Giving back to the community

The tiny Anglo Indian community in India is not often seen in positive light and is often subject to prejudice. Not many people are aware that the military prowess of the community played an important part in the creation of major military units that are still part of the Indian Army. Members of the community such as author Ruskin Bond, quiz master-turned-politician Derek O'Brien and many others are household names in India.

It was an attempt to set this record straight and give back something to the community that resulted in business executive and author Hari Baskaran writing a book on the community, These Bloomin Anglos. The book was launched at an event in Catholic Club. The author also read out passages from his book.

He says, “After I had turned 60, I wanted to get back to my roots. I studied in school in Royapuram, a suburb of Chennai with a fairly large Anglo Indian population. I wanted to write a small, semi-fictional account of the Anglo Indian community in Royapuram. As I talked to more people and began researching, I realised that there was a bigger story.”

He adds, “I decided to write a semi-autobiographical novel that focuses on the community. I have tried to keep the writing conversational, and have offered historical insights also. It took me almost four years to finish the book. It is a journey that I have enjoyed.”

Working on the book took Hari to many places across the country, including a small town near Kannur in Kerala. “I met this old teacher there. It was a town where there was a considerable presence of the Anglo Indian community. I found the discussions very fascinating. Geography did not matter much to me. My focus was on talking to the right people so that I could add value to the book.”

Does Hari feel like an outsider glimpsing at the community in this book? “Not really. I had a great time growing up in schools where a majority of students were Anglo Indians. I felt that I neglected that aspect of my growing up years. I want to make up for that through this book.”

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 6:01:53 AM |

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