Burma’s Climate and ‘Masculine Nerves’

The other day I was going through the massive pile of scrappy bits of paper that are my old PhD research notes looking for something I could distinctly remember having, but was inevitably unable to find, when I came across a poem. Written in 1911, it succinctly summed up a major theme in my research….

A Dog’s Life in Colonial Burma

I have just finished reading a traveller’s account of Burma published in 1909 and purportedly written by a dog. The dog, called ‘John’, travelled the northern-most reaches of the colony with his master, ‘the Colonel’, the Colonel’s wife, the ‘Mem Sahib’, their female friend, referred to only as ‘Missy Sahib’, and their entourage of Indian…

Anti-Islamic Abuse in Burma and Britain, the Colonial Past and Present

Last week ┬áit was the anniversary of the anti-Indian riots that broke out in colonial Rangoon in 1930. They were ignited when striking Indian dock workers came into conflict with the Burmese labourers recruited to replace them. This clash then spilled over into a broader wave of anti-Indian violence, leaving over one hundred Indians dead….

Burma’s Anti-Colonial Imperialist

No, not George Orwell. And no, (for those more familiar with Southeast Asian history) not John Furnivall. There was another more trenchant and less ambiguous critic of British imperialism in the interwar years: Bernard Houghton. Having served in the Burma branch of the Indian Civil Service from 1886 until his retirement in 1912, he began…