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Daya and Sharda-Love, Class, Race, and Gender in One Interracial Union

Authors
  • Ali, Fareen Tasfia
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2023
Source
eScholarship - University of California
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

In the 1910s, an Indian prince and a white American socialite made history by falling in love, and eventually eloping and marrying each other. The romantic relationship of Inayat Khan, an elite and famous musician from Baroda in India, and Ora Ray Baker, an upper-class woman born in New Mexico in America, is a unique case in the context of early-20th-century race relations. They not only challenged racial barriers through their courtship and marriage, but also spearheaded the religious Sufi Movement in the West. This thesis explores how race, class, gender roles, and spirituality played important parts in constructing Inayat and Ora’s story. Race affected them by determining how Inayat was received in the United States and presenting an obstacle, as they faced disapproval and danger in pursuing their interracial relationship. Class influenced the demographics of the Sufi movement, as well as allowing Inayat and Ora to cross paths in the first place, due to their both having elite social status. Examining their relationship in the context of the gender roles of the era, Inayat and Ora appear progressive in some ways, breaking certain conventions, while adhering to other traditions, including Ora’s responsibility for doing the domestic labor for their family and Inayat’s relatives. The couple’s spiritual beliefs formed the heart of their movement that made a mark in Europe and the United States. Overall, examining Ora’s and Inayat’s interracial and international romance, which lasted until his death in 1927, reveals truths about the environment of the time and place.

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