C. F. Andrews

Other names: 

Charles Freer Andrews

Charlie Andrews

Date of birth: 
12 Feb 1871
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
05 Apr 1940
Location of death: 
Calcutta, India

C. F. Andrews was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1897. In 1904, Andrews went to Delhi as a missionary to take up a post at St Stephen's College where he soon became Principal. He supported the appointment of S. K. Rudra as Principal of St Stephen's College in 1907, the first Indian Principal. In 1912, Andrews returned to England and met Rabindranath Tagore at William Rothenstein's house in London. This began a friendship that led Andrews to base himself in Santiniketan from 1914, having renounced his priesthood in the same year. Andrews was involved in the editing of various Tagore publications and acted as his representative to the publisher Macmillan. Before this, in 1914, Andrews went to South Africa and met Mohandas Gandhi. They too became close friends.

Andrews became involved with the Indian National Congress and travelled the world to investigate the conditions of Indians in places such as Fiji, Kenya and Guiana. In 1931, he accompanied Gandhi to the Second Round Table Conference in London. He wrote a number of books on India, Gandhi and Christ. Andrews returned to the Anglican Church in 1936. The royalties from his autobiography, What I Owe to Christ (1932), were donated to Tagore's ashram in Santiniketan.

Published works: 

Christ and Labour (London: Student Christian Movement, 1924)

The Opium Evil in India (London: Student Christian Movement, 1926)

Letters to a Friend: Rabindranath Tagore's Letters to C. F. Andrews (1928)

Mahatma Gandhi at Work (New York: Macmillan, 1931)

Christ in Silence (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1933)

What I Owe to Christ (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1932)


Christ and Prayer


(London: Student Christian Movement, 1937)

Sadhu Sundar Singh (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1937)

The Rise and Growth of Congress in India (1938)

The True India: A Plea for Understanding (London: Allen & Unwin, 1939)

The Good Shepherd (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1940)

The Sermon on the Mount (London: Allen & Unwin, 1942)

Mahatma Gandhi's Ideas (1949)

Contributions to periodicals: 

The Listener

Modern Review

New Statesman

Secondary works: 

Chaturvedi, B. and Sykes, M., Charles Freer Andrews (London: Allen & Unwin, 1949)

Gandhi, Leela, Affective Communities. Anticolonial Thought and the Politics of Friendship (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2006)

Gracie, David M. (ed.), Gandhi and Charlie: The Story of a Friendship (Cambridge, Mass.: Cowley, 1989)

O'Connor, Daniel, A Clear Star: C. F. Andrews and India 1904-1914 (New Delhi: Chronicle Books, 2005)

Tinker, Hugh, ‘Andrews, Charles Freer (1871-1940)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/38830]

Tinker, Hugh, The Ordeal of Love: C. F. Andrews and India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1979)

Visvanathan, Susan, 'S. K. Rudra, C. F. Andrews, and M. K. Gandhi: Friendship, Dialogue and Interiority in the Question of Indian Nationalism', Economic and Political Weekly, 24 August 2002, pp. 3532-41

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, Mss Eur D113, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Correspondence with E. J. Thompson, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Gandhi and Tagore, McGregor-Ross Collection, Rhodes House, Oxford

Tagore Archives, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan

Bishop's College, Kolkata

Correspondence, National Archives of India, New Delhi

Gandhi Smarek Sanghrahlaya Samiti, Rajghat, Delhi

Deenbandhu Memorial Papers, St Stephen's College Library, Delhi