Hostages to India
Hostages to India
or The Life-Story of the Anglo-Indian Race
Herbert Alick Stark
History | 136 pages
In the days when our forefathers insecurely owned but a few acres of Indian soil, we stood by them in the hour of storm and stress. We took our place at their side when they were defending themselves behind mud walls which weakly protected their warehouses and settlements.
We shared in their disasters. When European wars on the Continent claimed every available recruit for the home forces, we augmented their depleted armies in India. We explored the markets which swelled their trade and expanded their commerce. When they entered upon the consolidation of their Empire in India, we formed the wheels, the cranks, the levers of their machinery for government. Through our agency revenue and settlement operations, land-surveys and road-making became possible. But for us the telegraph and postal systems, river navigation and railway construction would not have been feasible. We were the first missionaries of the Christian religion, the earliest teachers in Indian schools, the pioneers of Western arts, industries, and sciences.
And yet we are of those who have come out of great tribulation. We have trod the thorny path of repression. We have struggled through wrongs sufficient to crush out the existence most races. That we today retain the essential traits, instincts and culture of our forefathers, is remarkable testimony to the virility of the British nation. If England is the land of our fathers, India is the land of our mothers. If to us England is a hallowed memory, India is a living verity. If England is the land of our pilgrimage, India is the land of our homes. If England is dear as a land of inspiring traditions, India is loved for all that she means to us in our daily life.
On the other hand, the British have always claimed us as kinsfolk. We have our immediate interests vested in India, and we naturally identify ourselves with the social, economic, and political development, and aspirations of our mother-country.
The chapters brought together in this volume originally appeared in The Anglo-Indian Citizen. They are published in book form in the hope that the recital of the life-history of the Anglo-Indian Race will not only remove the uninformed prejudice which has subjected its members to unmerited disparagement, but also confirm in them a proper pride in the important part they have played in the building of the British Empire in India, and inspire them to live up to the traditions of their past. They are in truth the Hostages whom the British Nation has given to the peoples of India.
– Herbert A. Stark, 1st December 1926, CalcuttaProduct Code: AI-007
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