About the Author
Even as Victorian England sought means and methods to 'manage' its poor through new laws, the colonial rulers of India found the European poor in India a threat to the myth of superiority and homogeneity they were busy building up for the British ruling class.
This study focuses on this particular section of European settlers in India, referred to in contemporary official papers as the Europeans' or 'mean whites: which loosely meant a white underclass comprising destitute, vagrants, convicts, lunatics and prostitutes. Primarily a study of the European underworld and marginal classes in two Presidencies of colonial India, viz. Calcutta and Bombay, the condition of the marginal Europeans and white underworld in the mofussil and railway cantonment areas also comes under its purview. The genesis of delinquency and marginality among Europeans in India: manifestations of the problem: reactions of different sections of society to the problem: debates among the ruling class about the problem, its origin and solution, remedial measures taken by the administration as well as private initiatives, arc closely analysed.
Sarmistha De (b. 1966) is Archivist at the State Archives of West Bengal, and has completed her PhD from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
The present study focuses on a particular section of European settlers in India, referred to in contemporary official papers as the low Europeans or mean whites; which loosely meant a white underclass comprising the destitute, vagrants, convicts, lunatics and prostitutes. It is primarily a study of the European underworld and marginal communities in two Presidencies of colonial India, viz. Calcutta and Bombay. The condition of t
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