Virendranath Chattopadhyaya

Other names: 



Notting Hill London, W11 3AG
United Kingdom
51° 30' 32.1156" N, 0° 12' 7.164" W
Date of birth: 
31 Oct 1880
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
02 Sep 1937
Location of death: 
Moscow, Russia
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1902
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1902 - 9 June 1910


Virendranath Chattopadhyaya was the second of eight children born to Aghorenath Chattopadhyaya and his wife, a Bengali family, in Hyderabad. His siblings include Sarojini Naidu and Harindranath Chattopadhyaya. Virendranath was also known as 'Chatto'.

Virendranath travelled to England in 1902 to study law and compete for the Indian Civil Service (ICS). He failed the ICS exams twice and enrolled in Middle Temple. In 1903, he was living with an English woman in Notting Hill under the names Mr and Mrs Chatterton. The couple parted ways in 1909.

Virendranath was rejected from Shyamaji Krishnavarma's India House scholarships in 1905 but was intimately involved with the India House organization in Highgate. Following the murder of Sir Curzon Wyllie by Madan Lal Dhingra in July 1909, Chattopadhyaya sent a letter to The Times in support of Savarkar's right to freedom of speech in response to the assassination. He was then expelled from Middle Temple. Virendranath was a close friend of V. D. Savarkar in London and visited him frequently in Brixton Gaol in 1910. To avoid a warrant for his arrest, Virendranath went into exile in June 1910 by moving to Paris.

Published works: 

Grammar of Hindustani Language (London, 1913)

Contributions to periodicals: 

Orient Review, 1908 (editor and publisher)

Notes and Queries, 1908-1910 (contributed philological notes)

The Talwar, 1909 (editor)

Secondary works: 

Barooah, Nirode K., Chatto: The Life and Times of an Indian Anti-Imperialist in Europe (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Mukherjee, Meenakshi, 'From the Margins of History: Agnes Smedley and Virendranath Chattopadhyay', Elusive Terrain: Culture and Literary Memory (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2008)

Smedley, Agnes, Battle Hymn of China (London: Victor Gollancz, 1944)

Archive source: 

Letters to The Times, 28 December 1908, 9 July 1909, 12 July 1909

Indian Agitators Abroad, compiled by the Criminal Intelligence Office, Simla (1911), Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras