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Regions with significant populations
 India Est. 300,000 – 1,000,000 [1]
 United Kingdom ~80,000[2]
 Myanmar ~19,200[3]
 Australia 22,000
 Canada 22,000
 United States 20,000
 Pakistan <1,500 [1]


Hindi and local regional languages are commonly spoken as a second language
Anglicanism, Methodism, Baptism, Presbyterianism and Roman Catholicism.[4]
Related ethnic groups
Indo-Aryan people, Dravidian people, British people, Anglo-Burmese, Burghers, Kristang people, Indo people, Singaporean Eurasians, Macanese people

Anglo-Indians are people who have Burmese Days). The Oxford Dictionary's definition of "Anglo-Indian" is "Of mixed British and Indian parentage, of Indian descent but born or living in Britain, or (chiefly historical) of British descent or birth but living or having lived long in India".[7]

The Anglo-Indian community in its modern sense is a distinct, small minority community originating in India. It consists of people from mixed British and Indian ancestry whose native language is English. An Anglo-Indian's British ancestry was usually bequeathed paternally.

Article 366(2) of the Indian Constitution defines Anglo-Indian as:[8][9]

(2) an Anglo Indian means a person whose father or any of whose other 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 therein and not established there for temporary purposes only;

Anglo-Indian often only represents Indians mixed with British ancestry during the British Raj. There are many mixed Indians from European countries other than the British, that were involved in the British Raj. For example, the definition rarely embraces the descendants of the Indians from the old Portuguese colonies of both the Coromandel and Malabar Coasts, who joined the East India Company as mercenaries and brought their families with them.[10] The definition has many extensions, for example, mestiços (mixed Portuguese and Indian) of Goa, people of Indo-French descent, and Indo-Dutch descent. Indians have encountered Europeans since their earliest civilization. They have been a continuous element in the sub-continent. Their presence is not be considered Anglo-Indian. Similarly, Indians who mixed with Europeans after the British Raj are also not be considered Anglo-Indian.[1][11]

Anglo-Indians formed a significant portion of the minority community in India during the British Raj. The Anglo-Indian population in India dwindled from roughly 800,000 in 1947 to fewer than 350,000 by 2010. Many have adapted to local communities and emigrated to the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and United States.[1][12]


  • History 1
  • Present communities 2
  • Political status 3
  • Other populations 4
    • Britons in colonial India 4.1
    • Anglo-Indian population in Britain 4.2
  • Notable persons of Anglo-Indian descent 5
    • Anglo-Indians of European descent (original definition) 5.1
    • Anglo-Indians of Eurasian descent (new definition) 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Books 8
  • External links 9


The first use of the term was to describe all British people living in India. However in popular usage the term changed to describe Anglo-Indians as people who were of mixed blood descending from the British on the male side and women from the Indian side.[13] People of mixed British and Indian descent were previously referred to as 'Eurasians' but are now more commonly referred to as 'Anglo-Indians'.[14]

During the British East India Company's rule in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it was initially fairly common for British officers and soldiers to take local Indian wives and have Eurasian children, due to a lack of British women in India at the time.[15][16] By the mid-19th century, there were around 40,000 British soldiers, but fewer than 2,000 British officials present in India.[17] As British women began arriving in British India in large numbers around the early to mid-19th century, mostly as family members of British officers and soldiers, intermarriage became increasingly uncommon among the British in India and was later despised after the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857,[18] after which several anti-miscegenation laws were implemented.[19][20] As a result, Eurasians were neglected by both the British and Indian populations in India.

Over generations, Anglo-Indians intermarried with other Anglo-Indians to form a community that developed a culture of its own. Anglo-Indian cuisine, dress, speech and religion all served to further segregate Anglo-Indians from the native population. They established a school system focused on the English language and culture and formed social clubs and associations to run functions like their regular dances on occasions like Christmas and Easter.[13]

Over time Anglo-Indians were specifically recruited into the Customs and Excise, Post and Telegraphs, Forestry Department, The Railways and teaching professions – but they were employed in many other fields as well. A number of factors fostered a strong sense of community among Anglo-Indians. Their English language school system, their Anglo-centric culture, and their Christian beliefs in particular helped bind them together.[21]

The Anglo-Indian community also had a role as go-betweens in the introduction of Western musical styles, harmonies and instruments in post-Independence India. During the colonial era, genres including Ragtime and Jazz were played by bands for the social elites, and these bands often contained Anglo-Indian members.[22]

