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History and the (un)making of identifications in literary representations of Anglo-Indians and Goan Catholics Gracias, Marian Josephine 2000

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HISTORY A N D THE (UN)MAKING OF IDENTIFICATIONS IN LITERARY REPRESENTATIONS OF ANGLO-INDIANS A N D G O A N CATHOLICS by M A R I A N JOSEPHINE GRACIAS B A , St Xavier's College, The University of Bombay, 1989 M A , The University of Bombay, 1991 M A , The University of British Columbia, 1993 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of English) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A September 2000 © Marian Josephine Gracias, 2000 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) Abstract This dissertation examines selected literature by and about Anglo-Indians (Eurasians) and Goan Catholics from India and the Indian diaspora, focusing on its preoccupation with the history of these communities as a site of contested identifications. Especially polemical are perceptions (due to communalist stereotypes or internalisation) of Anglo Indians and Goan Catholics as mimic or intermediary communities who ended up capitulating to British and/or Portuguese colonialist structures respectively. Larger issues for both communities in India and in the diaspora also involve questions of racial or cultural hybridity, and the slippage between religion and culture, particularly the linking of conversion to Christianity with colonisation, Westernisation, denationalisation, and non-Indiannness. I argue for a more layered understanding of the concepts of mimicry, hybridity, and resistance in relation to identifications from these communities. B y choosing literature set in times of national crisis and historical change (in India, and in East Africa for the Goan diaspora), I have been attentive to the varying ways in which literary characters and narrators confront, project, or elide contradictions of proximity and difference in the production of racial, cultural, and national identity. The main literary texts in the discussion of Anglo-Indian identifications include John Masters' Bhowani Junction, Manorama Mathai's Mulligatawny Soup, Stephen Alter 's Neglected Lives and Al l an Sealy's The Trotter-Nama. In these texts, I have examined how the narrative opens up or circumscribes the agency and racial identifications of Anglo-Indian characters. A s well , I make some references to Rudyard Kipl ing 's K i m and selected work by Ruskin Bond. The central literary texts in the discussion of Goan Catholic and diasporic identifications include Lambert Mascarenhas' Sorrowing Lies M y Land, Kiran Nagarkar's Ravan and Eddie, Joao da Veiga Coutinho's A K i n d of Absence: Life in the Shadow of History, selected writing by damian lopes, and Peter Nazareth's In a Brown Mantle and The General is Up. I also dwell in some detail on selected short stories by Lino Leitao, and Violet Dias Lannoy's Pears from the W i l l o w Tree. I examine the role of Anglo-Indian and Goan Catholic women literary characters, making the case that, for the most part, it is male characters who are given political and narrative complexity in terms of negotiating colonialism and nationalism, and that women characters, when central, are Ill imaged as mediating grounds to advance or block access to male characters who are competing over nationalist and colonialist discourses about race and sexuality. A n exception is the poetry of Eunice de Souza where there is critical reflection on the position of Goan Catholic women. Where relevant, I draw from particular areas of cultural studies, postcolonial and feminist theories (including those dealing with psychoanalysis), and writings about Indian history and nationalism. Writings from these areas offer pertinent insights on ambivalence in the production of subjectivity, and on the construction of Indianness in relation to arguments on colonialism, gender, caste, class, secularism, and the religious right (especially the discourses of Hindutva). While the identifications and identity of Anglo-Indians and Goan Catholics appear in the genre of history, these communities are largely absent or peripheral in the area of literary analysis, cultural studies, and postcolonial theory pertaining to India. Therefore, I hope that a study of these communities w i l l contribute to the discussion of religious and multiracial identifications that is increasingly relevant to the field of postcolonial and cultural studies. Table of Contents Abstract ii Acknowledgements vii Prologue Copy Cat Copy Cat? viii Chapter 1 "A Certain Way of Being There" 1 1.1 Introduction 1 1.2 Proximity and Distance: Colonialism and the Construction of Mimic Subjectivity 12 1.3 Forms of Mimic Subjectivity and the Question of Subversion 22 1.4 Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Construction of Indianness 33 Chapter 2 Negotiating