Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:53 pm

'Nehru's Evil Genius': That's how the British saw Krishna Menon. The release of MI5's top secret files reveal how powerfully India's high commissioner agitated the West.
by Sunil Khilnani
19 March 2007




A "wary creature", one British secret agent noted of V.K. Krishna Menon—and he was furtive too, surrounding himself in an air of sinister mystery. He darted off on undisclosed missions to Moscow or Peking, talked far into the nights with his prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, cut defence deals and contracts that provoked parliamentary debates, careened through turbulent love affairs. One of the most important figures of the Nehru era, he was also one of the most detested abroad: Time magazine described him as a "crotchety, Mephistophelean" figure, and when it put him on the cover in 1962, inserted a drawing of a snake charmer into the background. Since his death in 1974, the mysteries have only thickened. Reliable archival material on Menon remains patchy, because his own papers, a major source for 20th century Indian history, are for the most part inaccessible to scholars.

The nonsensical obstructions to historical research that Indian governments prefer to maintain lend real importance to the new release of Top Secret files that the British Security Services, MI5, kept on Krishna Menon. These documents do more than provide insight into his personal and political activities; they show how powerfully he agitated the Western powers. Krishna Menon was one of several nationalists with suspected Communist connections—others included the Africans Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah, whom the British Security Services placed under close surveillance—and the Menon files so far released cover a crucial period that stretches from the early 1930s to the mid-1950s. Krishna Menon’s letters were intercepted, his phone was subject to checks, and information was gleaned from a variety of intelligence sources—including some located in the Indian high commission.
The details gathered in these files lay to rest some suspicions that have hovered around Krishna Menon for decades, while they confirm his psychological flaws, controversial financial dealings, and leftist associations.

MI5 kept Krishna Menon under surveillance primarily because they feared his Communist links, both before and after Independence. The files show that in the decade before 1947 he was a frequent visitor to the offices of the Communist Party in London’s King Street and he was often on the phone to Communist leaders like Harry Pollitt and Ted Bramley. However, MI5 was satisfied that Menon was never a Party member. But his nationalist political activities sufficiently unsettled the security services that they tried, unsuccessfully, to get Krishna Menon called up for National Service—as a way of stopping his nationalist political activities. After the war, and even after Independence, Menon remained an object of close scrutiny, and MI5 widened its surveillance to Menon’s commercial dealings, and the contracts he placed for Indian military supplies.

Krishna Menon cast a spell over those who got close to him. He had a succession of disastrous love affairs, usually with women who worked with him. To one such lover, Marie Seton, he was "strikingly unlike any Indian" she had seen: "thinner by far and extraordinarily angular. It was hard to decide if he was a very handsome man in a hacked out sculptural manner, or if he was distinctly devilish to look at.... When focused, his almond-shaped eyes resembled those of a hawk." In the view of Western officials, he was distinctly frightening. The US State Department long regarded Menon "not only as an unpleasant mischief-maker, but also, because he is such a smooth operator, dangerously persuasive", and from the early 1950s, the Americans wanted actively to force him out of office—"they are scared of Indian intentions and even more afraid of Menon in particular," the British observed.

Soon after Indian independence, MI5 discovered what it considered a particular security risk in London: the "continued employment of several Communists, fellow-travellers and sympathisers" by Menon in the Indian high commission. MI5 believed some workers were copying and passing on documents to the Communist Party—discovering the names through room taps of the Party offices. A young officer, P.N. Haksar, was one of those the security service considered worrisome, and was discussed with Sanjeevi, the director of Intelligence Bureau when he visited London in 1948 and 1949. Eventually, a list of 22 staff members at India House who had Communist links would be passed on to Nehru through the Indian Intelligence Bureau.

Although the Indian government issued instructions that Communists should not be employed in the high commissioner’s office, by 1951, MI5 concluded that "no serious action appears to have been taken so far". Weighing up the complexities of the situation, the British Security Service noted: "Menon is an intriguer. His own wants are few, but he entertains liberally; he is pro-Russian, but not a Communist; he is no lover of the British, but he did all he could to keep India in the Commonwealth; he is unpopular with members of the Indian Cabinet and with Indians whom he represents in the United Kingdom; but he retains the confidence of his Prime Minister. Taking everything into account," the report concluded, "Menon and the office of the Indian HC represent a security risk." The decision was taken to continue to withhold virtually all ‘Top Secret’ category materials from him and his office.

Meanwhile, the British were sending hints to Nehru that Menon had to be removed from the high commission. In 1951, the head of MI5, Sir Percy Sillitoe, briefed the British PM, Clement Attlee, "who was very interested" by what he heard "especially in regard to the Communists and fellow travellers on Menon’s staff", and later that year Attlee told one of Nehru’s ministers, Amrit Kaur, that he often found Menon too ill and incoherent to meet or talk with.

By the beginning of 1951, Nehru had his own anxieties, as Krishna Menon had plunged into emotional and psychological turmoil. Nehru described an encounter with Krishna Menon in Paris: he "staggered into the room, obviously very far from well...his appearance and general behaviour was so odd that he attracted the attention of others.... Malik, our ambassador here, asked Nan if Krishna was drunk. Nan was herself alarmed and came to me to say that Krishna was very ill and something should be done about him. He had the appearance of a person on the verge of going off his head...".

Some months later, seeing that Menon’s erratic behaviour was affecting relations with London, Nehru despatched his personal secretary, M.O. Mathai, to investigate. In a long report, Mathai chronicled the lurid details: Menon’s threat of suicide if dismissed or forced to resign, his downing of large doses of Luminal, a barbiturate, and his offensive manners and administrative incompetence. Still, Nehru kept Menon on.

Their relationship was intricate. Sir Isaiah Berlin surmised that Menon served Nehru as a kind of "alibi against ever doing a Ramsay MacDonald: it is his only reliable gadfly who can, by making himself personally obnoxious, stir up enough jealousy, hatred, anti-European and anti-right-wing passion to keep the party on the move and prevent it from ossifying in a right-wing direction...." Yet the relationship was an intense mixture of political and personal compulsions—and Berlin noticed too the sense in which Menon served Nehru as a kind of alter-ego. Nehru’s relation to Krishna Menon, Berlin believed, was like "T.S. Eliot’s to Ezra Pound, the same beliefs at much lower tension, milder, more compatible with respectable life, but deriving from the same constellation of values; gently, firmly, tolerant, decently anti-Western".

MI5 was also interested in dealings by Menon that had no direct bearing on security, but were "relevant to an assessment of character". After identifying his Communist Party associates, MI5 began extensive surveillance of Menon’s commercial transactions, especially the defence contracts he was placing. The MI5 records give a picture of how money from those contracts wound up in accounts that he controlled.

Menon was dealing with a firm known as S.C.K. Agencies—in which, as N.R. Pillai reported to Nehru, he "has shown unusual personal interest". Pillai concluded that India had over-paid (by a maximum of some £140,000) for certain ammunitions contracts, and the defence ministry "has been content to eat out of the high commissioner’s hand and has not exercised due vigilance".

Menon’s chief associate in striking these deals was a murky character called Bob Cleminson, son of a humble Methodist preacher. According to Security Services notes on him, he and Krishna Menon had become friends during the war: Cleminson helped Menon out financially for "bare necessities". After the war, the MI5 reports say, Cleminson mixed with "crooks or near crooks", had many friendships with Indians, and after 1949, decided to put these Indian links to "profitable purpose". Cleminson saw Menon "at least once daily", and his London apartment was a refuge for the high commissioner—Cleminson told Mathai that Menon would occasionally take there his current infatuation, who worked at the high commission. (On one occasion, she was supposed to have shed her clothes and danced naked, Mathai informed Nehru.) Cleminson also claimed that Menon showed him all the letters he received from Nehru.

It is clear that the money gathered from these contracts was not used for his personal benefit. It was dispersed instead for India League activities, to decorate the India Club offices, for his bookshop and his publishing venture, Meridian Books, which published several of Nehru’s books, including in 1951, The Discovery of India. Interestingly, it appears from transcripts of telephone conversations that small amounts of this money (on one occasion £470) was used—unbeknownst to Nehru—to subsidise a portion of the royalties paid by Meridian Books to Nehru. Menon, it appears, wanted Nehru to believe he was selling more copies than he actually was.

Finally, in 1952, Nehru replaced Menon with a new high commissioner—upon which the British began to worry that Nehru would induct Menon into his cabinet. From Delhi, the British high commissioner, Sir Alec Clutterbuck, wrote to London in 1954 with trepidation at the prospect that Menon might be given a senior portfolio: he rated Menon "Nehru’s evil genius...impairing the whole conduct of India’s foreign relations". But before long, the British came round to Krishna Menon. Despite his personal oddities and left-wing sympathies, Krishna Menon was still more favourable to the British than he was to the Americans. Ultimately, it was not British but rather American manoeuvring, orchestrated by J.K. Galbraith during the crisis days of the China war in 1962, that ended Krishna Menon’s career.

Generally speaking, these files reveal an interesting three-way relationship between the British, the Indians and the Americans. We see here a 1946 request from the US State Department in Washington to MI5 for information on Krishna Menon—of whom they seemed to know nothing. Such American requests were part of a larger pattern: during the Cold War, the British security services, with their extensive networks of imperial intelligence gathering, came effectively to serve as sub-contractors to the Americans in the field of intelligence in Asia and Africa—the Americans exercising this payback from the British in return for giving them nuclear assistance.

While the material in the Menon file will be a boon to historians, it also makes his role more complicated to explain. The question that continually exercised the British, as well as Americans, is one that still remains ours: how and why was he able to maintain his proximity and influence with Nehru? And the contents of the Menon file also press, above all, the question of how a man so flawed could have achieved as much as he did in India’s cause.

(Sunil Khilnani is the author of The Idea of India.)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:25 am

M. O. Mathai [Mundappallil Oommen Mathai]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/10/20




M.O. Mathai (Mundappallil Oommen Mathai) (1909–28 August 1981[1]) was the Private Secretary to India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He is primarily famed for his controversial memoirs in Reminiscences of the Nehru Age (1978) and My Days with Nehru (1979).


Mathai used to work for the United States Army in India, before becoming the Private Secretary to Nehru in 1946.[1][2] He resigned from his post in 1959, after the Communists accused him of misusing his power to commit financial fraud.[1][3]

One of Mathai's letters (UO No D/S13170 of 2 December 1954) dug out by the Delhi-based non-profit trust Mission Netaji had become controversial in 2006.[4] The letter indicated that the ashes of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were received in India in the 1950s. This information is contradictory to the Indian government's opinion that Bose's ashes are kept in Renkoji temple in Japan.


Reminiscences of the Nehru Age

Mathai wrote the book about his experiences as the private secretary to Jawaharlal Nehru, in the brief span when the Janata alliance ousted Indira Gandhi from the Union Government.[5][6] The book has a total 49 chapters, some on Nehru's work and personal life and some on the various people that Mathai met.[7][8][9][10][11]

The book ended up being banned, shortly after publication; the details of the ban are hazy.[5]

Chapter 29

The chapter 29 named 'She' was blanked and a note was appended in place, which claimed to have been withdrawn from the book at the request of the author.[7] The contents of the chapter has since birthed intense speculations; the publisher has since denied the existence of any such chapter and claimed it to be a promotional stunt.[12] T V Rajeswar, former chief of Intelligence Bureau has since claimed of receiving a copy of the chapter from M. G. Ramachandran and duly submitting to then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; he claims to have not read the contents.[12][7]

Fake News

Sleazy narratives about sexual relations of Mathai and Indira are frequently uploaded over the internet, claiming to be the concealed chapter.[13]

The book has also been frequently exploited by the Hindu Nationalist right in India, to spread fake news about Nehru having a Muslim lineage and claim of fraternal blood relations between Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.[14][15] The book contains no relevant stuff around this locus.[14][15]


1. Associated Press (31 August 1981). "M.O. Mathai, a Top Official In India During Nehru's Rule". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
2. "Ottawa Social Notes". Montreal Gazette. 24 October 1949. p. 18. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
3. Special Correspondent (17 January 1959). "Nehru's secretary answers attack by Communists". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
4. "Netaji's ashes still in Japan temple: MEA". Retrieved 7 January2020.
5. KK, Satyavrat. "Time to lift the ban on what Nehru's aide wrote about him and his contemporaries?". Retrieved 7 January 2020.
6. Joshi, Chand (28 February 1978). "Book review: Reminiscences of the Nehru Age by M.O. Mathai". India Today. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
7. "'A chapter' with Indira". The Telegraph (Kolkata). 22 September 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
8. Akbar, M.J. (18 December 1988). "Nehru and The Lady". The Observer. p. 32. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
9. Grant, Bruce (12 July 1980). "Nehru and the in-built system of poverty". The Age. p. 25. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
10. Newsweek International (8 February 1978). "Himself". Edmonton Journal. p. 5. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
11. Associated Press (28 August 1980). "Mountbatten Biography Alleges Lady-Nehru Affair". The Victoria Advocate. p. 25. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
12. "A missing but not closed chapter in the life of Indira". Hindustan Times. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
13. Assisi, Charles (16 July 2017). "The 'escapades' of Indira Gandhi, the 'romance' of Roger Federer". Livemint. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
14. "Court Sends Payal Rohatgi to Jail for 9 Days for 'Objectionable' Twitter Videos Against Nehrus". The Wire. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
15. "Nehru's parents are Muslims? No, M.O. Mathai made no such comments in his books". FACTLY. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:55 am

India League
by The Open University
Accessed: 2/10/20



Location: 146 Strand, London, WC2R 0PT, United Kingdom
Other names: Commonwealth of India League
Date began: 01 Jan 1928
Precise date began unknown:
Organization location: 146 Strand, London; 165 Strand, London.

The India League was a Britain-based organization whose aim was to campaign for full independence and self-government for India. The activist, lawyer and editor V. K. Krishna Menon was the driving force behind it. It evolved from the Commonwealth of India League (est. 1922) – which in turn evolved from Annie Besant’s Home Rule for India League (est. 1916). Menon became joint secretary of the Commonwealth of India League in 1928 and radicalized the organization, rejecting its objective of Dominion Status for the greater goal of full independence and alienating figures such as Besant in the process. It was in the early 1930s, with Menon at its helm, that the organization flourished, expanding into multiple branches across London and in a range of other British cities including Bournemouth, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Hull, Lancashire, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton and Wolverhampton.

The India League sought to raise consciousness among the British people of the injustice of British colonial rule in India and to mobilize them to protest against it. Organized into a range of committees, including a Women’s Committee and an Action Committee, its active members did so through a variety of means and on a voluntary, unpaid basis. For example, its Parliamentary Committee lobbied MPs – several of whom spoke on behalf of the League in the House of Commons – as well as arranging for Indians to address the House of Commons, and discussing policy based on events and opinion in India. Menon, as well as other members of the executive, addressed a variety of different audiences (workers, women’s groups, church-goers) throughout the country, and spoke at meetings hosted by several organizations including the Labour Party, the Communist Party, and the Fabian Society. The League also organized public meetings to celebrate 'Independence Day' and Tagore’s birthday, and to commemorate the Amritsar Massacre, for example. In addition, it published numerous pamphlets, treatises and newspaper articles on the plight of India, countering government propaganda and misinformation. Its own organs included Indian News (Newsindia) and the Information Bulletin.

The League’s activities were closely linked to events in India. Julius Silverman, former chair of the Birmingham branch, describes it as ‘the Sister Organization of the Congress Party in India’ (p. 844). The strength of this relationship was due in part to the friendship between Menon and Jawaharlal Nehru, and the League gave receptions for Nehru on his visits to England in the 1930s. While the League languished at the beginning of the Second World War, when Britain’s political focus lay elsewhere, the Quit India resolution in 1942 and subsequent jailing of Nehru, Gandhi and other Congress leaders saw an increase in the organization’s energy, as did the Bengal famine of 1943. In 1932, Krishna Menon formed an India League delegation with Monica Whately, Ellen Wilkinson and Leonard Matters to investigate conditions in India. Their findings, which included shocking details of political repression, torture and starvation, were published on their return and the book was banned in India.

