1900 x 3
An exploration of family history spanning across three generations of mixed race women starting in roughly 1900 at the St Andrews Colonial Homes in Kalimpong. A district in the state of West Bengal, India.
Working with family photos, excerpts from letters, DNA and further research.
1900 x 3 is a hybrid documentary currently in development.
Below are two quotes from “ On The Threshold of Three Closed Lands”. A book published in 1905 by The Reverend J.A Graham who ran the St Andrews Colonial Homes, later known as Dr Graham’s Homes.
My great grandmother would have been one of the first pupils at the colonial homes and was, as they describe, of mixed European and Asian blood. Described below as the “Domiciled Community”.
“The previous chapters have been concerned with the natives, and, to a certain extent, our fellow-countrymen. But there is a third class which demands our interest-often termed the " Domiciled Community." Of its members some are Europeans-generally poor who have made India their home, but the mass are of mixed European and Asian (Eurasian) blood.
The "Domiciled Community" labour under many disabilities. The disrespect too often shown by the other two communities is hurtful to their own self-respect. The environment of a tropical country and of ideals very different from those of the West tend inevitably to a lower level of body, mind, and spirit. Without a special effort the members of such a community are bound to deteriorate. There are not a few who, often at a considerable sacrifice, make the effort and meet with success.
These successful ones, however, are but a small proportion of the community, most of whose members, owing to want of opportunity or want of will, grow up despising or unfit for honest labour, a trouble and a discredit to the British race outside of India.
The hope of solving the problem lies in the children. If they can, at an early age, be removed to a more robust environment in the mountains, and be there trained in healthy, home-life surroundings, and be taught by precept and example the dignity of labour, it is claimed that self-respect and self-reliance, grit, and resource will be fostered among them...”
“One of the weak points of the Domiciled Community is a distaste for and dislike of manual labour, largely owing to the conditions in which they are brought up. Special attention is therefore paid to instilling a love of labour. To this end no domestic servants are kept, and all the work of the cottages is done by the children, guided by the Housemothers.”