ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Mysterious Alien: Indian Street Jugglers in Victorian London

During the urbanisation process of London, the imported Asian and African underclass who were brought to London as sailors, servants and nannies among others had become the surplus products, who were born out of the British capitalists' perpetual search for profit. Once their utility was over, they were dismissed by their employers and left stranded in a foreign country. This article examines this tension-ridden interaction between the contemporary English society and certain sections of the Indian immigrant underclass in England in the 19th century. The latter, often by working upon the credulity of their clientele, and sometimes surely by their professional skills in entertainments like jugglery, and in the more serious area of medical treatment, succeeded in occupying an important space in the urban landscape of 19th century England.

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The Mysterious Alien: Indian Street Jugglers in Victorian London

Sumanta Banerjee

During the urbanisation process of London, the imported Asian and African underclass who were brought to London as sailors, servants and nannies among others had become the surplus products, who were born out of the British capitalists’ perpetual search for profit. Once their utility was over, they were dismissed by their employers and left stranded in a foreign country. This article examines this tension-ridden interaction between the contemporary English society and certain sections of the Indian immigrant underclass in England in the 19th century. The latter, often by working upon the credulity of their clientele, and sometimes surely by their professional skills in entertainments like jugglery, and in the more serious area of medical treatment, succeeded in occupying an important space in the urban landscape of 19th century England.

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