Life of British India Army Officer – Old Photo 1890
This is an old 1890 photo showing a glimpse of the domestic life of a British India army officer. Seated at his large home flanked by his wife and Indian servant. Also visible is a horsecart with a dog atop. Judging by the environs the officer is very likely to be of a higher ranking. Some army officers had families that were mainly put up in residences at any of the cantonments spread throughout undivided India.
One of them perhaps as shown in this photograph. It is to be remembered that East India Company was the de facto ruler of the country till 1858. They encouraged their men to intermarry with local girls. Before the opening of the Suez Canal, the travel from England to India took six months. With another one or two months to reach the destination.
English girls were obviously reluctant to travel to India in such hard conditions. But after the Indian sepoy revolt of 1858, the East India Company was completely abolished. The British Crown under Queen Victoria ruled directly. One of the new rules put in place was to discourage their men from marrying local women.
Although the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 seem to be a relief, the distance was greatly reduced that took only four weeks. This enabled the British ladies to arrive annually in search of husbands. Suitable husbands most preferred were from the military, then the civil service, clerks, and so on. Unlike England, all amenities and luxuries were at their disposal like you see in this photo. Click on the photo for better view.
Read more Marriage In British India.
Did you know- this influx of husband hunters acquired its own ironic tag, “The Fishing Fleet”.
From the collection- Vintage Raja Ravi Varma “Saraswati” Oleograph., Aerial View of Bombay Harbour & Docks – Old Print 1931., 1911 Delhi Durbar & Begum of Bhopal – Old Postcard., Vintage Book 1939 – The Handbook of India
The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, or stock photos or taken from other sources.