Originally, under Regulation VIII of 1813, they were excluded from the British legal system and in Bengal became subject to the rule of Mohammedan law outside Calcutta – and yet found themselves without any caste or status amongst those who were to judge them. In 1821, a pamphlet entitled "Thoughts on how to better the condition of Indo-Britons" by a "Practical Reformer," was written to promote the removal of prejudices existing in the minds of young Eurasians against engaging in trades. This was followed up by another pamphlet, entitled "An Appeal on behalf of Indo-Britons." Prominent Eurasians in Calcutta formed the "East Indian Committee" with a view to send a petition to the British Parliament for the redress of their grievances. Mr. John William Ricketts, the first noble pioneer in the Eurasian cause, volunteered to proceed to England. His mission was successful, and on his return to India, by way of Madras, he received quite an ovation from his countrymen in that presidency; and was afterwards warmly welcomed in Calcutta, where a report of his mission was read at a public meeting held in the Calcutta Town Hall. In April 1834, in obedience to an Act of Parliament passed in August 1833, the Indian Government was forced to grant government jobs to Anglo-Indians.[21]

During the independence movement, many Anglo-Indians identified (or were assumed to identify) with British rule, and, therefore, incurred the distrust and hostility of Indian nationalists. Their position at independence was difficult. They felt a loyalty to a British "home" that most had never seen and where they would gain little social acceptance. (Bhowani Junction touches on the identity crisis faced by the Anglo-Indian community during the independence struggle.) They felt insecure in an India that put a premium on participation in the independence movement as a prerequisite for important government positions.

Many Anglo-Indians left the country in 1947, hoping to make a new life in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Nations, such as Australia or Canada. The exodus continued through the 1950s and 1960s and by the late 1990s most had left with many of the remaining Anglo-Indians still aspiring to leave.[23]

Like the Parsi community, the Anglo-Indians are essentially urban dwellers. Unlike the Parsis, the mass migrations saw more of the better educated and financially secure Anglo-Indians depart for other Commonwealth nations.[13]

There has been a resurgence in celebrating Anglo-Indian culture in the 21st Century, in the form of International Anglo-Indian Reunions and in publishing books on Anglo-Indians. There have been seven reunions with the latest being held in August 2007 in Toronto. Books on Anglo-Indians recently published include Anglo-Indians – Vanishing Remnants of a Bygone Era[24] published (2002), Haunting India[25] published (2003), Voices on the Verandah[26] published (2004), The Way We Were – Anglo-Indian Chronicles[27] published (2006) and The Way We Are – An Anglo-Indian Mosaic[28] published (2008). "The Leopard's Call: An Anglo-Indian Love Story" by Reginald Shires, published 2005, tells of the life of two teachers at the small Bengali town of Falakata, down from Bhutan; "At the Age for Love: A Novel of Bangalore during World War II" by Reginald N. Shires, published 2006, is a story of Anglo-Indian life during the war. In the Shadow of Crows [29] by David Charles Manners, published by both Reportage Press (London, 2009) and Signal Books (Oxford, 2011), is the critically acclaimed true account of a young Englishman's unexpected discovery of his Anglo-Indian relations in the Darjeeling district; "The Hammarskjold Killing" by William Higham, is a novel in which a London-born Anglo-Indian heroine is caught up in a terrorist crisis in Sri Lanka, published by HiMa Press (Sydney) in conjunction with Lulu Press (US)(2007)

Present communities

India constitutionally guarantees of the rights of communities and religious and linguistic minorities permit Anglo-Indians to maintain their own schools and to use English as the medium of instruction. In order to encourage the integration of the community into the larger society, the government stipulates that a certain percentage of the student body come from other Indian communities.

There is no evident official discrimination against Anglo-Indians in terms of current government employment, but it is widely perceived that their disinclination to master local languages does not help their employment chances in modern India.

In a 2013 BBC news feature on Anglo-Indians, journalist Kris Griffiths wrote: "It has been noted in recent years that the number of Anglo-Indians who have succeeded in certain fields is remarkably disproportionate to the community's size. For example, in the music industry there are Engelbert Humperdinck (born Madras), Peter Sarstedt (Delhi) and Cliff Richard (Lucknow). The looser definition of Anglo-Indian (any mixed British-Indian parentage) encompasses the likes of cricketer Nasser Hussain, footballer Michael Chopra and actor Ben Kingsley."[30]

Anglo-Indians distinguished themselves in the military. Air Vice-Marshal Maurice Barker was India's first Anglo-Indian Air Marshal. At least seven other Anglo-Indians subsequently reached that post, a notable achievement for a small community. A number of others have been decorated for military achievements. Air Marshal Malcolm Wollen is often considered the man who won India's 1971 war fighting alongside Bangladesh.[31] Anglo-Indians made similarly significant contributions to the Indian Navy and Army.[32]

Another field in which Anglo-Indians won distinction was education. The second most respected matriculation qualification in India, the ICSE, was started and built by some of the community's best known educationists including Frank Anthony, who served as its president, and A.E.T. Barrow who served as its secretary for the better part of half a century. Most Anglo-Indians, even those without much formal education, find that gaining employment in schools is fairly easy because of their fluency in English.

