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Anglo-Indian Day Celebration Combines the Best of British and Indian Cultures Through Film, Books, Music, and Food
(New York, NY – July 10, 2010) The presence of the British in India gave rise to a sub-culture that flourished for the better part of three centuries. The Anglo-Indians, a hybrid people of Indian and European descent, carved a unique niche for themselves in British India. While their language, religion, and educational background were European, they developed a style of life that borrowed from both their British and Indian progenitors but jelled into something that was essentially their own. After India gained Independence in 1947, the majority of the Anglo-Indian community emigrated to the UK, Australia, and Canada. Today, their children and grandchildren no longer have any psychological or emotional ties with India. In addition, most of these early Anglo-Indian emigrants are now elderly, and there is little doubt that their cultural heritage will, within a generation or two, be extinguished forever.
Ambassador Prabhu Dayal, the Indian Consul General is happy to celebrate “Anglo-Indian Day” in New York City on Sunday August 1, 2010. To mark this occasion, the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), in collaboration with the Calcutta Tiljallah Relief (CTR) and the Consulate General of India, invites New Yorkers to experience the film, music, food, and culture of Anglo-Indians on Sunday, August 1 from 3 to 9 p.m. at The Indian Consulate (3 E. 64th St.) on the Upper East side of Manhattan.
“The IAAC serves as a dedicated platform to celebrate the diversity of New York through Indian art, films, books, theatre and music. We recognize the Anglo-Indian community as a part of our rich, Indian culture,” says Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani. “They are one more ingredient in New York’s giant melting pot, and we hope this celebration creates awareness about this community.”
In 2002 a publishing company was launched, to capture the Anglo-Indian culture. The guidelines stated that “these publications, will depict our Anglo-Indian way of life, and will cover a broad contemporary canvas. We would like to capture not only who we were but how we were in all walks of life—the way we lived, worked, rejoiced, loved, laughed, and cried.”
Six books have been published since:
“Anglo-Indians: Vanishing remnants of a bygone era” – Blair Williams (2002)
“Haunting India” – Margaret Deefholts (2003)
“Voices on the Verandah: Anglo-Indian Prose and Poetry” - Edited Margaret Deefholts and Sylvia Staub (2004)
“The Way We Were: Anglo-Indian Chronicles” – Edited Margaret Deefholts and Glen Deefholts (2006)
“The Way We Are: An Anglo-Indian Mosaic” – Edited Lionel Lumb and Debbie Van Veldhuizen (2008)
“Women of Anglo-India: Tales and Memoirs” – Edited Margaret Deefholts and Susan Deefholts (2010)
The publication of these books have another vitally important and synergistic function: The gross proceeds of all sales—publishing costs are borne privately—will go directly to CTR Inc, an IRS approved charity helping less fortunate Anglo-Indians in India. The series thus serves a dual purpose: to preserve the culture of the Community and to provide much needed resources for its poorer members in India
“The Anglo-Indian community, in its modern sense, is a distinct, small minority community originating in India whose British ancestry was bequeathed paternally,” says Blair Williams, Founder of CTR, a New York-based non-profit organization that provides education and support to the Anglo-Indians living around the world. “While there is a small number of us living and working in New York, this day is a way for us to share our culture and sensibilities with the larger community.”
The schedule for the celebration is as follows:
3 to 5 p.m. – Brief Welcome Statements and screening of Aparna Sen’s 36 Chowringee Lane, a film that explores the solitary life of an Anglo-Indian woman living in Calcutta.
5:15 to 6:30 p.m. – Book reading, sale, and signing of Anglo-Indian books by author Margaret Deefholts and Blair Williams, author and Founder of Association of Anglo-Indians.
6:30 to 9 p.m. – Cocktails, dinner, and dancing with Consul General’s address at 7 p.m.
About Indo-American Arts Council: The Indo-American Arts Council is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit, secular service and resource arts organization charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North America. For information about the organization and events, please visit www.iaac.us
About CTR: Founded by Blair Williams CTR is a U-S based non-profit organization established in 1999, whose sole purpose is to help the indigent Anglo-Indians living in India. CTR raises funds for senior pensions and education of Anglo-Indians. For more information about the organization, please visit http://www.blairrw.org/ctr/index.php.