Classifications: Writing an Anglo-Indian History 57 2.1 Introducing Mixed Race Classifications 57 2.2 Anglo-Indians and the Discourse of Mixed Races under British Colonialism 60 2.3 Scientific Racialism and Other Discourses of Mixed Races 71 2.4 Conclusion: (Dis)placing Anglo-Indian Classifications and Affiliations 77 Chapter 3 (By) Passing Stereotypes of Anglo-Indian Identifications in Literature 91 3.1 Literary Antecedents: Representations of Mixed Race People 91 3.2 "Species Loyalty": Anglo-Indian Identifications in John Masters' Bhowani Junction 109 3.3 Between Homes: Manorama Mathai's Mulligatawny Soup 132 3.4 Escaping from History: Stephen Alter's Neglected Lives 145 3.5 Interracial Relationships in Bhowani Junction, Mulligatawny Soup and Neglected Lives: Possibilities and Closures 155 V Chapter 4 Beyond Doom and Gloom: Allan Sealy's The Trotter-Nama 1 6 2 4 . 1 I n t r o d u c t i o n : A l t e r n a t i v e s t o S t e r e o t y p e s o f A n g l o - I n d i a n I d e n t i f i c a t i o n s 1 6 2 4 . 2 C o n t e n d i n g w i t h " T h e G r e y M a n ' s B u r d e n " : A l l a n S e a l y ' s T h e T r o t t e r - N a m a 1 6 8 Chapter 5 Writing Identity in Goan History 2 0 2 5 . 1 C l a i m s i n t h e W r i t i n g o f G o a n H i s t o r y 2 0 2 5 . 2 E a r l y H i s t o r y o f t h e P o r t u g u e s e i n I n d i a a n d G o a 2 0 8 5 . 3 M i x i n g T r a d e , R e l i g i o n , a n d R a c e 2 1 0 5 . 4 C o n v e r s i o n t o C h r i s t i a n i t y a n d t h e P r a c t i c e o f R e l i g i o n U n d e r B r i t i s h a n d P o r t u g u e s e C o l o n i a l i s m 2 1 7 5 . 5 C a s t e , C o n v e r s i o n , a n d N a t i o n a l I d e n t i t y i n P o r t u g u e s e G o a a n d B r i t i s h I n d i a 2 2 8 5 . 6 P l a c i n g t h e P o l i t i c s o f R e s i s t a n c e t o P o r t u g u e s e R u l e 2 3 6 5 . 7 C l a i m i n g G o a : L i b e r a t i o n o r I n v a s i o n ? 2 4 4 5 . 8 T h e I m p a c t o f L a n g u a g e a n d M i g r a t i o n i n t h e C o n s t r u c t i o n o f G o a n I d e n t i t y T o d a y 2 5 0 5 . 9 C o l o n i a l a n d C a s t e E f f e c t s i n L o c a t i n g C o n v e r s i o n t o C h r i s t i a n i t y W i t h i n C o m m u n a l a n d S e c u l a r D e b a t e s i n C o n t e m p o r a r y I n d i a 2 5 3 Chapter 6 Identifications in Crisis: Goan Catholics in Literature 2 6 7 6 . 1 T h e Q u e s t i o n o f G o a n I d e n t i t y 2 6 7 6 . 2 W r i t i n g A g a i n s t C o l o n i a l i s m : L a m b e r t M a s c a r e n h a s ' S o r r o w i n g L i e s M y L a n d , L i n o L e i t a o ' s " T h e M i r a c l e " a n d " A r m a n d o R o d r i g u e s " 2 7 3 6 . 3 T h e C r i s i s o f L e a d e r s h i p : V i o l e t D i a s L a n n o y ' s P e a r s f r o m t h e W i l l o w T r e e a n d L a m b e r t M a s c a r e n h a s ' A G r e a t e r T r a g e d y 2 9 0 6 . 4 I n t e r r o g a t i n g G e n d e r : T h e P o e t r y o f E u n i c e d e S o u z a 3 0 0 6 . 5 H i n d u s a n d C a t h o l i c s : W h e r e P a r a l l e l W o r l d s o f D i f f e r e n c e M e e t i n t h e H o r i z o n o f K i r a n N a g a r k a r ' s R a v a n a n d E d d i e 3 1 1 Chapter 7 "The Intimate Outsider": History and Location in Literature from the Goan Catholic Diaspora 334 7.1 Introductory Issues in Writing Diaspora 334 7.2 The Search for a Theory of Goan History: Joao da Veiga Coutinho's A Kind of Absence: Life in the Shadow of History 337 7.3 East African Goan Catholics: Narrating the Third That Walks Between Black and White in Peter Nazareth's In a Brown Mantle and The General Is Up 358 7.4 Intermediary Positions and Peter Nazareth's Narrators 390 7.5 Navigating Historical Legacies in damian lopes' Writing 403 Chapter 8 Epilogue: The Politics of Engagement 412 Works Cited 426 Acknowledgements I am thankful particularly to my thesis supervisor, Dr. Margery Fee, as well as Dr. Harjot Oberoi and Dr. Glenn Deer from my thesis committee, for reading through drafts and for critical feedback. In an era of potential and actual cutbacks to education and libraries, I acknowledge the importance of books and articles I received through Interlibrary Loans and U B C Libraries. Indeed, a considerable portion of my educational discoveries took place in the library working my way by trial and error through library catalogues and shelves. Additionally, for this dissertation, it was helpful having access to communicative spaces such as e-mail, Internet, and listserves such as the postcolonial@virginia, third-world-women, goa-net, and the Anglo-Indian home-page. Through such spaces I was able to reach or read about some writers and researchers cited in this dissertation, like Teotonio de Souza, Megan M i l l s , damian lopes, Peter Nazareth, and Rowena Robinson. I appreciate the useful reading suggestions I received from queries I sent out to these writers. To Calvin—thanks, especially for editorial and computer