by any other name

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The title of Santha Rama Rau’s short story “By Any Other Name” refers to the character of Santha, who is a five and half year old Indian girl, which experiences discrimination for the first time while attending an Anglo-Indian school during the time period in which the British ruled India. Her mother had always home-schooled both her and her sister, Premila. When her mother gets ill, because her father is an officer of the civil service, they can attend this Anglo-Indian school for free. Her mother never wanted to send them to a British school and this is shown when she says “you can bury a dog’s tail for seven years, but it still comes out curly, you can a take a Britisher away from his home for a lifetime, and he still remains insular.” She is expressing you can try to change someone’s cultural background, but it won’t happen. She was also saying that the British wanted their own customs and were unable to accept or appreciate Indian customs.

On Premila and Santha’s first day at the new school, they were told by headmistress their names were too hard for her to pronounce. She gives them the new names of Pamela and Cynthia. Her sister is silent and does not respond to this event, yet Santha says in a tiny voice she accepts the new name probably because she is scared to disagree. Santha believes when she is Cynthia, she does not have care about the day to day activities at school or her actions. The title “By Any Other Name” refers to Cynthia having to loose

her identity and her cultural qualities to be at this school. This is supported by the event from the first day in class when she is asked what her name is and she replies “she does not know”. Even though she is very young, she knows her and the other Indian children must sit in the back of the class, because they are different then the British children.

Cynthia tries to make friends with some of the dozen other Indian children at school. One of the four Indian children in

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