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Indian Arrivals 1870–1915Networks of British Empire$
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Elleke Boehmer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744184

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198744184.001.0001

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The Spasm of the Familiar

The Spasm of the Familiar

Indians in Late Nineteenth-century London

(p.73) 2 The Spasm of the Familiar
Indian Arrivals 1870–1915

Elleke Boehmer

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 considers the Indian encounter with the imperial metropolis and its city networks, the primary destination of their travels. The 1880s, the heyday of Liberal Britain, is the dominant focus, though examples are chosen from across the final thirty years of the nineteenth century. How did the city strike Indians in this period, and how did their presence on its streets strike the city? The chapter contends that though Indian travellers, students, and businessmen were perceived—and perceived themselves—as foreigners in London, many were also longstanding city-dwellers and bore a keen awareness of what it was to inhabit an industrialized modern world and its various elite formations. Many Indian writers and commentators in this period—including B. M. Malabari, T. N. Mukharji, M. K. Gandhi, and Dadabhai Naoroji—pictured Indians as forming an intrinsic part of the energy and modernity of London’s crowded streets, and found some of their views corroborated in the work of British counterparts, such as Wilkie Collins and George Meredith..

Keywords:   city networks, Dadabhai Naoroji, elite formations, George Meredith, imperial metropolis, modernity, M. K. Gandhi, Wilkie Collins

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