The Anglo-Indians are one of the many communities of India. They are the descendants of European men who had relations with Indian women when India was under the control of European colonial powers ( Netherlands, France, Portugal and of course Great Britain) from the XVII° century. Most of them are the descendants of british civil servants, soldiers, traders or tea planters who had relations with low status women, many of them belonging to castes where prostitution was a tradition. In these days, European women were reluctant to come to India because travelling by boat was time consuming. So men were encouraged to meet and marry Indian women. Mixed-race children were then baptized so as to assure them a better future.
( Descendants of portuguese, french,…men are also called anglo-indians. All of them speak english and almost none is (was) illiterate) Because of their origins, Anglo-Indians were poor. So they tried to compensate their poverty by practising professions in the railways, in the industry, in the education field, all professions they could do because they were educated. That’s why Anglo-indians are still now a city-dwellers community, most of them living in the main cities and in railway junctions towns ( like Agra, Jhansi). For long, they refused to marry with Indians, isolating themselves from the vast majority of the population of India. More “Anglo” than “Indians”, they have developed their own culture, something that reminds the old days, the former English ( or Portuguese) identity. Most of them are protestants ( those of Portuguese origin are catholics), they dressed in the western style ( in the past, women never wore saris and were much more free than their Indian counterparts), they cook their own food mixing English recipes with Indian spices.
But since the Independence of India ( in 1947), their population is dwindling. They are now 200.000 in India while they were 500.000 in 1947. Soon after the Independence, many have left India to the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada,…because they were apprehensive of the changes that would happen and also because they were looking for job opportunities.
Now, among those who remain in India, many prefer to marry with native Indians than inside their own community. And those who live abroad as well as those who have stayed in India have merged in the mainstream. Women wear indian dresses, they speak english but also the vernacular language fluently.