May 20, 2017

The Anglo Indians of Chennai

What is the similarity between Perambur of North Chennai and Pallavaram of South Chennai? In both these areas, you can find Anglo Indians (though very few in numbers nowadays). Who are Anglo Indians? The child who is born to a European man and an Indian woman is considered as an Anglo Indian. (Of course, the descendants of these original Anglo Indians are also Anglo Indians). Chennai is one of the earliest settlements of Anglo Indians. In fact, the Anglo Indians were there in Chennai even before the word "Anglo Indian" was officially recognized by the then Viceroy of India, Charles Hardinge, in 1911 CE.

The Anglo Indians migrated to European countries and only few people (mostly senior citizens) still live in India.  Chennai is one major city where quite number of Anglo Indians are still found. Apart from Perambur and Pallavaram, they are also found in few other areas such as Madhavaram, St. Thomas Mount, Ayanavaram, Vepery and Purasawakkam.

As mentioned earlier, the number of Anglo Indians who live in Chennai are very less. Only few among those few people live in the traditional Anglo Indian homes. The designs of such homes are unique and look interesting. Some of those lovely 150-200 years old houses are still found in the calm and serene Veteran Lines of Pallavaram.

The architectural style of the traditional Anglo Indian houses include saddleback roofs and arched windows. If it is a big house, even spacious garden is found in the front side. Veteran Lines was designed by the Britishers as the residential area of the retired military men. However, it was occupied completely by the Anglo Indians later. Even after independence, till 1960s, almost each and every house in this area was occupied by the Anglo Indians. Unfortunately, there is a major drop in Anglo Indian population as well as their traditional homes.

In this area, we could also find four neglected structures in a corner. These dilapidated buildings are believed to have served as the club houses for the Anglo Indian community. They were constructed in the 1930s.

Happy travelling.

1 comment:

  1. I remember both Perambur and Pallavaram filled with Anglo Indians in the early 1960s. Most of them were railway employees. A few Anglo Indians studied with me in Pacchiayappas college.