“By Any Other Name” by Santha Rama Rau Getting to know Santha Rama Rau . . . Santha Rama Rau was an Indian-born, Western-educated journalist. She was born in Madras, India, on January 24, 1923. Her father was a high-ranking civil servant in India’s finance department who later became an ambassador to Japan and to the United States. Her mother was a crusader for women’s reproductive rights and involved in the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Her story “By Any Other Name” is based on real-life events in India. When Santha was a girl, her father was stationed in India. She made several trips to Indian, however, at the age of 5 and again at age eleven. It was a trip back to India at age 16 with her mother and sister that inspired many of Santha’s early writing endeavors. One event in particular influenced Rau. At age 5, Santha and her sister She, 5 and a half, and her 8-year-old sister Premila briefly attended an Anglo-Indian School where the teacher anglicized their names. Because of this event in her life, Rau wrote “By Any Other Name”. The condescending environment of the teaching staff at this school made a profound influence on Rau. Santha Rama Rau went on to write a number of literary works . . . She is best known for her adaptation of “A Passage to India” which was a play talking about the impact of colonialism on both the British and the Indians. What was the British influence on India? The British had control over most of India from 1858 until August 1947. There were positive things that happened during this period. Good things that happened during British colonization of India: 14 universities established 13 colleges started 23 schools dedicated to the education of girls. Child labor laws (no child under 7 could be employed; no child under 12 could work more than 9 hours). #1 What does the headmistress think of Indian culture and of her own Indian culture? #2 Which details help you contrast the status of English children with that of Indian children at this school? #3 At only five, Santha speaks, reads, and writes English, although it is not her first language. What character trait does this fact suggest? #4 What has the author directly said Premila’s character so far? Please write two examples from the text. What has she indirectly shown about Premila’s character? Please write two examples from the text. #5 How do Santha’s and Premila’s responses to their mother’s questions differ? How does this contrast show the effect on Santha of having her name changed? #6 Changing the Indian children’s names is an attempt to change their culture as well – to Anglicize them. How effective is this attempt with Santha and Premila?