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Sites of Desire: Chandrapore-Mayapore-Jummapur: Race, Sexuality and Law in Colonial India

DOI: 10.4236/als.2017.55010, PP. 123-142

Keywords: European Colonialism, Colonial India, Race, Sexuality, Desire, Colonial Law, E. M. Forster, Paul Scott, Tom Stoppard

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The three selected texts by E. M. Forster, 1924 (A Passage to India Forster, 1924), Paul Scott, 1983 (Jewel in the Crown 1983), and Top Stoppard, 1995 (Indian Ink 1995) explore the complex interweaving of race, sexuality and law in colonial India suggesting the interpolation of subliminal desire that affected the relationship of the colonizers and the colonized. This essay focuses upon the intervention of race and sex in these narratives that defined the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized which have not be adequately discussed earlier. The narratives reveal the fraught and ambiguous attitude of the British colonizers towards the “natives” as objects of sexual desire though infected by the threat of racial contamination and miscegenation. Hence, such relations were either to be shunned or controlled by law. It has also been suggested that imperial administration may have used “sexual relations” as central political mechanism to control its subject population. The point to note is that the sexual gaze was in many instances reciprocal and the colonizer was also an object of desire for the colonized. The selected narratives explore three sites where the play of desire and their culmination take place.


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