Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India: Trials of an Interracial Family

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 21, 2011 - History
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How did British rule in India transform persons from lower social classes? Could Indians from such classes rise in the world by marrying Europeans and embracing their religion and customs? This book explores such questions by examining the intriguing story of an interracial family who lived in southern India in the mid-nineteenth century. The family, which consisted of two untouchable brothers, both of whom married Eurasian women, became wealthy as distillers in the local community. A family dispute resulted in a landmark court case, Abraham v. Abraham. Chandra Mallampalli uses this case to examine the lives of those involved, and shows that far from being products of a 'civilizing mission' who embraced the ways of Englishmen, the Abrahams were ultimately - when faced with the strictures of the colonial legal system - obliged to contend with hierarchy and racial difference.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Remembering Family
25
2 Embodying Dorahood
51
3 A Crisis of Trust
79
4 Letters from Cambridge
100
5 The Path to Litigation
129
6 Litigating Gender and Race
149
7 Francis Appeals
184
8 Choice Identity and Law
214
Conclusion
241
Bibliography
249
Index
263
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About the author (2011)

Chandra Mallampalli is Associate Professor of History at Westmont College. His publications include Christians and Public Life in Colonial South India, 1863–1937 (2004).

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