In sporting circles Anglo-Indians have made a significant contribution, particularly at Olympic level where Norman Pritchard became India's first ever Olympic medallist, winning two silver medals at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris, France. In cricket Roger Binny was the leading wicket-taker during the Indian cricket team's 1983 World Cup triumph. Wilson Jones was India's first ever World Professional Billiards Champion.

Several charities have been set up abroad to help the less fortunate in the community in India. Foremost among these is CTR (Calcutta Tiljallah Relief – based in the USA), which has instituted a senior pension scheme, and provides monthly pensions to over 300 seniors. CTR also provides education to over 200 needy children.[33]

Today, there are estimated to be 80,000–125,000 Anglo-Indians living in India, most of whom are based in the cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Mumbai, Madurai and Tiruchirapalli. Anglo-Indians also live in the towns of Allepey (Alappuzha), Kochi (Cochin), Kollam (Quilon), Kozhikode (Calicut), Cannanore (Kannur) in the South Indian state of Kerala also at Goa, Pune, Secunderabad, Visakhapatnam, Lucknow, Agra, and in some towns of Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Also a significant number of this population resides in Odisha's Khurda Road, which is a busy railway junction. However, the Anglo Indian population has dwindled over the years with most people migrating abroad or to other parts of the country.[3]

Most of the Anglo-Indians overseas are concentrated in Britain, Australia, Canada, United States, and New Zealand. Of the estimated million or so (including descendants), who have emigrated from India, some have settled in European countries like Switzerland, Germany, and France. According to the Anglo-Indians who have settled in Australia, integration for the most part has not been difficult.[34] The community in Myanmar frequently intermarried with the local Anglo-Burmese community but both communities suffered from adverse discrimination since Burma's military took over the government in the 1962, with most having now left the country to settle overseas.

Political status

The Anglo-Indian community is the only Indian community that has its own representatives nominated to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) in India's Parliament. This right was secured from Nehru by Frank Anthony, the first and longtime president of the All India Anglo-Indian Association. The community is represented by two members. This is done because the community has no native state of its own. States like Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Kerala also have a nominated member each in their respective State Legislatures.

Other populations

Britons in colonial India

Historically, the term Anglo-Indian was also used in common parlance in Britain during the colonial era to refer to those people (such as Rudyard Kipling, or the hunter-naturalist Jim Corbett), who were of British descent but were born and raised in India, usually because their parents were serving in the colonial administration or armed forces;[13] "Anglo-Indian", in this sense, was synonymous with "non-domiciled British".

Anglo-Indian population in Britain

Since the mid-19th century, there has been a population of people of Indian (like Lascars) or mixed British-Indian ethnic origin residing in Britain, both through intermarriage between white Britons and Indians, and through the migration of Anglo-Indians from India to Britain. Though sometimes referred to as Anglo-Indians,[7] people of Indian or mixed British-Indian ethnicity residing in Britain generally prefer the terms White British, British Indian and mixed White-Asian instead.[35] The first and latter categorisations are also used by the UK census.

Notable persons of Anglo-Indian descent

Anglo-Indians of European descent (original definition)

