Oxford University

Sajjad Zaheer


Born in a small village just outside Lucknow, northern India, Sajjad Zaheer remains one of the most prominent and iconic literary and political voices in South Asia and beyond. Zaheer was one of four sons in a privileged family. His father was Sir Wazir Hussain, a notable judge and Chief Justice of the Oudh Court. After completing his studies in politics and law at the University of Lucknow, Zaheer travelled to the UK to enrol at the University of Oxford. Initially, this was a course mapped out for him by his father, who wanted his son to become a barrister. However, Zaheer’s eight year sojourn in the colonial heartland would prove to be a defining moment in shaping his political sensibilities and the alternative path he would follow on his return to India.

Once he had reached Britain, the struggles against colonial rule in his homeland were thrown into sharp focus for Zaheer. His response was similar to that of his contemporary, Mulk Raj Anand. Together, these pre-independence diasporic intellectuals developed a keen appreciation of the urgent need for emancipation in their country. Formative to this was the presence of a South Asian community already vocalizing its concerns in the metropolitan capital. This included figures like Shyamaji Krishnavarma and V. D. Savarkar who played a leading role in the Ghadar Party. The injustices of colonial rule became apparent to Zaheer, as did the need to challenge the status quo through a marked socialist political activism. He established links with the Communist Party of Great Britain and was one of its first South Asian members. During his time in Britain Zaheer also became editor in chief of the periodical Bharat. This was a journal of socialist politics headed by South Asian students at Oxford and concerned with the struggle for independence and the plight of the poor in India. In the literary arena, he and Anand had several encounters with members of the Bloomsbury Group, and were deeply influenced by the modernist literary movement, if not its politics. Zaheer and Anand’s attendance of the International Congress for the Defence of Culture in Paris in 1935, organized by some of the most prominent names in the European artistic and literary landscape, was also a key influence. The previous year, Zaheer and Anand had laid the foundations for the All-India Progressive Writers’ Association at a gathering in a London restaurant where they drafted the manifesto. The organization sought to marry the political and social with the literary, and held numerous meetings in London where students and aspiring writers discussed articles and stories. Zaheer also began his novella, London Ki Ek Raat (‘A Night in London’, 1938) when in London, completing it on his return to India.

Zaheer left London for India via Paris in 1935. Once in India, he continued to develop the organization, which held its official inaugural meeting in Lucknow from 9 to 10 April 1936, with the writer Premchand presiding. The group published several texts inspired by Marxist, oppositional and subversive politics, including a translation of Tagore’s Gora (‘White Man’), and Zaheer’s own anthology of progressive Urdu literature, Roshnai (‘Light’). After partition, Zaheer left for Pakistan, and continued to be an active socialist campaigner in his country’s tumultuous political landscape. This saw him jailed at various points throughout his life. His continued commitment to express the political through literature resulted in the creation of the Afro-Asian Writers’ Association. It was en route to a conference arranged by this organization in Kazakhstan that Zaheer suffered a massive heart attack which ended his life.

Published works: 

‘Jannat Ki Basharrat’ (‘A Feel For Heaven’), in Khalid Alvi (ed.) Angare: An Anthology (New Delhi: Educational Publishing House, [1932] 1995)

London Ki Ek Raat (‘A Night in London’) (1938)

A Case for Congress League Unity (Bombay: People’s Publishing House, 1944)

Roshnai (‘Light’) (1959)

‘Reminiscences’, in S. Pradhan (ed.) Marxist Cultural Movement in India, Vol. 1 (Calcutta: National Book Agency, 1979)

The Light: a History of the Movement for Progressive Literature in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, trans. by Sibte Hassan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Date of birth: 
05 Nov 1905

Mulk Raj Anand, Ahmed Ali, Kaifi Azmi, Suniti Kumar Chatterji, Rajani Palme Dutt, Salmi Murrik (Dutt’s wife and representative of the Communist International Party in Britain), Faiz Ahmed Faiz (eminent Pakistani poet who found sympathy with Zaheer’s socialist literary imperative), E. M. Forster, Ralph Fox, Jyotirmaya Ghosh, Attia Hosain, Sardar Jafri, Rashad Jahan, Mahmudeezzafar, Hiren Mukherjee, Premchand, Amrit Rai, Iqbal Singh, Taseer, Razia Sajjad Zaheer (wife and fellow dramatist, author and political activist).

Afro-Asian Writers’ Association, Communist Party of Great Britain.

Secondary works: 

Anand, Mulk Raj, ‘On the Progressive Writers’ Movement’, in S. Pradhan (ed.) Marxist Cultural Movement in India, Vol. 1 (Calcutta: National Book Agency, 1979)

Bose, Hiran K., ‘Sajjad Zaheer: The Voice of the Common Man’, Chowk [http://www.chowk.com/articles/10111]

Coppola, Carlo, ‘The All-India Progressive Writers Association: The European Phase’, in Coppola (ed.) Marxist Influences and South Asian Literature, Vol. 1 (Winter 1974) Asian Studies Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, pp. 1-34

Gopal, Priyamvida, Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence (New York: Routledge, 2006)

Involved in events: 

Meetings of Bharat

Meetings of the Indian National Congress

Meetings of the Communist Party of Great Britain

Founding meeting of the Progressive Writers’ Association, Nanking Restaurant, London, 24 November 1934

International Congress for the Defence of Culture, Paris, 21-6 June 1935

City of birth: 
Golaganj, Lucknow
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
13 Sep 1973
Location of death: 
Alma Ata, Kazakhstan
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Dec 1927
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



Oxford, London.

Robert Graves


Robert von Ranke Graves was born in 1895 to Alfred Perceval Graves and Amalie Elizabeth Sophie. Brought up in a literary family, Graves published his poetry in The Carthusian as early as 1911. In 1914, he was destined for St John's College, when war broke out and he was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. In 1916, he was badly wounded and believed to be dead, and in 1917 he was hospitalized with shell-shock. After he was decommissioned in 1919, he began studying English at St John's College, Oxford.

