Federation of Indian Associations in Great Britain


32 Percy Street
London, W1T 2DE
United Kingdom
Date began: 
01 Jan 1943
Precise date began unknown: 

The Federation of Indian Associations in Great Britain (FIAGB) was formed in April 1943 and had affiliated organizations in London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bradford and Sheffield. Its central office was at the same premises as Swaraj House. The FIAGB was formally inaugurated at a meeting in Bradford in April 1943, attended by delegates from Swaraj House, London, and from the Indian Workers' Association branches in Bradford, Birmingham, Coventry, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Wolverhampton.

The India Office was well aware of the significance of the two organizations combining forces in the FIAGB. Swaraj House was an organization patronized by a large proportion of well-educated Indians, predominantly Hindu, whereas the IWA was a predominately working-class organization dominated by Punjabi Sikhs and Muslims. While many of its members had links to the Communist Party, the FIAGB saw itself as acting independently. The FIAGB supported the Indian National Congress. In May 1943, K. A. Said announced that the Glasgow Majlis had decided to affiliate itself with the FIAGB. Fenner Brockway was in close contact with Alley, Sastrya and Vaidya, and offered his support to set up branches in Bristol and Southampton.

In 1943, together with other Indian organizations, the FIAGB began a famine campaign highlighting the manner in which the British Government was implicated in the Bengal famine. Members of the FIAGB in the Midlands heckled ministers and Ministry of Information speakers who were touring the country to lecture on India’s war effort in January 1944.

In February 1944, conflicts arose onbetween Sastry, Alley and Vaidya about whether to offer full support to Gandhi in his willingness to compromise with the British Government and with Jinnah. The disagreements brought the organization to the brink of collapse. With the departure of Vaidya and Mitra for India in December 1944, and Surat Alley preoccupied with his work for lascars and the Indian Seamen’s Centre, it seemed to be in terminal decline. This was further exacerbated by a rivalry with the Committee of Indian Congressmen in Great Britain and Akbar Ali Khan’s attempts to rid all IWA branches of the influence of the FIAGB. In October 1945 Suresh Vaidya, then in India, suggested that the FIAGB should be dissolved and further activities conducted under the auspices of Swaraj House. However it was decided that the organization should for the time being continue to function as before. In 1946, the FIAGB applied for affiliation with the Indian National Congress, and to celebrate Gandhi’s 77th birthday it organized a four-day conference at Kingsway Hall, London, to discuss the future of India and Gandhi’s contribution in the struggle for Indian independence.


Fenner Brockway, Charan Singh Chima, Mohammed Fazal Hussain, V. B. Kamath, Balram Kaura, Dr Kumria, S. P. Mitra, David Pinto, Ajit Singh Rai, K. A. Said, Iqbal Singh (Honorary Secretary, 1946), T. Subasinghe, D. J. Vaidya.

Secondary works: 

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

Archive source: 

L/PJ/12/658, 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