chapter  4
28 Pages

Liquid boundaries: Race, class, and alcohol in colonial India

This chapter aims to extend our knowledge of the effects that European alcohol consumption had on both colonial ideologies as well as actual governance by examining the problems arising from the drinking practices of the middle and lower ranks of the non-offi cial community in British India. It is my contention, that this focus on the ‘white’ lower middle and working classes in Britain’s most important colony, not only provides a helpful correction to received interpretations of the Europeans in India as a homogeneous ruling elite, but is also an important addition to the existing research on the history of alcohol at large. Although some scholars have recently highlighted the importance of drinking in colonial contexts, 2 the focus so far has almost exclusively been on the impact of Western drinks on colonized societies, thus completely neglecting the European side of the colonial equation.