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The 'Incumberances'British Women in India, 1615-1856$
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Joan Mickelson Gaughan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198092148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092148.001.0001

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Of Clay and Porcelain

Of Clay and Porcelain

(p.211) 15 Of Clay and Porcelain
The 'Incumberances'

Joan Mickelson Gaughan

Oxford University Press

Anglo-Indians described three social ranks among themselves—the civil and military services were porcelain; the merchants were clay, and the uncovenanted and Indians did not rank at all. The argument is made that it may have been this ranking that did far more harm to racial relationships than did Evangelicalism. At the very bottom of the ranks would be a woman who married an Indian. There is a record of only one such marriage, of Mrs Meer Hassan Ali, whose relative anonymity stands in sharp contrast to men such as James Kirkpatrick and David Ochterlony who married Indian women, and Richard Burton who openly consorted with Indian women and not only converted to Islam but also became a Sufi.

Keywords:   social ranks, porcelain, clay, uncovenanted, Mrs Meer Hassan Ali

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