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The British Experience
Author: Ronald Hyam

This book tries to show how sexual attitudes and activities influenced the lives of the imperial elite as well as the subjects of empire. It begins with an examination of the nature of sexuality and of its influence on individuals. The book argues that sexual dynamics crucially underpinned the whole operation of British empire and Victorian expansion. Sexual needs can be imperative, and people will go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy them. The book considers the behaviour of members of the imperial ruling elite, and examines their attitude to marriage and the relationship between their private lives and service of the empire. It looks at sexual opportunity in some different types of imperial situation, both formal and informal, in an attempt to see how sexual interaction underpinned the operative structures of British expansion. As the keeping of mistresses was not uncommon in eighteenth-century Britain, the keeping of a mistress in British India became a well-established practice. Europeans in India could flirt outrageously, but they must not fall in love or marry. To keep the women free from disease, Indian prostitutes were admitted to the cantonments, to the lal bazar after medical examination and registration, where they were given periodical checks. Official reaction against sexual opportunism began in earnest with the Purity Campaign launched in 1869, which changed the visible face of British life and attitudes. Undoubtedly there was thereafter more decorum, more chastity, less opportunity and less fun.

Abstract only
Fields of understanding and political action
Richard Philips

capital by campaigning on behalf of Indian prostitutes, of whom they spoke as ‘sisters’. 30 Campaigning for Indians, they strengthened and galvanised the feminist movement closer to home. This is not to suggest that their interventions were simply self-interested, or that activists such as these should have refrained from using the power and influence that they found and made for themselves in England. It is not to suggest that political activism should be paralysed with doubt. This is not an option, since there are some areas

in Sex, politics and empire
Claude Markovits

life in China. The majority, even in these two major centres, were young unmarried men who lived as bachelors, sharing quarters with colleagues in barrack lines or trading firm premises. Most of those who were married had left their wives in India and actually also lived the life of a bachelor. Obviously they had to find an outlet for their sexual and emotional needs: some probably found it with Chinese prostitutes, the only ones they could afford. (There is no mention of Indian prostitutes in China, though Anglo-Indian girls

in New frontiers
Ronald Hyam

system, Indian prostitutes were admitted to the cantonments, to the lal bazar (the red-light brothel area of the regimental lines), after medical examination and registration. They remained subject to periodical checks, and by 1865 lock hospitals (not so punitive in their regime as in Britain) were available in all cantonments to treat prostitutes suffering from venereal disease. They were grouped

in Empire and sexuality