By Satadru Sen

This booklet examines the social, political and ideological dimensions of the come across among the indigenous population of the Andaman islands, British colonizers and Indian settlers within the eighteenth and 19th centuries. The British-Indian penal settlements within the – starting tentatively in 1789 and renewed on a bigger scale in 1858 – characterize an in depth, advanced test within the administration of populations via colonial discourses of race, criminal activity, civilization, and savagery. concentrating on the ever-present characterization of the Andaman islanders as ‘savages’, this examine explores the actual dating among savagery and the perform of colonialism.

Satadru Sen examines savagery and the savage as dynamic parts of colonialism in South Asia: now not highbrow abstractions with transparent and glued meanings, yet politically ‘alive’ and fiercely contested items of the colony. Illuminating and historicizing the procedures in which the discourse of savagery is going via a number of and primary shifts among the past due eighteenth and past due 19th centuries, he exhibits the hyperlinks and breaks among those shifts and altering rules of race, maturity and masculinity within the Andamans, British India, Britain and within the wider empire. He additionally highlights the results of those adjustments for the ‘savages’ themselves. on the broadest point, this e-book re-examines the connection among the trendy and the primitive in a colonial world.

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Extra resources for Savagery and Colonialism in the Indian Ocean: Power, Pleasure and the Andaman Islanders (Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series)

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C. C. Bonington, Radcliffe-Brown140 and C. Baden Kloss,141 and of part-time escapees from civilization. The latter were, more often than not, the same people in a different mode: ‘off-duty’ 24 Introduction experts and administrators, as it were, engaged in the pleasures of fantasy and ‘private’ experiences of power. Portman’s gloomy and critical reading of the impact of civilization upon the primitive, while not insincere, was an affectation: a self-pleasuring performance of decadent tropical-island colonialism.

To some extent, the neo-Romantic impulse within museological colonialism136 restrained or rescued the tame savage not only from the gravity of civilization, but from the orbit of the state. Many Britons who lived and worked in the clearing, and Portman in particular, had deeply schizophrenic relationships with the colonial regime. 137 He was located within the regime and one of its principal agents. He did not, however, represent the state consistently: he spoke frequently on behalf of ‘science’ and in opposition to unscientific colleagues and rivals in Port Blair, occasionally accused them of exploiting or abusing the Andamanese, and sometimes appeared to have seceded altogether and founded his own empire on the edge of the colony.

The race has its head-quarters in the great Island of Papua . . 78 The appeal of eastern cousins was not simply that Papuans and others ‘explained’ the Andamanese. When Portman carried out his photographic and anthropometric experiments in the 1880s and 1890s and examined Onge and Jarawa captives at his home, the knowledge that he produced also rendered other savages historically and scientifically comprehensible through comparison with the Andamanese. ’81 Comparisons between the Andamanese and indigenous populations in Oceania, which marked much of the writing about the Andamans following the epidemics of the 1870s, surfaced during the first British settlement of the islands, which followed the Cook voyages.

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