UNITED KINGDOM, January 3, 2013 (BBC): A product of the British Empire, with a mixture of Western and Indian names, customs and complexions, 2,000 Anglo-Indians are to attend a reunion in Calcutta. But their communities in both the UK and the subcontinent are disappearing, writes Anglo-Indian Kris Griffiths.
Journalist Kris Griffiths was born to a Welsh father and Anglo-Indian mother. He was brought up in the Indian community of Southall, in West London.
We are symptomatic of the biggest problem facing the global Anglo-Indian community - it is dying out. In the UK and the Commonwealth, it is losing its "Indianness", while back home in India its "Anglo" element is fading.
The definition of Anglo-Indian has become looser in recent decades. It can now denote any mixed British-Indian parentage, but for many its primary meaning refers to people of longstanding mixed lineage, dating back up to 300 years into the subcontinent's colonial past.
Most of the Anglo-Indians were more "Anglo" than "Indian." Only darker complexions betrayed their origins.
Otherwise, they dress like the British, their mother tongue is English, with an accentual twang of Indian and they are Christians. They were also stereotyped as drunks in India over the years.
The unique hybrid culture overarching Anglo-Indian identity is expiring, diluted through intermarriage. "I'm part of that culture now rapidly disappearing as the younger generations merge - as they should - into the mainstream of their adopted countries," says Margaret Deefholts, author of two books on Anglo-Indians, who left India for Canada. "Other than nostalgic reminiscences of an older generation, their Indian past has all but faded into oblivion."
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