It was at the Lotus Club in Oxford in 1922 that Graves met Basanta Kumar Mallik, a Bengali who studied law then philosophy at Oxford. Mallik was sixteen years older than Graves but the two became close friends. They shared a commitment to truth and to morality, a discomfort with received tradition, and a search for an understanding and a resolution of the phenomenon of war. While Mallik returned to India in 1923, his philosophy had a significant impact on Graves' writing. This influence can be found in many of the poems included in the latter half of Whipperginny (1923), the 'Introductory Letter' to The Feather Bed (1923), Mock Beggar Hall (1924)and Welchman's Hose (1925). The 'M' of Graves' poem 'To "M" in India' (The Marmosite's Miscellany, 1925) refers to Mallik. The friendship soured, however, and when Mallik returned to Britain in 1936 Graves refused to meet him. The circumstances surrounding their falling out remain obscure but it is known that all references to Mallik have been expunged from editions of Graves' autobiography Good-Bye To All That subsequent to 1929.

After a brief stint as professor of English Literature at Cairo University in 1926, Graves returned to England in July 1926 where he embarked on a sexual and working relationship with Laura Riding, spending some time in Deyá, Mallorca. His writing improved and he wrote the prize-winning historical novel, I, Claudius (1934). By the end of 1934, Graves had sold the film rights for I, Claudius to Alexander Korda. It was to star Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon but the project never materialized.

Graves continued to write throughout his life and had several mistresses. In the 1950s, his reputation soared and he won several prizes, held professorships and gave talks in the United States. In the 1970s, his health started to decline and he ended his working life in 1975. He lived for another ten years until he died from heart failure on 7 December 1985 in Mallorca.

Published works: 

Over the Brazier (London: Poetry Bookshop, 1916)

Fairies and Fusiliers (1917)

Goliath and David (London: Charles Whittingham, 1917)

Country Sentiment (London: Martin Secker, 1920)

 On Poetry: Being an Irregular Approach to the Psychology of this Art (London: William Heinemann, 1922)

The Feather Bed (Richmond: L. and V. Woolf, 1923)

Whipperginny (London: Heinemann, 1923)

The Meaning of Dreams (London: Cecil Palmer, 1924)

Mock Beggar Hall (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1924)

Contemporary Techniques of Poetry: A Political Analogy (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1925)

John Kemp's Wager: A Ballad Opera (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1925)

The Marmosite's Miscellany (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1925)

My Head! My Head!: Being the History of Elisha and the Shunamite Woman; With the Histiry of Moses as Elisha Related It, and Her Questions Put to Him (London: Martin Secker, 1925)

Welchman's Hose (London: The Fleuron, 1925)

Another Future of Poetry (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1926)

Impenetrability; or, the Proper Habit of English (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1926)

The English Ballad: A Short Critical Survey (London: Ernest Benn, 1927)

Lars Porsena; or, The Future of Swearing and Improper Language (London: Kegan Paul, 1927)

Poems, 1914-1926 (London: William Heinemann, 1927)

(with Laura Riding) Survey of Modernist Poetry (London: William Heinemann, 1927)

Mrs Fisher; or, the Future of Humour (London: Kegan Paul, 1928)

Good-Bye To All That: An Autobiography (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929)

But It Still Goes On: An Accumulation (1930)

Poems, 1930-1933 (1933)

The Real David Copperfield (London: Barker, 1933)

Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (London: Arthur Barker, 1934)

I, Claudius (London: Arthur Barker, 1934)

Lawrence and the Arabs (Jonathan Cape, 1934)

'Antigua, Penny, Puce' (Deyá, Mallorca: Seizin Press, 1936; London: Constable, 1936)

The Antigua Stamp (New York: Random House, 1937)

Collected Poems (London: Cassell, 1938)

Count Belisarius (London: Cassell, 1938)

The Long Week-End: A Social History of Great Britain, 1918-1939 (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

No More Ghosts: Selected Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth (London: Methuen, 1940)

Proceed, Sergeant Lamb (London: Methuen, 1941)

The Story of Marie Powell, Wife to Mr Milton (London: Cassell, 1943)

The Golden Fleece (London: Cassell, 1944)

Hercules, My Shipmate: A Novel (New York: Creative Age Press, 1945)

King Jesus (London: Cassell, 1946)

Poems, 1938-1945 (1946)

(with Alan Hodge) The Reader Over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for for Writers of English Prose (London: Cape, 1947)

Collected Poems (1948)

The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth (1948)

The Common Asphodel: Collected Essays on Poetry, 1922-1949 (1949)

The Islands of Unwisdom (Garden City: Doubleday, 1949)

Seven Days in New Crete: A Novel (London: Cassell, 1949)

Occupation: Writer (New York: Creative Age Press, 1950)

The Nazarene Gospel Restored (London: Cassell, 1953)

Majorca Observed (London: Cassell, 1954)

Adam's Rib and Other Anomalous Elements in the Hebrew Creation Myth (Clairvaux: Trianon Press, 1955)

The Crowning Privilege (London: Cassell, 1955)

The Greek Myths, Vols 1 & 2 (London: Penguin, 1955)

Homer's Daughter (London: Cassell, 1955)

Catacrok! Mostly Stories, Mostly Funny (London: Cassell, 1956)

(ed.) English and Scottish Ballads (London: William Heinemann, 1957)

Jesus in Rome: A Historical Conjecture (London: Cassell, 1957)

Five Pens in Hand (Garden City: Doubleday, 1958)

Collected Poems, 1959 (London: Cassell, 1959)

The Growing Privilege: Collected Essays on Poetry (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1959)

Food for Centaurs: Stories, Talks, Critical Studies, Poems (Garden City: Doubleday, 1960)

Greek Gods and Myths (Garden City: Doubleday, 1960)

More Poems (London: Cassell, 1961)

Myths of Ancient Greece (London: Cassell, 1961)

The Big Green Book (New York: Crowell-Collier Press, 1962)

The More Deserving Cases: Eighteen Old Poems for Reconsideration (Marlborough: Marlborough College Press, 1962)

New Poems, 1962 (London: Cassell, 1962)

Oxford Addresses on Poetry (London: Cassell, 1962)

Nine Hundred Iron Chariots (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1963)

Ann at Highwood Hall (London: Cassell, 1964)

Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis (London: Cassell, 1964)

Man Does, Woman Is (London: Cassell, 1964)

Love Respelt (London: Cassell, 1965)

Mammon and the Black Goddess (London: Cassell, 1965)

Colophon to 'Love Respelt' (London: Rota, 1967)

Beyond Giving: Poems (London: Bernard Rota, 1969)

The Crane Bag, and Other Disputed Subjects (London: Cassell, 1969)

Advice from a Mother (London: Poem-of-the-Moth Club, 1970)

The Green-Sailed Vessel: Poems (London: Bertram Rota, 1971)

Difficult Questions, Easy Answers (London: Cassell, 1972)

The Hanged My Saintly Billy (London: Arrow Books, 1972)

