From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, British women started travelling in any numbers to the East Indies, mostly to accompany husbands, brothers or fathers. Very little about them is recorded from the earlier years, about the remarkable journeys that they made and what drove them to travel those huge distances. Some kept journals, others wrote letters, and for the first time Patrick Wheeler tells their story in this fascinating and colourful history, exploring the little-known lives of these women and their experiences of life in India before the Raj. With a perceptive approach, Ribbons Among the Rajahs considers all aspects of womens lives in India, from the original discomfort of traversing the globe and the complexities of arrival through to creating a home in a tight-knit settlement community. It considers, too, the effects of the subservience of women to the needs of men and argues for fusion of European and Indian cultures that existed before imperial times.
Patrick Wheeler graduated in Medicine from Oxford before embarking on a career as a specialist Physician in hospitals in the southeast of England. Some time before he left medicine he had developed a great interest in India, and especially its colonial history. Working with people has particularly inclined him towards social history, Ribbons Among the Rajahs is his first book.