I think that my life story "UNWANTED!" is unique and
interesting because I lived through a time when a lot of changes
were taking place in the world. A lot of 'discovery' was being made
which has made the present times a better world to live in. Besides
describing the culture and the period of time which can never come
back, I have described my own pain and the frustrations as I grew
up in pre-Raj and post-Raj times as an illegitimate daughter of
an American Jesuit priest, deserted and abandoned in India at the
age of four. It took me about sixty years to search for my identity
and as I went through those years of my life, I also passed through
the changes and developments of the world.
I lived through the two generations of the European Anglo-Indians and now the third generation is very Indian in their dresses, language and culture. They see more Indian movies than the English and have also started intermarrying. This of course was next to impossible during the British Raj.
I was born during the Second World War in 1940, when India was ruled by the British. India had woken up to the patriotic call of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. They wanted the British out and the independence of India.
The fight for the separate Hindu and Muslim countries lead India into a blood bath, we had to move from where I lived with both my parents. The move to the hill station got me in touch with the Anglo-Indian railway people who saw that our journey was safe and comfortable. I described the railway colony of Allahabad where I spent many years.
During the World War Two America feared that after Independence India would lean towards Communist Russia instead of them. They made every effort to stop that from happening. The religious missionaries that came out were involved with the government of USA. They came out as agents for the Government spying and informing the US Government all the time. My father had the FBI and the CIA records while he was a Catholic priest.
The priests were sent to preach Christianity and convert the Indians. At the time the Christian belief was that the people of India worshipped Idols and therefore they were pagans and had to be converted to Christianity. One rupee and free ration was given to the poor Indian in return for conversion to Christianity. They were given Christian name and promised a sure place in heaven besides God the Almighty. Most of the Indians who got converted were from amongst the low caste or the untouchables.
At the time it was easy to convert people. My mother's mother was found lost after a flooding episode in Bihar and the foreign nuns could take her into the orphanage and convert her Catholic at the age of three in British India. Her parents a well to do Muslim Shah Family later came looking for her but could not do anything to the nuns who changed her religion. They abandoned her since she was now with another religion.
My mother's father was a Hindu but since he fell in love with the converted Catholic girl, my grandmother, who was once a Muslim, he was asked to convert to Catholicism to marry the Catholic woman. Something which is unheard of in Democratic India. My mother's father was later sold to the Assam Tea State as a labourer by his friend in the same village for only forty rupees. It was a time when Indian labourers were sold for a small amount during the British time. Mahatma Gandhi was trying to help the untouchables and the dalits in his ashrams where my priest father also helped.
At the time of my birth the most of the people in the USA and other European world believed that the whole of India was a big jungle where the ferocious animals as tiger and lions roamed the streets. The snakes were everywhere. There were no medias to enlighten the people about the Indian subcontinent as it was in reality. They believed in what they heard and read books of long time back. Radio and electricity was discovered and my priest father tried to convert the entire South East Asia with the radio.
The Atom Bomb was discovered. My priest father knew what triggered mechanism in the Atom Bomb. He knew that Beryllium Ore was necessary for the Atom Bomb. He made the Indian children, men and women hand pick the Beryllium Ore from the sands of Travencore and Bihar state and shipped them to the USA for developing the Atom Bomb. He was even present when the first Atom Bomb was tested in New Mexico.
I have also described when the first radio broadcast was made in August 1920 in Detroit by my father and his brother Frank. They had assembled an 8 MK radio station the predecessor of the present WWJ Radio. They came into the attention of the Scripps family through their amateur station, 8 AM, built in the backyard of the Lyons'house at 825 Green Avenue in Delray, Detroit. The Scripps family of the DETROIT NEWS paid my father and uncle and the other radio operators for their work. The Scripps family feared that people would laugh if they had invested in radio that is why they originally insisted that 8MK be licensed in my father's name. My father installed the transmitter in the DETROIT NEWS BUILDING from which the first commercial radio broadcast was heard on the 20th August 1920.
I have also described how my father's French side of the ancestors Francois Beinvenur 'dit' DeLisle, a Lieutenant and Detroits's first tavern keeper travelled with Monsieur Cadillac on his founding voyage to Detroit in 1701 and helped in establishing Detroit city. My father's French Grandfather was the state representative and a judge later in Detroit. I have described the time 1900s in USA when my father was born upto when he joined the priesthood in 1920s.
In the fifties Mount Everest was conquered and then the coronation of Queen Elezabeth took place. The currency of India changed into rupees and paises, instead of paisas, annas and rupia.
The story is interesting for the people of India because it describes how the general Indians were treated during the Raj times and how since India got independence the Indians have made great progress in every field. Majority of the Indians have gone for higher education and there is competition in every work field. Only the highly educated gets the position. During the British Raj one had to be Christian and some European blood to get the position, education was not of consideration.
It described the role of a female in the British India and independence India. The few jobs available to them were teaching, nursing and stenography and only the Anglo-Indians went to work. Hindu Women never dared to went out. Today Women of India drive attend universities and can hold the same positions as doctors, administrators and accountants. There is equality of both male and female in the workforce which was never there in my time.
In the western world the Christian churches are changing for the better. Priests are now leaving the church to marry and are no more celibates. There are reform and action for change association in USA and other parts of the world. My story would be good for them to realise the problems for the woman and the children left behind. It also makes the people and the church aware of the fact that no matter where the child is born, the heredity plays a good part when a conducive environment is provided. In spite of all the struggles to survive, poverty, blackmailing, rejections and disadvantages I was able to get myself and my sister the education which made us teachers. My story is about determination to find the identity even when one is born out of wedlock. It is the circumstances, environment and the genes which gave me the strength to fight against all odds to prove my worth as an individual with the right to choose and live as a respectable person in spite of the labelling thrust upon me by the church.
The hypocrisy of the church, the continual rejections, and my being an illegitimate and unwanted caused me to attempt suicide. I survived and started my life by winning a Femina Beauty contests, then marrying and eventually settling down as a single mother with two sons, one severely handicapped. The experiences in my life made me extremely committed to my responsibilities as a mother and a great lover of truth.
My travels took me to Australia where I taught in 1970s. The time Australia had the white Australian Policy. At that period of time there were hardly any Indian migrants allowed in Australia. Only a few Anglo-Indians with a proof of British background could migrate.
My story takes the readers to the past in history of India, USA and Australia and brings them back to the present when things have all changed. It keeps alive the time that will never come back and the people who have gone leaving their footsteps for the present to follow and go ahead while I live with my own problems of being the child who could not grow up due to the emotional set back and the loss of a family life provided for me by the very church which preached and still preaches the importance of a family unit.
It describes the clashes of cultures in the three countries, and individual selfishness and gains.
The story also describes the life of a single mother in and new strange country.
It is a story of determination, success and achievement. It is a most unusual story of the daughter of an Indian strong mother from a village of Bihar and an American Jesuit priest who was intelligent but lacked the strength to fight for truth and his responsibility because he himself was involved in helping the illegitimate children of the British in India by putting them into orphanages. He concluded that like those many children his children would also grow up as Anglo-Indians and have a life of their own in India. His superiors assured him that they would do all they can as they did for the other children. He forgot and did not realise that with his background the children he was biological father of had the same strong genes which would one day help to find him. There is a psychological side of interest in the book as well and also of the change in the present time about the heredity and environment.
(You can find out more by visiting my pages on UNWANTED!
and Bitter Sweet Truth on this site.)
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