At the Gate: Poems (London: Bertram Rota, 1974)

Collected Poems (London: Cassell, 1975)

An Ancient Castle (London: Peter Owen, 1980)

In Broken Images: Selected Letters of Robert Graves, 1914-1946 (London: Hutchinson, 1982)

Eleven Songs (Deyá, Mallorca: New Seizin Press, 1983)

Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters of Robert Graves, 1946-1972 (London: Hutchinson, 1984)

Cynics and Romantics (Sidcot: Gruffyground Press, 1989)

Across the Gulf: Late Poems (Mallorca: New Seizin Press, 1992)


Graves, Robert, Good-Bye To All That: An Autobiography (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929), pp. 403-4

Date of birth: 
24 Jul 1895

Robert Graves describes Basanta Kumar Mallik's philosophy.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Basanta's philosophy was a development of formal metaphysics, but with characteristically Indian insistence on ethics. He believed in no hierarchy of ultimate values or the possibility of any unifying religion or ideology. But at the same time he insisted on the necessity of strict self-discipline in the individual in meeting every possible demand made on him from whatever quarter, and he recommended constant self-watchfulness against either dominating or being dominated by any other individual. This view of strict personal morality consistent with scepticism of social morality agreed very well with my practice.

Secondary works: 

Graves, Richard Perceval, 'Graves, Robert von Ranke (1895-1985)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford Univesity Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31166]

Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves: The Assault Heroic, 1895-1926 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986)

Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves: The Years with Laura, 1926-1940 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990)

Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves and the White Goddess, 1940-1985 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995)

Quinn, Patrick J., The Great War and the Missing Muse: The Early Writings of Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 1994; London: Associated University Presses, 1994)

Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli, Basanta Kumar Mallik: A Garland of Homage (London: Vincent Stuart, 1961)

Sondhi, Madhuri Santanam, and Walker, Mary M., 'Basanta Kumar Mallik and Robert Graves: Personal Encounters and Processes in Socio-Cultural Thought', Gravesiana 1 (1996), pp. 109-46

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

Papers, University of Liverpool Library

Correspondence, literary MSS and papers, University of San Francisco

Correspondence, diaries and literary MSS, University of Victoria, British Columbia

Letters to Alexander Pugh and letters to E. J. Thompson, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Kenneth Charles Gay, Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana University

Correspondence with Basil Liddell Hart, Liddell Hart Centre, King's College, London

Letters to W. S. Henry and letters to C. K. Scott Moncrief, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Letters to Alun Lewis and Gweno Lewis, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Letters and MSS to Edward Marsh, New York Public Library, New York

Correspondence with Edmund Blunden, University of Iowa, Iowa City

Letters to James Reeves, University of San Francisco Library

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Robert von Ranke Graves

Date of death: 
07 Dec 1985
Location of death: 
Deyá, Mallorca, Spain

St John's College, Oxford


Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike


Solomon Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, the fourth prime minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), spent six years in England. He studied between 1919 and 1925 at Christ Church College, Oxford. During his time there, he lived with a working class family as a shortage of rooms in the College had forced Christ Church to find lodgings elsewhere. Bandaranaike was struck by the hierarchical structure and social conventions that excluded him from the student fraternity.

During his first year at Oxford, his father moved to London for a year together with his sister who was presented as a debutante at Buckingham Palace in 1920. Bandaranaike tried hard to fit in and found it difficult to deal with his fellow students’ rejection, especially considering his own family’s preoccupation with status and power. In 1920 he was allotted a room in Christ Church College, sharing a corridor with Anthony Eden. After passing his classics exams with a second class degree, he switched to law.

In his third year at Oxford he became actively involved in the Oxford Union, delivering speeches on democracy, policies on India, and the British government’s policies in Egypt. He established himself as a regular speaker at the Union and his performance was praised in the Oxford Magazine for its ‘vigorous thinking and his animated, insistent delivery’ (4 May 1922) . In June 1923, he became Secretary of the Oxford Union and in March 1924 was elected Junior Treasurer. His exposure to Indian Nationalism at Oxford had a profound impact on his world view. It led him to conclude that his father’s political support for the British and the feudal system in Ceylon were anachronistic.

Bandaranaike returned to Ceylon in 1925 and became actively involved in the island’s politics and independence movement. He was elected to the Colombo Municipal Council in 1926 and joined the United National Party. He was a member of the State Legislature from 1931 onwards. He became Ceylon’s fourth prime minister in 1956 and was assassinated in 1959.

Published works: 

Towards a New Era. Selected speeches of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike made in the Legislature of Ceylon, 1931 to 1959, ed.  by G. E. P. de S. Wickramaratne (Colombo: 1961)

The thoughts of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. A selection of significant quotations from his writings and speeches, ed. by M. A. de Silva (Nugegoda: Lotus Press, 1969)

Speeches on Labour (Sri Lanka : 1978)

Devolution in Sri Lanka : S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and the debate on power sharing, ed. by K. M. De Silva (International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 1996)


S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, ‘Memories of Oxford’ in Speeches and Writings (Colombo, 1963), pp. 43-44

Date of birth: 
08 Jan 1899

Anthony Eden, M. K. Gandhi, Gerlad Gardiner, Edward Majoribanks, Jawaharlal Nehru.


My first task, therefore, was to kindle a real interest in the subject. I started by cracking a few jokes, making a few biting remarks at the expense of the opposition. Members began to sit up in their seats and take notice. Now that I held their attention, it was time to give them some more solid food. I proceeded to develop my argument. Soon the House hung breathless on my words; there was dead silence among the audience, which was too absorbed even to applaud. I was conscious of such power over my fellow-men as I had never known before. For a few moments I was master of the bodies and souls of the majority of my listeners. I unrolled the scroll of British history, tracing the trend of British political ideals, as they appeared to me, mounting steadily to the crest of my peroration, in which, with a lingering memory of Walter Pater, I compared the British love of freedom to the pictures of the Italian Renaissance ‘where you find a thread of golden light pervading the whole work; it is in the air, it dances in the eyes of men and women, it flickers in their hair, and is woven in the very texture of their flesh. And the thread of golden light which illumines for ever the life of this people is their love of freedom and free institutions…’. Not a sound was heard in that vast hall as I ceased, picked up my notes, and walked back to my seat. Then a storm of applause broke out, which refused to be quelled for many minutes.

