Beyond the memsahibs

The photographic evidence dating from British times suggests that Englishwomen in India were mostly "memsahibs" or gentlewomen



Rajiv Shirali
Accounts of the East India Company’s rule, and later of the British Raj (which technically began only in 1858, when the British government began to govern India directly) are mostly about how men built up and ran the Indian Empire. The relative paucity of accounts of the lives of British women in India co-exists with the general belief that, as Katie Hickman puts it in the Introduction to She-merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen “if it were not for the snobbery and racial prejudice of the memsahibs there would, somehow, have been far greater harmony between the races.”
Ms Hickman writes that this stereotype persists even though in the last 30 years there have been a handful of histories that have

First Published: Jun 25 2019 | 12:28 PM IST

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