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Title: The 1857 panic and the fabrication of an Indian 'menace' in Singapore
Authors: Rai, R. 
Issue Date: Mar-2013
Citation: Rai, R. (2013-03). The 1857 panic and the fabrication of an Indian 'menace' in Singapore. Modern Asian Studies 47 (2) : 365-405. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper examines how local and transnational developments converged in 1857 to transform European attitudes towards Indian inhabitants in Singapore. Recognized in preceding years as useful to the security and the development of the colony, by late 1857, Indians in Singapore had come to be viewed by Europeans as a 'menace'. That change in disposition was largely the product of factors extraneous to the actions of the local Indian inhabitants themselves. Besieged by news of multiple challenges to the British Empire, European nerves were rattled by perceived threats emanating from sections of the Asian populace in Singapore. In early 1857, a dispute between Tamil-Muslims and Europeans brought to the fore the latter's anxieties and prejudices. That episode was followed, in May, by news of the massive rebellion of native troops in India. The emerging distrust for Indians was exacerbated by public rumours and fanned by editorials and reports published in the local press. Perceptions of immediate danger from the colony of transported convicts, and the fear of an Indian conspiracy during Muharram, sparked a panic that would have ramifications on the position of Indians in Singapore and leave an imprint on the long term political development of the Straits Settlements. 1 Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012.
Source Title: Modern Asian Studies
ISSN: 0026749X
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X1200042X
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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