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The origin of the Anglo-Indian culture spans 30 decades before independence, when the voyagers from the West first set foot in Indian coastal cities. It began with the Portugese, and the Dutch and French soon followed suit. When India became a colony under the British Crown, the emerging generation that resulted as a product of this historical era, was a culture that was independent of both the British power and Indian subjugation: the Anglo-Indians. Perhaps this generation of mixed-race children had prestigious roots, with their parents belonging to the British regime, or serving as officers in the governing East India Company, but in the eyes of the Indians, they were labelled as "kutcha bacha" (uncooked children/bread) , or as they were known in the South, "vellakaaran/vellakaarchi" (white men/women).
Through the years, this community of people who were darker than their ancestors but fairer than their Indian counterparts, began to form their own culture. They began marrying among themselves, and created a tradition of food, clothes, and practices that were a blend of the British manners and the Indian spirit. They began sporting richly decorated clothes, high heels, for both men and women, tall hairdos, and rich food. Some critics of the culture argue that they are known to live beyond their means, and that their tastes in their appearances are rather gaudy.
Grilled Chicken, Anglo-Indian style Image source: wikimediawikimedia
The typical Anglo-Indian woman is recognised by the knee-length skirt and blouse with shiny buttons, and puffed sleeves. She always wore stockings, did her hair in the same style, wore a lot of jewellery and lipstick. The man is dressed in a suit, for any occasion, is clean-shaved, and his shoes always have high soles. The fabric that they choose is usually brocaded or flowery, and their clothes are accompanied by a hat. Bengaluru's Austin Town, Richmond Town, and Langford Town used to be the areas where Anglo-Indians were most found. Today, one will find them in Cooke Town, D'Costa Square, and parts of the city close to Richards Town, but it is hard to distinguish them from the foreign settlers around these parts.
The British mispronounced "melligathanni" (Tamil for peppery water) as mulligatawny, which was their name for the South Indian rasam. The Anglo-Indians adopted this as mulligatawny soup which they famously call pepper water, even though it has no pepper in it. Their cuisine is a blend of the English combinations and the Indian spices. They have popularised chutneys, and often one finds that the difference between the Anglo-Indian chutney and an Indian chutney is the extra dash of sweetness or ginger irrespective of its flavour. At Christmas time, the world is their oyster. They dish out many different kinds of wines, jellies, curries, and desserts. Plum cake soaked in rum, ginger wine, rose cookies, and kalkals are now Christmas time staples in all major cities. Kalkals are the Indianised ways of saying "curl-curl" as the cookie dough is curled off a fork to get its shape. The Anglo-Indians had the blood of the Indian folklore pulsing through their veins, and this they incorporated in their unique dance style. They often host or conduct large gatherings that include dancing through the night. This is when their best clothes, highest heels, and best food come out . They began the tradition of all-night mass, and this usually ended with dancing under the lights, Today, the masses are more solemn and hardly have an Anglo-Indian crowd.
Midnight mass, a tradition introduced by the Anglo-Indians Image source: wikimediawikimedia
The areas that they inhabit always has a distinct aroma, and a festive fervour about it. Red and green are the prominent colours that flash by. The streets smell of sugar, spice, and wine. At night, the houses are brightly lit, and there are celebrations right from the first week of the month till the last during special occasions. In December, Christmas trees adorn each house with elaborate decorations, gifts are exchanged, shopping and baking happens in large groups, families come together to sing and dance, and children are dressed up and eagerly learning their traditions for the time when they will have to carry them out and pass them on. Carol-singing, where groups of people go door to door singing, in the evenings, are the most looked forward to.
The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education board was founded by Anglo-Indian representative Frank Anthony. A chain of schools that taught English-medium and which were under the aegis of churches founded by the British began a tradition of bringing up students who were well-equipped for learning adapted to all cultures. Today, with Anglo-Indians becoming scarce in India, these schools have completely come under the Diocese rule of their respective regions. Even now, Anglo-Indians are privileged to attain a full education without having to pay any tuition.
Many Anglo-Indian Churches and Schools have plaques like this on all their walls to remember their founderswikimedia
The Indian constitution offers two representatives of the community to be nominated to the Lok Sabha. Other regional governing bodies also allow for Anglo-Indian representatives, and currently, Ms. Vinisha Nero holds an MLA seat from Karnataka. Since the 1960, there has been a rift among legislatures to remove this provision, owing to which the community has faced insecurities about their identity in the country. The 104th Amendment Act of 2019, abolished the Anglo-Indian representation quota.
Under the British Raj, English was the official language of the state, and Anglo-Indians were able to survive in any part of the country irrespective of the local language. After more than 70 years of independence, times have changed for this English-speaking community. They find it hard to blend into a culture that they have never known, and despite being able to pick up a few words, are unable to completely adapt to a new language. As a result, most of them have chosen to migrate out of the country, to places where their mother tongue is better accepted. They are also able to find better jobs there. Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia have recently opened their doors, welcoming Anglo-Indians to take up residence in their countries, which has caused India to slowly lose an integral part of her history and culture. Christmas in the cities is no longer as vibrant as it used to be. All that is left of Christmas deserts are processed goods, and plum cake that does not exactly taste the same. A few families who have chosen to stay back keep up the traditions, but it is a small effort and often goes unnoticed.
Keywords: Anglo-Indians, Culture, Traditions, Food, Christmas
The symbol of Swastika is known to signify peace, prosperity, and good fortune in the religious cultures of Eurasia. In fact, this symbol is considered very significant in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. But, at the same time, it has become one of the most misunderstood religious symbols and has been globally banned in many countries.