The India League’s membership was largely elite and predominantly British, although several Indians and Ceylonese resident in or visiting England, including numerous students, did attend meetings. In order to attract more support among the South Asian working classes in Britain, the League established its East End branch in the early 1940s. The organization continued to function after independence, adapting its aims to forging strong links between India and Britain, as well as to working towards the emancipation of people across the globe. Indeed, despite its primary focus on India, the League was internationalist in its outlook throughout, perceiving India’s struggle for freedom as part of a larger struggle against imperialism and capitalism.

Key Individuals' Details:

Horace Alexander (exec), Bhicoo Batlivala (exec), Asha Bhattacharya (exec), K. C. Bhattacharya (exec), H. N. Brailsford (committee for action), Reginald Bridgeman (exec), Fenner Brockway (exec), P. S. Chaudhry (secretary, Dublin branch), A. J. Cook (exec), Lord Farringdon (exec), Peter Freeman (chair, 1930-2), Dr H. J. Handoo (exec), Mrs Jai Kshori Handoo (women’s committee), Gulab Hassan (secretary, Newcastle branch), George Hicks (parliamentary committee), J. F. Horrabin (vice-chair, early 1930s, committee for action), Winifred Horrabin (exec), George Lansbury (committee for action), Harold Laski (president, 1930-49, and committee for action), Fred Longden (exec), James Marley (secretary), Leonard Matters (1932 delegation to investigate conditions in India), V. K. Krishna Menon (hon. secretary, 1928-47; president, 1947-74), Syed Mohamedi (exec), Mrs Bimla Nehru (women’s committee), Brijlal Nehru (exec and chair of women’s committee), Miss M. Nicholson (exec), Anna Pollack (often acted as assistant secretary) Dhani Ram Prem (secretary, Birmingham branch), A. A. Purcell (Indian labour committee), Bertrand Russell (chair, 1932-9, committee for action), Julius Silverman (chair, Birmingham branch), Bridget Tunnard (administrative secretary, until 1971), Wilfred Wellcock (exec and women’s committee), Monica Whately (exec and 1932 delegation to investigate conditions in India), Anne C. Wilkinson (treasurer), Ellen Wilkinson (1932 delegation to investigate conditions in India), Tom Williams (parliamentary secretary and committee for action), Dorothy Woodman (committee for action), Commander Edgar Young (exec).


Mulk Raj Anand, C. F. Andrews, Tarapada Basu, Annie Besant, Aneurin Bevan, P. C. Bhandari, Vera Brittain, B. B. Ray Chaudhuri, Mrs Ray Chaudhuri, Venu Chitale, Savitri Chowdhary, G. D. H. Cole, Jean Cole, Elizabeth Collard, A. J. Cook, Isabel Cripps, P. T. Dalal, S. K. Datta, R. J. Deshpande, Joseph Devli, Rajani Palme Dutt, Michael Foot, Feroze Gandhi, Indira Nehru, Pran Nath Haksar, Agatha Harrison, Laurence Housman, C. E. M. Joad, Sunder Kabadia, C. L. Katial, Dr Kumaria, Freda Laski, Professor Madhusudan, M. Majumdar, Kingsley Martin, Aubrey Menen, S. Menon-Marath, James Marley, S. P. Mitra, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajni Patel, Marion Phillips, H. L. Polak, Renuka Ray, Paul Robeson, Marie Seton, Krishnarao Shelvankar, Mary Shelvankar, Harbhajan Singh, Reval Singh, Marthe Sinha, Sasadhar Sinha, Donald Soper, Lady Sorensen, Reginald Sorensen, T. Subasinghe, J. P. Thompson, J. Vijaya-Tunga, S. A. Wickremasinghe.

Related organization:

Cambridge Majlis
Oxford Majlis

Other related organizations:

Communist Party, India Club, Indian Conciliation Committee of the Society of Friends, Labour Party.

Involved in events details:

'Independence Day' and Republic Day (regular meetings)

Labour Party conferences

Simon Commission

Quit India Movement, 1942

Published works:

Brailsford, H. N., How it Looks from India

Bristol Branch, The Peril in India. A Reply to the Daily Mail

Condition of India: Being the Report of the Delegation Sent to India by the India League in 1932 (1933)

Conflict in India (1942)

Freeman, Peter, Our Duty to India

Graham, Margaret, India: Our Responsibilities

Indian National Congress, India Denounces British Imperialism; read the suppressed statement of All India Congress on Sept 14, 1939 (1939)

Kalam, Azad Abdul, India’s Choice (1940)

Menon, V. K. Krishna, Why Must India Fight? (1940)

Menon, V. K. Krishna, Britain’s Prisoner (1941)

Menon, V. K. Krishna, India, Britain and Freedom (1941)

Menon, V. K. Krishna, The Situation in India (1943)

Menon, V. K. Krishna, Unity with India against Fascism (1943)

Nehru, Jawaharlal, Peace and India (1938)

Nehru, Jawaharlal, The Parting of the Ways and the Viceroy–Gandhi Correspondence (1940)

Nehru, Jawaharlal, What India Wants (1942)

The Parable of a Conquered State

Plantation Labour in India, preface by A. A. Purcell

Rao, B. Shiva, Indian Labour and Self-Government

Sorensen, Reginald, Famine, Politics and Mr Amery (1944)

Secondary works:

Arora, K. C., Indian Natonalist Movement in Britain, 1930-1949 (New Delhi: Inter-India Publications, 1992)

Chakravarty, Suhash, V. K. Krishna Menon and the India League, Vols 1 & 2 (New Delhi: Har-Anand, 1997)

Chakravarty, Suhash, Crusader Extraordinary: Krishna Menon and the India League, 1932–6 (New Delhi: India Research Press, 2006)

Silverman, Julius, ‘The India League’, in B. N. Pande (ed.) A Centenary History of the Indian National Congress, Vol. 3: 1935-1947 (New Delhi: All India Congress Committee/Vikas Publishing, 1985)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:01 am

Indian Home Rule movement
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/10/20



The Indian Home Rule movement was a movement in British India on the lines of Irish Home Rule movement and other home rule movements. The movement lasted around two years between 1916–1918 and is believed to have set the stage for the independence movement under the leadership of Annie Besant all over India whereas B. G. Tilak participation was limited to the educated English speaking upper class Indians.[1] In 1921 All India Home Rule League changed its name to Swarajya Sabha.[2]

Home Rule flag


The flag contains the union Jack of the British Empire. It has red and green stripes.

The flag is also bifurcated in the pattern of the legendary Zulfiqar.

The flag features the constellation Ursa major which is sacred to the people. The flag also contains a Crescent and a 7 pointed star.

The flag is believed to be an important representation to the people of East and West Pakistan.


Indian home rule movement began in India in the background of World War I. The Government of India Act (1909) failed to satisfy the demands of the national leaders. However, the split in the congress and the absence of leaders like Tilak, who was imprisoned in Mandalay meant that nationalistic response was tepid.

By 1915, many factors set the stage for a new phase of nationalist movement. The rise in stature of Annie Besant (who was of Irish origin and a firm supporter of Irish Home Rule Movement), the return of Tilak from exile and the growing calls for solving the split in congress began to stir the political scene in India. The Ghadar Mutiny and its suppression led to an atmosphere of resentment against British rule.

In context of World War I

Most Indians and Indian political leaders had been divided in their response to World War I and the Indian soldiers fighting on behalf of the British Empire against Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The latter's involvement irked India's Muslims, who saw the Sultan as the Caliph of Islam.

Many Indian revolutionaries opposed the war, while moderates and liberals backed the war. The issue divided India's political classes and left the increasing demand for self-government going nowhere. Besant however declared, "England's need is India's opportunity". As editor of the New India newspaper, she attacked the colonial government of India and called for clear and decisive moves towards self-rule. As with Ireland, the government refused to discuss any changes while the war lasted. This set the stage for the movement.


Between 1916 and 1918, when the war was beginning, prominent Indians like Joseph Baptista, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, G. S. Khaparde, Sir S. Subramania Iyer ,Satendra Nath Bose And the leader of the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant, decided to organise a national alliance of leagues across India, specifically to demand Home Rule, or self-government within the British Empire for all of India. Tilak founded the first home rule league at the Bombay provincial congress at Belgaum in April,1916.[3] then after this Annie Besant founded second league at Adyar Madras in September 1916. While Tilak's league worked in areas like Maharashtra (excluding Bombay city), Karnataka, Central provinces and Berar, Annie Besant's league worked in the rest of India.

The move created considerable excitement at the time, and attracted many members of the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League, who had been allied since the 1916 Lucknow Pact. The leaders of the League gave fiery speeches, and petitions with hundreds of thousands of Indians as signatories were submitted to British authorities. Unification of moderates and radicals as well as unity between Muslim League and Indian National Congress was a remarkable achievement of Annie Besant.

The government arrested Annie Besant in 1917 and this led to nationwide protests. The movement actually spread out and made its impact in the interior villages of India. Many moderate leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined the movement. The League spread political awareness in new areas like Sindh, Punjab, Gujarat, United Provinces, Central provinces, Bihar, Orissa and Madras, which all sought an active political movement.

The pressure of the movement, especially after Annie Besant's arrest, led to the Montague's declaration on 20 August 1917 which stated that "progressive realization of responsible government in India" was the policy of the British government.[4]

During this time various meetings were held in Nellore, Kurnool, Bellary, Cuddapah, Kakinada, Rajahmundry and Vizagapatnam. In Kurnool a prominent leader, Raja Sir P. V. Madhava Rao of Panyam has supported the home rule league. The speech given by him in a meeting held in kurnool is highlighted here in which he thrashed the British Government saying the (bulk of) bureaucracy has failed to understand the needs of the people and the requirements of time.[5] Later after the completion of meeting's in Madras Presidency many prominent leaders gave support to the league under the leadership of Annie Besant.[6]


First page of the first edition of the English translation of Gandhi's "Hind Swaraj" - "Indian Home Rule" in translation. The copyright legend on this first edition bears these words: "No Rights Reserved".

The Movement was also left leaderless once Tilak left for England to pursue a libel case he had filed and Annie Besant was largely satisfied by the promise of Reforms.

Its further growth and activity were stalled by the rise of Mahatma Gandhi and his Satyagraha art of revolution: non-violent, but mass-based civil disobedience. Gandhi's Hindu lifestyle, mannerisms and immense respect for Indian culture and the common people of India made him immensely popular with India's common people. His victories in leading the farmers of Champaran, Bihar and Kheda, Gujarat against the British authorities on tax revolts made him a national hero.

After the Montagu Declaration the league agreed to suspend its expansion of the movement. After this the all moderate candidate gave up the membership of league. The league believed that the British government will gradually reform the administration and local representative system by ushering participation of local Indians.


In 1920, the All India Home Rule League elected Mahatma Gandhi as its president.

See also


1. Nehru, Jawaharlal (1 March 1945). An Autobiography (1 ed.). Calcutta: Bodell.
2. Douglas E.Haynes (1991). Rhetoric and Ritual in Colonial India: The Shaping of a Public Culture in Surat City, 1852-1928. University of California Press. p. 215. ISBN 9780520067257.
3. India's struggle for Independence, Bipan Chandra, p161
4. India's struggle for Independence, Bipan Chandra, p168
5. Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya (1969). The Freedom Struggle in Andhra Pradesh (Andhra): 1906-1920. Andhra Pradesh State Committee Appointed for the Compilation of a History of the Freedom Struggle in Andhra Pradesh. p. 368.
6. Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya (1969). The Freedom Struggle in Andhra Pradesh (Andhra): 1906-1920. Andhra Pradesh State Committee Appointed for the Compilation of a History of the Freedom Struggle in Andhra Pradesh. p. 113,286.

External links

• India Home Rule League of America materials in the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:29 am

Derby Telegraph
by Wikipedia
accessed: 2/10/20



Freda relished the camaraderie of college life. We talked endlessly, mainly between nine and midnight over large cups of cocoa or Bourneville made in the College pantries. Everything from socialism to Karl Marx, Proust, D.H. Lawrence, the family, to the new fields of Birth Control and travel were the subjects of conversation.' Initially, she worked hard -- the 'first year was one of study,' she recounted. But her enthusiasm for the course waned. 'Suddenly, I couldn't be bothered ... I could speak French fluently already. I wanted to learn other languages, to understand the world.' She was also concerned about what a modern languages degree would point her towards: 'It was the flash of understanding which showed me French could only lead me to becoming a teacher or lecturer. And I passionately did not want to go back into the world of childhood that being a teacher meant.' She was closing in on what she did wish to pursue as a career. 'My eyes were on journalism, writing [and] interpreting that incredible international adult world that poured into magazine and newspaper.' She even met the editor of the Derby Daily Telegraph who promised her an opening once she had her degree, but she never went back to her home city. She did eventually carve out a reputation as a journalist, and demonstrated curiosity and social concern as well as the ability to communicate, but only after several years in the line of work she had been so keen to avoid: teaching and lecturing...

In the summer of 1932, perhaps while recuperating from her ill health, Freda travelled in northern Germany. She wrote articles for the Derby Evening Telegraph about German family life and about the merits of German men, their cheerfulness, domesticity and love of order...

'Barely a week after finishing Final Schools,' Freda wrote a decade later, 'we were married in the dark and poky little Oxford Registry Office. The registrar looked sour and pointedly omitted to shake hands with us. We came out, with my parents and a cousin from India, into a drenching downpour of rain ... "Don't worry," said my husband. "Rain is auspicious for an Indian bride."'... The Derby Evening Telegraph reported that the couple were planning to honeymoon in Italy before moving to Berlin and eventually settling in Lahore. 'They refused to discuss their plans and shunned publicity.'...

News of Freda Bedi's arrest and sentence once again made the front page of the Tribune, complete with a posed portrait photograph. The following day's paper offered a fuller account of her arrest and sentence- - which emphasised the level of local interest in and support for her action, reporting that she was 'profusely garlanded by the public' after sentence was passed in a trial in which she had refused to participate. The Reuters news agency eventually picked up the story -- and a few weeks after the event, the jailing of 'the first Englishwoman to join Mr Gandhi's passive resistance movement' made front page news back in Freda's home city [Derby Telegraph] with the headline: 'Derby Wife of Indian Sentenced'...

Early in 1947, shortly after Kabir's first birthday, Freda chose to make a journey back home to Derby... The end of the war made international travel feasible once more, and Freda wanted to show off her new child. Leaving Bedi, Binder and thirteen-year-old Ranga behind, Freda and her baby set off for London...

It was at that time that stories came of Independence being given to India in 1948, and Papa felt I should go home and see Mother who had not met me since her visit to India in 1936-7. 'There might be trouble during the transfer of power,' he said, 'and we [Freda and her mother] should be together. So go now...'

Before boarding the plane, Freda dropped a line to a friend asking for advice about what to do in London. Jawaharlal Nehru, who by the end of the year was to become the first prime minister of independent India, sent a brief reply to her at The Huts. 'I hope you will enjoy your visit to England after 14 years,' he wrote. 'You should certainly meet Krishna Menon. I cannot suggest what you might do there, but Krishna Menon will, no doubt, be able to do so.'...

Freda had occasional reporting assignments. Derby's evening paper noted that she was covering the British Labour Party's annual conference for an Indian newspaper and included a photograph of her in Punjabi-style salwar kameez...

She took advantage of the ... time to meet old Oxford friends. At the beginning of December, she sent Olive chandler a postcard -- the picture of their old college -- thanking her for a memorable visit: "Had lunch with Barbara [Castle] today ..."

A year later, her mother received a last minute invitation to meet India's new prime minister. 'Summoned to a reception at India House, London, to meet Jawaharlal Pandit Nehru, Mrs. F.N. Swan ... cooked a meal for four, prepared the next day's food and then found time to go out and buy herself a new dress and a new hat for the occasion before catching a train to London less than seven hours after receiving the invitation,' reported the Derby Daily Telegraph. Mrs. Swan told the paper that her daughter was 'well known to Pandit Nehru' and she said her proudest moment came when Nehru stopped at her table and shook her hand.