Secondary works: 

Alles, A. C., The Assassination of a Prime Minister (New York : Vantage Press, 1986)

Manor, James, The Expedient Utopian: Bandaranaike and Ceylon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)

Oberst, R.C., ‘Bandaranaike, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias (1899–1959)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2009) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/30571]

Symonds, Richard, Oxford and Empire: The Last Lost Cause? (New York: St Martin's Press, 1986)

Weeramantry, Lucian G., Assassination of a Prime Minister: the Bandaranaike Murder Case (Geneva: Studer S. A., 1969)


The above extract is Bandaranaike’s assessment of his rhetorical skills in a debate on the proposition ‘The indefinite continuance of British sovereignty in India is a violation of British political ideals’. It shows Bandaranaike’s awareness of his skills to manipulate an audience and to communicate effectively.  The connection between Walter Pater, Italian renaissance painting and the notion of freedom in the context of India’s right of self-determination seems particularly striking in this instance.

Archive source: 

S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike Papers, National Archives Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka

City of birth: 
Horagolla, Veyangoda
Country of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Sri Lanka


Christ Church College
Saint Aldate's
Oxford, OX1 1DP
United Kingdom
51° 44' 56.4252" N, 1° 15' 23.958" W
Date of death: 
25 Sep 1959
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Oct 1919
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

October 1919 - February 1925


Oxford, London.

Firoz Khan Noon


Firoz Khan Noon arrived in England in July 1912 to study. He initially lived at the student hostel on 21 Cromwell Road, London. Because of colour prejudice, it was difficult for Indian students to find accommodation. The students’ department of the India Office made arrangements for him to stay with the family of the Reverend Lloyd who was a vicar at Ticknall, 10 miles from Derby. Lloyd helped Noon to be admitted to Wadham College, Oxford University. Initially Noon had applied to Balliol College, but he did not gain admission. Firoz Khan Noon built up a close relationship with the family and lived with them until October 1913. 

While at Oxford, on his father's advice, Noon mixed with very few Indian students. In his autobiography, Noon explained that ‘his idea was that I could see a lot of Indians in my own country but when I was abroad I must learn something about foreign people’ (From Memory, p. 70). At Oxford, Noon was a keen football player. He also played hockey for the Isis Club. Noon travelled regularly to London where he attended dinners at the Inner Temple, under the tutelage of Dr Hubbard. He also studied Persian with Professor Browne at the University of Cambridge. He graduated from Oxford with a BA in History in 1916. In later years, Noon was made an Honorary Fellow of Wadham College. During his time at Oxford he did not attend the meetings of the Majlis, preferring to devote most of his time to his studies.

After he finished his degree, Noon moved to London to sit his law examinations. He became a Barrister-at-Law of the Inner Temple within nine months and returned to India in September 1917. He set up a practice as a lawyer in the District Courts of Sargodha. He stood for the 1920 Lahore Legislative Council elections and won with a majority of nearly 10,000. He subsequently moved to Lahore, where he practised at the High Court. He was a member of the Provincial Legislative Council of the Punjab from 1920 to 1936 and a Minister for ten years. He was appointed High Commissioner for India in London in July 1936, a position he held for five and a half years.

Noon led the Indian delegation at the International Labour Organization meetings in Geneva in 1938-9. In 1938, Firoz Khan Noon, received a delegation from the Jamiat-ul-Muslimin who presented a petition to him in protest against H. G. Wells’ A Short History of the World. While in London he met Ernest Bevin, with whom he became good friends. Noon liked him for his outspokenness and his support for Indian independence. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he moved into the bomb shelter at India House. He fulfilled night-watch duties on the roof of India House. Furthermore, Noon was instrumental in helping to set up the Indian Comforts Fund, offering it space at India House. In 1939, he assumed the role of mediator to broker a deal to end the strike of Indian seamen that commenced with the outbreak of the Second World War in relation to pay and conditions. Noon was approached by the Board of Trade with a brief to minimize concessions to the sailors. However, Noon’s negotiating tactics with the lascars were unsuccessful, with shipping lines going back on terms agreed in the High Commissioner’s office. When a deal was brokered in December 1939, the India Office wanted to make sure that credit was accorded not to Surat Alley, London representative of the All India Seamen’s Federation, but rather to Noon and the Shipping Companies.

Firoz Khan Noon was present at the Caxton Hall meeting when Udham Singh shot Michael O’Dwyer in 1940. Noon returned to India having been appointed a Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in 1941 where he became responsible for the defence portfolio. After independence, Firoz Khan Noon became Foreign and Prime Minister of Pakistan. He published Wisdom for Fools (1940), a book of stories for children, and the novel Scented Dust (1941). He died in 1970.

Published works: 

Canada and India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1939)

Wisdom from Fools (Lahore: Rai Sahib M. Gulab Singh & Sons, 1940)

Scented Dust (Lahore: R.S.M. Gulab Singh & Sons 1942)

‘India’, in Walter James Turner (ed.) The British Commonwealth and Empire (London: William Collins, 1943)

From Memory (Lahore: Ferozsons 1966)

Date of birth: 
07 May 1893

Surat Alley, Lady Amery, Lord Amery, Ernest Bevin, Z. A. Bokhari, Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Weldon Crossland (American student friend from Oxford), Lady Curry, Edward VIII, Hari Singh Gour, Sudhindra Nath Ghose, Malcolm Hailey, Ali Khan (fellow Indian student at Oxford), Reverend Lloyd of Ticknall, Edwin Lutyens, Malcolm Macdonald, Mrs Nanda, Percy Nichols (student friend from Oxford) Said Amir Shah, Uday Shankar, Rex Smith (student friend from Oxford), Geoffrey Wells (Noon’s tutor at Oxford), James Wilson (Indian civil servant), Lord Zetland.

Indian High Commisssion in London

Contributions to periodicals: 
Secondary works: 

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

Archive source: 

MT 9/315, National Archives, Kew

L/I/1/1479, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 


49 Putney Hill
London, SW1 SQP
United Kingdom
52 Parliament Hill Hampstead
London, NW3 2SSP
United Kingdom
51° 33' 28.278" N, 0° 9' 43.7544" W
Date of death: 
09 Dec 1970
Location of death: 
Lahore, Pakistan
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jul 1912
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1912-18, 1936-41

Dosabhai Framji Karaka


D. F. Karaka was born in Bombay in 1911. He is the grandson of Dosabhai Framji Karaka, whose History of the Parsis became the authoritative text on the Parsee community in the late nineteenth century. Karaka arrived in England in the autumn of 1930 and joined Lincoln College at the University of Oxford to study law. Karaka became an active member of the Oxford Union, participating in debates. He would occupy a number of posts - Treasurer, Secretary and Librarian - before being elected the first President of South Asian origin of the Oxford Union. He succeeded Michael Foot, who was a close friend of his. 