help. I thrived on the encouragement from colleagues in Vancouver including Cecil ia Danaher, Gaik Cheng Khoo, Karlyn Koh , Sook Kong, Glen Lowry, Nancy Pagh, and Diane Stiles. I was also nurtured by friendships that began in India and continued abroad from Bucky Bhadha and Kamal Sidhwa Taraporevala. Although time spent on writing this thesis has often seemed long and solitary, it has been filled with the thoughts, words, and lessons gleaned from intervening events and locations in Canada. M y critical faculties were furthered through books, inspiring speakers, and forums for women of colour that I was able to access in the recent past in Canada. Thanks, in particular, go to Benita Bunjun, Gitanjali Lena, and Jin-Sun Yoon for spaces for learning, as well as for their friendship. The work and presence of creative and courageous work from writers located both in the West and India towards social justice and action have contributed abundantly to my learning. I also remember with appreciation the formative influences from my education in India, especially when I was a student in St. Xavier 's College, Mumbai. Again, here too, I acknowledge the spaces of college, university, and consulate libraries for significantly extending my education. Sameera Khan, and especially Kavita Sahni, shared thought-provoking information about cultural writings and events in India. The wi l l to successfully complete this dissertation has come in big measure from my need to visit my family again in India. I have not been able to go home to see them for a while and they are patiently "Waiting for Godot" as it were. I gained much from some fiery discussions around the kitchen table and on the phone with them. I am grateful for the many times my parents, Fatima and Abel , my brothers, Sebastian and David, and my sister, Ti lu , have spiritedly urged me on. Prologue Copy Cat Copy Cat? —Marian Gracias Apna, we say conspiratorially apna log, amcho gao leaving and re-turning the questions to find out only partially who are my people, we sometimes ask each other, looking for our echoes, our footprints, our genealogies, baptism certificates, theses, paintings, writings, films. Taking the names in the pale undersides of brown hands, I recite them aloud: Maria Lucia De Souza, Francisco Jose Da Gama, Aninhas Soares, Philomena Santos Braganza, Xavier Fernandes, Benedict Colaco. I go over the syllables, over them again, pausing to confront the strange yet famil(y)iar sounds in those names. Are these our people? What are their affinities, and should we claim them as ours? Answering our name Gracious in India, our replies are awkwardly polished with the South Indian nuns convent educated, Indian-English, sing-songy, but clipped and bastardized tongues used to treading out the Father's line Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name our names, which we are not worthy enough to pronounce rightly. Points of contact make us learn of Graa cias in America common enough a word in Spanish, some say, and at least we should show them we can pronounce it like it was (but it was Portuguese, or wasn't it?) Names that were given to us (that we took?) ours now, made and unmade when we twisted them treacherously with jungli tongues that could not slip over phataksey from shudh tongue to tongue Gr see us says a home narrative telling us the ancestories of histories, and how our questions led to an exasperated Deo Gratias in Goa. A n d with that look heavenward when it was finally over we got our name. Doesn't that mean thank you? says the bank teller in Vancouver (un) knowingly. Thank you, Miss Thank Y o u says another cashier at a grocery store glancing briefly at the name on the card before swiping it at the counter A n d how do you pronounce it? Must be Garcia or something anyway, says another clerk when I collect my paycheque Is that an Indian name? I am asked at an interview Hispanic say my students and Caribbean for the accent But how do you know you are not Eurasian, not one drop of that white blood eh? Perhaps, I reply, one can never tell from the past with such accuracy remembering the irony of traditions and cultures be proud of whose traditions must I part from? Gracias, remember to look the part C for Catholic, taught to recite devoutly the / believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church, (but) from India (shocked expressions!), East Indian, East India Company, questing Indianness in the questioning, probing nationalisms and prodding religion, circling convert and apostate, looking for our people and away from them, searching for the brown Christ, and coloured angels in Christmas cards Pavwallahs, some others who were also our people called us, i f you jump in the well , you think I wil l? We did, for more than a few pieces of bread. Westernised minority sleeveless bloused loose moralled feni drinking pav chorizo floosies indigenas assimilados look how they love to ape the