previous sub-section
next chapter


1. Throughout this book, except in direct quotations, I spell Dean Mahomet as he did in Travels. His name was not uncommon for Indian Muslims; indeed, “Din Muhammad” was a war cry within his community. For a more extensive study of Dean Mahomet's life, see Michael H. Fisher and Dean Mahomed, The First Indian Author in English (1996). [BACK]

2. Prabhu Guptara, Black British Literature (1986). [BACK]

3. For Ranajit Guha and other members of the Subaltern Studies Collective, Dean Mahomet's class origins and role in the English Company's army would have placed him in the “indigenous elite,” oppressive of the Indian “subaltern” classes. See Ranajit Guha et al., eds., Subaltern Studies, volumes 1–8 (1982–94). [BACK]

4. This figure is compiled for covenanted officials from East India Company, List (1771). Much scholarship on colonial India (and European imperialism generally) has focused on Dean Mahomet's class of intermediaries or “compradores” who served as the interface between Europeans and the subordinated peoples. E.g., C. A. Bayly, Indian Society (1988); Ronald Robinson, “Non-European Foundations of European Imperialism” (1976); Shubhra Chakrabarti, “Collaboration and Resistance” (1994). [BACK]

5. See Thomas R. Metcalf, Ideologies (1995). [BACK]

6. Edward W. Said, Orientalism (1979), pp. xiii, 283. [BACK]

7. Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes (1992). [BACK]

8. E.g., Homi Bhabha, “Signs Taken for Wonders” (1985); Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (1994); Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “James Gronniosaw and the Trope of the Talking Book” (1988); Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (1993). [BACK]

9. While there are parallels between Dean Mahomet's Travels and Equiano's and other former slaves' narratives, it is important to emphasize the fundamental differences as well. For example, Dean Mahomet never experienced slavery nor mentioned his conversion to Christianity, two vital elements in their works. See Henry Louis Gates, Jr., ed., The Classic Slave Narratives (1987). [BACK]

10. Said, Culture and Imperialism, pp. xxiv–xxv; Metcalf, Ideologies. [BACK]

11. Consider, for example, that Equiano, in addition to his antislavery activities, once purchased slaves for his employer. He explained that he selected his “own [Igbo] countrymen” to buy as slaves, in preference to other African peoples. Equiano, Interesting Narrative, Chapter 11. [BACK]

12. Pratt, Imperial Eyes, p. 6. [BACK]

13. E.g., Sudhir Kakar, ed., Identity and Adulthood (1992); and Sudhir Kakar, The Inner World (1981). [BACK]

14. For various positions on this problematic, see Karl Weintraub, “Autobiography” (1975); Stephen F. Dale, “Steppe Humanism” (1990); and Gustav E. von Grunebaum, Medieval Islam (1953). [BACK]

15. These three engravings are signed by J. Finlay, an obscure artist. He may have been a military officer, with technical training as a surveyor, who passed through Cork at this time. The frontispiece portrait of Dean Mahomet appears to be based on an oval ivory painting but the original artist's name has been garbled as H. Ghaylbamdy. Significantly, Figures 2–3 both foreground a hooka, which Dean Mahomet would feature in his London coffeehouse; see Chapter Three. [BACK]

16. Scholars who have studied Muslim and/or Asian visitors to Europe include Susan Gilson Miller, Disorienting Encounters (1992); Jonathan D. Spence, The Question of Hu (1988); Simon Digby, “An Eighteenth Century Narrative” (1989); and Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, The Arab Rediscovery of Europe (1963). [BACK]

17. Studies of early Asian immigrants to Britain include Rozina Visram, Ayahs, Lascars and Princes (1986); and Peter Fryer, Staying Power (1992). [BACK]

18. For examples from England: Meer Hasan Ali married an English gentlewoman sometime between 1810 and 1816; David Octerlony Dyce Sombre (a man of mixed Indian and European ancestry) married an English Viscount's daughter in 1840; Abu Talib Khan and Mirza Abul Hassan Khan, among other travelers, wrote about their free social intercourse with elite Englishwomen. Mrs. Meer Hassan Ali, Observations on the Mussulmauns of India (1832); Abu Taleb Khan, Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan (1810; 1814); Mirza Abul Hassan Khan, A Persian at the Court of King George, 1809–10 (1988). “Interracial” marriages within the lower classes in Britain also appear to have been relatively common. For example, of the sixty-one families that left Britain to settle the British colony of Sierra Leone in 1786, forty-four were interracial: mostly British women and men of African descent. Douglas A. Lorimer, Colour, Class and the Victorians (1978). [BACK]

19. Pratt, Imperial Eyes, p. 4. [BACK]

20. E.g., G. Willis, Willis' Current Notes (March 1851), pp. 22–23; Review of John Henry Grose, Voyage (1757) in Monthly Review (1757). [BACK]

previous sub-section
next chapter