government report

Lytton Report into Indian Students

14 Sep 1922

In 1921, the Secretary of State for India appointed a committee to look into the adequacy of arrangements and relations with Indian students in Britain. The committee was chaired by Lord Lytton, the son of the former Viceroy of India. Despite intentions to visit India as well (the trip was cancelled because the Indian Legislative Assembly voted against releasing funds for their travel), the committee visited and interviewed a number of representatives from British universities, including Indian students themselves.

The Report estimated that there were 1450 Indian students in the UK in October 1921, with approximately 550 arriving each year. The three main reasons for Indians to study in Britain were (1) for a better chance of employment in India, particularly in the government services; (2) because educational facilities were more extensive in Britain; and (3) for lawyers to be called to the Bar.

The Report concluded that the development of education in India was crucial, and suggested creating an Indian Bar. They also agreed that more information needed to be provided in India to potential students before they travelled to Britain, as many students arrived in Britain without a place at any university. The committee explained that difficulties between British and Indian students were not a result of 'racism' but political barriers and wanted to encourage Indian students to get more involved in university life, particularly through sports. The committee also advised that an official organization needed to be created for students of technical and industrial subjects to insure adequate practical training and experience was provided for them when they were in Britain.

People involved: 

Committee:- Lord Lytton (chair, son of former Viceroy of India), S. Aftab, L. M. Brooks, S. K. Datta, A. P. M. Fleming, M. Hammick, C. E. W. Jones, M. Ramachandra Rao, Deva Prasad Sarvadhikary.

People interviewed include:- Indian students at Birmingham University, representatives of Cambridge Majlis (including Subhas Chandra Bose), representatives of the Crocodile Club (an athletic club for Indians/Asians at Cambridge), Indian students at Edinburgh University, Indian students at Glasgow University, representatives of the Indian Students' Union and Hostel, Indian students at Leeds University, Indian students at Liverpool University, Hardit Singh Malik (Balliol, Oxford), Manchester Indian Association, representatives of Oxford Majlis (including M. C. Chagla), Indian students at Sheffield University, and other Indian students in London.

Published works: 

Report of the Committee on Indian Students 1921-22 (London: India Office, 1922)

Secondary works: 

Lahiri, Shompa, Indians in Britain: Anglo-Indian Encounters, Race and Identity, 1880-1930 (London: Frank Cass, 2000)

Mukherjee, Sumita, Nationalism, Education and Migrant Identities: The England-Returned (London: Routledge, 2010)

Symonds, Richard, Oxford and Empire: The Last Lost Cause? (London: Macmillan, 1986)

Archive source: 

Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

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