-- The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi, by Andrew Whitehead

Derby Telegraph
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Trinity Mirror
Editor Julie Bayley
Founded 1879
Headquarters Derby

The Derby Telegraph, formerly the Derby Evening Telegraph, is a daily tabloid newspaper distributed in the Derby area of England. Stories produced by the Derby Telegraph team are published online under the Derbyshire Live brand.


In 1857, Richard Keene was publishing the Derby Telegraph every Saturday. His business was in the Irongate district of Derby. His family was to include Alfred John Keene who was a local painter whose work is displayed in the Derby Art Gallery.[1]

Another paper was first published in 1879 by Eliza Pike. It was known at the time as the Derby Daily Telegraph and was a four-page broadsheet which cost a halfpenny. Historical copies of the Derby Daily Telegraph, dating back to 1879, are available to search and view in digitised form at The British Newspaper Archive.[2]

The first editor was W.J. Piper who stayed in the post until he died in 1918. He was succeeded by William Gilman who in 1927, saw the paper sold three times in a series of months, eventually ending up in the hands of Northcliffe Newspaper Group, which was part of Daily Mail and General Trust plc. The same company also publishes the Telegraph Lite - a weekly advertising-funded free newspaper.

The paper was originally based at the Corn Market in the town centre, It was refurbished in 1918 after the First World War but it outgrew these premises in 1929 and moved to the Corn Exchange. It stayed there until 1981 when it moved to purpose-built premises in Meadow Road.

In November 2014 it moved to its present office location at 2, Siddals Road.[3] Printing had been sourced from Birmingham since 2011.[4]

In 2012, Local World acquired Northcliffe Media from Daily Mail and General Trust.[5]

In November 2015, Local World was acquired by the Trinity Mirror Group.[6] In May 2018 the Derby Telegraph's website changed its name to Derbyshire Live, falling in line with other titles' websites which are owned by the same group, including Nottinghamshire Live (previously Nottingham Post) and Leicestershire Live (Leicester Mercury).


Until the late 1990s, the newspaper ran the annual Miss Derby Evening Telegraph competition. Entrants had to be female, aged 17–25, never married and never had children.

In 2012, the Derby Telegraph launched the Local Business Accelerator competition with the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce. The businesses deemed to have most potential won mentoring, free advertising and chamber membership. Mackney Photography, Splash Fit Gym and Essere Bella beauty salon were the winners in 2012.[7] In 2013, the winners were Eve of St Agnes, Status Social and the Derby Brewing Company.[8]


Before the 1970s, the newspaper (in its broadsheet form) often had national news stories on its front page, with weighty current affairs stories. The coverage of national and local news stories was almost 50:50.


It is published daily from Monday to Saturday and is the principal local newspaper for Derby and surrounding parts of south Derbyshire. The newspaper has a local focus with usually just two pages reserved for national and international news. Back issues from 1879 until the present day can be viewed at the Derby Local Studies Library or the British Library Newspaper Collection at Colindale, London. Current average circulation is 20,090 daily (as of 01/10/2015)[9]

The paper was known as the Derby Evening Telegraph until April 2009 when it changed its name to simply the Derby Telegraph. This was because only one edition was now published per day and available in the morning, which would have rendered the use of the word "Evening" in the title as misleading. For many years, the name "Derby" had not featured in the paper's front page masthead. The change of name involved the word "Evening" being substituted by "Derby" in the masthead. The masthead font has been unchanged since 1975.


1. "White's 1857 Directory of Derby". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011.
2. Digitised copies of the Derby Daily Telegraph
3. [1] Archived 2015-03-26 at the Wayback Machine Derby Telegraph: Derby Telegraph staff counting down to the big day,November 14, 2014
4. [2] BBC: Nottingham Post and Derby Telegraph printed in Birmingham
5. Daily Mail sells regional newspapers to Local World BBC News, 21 November 2012
6. ... ealTrinity Mirror confirms £220m Local World deal
7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
9. ... aperid=285

External links

• Derbyshire portal
• Derby Telegraph web site
Site Admin
Posts: 29983
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:49 am

Tribune (magazine)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/10/20



Tribune magazine cover
Format Quarterly magazine and website
Publisher Bhaskar Sunkara
Editor Ronan Burtenshaw
Founded 1937
Political alignment Democratic socialism
Headquarters 46-48, New Road, Dagenham, London, United Kingdom
ISSN 0041-2821

Tribune is a democratic socialist political magazine founded in 1937 and published in London. While it is independent, it has usually supported the Labour Party from the left. From 2009 to 2018, it faced serious financial difficulties until it was purchased by Jacobin in late 2018, shifting to a quarterly publication model.


Tribune was founded in early 1937 by two wealthy left-wing Labour Party Members of Parliament (MPs), Sir Stafford Cripps and George Strauss, to back the Unity Campaign, an attempt to secure an anti-fascist and anti-appeasement United Front between the Labour Party and socialist parties to the left. The latter included Cripps's (Labour-affiliated) Socialist League, the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).

The paper's first editor was William Mellor. Among its journalists were Michael Foot and Barbara Betts (later Barbara Castle), while the board included the Labour MPs Aneurin Bevan and Ellen Wilkinson, Harold Laski of the Left Book Club and the veteran left-wing journalist and former ILP member H. N. Brailsford.

Mellor was fired in 1938 for refusing to adopt a new CPGB policy—supported by Cripps—of backing a Popular Front, including non-socialist parties, against fascism and appeasement; Foot resigned in solidarity. Mellor was succeeded by H. J. Hartshorn, a secret member of the CPGBP. Meanwhile Victor Gollancz, the Left Book Club's publisher, joined the board of directors. For the next year, the paper was little more than an appendage of the Left Book Club, taking an uncritical line on the Popular Front and the Soviet Union.


With the Nazi-Soviet pact and the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Tribune initially adopted the CPGB's position of denouncing the war as imperialist. After the Soviet invasion of Finland, with Cripps off on a world tour, Strauss and Bevan became increasingly impatient with Hartshorn's unrelenting Stalinism.

Strauss fired him in February 1940, replacing him as editor with Raymond Postgate. Under Postgate's editorship, the Soviet fellow travellers at Tribune were either dismissed, or in Postgate's words, "left soon after in dislike of me".[1] From then on, the paper became the voice of the pro-war democratic left in the Labour Party, taking a position similar to that adopted by Gollancz in the volume Betrayal of the Left he edited attacking the communists for backing the Nazi-Soviet pact,

Early 1941 Tribune flier

Bevan ousted Postgate after a series of personality clashes in 1941, assuming the role of editor himself, although the day-to-day running of the paper was done by Jon Kimche. The Bevan-Kimche Tribune is revered as one of the greatest left-wing papers in British history. It campaigned vigorously for the opening of a second front against Adolf Hitler's Germany, was consistently critical of the Winston Churchill government's failings and argued that only a democratic socialist post-war settlement in Britain and Europe as a whole was viable.

George Orwell was hired in 1943 as literary editor. In this role, as well as commissioning and writing reviews, he wrote a series of columns, most of them under the title "As I Please", that have become touchstones of the opinion journalist's craft. Orwell left the Tribune staff in early 1945 to become a war correspondent for The Observer—he was replaced as literary editor by his friend Tosco Fyvel—but he remained a regular contributor until March 1947.

Orwell's most famous contributions to Tribune as a columnist include "You and the atom bomb", "The sporting spirit", "Books v cigarettes", "Decline of the English Murder" and "Some Thoughts on the Common Toad", all of which have appeared in dozens of anthologies.

Other writers who contributed to Tribune at this time include Naomi Mitchison, Stevie Smith, Alex Comfort, Arthur Calder-Marshall, Julian Symons, Elizabeth Taylor, Rhys Davies, Daniel George, Inez Holden and Phyllis Shand Allfrey.[2]

Kimche left Tribune to join Reuters in 1945, his place being taken by Frederic Mullally. After the Labour landslide election victory of 1945, Bevan joined Clement Attlee's government and formally left the paper, leaving Mullally and Evelyn Anderson as joint editors, with Foot playing Bevan's role of political director. Over the next five years, Tribune was critically involved in every key political event in the life of the Labour government and reached its highest-ever circulation, of some 40,000. Foot persuaded Kimche to return as joint editor in 1946 (after Mullally's departure to the Sunday Pictorial) and eventually himself became joint editor with Anderson in 1948 after Kimche was fired for disappearing from the office to Istanbul to negotiate the safe passage of two Jewish refugee ships through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles.

In the first few years of the Attlee administration, Tribune became the focus for the Labour left's attempts to persuade Ernest Bevin, the Foreign Secretary, to adopt a "third force" democratic socialist foreign policy, with Europe acting independently from the United States and the Soviet Union, most coherently advanced in the pamphlet Keep Left (which was published by the rival New Statesman).

After the Soviet rejection of Marshall Aid and the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948, Tribune endorsed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and took a strongly anti-communist line, with its editor declaring in November 1948: "The major threat to democratic socialism and the major danger of war in Europe arises from Soviet policy and not from American policy. It is not the Americans who have imposed a blockade on Berlin. It is not the Americans who have used conspiratorial methods to destroy democratic socialist parties in one country after another. It is not the Americans who have blocked effective action through one United Nations agency after another".

Bevanism and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Foot remained in the editorial chair until 1952 when Bob Edwards took over, but he returned after losing his parliamentary seat in Plymouth in 1955. During the early 1950s, Tribune became the organ of the Bevanite left opposition to the Labour Party leadership, turning against the United States over its handling of the Korean War, then arguing strongly against West German rearmament and nuclear arms. However, Tribune remained critical of the Soviet Union as it denounced Stalin on his death in 1953 and in 1956 opposed the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution and the British government's Suez adventure. The paper and Bevan parted company after his "naked into the conference chamber" speech at the 1957 Labour Party conference. For the next five years, Tribune was at the forefront of the campaign to commit Labour to a non-nuclear defence policy, "the official weekly of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament" (CND) as the direct actionists in the peace movement put it. CND's general secretary Peggy Duff had been Tribune general manager. Among journalists on Tribune in the 1950s were Richard Clements, Ian Aitken and Mervyn Jones, who related his experience on the paper in his autobiography Chances.

1960s and 1970s

After Foot was re-elected to Parliament in 1960 for Bevan's old seat of Ebbw Vale, Richard Clements became editor. During the 1960s and 1970s the paper faithfully expressed the ideas of the parliamentary Labour left and allied itself with the new generation of left-wing trade union leaders that emerged on the back of a wave of workplace militancy from the early 1960s onwards.

As such, it played a massive role in the politics of the time. Although it welcomed the election of Harold Wilson's Labour government in 1964—"Tribune takes over from Eton in the cabinet", exclaimed a headline—the paper became rapidly disillusioned. It denounced the Wilson government's timidity on nationalisation and devaluation, opposed its moves to join the European Communities (EC) and attacked it for failing to take a principled position against the Vietnam War. It also backed the unions' campaigns against the government's prices-and-incomes policies and against In Place of Strife, Barbara Castle's 1969 package of trade union law reforms.

The paper continued in the same vein after Edward Heath won the 1970 general election, opposing his Tory government's trade union legislation between 1970 and 1974 and placing itself at the head of opposition to Heath's negotiations for Britain to join the EEC. After Labour regained power in 1974, Tribune played a central part in the "no" campaign in the 1975 referendum on British EEC membership.

However, Tribune in this period did not speak to, let alone represent, the concerns of the younger generation of leftists who were at the centre of the campaign against the Vietnam War and the post-1968 student revolt, who found the paper's reformism and commitment to Labour tame and old-fashioned. Circulation, around 20,000 in 1960, was said by 1980 to be around 10,000, but it was in fact much less.

Brief support of Tony Benn

Clements resigned as editor in 1982 to become a political adviser to Foot (by now Labour leader), a role he continued under Foot's successor as Labour leader, Neil Kinnock. Clements was succeeded in the Tribune chair by Chris Mullin, who steered the paper into supporting Tony Benn (then just past the peak of his influence on the Labour left) and attempted to turn it into a friendly society in which readers were invited to buy shares, much to the consternation of the old Bevanite shareholders, most prominent among them John Silkin and Donald Bruce, who attempted unsuccessfully to take control of the paper. A protracted dispute ensued that at one point seemed likely to close the paper.[3]

Paper of the soft left

Mullin left in 1984, with circulation at around 6,000, a level it roughly remained for the next ten years). He was replaced by his equally Bennite protege Nigel Williamson, who surprised everyone by arguing for a realignment of the left and took the paper into the soft left camp, supporting Kinnock, a long-time Tribune contributor and onetime board member, as Labour leader against the Bennites. The next two editors Phil Kelly and Paul Anderson took much the same line, although both clashed with Kinnock, particularly over his decision to abandon Labour's non-nuclear defence policy.

Under Kelly, Tribune supported John Prescott's challenge to Roy Hattersley as Labour Deputy leader in 1988 and came close to going bust, a fate averted by an emergency appeal launched by a front page exclaiming "Don't let this be the last issue of Tribune". Under Anderson, the paper took a strongly pro-European stance, supported electoral reform and argued for military intervention against Serbian aggression in Croatia and Bosnia. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Tribune acted as a clearing house for arguments inside the Labour Party, with contributions from all major players.

Back to basics

From 1993, Mark Seddon shifted Tribune several degrees back to the left, particularly after Tony Blair became Labour leader in 1994. The paper strongly opposed Blair's abandonment of Clause Four of the Labour Party constitution and resisted his rebranding of the party as New Labour.

After Labour won the 1997 general election, the paper maintained an oppositionist stance, objecting to the Blair government's military interventions and its reliance on spin-doctors. In 2001, Tribune opposed the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan and it was outspoken against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The paper under Seddon also reverted to an anti-European position very similar to that it adopted in the 1970s and early 1980s and campaigned for Gordon Brown to replace Blair as Labour Leader and Prime Minister.

Tribune changed format from newspaper to magazine in 2001, but remained plagued by financial uncertainty, coming close to folding again in 2002. However, Seddon and Chairman of Tribune Publications, the Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle led a team of pro-bono advisers who organised a rescue package with a consortium of trade unions (Unison, Amicus, Aslef,[4] Communication Workers Union, Community, T&GWU),[5] who became majority shareholders in return for a significant investment in the magazine in early 2004.

While editor, Seddon was elected several times to the Labour Party National Executive Committee as a candidate of the Grassroots Alliance coalition of left-wing activists. Seddon resigned as editor in summer 2004 and was succeeded by Chris McLaughlin, former political editor of the Sunday Mirror.

During 2007, Tribune spawned two offshoot websites, a Tribune Cartoons blog, put together by cartoonists who draw for the magazine; and a Tribune History blog.

In September 2008, the magazine's future was again in doubt thanks to problems with its trade union funding. An attempt by the Unite trade union to render Tribune its wholly owned subsidiary had a mixed response,[6] but on 9 October it was announced that the magazine would close on the 31 October if a buyer could not be found.[4] The uncertainty continued until early December 2008 when it emerged that a 51% stake was being sold to an unnamed Labour Party activist for £1 with an undertaking to support the magazine for £40,000 per annum and debts written off by the now former trade union owners.[7]

Tribune's cartoonists were Alex Hughes, Matthew Buck, Jon Jensen, Martin Rowson and Gary Barker.