The reason why the symbol of Swastika is banned in many countries is because of its association with Adolf Hitler's extreme political ideology, Nazism, as Swastika as its official symbol.
Austria, France, Latvia, Spain, Germany, and Russia are amongst the many countries that have banned the display and use of the Swastika.
Moreover, last week Victoria in Australia is preparing to become the first-ever state to ban the public display of the Swastika. This is a step towards an expansion of anti-vilification laws in the state.
Representation of the Swastika on the flag of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Movement.Photo by Flickr.
Now, we must know and understand what went wrong with this symbol, which is sacred and signifies all-good things.
For a very, very long time, in India, the Swastika is the first emblem that is worshipped or even drawn before any sacred and auspicious ceremonies as this symbol in Sanskrit represents 'well-being'. But, the Swastika lost all its credibility when it was wrongfully used by Adolf Hitler.
In fact, it is believed that if this symbol is worshipped properly, then it gives positive results. But if it is abused, then it gives negative results. So, when Adolf Hitler rotated the Swastika at 45 degrees, it slowly and steadily brought misery not only to Adolf Hitler and his theory of Nazism but also to all the people who were associated with him.
Therefore, in order to give the kind of respect and credibility which the Swastika deserves, World Interfaith Harmony Week which was held in New York in February this year, interfaith groups appealed to the United Nations to recognize and acknowledge the Swastika as an important and peaceful symbol. In fact, they also differentiated it from the Hakenkreuz or "Hooked Cross" of Adolf Hitler.
India celebrated a historic day on August 7, as 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics. In the men's javelin throw event, he achieved his greatest triumph, throwing the javelin 87.58 meters on his second try.
Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in Khandra village in Haryana's Panipat district. He grew up in a Haryanavi family of farmers. He is the brother of two sisters. He graduated from Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Chandigarh and is now enrolled in Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Chopra was bullied due to his obesity as a kid, which prompted his father to enroll him in a nearby gym. He then joined a gym in Panipat, where Jaiveer Choudhary, a javelin thrower, noticed his potential and coached him. When the 13-year-old Chopra finished training under Jaiveer for a year, he was enrolled at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, where he began training under coach Naseem Ahmed.
In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018. | Wikimedia Commons
Chopra's first international medal came in 2014, as he took home a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Qualification Tournament in Bangkok. In 2015, he set a world record in the junior category of 81.04 meters in the 2015 All India Inter-University Athletics Meet.
Since emerging into the public eye with a historic gold medal at the junior world championships in 2016, he has maintained a high level of performance, setting an Under-20 world record of 86.48m, which still stands. Gold medals in both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games are among his other accomplishments, including a first-place in the 2017 Asian Championships. In 2018, he broke the world record in the javelin throw and became India's first-ever gold medalist in the javelin throw. He is also a laureate of the Arjuna Award for 2018.
Chopra has also had his share of bad events in life. In 2019, he underwent surgery on the elbow of his right throwing arm, which kept him out of the game for almost a year. However, he returned more robust than ever. In November 2019, he went to South Africa to train from Klaus Bartoneitz. He spent the following year in India training at the NIS Patiala because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was allowed to go to France with his coach after weeks of trying to get a travel visa.
Neeraj Chopra made history in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in athletics. Also, it is worth mentioning that after Abhinav Bindra, Chopra is only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal.
Keywords: Neeraj Chopra, Olympics, Tokyo2020, Gold medal, javelin, India, Haryana
The emergence of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England brought with it many apprehensions and fears that translated into a new genre in literature: the gothic. Today, the idea of the gothic does not have to much with literature as much as it is associated with fashion.
The Victorians began to wear black more often during the Industrial Revolution to hide the stains of soot on their clothes. Many of the working class were employed in factories. They were newly introduced to technology, the idea of coal as fuel, and the working of machines to serve a certain purpose. This kind of work was hard and messy. Wearing light colours burdened the tired folk when the stubborn stains did not get washed away.
The steam engine was invented to make locomotion easier for the masses, but it brought fear to the people. They had led quiet and simple lives till now, and suddenly their world was infiltrated with loud noises and smoke. Dark places became synonymous with evil deeds and mysteries. It was from this time that horror gained a place in the imaginations of people and artists.
A man sporting gothic clothes and shock coloured hair Image source: wikimedia commons
The gothics of today are those who have held on to these practices. There is no need to fear smoke and noise anymore, but the goths wear black clothes all the time, paint their skin a pale shade, to contrast their clothes, and wear bright shades of red. The traditional gothics decorated themselves with jewellery bearing religious significances, as the belief in Dracula and vampires emerged in the Victorian period. Today, it is a trend to wear studded crosses, or crosses made of black metal either as neck chokers, or earrings.
Modern goths also wear bright monotones to show their patronage of a certain style or order of the goths. They can be seen in neon shades of green, pink, and yellow, often sporting piercings, and matching hair. Their tastes are metallic, and they have an uncanny love for tattoos.
Designers consistently include gothic tastes and styles in their clothing lines to create inclusivity for this subculture. Being gothic, or identifying with them is somewhat a concern even in today's society, and such people are often stigmatised to the extent that it is considered a mental illness associated with the dark arts. The phenomenon is mostly observed in teenagers, and often phases out when they reach adulthood, depending on their sphere of influence.
Keywords: Gothic, Fashion, Victorian, Black, Jewellery