Saint Nihal Singh


Born in 1884, St Nihal Singh was a journalist. He lived and travelled through the USA, Canada and Japan as well as living in Britain with his wife, Cathleyne. He was educated at Punjab University. Saint Nihal Singh was a prolific writer for American, British and Indian publications.

Published works: 

India's Fighting Troops (London: George Newnes, 1914) 

India's Fighters: Their Mettle, History and Services to Britain (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1914)

Progressive British India, 'Manuals for Christian Thinkers' series (London: Charles H. Kelly, 1914)  

Japan's Modernization, 'Manuals for Christian Thinkers' series (London: Charles H. Kelly, 1914)

The King's Indian Allies: The Rajas and their India, with illustrations (London: Sampson Low & Co., 1916)

India and the War (London: Britain & India Association, 1918)

Ruling India by Bullets and Bombs: Effect of the doctrine of force upon the future of Indo-British relations (London: Saint Nihal Singh, 1920)

(with Cathleyne St Nihal Singh) "Dry" America: An Object-Lesson to India (Ganesh, 1921)

Ceylon: New and Old (Colombo: Ceylon Government Railway, 1928)

Shree Bhagvat Sinhjee: the maker of modern Gondal (Gondal: Golden Jubilee Committee, 1934)

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1884

Surendranath Banerjea, Kedar Nath Das Gupta, James Ramsay Macdonald, Motilal Nehru, Cathleyne Nihal Singh (wife), George Russell (AE), N. C. Sen, Rabindranath Tagore, Rathindranath Tagore, William Butler Yeats.

Contributions to periodicals: 

The Asiatic Review

The Bookman (Oct. 1918) (Review of Tagore)

The Contemporary Review

The Edinburgh Review (1912)

The Englishwoman (May 1910)

The Fornightly (1910, 1912)

The Indian Magazine and Review (Journal of National Indian Association)

The Lady

The London Quarterly Review

The Nineteenth Century and After (1911, 1913)

Pearson's Magazine

The Observer (special correspondent during Prince of Wales' visit to India 1921-2)

The Strand Magazine

Vanity Fair

The Windsor (1915)

On Tagore: 'The Myriad-minded poet', Calcutta Municipal Gazette: Tagore Memorial Special Supplement (13 Sept. 1941)

International Journals:

The African Methodist Episcopal Church Review

The American Review of Reviews

The Literary Digest (New York)

The New York Times

The Hindustan Review

The Hindustan Times

The Hindu

The Modern Review

Precise DOB unknown: 

New York Times, 17 January 1915 & 23 July 1916

Scottish Geographical Journal, 1916

Britain and India, February 1920


Archive source: 

Letter from Clifford Sharp to St Nihal Singh, 1 Sept. 1915, New Statesman - First World War Correspondence, Brotherton Collection, Leeds University Library

Letters to Rufus Daniel Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading (1860-1935), Viceroy of India 1921-26, from St Nihal Singh (1921) - Mss Eur F118/8/35-37, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Other names: 

St Nihal Singh


46 Overhill Road
East Dulwich, London, SE22 0PN
United Kingdom
51° 26' 53.7828" N, 0° 3' 54.6444" W

46 Overhill Road, East Dulwich, London (living here at least 1914-16)

Fredoon Kabraji


Fredoon Kabraji was the son of Jehangir Kabraji, an Indian civil servant, and Putlibai. It is unclear exactly when he first came to Britain, but a brief autobiographical note in his edited collection of Indian poetry in English, This Strange Adventure, tells us that he studied journalism at the University of London, which suggests he probably arrived in the mid-1920s. Further, a website which includes information about the genealogy of the Kabraji family states that he married Eleanor M. Wilkinson in Britain in 1926. In his autobiographical note, Kabraji represents himself as a drifter, trying his hand at art, journalism and poetry, after losing interest in the farming career that his parents had chosen for him, and failing to complete a degree. He also writes that 'he grew up to adore England and everything English'.

As well as being a poet in his own right (he had two volumes of poems published by Fortune Press), Kabraji was a book reviewer, contributing to the magazines Life and Letters and the New Statesman, among others, as well as the editor of the above volume of poetry, published by the New India Publishing Co. in 1947.