Changes of ownership and relaunches

In March 2009, 100% ownership of the magazine passed to Kevin McGrath through a new company, Tribune Publications 2009 Limited, with the intention of keeping Tribune a left-of-centre publication though broadening the readership.[5][8][9]

In late October 2011, the future of Tribune looked bleak once again when McGrath warned of possible closure because subscriptions and income had not risen as had been hoped.[10] Unless a buyer could be found or a cooperative established, the last edition would have been published on 4 November.[11] McGrath committed to paying off the magazine's debts. Another rescue plan saved the magazine at the end of October.[12] In 2013, Tribune claimed a circulation of 5,000.[13]

In the autumn of 2016, the journal was owned by the businessman Owen Oyston, who acquired its parent company London Publications Ltd.[14] Oyston filed for bankruptcy and stopped publishing Tribune in January 2018.[15]

In May 2018, it was announced that the Tribune IP had been sold to the American socialist magazine Jacobin.[16] In August 2018, Jacobin publisher Bhaskar Sunkara confirmed the purchase of Tribune in media reports, stating that he aimed to relaunch the magazine ahead of the Labour Party Conference in September.[17][18] At the official re-launch in September 2018, Tribune was announced as a bimonthly magazine with a high-quality design, concentrating on longer-form political analysis and industrial issues coverage, so differentiating Tribune from Novara Media and Morning Star.[15] Tribune had 2,000 subscribers, with an aim of reaching 10,000 within a year.[19] The magazine is currently published quarterly.[20]

Tribune Group of MPs

The Tribune Group of Labour MPs was formed as a support group for the newspaper in 1964. During the 1960s and 1970s it was the main forum for the left in the Parliamentary Labour Party, but it split over Tony Benn's bid for the deputy leadership of the party in 1981, with Benn's supporters forming the Campaign Group (later the Socialist Campaign Group). During the 1980s, the Tribune Group was the Labour soft left's political caucus, but its closeness to the leadership of Neil Kinnock meant that it had lost any real raison d'etre by the early 1990s. It ceased to promote a list of candidates for shadow cabinet elections.[21]

The group was reformed in 2005, led by Clive Efford, MP for Eltham. Invitations to join the newly reformed group were extended to backbench Labour MPs only.[22] The group, which included former cabinet minister Yvette Cooper and former Labour policy coordinator Jon Cruddas, relaunched themselves in April 2017 aiming to reconnect with traditional Labour voters while also appealing to the centre ground. They supported "opportunity and aspiration" being central to the party’s programme, with policies supporting the "security of its people at its heart". While not critical of leader Jeremy Corbyn, it was considered as a group of centre-left and moderate Labour MPs who would resist a left-wing successor being selected.[23] The group has no connection with the current incarnation of the newspaper, currently lists more than 70 MPs as members and has begun publishing policy papers.

List of editors

1. William Mellor (1937–1938)
2. H. J. Hartshorn (1938–1940)
3. Raymond Postgate (1940–1941)
4. Aneurin Bevan and Jon Kimche (1941–1945)
5. Frederic Mullally and Evelyn Anderson (1945–1946)
6. Jon Kimche and Evelyn Anderson (1946–1948)
7. Michael Foot and Evelyn Anderson (1948–1952)
8. Bob Edwards (1952–1955)
9. Michael Foot (1955–1960)
10. Richard Clements (1960–1982)
11. Chris Mullin (1982–1984)
12. Nigel Williamson (1984–1987)
13. Phil Kelly (1987–1991)
14. Paul Anderson (1991–1993)
15. Mark Seddon (1993–2004)
16. Chris McLaughlin (2004–2017)
17. Ronan Burtenshaw (2018–present)


1. Bill Jones, The Russia Complex : the British Labour Party and the Soviet Union. Manchester : Manchester University Press, 1977. ISBN 0719006961 (p. 48-9)
2. Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth (1996). Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life. Rutgers University Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8135-2265-X.
3. For a detailed account of the Silkin takeover attempt, see articles by Chris Mullin, New Statesman, January 11 and 18, 1985.
4. John Plunkett, "Tribune set to close by November", The Guardian, 9 October 2008. The first cited reference is slightly misleading, Amicus merged with the TGWUin 2007 to form Unite.
5. Paul McNally (17 March 2009). "Sale of Tribune to Labour party activist is completed". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
6. Paul Anderson "Better read than dead", The Guardian (Comment is Free website), 11 September 2008.
7. Keith Richmond "Tribune’s future: unions and buyer agree deal for sale", Tribuneblog, 5 December 2008.
8. "Tribune Saved – Weekly Political Journal Under New Ownership". Tribune. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
9. Chris McLaughlin (26 March 2009). "Tribune's new board and plans for expansion are unveiled". Tribune. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
10. Alice Gribbin "Tribune magazine to close", New Statesman, 25 October 2011
11. James Robinson "Tribune, journal of the left, faces closure after 75 years", The Guardian, 25 October 2011
12. Peyton, Antony (31 October 2011). "'Tribune' magazine saved from closure at eleventh hour". The Independent. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
13. "Don't you know who we are? Tribune cries foul over Tory press 'snub'". Evening Standard. London. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
14. Private Eye, issue 1464 (26 February 2018), "Street of Shame", p. 10.
15. James Walker, Dorothy Musariri (1 October 2018). "New owner of relaunched bi-monthly Tribune magazine says 'Morning Star will cover the beat and we'll do more analysis'". Press Gazette. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
16. Maguire, Kevin (3 May 2018). "Commons Confidential: How Amber's voyage to No 10 turned rudderless". New Statesman. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
17. Di Stefano, Mark (31 August 2018). "An American Publisher Wants To Unite The British Left With George Orwell's Old Magazine". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
18. Waterson, Jim (31 August 2018). "US journalist to revive Labour left magazine Tribune". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
19. Waterson, Jim (27 September 2018). "New owners of Tribune shrug off criticism from former staffers". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
20. "Subscribe". Retrieved 2019-03-22.
21. Richard Heffernan, Mike Marqusee (1992). Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock's Labour Party. Verso. p. 135. ISBN 9780860915614. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
22. "Commons Confidential: November 2005". BBC News. 30 November 2005.
23. Helm, Toby (2 April 2017). "Labour MPs revamp centre-left Tribune group to win back middle-class voters". The Observer. Retrieved 19 June 2017.

Further reading

• Anderson, Paul (ed.), Orwell in Tribune: 'As I Please' and Other Writings. Methuen/Politico's, 2006. ISBN 1-84275-155-7
• Hill, Douglas (ed.), Tribune 40: the first forty years of a socialist newspaper. Quartet, 1977. ISBN 0-7043-3124-1
• Thomas, Elizabeth (ed.), Tribune 21. MacGibbon and Kee, 1958.

External links

• Tribune magazine
• Tribune Cartoons
• Tribune Cartoons (until May 2009)
• Tribune History
• Tribune of the People 1 - a Marxist history of Tribune from 1937-1950 by Chris Harman in International Socialism 21 (1965)
• Tribune of the People 2: The Wasted Years - a Marxist history of Tribune from 1950-1965 by Chris Harman in International Socialism 24 (1966).
Site Admin
Posts: 29983
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:11 am

Dyal Singh Majithia
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/10/20



Dyal Singh Majithia
Born: 1848, Banares
Died: 1898, Lahore
Occupation: Banker
Spouse(s): Rani Bhagwan Kaur

Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia (1848–98) was a Punjabi banker and activist in progressive and social reform measures in Punjab. He established The Tribune newspaper in Lahore in 1881, and later remained founder chairman of the Punjab National Bank, established in 1894. He established dyal singh trust society.


Born in Benares, Dyal Singh was the only son of General Lehna Singh. He got his early education in the Mission School at Amritsar and was later self-educated.

He founded the newspaper The Tribune and managed the affairs of the Harmandir Sahib ("Golden Temple") for nearly thirty years. He took up business in real estate and diamonds and earned huge wealth. He was the first president of the Indian Association of Lahore and continued in that capacity till his death. He was a founding Trustee of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.

He was Chairman, Board of Directors of the country's first indigenous bank, the Punjab National Bank. The Bank was founded on 23 May 1894 (its first meeting was held at 6:30 PM at Dyal Singh's house). At the second meeting on 27 May 1894, Dyal Singh was appointed Chairman and Lala Harkishen Lal, the Secretary of the Board. He was also a pillar of the Brahmo Samaj and donated liberally for educational institutions and libraries, including numerous colleges all over Northern India, like Dayal Singh College, Lahore and Dyal Singh Memorial Library, Lahore. He was closely associated with Punjab University. He also founded The Tribune newspaper (now HQ in Chandigarh)

Raja Rammohun Roy's greatest follower in Upper India was Sirdar Dyal Singh, in whose person the two strands (of Western ideas and Indian thought) seem to have been fused. Born nine years after Ranjit Singh's death and fifteen years after Rammohun Roy's demise, this scion of the family that helped Ranjit Singh carve out a Sikh kingdom was one of the greatest Brahmos in the Punjab.[1]


The Tribune newspaper founded by him is still a popular English daily. He willed his property for establishing college for secular education, initially resulting in creation of Dayal Singh College (Lahore), later also Dyal Singh College, Delhi and Dyal Singh College, Karnal.[2]


1. Madan Gopal: Vol.28, March 1994, "Builders of Modern India series" Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Govt of India. ISBN 81-230-0119-3
2. "Amid uproar, old Dyal college files scoured.", The Tribune, 21 November 2017.

External links

• Biography at Dyal Singh Memorial Trust Library, Lahore
• Dyal Singh College Lahore
• Dyal Singh College Delhi
• Dyal Singh College Karnal
• Dyal Singh Public School Jagadhari
• Dyal Singh Public School Karnal
• Dayal Singh Trust Library Lahore
• Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia
Site Admin
Posts: 29983
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:26 am

Sadharan Brahmo Samaj
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/11/20



The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (Bengali: সাধারণ ব্রাহ্ম সমাজ, Shadharôn Brahmô Shômaj) is a division of Brahmoism formed as a result of schisms in the Brahmo Samaj in 1866 and 1878 respectively.

The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj

The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj was formed in a public meeting of Brahmos held in the Town Hall of Calcutta on 15 May 1878 (2nd Jaishta 1284 of the Bengali calendar). A letter from Maharshi Devendranath Tagore communicating his blessings and prayer for the success of the new Samaj was read in the meeting. At the time of its foundation the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj was headed by three men universally esteemed in Brahmo society for their high moral character. They were Ananda Mohan Bose, Sivnath Sastri and Umesh Chandra Dutta. Of those three Ananda Mohan Bose was the youngest, scarcely more than 31 years at the time, yet he was placed at the head of affairs.

Sadharan Trust Deed of 1880

The intrinsic Primary ('Adi') Principles for Brahmo Assembly and Worship are reiterated by the next Deed of Trust of 1880.

Original doctrine and principles

that faith in a Supreme Being and in Existence after Death is natural to man;
• that we regard the relation between God and men to be direct and immediate;
• that we do not believe in the infallibility of any man or any scripture;
• whatever book contains truths calculated to ennoble the soul or elevate the character is a Brahmo's scripture, and whoever teaches such truths is his teacher and guide.
• We regard the fourfold culture of man's intellect, conscience, affections, and devotion as equally important and equally necessary for his salvation.
• We consider love of God and doing the will of God as equally imperative in the routine of a Brahmo's life.
• We regard the culture of faith at the sacrifice of reason, or the culture of reason at the sacrifice of faith as equally defective, and as fruitful sources of evil in the religious world.
• We regard the worship of one God as the highest of a Brahmo's duties and as the best of means to improve the soul and the neglect of it as a way to spiritual death.
• We look upon the enjoyment of uncontrolled authority by a single individual in any religious community as a calamity, and far from looking upon freedom of thought as reprehensible, we consider it to be desirable, and regard it as a safe-guard against corruption and degeneracy.
• We regard the belief in an individual being a way to salvation, or a link between God and Man, as a belief unworthy of a Theist, and those who hold such belief as unworthy of the Brahmo name.
• We consider it to be blasphemy and an insult to the Majesty of Heaven to claim Divine inspiration for any act opposed to the dictates of reason, truth, and morality.


From this day we intend devoting ourselves to the propagation of Brahmoism and to the furtherance of the interests of our Church, apart from some of those with whom we have so long acted, but relying for aid and support on Him in whose hands are the destinies of man who supports every noble purpose, and has all along invisibly regulated the course of our Church who, in His inscrutable ways, has given strength when our Church languished from very feebleness, has vouchsafed life when her very vitality seemed ebbing away, and who has led her out from the darkness and superstition that eclipsed her face. May He enable us to discharge this sacred mission may He once more fill all the members of our Church with new life and resuscitated energy may He cause the day of hope to dawn upon the darkness of despair may He lead us out of the regions of discord and disunion into those of peace and tranquillity may He bless our cause and lead the millions of our countrymen into truth and salvation.

Brahmo Samaj of South India:

The faith and Principles of Brahmo Samaj had spread to South Indian states like Andrapradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, and Kerala with a large number of followers.

In Kerala the faith and principles of Brahmosamaj and Raja Ram Mohun Roy had been propagated by Rao Sahib Dr. Ayyathan Gopalan in the year 1898 January 17th at Calicut (Now Kozhikode) region. He was a doctor by profession but dedicated his entire life towards Brahmosamaj and was an active executive member of Calcutta Sadharan Brahmosamaj till his death.

The Calicut (Kerala) branch of Brahmomandir was opened to the public in the year 1900 (Now Ayathan School which runs under the patronage of Brahmosamaj at Jail road, Calicut). The Second Branch of Brahmosamaj at Kerala was established at Alappuzha (South Kerala) in the year 1924 with a Brahmomandir established at Poonthoppu, Kommady (now Grihalakshmi Gandhi Smaraka seva sangam).

DR. Ayyathan Gopalan was a great social reformer of Kerala and was also the founder of Sugunavardhini movement which was established in order to foster human values in children and to protect the rights of women, children, and the downtrodden sections such as the Harijan communities (Dalit's) of the society and educate them. He established the Lady Chandawarkar Elementary School with the aim to educate girls and the underprivileged section of society.

Dr. Ayyathan Gopalan was the one who translated the "Bible of Brahmosamaj"- "Brahmodarma" written by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore to Malayalam in the year 1910.


• The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj = The General Community of Worshippers of the One God.
• The movement was originally known as the Brahma Sabha (or Assembly of Brahman).
• A new premises at Chitpore (Jorasankoe) arranged by Dwarkanath Tagore.
• The appellation Brahmo Samaj (or Community of Brahman) was introduced in 1843 by Maharshi Devendra.Nath.Thakur for the Calcutta Brahmo Samaj. The First Brahmo Schism of 1866 engendered the 2 modern branches of Brahmoism viz. "Adi Brahmo Samaj" and "Sadharan Brahmo Samaj" (previously the general body of erstwhile Brahmo Samaj of India).

External links

• The Sadharan Brahmo Samaj
• Brahmo
• Brahmo Samaj in the Encyclopædia Britannica
See Also:[edit]
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Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia: A Tribute: From the Tribune
September 9, 1998




A broad-minded liberal
by Madan Gopal

SARDAR Dyal Singh Majithia was the son of a family that had played a very important part in the history of the Sikh state founded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. For three generations the family had provided generals to the Maharaja's forces, and Dyal Singh's father was the head of the kingdom's ordnance. His uncle, Gujar Singh, who had been deputed by Maharaja Ranjit to go to Calcutta on a diplomatic mission, was accompanied by 200 armed men specially chosen by the Maharaja. And when Dyal Singh's father, Lehna Singh, left Lahore for a pilgrimage, his adversaries at the darbar at Lahore said that he too had gone with an escort of 200 people and taken gold worth a crore of rupees. Lehna Singh went to different pilgrimage centres and finally bought an estate in Kashi (Benaras).

One yardstick of the importance in society of the family in the British times was the placement in the list of protocol. And so eminent was Dyal Singh's family that when the Viceregal darbar was held in Lahore in 1864, of the 603 people invited, Dyal Singh, then aged 16, was allotted the 55th seat, his uncle Ranjodh Singh being 103rd.

While some members of the erstwhile ruling class lived a life of ease and indulgence, hankered after titles and jagirs, some others took up such jobs as that of tehsildar or extra-assistant commissioner, Dyal Singh decided to carve out a career for himself. Tall, well-built and handsome with refined tastes and aristocratic bearing, he became a shrewd business man dealing in real estate and precious stones and jewellery.

