Committee of Indian Congressmen


Formed by Amiya Nath Bose and Pulin Behari Seal in 1942, the Committee of Indian Congressmen had two primary objectives: ‘the protection of the Indians in the United Kingdom (i.e., their protection from conscription), and…the placing before the British public of “solely the Congress case”’ (L/PJ/12/646, p. 21). Despite its claims of allegiance to the Indian National Congress, counter-allegations on the part of British government officials suggest that the organization declared this allegiance in order to conceal its true support for the pro-Axis Subhas Chandra Bose who advocated that Indian independence could only be attained if Japan were to take over India. The fact that Subhas Chandra Bose’s nephew headed the organization led to similar suspicions on the part of its original members and caused the early departure of several Communists and activists including Surat Alley, Sasadhar Sinha, Dr J. C. Ghosh and D. J. Vaidya, some of whom went on to form the rival organization Swaraj House.

In spite of this, the CIC did enjoy some success, holding several meetings in central and east London, as well as in Birmingham and Glasgow. It organized demonstrations to celebrate Indian Independence Day and, through its Tagore Society, cultural events including an Indian art exhibition whose patrons included Augustus John and William Rothenstein. In 1942, there were plans to issue a bulletin publishing speeches by Gandhi and Jinnah – again suggesting an alignment with Congress – and it had a sub-committee, the Council for the International Recognition of Indian Independence, which was run largely by Britons. An evident rival of Krishna Menon’s India League, the CIC had more in common with the working-class Indian Workers’ Association some of whose leaders were affiliated to it. Said Amir Shah helped to attract many of the working-class Indians who inhabited the East End, including several Muslims.

The CIC had become relatively inactive by autumn 1944, partly due to the self-imposed evacuation of Bose and Seal from London at the height of the bombings and the subsequent departure of Bose for India, and partly due to a lack of funds.

Date began: 
01 Aug 1942
Precise date began unknown: 
Key Individuals' Details: 

Amiya Nath Bose (founder and General Secretary), Dev Kumar Mozumdar (Assistant Secretary in 1942), Akbar Mullick (Assistant Secretary in 1942), Pulin Behari Seal (founder), Said Amir Shah, Diwan Singh.


Surat Alley, Thakur Singh Basra (IWA), Mrs Haidri Bhattacharya, Fenner Brockway (attended meetings), George Caitlin, W. G. Cove (spoke at meetings), J. C. Ghosh, Kalundar Amirullah Kahan, Akbar Ali Khan (IWA), Harry Pollitt (spoke at meetings), Sehri Saklatvala, Julius Silverman (attended meetings), Sasadhar Sinha.

Date ended: 
01 Jan 1945
Archive source: 

L/PJ/12/646, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras


Precise date ended unknown: 
Involved in events details: 

Numerous meetings in east London, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Amiya Nath Bose


Political activist Amiya Nath Bose was from a family of radicals. He was the son of Sarat Chandra Bose who was interned in India in 1941 for Forward Bloc activities, and the nephew of the better known Subhas Chandra Bose, founder and leader of the Forward Bloc movement and notorious for his allegiance to the Axis powers during the Second World War. It is perhaps no surprise then that Amiya Nath Bose was already involved in student politics in India, before his departure for Britain.

Bose went to England to attend university in 1937. He studied economics at the University of Cambridge, gaining a Second Class, and was called to the Bar in 1941, living between London and Oxford. According to Indian Political Intelligence documentation, he was strongly influenced by his uncle who recommended reading for him, attempted to secure for him correspondentships on Indian newspapers, and put him in touch with Pulin Behari Seal with whom he began a close working relationship. Soon after his arrival in Britain, he made trips to Germany and Austria, which the government considered to be suspicious behaviour. Further, rumours circulated about his dislike of the English, and fellow students of the Oxford Majlis claimed he was opposed to the politics of both Nehru and Gandhi, perhaps considering them to be insufficiently radical in their approach to British imperialism. On the arrest of his father in India for associating with the Japanese, Bose became increasingly embittered and his views increasingly in line with those of his uncle. In the early 1940s, surveillance reports claim that Amiya Nath Bose was circulating his uncle’s ‘Manifesto’ and listening to his speeches on a radio purchased specifically for this purpose, and that he had a large photo of him in his room.