Karaka was Secretary of the Union when it held its controversial ‘King and Country’ debate (9 February 1933). The Union discussed the pacifist motion ‘that this House will under no circumstances fight for its King or Country’. The controversy provoked heated debate in the national press and among Oxford students. At a subsequent meeting of the Union, Karaka’s minutes were torn from him and destroyed. He also received protection from the university police for a limited amount of time. During his time at Oxford, Karaka started writing non-fiction, especially about his experience as an Indian in Britain and his position as a 'coloured' man. After Karaka finished his degree, he sat the examination for the Indian Civil Service. He failed but went on to pass his Bar examination in London. In order to earn some money, he briefly worked at the clothes store Simpson's on Piccadilly, advertising the store to newly-arrived Indian students in Britain. Against his parents wishes, he decided to pursue a career in journalism. He published an article on the colour bar in 1934 in the Daily Herald, one of the most widely read newspapers in the 1930s. He also wrote several non-fiction books that dealt with the colour bar and the position of Indians in the British empire and Britain, most notably The Pulse of Oxford, I Go West and Oh! You English. Some of his journalism of the period is collected in All My Yesterdays.

He returned to Bombay in 1938 where he worked as a journalist for the Bombay Chronicle, later being promoted to its editorial board. During the Second World War, he worked as a war correspondent. Initially he was posted to Chungking, covering the Chinese war against the Japanese, before becoming effectively an embedded journalist with the 14th Army in Burma in the run-up to the battles of Kohima and Imphal. He transferred to the Western Theatre of War in early 1945, covering the advances of British, American and Indian Forces in Italy. After a short time in London, where he was able to reconnect with friends such as Michael Foot from his Oxford days, as well as gain an exclusive interview with Lord Amery, Secretary of State for India, he was accredited to Southern Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force to witness the Allied Forces’ final push through France and the Low Countries into Germany. He was one of the first journalists to reach Bergen Belsen concentration camp. He was also among the journalists who travelled to Rheims to witness Germany surrender on 8 May 1945.

After the end of the war in Western Europe and his return to England, Karaka wanted to move via New York to the Pacific to cover the war there. However, he did not make it to the Pacific theatre in time. At the end of 1945, Karaka returned to India. After falling out with the editor of the Bombay Chronicle, he founded his own weekly newspaper, The Current. Karaka supported Indian independence and the Indian National Congress, while also supporting the British war effort. He was witness to partition violence, covering for his newspaper the displacement of 10 million people and the atrocities that accompanied it. After independence he became increasingly critical and sceptical of Nehru’s policies. He wrote critically about corruption, and Nehru’s ‘autocratic’ style of government, which led to his phone conversations being tapped and the monitoring of his movements. In 1971, with heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, he was imprisoned briefly on grounds of national security. D. F. Karaka died in 1974 from a heart attack.

Published works: 

The Pulse of Oxford (London: J. M. Dent, 1933)

Oh! You English (London: Fredrick Muller, 1935)

I Go West (London: Michael Joseph, 1938)

Out of Dust (Bombay: Thacker, 1940) [biography of Gandhi]

Chungking Diary (Bombay: Thacker, 1942)

There Lay the City (Bombay: Thacker, 1942) [novel]

Karaka Hits Propaganda (Bombay: Sound Magazine, 1943) [pamphlet]

All My Yesterdays (Bombay: Thacker, 1944)

Just Flesh (Bombay: Thacker, 1944) [novel]

We Never Die (Bombay: Thacker, 1944) [novel]

With the 14th Army (Bombay: Thacker, 1944; London: D. Crisp, 1945)

New York with its Pants Down (Bombay: Thacker, 1946)

Freedom Must Not Stink (Bombay: Kutub, 1947)

I’ve Shed My Tears: A Candid View of Resurgent India (New York and London: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1947)

No Peace at All (Bombay: Kutub, 1948)

Arre Bhai: Being Rephlection of the Problems oph Bharat, i.e. India, Boycott British Language (Bombay: S. B. Phansikar, New Era Printing Press, 1950)

Betrayal in India (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950)

Nehru: The Lotuseater of Kashmir (London: Derek Verschoyle, 1953)

Fabulous Mogul Nizam of Hyderabad (London: Derek Verschoyle, 1955)

Morarji (Bombay: Times of India Press, 1965)

Shivaji: Portrait of an Early Indian (Bombay: Times of India Press, 1969)

Then Came Hazrat Ali: Autobiography 1972 (Bombay: D. F. Karaka, 1972)

This India (Bombay: Thacker, n.d.)

(with G. N. Acharya) War Prose [anthology]

Date of birth: 
14 Apr 1911

Lord Amery, Michael Foot, M. K. Gandhi, Roy Jenkins, Michael Joseph (publisher), M. R. Jayakar, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Humayun Kabir, Madan Mohan Malaviviya, Sarojini Naidu, Jawaharlal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Bombay Chronicle (war correspondent, editor, columnist)

The Current (editor)

Daily Herald

New Statesman

Oxford Isis

Sunday Standard

Secondary works: 

Visram, Rozina, 'Karaka, Dosabhoy Framji [Dosoo] (1911–1974)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2013) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/index/101/101101328/]

Archive source: 

L/I/1/1423, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 

Second World War (war correspondent for the Bombay Chronicle in East India, Burma, the western front and Germany)

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name city of birth: 
Other names: 

D. F. Karaka

Dosoo Framjee Karaka


Lincoln College, University of Oxford
Turl Street
Oxford, OX1 3DR
United Kingdom
51° 45' 13.0968" N, 1° 15' 22.896" W
Date of death: 
01 Jun 1974
Precise date of death unknown: 
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1930
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1930-8, 1945


Oxford, London.

Louis MacNeice


Louis Frederick MacNeice was born in Belfast to John Frederick MacNeice and Elizabeth Margaret MacNeice. He was sent to preparatory school in Sherbourne, England, in 1917, then attended Marlborough College in 1921 and Merton College, Oxford, in 1926. At Oxford, he met writers W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender. In 1930, his final year at Oxford, he was awarded a first in literae humaniores, edited Oxford Poetry with Stephen Spender, and published his first book of poetry, Blind Fireworks.

