Venu Chitale

Other names: 

Leelabhai Ganesh Khare


Central Club YMCA
Great Russell Street
London, W.C.1B 3PE
United Kingdom
51° 31' 4.8504" N, 0° 7' 36.2964" W
48 New Cavendish Street
London, W1W 6XY
United Kingdom
51° 31' 8.2956" N, 0° 8' 57.3864" W
Date of birth: 
28 Dec 1912
City of birth: 
Shirole, Kolhapur
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
01 Jan 1995
Precise date of death unknown: 
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1937
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



Venu Chitale was a talks broadcaster and assistant to George Orwell at the BBC’s Indian Section of the Eastern Service. She arrived in Britain in the mid-1930s. She had come to Britain with her teacher in Poona, Winnie Duplex, to study at University College, London.

She joined the BBC in 1940 when the service expanded to broadcast different Indian languages including Marathi, her mother tongue. From 1941, Chitale assisted George Orwell in his work as a talks programme assistant for the BBC Indian section of the Eastern Service from 1941-43. She broadcast on his series of talks ‘Through Eastern Eyes’ as well as his 1942 magazine programme 'Voice'. She also broadcast as part of the series of talks ‘The Hand That Rocks The Cradle’, which focused on the role of women in the war effort. Like Indira Devi of Kapurthala, she also broadcast on the Home Service, where she served as a newsreader at the height of the war. She contributed to programmes such as ‘Indian Recipes’ and the ‘Kitchen Front’ series, which was produced by Jean Rowntree. Orwell was particularly impressed by Chitale and she was often complimented for her speaking voice. She became a full-time member of staff as the Marathi Programme Assistant in 1942.

While in London, Chitale also became involved with the India League and forged a close relationship with Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister. She returned to India in 1950 and married Prof T. G. Khare. She published several novels and died in 1995.

Published works: 

In Transit, Foreword by Mulk Raj Anand (Bombay: Hind Kitabs, 1950)

Incognito (Pune: Sriniwas Cards, 1993)

Secondary works: 

De Souza, Eunice and Pereira, Lindsay (eds), Women’s Voices: Selections from Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Indian Writing in English (Delhi: OUP India, 2002)

West, W. J. (ed.), Orwell: The War Broadcasts (London: Duckworth/BBC, 1985)

Archive source: 

BBC Written Archives Centre, Caversham Park, Reading