by Mark Tully, Laurence Fleming
These are the stories of the last generation of children raised in British India, in their own words.
Over 280 contributions and 200 photographs from over 120 individuals make this a unique record of an extraordinary time and place. The experience of life in the Raj is now remote from British daily life, and yet only a few generations ago many British children lived this vibrant and colourful life. Here we see the normal trials and thrills of childhood, but in an extraordinary setting, and overlaid in many cases with the hardships of war, separation and then the sadness of leaving India permanently. These stories teem with fascinating details of the domestic, of travel over huge distances, of spectacular celebrations, but also deal with the segregation of the races and an awareness of the privileges of the ruling elite, all told with the authenticity of first-hand experience and the freshness of a child's eye. Mark Tully sets the scene to both volumes, writing with great poignancy of the influence on the "last children" of their upbringing, and the legacy of the Raj: "our parents lived as a separate race [but] they were Anglo-Indians, in that they were touched by India".
This is a fascinating book for those who experienced the Raj, or who want to pass on to children or grandchildren, a sense of that extraordinary life. It is also an invaluable primary source for scholars interested in the colonial experience, written by those who lived it.