John Maynard Keynes


John Maynard Keynes was a Cambridge-based economist after whom a branch of macroeconomic theory is named. He was educated at Eton and then King's College, Cambridge, where he became a member of the Apostles and became friends with the Bloomsbury circle including Lytton Strachey and Leonard Woolf who had recruited him. Keynes competed for the Indian Civil Service and worked for the India Office in London from 1906 to 1908. He then took up a post lecturing in economics at Cambridge. His first book, published in 1913, was called Indian Currency and Finance. As a Cambridge tutor, Keynes often met and taught Indian students.

During the First World War, Keynes was recruited to the Treasury, through the influence of Edwin Montagu. He assisted with the British war-time economy in this war and the Second World War. During the inter-war period, Keynes wrote prolifically on economic matters. His most influential work was The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which came out in 1936. Keynes argued that the economy could be stimulated by increased government expenditure in times of falling demand and rising unemployment. He died in 1946.

Published works: 

Indian Currency and Finance (London: Macmillan, 1913)

A Treatise on Probability (1921)

Revision of the Treaty (1922)

A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923)

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill (1925)

Laissez Faire and Communism (1926)

A Treatise on Money, 2 vols. (1930)

The Means to Prosperity (1933)

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936)

How to Pay for the War: A Radical Plan for the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1940)


Letter to editor of Cambridge Review, 17 May 1909, in JMK/IC/1, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Date of birth: 
05 Jun 1883

A letter in response to an editorial on 'The Indian Student at Cambridge', 13 May 1909, which felt that with the rise of Indians at Cambridge that there were many Indian students who were not prepared for the degree and that they should not be allowed to hold or talk about revolutionary views when in Britain. Keynes contends that there should not be any restrictions on Indian students, but agrees with the plan to distribute Indians evenly among the colleges.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Economic Journal, Nation & Atheneum, Manchester Guardian Commercial, Reconstruction in Europe, The Listener, New Republic, New Statesman and Nation.


Since we fill up the Indian Civil Service and the Indian Medical Service through examinations held in England on the lines of English education, since qualifications for the higher posts in the scientific departments can only be obtained at a European University, and while a call to the English bar is thought to be an advantage in India, it is our duty to give full opportunity to all Indians whose ambitions lie most properly in these directions.

Secondary works: 

Cairncross, Alec, ‘Keynes, John Maynard, Baron Keynes (1883–1946)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008) []

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, King's College archive centre, Cambridge

Correspondence, Trinity College Archive, Cambridge

Official correspondence and papers, National Archives, Kew

Correspondence and miscellaneous papers, British Library of Political and Economic Science, London

Correspondence with Vanessa Bell and Kingsley Martin, University of Sussex, Brighton

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

J. M. Keynes

Baron Keynes

Date of death: 
21 Apr 1946
Tags for Making Britain: 

R. C. Dutt


Romesh Chunder Dutt was the son of Ishanchandra and Thakamani Dutt. They were part of one of the Calcutta families who had prospered through their commercial associations with the British East India Company. In 1868, he left for Britain in secret in the company of two friends, Bihari Lal Gupta and Surendranath Banerjea. In London, Dutt secured admission to University College and sat for the Indian Civil Service examination in 1871. Dutt was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in the same year. He joined the Indian Civil Service as assistant magistrate and collector. In 1883 he was the first Indian to be appointed district magistrate and, after serving in many districts of Bengal, was appointed divisional commissioner, first in Burdwan and later in Orissa (1894–5).

When the premier literary association of Bengal, Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, was set up in 1894, Dutt was elected its first President. In 1899 Dutt was invited to preside over the fifteenth session of the Indian National Congress held at Lucknow, and in 1905 he presided over the industrial exhibition held in Benares in connection with the twenty-first session of the Congress. Dutt shared his time between London and India. In 1897, he was appointed Professor of Indian History at University College, London. From 1898, Dutt regularly wrote letters to the Editor of The Manchester Guardian on Indian matters, particularly famine and tariffs. A collection of these letters was published in 1900. Dutt also wrote a number of works on history, economics and translations of Indian Classics for the 'Temple Classics' series.

With Major B. D. Basu and Dadabhai Naoroji, Dutt formulated what is now recognized as the classic diagnosis of the Indian economic problem under colonial rule. It emphasized the ‘drainage of wealth’ from India through home charges payable to Britain and unrequited exports, the absence of protection for India's infant industries, and the negative implications of even constructive efforts like the railways, which deprived many providers of traditional transport services and facilitated the import of British manufactured goods.