The areas outside the walled city of Lahore had barracks for the British soldiers. Once the British decided that a cantonment should be built in Mian Mir, the barracks were to be pulled down and the plots auctioned. Dyal Singh's agents bid for the plots whereupon he constructed buildings to be rented out to high British civilians. When he died in 1898 he owned 26 prestigious properties, including Dyal Singh Mansion of 54 residential units on The Mall, scores of lawyers, chambers on Fane Road, the exchange building which was later sold to Ganga Ram Hospital, and a property in Karachi which was sold after his death and the earning invested in the purchase of land on the road to Mian Mir, where today stands the new campus of Panjab University. Most of the buildings, plots of land and villages in Lahore, Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts were bequeathed to the trusts that set up Dyal Singh College and Dyal Singh Library.

His other business activity concerned the purchase and resale of precious jewellery. With his deep knowledge of the history of the Sikh kingdom and the riches of the once important and wealthy families now in dire straits, he sent agents to buy these out for him. He was a connoisseur of precious stones and told his friends how lucrative this business was.

From the real estate created by him and the trade in precious stones he earned a huge fortune. The assets created by him and bequeathed in a will drawn up in 1895 were worth Rs 30 lakh, Rs 7 lakh more than the assets bequeathed in 1893 by Sir Dorabji Tata to the House of Tatas.

A great advocate of Western education, he was largely responsible for the setting up of Panjab University. He made a handsome donation to Sir Syed Ahmed's Anjuman-i-Islamia, and set up a Union Academy at Lahore, the nucleus of Dyal Singh School and College.

Dyal Singh was a great philanthropist. He gave much in charity. It is significant that he decided on the amount to be given away to charities in advance, depending upon the earnings in the previous month. And this amount, once fixed, was not to be exceeded. Also if he promised to give a certain amount in the following month this was as good as given, there seldom being any delay in disbursement. He was so meticulous that once when he detected a mistake of a few pies in the total he told the person sending it about the carelessness and warned if a mistake was made again, he would stop all donations so long as the latter was in position.

Dyal Singh lived like a prince. He had the hobbies and failings of the class that he belonged to. His luncheon was a prolonged affair, sometimes continuing for more than a couple of hours. As per the practice, while he and the guests ate, there was some show of entertainment or music or tricks by a madari, or some other activity of this kind. He was a patron of wrestling and a keen kite-flyer. Chess was also his favourite game. He was a great player, and, with plenty of money to spend, he would invite well-known chess players even from Delhi and paid hefty fees.

Dyal Singh was fond of classical music and himself played sitar. A man of great refinement, he was also a poet and wrote in Urdu under the pseudonym "Mashriq". Three of his "Sihafis" are kept in the British Library in London. He wrote flowery prose too and was proud of it. In his ancestral house in Amritsar, he built special rooms for guests.

Dyal Singh was an unorthodox person. He had Muslim and Christian cooks. At his dining table sat Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Parsis. The wine dealers' bill for himself and guests was substantial.

A scion of the family that had held charge of the affairs of the Golden Temple for decades, Dyal Singh returned from Kashi to Majitha. Instructed by a British governess and then educated at the Christian Mission School at Amritsar, he had an inquisitive mind. He knew more about Christ and Christianity than even the pastors. With a religious bent of mind, he studied the Gita with the help of a Sanskrit teacher from Ferozepur, and studied the Quran too. At this time, there was an exchange of letters between a Sunni Muslim converted to Christianity and a Muslim divine in Lucknow. These letters related to the basic theological issues. Dyal Singh edited the letters and brought out a 115-page booklet, "Naghma-a-Tamboori". His house was the venue of serious discussion and debates on such issues, and for these he would forego even his evening outings. Cool and composed, he seldom lost his temper even with the large retinue of domestic servants at Lahore and Amritsar.

Dyal Singh's first wife died in 1876 or so. His plans to marry a Bengali Brahmo woman did not bear fruit, and he was persuaded to marry Rani Bhagwan Kaur. This did not prove to be a happy union. She observed pardah, and was not normally seen. In fact, Dyal Singh maintained three establishments, one each in Lahore, Amritsar and Karachi. As the work that he had chosen for himself required him to stay in Lahore, he was in Amritsar only for brief periods. He had no issue. He was the most important Brahmo leader of Punjab and the principal financier of the Brahmo Samaj. He was made a trustee of the Brahmo Samaj Mandir in Calcutta.

He was accessible to all those who were seekers after truth. He rendered financial assistance to the needy, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

The only other important Punjabi Brahmo leader was Shiv Narayan Agnihotri, who later left the ranks and set up a rival organisation called the Dev Samaj. Once he approached Dyal Singh for help to build a temple. Dyal Singh obliged him by supplying bricks to the founder of a movement that was antagonistic in nature compared to the one to which he belonged. This gesture was unusual but, then, Dyal Singh himself was, in some ways, an unusually generous, broad-minded and liberal person.Top


Dyal Singh Majithia: A genius with foresight
by B. K. Nehru

SARDAR Dyal Singh Majithia was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable pioneers who led India out of the darkness of ignorance to the enlightenment of modernity. He did for North India what Raja Rammohun Roy had done for Bengal three quarters of a century earlier. It is unfortunate that we know so little about his contribution to liberal education, a factor which was instrumental in India's freedom.

Sardar Dyal Singh had come to the conclusion well before 1880 that India's salvation lay in the education of the masses. He insisted on spreading English education, and established a college of the most modern kind. He made available the latest books to the Indian people. This the Sardar did through the establishment of a public library well endowed with books.

The establishment of The Tribune was another noteworthy contribution by him. The aim of the newspaper was to spread the doctrine of Indian nationalism and to bring about unity in a society that was afflicted by differences on questions of religion, caste, language and region. His nationalism was also reflected in his strong support for the foundation of the Indian National Congress.

A man who could analyse so clearly, a century and a half ago, the reasons for the downfall of the people of our country from the very top of the civilised world to its very bottom and then establish the institutions which would generate the forces to restore it to its old position, can only be regarded as a genius with great foresight and courage. He died on September 9, 1898.Top


A visionary with a difference
by V. N. Datta

THE 19th century Punjab was at the bottom optimistic and melioristic and believed that something radical could be done about all sorts of arrangements in society that would promote material well-being and intellectual advancement. Each age leaves its mark on its generation. Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia had a different cast of mind from those of his forefathers. This was so because he belonged to an era of vital social and economic changes as contrasted with the period which was marked by military adventurism and political chicanery.

Dyal Singh Majithia had a lively and questioning mind. He had influential social connections which gave him entree into every political and intellectual sphere partaking fully in the life around him. The whole story of Sardar Majithia cannot be reconstructed without recourse to conjecture and imagination as the documentary evidence helpful for some parts of his life is almost wholly lacking for others.

He belonged to the family of the distinguished ruling chiefs of Punjab, who had held high positions in the times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his successors. His grandfather, Sardar Desa Singh, was Ranjit Singh's trusted military general who was later appointed the Governor of the hill states of Mandi and Saket. He also acted as the civil administrator of Harmander Sahib in Amritsar, a responsibility he discharged with fervour. Because of his meritorious services Ranjit Singh conferred on him the title of "Kisrul-Iktdar". Sir Lepel Griffin estimated Desa Singh's income from various jagirs and other sources at 1,24,250 per annum. Desa Singh died in 1832, leaving behind three sons: Lehna Singh, Gujar Singh and Ranjodh Singh.

Dyal's father, Lehna Singh, was an extraordinary man and, in many ways, an innovator. He was highly respected for his integrity of character, mild manners and amiable disposition. He inherited a major portion of his father's estates. He acted also as the Governor of the hill states and was the chief administrator of Harmandar Sahib. Deeply interested in science, he set up his own laboratory for conducting experiments. Through his contacts with the British he acquainted himself with scientific knowledge in England and procured some literature on the subject for his own studies. An engineer, he improved the Punjab foundries and invented the clock which showed the day, the month and the changes in the moon. Though deeply interested in astronomy he was not converted to the Copernican system and still continued to believe in the earth's immobility.

Ranjit Singh was greatly impressed by Lehna Singh's diplomatic finesse and, therefore, sent him on several diplomatic missions to negotiate with the British on important political matters. In this connection he met Lord William Bentinck, Lord Auckland, Lord Ellenborough and Alexander Burnes. He was conferred the title of Hasham-ud-Daula (Lord of the State). During Chand Rani's brief regime of violence and disorder it was proposed to appoint him as Prime Minister, but he was considered too mild a person for such a challenging task which needed ruthlessness and twisting of politics. When he witnessed how Punjab was breaking up due to the sinister designs and high-handedness of a few self-aggrandising and self-destructive individuals overpowered by overweening ambition during Mesar Julla's regime, he left Punjab to settle in Benaras where Dyal Singh was born in 1849.

Henry Lawrence, the British Resident, who had much sympathy for the Punjab Chiefs, persuaded Lehna Singh to return to Punjab and appointed him a member of the Council of Regency in August, 1847. Henry Lawrence had high opinion of him and thought him the "most sensible Sardar in the Punjab", but also noted his timidity in recourse to action when it was needed. Lehna Singh avoided controversies and loathed pettyfogging and intrigues. He foresaw the rolling clouds of disaster for Punjab and, therefore, left for Benaras again on January 14, 1848, and never to return. Lehna Singh died in 1854 leaving his five-year-old son, Dyal Singh, under the tutelage of Sardar Teja Singh, formerly the Commander-in-Chief and a member of the Council of the Regency. Dyal Singh inherited a large patrimony from his father. The most significant feature of the history of Punjab in the 19th century was its remarkable process of modernisation, and in this transformation certain aspects of urbanisation gained prominence, the various channels producing the changes were education, the Press, the means of transport and communications, the bureaucratic set-up and land settlement. It is not often realised that in the transformation of Punjab the Punjabi elite played a vital role to which Kenneth Jones in his studies has drawn our attention.

Dyal Singh kept himself substantially in touch with some of the influential members of the Bengali elite in Lahore. He had great admiration for the Brahmo Samaj which had initiated social and educational reform in Bengal. It was Surendranath Banerjea who had suggested to Dyal Singh the idea of setting up an independent paper for creating an enlightened public opinion in Punjab. In his memoirs, Surendranath Banerjea wrote about Dyal Singh: "He was one of the truest and noblest men I have come across. It was perhaps difficult to know him and to get the better of his heart for there was a certain reserve about him which hid from public view pure gold that formed the stuff of his nature."

Seetalchandra Mookerjee served as the first Editor of The Tribune who was followed by Seetalakanta Chatterjee and B.C. Pal. During the 1919 disturbances Kalinath Ray was the Editor who was tried and arrested. Gandhiji had to intervene on his behalf and send a petition to the Viceroy about his release.

The Tribune became a success within a short time so much so that when Dennis Fitzpatrick was the Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab a civilian wrote to The Pioneer of Lucknow that Punjab was ruled by the Lieutenant-Governor and The Tribune. It remained Dyal Singh's cardinal principle not to interfere in the working and management of the paper, and he left complete freedom to the Editor to use his discretion in running the paper. He emphasised in his Will that the paper should remain entirely free from any taint of communalism which was vitiating the atmosphere in Punjab.

Aristocratic in bearing, Dyal Singh was a reserved and taciturn person. He was a man of few words. Not a profound thinker, ideologue or scholar of the library, he possessed immense Punjabi commonsense of seeing the reality of things. He disdained controversies. This does not mean that he kept himself aloof when important issues of national interest were involved.

Dr G.W. Leitner, Principal of the newly created Government College, founded the Anjuman-i-Punjab with the objective of reviving oriental learning, particularly the study of Sanskrit and Arabic. His objective was like that of orientalist H.H. Wilson to promote Western learning through the medium of classical languages and vernaculars. The old Macaulay-orientalist controversy was being revived in Punjab. Dyal Singh differed from Leitner's views. He regarded the English language as the "key to all improvements". He firmly believed that Western knowledge could only be imparted in India through the medium of English. That he thought was the only way to regenerate Indian society as had been previously shown by the experiment in Bengal.

The very first issue of The Tribune on February 2, 1881, stood for the promotion of modern knowledge through the English language. About 25 articles supported by strongly-worded editorials in The Tribune knocked down Leitner's argument and created a strong public opinion in favour of Dyal Singh's stand on higher education. Ultimately, the government had to yield! Though separate arrangements for imparting oriental learning were made, instruction in higher education began to be given through the medium of English.

Dyal Singh Majithia, a public spirited liberal imbued with lofty ideals, left a rich legacy of a creative force calculated to produce far-reaching consequences for generations to come. His institutions continue to function in Punjab and elsewhere and act as a stimulus to the lives of so many people. Unfortunately, political developments took a different turn from what he had envisioned. He was out-and-out a liberal person, but his liberalism got swamped by the rising tide of communalism which led to the Partition of India. The value system he had projected with his insightful intellect has much relevance for us. He had the vision of a secular, prosperous Punjab, free from conflicts, and bustling with ideas and verve.


An educationist par excellence
by Justice Dalip K. Kapur

SHAKESPEARE, perhaps better than anybody else, gave expression to the fundamental emotions and desires of humanity. Heroes or villains, lovers or warriors, kings or politicians, valiant heroines, ghosts, murderers, and, above all, patriots; he had them all. Splendidly displayed in evocative iambic pentameter. Fate and Destiny were two ideas he often referred to. Yet scholars doubt that he wrote the poems and the plays he did. But who wrote them? That is a question that has puzzled scholars over the years.

Our own Kalidas was said to be an idiot, but he was suddenly blessed with overwhelming poetic brilliance. His poetry was filled with brilliant imagery. How did he get his powers?

One of the ideas that obsessed Shakespeare was Immortality. How does one live after death? It is a universal idea. Does one go to heaven or hell or fade into oblivion? Is one reborn? Shakespeare's ideal was to live through his work. He expressed himself best on this point in his sonnets. This is what he said in Sonnet LV Lines 1-4:

Not marble nor the gilded monuments

Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme;

But you shall shine more bright in these contents

Than unswept stone besmear'd with sluttish time.

Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia lives even today. So we remember him on his 100th death anniversary. We also remember him on occasions. Some persons live in history books, some by writings, some by their preaching of ideas, some are poets or philosophers, writers, religious leaders and so on. Sardar Dyal Singh lives through the institutions he created. Few mortals have managed to do this. How did he do what he did? He was an unlikely person to create enduring institutions. He did, however, achieve immortality.

His first creation was The Tribune. The only other worthwhile Indian-owned newspaper of those times was The Hindu of Madras. It is quite remarkable that Dyal Singh could achieve the impossible, create a newspaper in a foreign language, only a few years after Punjab was annexed. And what a newspaper!

How did it come about that a person like Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia conceived the idea of a newspaper? One must remember that he was a land owner; he was educated up to the school-level. There were no university degrees given in Punjab at that time. He was financially very rich; he bought jewels; he bought property. He constructed several buildings in Lahore, Amritsar and Karachi. He was honoured by the British as the head of the Shergil clan. He was rich but unsatisfied. He was part of the Indian revival. He had many Bengali, Christian or Brahmo Samaji friends. He was convinced that he had to do something more than live a life of luxury, which a Punjab chief might ordinarily have lived. He had ideas, which were broadened by visits to Europe. He brought those ideas to life.

The newspaper started as a weekly, but expanded into a nationalist daily of tremendous power and prestige. It was bold and fearless, which refused to be cowed down by the British. It was given to investigative journalism at a time when that expression had not even been invented. Its leading articles shook the Empire and brilliantly evoked the idea of the poor Indian oppressed by the greedy Englishman. Every misdoing, every misdemeanour, every act of misgovernment was fully exposed to the public. It is not possible to reproduce the substance of the editorial writings, which were outstanding, in this short article. It is sufficient to say that one can be proud of what was said, particularly, at the time it was said, when Indian self-esteem was at its lowest ebb.

