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Title: Krishnamurti's case : child guardianship and sexuality in colonial India
Authors: Tan, Fidellithy
Keywords: Humanities::History
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Tan, F. (2021). Krishnamurti's case : child guardianship and sexuality in colonial India. Final Year Project (FYP), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: This thesis examines the 1912 Besant v. Narayaniah case as a microhistory of colonial anxieties over perceived sexual deviance, race relations and class in India. Prior to becoming active in politics in 1913, the prominent Theosophist Annie Besant was involved in a lawsuit brought against her by Jiddu Narayaniah. Narayaniah’s two sons had been in the custody of Besant since 1909, due to the theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater identifying the older son, the future Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, as the next World Teacher at a young age. While the court initially ruled in favour of Narayaniah, Besant would succeed in the subsequent appeal and regain custody of the boys. The case was sensationally covered in the press, due to Leadbeater’s supposed homosexuality, as well as widespread local support for Narayaniah. Through a close reading of newspaper articles and legal records, this thesis argues that the discourse surrounding the case reveals how colonial judicial intervention in child custody was propelled by concerns over sexuality and race. By examining conceptions of childhood, anxieties over homosexuality and colonial networks, this microhistory provides insight into how these multiple strands converged in early twentieth century colonial India.
Schools: School of Humanities 
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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