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Melvyn Brown
Times of India
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Slice of England on Elliott Road!

TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2002 10:19:13 PM ]
 
NILANJANA BHOWMICK  "It’s on Elliot Road... just enter through Ripon Street and pass by St. Mary’s Church and my house will be 300-400 metres from there." When the taxi deposited me outside my destination, I looked around to see a typical Kolkata bylane, congested with traffic, loud motorcycle horns, people sitting on the ledge of houses chatting, leisurely footsteps making way for small items of groceries from the neighbourhood stores. There was a subtle sense of decay, which hung over the street despite the busy hubbub of daily life. Suddenly I saw the name ‘Brown’ in big bold letters on the grill gate. Brown —Melvyn Brown — who calls himself ‘chronicler of the Anglo-Indian community’ is the author of several books on Anglo-Indian history and culture, a vociferous community worker and the founder-editor of The Anglo-Indian Newsletter and The All Parish Newspaper. When the door opened, I was greeted by a warm face and ushered into the living room. As I sat myself down, I took a moment to look around. From where I was sitting, the left side of the room was occupied with an altar with images of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary, the same images adorning the adjoining walls as well. In front of me were four clocks, giving the times of five different corners of the world. As I figured then and Melvyn explained later that the patrons for his newspapers are scattered all over the world. As I sat in the room, I had a distinct sense of deja vu and it was clear to me as soon as Melvyn re-entered the room with a glass of fizzy and some munchies in his hand... I have been here before. The place was different, the people were different, but the spirit was the same — the Anglo-Indian spirit. I remembered my meeting with James Sinclair in Surrey and with the Smith family in Manchester. They were different people but all of them have preserved that same Anglo-Indian spirit. Melvyn’s house exuded a totally different aura from the scene just outside. His was a secluded world, calmer and quieter and somewhat more polished. I was reminded of what one Anglo-Indian woman, Geraldine Charles in England, had pointed out to me, "The Anglo-Indians have never seen themselves as Indians. Their customs and cultures are not Indian." When I interviewed the Anglo-Indians who have migrated to Britain, they seem to have an acute sense of longing for back home in Kolkata. As Nina Jenkins, an ex-researcher in Anglo-Indian family history in the UK, said, "Its rather like a child who says I hate my mum, I hate my mum. But as soon as someone else says something to the child he runs back to take refuge in the warmth of his mother’s lap." Before coming to meet Melvyn I was going through Anglo-Indian Studies edited by Melvyn and in there Phyllis N. Stuart, to my surprise that, says, "Having read several news terms on the plight of Anglo-Indians in Kolkata particularly made me think that those who had emigrated to England had made the better choice. They have been accepted here without any prejudice or alienation which still exists in India." A stark contrast is Curt Amos, 26 years old, born and brought up in Kolkata. His looks are very European, making him stand out. However, I found him comfortable with his identity unlike his British counterparts who are grappling with a losing sense of their identity and a hazy sense of acceptance. I am left wondering is it the spirit of Kolkata, which makes this possible — a city, which actually has the modesty to live and let live? The author has worked for the BBC in London (This is part of a series that explores the numerous sub cultures and communities that add sparkle to the Kolkata mosaic).  
 

Anglo-Indian Day Celebrated!
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A Book mark to mark the Day!

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NOTICE:  'Anglo-Indian The Newsletter' is an individual non-profit venture of Mr. Melvyn Brown, who does not receive any funds from individuals in India or abroad.The work done for the community is a personal non-commercial venture of Mr. Melvyn Brown, who has a deep personal interest in the Anglo-Indian community as well as in the Catholic Church.

 
This site contains the writings of Mr. Melvyn Brown of Calcutta. An Anglo-Indian Chronicler of the community and Founder & publisher of "Anglo-Indian The Newsletter".Melvyn Brown is also the Founder & Director of the "Ambassadors for Jesus",a Roman Catholic movement, with permission from the Pope, with a newsletter published promoting Catholic Unity.