A Benefit of the Raj: The Maid As A Mistress

The Raj is a period in Indian history that will never be obliterated. The Raj is euphemism for British rule and a period that remains an indelible part of Indian history. Unlike the Muslim rule which brought tyranny and suppression of Hindus, the Raj was entirely different. It brought development. The fact is if you read Nirad C Choudry’s book “The continent of Circe” he brings out succinctly that India did not change during Muslims rule and the country remained backward. In addition Muslim rulers imposed the Jizzia tax on Hindus and killed Hindus as a pastime. One of the Mughal emperors, I think it was Jahangir killed a Hindu just to savor the taste of killing a Hindu.

The British rule in contrast was godsend and India for the first time in 4000 years became one nation as never before. The Hindus were liberated and In addition, the Indians had fringe benefits like the railway, postal services, roads, and industry (Jamshedji set up the first steel plant and Walchand the Aircraft factory). You can’t wish it away.

The British left in 1947. They left a rich legacy and whatever one might say their rule was beneficial. Many other gifts trickled down which are not so tangible, but never the less extremely important socially. Some gifts make one wonders are in reality gifts or not, but they are very much part of British rule


At no time as brought out by D Lapaire in his book “Freedom at Midnight” did the British have more than 100,000 Englishmen to govern nearly 350 million Indians. This is on the face of it preposterous but obviously means the vast majority of Indians accepted the Raj and we’re loyal to the crown. These English men were a dedicated lot and worked in distant places, forests, deserts and faraway places as they administered the country. At many places, these English men lived lonely lives and we all know that a lonely man, healthy and virile can succumb to sexual desires, especially if there is a young and nice looking maid working in the house. The English had a retinue of maids working for them and the English as a rule hired only the prettiest of them. This led to what has been termed the Gora Sahib-maid sexual relationship.

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The maid -sahib relation is thus a hangover of the Raj. Not much has been written about it but many memoirs are available of lonely Britishers who spent hours in the arms of their maids. This is brought out by Lt Col Moolgavakar in his novels. His novels bring out the close sex relations between the masters and the female workers. Many other Indian writers including Kushwant Singh have alluded to it.


This maid -sahib liaison led to the coming of the Anglo Indians. Mamy if the Anglo’s were product of the Sahib – maid union. Contraceptives were near used resulting in umpteen maids being impregnated by the Sahib. Now the sahibs looked after the maids well but the Anglo Indian was treated better than the Indian locals yet were not treated as equivalent to the English. This is brought out in the books by John Masters and in particular his novel “Bhowani Junction” mirrors Anglo India society. Hollywood made an excellent movie on this novel with Barbara Rush and Stewart Granger. Anybody getting a chance can see the film which also stars some Indian actors.

The Sahib also called the “goraji” found love in the arms of his maid. She became the mistress and this was common knowledge as the maid many times accompanied the sahib even on his tours and after a hard day, the sahib gathered the maid in his arms for solace and love.

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Maidmaster sexual relationship

The maid -master sexual relation has its genesis in Victorian England where there are umpteen tales of Victorian maid’s sleeping with the master. The same thing translated to India, but here it was a necessity, as well as lonely English men in far-off plantations and distant jungles, had nothing to do and it was inevitable that they picked up sexual liaisons with maids. It was a need and I wonder if anything could have stopped it

Last word

What did the maids think of such sexual liaisons? this is brought out in the movie ” Before the rains “starring Nandita Das and Rahul Bose. Nandita Das plays the role of the maid who loves an English Sahib in South India. The fact is the maids loved it and it was a competition that who would sleep with the master. To be undressed by the master was a status symbol. This is what one can glean from the literature of that period. Never the less the maid sahib relation is part of English folklore and along with other British gifts this also has to be accepted and what of Indians? I think it’s a lot more common in India after the English left than people know or dare to acknowledge. In the cantonments, I have come across tens of such relationships with a subtle difference. The brown sahibs try and not make the maid pregnant.


by Madan G Singh