|Country of Origin||India|
|Date of Birth||8/5/1950|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1983|
|Submitted by||Joe Bailey|
The Anglo-Indians in India, after Independence in 1947, enjoyed certain privileges. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, perceived the significant role the Anglo-Indians played in the growth of the British Empire in India. With the hope of halting their further exodus, Constitutional Safeguards such as nominated seats in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies, and for a short period, reservation in employment in the public sector were granted.
Anglo-Indians had now made their mark by their outstanding contribution to the new India. However, after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, a sense of uncertainty prevailed. With the revoking of the British Immigration Act, which placed restrictions to enter the UK, immigrating Anglo-Indians turned to Australia who welcomed them.
Immigration to Australia was now the key theme among Anglo-Indians. The subject would be conversed on buses to work, after church, at social gatherings, at the family dinning table, etc. Many families were divided whether to immigrate or not.
India fought wars with China in 1962 and Pakistan in 1965. Scores of Anglo-Indians in the Armed Forces were decorated for gallantry by the Government of India. Coincidently, at the time Australia was at war in Vietnam and as a result in late 1964 the Australian Government reinstated conscription for compulsory military service by eligible males of 18 to 25 years. There developed an anecdote by some in the community that Australia was accepting only Anglo-Indians so as to be drafted to fight in Vietnam. However, this did not deter immigrating Anglo-Indians. Anglo-Indians from all capital cities, railway colonies, hill-stations etc. left India in colossal numbers to call Australia home.
In 1975 the Australian Government conceded the final phase for the abolition of the Racial Discrimination Act which now made racially-based selection criteria for immigration illegal. Nevertheless, most Anglo-Indian families had migrated and many still in India had part family or at least one member happily established here.
In India, Anglo-Indians are defined as a cultural and linguistic community. They are of European descent in the male line and enjoy a western culture. Their religion is Christianity and mother tongue English. Their complexion ranges from fair to ebony; they speak with an Anglo-Indian accent and have European names.
Anglo-Indians brought to Australia their skills to live as a minority. They used these skills not to make visible, links within themselves. Their children integrated, intermarried and assimilated into Australian society. Some, to beat the wall of discrimination that may exist, masquerade as English. Within a brief period on arrival Anglo-Indians have done exceptionally well, some at national level.
On 28/12/1978, I wedded Charmine Gloria Mitchell in Madras (b, 10/03/1956). Charmine was employed as Secretary/Stenographer, and I, Production Superintendent in a Refractory/Steel Plant. In 1983 we availed of Australia\’s Family Reunion Program. I had two brothers and a sister in Australia.
On 28/12/1983 we arrived in Melbourne. My brother Ken, wife Hazel, and son Mark, who emigrated in 1968 and lived in Canberra, met us at the airport. We all stayed at the warm splendid home of Cecil and Pam Rozario who came in 1968. As it was our 5th wedding anniversary, Pam baked a cake and Cecil opened a bottle of JW.
We celebrated New Year\’s Eve at Cecil and Pam\’s place. Ken prepared the barbeque and I assisted. Those around were pleased with my barbequeing and remarked that the first step in becoming an Aussie is to well place a sausage on the barbie.
We arrived in Canberra on 5/01/1984. Charmine got a job in a week. I hit upon a clerical job in the Commonwealth Department of Aviation. Initially, I had a dilemma grasping the Australian accent. One day at work a senior colleague requested me to hand over a note, and as I heard it, to the ‘Assistant Secretary AYs’. I asked what ‘AYs\’ stood for. He repeated AYs; again I asked what it stood for. AYs, he bawled. However, I set off to find the office of Assistant Secretary AYs. Soon I was blissful to find a board that read: ‘Assistant Secretary, Airways’!
On the 5th Sept 1997 we were blessed with our charming daughter, Amaris.
I am now a contented Anglo-Indian Aussie, cherishing Australian values and lifestyle which I find no different from the Anglo-Indian way of life. God Bless Australia.