The newspaper grew from strength to strength during the life-time of the founder. Now it was time to do something different. Sardar Dyal Singh launched Punjab National Bank, the first Punjabi bank. He was the principal shareholder and Chairman. Lala Harkishan Lal, a kindred spirit, was the secretary. This bank soon gained strength and popularity. It became major bank in Lahore. It had a huge building on Mall Road, next to the General Post Office.

Sardar Dyal Singh had vast property in Lahore, Amritsar and Majitha. He made a will creating three trusts. These were the Tribune Trust, the Dyal Singh College Trust and the Dyal Singh Public Library Trust. He appointed three eminent lawyer-friends to be the trustees of The Tribune, but included some educationists, and among them was Dewan (later Raja) Narendra Nath in the College Trust. In the Library Trust, he included some well-known persons. The college and library took shape quite a long time after the Sardar's death, as the will was challenged by the widow and another lady, Mrs Catherine Gill, who claimed to be Dyal Singh's wife. The case was fought up to the Privy Council. The judgements upheld the Trust and give a good picture of Sardar Dyal Singh's philanthropy and reputation.

The college was very successful. Though not the leading college in Lahore, it came to be known as one of the better colleges in Punjab. The library was housed in a lovely building and was the second public library in Lahore, the first being Punjab Public Library. They both had collections of about 30,000 to 40,000 books. Undoubtedly Punjab Public Library was bigger, but Dyal Singh Library was catching up, though it was established about 40 or 50 years later.

Then came Partition. All the three Trusts were wrecked, as they were located in Lahore, and had nowhere to go in East Punjab. Now was the time for action by the trustees. The Tribune was financially well off, so it opened a new office in Ambala, bought a new press and started anew. Naturally, the fact that most of its readers were left in Pakistan meant that its operations were smaller, but at least it became a national paper. Unfortunately, its pre-eminent position as the leading national paper of India was lost, as it was located in a small town.

The College Trust was well-endowed with property in Majitha and Amritsar, so it was able to start functioning again at Karnal and in New Delhi. Dewan Anand Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University, who was the main Trustee, was responsible for opening the college at both places. The Karnal college had a small beginning but went on improving. The New Delhi college was very well housed. It had a beautiful building, and was doing well, but the government put some restrictions which forced the trustees to give up the college. It was the hardest decision to make. Huge amounts of money, the college building and all its assets were given to Delhi University. This was one of the blackest deeds of the national government. It was forced because the trust could not run the college under the University Grants Commission. It had no way to meet the deficit, all the income was taken by the commission and the trust was required to meet the deficit from "other sources", which was impossible as there were no "other sources". When the college was set up in New Delhi, the Central Government had done its best to rehabilitate the refugee college through the Rehabilitation Ministry, but later the government evolved an unworkable scheme, which led to the trust giving up its assets to save the college from closure. The college is still called Dyal Singh College, New Delhi, but no longer under the trust.

The Karnal college, on the other hand, has gone from strength to strength. The 10+2 policy, and the creation of the university at Kurukshetra, had led to the college having only a two-year B.A. course. That is not enough. The trustees with immense vigour and enterprise have set up Dyal Singh School, which is one of the leading schools of the area providing education up to the secondary level. A huge new building is under construction. The efforts regarding the college and the school principally of Dewan Anand Kumar and now Dewan Gajendra Kumar, have resulted in the creation of an institution of which the Sardar would be proud. There is now a move for some post-graduate courses. Some have already been started.

The library has had the worst deal in Partition. All its assets were buildings in Lahore. Even after Partition, Dyal Singh Library, Lahore, is functioning, but now it is run by the Pakistan Government. All that the trustees, who all came to India, had brought was a small liquid deposit. With severe constraints, the trustees put up a building in the Rouse Avenue area, New Delhi (now Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg). There were no funds, no books, only efforts and more efforts. The building had to be let out to various other institutions, the meagre funds available had to be husbanded and the income carefully used to increase the assets. A reading room was opened at Connaught Place. It was open and free to the public. A reading room with a small collection was also opened in the main building. Gradually, an improvement took place. A writ in the High Court, which is still pending, led the Government of Delhi paying increased rent. Later the building was vacated and greater rent received. So after a 50-year struggle, the library has become functional. Now it has big plans. A multi-purpose library is proposed, with a media section, using all the latest techniques. Internet connections, film shows, lectures, demonstrations, CD-Roms, audio-video-visual media will be there. Great hopes and aspirations are there.

The Sardar founded these trusts with great care. His trustees were well-chosen, and they have tried to keep his inspiring philosophy alive. Even Partition has not killed the trusts. They are alive. Sardar Dyal Singh lives on. He still inspires.


The Tribune, Chandigarh

How The Tribune was launched

SEVERAL people have claimed the credit for giving Dyal Singh the idea of starting a newspaper in English from Lahore. The foremost among them was Surendranath Banerjea, who wrote that he persuaded Dyal Singh to start the paper. Rai Bahadur Mul Raj wrote that he and Jogendra Chandra Bose requested Dyal Singh to start a newspaper to carry on the crusade for education in Punjab on Western lines through the medium of English. This, he says, was in 1877 or 1878.

Bipin Chandra Pal, a member of the famous Lal-Bal-Pal trio, who was on the staff of Dyal Singh's paper for a few months, says that the Sardar started the paper at the suggestion of his Bengali friends in Lahore. One issue of The Tribune said that the idea was the Sardar's own. This could well be so.

During his sojourn abroad for two years, Dyal Singh had seen the importance of the role played by an independent Press. Within months of his return from Europe, he came into contact with Surendranath Banerjea and discussed his ideas in regard to starting an English language newspaper from Lahore. Soon he was involved in the controversy over the Vernacular Press Act.

The Indian Association's meeting in the Town Hall in Calcutta had nominated him to be a member of the steering committee set up to oversee the implementation of the Press Act. This was in 1878. Surendranath Banerjea was certainly the person who encouraged him. So also were his close Brahmo Bengali friends in Lahore, particularly P.C. Chatterjee, a senior member of the Lahore Bar, who later rose to be a Judge of the Chief Court; and Jogendra Chandra Bose, another member of the Lahore Bar.

The launching of a newspaper in Punjab was not an easy task at that time. Printing machinery had to be procured and the staff had to be recruited. Dyal Singh solicited the help of Surendranath Banerjea. The latter promised all help. Banerjea arranged the printing Press. He also recommended the name of Sitalakanta Chatterjee for appointment on the editorial staff. Being young, he was appointed Sub-Editor, because the newspaper must have some maturer person for the Editor's job. Thanks to Dyal Singh's Brahmo Bengali friends' help, he was able to get the services of Seetalchandra Mookerjee of Bhowanipore in Calcutta, who lived in Upper India and was editing his own paper, The Indian People, from Allahabad. He promised to edit the proposed Lahore paper from Allahabad itself.

Trained journalists being scarce in those days, Dyal Singh agreed to the arrangement. Seetalchandra Mookerjee sent the editorials and special articles from Allahabad, Sitalakanta Chatterjee looking after the work at Lahore. Dyal Singh himself made the other appointments. He recruited P.K.Chatterjee who had done some scissoring and pasting job at The Pioneer's sister publication in Lahore, The Civil and Military Gazette. For the job of the printer he fixed up with R. Williams, who had worked for The Indian Chronicle.

The first issue of The Tribune, which came out on February 2, 1881, took up the cause of modern education in Punjab through the medium of English. Week after week it carried as many as 25 articles in addition to editorials demolishing the arguments of the "orientalists", Dr Leitner and his supporters. The other members of the Panjab University College Senate asked how Dyal Singh could continue to be a member of the Senate when his paper was opposing the policies of Panjab University College, which supported Dr Leitner. Dyal Singh resigned his membership of the Senate, and The Tribune continued its crusade. As the President of the Lahore branch of the Indian Association, he involved the headquarters of the organisation in Calcutta to take up the issue with the Secretary of State for India in London. The crusade was crowned with success when the British government agreed in 1882 to the establishment of Panjab University on the lines of the universities in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The battle was won.

Dyal Singh's Bengali Brahmo friends played an important role in making The Tribune more than a mere provincial paper. Modelled on The Bengalee, it was a paper which claimed to represent the whole of Upper India. It took up not only all-India issues but also international issues, such as they were in the last century. The number of the copies of The Tribune sold outside Punjab was more than the number of the copies sold inside the province.

Significantly, the first issue championed the cause of The Statesman Defence Fund, being raised to fight for The Statesman's pro-India Editor, Robert Knight, who had been sued by a Hyderabad nobleman at the instance of diehard British bureaucrats in India, who had been upset at the exposure by The Statesman (through its London edition) of the working of British bureaucrats here. Dyal Singh himself was a member of The Statesman Defence Committee. The Tribune took up all the public causes, and its voice was taken note of. It is said that one Lieut-Governor of Punjab advised a delegation meeting him to ventilate their grievances through the columns of The Tribune. British civilians of Punjab felt so unhappy as to tell their compatriots that the province was being ruled by the Lieut-Governor and The Tribune, and the civil servants were nowhere.

The exposure of public wrongs once led to a famous defamation case, filed in 1890, by a Superintendent of Police against Dyal Singh and the Editor of The Tribune. One of the factors mentioned by the Superintendent of Police was that Dyal Singh was a nationalist and had allowed the compound of his baronial mansion in Amritsar to be used for a lecture by a Congress agitator named Allah Ram.



Spreading the light of learning
by Brig Yash Beotra (retd)

"PROPAGATION of sound liberal education and dissemination of knowledge to inculcate pure morality", was one of the cherished obsessions with Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a many splendoured personality. And to achieve this lifetime wish of his, he bequeathed assets worth over Rs 30 lakh way back in 1895, through a will, the last will and testament of his, to establish three premium institutions in Lahore (now in Pakistan):

(1) The Tribune, to spread knowledge through the print medium.

(2) Dyal Singh College, to disseminate knowledge through formal education.

(3) Dyal Singh Public Library, to spread knowledge through books.

The library was closer to his heart, as Sardar Majithia was himself a voracious reader, with a personal collection of more than 1000 volumes on various subjects. He dedicated his palatial building in the elite area of Lahore for establishing a premier public library.

This selfless action distinguishes him as a rare philanthropist of the country in the 19th century. It is a fact, though unfortunate, that in these days of greed and selfishness very few have the predilection to launch ventures for the benefit of humanity suffering for want of the bare necessities of life. Though numerous saints and sages have delivered sermons to humanity to renounce wealth for the good of mankind, little tangible has been achieved. Deepening greed has prevented people from undertaking munificent projects. In our own lifetime, Vinoba Bhave tried his utmost to inspire people to philanthropy but, alas, the exercise was short-lived. Seen in the light of all this, the movement of philanthropy spearheaded by the late Sardar should be a great source of inspiration and set an example for other Indians to follow. It may be worth mentioning here that bequeathing assets for the purpose of spreading knowledge was uncommon even in western countries then.

Sardar Majithia had the foresight to visualise that the charity of "Vidya Dhan", wealth of knowledge, was the highest deed one could do. He was of the firm view that instead of spending his wealth, which he had earned so assiduously, on building temples and dharamshalas, he should use it for the dissemination of knowledge and the spread of liberal education, the best use one can think of. This was the dire need of Punjab then, as it was plagued by superstition and useless customs.

But what made his mission a great success was his commendable foresight. He was able to find people having a high sense of commitment, dedication and, above all, unquestionable integrity for maintaining the three trusts as conceived by him. The trustees functioned in an exemplary manner, making the trusts premier institutions. The Partition of the country in 1947 forced their temporary closure in Lahore. But this did not dampen the spirits of the dedicated trustees, who managed to get the three institutions revived in India, the tireless efforts put in by the late Dewan Anand Kumar for re-establishing the college and the library trusts need special mention. Today, Dyal Singh Public Library is the only institution of its kind which is functioning as per the wishes of the late Sardar both in Pakistan (Lahore) and India (New Delhi).

Dyal Singh Trust Library, Lahore, was established in 1928, in pursuance of the will of Sardar Majithia. It enjoyed great popularity before Partition. In 1947, it suffered a considerable loss due to riots in Lahore, and a good number of its books and furniture were damaged. It remained closed for 12 years due to the migration of its non-Muslim trustees. It started functioning in 1964 when its control was taken over by the Evacuee Trust Property Board, Government of Pakistan, Lahore. Today, it is managed by the Education Department, Government of Punjab, Pakistan, through a board of trustees, under the chairmanship of the Commissioner, Lahore Division. The library has a collection of over 1,40,000 volumes, both in English and oriental languages. It has a research cell which has so far brought out 26 publications, both in Urdu and English, apart from publishing a quarterly journal, Minhaj.

After Partition, through the efforts of Dewan Anand Kumar, the first Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, and other trustees, the Dyal Singh Library Trust Society was established afresh in India, on August 2, 1948. The purpose of the society was to establish a library for the use of the general public subject to such rules and regulations as the trustees might frame, provided no charge would be levied for the perusal of books and newspapers and magazines in the library during its hours of business.

The library was set up in the institutional area of Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi, not far from the ITO, the busiest crossing overlooking Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, by undertaking the construction of a sprawling building during 1954-55, on a 1.3 acre plot of land, leased out by the government for the purpose. Since it is located at a very central place, well connected by road and rail networks, users find it convenient to visit the library.

Though, initially, the library functioned at a low key due to the paucity of funds, since 1993 the Trust Society under the chairmanship of Mr B.K. Nehru launched itself on a massive programme with much improved financial health, achieved as a result of sound planning and assistance from government agencies as allowed under the rules. This action to enlarge the scope of its activities has enabled it to take a few steps on the path to becoming a premier library in Delhi in particular and the country in general.

The library has over 35,000 volumes, some of these being rare, mainly in English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. It subscribes to 91 magazines/journals, including 12 foreign journals and 23 daily newspapers. With the availability of such a large number of books, newspapers and magazines free of charge, the membership of the library has shown a steady growth over the past few years. Today it has over 4,600 members, including over 1500 lending members, a category which has deposited Rs 300 per head as a refundable security amount and which allows such a person to borrow at a time two books and two old magazines for study at his/her residence. Over 150 members visit the library daily.

The management has undertaken a number of plans to modernise the library. The process of its automation was launched some time back. Today, the English section is fully automated. This has enabled it to become a member of the Delhi Library Network, Delnet, which provides Dyal Singh Public Library the added advantage of resource sharing among the member-libraries in Delhi. In addition, through a well-planned and organised "Perspective Plan of Action", covering the visualised expansion of the library over the next 15-20 years, a state-of-art auditorium, seminar/committee rooms and a cafeteria are proposed to be provided soon. The Internet facility is also there for use by the members as well as the library staff who can now effectively carry out bibliographical search.


A pioneer in banking sector too
by Prakash Tandon

Soon after the new British regime settled down to governance, the Punjabi elite were looking for creating a modern educational, industrial, banking base to activate the Punjabi enterprise with the needed wherewithal to develop. The man who made a unique contribution to this process was a scion of an elite Jagirdar Punjab family, Dyal Singh Majithia, a new born liberal. He realised the importance of creating a wide base of institutions to develop the new Punjab.

Lehna Singh, his father, was quite remarkable in his time for his fondness of mechanics. He paid much attention to his battery of guns in which he brought about great improvements, and made some very efficient pieces of ordnance which were captured by the British in the Battle of Aliwal. He is also said to have invented a clock which showed the hour, the day of the month, and the changes in the month. He was an expert linguist and took keen interest in mathematics and astronomy. At the request of Ranjit Singh he reformed the calendar, for which he won a name among Hindu astronomers.

After Lehna Singh's death in 1854 at Benaras, his family moved back to their substantial jagir at Majitha. Competent tutors were appointed for Dyal Singh in a government Court of Wards before he went to a Mission School, and was placed under an English governess. In his early years he displayed considerable charm, intelligence and eagerness for knowledge. He was tall, graceful in figure, with sharp well-cut features, and fond of both sports and learning. Dyal Singh was installed with proper ceremonies as the head of the Shergil clan, which through the next century produced ministers, administrators and an early remarkable modern painter, Amrita Shergil, born of a Hungarian mother.