He entered the literary circle of London, where he met Bonamy Dobrée, T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Cecil Day Lewis and Mulk Raj Anand. He describes his first meeting with Anand thus: 'It was outside the British Museum that I met Mulk Raj Anand, a young Indian novelist. Mulk was small and lithe and very handsome, wore shirts, ties and scarves of scarlet or coral, talked very fast and all the time, was a crusader for the Indian Left' (The Strings Are False, p. 209). By 1940, war had broken out in Europe and MacNeice decided to leave for the United States where he remained until December that year. He was not fit for war service but joined the BBC in 1941. In wartime London, MacNeice still socialized with many of his literary friends from the 1930s: Cecil Day Lewis, Mulk Raj Anand and M. J. Tambimuttu. MacNeice also published many of his poems in Tambimuttu's journal Poetry London and was included in Tambimuttu's Poetry in Wartime (1942).

Upon Indian independence in 1947, MacNeice was sent to India to cover the event for the BBC. He and fellow companions, Francis Dillon and Wynford Vaughan Thomas, travelled through much of India and reported back to England on the celebrations as well as the horrors they witnessed.

In 1961, MacNeice gave up full-tme employment in the BBC to free up time for writing. In 1963, he became ill, and he died of viral pneumonia on 3 September.

Published works: 

Blind Fireworks (London: Victor Gollancz, 1929)

(with Stephen Spender) Oxford Poetry, 1929 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1929)

Roundabout Way (New York and London: Putnam, 1932)

Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1935)

(with W. H. Auden) Letters from Iceland (London: Faber & Faber, 1937)

Out of the Picture: A Play in Two Acts (London: Faber & Faber, 1937)

The Earth Compels: Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1938)

I Crossed the Minch (London: Longmans, 1938)

Modern Poetry: A Personal Essay (London: Oxford University Press, 1938)

Zoo (London: Michael Joseph, 1938)

Autumn Journal: A Poem (London: Faber & Faber, 1939)

The Last Ditch (Dublin: Cuala, 1940)

Selected Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

Plant and Phantom: Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1941)

The Poetry of W. B. Yeats (London: Oxford University Press, 1941)

Christopher Columbus: A Radio Play (London: Faber & Faber, 1944)

Springboard: Poems, 1941-1944 (London: Faber & Faber, 1944)

The Dark Tower, and Other Radio Scripts (London: Faber & Faber, 1947)

Holes in the Sky: Poems, 1944-1947 (London: Faber & Faber, 1948)

Collected Poems, 1925-1948 (London: Faber & Faber, 1949)

Ten Burnt Offerings (London: Faber & Faber, 1952)

Visitations (London: Faber & Faber, 1952)

Autumn Sequel: A Rhetorical Poem in XXVI Cantos (London: Faber & Faber, 1954)

The Other Wing (London: Faber & Faber, 1954)

The Sixpence That Rolled Away (London: Faber & Faber, 1956)

Eighty-Five Poems: Selected by the Author (London: Faber & Faber, 1959)

Solstices (London: Faber & Faber, 1961)

The Burning Perch (London: Faber & Faber, 1963)

Astrology (London: Aldus Books, 1964)

The Mad Islands, and The Administrator: Two Plays (London: Faber & Faber, 1964)

The Strings are False: An Unfinished Autobiography (London: Faber & Faber, 1965)

Varieties of Parable (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965)

(with E. R. Dodds) The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice (London: Faber & Faber, 1966)

One for the Grave: A Modern Morality Play (London: Faber & Faber, 1968)

Persons from Porlock, and Other Plays for Radio, with an Introduction by W. H. Auden (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1969)

The Revenant: A Song-Cycle for Hedli Anderson (Dublin: Cuala Press, 1975)

(with Alana Heuser and Peter MacDonald) Selected Plays of Louis MacNeice (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press, 1993)

Date of birth: 
12 Sep 1907

Mulk Raj Anand, W. H. Auden (Oxford), Bonamy Dobree, T. S. Eliot (Criterion), Stephen Spender, M. J. Tambimuttu (Poetry London, Poetry in Wartime), Dylan Thomas (acted in MacNeice's plays).

Contributions to periodicals: 


New Verse

Poetry London

Secondary works: 

Anand, Mulk Raj, and Williams, Jane, 'Talking of Tambi: The Dilemma of the Asian Intellectual', in Jane Williams (ed.) Tambimuttu: Bridge Between Two Worlds (London: Peter Owen, 1989), pp. 191-201

Armitage, Christopher Mead, A Bibliography of the Works of Louis MacNeice (London: Kaye & Ward, 1973)

Brown, Richard Danson, Louis MacNeice and the Poetry of the 1930s (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2009)

Brown, Terence, Louis MacNeice: Sceptical Vision (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1975; New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1975)

Brown, Terence, and Reid, Alan, Time Was Away: The World of Louis MacNeice (Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1974; London: Oxford University Press, 1974)

Coulton, Barbara, Louis MacNeice in the BBC (London: Faber & Faber, 1980)

David, D. M., 'MacNeice, (Frederick) Louis (1970-1963)', rev. by Jon Stallworthy, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/34808]

Devine, Kathleen, and Peacock, Alan J., Louis MacNeice and His Influence (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1998)

Haffenden, John, William Empson, Vol 2: Against the Christians (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005-6)

Heuser, Alan, Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987)

Innes, C. L., A History of Black and Asian Writing in Britain, 1700-2000. 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Longley, Edna, Louis MacNeice: A Study (London: Faber & Faber, 1988)

MacKinnon, William Tulloch, Apollo's Blended Dream: A Study of the Poetry of Louis MacNeice (London: Oxford University Press, 1971)

Marsack, Robyn, The Cave of Making: The Poetry of Louis MacNeice (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982)

McDonald, Peter, Louis MacNeice: The Poet in His Contexts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991)

Moore, Donald Bert, The Poetry of Louis MacNeice (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1972)

O'Neill, Michael, Auden, MacNeice, Spender: The Thirties Poetry (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992)

Press, John, Louis MacNeice (London: Longmans, 1965)

Smith, Elton Edward, Louis MacNeice (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1970)

Stallworthy, Jon, Louis MacNeice (London: Faber & Faber, 1995)

Whitehead, John, A Commentary on the Poetry of W. H. Auden, C. Day Lewis, Louis MacNeice, and Stephen Spender (Lewiston, NY, and Lampeter: Mellen, 1992)

Wigginton, Chris, Modernism from the Margins: The 1930s Poetry of Louis MacNeice and Dylan Thomas (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007)

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to E. R. Dodds, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to parents from Sherbourne and Marlborough, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Literary Mss and Mss, Columbia University, New York

Mss, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Letters to Anthony Blunt, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Mss and correspondence, State University of New York

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Louis Frederick MacNeice

Date of death: 
03 Sep 1963
Location of death: 
St Leonard's Hospital, Shoreditch, London

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan


Sarvepalla Radhakrishnan was a writer and philosopher. He was acting President of India from 1960 and elected President in 1962 until 1967. Born in the village of Tiruttani in the Madras Presidency and educated in Madras Christian College, he taught in various universities in India and abroad. While at the University of Calcutta, Radhakrishnan was invited to give a series of lectures at Manchester College, Oxford, in 1926. He returned on a tour in 1929-30 to give the Hibbert Lectures at University College, London, and again address Manchester College. During this visit, Radhakrishnan also spoke at the Indian Students' Union in London in February 1930.