Anglo-Indians of Eurasian descent (new definition)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Fisher, Michael H. (2007), "Excluding and Including "Natives of India": Early-Nineteenth-Century British-Indian Race Relations in Britain", Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27 (2): 303–314 [305], doi:10.1215/1089201x-2007-007
  2. ^ Blair Williams, Anglo Indians, CTR Inc. Publishing, 2002, p.189
  3. ^ a b c Roy Dean Wright and Susan W. Wright, 'The Anglo-Indian Community in Contemporary India', Accessed: 03/08/09
  4. ^ Peter Friedlander, 'Religion, Race, Language and the Anglo-Indians: Eurasians in the Census of British India', Accessed: 03/08/09
  5. ^ Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition (1989)
  6. ^ Anglo-Indian,
  7. ^ a b "Anglo-Indian". Oxford Dictionary Online. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  8. ^ "Treaty Bodies Database – Document – State Party Report" United Nations Human Rights Website. April 29, 1996.
  9. ^ "Article 366(2) in The Constitution Of India 1949". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  10. ^ See Stark, op. cit.
  11. ^ Dover, Cedric. Cimmerii or Eurasians and Their Future: An Anglo Indian Heritage Book. London: Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007. Pages 62–63
  12. ^ "Some corner of a foreign field". The Economist. 2010-10-21. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  13. ^ a b c d Stark, Herbert Alick. Hostages To India: OR The Life Story of the Anglo Indian Race. Third Edition. London: The Simon Wallenberg Press: Vol 2: Anglo Indian Heritage Books
  14. ^ "Eurasian".  
  15. ^ Fisher, Michael Herbert (2006), Counterflows to Colonialism: Indian Traveller and Settler in Britain 1600–1857, Orient Blackswan, pp. 111–9, 129–30, 140, 154–6, 160–8,  
  16. ^ Fisher, Michael H. (2007), "Excluding and Including "Natives of India": Early-Nineteenth-Century British-Indian Race Relations in Britain", Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27 (2): 303–314 [304–5],  
  17. ^ Fisher, Michael H. (2007), "Excluding and Including "Natives of India": Early-Nineteenth-Century British-Indian Race Relations in Britain", Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27 (2): 303–314 [305],  
  18. ^ Beckman, Karen Redrobe (2003), Vanishing Women: Magic, Film, and Feminism,  
  19. ^ Kent, Eliza F. (2004), Converting Women,  
  20. ^ Kaul, Suvir (1996), "Review Essay: Colonial Figures and Postcolonial Reading",  
  21. ^ a b Maher, James, Reginald. (2007). These Are The Anglo Indians . London: Simon Wallenberg Press. (An Anglo Indian Heritage Book)
  22. ^ Jazz and race in colonial India: The role of Anglo-Indian musicians in the diffusion of jazz in Calcutta, Stephane Dorin - Jazz Research Journal, Vol 4, No 2 (2010)
  23. ^ Anthony, Frank. Britain's Betrayal in India: The Story of the Anglo Indian Community. Second Edition. London: The Simon Wallenberg Press, 2007 Pages 144–146, 92.
  24. ^ Blair Williams. "Anglo-Indians – Vanishing Remnants of a Bygone Era". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  25. ^ Blair Williams. "Haunting India". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  26. ^ Blair Williams (2004-12-03). "Voices on the Verandah". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  27. ^ Blair Williams. "The Way We Were – Anglo-Indian Chronicles". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  28. ^ Blair Williams. "The Way We Are – An Anglo-Indian Mosaic". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  29. ^ David Charles Manners. "In the Shadow of Crows". Signal Books. Retrieved 2011. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Anglo-Indians in the Indian Air Force". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  32. ^ Anthony, Frank. Britain's Betrayal in India: The Story of the Anglo Indian Community. Second Edition. London: The Simon Wallenberg Press.
  33. ^ "Calcutta Tiljallah Relief". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  34. ^ The Anglo-Indian Australian Story: My Experience, Zelma Phillips 2004
  35. ^ Ann Baker Cottrell (1979). "Today's Asian-Western Couples Are Not Anglo-Indians". Phylon 40 (4): 351.  
  36. ^ Johnson, Angella (13 December 2009). Daily Mail (London) . 
  37. ^ "FAQ". 2009-01-25. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 


  • Anthony F "Britain's Betrayal in India: The Story Of The Anglo Indian Community" Simon Wallenberg Press, Amazon Books.
  • Chapman, Pat "Taste of the Raj, Hodder & Stoughton, London — ISBN 0-340-68035-0 (1997)
  • Dady D S "Scattered Seeds: The Diaspora of the Anglo-Indians" Pagoda Press
  • Dyer, Sylvia "The Spell of the Flying Foxes" ISBN 0143065343, Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Gabb A "1600–1947 Anglo-Indian Legacy"
  • Hawes C "Poor Relations: The Making of a Eurasian Community "
  • Moore G J "The Anglo Indian Vision"
  • Stark H A "Hostages To India: Or The Life Story of the Anglo Indian Race" Simon Wallenberg Press.
  • Maher, Reginald "These Are The Anglo-Indians" – (An Anglo-Indian Heritage Book) Simon Wallenberg Press
  • Phillips Z "The Anglo-Indian Australian Story: My Experience. A collection of Anglo-Indian Migration Heritage Stories"
  • Bridget White-Kumar "The best of Anglo-Indian Cuisine – A Legacy", "Flavours of the Past", "Anglo-Indian Delicacies", "The Anglo-Indian festive Hamper", "A Collection of Anglo-Indian Roasts, Casseroles and Bakes"
  • Thorpe, O "Paper Boats in the Monsoon: Life in the Lost World of Anglo-India" Trafford Publishing
  • Thomas, Noel "Footprints On The Track"

External links

  • Scattered Seeds: The Diaspora of the Anglo-Indians... an exploration through history, identity and photography
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