Dyal Singh made, what was at that time, a startling decision, to go abroad to complete his education and to learn about the West, especially Britain, their mode of living and their institutions which fascinated him. The conservatives in the community regarded it an unholy act that the son of the great Lehna Singh should cross the seas and eat, live and drink with the Kiranis (Christians) in their distant land. Like Maharaja Dalip Singh, the first Sikh to go abroad, he would surely embrace Christianity, they feared. He spent two years in England, visiting Europe, where he experienced the new wave of nationalism and forces of thought of the period following the Franco-Prussian War. His lineage, name and noble figure made him popular in the Victorian society among persons of both ranks and scholarship.

Upon his return from England, he decided to move from Majitha to Lahore, where he could take active interest in the new movements that were sweeping the city. He combined the life of a Sikh nobleman with patronage of sports, mushairas and music, sumptuous hospitality, and new ideas. He came under the influence of the Brahmo Samaj, a movement founded in Bengal in 1828 by Raja Rammohun Roy.

In 1877, when Swami Dayanand visited Punjab, he met the Sardar and they discussed the question of the infallibility of the Vedas, but Dyal Singh was not convinced. He had already studied the Bhagavad-Gita with a Ferozepur pundit and the Bible, evincing great interest in the crucifixion of Christ.

In the early 1880s, the Indian Association was organised at Lahore and as its first President, he began to guide and influence the new youth movement. He also took active interest in the new Indian National Congress and was made Chairman of the Reception Committee on the occasion of the first Congress session at Lahore in 1893. He believed and stated that political rights must be deserved by his countrymen by liberalising their social customs, shedding their shackles, and spreading liberal education.

His greatest contribution perhaps was in the area of institution building. The rugged individualism of the Punjabis made them averse to forming and working together in voluntary associations. Dyal Singh, on the other hand, was an admirer of British institutions and their parliamentary system, though he did not like the bureaucracy and never cultivated its executive officers. He saw the need to build institutions in Punjab and in less than two decades founded a number of them; the Dyal Singh High School, College and Library. He helped all institutions with which he was associated with wisdom and guidance.

In his inaugural address as the Chairman of the Reception Committee of the Indian National Congress in Lahore in 1893, he made a moving appeal to Indians and the British alike, perhaps the first of its kind at a time when their relationship was already beginning to show strain. He said: "What the Congress contends is not that the country should be transferred from English to Indian hands; no, not change of hands, for it would be entirely suicidal, but that the people should be governed on the broad principles which have been held by the eminent British statesmen and administrators themselves to be the most conducive to the interests of both rulers and the subjects".

Punjab National Bank emerged in the late nineteenth century, inheriting the traditions of ancient trade and banking and influenced by the impact of modern British banks, depicting the resurgence of the new Punjab. One of the ideals of the new elite was to start their own modern bank, professionally run with Indian capital and management, wide public participation and no personal control or ownership. Lajpat Rai, the great political leader, wrote: "Rai Mul Raj of Arya Samaj specially had long cherished the idea that Indians should have a National Bank of their own." He was keenly concerned with the fact that though Indian capital was being used to run English banks and companies, the profits went entirely to the British, while Indians had to contend themselves with a small interest on their capital.

Mul Raj described the idea of Punjab National Bank, as it took shape in his mind (Beginning of Punjabi Nationalism: autobiography of R.B. Mul Raj thus: "In the year 1891, when I was the Judge of the small Causes Court at Amritsar, I was living in a house in Mohalla Khatikan. I had set apart one room as my study for reading books on Dharma-Shastras. There I conceived the idea of organizing a National Bank in the Punjab. It struck me that it was necessary to have a national bank for the development of industries in the country, and that we should have the custody and final say in the investment of our money.

To keep this idea foremost in my mind, I wrote 'National Bank' on a piece of paper and fixed it on the wall. I used to talk on the subject daily with my friends and acquaintances. It was not easy to convince my friends that it was practicable to have a bank managed and controlled by Punjabis. Gradually I succeeded in making some of them take interest in the subject. One of these gentlemen was Lala Bulaki Ram Shastri, Bar-at-Law, who was practising at Amritsar those days. He designed the cheque which is still being used by Punjab National Bank Ltd. The five wavy lines represent the five rivers of the Punjab, the three peaks of mountains represent Tirathkoti, while Devi Shir represent Lakshmi - the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, and the monogram PNB for Punjab National Bank Ltd. Many other friends came round to my views. I met Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, who agreed to become the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank."

On May 23, 1894, the founders, Mr E C Jessawala, Babu Kali Prasono Roy, Bakshi Jaishi Ram, Lala Harkishan Lal, Lala Bulaki Ram and Lala Lal Chand, met at the Lahore residence of Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia and resolved to go ahead with the scheme. The new Bank had then the most remarkable feature of being held by public shareholders and run by professional board of directors, consisting of a banker, three lawyers, a barrister and a businessman, chaired by Dyal Singh. They met on alternate Sundays. It had a staff of eight : an accountant, a treasurer, a clerk, a daftari, two chaprasis and two chowkidars on a total monthly wage bill of Rs.170.

It was open to the public from 10.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. The Bank's success was immediate and in two years its paid up capital rose from Rs.41,500 to Rs.1,09,495; deposits from Rs.1,65,337 to Rs.7,27,447; net profit from Rs.1,555 to Rs.15,536 and dividend from 4% to 5%.

Thus was born the first Indian public bank, which today is over a century old and the largest Indian bank in its operations within India.

Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia left us a hundred years ago, during which his bank's contribution to Punjab has been remarkable to its farmers: small, medium and large industrialists; the middle class savers and investors. The question today is how we take the past into the future, the next century and soon the next millennium.


His role in the birth of Panjab University

SARDAR Dyal Singh Majithia was largely responsible for the setting up of Panjab University, Lahore, in 1882. Punjab was annexed in 1849. The Education Department was set up in 1854. Students travelled to Calcutta for examinations. Panjab University College, as it was called, was affiliated to Calcutta University, but it gave only diplomas, not degrees.

Punjab was among the last to be annexed to the British empire. It was to be the gateway to the Central Asian region which the British wished to advance to. For the administration of Punjab, the British had brought along with them civilians, lawyers and teachers from Bengal. And Bengal had seen the advance of education, enlightenment and national awakening. British officials did not want Punjab to be affected. And one way to ensure this was to impart education not through the medium of English but through Indian classical languages. In effect, it meant the imposition of a pattern different from that of the Calcutta, Bombay and Madras Universities. Dr W.G. Lietner, a Central European Jew, who had mastered Arabic and Islamic theology, was sent out to India to take charge of educational advancement in Punjab. An important person already there was Col W.R.M. Holroyd, Director of Instruction, who had made Lahore take the place of Lucknow and Delhi as the principal centre of Urdu learning. That is why he had invited Hali and Muhammed Hussain Azad to emigrate to Lahore.

Leitner and Holroyd and their British friends were strongly opposed to the adoption of English as the medium of instruction. Their move was opposed by the younger generation which wanted education to be given on the lines of that in London, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. The debate was on when Dyal Singh returned from a two-year sojourn to the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe. His closest friends in Punjab were not the Sikh nobility but Bengalee Brahmos. Dyal Singh, who played host to all the Brahmo leaders visiting Punjab, enlisted their help and support in starting The Tribune, which was to espouse the cause of education on Western lines. The Tribune launched a campaign for the setting up of Panjab University modelled on the universities at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras or London, the medium of instruction being English. Editorially, week after week it rebutted the arguments of the orientalists. Some 20 articles appeared.

Now Dyal Singh was a nominated member of the Senate of Panjab University College as it was then called. The Senate consisted of the Sikh aristocracy, most of them without much education. The other members of the Senate, under the influence of the orientalists, drew the attention to the fact that one of the members was opposing their policy. Dyal Singh resigned his membership of the Senate, and continued with the campaign. His stand was supported by the Indian Association, whose Lahore branch he headed. While the Indian Association's President and Secretary and others sent petitions to the Secretary of State for India in London, Dyal Singh and his friends continued the pressure on the Lieut-Governor and the Viceroy.

It was a hard battle. Ultimately, however, Dyal Singh's side won, and the British decided in 1882 that the medium of instruction and the pattern of teaching at Panjab University will be the same as that in the three presidencies in Eastern, Western and Southern India. As Jogendra Bose, an important member of the Lahore Bar Association, wrote later, "Dr Leitner backed by immense influence tried his best to orientalise education in the Punjab, but Sardar Dyal Singh proved instrumental in saving the situation. A battle was won."
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:33 am

Part 1 of 3

The Tribune (Chandigarh)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/10/20



To eke out a living, both Freda and Bedi wrote school and college textbooks. Freda recalled that she wrote one about the art of precis writing. Bedi took on some more ambitious commissions, the most successful being his biography of the Sikh civil engineer, architect and philanthropist, Sir Ganga Ram. This remains the work for which he is best known in Punjab.17 There was another new publishing project, a new political paper, which engaged much of Bedi's energies and Freda's too -- and which added to their reputation in Lahore. Contemporary India had been highbrow; his new title Monday Morning was determinedly popular. As the name suggests, it was a weekly. They had spotted a gap in the market. The Lahore daily papers did not at that time work on Sundays and so did not publish a Monday edition. So a weekly hitting the newsstands first thing on Monday didn't have much in the way of direct competition.

No copies of Monday Morning have been located so it's difficult to judge its style and political agenda but for a while, at least, it sold well. 'Some English friends at the time called it laughingly a rag -- I suppose it was a bit of a rag,' Freda said, 'but it was a very outspoken, interesting weekly paper which came out on Monday morning and successfully deprived us of every bit of rest that we might have had on Saturday and Sunday as a result .... I learned a tremendous amount ... about how to bring out papers and press schedules and proof reading and a number of other things and we got a lot of fun out of it. And this helped the family finances somewhat because advertisements began to come in.'18

Monday Morning became a serious irritant to the authorities. 'This magazine had a very profound effect, because it was very militant,' Bedi recalled, 'totally anti-fascist in character, because anti-fascism was the wave of the times, and naturally it had to be anti-British, and it became one of the big exposure magazines. Any exposure which nobody would publish, we would publish.' Bedi claimed, with perhaps a measure of exaggeration, that the weekly achieved a circulation of 40,000 after six months, and so alarmed Lahore's main nationalist daily, the Tribune, that the paper tried to coerce newsagents into not selling their weekly rival. Bedi's main collaborator on the paper was Jag Parvesh Chandra, later a prominent Congress politician in Delhi. He recalled gathering with others at the Bedis' huts to work out how to start the paper, and the excitement of its early impact:

'the paper became a mouthpiece of the nationalist movement and was a success from the start.'19 Another of the Monday Morning team was the actor Balraj Sahni, then in his mid-twenties and something of a political innocent. Bedi insisted that he warned Sahni against getting involved in the messy world of political journalism. 'I said, "My Dear Balraj, look here. This is politics. If it were a literary magazine, I would say gladly come. Running a political weekly without any funds is a dog's job and we are dogs, we are out to be whipped by our own choice. You are an artist."'20 Balraj duly bailed out after three months. His younger brother, the novelist Bhisham Sahni, gave a somewhat jaundiced account of the hand-to-mouth launch of the paper:

the editors had neither the resources nor the know-how of a weekly journal. Their enthusiasm and youthful energy were their only assets. It was planned that the paper would cover, besides news, cultural events and contain stories and poems, as also articles projecting socialist thought and ideology.

We waited eagerly for the first issue of the paper, but when at last it came, my heart sank. It was a two-sheet paper, full of printing mistakes .... The second issue, a week later, was even worse, so far as printing mistakes were concerned and we feared that such a paper was not destined to last long. ... Meanwhile we received a letter from a relative living in Lahore, saying that he had met Balraj inside a printing press, where he sat on the floor, unshaven, in high fever, correcting proofs and that Balraj looked tired and exhausted.21

The family was greatly relieved when they learned that Balraj had walked out on Monday Morning. 'The experience had left him sad, but a good deal wiser.'

As the international situation became more tense, and the prospect of war loomed, the left in Punjab organised against military recruitment. This deeply alarmed the Imperial authorities who were in any event finding the enlistment of new soldiers more difficult, in part because of the growth of nationalist sentiment. Recruits from Punjab constituted fully half of the soldiers in the British Indian army.22 They had proved their worth in France and Flanders in the First World War and were again to be conspicuous on battlefields far from India in the Second World War. In September 1938, Bedi's involvement in anti-recruitment activity prompted his most serious clash with the authorities -- as Freda explained in a letter to her old friend Olive Chandler:

Bedi got arrested on a political charge ... Some hirelings of the Punjab Government broke up an Anti-Recruitment meeting at which Bedi was presiding (also breaking his head from behind, quite a nasty cut!). Later they had the audacity to arrest him, along with twenty-seven others, for rioting!! Just a ruse to prevent Anti-Recruitment propaganda, at a time when it was quite legal ... To cut a long story short, Bedi + the others were finally allowed bail + the case has been dribbling on (without coming to any conclusions) for the last nine months. It is what is known as a 'harassment case', trying to put everyone to the maximum amount of trouble. When it will end, + with what result we don't know -- they have only a very rocky concocted case again[st] them all, but the Government has got away with worse.23

The saga ended eighteen months later, when Bedi was convicted by a magistrate in Lahore of 'delivering an alleged anti-war speech in a public meeting outside the Railway Station' and was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment -- though by then he was already behind bars.24

By the time Freda wrote that letter to her old Oxford friend in the summer of 1939, Monday Morning had folded: 'after terrific hard work, sometimes from eight in the morning to eight in the evening, with scarcely a day's break, it has had to stop. Journalism in India is a tragic struggle against advertisers + newsagents who sit on bills + never pay up + it's practically impossible to carry on without strong financial backing which, as all over the world, a "left" newspaper can rarely get!'25 It had survived for about eighteen months.


Freda Bedi's wartime incarceration in Lahore Female Jail is the act of valour which forged her reputation as a nationalist icon. Thousands of Indian nationalists and leftists were detained for opposing India's participation in the Second Wodd War. Vanishingly few of these were English and white skinned and so identified in the public mind with the coloniser rather than the colonised. Freda was, of course, both undeniably English and unequivocally on India's side. She was jailed as a deliberate act of protest and renunciation -- offering herself up for arrest under an initiative launched and overseen by Mahatma Gandhi, who personally approved all those who were to be his satyagrahis, or disciples of truth. She was the first, and perhaps the only, European woman to be part of this phase of Gandhi's nonviolent protest against the Imperial power. For her, as for so many others, jail strengthened political resolve and extended the network of nationalist sympathisers. It also provided a window on the lives and tribulations of those so often beyond the view of middle-class India -- the women who shared the prison grounds with her not out of political commitment but because of the desperate acts they had been pushed to by a profoundly unequal and patriarchal society. That, as much as the informal political meetings and study classes, was a part of Freda's education in jail.

