My interest in the Anglo-Indians grew out of my marriage to June Davy, an Anglo-Indian. June and I have been married since 1992 and I have become a part of her community. We have participated in the Anglo-Indian way of life - births, funerals, christenings, baptisms, weddings and Christmas. We enjoy old country music and the cuisine.
Anglo-Indians are a people of mixed descent having an Indian mother and a British or European father. Their history is traceable to the arrival of the Portuguese, French and Dutch colonizers, but more significantly to the British East India Company in 1600. The community developed their own lifestyle, cultural traditions and identity which preserved English and European aesthetics and values. This unique identity made Anglo-Indians quite distinct from the other Indians.
A vast majority of Anglo-Indians left India for England, Australia and Canada after Independence in 1947, leaving behind a small population of about 80,000 people. Intermarriages and westernized culture that is homogenizing people all over India have facilitated their assimilation into mainstream Indian society. However, some still continue to follow their traditions in relative isolation. Pejorative stereotypes reinforced by popular media, especially Indian cinema, has not made integration easy.
This dichotomy became a point of enquiry that prompted me to travel to 41 cities across India to make portraits. Between 2004 and 2006, I met about 5000 Anglo-Indians and photographed more than a 1000. My interest in making portraits in their personal spaces required great collaboration and their trust. I lived with some of them and spent many evenings sharing their stories and memories. The portraits try to explore the signs of cultural integration as well as the distinct aspects of the Anglo-Indian identity. They are a record of individuals, whose individuality becomes the point of entry into their lives.