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Abstract

I can begin to summarise the effects of the system of representations denoted in this section as Muslim ‘conspiracy’, by underlining the most immediate import of the destabilisation of the category ‘Christian’. In contrast to the lack of reciprocity seen in the disinclination shown by Lyall’s ‘Hindoo’ to engage with the colonialist demand for recognition, one potential consequence of this destabilisation is the suggestion of ‘indigenisation’ that it seeks to attach to the British ‘Christian’. In this regard, the now inclusive category ‘Christian’ acts as a partial defence against the vacuum of motives disclosed by the events of 1857–59: that is, as one means by which the idea of colonial despotism is held at bay, and a renewed understanding of British relations to Indian society constructed. The briefly resurgent and, as the narratives demonstrate, deeply conflicted desire to present themselves as, and to bind themselves to, an indigenous community, is (ironically enough, after the free usage that his own narrative makes of them) given bitter expression by Thornhill in his concluding chapter, when he argues that ‘the only class on whose fidelity it was found we could rely was the one whom our policy had discountenanced, and whose increase it had prevented, namely, the native Christians.’1

Keywords

Indian Society Preliminary Conclusion British State Stereotypical Feature British Imperialism 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    W J Shepherd, A Personal Narrative of the Outbreak and Massacre at Cawnpore During the Sepoy Revolt of 1857, 2nd edn (Lucknow: London Printing Press, 1879). For the brief flirtation with Eurasians in 1857–59, see Ballhatchet, Race, p. 100. The preceding half-century was characterised by a gradual — and from the 1830s onwards, inflexible — social distancing from them by the Anglo-Indian official community. See Ballhatchet, Race, pp. 96–111; and C J Hawes, Poor Relations: The Making of a Eurasian Community in British India, 1773–1833 (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1996).Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    William Edwards, Reminiscences of a Bengal Civilian (London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1866), chapter XX, pp. 305–40.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Pratt defines ‘the contact zone’ as ‘the space of colonial encounters, the space in which peoples geographically and historically separated come into contact with each other and establish ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict’ Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, repr. 1995; 1992), p. 6.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    J R Seeley, The Expansion of England: Two Courses of Lectures (London: Macmillan & Co, 1886), pp. 176–7.Google Scholar
  5. 48.
    Lines 655ff. Lord Byron, The Poetical Works of Lord Byron, ed. by Ernest Hartley Coleridge (London: John Murray, 1948), p. 270.Google Scholar
  6. 51.
    Ken Gelder, Reading the Vampire (London: Routledge, 1994) pp. 26–7. Gelder situates the vampire in the context of — among other discourses — British anti-Semitism (pp. 13–17). This point is made in greater detail in H L Malchow, Gothic Images of Race in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 153–65. The plurality, and promiscuous application, of racial typologies in British cultural discourse during this period has often been remarked upon by critics (see for instance, Patrick Brantlinger, ‘Race and the Victorian Novel’ in Deirdre David (ed.) The Victorian Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 149–68; and C A Bayly, Imperial, p. 153). In proposing colonialist perceptions of the Indian Muslim as a vampire-like figure, the argument here implicitly suggests nineteenth-century British anti-Semitism as one such potentially plural discourse, occasionally exchanging Muslim and Jewish ‘Semitic’ objects of censure.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 72.
    This assent is achieved through its consistent misrecognition (Zizek, Sublime, pp. 43, 75–9). Despite the apparent difference in emphasis, there is an essential agreement between Zizek’s discussion of the centrality of the ‘Symptom’ and that of Stavrakakis, who implies a reciprocal process when he describes the ‘Symptom’ as a key signifier for lack within ideological systems and then refers to the necessity for the re-institution of the harmony of social fantasy through its stigmatisation (Stavrakakis, Lacan, pp. 64–8, 109). The logic of ‘stigmatisation’ is implicit to the analysis of the post-‘Mutiny’ Anglo-Indian discourse on Indian Muslims that follows in the next section. For a fuller — if more playful — account of the operations of the ‘Symptom’, see Zizek, Enjoy Your Symptom (London: Routledge, repr. 2001; 1992).Google Scholar
  8. Colette Soler, ‘The paradoxes of the symptom in psychoanalysis’, in Jean-Michel Rabate (ed.) Lacan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 86–101. For a lucid exposition of the catastrophic processes potential to all cultural stigmatisation in modern societiesGoogle Scholar
  9. Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Cambridge: Polity, repr. 2002; 1989).Google Scholar
  10. 82.
    Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and Ambivalence (Cambridge: Polity Press, repr. 1998; 1991), pp. 1–75. This concept will be taken up in more detail in Chapter 10.Google Scholar

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© Alex Padamsee 2005

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  • Alex Padamsee

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