Published works: 

Three Years in Europe, Being Extracts from Letters Sent from Europe. By a Hindu. Second Edition (Calcutta [printed], London, 1873)

Bangabijeta (1874)

Madhabikankan (1877)

Jibanprabhat (1878)

Jibansandhya (1879)

England and India (London: Chatto & Windus, 1897)

Maha-Bharata: The Epic of Ancient India, Condensed into English Verse by Romesh Dutt, C.I.E. With an Introduction by the Right Hon. F. Max Muller. Twelve Photogravures from Original Illustrations Designed from Indian Sources by E. S. Hardy (London: J. M. Dent & Co., 1899)

The Civilization of India (London: Dent, 1900)

Famines and Land Assesments in India (London: Kegan Paul, 1900)

A School History of Modern and Ancient India (London: Macmillan, 1900)

Ramayana ... Condensed into English Verse by Romesh Dutt ... Illustrations Designed from Indian Sources by E. Stuart Hardy (London: J. M. Dent & Co., 1900)

Land Problems in India. Papers by Mr. Romesh Chunder Dutt, C.I.E., Dewan Bahadur R. Ragoonath Rao ... Also the Resolution of the Government of India and Summaries of the Views of Various Local Governments and Other Important Official Papers (Madras: G. A. Natesan & Co., 1903)

Civilisation in the Buddhist Age, B.C. 320 to A.D. 500 (Calcutta: Elm Press, 1908)

The Slave Girl of Agra: An Indian Historical Romance (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1909)

A History of Civilization in Ancient India, Based on Sanscrit Literature (Calcutta: Thacker, Vol. 1889-90), p.3

The Economic History of British India : A Record of Agriculture and Land Settlements, Trade and Manufacturing Industries, Finance and Administration, from the Rise of the British Power in 1757 to the Accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 (London: K. Paul, Trench, 1902)

The Literature of Bengal (Calcutta: Bose, 1877)

Lays of Ancient India: Selections from Indian Poetry Rendered into English Verse, Trubner's Oriental Series (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1894)

Rambles in India: During Twenty-Four Years, 1871 to 1895 (Calcutta: Lahiri, 1895)

Reminiscences of a Workman's Life (Calcutta: Elm Press, 1896)

India in the Victorian Age ([S.l.]: Kegan Paul, 1904)

Open Letters to Lord Curzon & Speeches and Papers (Delhi: Gian, 1986) [1904]

A Brief History of Ancient and Modern Bengal ... Sixth Edition, Revised (Calcutta: Elm Press, 1904)

Indian Poetry, Temple Classics ([S.l.]: [s.n.], 1905)

Economic History of India under Early English Rule ([S.l.]: K. Paul, 1906)

Peasantry of Bengal (Calcutta: Manisha Granthalaya, 1980) [1874]

Date of birth: 
13 Aug 1848

Surendranath Banerjea, Toru DuttAravinda Ackroyd Ghose, Dr Theodore Goldstrucker (Professor of Sanskrit at UCL), Bihari Lal Gupta, Henry Morley (English Literature Professor at UCL), Max Müller, Dadabhai Naoroji, Rabindranath Tagore (vice-president of Bangiya Sahitya Parishad while Dutt was president).

Contributions to periodicals: 

Asiatic Quarterly Review

Bengal Magazine

Mukherjee's Magazine

Letters to the Editor published in The Manchester Guardian

Secondary works: 

Bagchi, M., Rameshchandra (1962) [in Bengali]

Bandyopadhya, B., Rameshchandra Datta (1947) [in Bengali]

Banerjea, Surendranath, A Nation in Making, Being the Reminiscences of Fifty Years of Public Life ([S.l.]: Oxford University Press, 1925)

Gupta, J. N. B., and Maharaja of Baroda Sayaji Rao Gaekwar III, Life and Work of Romesh Chunder Dutt, C.I.E. ... With an Introduction by His Highness the Maharaja of Baroda. Four Photogravure Plates and Ten Other Illustrations (London: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1911)

Mukherjee, Meenakshi, An Indian for all Seasons: The Many Lives of R. C. Dutt (Delhi: Penguin, 2009)

Raychaudhuri, Tapan, 'Dutt, Romesh Chunder [Rameshchandra Datta] (1848–1909)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Rule, Pauline, The Pursuit of Progress: A Study of the Intellectual Development of Romesh Chunder Dutt, 1848-1888 (Calcutta: Editions Indian, 1977)

Archive source: 

Correspondence, National Archives of India, New Delhi

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Romesh Chunder Dutt

Rameshchandra Dutt



University College, London
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
51° 31' 29.856" N, 0° 8' 3.84" W
Date of death: 
30 Nov 1909
Location of death: 
Baroda, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1868
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1868-71, 1897-, 1906, 1908-9

Tags for Making Britain: 

Harold Laski


Harold Joseph Laski was a political theorist and university professor at the London School of Economics. He is remembered as an important political thinker, intellectual and activist, in particular during the 1930s. Through meeting Winifred (Frida) Kerry, Laski became fascinated with eugenics and he published his first article on the topic, ‘The scope of eugenics’, in the Westminster Review (July 1910). Laski began reading history at New College Oxford, before transferring to study eugenics in London under Karl Pearson. On 1 August 1911, he and Frida eloped to Scotland to get married. Laski soon returned to Oxford and took up the study of history again after losing interest in eugenics.