Radhakrishnan was knighted in 1931 and invited to take up the Spalding Professorship of Eastern Religions and Ethics at All Souls College, Oxford from 1936 to 1952. Radhakrishnan also served as an Indian delegate to the League of Nations during the 1930s. Radhakrishnan balanced his political career with his academic career and acted as Ambassador to the Soviet Union 1949-52 before becoming Vice-President of India. Radhakrishnan was successful in comparing eastern and western philosophies and in interpreting Indian philosophy for western audiences. His birthday is celebrated as Teachers' Day in India.

Published works: 

Basanta Kumar Mallik: A Garland of Homage from someone who knew him well (London: Vincent Stuart, 1961)

(Ed. with P. T. Raju) The Concept of Man: A Study in Comparative Philosophy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1960)

The Dhammapada (London: Oxford University Press, 1950)

East and West in Religion (London: Allen & Unwin, 1933)

Eastern Religions and Western Thoughts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939)

The Hindu View of Life (London: Allen & Unwin, 1927)

An Idealist View of Life (London: Allen & Unwin, 1932)

Indian Philosophy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1929)

Is This Peace? (Bombay: Hind Kitabs, 1945)

Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on his Life and Work (London: Allen & Unwin, 1939)

The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore (London: Macmillan, 1918)

The Philosophy of the Upanishads, with a foreword by Rabindranath Tagore (London: Allen & Unwin, 1924)

The Principal Upanishads (London: Allen & Unwin, 1953)

Religion and Society (London: Allen & Unwin, 1948)

Religion in a Changing World (London: Allen & Unwin, 1967)

The Religion We Need (London: E. Benn, 1928)

Date of birth: 
05 Sep 1888
Secondary works: 

Copley, Antony R. H., ‘Radhakrishnan, Sir Sarvepalli (1888–1975)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2008) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31577]

Gopal, Sarvepalli, Radhakrishnan: A Biography (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989)

Murty, K. Satchidananda, and Vohra, Ashok, Radhakrishnan: His Life and Ideas (New York: State University of New York Press, 1990)

Archive source: 

National Archives of India, New Delhi

Current Affairs Footage, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

Involved in events: 
City of birth: 
Madras Presidency
Country of birth: 


All Souls College Oxford, OX1 4AL
United Kingdom
51° 43' 26.2992" N, 1° 16' 30.414" W
Date of death: 
16 Apr 1975
Location of death: 
Madras, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1926
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1926, 1929-30, 1936-52

Tags for Making Britain: 

Uday Shankar


Uday Shankar was an artist, dancer and choreographer who popularized Indian dance through his effective use of western theatrical techniques in combination with classical Indian dance. Uday Shankar arrived in London in 1920 to study art at Royal College of Art under the tutelage of William Rothenstein. While in London, William Rothenstein sent him to the British Museum to study the reproductions of paintings from the caves of Ajanta and Ellora. The Russian ballerina Ana Pavlova convinced Shankar to turn to dance, winning a fiercly fought battle with Rothenstein over the future artistic direction of Shankar. His performances with Pavlova, partnering her in the ‘Radha Krishna’ ballet and ‘Hindu wedding’ in her programme titled ‘Oriental Impressions’, caused a sensation when first performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in September 1923 and they toured extensively through Europe and the US. Uday Shankar returned to London in 1923 and struggled to make a living by trying to find engagements in London cabaret clubs. In 1925 he moved to Paris, where he had more success. In 1926 he was joined by the French dancer Simkie, whom he taught classical Indian dance and who joined him on subsequent tours of Europe.

Shankar returned to India in 1927 and toured all major cultural centres in India to fire his imagination. At that time he also met Rabindranath Tagore. In 1930 he formed a new troupe of dancers and with a new programme returned to Paris in 1931 and subsequently toured with the programme to London and other major European cities. These performances in the early 1930s had a huge impact on art lovers in particular and led to a rediscovery of the cultural heritage of India. Shankar returned to India in 1935 and then toured Europe from 1936-8 with a new troupe, which included the dancers Shanti Bardhan, Simkie, Zohra Sehgal, and Uzra, once again taking all the big European cities by storm. During this time the troupe perfomed a charity performance at the Hindustani Social Club in London. In 1939 Shankar established the ‘Uday Shankar India Culture Centre’ at Almora, India, which continued until 1943 – it  had to be closed down because of the impact of the Second World War and financial difficulties. From 1943-7 Shankar worked on the dance film ‘Kalpana’, which was widely acclaimed and which he personally presented in Europe, the USSR and the USA in 1948. He went on a two-year tour of Europe and the US in 1949/1950 to raise funds for a new dance school in Calcutta. He died in Calcutta in 1977.

Published works: 

S. Hurok presents Uday Shan-Kar and His Hindu Ballet (New York City: Nicolas Pub. Co., 1938)


Review in The Truth (14 July 1937)

Date of birth: 
08 Dec 1900

Daily Herald (8 March 1937)

Daily Herald (10 March 1937)

The Daily Telegraph (10 March 1937)

Evening Standard (10 March 1937)

The Times (10 March 1937)

Evening News (10 March 1937)

Morning Post (10 March 1937)

Daily Mirror (12 March 1937)

The Observer (14 March 1937)

Sunday Times (14 March 1937)

Sketch  (30 June 1937) 

World Film News (July 1937)

The Times (28 Jun 1937)

Evening Standard (2 July 1937)

The Daily Telegraph (6 July 1937) 

Evening News (6 July 1937)

The Star (6 July 1937)

The Times (6 July 1937)

The Stage (8 July 1937) 

New Statesman and Nation (10 July 1937) 

The Observer (11 July 1937)

The Times (13 July 1937)


Tradition and Nationalism:

Their art, therefore though it is founded upon the traditional themes, is much more than merely a revival of traditions. It is a development of them as well, and herein lies their importance not so much for us in West as for Indians. These dancers and musicians may be regarded as one of the manifestations of that rising spirit of Indian nationalism which the British Government has lately recognised in the Government of India Act. It is pleasant, therefore, to see that so very Western an institution as Dartington Hall is supporting them in their ambition to found a Dance and Music Centre at Benares the function of which will be to acquaint the people of India with an inheritance they have so nearly lost and to foster development in these arts.

