Stephen Alter
Survivors: Stories by Randhir Khare Lilian Khare Foundation of the Spastics Society of India, 1982, 70 pp., 32.00
Nov-Dec 1982, volume 7, No 3

This is one book which can be judged by its cover. The attractive red-on-cream design is a facsimile of a certificate of honourable discharge from the British army, a torn and folded Britannia seated before her guard of honour. The book contains five pieces of writing about Anglo-Indians. I hesitate to call these stories, for they have a poetic quality. The characters are not com¬placent pawns of plot and circumstance, but voices which will find an echo in each of us. There has been a great deal of argument recently over the definition of an Anglo-Indian. Since most of the debate is political, I think it can be safely ignored. Randhir Khare uses the expression ‘Anglo-Indian’ to describe a small community of European descent. At the same time, through his language, he opens up the definition to include all of us in India who might read his book. By this, I mean that anyone in India who speaks English will reco¬gnize a part of themselves in these voices. Language is in most cases a better standard of identity than race or reli¬gion.

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