the roots upwards to play a role in resurgent India."
The shift from basically -"a service based community " to "trading or business" is not easy. For generations the community has served the armed forces. education, railways, posts and telegraphs, nursing and related disciplines. However the awakening has come and in time such changes will reap the fruits of sacrifices and hard work.
The history of many Anglo-Indians in India is a story of success and achievements. There are many Anglo-Indians still struggling in poverty, injustice and discrimination in India. But they have managed to preserve their unique identity and place in this diverse and culturally rich country. They have preserved their own traditions, style and uniqueness, despite the fact that they have successfully been able to blend into the main stream in India.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THE ANGLO-INDIAN COMMUNITY :
Removing and correcting Socio-Economic hardships, regaining their self-esteem and purging of the so called -"Identity Crisis", removal of pleasure seeking image, rapid assimilation into the culture and tradition of their adopted country - India, obtaining a sound education and maintaining a sense of community spirit - Rich Anglo Indians helping the less fortunate ones, thereby retaining a cohesive unit. Addressing these vital areas will ensure the very survival of this vibrant community. “There are bad and good in every community. It is the circumstances which makes them what they become in life."
EDUCATION - THE BACKBONE OF THE ANGLO-INDIANS :
The greatest and perhaps the most singular contribution to the nation by the Anglo-Indian community has made, is it's sustained presence in the sphere of school education.
At the time of independence there were nearly 300 Anglo-Indian schools in existence. The premier Examination board in the country, managed by the Anglo-Indians -" Council for the Indian School certificate Examinations, New Delhi ", has evolved into a premier body conducting public examinations at the Secondary and Senior secondary levels in India and abroad. The " Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations", established in 1958, with support of the -" Inter-State Board for Anglo-Indian Education", provides its examinations to over 1000 schools in India and abroad.
The Anglo-Indian community with the support : of Article-30 of the Indian Constitution, continue to manage and establish educational institutions providing access to quality education and opportunities without distinction or preference to all sections of society.
Neil Obrien - "We are spread all over the world. Likes the Jews, today we are a scattered community. Physically, we are scattered, but emotionally united".