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Domestic Tensions, National AnxietiesGlobal Perspectives on Marriage, Crisis, and Nation$
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Kristin Celello and Hanan Kholoussy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856749.001.0001

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Mixed Marriage in Colonial Burma

Mixed Marriage in Colonial Burma

National Identity and Nationhood at Risk

(p.89) 5 Mixed Marriage in Colonial Burma
Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties

Tin Tin Htun

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores debates about mixed marriages between Burmese Buddhist women and Indian men in the rapidly changing social, psychological, political, and economic contexts of 1930s Burma. It employs a social psychological perspective to examine the motivational and psychological processes underlying public reactions towards Indo-Burmese marriages. Against the backdrop of an emerging national identity in colonial Burma, such marriages exacerbated national anxieties. Nationalists perceived Indo-Burmese marriages as a breakdown in the homogeneity of the Burmese race and the Buddhist religion, both of which were at the core of their national identity. An analysis of the print media in the 1930s demonstrates how this crisis of national identity influenced nationalist writers’ reactions to mixed marriages. Although they advocated for women’s education and participation in public life, nationalists confined women to the roles of wife and mother, assigning them the responsibility of preserving Burmese race and religion.

Keywords:   mixed marriage, Indo-Burmese marriage, social psychological perspective, national identity, print media, race, religion, Burma

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