Secondary works: 

Banerji, Projesh, Dance of India (Allahabad : Kitabistan, 1942)

Banerji, Projesh, Uday Shankar and his Art (Delhi: B. R. Publications, 1982)

Ghosh, Dibyendu (ed.), The great Shankars: Uday, Ravi (Calcutta : Agee Prakashani, 1983)

Khokar, Mohan, His Dance, his life: a Portrait of Uday Shankar (New Delhi: Himalayan Books, 1983)


The extract offers an interesting observation on Shankar's art and places it firmly into a context of Indian nationalism, which adds a different dimension to  the nature of his performances. These comments are unusual as they establish a political context for Shankar's performances, rather than discussing the exoticism of his ballet which other reviewers tend to overemphasize.

Archive source: 

Uday Shankar Performance Scrapbooks, Nehru Memorial Library and Museum, New Delhi

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
26 Sep 1977
Location of death: 
Calcutta, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
23 Aug 1920
Dates of time spent in Britain: 




Basanta Kumar Mallik


Basanta Mallik was a significant twentieth-century Indian philosopher who followed his studies in philosophy at the University of Calcutta (BA, 1902; MA, 1903) with a period as a student then academic at the University of Oxford. Mallik began his time at Oxford as a law student, gaining a BA in Jurisprudence in 1916; he went on to complete a Certificate in Physical and Cultural Anthropology (1918) and a Diploma in Anthropology (1919). His studies at Oxford were sponsored by the Prime Minister of Nepal (Mallik worked initially as a tutor for his sons but later took up many government roles, especially in foreign affairs). Unable to return home after the First World War broke out, he resumed his first love, philosophy, getting agreement from his patrons to begin a BLitt (PhD).

Able to remain in Oxford, he became part of closely knit group of friends and frequently visited Robert Bridges at Boar’s Hill. He met Robert Graves at a Lotus Club dinner in 1922 and significantly influenced the poet’s early work. Graves treated him as a mentor and was fascinated with his metaphysical and philosophical meditations on breaking down conflict, violence and the clash of civilizations. Traces of this influence are evident in Graves’s early work, in collections such as Mock Beggar Hall, appealing to the pacifist interests of the Hogarth Press and Leonard Woolf. Mallik also established close friendships with T. E. Lawrence, Sydney Lewis and Sam Harries who met up at Boar’s Hill or in Mallik’s Oxford rooms. He was active in the Lotus Club and was friends with many other Indians in Oxford. His ideas attempted to bridge philosophical debates drawn from ‘East’ and ‘West’; Mallick, like others of his generation, was widely read in both traditions. His belief that the effect of British rule in India had made untenable the concepts of equality and freedom on which humanist ideals were based made him an anti-imperialist, although he did not believe in violent resistance. Mallik went back to Nepal in 1923 and then to Calcutta. He returned to Oxford in 1938 where he continued to write, lecture and publish until his death in 1958.

The friendship with Graves is recorded in the first edition of Robert Graves’s autobiography, published in 1929, Goodbye to All That. Graves and his family cut off the close relations with Mallik soon after he returned to Nepal in 1923 and once Graves had decided not to follow him there with others of the group. Graves deletes all references to Mallik in later editions of his autobiography (see Sondhi and Walker on the complexities of this relationship).

Published works: 

The Individual and the Group: An Indian Study in Conflict (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1939)

The Real and the Negative (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1940)

Gandhi - A Prophecy (Oxford: Hall the Publisher, 1948)

Related Multiplicity (Oxford: Hall the Publisher, 1952)

The Towering Wave (London: Vincent Stuart Publishers Ltd, 1953)

Non Absolutes (London: Vincent Stuart Publishers Ltd, 1956)

Mythology and Possibility (London: Vincent Stuart Publishers Ltd, 1960)

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1879

F. W. Bateson, Robert Bridges, R. G. Collingwood, Alfred Graves, Robert Graves, Sam Harries, E. B. Havell, T. E. Lawrence, Sydney Lewis, Winifred Lewis, Wyndham Lewis, A. D. Lindsay, Lady Ottoline Morell, King of Nepal, Harold Nicholson, Nancy Nicholson, K. M. Panikkar, H. J. Paton, Shuaib Qureshi, S. Radakrishnan, Edgell Rickward, Lady Cecilia Roberts, Wilfred Roberts, W. D. Ross, Siegfried Sassoon, Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy, Rabindranath Tagore, W. B. Yeats.

Basanta Kumar Mallik Trust, Exeter College, University of Oxford.

Contributions to periodicals: 

The Winter Owl (‘Interchange of Selves’, 3, 1923)

Precise DOB unknown: 
Secondary works: 

Lewis, Wyndham (ed.) Basanta Kumar Mallik: A Garland of Homage (London, 1961)

Sondhi, Madhuri, The Making of Peace: A Logical and Societal Framework according to Basanta Kumar Mallik (New Delhi, 1985)

Sondhi, Madhuri and Sondhi, M. L., ‘Remembering Basanta Kumar Mallik (1879-1958)’, The Round Table 301 (1987), pp. 64-73

Sondhi, Madhuri and Walker, Mary M., ‘Basanta Kumar Mallik and Robert Graves: Personal Encounters and Processes in Socio-Cultural Thought’, Gravesiana: The Journal of the Robert Graves Society 1.11 (December 1996), pp. 109-46

Involved in events: 

Development of several Majlis meetings in Oxford

Lotus Club dinner for Tagore, Randolph Hotel, Oxford, 1913

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name city of birth: 


Exeter College
University of Oxford
Oxford, OX1 3DP
United Kingdom
51° 45' 32.652" N, 1° 15' 24.0048" W
Date of death: 
01 Dec 1958
Precise date of death unknown: 
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1912
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1912-23, 1938-

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