Amiya Nath Bose, with his close associate Seal, was key to the formation of the Committee of Indian Congressmen in 1942, assuming the position of General Secretary. Also closely involved with the organization were the Birmingham-based doctor Diwan Singh and Said Amir Shah. Bose's and Seal's alleged pro-Axis leanings, however, caused tensions within this organization, eventually causing the departure from it of numerous Indians, as well as strong opposition from without. In 1944 Bose moved to Birmingham, with Seal and his family, to escape the bombings. As a consequence the CIC became active in the Midlands and the north, recruiting from among the Indian workers based there. In August 1944, Bose, together with Drs Dutt and Vakil, organized the Indian Political Conference in Birmingham. Bose also established the Council for the International Recognition of Indian Independence in the USA as a sub-group of the CIC in order to spread his political message internationally.

Bose left for India on 2 November 1944, citing family reasons and the desire to obtain recognition for the CIC from the Indian National Congress, and delegating his responsibilities in Britain to Pulin Behari Seal and Said Amir Shah. Once in India, he was appointed special correspondent for Cavalcade.


L/PJ/12/186, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras, p. 119

Date of birth: 
20 Nov 1915

This Indian Political Intelligence file contains numerous reports on the political activities of Pulin Behari Seal and his associates, including Amiya Nath Bose, between the early 1920s and the late 1940s. The extract below is from a secret memo on Amiya Nath Bose, dated 2 November 1942.


Surat Alley, Thakur Singh Basra, Mrs Haidri Bhattacharya, Subhas Chandra Bose, Fenner Brockway (through IFC), Professor George Caitlin, B. B. Ray Choudhuri, W. G. Cove, J. C. Ghosh, Sunder P. Kabadia, Akbar Ali Khan, V. K. Krishna Menon, Dev Kumar Mozumdar, Sisir Mukherji, Akbar Mullick, A. C. Nambiar, Pulin Behari Seal, D. M. Sen, Said Amir Shah, Diwan Singh, John Kartar Singh, Rawel Singh, Sasadhar Sinha, D. J. Vaidya, C. B. Vakil.

Council for the International Recognition of Indian Independence in the USA, Hindustani Majlis, Indian Freedom Campaign, Indian National Muslim Committee, Labour Party, Tagore Society.


A report received via the Cambridge Police in June 1940 stated that [Bose] had the local reputation of holding pro-Nazi views. The Porter at Queen’s College said that he had remarked on one occasion that he wished to see the destruction of the British Empire. His landlady described him as intellectual and much interested in politics. She said that he listened regularly to the German news and expressed pleasure at Nazi victories. When asked what he expected would become of him in the event of a German invasion, he remarked, semi-seriously that he would become the Cambridge 'Gauleiter'. When asked if he thought he would be better off under Hitler, he avoided giving a reply. He had the life of Hitler among his books. He was said to have forecast the fall of France. His tutor regarded him as intellectual, but as having a weak character…He considered him honest, however, and did not think he would indulge in subversive activities except under the influence of a stronger character. Another report was to the effect that while he was in College, two large crates of books emanating from either Germany or Czecho-Slovakia had been delivered to him.

Secondary works: 

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002)


This extract is illustrative of the extent of the networks of spies that tracked suspect Indians in Britain, penetrating universities as well as private residencies, and monitoring post. It is also suggestive of the significance of books as a political tool used to disseminate ideas - also evident in the frequent censoring of reading matter. Finally, Bose’s alleged leanings towards Nazi Germany and the Axis powers as a consequence of his antagonism towards the British reveals the importance of contextualizng Indian imperialism and the struggle against it within global politics, in particular the rise of fascism and the two world wars. Thus, it gives a sense of the bigger picture, encompassing but extending beyond the relationship between Britain and India.

Archive source: 

L/PJ/12/186, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

L/PJ/12/646, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 

Committee of Indian Congressmen meetings (spoke at numerous, including in Birmingham on 1 November 1942)

Indian Independence Day Demo, Caxton Hall, 26 January 1944

Indian Political Conference, Birmingham, 27 August 1944

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name city of birth: 


Arden Court 134 Lexham Gardens
London, W8 6JJ
United Kingdom
51° 32' 12.3936" N, 0° 7' 39.4896" E
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Apr 1937
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

April 1937 - November 1944

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