Through Frida, he became a supporter of the Suffragette movement and also developed close links with the labour movement. He graduated from Oxford in 1914 and took up temporary employment at the Daily Herald, for which he wrote editorials. His attempt to join the army during the First World War was rejected on medical grounds. He accepted a junior lectureship at McGill University where he remained until 1916, before moving to Harvard, where in 1917 he became editor of the Harvard Law Review. While in the USA, Laski developed his pluralist theory to refute the notion of the moral superiority of the state. He argued that the state needed to win its citizens' support by acting in a reasonable way. Laski was a keen supporter of decentralization and encouraging political participation at grass-roots level through work-based organizations. His works on pluralist theory established his reputation as a political theorist. He left the US in 1920 and took up a lectureship at the London School of Economics. Back in England he became closely associated and involved with the Labour Party and the Fabian Society, whose executive committee he joined in 1921. In 1926 Laski was promoted to the Graham Wallas Chair of Political Science at the London School of Economics.

In 1926 he met Krishna Menon who studied with him at LSE. Through his friendship with Menon Laski became closely involved with the India League. Laski was a staunch supporter of India’s move towards independence and argued for India’s right to self-determination. After his return from the US, he and Bertrand Russell spoke at election rallies for Shapurji Saklatvala. Laski’s commitment to India is derived from the case O’Dwyer v. Nair, a libel case O’Dwyer brought against Sankaran Nair, where he sat on the jury.

Laski’s influence on Menon was huge. Indeed heprobably learnt his socialism from his professor. Their relationship went beyond the teacher-student connection, as Laski and his wife took an interest in the welfare of Menon who was prone to depression. Laski met Gandhi and Nehru through Menon and the India League. In turn, Menon could always count on Laski’s support, and he would often give speeches in front of students, or speak at rallies or lobbied the Labour Party. In spring 1930, Laski was asked by Sankey to help with the planning for the Round Table Conference which would deal with the principles of a federal constitution. During the 1931 second Round Table Conference, Laski was closely involved in negotiations, especially on constitutional questions relating to political control of a possible federal Indian army; he also worked on a criminal code and its implementation. Sankey also asked Laski to negotiate with Gandhi and the Agha Khan on the future constitutional status of religion. Yet these efforts failed. Gandhi admired Laski’s commitment to Indian freedom and he often recommended students to study with him. Together with Victor Gollancz and John Strachey he launched the Left Book Club, with which many South Asian writers and activists, such as Mulk Raj Anand, Indira Nehru (Gandhi), and Jawaharlal Nehru also became involved. Laski was elected to the constituency section of the Labour Party national executive committee in 1937, on which he served for 12 consecutive years. He died in 1950.

Published works: 

Authority in the Modern State (London: Oxford University Press, 1919)

Political Thought in England: Locke to Bentham (London: Oxford University Press, 1920)

The Foundations of Sovereignty, and Other Essays (London: Allen and Unwin, 1922)

A Grammar of Politics (London: Allen and Unwin,1925)

Communism (Williams and Norgate, 1927)

Democracy in Crisis (London: Allen and Unwin, 1933)

The State in Theory and Practice (London: Allen and Unwin,1935)

The Rise of European Liberalism: An Essay in Interpretation (London: Allen and Unwin, 1936)

Parliamentary Government in England: A Commentary (London: Allen and Unwin, 1938)

The Danger of Being a Gentleman, and Other Essays (London: Allen and Unwin, 1939)

The American Presidency: An Interpretation (London: Allen and Unwin, 1940)

Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time (London: Allen and Unwin,1943)

Faith, Reason, and Civilization: An Essay in Historical Analysis (London: Gollancz, 1944)

The Secret Battalion: An Examination of the Communist Attitude to the Labour Party (London: Labour Publications Department, 1946)

American Democracy: A Commentary and Interpretation (London: Allen and Unwin, 1948)



Laski’s speech to the Indian independence anniversary celebration in London in 1949.

Date of birth: 
30 Jun 1893
Contributions to periodicals: 

‘The India Report’, Nation 140 (2 January 1935)

‘India at the Crossroads’, Yale Review (21 March 1932)

‘The Labour Party and the Left Book Club’, Left News (August 1937)

The Listener


I do not know how many times I have gone to meetings that I did not want to attend, have made speeches that I did not want to make, have written articles that I had no time to write, because I was under the grim control of the irrepressible embodiment of the will of India to be free, and I look back and what I owe Krishna Menon for having made me attend as a member of his army is a debt that I can never repay.

Secondary works: 

Deane, Herbert A., The Political Ideas of Harold J. Laski (New York: Columbia Uiversty Press, 1955)

Kramnick, Isaac and Sheerman, Barry, Harold Laski: A Life on the Left (New York: Allen Lane/Penguin, 1993)

Newman, Michael, Harold Laski: A Political Biography (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1993)

Martin, Kingsley, Harold Laski, 1893–1950: A Biographical Memoir (London: Gollancz, 1953)

Archive source: 

General correspondence and sundry materials, papers presented by Granville Eastwood in 1978 and 1981, correspondence between Harold and Frida Laski, University of Hull

3 Folders of Laski correspondence, drafts of manuscripts by Laski, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam 

File of correspondence between Laski and the Labour Party, 1938-50, file on India, 1935-41, National Executive Committee Minutes and association papers, 1937-49, National Museum of Labour History, Manchester

L/I/1/1439, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
24 Mar 1950
Location of death: 
St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London
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