West, but they can't even see how the West makes an uloo out of them the way Indians, Goans, and Catholics remain distant and intimate, disavowed borrowings of nouns, food, religion, moralities are these your people? But arrey you drink the blood of Christ and eat his body? What kind of barbaric religion is that? What goes of yours? I said back in our not quite right English. N o w I channel my lilts into flatter lines sly civility as the theory goes when the voice before the question marks rises too high demanding who spoke Portuguese, who learned Sanskrit, who preferred English, who still speaks Konkani, who was fluent in what, who lost which language, whose mothers did not read the writing in the school in the law in the Church chronicles studied law, political science, won awards for Latin, translated from Oriental literature in Lisbon, remained in Goa, was invited to join the Colonial Ministry and held Gold Medal Class I for distinguished service in overseas colonies, earned the esteem of European superiors who listened to who was absent, who was quiet, who cackled too loudly, who was famous, who was (a) shamed moved to Africa, to Bombay, sided with the liberation, claimed invasion who learned about why the long line of educators who unlearns the education making notes of whose past tracking whose genealogies (un) cleanly which scripts do I then trace over copy cat copy cat? We converted then, let's reconvert back, I say when features of the long-standing debate draw blood, and poisoned memories of missionaries, caste, foreign religion, conversion by unfair means the right to convert and choose one's religion Christians are Indians and have been so for centuries culture as religion only in name one hegemony to another Gracias, graciously Then as now we are indians that's western gays and lesbians sheee men then I search doubtfully for my lines about colonisation, the Church and the State, ancient India, temple carvings and so forth that, them, those people our people who tried to get out of their dark skins to be fair and lovely with God, bleach and face creams, our people who tried to climb back darker into their skins, welding and splitting each graft at the juncture of assessment our people who are unlearning so that they learn inconsistencies of resistance and complicity our people who seek each other out with regard and wariness our people reaching for a proximity that is too close for comfort. 1 Chapter 1 "A Certain Way of Being There" What is this East? How do I become its signifier?... In these great festooneries of reaching out, what fears do I have o f encounters? —Manjit Bawa, Statement and Transcript. Artists Today: East West Visual Arts Encounter (1987). 1.1 Introduction This dissertation examines selected literature by and about Anglo-Indians (Eurasians) and Goan Catholics from India and the Indian diaspora, focusing on its preoccupation with the history of these communities as a site of contested identifications. Although these communities have their own distinct histories, I bring them together in this thesis because certain similarities in the representations of their identifications provided both interest and challenge to me on literary, historical, theoretical, as well as personal fronts. The term "Westernised minority" is often used to describe most Anglo-Indians and Goan Catholics, and while Westernised is not necessarily pejorative, within a communalist context, this can be transformed into a poisonous brew, with the Westernised bringing up images of Westoxified, culturally alienated peoples who have flawed and divided national allegiances, as well as complicit links to colonialism. However, the Westernisation which these communities are associated with may also be argued to be one that has been re-appropriated and remade within the contours of Indian culture, rather than something simply acquiesced to as foreign, transitional, temporary, split off-from, or outside another Indian identity core. Nonetheless, in moments of national crisis, such as the period just before independence, or even in contemporary India, arguments are 2 vociferous about whether this culture is in India and of India; or in India and not of it, and must therefore try to become Indian. Since their ancestry and identifications are constantly emphasised as partly British, connections between racial miscegenation and non-Indianness are part of the legacy (or burden) of mainstream Anglo-Indian representations. Whether as minor characters or protagonists, in novels or historical accounts, Anglo-Indians are usually castigated as lackeys of the British empire in India, tragically betrayed by the British government when they supposedly left the Anglo-Indians to the mercy of the Indians, though my thesis aims to show that neither the term Anglo-Indian nor Anglo-Indian identifications were as reductive as these equations. Many Catholic writers from Goa, be it at the time of Por