Published works: 

A Minor Georgian's Swan Song (London: Fortune Press, 1944)

(ed.) This Strange Adventure: An Anthology of Poems in English by Indians, 1828-1946 (London: New India Publishing Co., 1947)

The Cold Flame: Poems (1922-1924, 1935-1938, 1946-1953) (London: Fortune Press, 1956)


'Introduction', in Fredoon Kabraji (ed.) This Strange Adventure: An Anthology of Poems in English by Indians, 1826-1946 (London: New India Publishing Co., 1947), pp. 6-7

Date of birth: 
10 Feb 1897

Here Kabraji discusses the issues raised by Indian poets writing in English, situating this poetry in relation to trends in English poetry, as well as the specifics of the work of some of the poets selected.


Mulk Raj Anand, Walter de la Mare, Nagendranath Gangulee, L. P. Hartley, Henry Reed, Iqbal Singh, Rabindranath Tagore, M. J. Tambimuttu.

Fortune Press

Contributions to periodicals: 

New Statesman and Nation (review of five British poets, 1939)

Life and Letters Today (reviews of Dilip Kumar Roy's Among the Great and Atul Chatterjee's The New India, 12.59, 1948, )



H. N. Brailsford, New Statesman, 1948 (This Strange Adventure)


On the subject of Indian genius the position with regard to poetry in English is that it is the misfortune of English that absolutely the best Indian works remain untranslatable or poorly translated. The case of Tagore is signal. With his versatility this creative wizard succeeded in writing his name across two hemispheres in two languages. But he knew himself that in the end English and England could after all absorb him in limited doses only: Bengal could go on absorbing him and being nourished on him to delighted health. With less than genius and somewhat more than mediocrity, we came into the scope of this anthology. With Toru Dutt, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Manmohan and Aurobindo Ghose, Mrs. Naidu and the contemporaries, we reach its peak. These writers have used the English language as to the manner and the matter born. And out of this small company Manmohan Ghose, Mary Erulkar, Bharati Sarabhai, and Tambimuttu distinguish themselves by more than their faultless command of the foreign tongue - by their pliant control of it as a sentient, responsive and delicate creative instrument.

Secondary works: 

King, Bruce, The Oxford English Literary History, vol. 13, 1948-2000, The Internationalization of English Literature, Ch. 1 'The End of Imperial England, 1948-1969' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)


In this extract Kabraji deftly subverts the conventional hierarchies of English and Indian poetry and language, by claiming that it is the English that miss out because of their failure to read Indian languages. Further, his description of the linguistic skills of some of the contributing poets positions English as an additional language of theirs.

Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
01 Jan 1986
Precise date of death unknown: 
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

From the mid 1920s until at least the 1950s

Sakuntala Performance, November 1919

14 Nov 1919
End date: 
21 Nov 1919
Event location: 

Winter Garden Theatre, London


Kalidasa's Sakuntala was performed at two matinees at the Winter Garden Theatre in London in November 1919. The performance was organized by Kedar Nath Das Gupta and the Union of the East and West - a Society designed to put on Indian performances in London and promote Anglo-Indian understanding. Das Gupta approached Laurence Binyon to rework his rough translation of the play and the play was produced by Lewis Casson, who put his wife, Sybil Thorndike in the leading role (the cast was British). Binyon requested the help of William Rothenstein to design the curtains for the set, suggesting inspiration from Rajput paintings, but Rothenstein was unable to do so as he was away on Official War Artist duty in Belgium.

The Aga Khan and Maharaja of Baroda were among the attendees in a mixed audience of British and Indian well-wishers. The play was reviewed in a number of periodicals.

People involved: 

Laurence Binyon (adapted for stage), Lewis Casson (producer), Kedar Nath Das Gupta (organizer), William Rothenstein (initially requested to design scenery), Sybil Thorndike (actress), Bruce Winston (scenery designer)

Committee for Production: Dr T. W. Arnold, Bhupendra Nath Basu, Mrs G. F. Boyd, H. Dennis Bradley, Lord Carmichael, Jamnadas Dwarkadas, Alfred Ezra, Muriel Viscountess Helmsley, M. H. Ispahani, Mrs Geoffrey Lubbock, Mrs MacLellan, W. T. MacLellan, Mrs Woodhull Martin, Miss Clarissa Miles, Miss Margaret Mitchell, Sir S. D. Pattani, Charles Roberts, Mr & Mrs N. C. Sen, W. A. de Silva, Lord Sinha

Published works: 

Binyon, Laurence and Das Gupta, Kedar Nath, Sakuntala (London: Macmillan & Co., 1920)


The Times, 15 Nov 1919

The Era, 19 Nov 1919

The Stage, 20 Nov 1919


Archive source: 

Programme and fliers for the performance: '14 Nov 1919, Sakuntala', V&A Theatre Museum, Earls Court.

Letters from Laurence Binyon to William Rothenstein, Mss Eur B213, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras.



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