War was declared in September 1939. The tensions within the Congress Socialist Party between communists and others were by now acute. But all agreed, initially at least, on the need to oppose the war -- the Congress because Britain's Viceroy in New Delhi had declared that India was at war with Germany without the agreement (or indeed seeking the agreement) of India's political leaders, and the communists because Moscow, in the wake of the Nazi-Soviet pact, had declared that this was an imperialist war. By the end of October 1939 more than 150 Punjabi politicians were in jail, and by the end of the following year that number had swelled to many hundreds. Punjab led the rest of India in the number of communists and socialists detained -- generally on the grounds of their anti-war and anti-recruitment activities.1

B.P.L. Bedi was, by his own account, publishing anti-war literature and using his contacts in the rail unions to help get the leaflets circulated around the country. He was not among the early wave of arrests, but he knew that he was likely to be detained before long. That knock on the door came in early December 1940. 'I had just come from Lahore and the British Superintendent of police had arrived,' Bedi recalled. 'Soon after my servant told me that there seemed to be some peculiar movement of people round the bushes so I immediately sensed that the moment of my arrest had come. Within ten minutes of his announcing this, he arrived and in a very British way said, "I am afraid I have to arrest you.'''2 In an even more British manner, Bedi asked the police officer to sit down and have a cup of tea while he packed a blanket, some clothes and a few books. Bedi was at this time on the national executive of the Congress Socialist Party and his arrest under the Defence of India Act was front page news in the Tribune. It reported that as he was being driven away in the police car, 'Mrs Bedi raised loud shouts of "Inquilab Zindabad"' -- a communist slogan which best translates as 'Long Live the Revolution'.3

Bedi was held briefly in the jail in the town of Montgomery (now Sahiwal), still in Punjab but some distance from Lahore, and then was sent more than 400 miles away to Deoli, a remote spot on the edge of the Thar desert in what is now Rajasthan. A Victorianera military base there had been turned into a detention camp -- a concentration camp, the communists complained -- for political detainees from across India. It had a long history of being used to lock-up 'undesirables', and continued to fulfil that role in later years. From 1942, the camp housed prisoners of war -- and in 1962, it was used to intern Indians of Chinese origin during a brief India -China border conflict. As soon as he reached Deoli, Bedi began to protest against his detention -- refusing to carry his bags into the camp as a statement, in his own words, that the 'revolutionaries' had arrived. 'At Deoli were nearly four-hundred persons, who were all Leftists ... From the moment we arrived we started planning to create more trouble and a hunger strike was on the agenda.'4

Freda can hardly have been surprised by her husband's arrest, but she was certainly angered by it. 'On December 4th, 1940, the lights in the huts went out,' she recalled:

Bedi was taken away for indefinite detention for being a Socialist, for hating Fascism, for hating the Imperialist exploitation of India. There was no oil in the lamps when the police came, and we groped around in the dark getting a few clothes together. Pug drooped his tail dejectedly when he said goodbye.5

A couple of days later, she announced that she too intended to flout the wartime emergency regulations and was happy to take the consequences. The Tribune reported that she had sought Gandhi's permission to give herself up for arrest. 'Should Mahatma Gandhi's permission be secured, Mrs Bedi will be the first English lady to offer satyagraha in the civil disobedience campaign.'6 Freda regarded Gandhi's campaign as 'halting and incomplete' -- but it was at least action on a nationwide scale. 'There should have been a great, a magnificent up-surge of the nation. Gandhiji decreed otherwise, and chose his men with the greatest care. Only the few were to go to jail to protest for the many. It was to be a demonstration to the world of India's national right.'7

At the end of January, Freda heard that Gandhi had agreed to her request -- she believed she was the fifty-seventh volunteer to be chosen as a satyagrahi in this stage of the civil disobedience campaign. This was Freda's boldest political act -- she was putting herself forward for arrest and imprisonment to protest against her native country's treatment of her adopted country. 'She said that she was born in England but had adopted India as her mother country,' the Tribune reported, 'and would wish to be known as an Indian woman.'8 It was also an impetuous move. She had a six-year-old son whose father had just been detained indefinitely, and rather than be around to offer support and reassurance, she decided that the political imperative was what mattered most. She admitted being torn about what to do. 'It was a terrible blow to lose B.P.L. and his cheery daily support in life's problems. And his mother, my son, the adopted boy Binder and myself were left alone in the huts. I didn't want to make things worse on the domestic side but on the other hand I felt that I should back up the nationalist movement in whatever humble way I could, even if it meant suffering some months in prison. I felt I could trust my mother-in-law to look after the boy and my brother-in- law to see that the family did not lack support at that time.'9 So the family arranged to move from the huts to Bedi's home village where they would be able to live comfortably with many members of the extended family there to help. In the carefully choreographed way of these protests, Freda wrote to the district magistrate in the town of Gurdaspur to tell him exactly when and where she intended to stage her act of civil disobedience. 'Mrs Freda Bedi left for Dera Baba Nanak,' the Tribune announced on its front page, 'where she will offer satyagraha on 21st [February] at 11 a.m.'10

'So I packed up my little household, put that furniture with this friend, that with another, here my crockery and there my few loved possessions,' Freda wrote. 'I left Lahore station, in a welter of photographs and flower garlands. The women in the women's compartment were inquisitive ... "It is degrading that Indians should be treated like this," I said. "Somebody had to do something: we can't just all sit down and keep quiet about it." "But what does your husband say about it?" one matron asked. "He is in jail himself," I replied. "Ah ... " her eyes were turned in pity towards me, "now I understand." It was the wife following her husband. That was as it should be.'11 Freda was following in her husband's footsteps not out of blind loyalty; rather in a marriage which was based on intellectual and political camaraderie, she saw it as the natural course of action. Bedi of course did not offer himself for arrest; he was detained as an anti -war activist. It's not at all clear whether they had discussed what the family should do in his absence, but Freda never suggested that he had endorsed her intention to become a satyagrahi.

In writing about the eve of her arrest, Freda lapsed into a reflective mode which points to the complexity of her political commitment and the awareness that she was about to make an act that would come to define her. In the Bedi household in Dera Baba Nanak, she slept alongside Bhabooji, Ranga and Binder in a room lit by a spluttering oil lamp -- but she felt lonely and vulnerable:

Little bodies and one big round body were lumped under the fluffy cotton-stuffed quilts. There was somebody still banging pots and pans in the kitchen. I could hear Pug and Snug barking somewhere in the garden. Suddenly, I felt alone, agonisingly alone. I could have wept for my sheer aloneness. I wanted to talk to Bedi, to have his cheery voice near me. What I wanted to say I could not say in my limited Punjabi. I doubt if I could have said it in English, or even mentally told myself what I felt. I suppose in all crises of our life we get that feeling of isolation as though we are treading a path into the future and are treading it, for all the love that surrounds us, quite alone. When we first leave home, when we marry. When we have a choice to make at some cross-roads of our life and endeavour .... And on the borders of that aloneness, of that feeling of smallness in the face of the immensity of the unknown, there comes another feeling, which is interwoven with it and part of it and yet not part of it, of being given the strength to carry on, of not being alone any more. Of being a part of something greater than the mere individual human body.12

This was written within a couple of years of Freda's imprisonment and a decade before she became interested in Buddhism, but there is a pronounced spiritual aspect to her account. Freda became comfortable with the feeling of isolation she describes -- it was another border she chose to cross -- and instinct, or faith, guided her at what she calls the crossroads of her life, which gave her a sense of comfort that she was on the right track.

We wrote a letter to the district magistrate,' Freda recalled, 'saying that we would break the law by asking the people not to support the military effort until India became democratic and that India must get her elected government first. But since we sent the letter, we effectively prevented ourselves from speaking because on the day we were supposed to speak we were naturally arrested before this happened.' Exactly what happened in the village that February morning is difficult to establish beyond doubt through the layers of valorous nationalist narrative and family folklore.13 Freda's own account is both the most straightforward and most credible. Her intention was to shout anti-war slogans in Punjabi in the village streets. She heard that the local inspector had summoned an English officer from Amritsar, thinking it best to have an Englishman to hand when an Englishwoman was placed under arrest. 'At eight-thirty they arrived. In the centre was the local Inspector with a beard. He came forward politely, "regretting that it is my duty but I must arrest you." The turbanned police-officer on his left had a half-smile. To the right was the European Inspector from Amritsar in an unwieldy topee [hat]. He was surprisingly small and had a walrus moustache. He looked like Old Bill: I wanted to laugh, and the corners of my mouth twitched. "Yes, I am quite ready. Take me along with you.'"

The little procession started towards the Police Station winding its way back through narrow brick-paved gulleys of the village. The shopkeepers came to the door of their shops, with their hands folded in greeting. The women crowded on the flat roofs to see us go, and sighed in the doorways. A few young men and boys began to attach themselves to the little group and shouted wildly 'Freedom for India. Long live Gandhiji. Long live Jawaharlal Nehru. Long live Comrade Bedi. Release the detenues.' We reached the elegant grey Amritsar car parked under the peepul tree near the only pucca road. Garlands were thrown over the radiator of the car, through the windows. They were removed immediately: 'garlands not allowed'.14

At the village police station, Freda was questioned by the police officer she had nicknamed Old Bill, who she later discovered had 'Irish blood and a kind heart' -- though the interrogation was limited to questions along the lines of 'What colour would you call your hair?' Under the wartime regulations, trials under the Defence of India Act could be held straightaway and without any legal formality or indeed representation. Freda was taken from the police station to the dak bungalow, the guest house where visiting officials stayed, and that's where her trial took place that same morning:

It was finished in fifteen minutes. The man on the other side of the table was quite young still, and looked as though he had been to Oxford. His face was red.

'I find this as unpleasant as you do,' he murmured.

'Don't worry. I don't find it unpleasant at all.'

'Do you want the privileges granted to an Englishwoman?'

'Treat me as an Indian woman and I shall be quite content.'

... The room was deserted but there was a noise, and two Congressmen walked in. They had been allowed at the last minute to attend the 'public trial'. They carried a round shining brass tray filled with flowers and sweetmeats.

Wait until you have heard my judgment, perhaps you will not want to give them then.'

Six months Rigorous Imprisonment.

'She cannot have the garlands. Give her one or two of the sweets.'15

Freda had expected the jail sentence, but not the specification of rigorous imprisonment. 'Hard labour was the point,' she said many years later, 'and none of the Indians arrested got hard labour in the Punjab except myself None of the women at least. Whether it was the ignorance of the young civil servant, Englishman, who gave the sentence, very regretfully and with many apologies .... Or whether it was that they wanted to make an example of me because I was the first, maybe, western woman to offer satyagraha at that time.' Once the sentence was pronounced, Freda was put back in the car which was mobbed by well-wishers, many of them members of the Bedi clan, as it set off to Lahore jail.

News of Freda Bedi's arrest and sentence once again made the front page of the Tribune, complete with a posed portrait photograph. The following day's paper offered a fuller account of her arrest and sentence- - which emphasised the level of local interest in and support for her action, reporting that she was 'profusely garlanded by the public' after sentence was passed in a trial in which she had refused to participate. The Reuters news agency eventually picked up the story -- and a few weeks after the event, the jailing of 'the first Englishwoman to join Mr Gandhi's passive resistance movement' made front page news back in Freda's home city [Derby Telegraph] with the headline: 'Derby Wife of Indian Sentenced'.16 Freda of course regarded herself as Indian but her act of protest gained attention and achieved impact precisely because she was not Indian. It's a paradox which didn't greatly perturb her. She seems to have managed to negotiate these conflicts of identity without a lot of soul-searching. However much she might seek to forsake the special status accorded in colonial India to those with white skins, it was an indelible aspect of her life there. Inspector Price, the moustachioed Irishman, had been sent from Amritsar to Dera Baba Nanak to be present at Freda's arrest because it felt inappropriate for a white woman to be detained simply by Indian policemen. It was another example of the awkwardness of the British authorities in India in the face of a British woman who had sided with India. They had dealt with British men who had allied with and supported Indian leftist and nationalist movements -- indeed there were three British communists among the defendants in the long-running Meerut conspiracy case which was widely discussed in both India and Britain in the early 1930s and for which Oxford's October Club had collected money -- but a white woman directly challenging Imperial rule was a much rarer phenomenon.

Freda wrote luminously about her time behind the mud walls of Lahore's female jail (after her release, she and a fellow prisoner persuaded the authorities to rename it, with greater verbal precision, as Lahore women's jail). Within days of her release, she began a short series 'From a Jail Diary' in the Tribune, concerned particularly with the 'criminal' prisoners -- she was a 'political' -- she met there. This developed into a much more ambitious account of her time behind bars -- a day-by-day jail diary which is the spine of her book Behind the Mud Walls, and is the most resonant and affecting of her writings. She weaves into her account of imprisonment the personal, the political, the observational, with reflections of the temper of Indian nationalism and more so about the inequity, the gender injustice, which consigned so many of the non-political inmates to long terms of confinement. It is one of the most remarkable and readable accounts of Indian nationalist endeavour at this time. The jail diary is a well-established literary form and as the struggle against colonialism led to the detention of intellectuals who would otherwise be unlikely to land in jail, there are many nationalist narratives of imprisonment. Few are quite as compelling, as simple and unadorned, as the account Freda Bedi published as 'Convict No. 3613'.17

'The mud road to the "Female Jail" was long and dusty,' Freda wrote. 'The gates looked like the Lion House at the Zoo.'

The gates opened. We went in. They shut. It was cool like a cellar in the entrance room. Beyond was a second door: a sheet of solid iron like a safe. To the right the Deputy Superintendent's room. I was motioned towards the door. It was bare and depressing. A cold stare came from the aging woman in a drab frock on the other side of the table.

'What is her crime?'

'Political ... Six Months Rigorous Imprisonment,' said 'Old Bill'. After a few minutes, he turned and left.

The world beyond the barred gate seemed a long way away.

'Give over all your jewellery and money,' said the Deputy Superintendent.

'I haven't got any jewellery.'

She pointed to my left hand.

'That is my wedding ring.'

'It is also counted as jewellery,' she replied.

I looked at my wedding ring. It had never left my hand since that day in Oxford when Bedi put it on. Reluctantly, I used my last weapon.

'I am an A Class prisoner. Are you within your rights in taking it away?'

... There was a shuffling sound, a sort of subdued commotion, on the other side of the inner iron door. I could see an eye glittering through the peep-hole. Shouts of 'Gandhiji ki Jai' [Long live Gandhi] and lots of 'Zindabads'. It seems the 'politicals' had found out that I had arrived.18

The small group of political prisoners in the women's jail banded together: on Freda's first evening 'behind the mud walls', they spun together, 'our common badge and discipline as satyagrahis'. On one occasion they staged a twenty-hour spinning relay -- Freda declared herself 'not very thrilled at the idea, but doing something has got its moral exhilarations ... I took my turn at 4.30 a.m.' There was also collective reading of Hindu scriptures and talks, meetings and education sessions. The camaraderie among these women activists was intense and nourishing. They were responsible for their own cooking, and the jail regime was sufficiently relaxed to allow them to meet fairly freely, staging informal political gatherings and on one occasion having a picnic and dance in the prison grounds.

Freda practised yoga in the mornings. 'I am doing them with no "spiritual" intent, only to keep healthy in the roasting months ahead of me. Find they are simple, rhythmical, and invigorating.' She read alone from Hindu religious writings and from novels by Aldous Huxley and John Steinbeck -- 'feel the lack of political books,' she noted, 'we forget how dependent we are on them.' She described herself on entering the jail as a professor of English and college connections sometimes resurfaced in surprising ways. 'The new Deputy Superintendent came to-day,' Freda wrote in her diary. 'It seems she was one of my old B.A. pupils. She is touched that 1 am here. 1 feel amused.'

Alongside the fairly unexacting routine, for the political prisoners at least, was the hardship of the raging summer heat which turned the very basic sanitary facilities into a 'horrible' ordeal. 'I was trying to decide the other day what annoyed me most, physically, here, and I decided it was the dilemma of sitting in the latrine with (1) either my face in a dirty sacking curtain; or (2) throwing up the curtain and being frightened of somebody arriving quietly and catching me. The latrines are uncovered to sun and rain and we are exposed to the elements .... One can get used to anything, and one has to shut one's eyes and ears and brain to it, but if I give way to what I really felt, I could be sick every time I go near the place.'19

Freda made two strong political friendships -- with the peasant leader Bibi Raghbir Kaur, described by Freda as 'my political mother-in-law', and with the renowned Arona Asaf Ali, who was about Freda's age and had form as a political prisoner (after her release from Lahore jail she famously went underground as a pro-independence activist). Aruna was from Delhi, and housed in a different block, but they arranged to meet regularly. 'Aruna came for tea,' Freda wrote in her account of jail life a month into her imprisonment. 'She is a comfort, and I am happy with her. With her I can exchange thoughts -- she's the only one who can give me that satisfaction. Although I manage in Hindustani, I know so few words that it is a continual frustration to try and express myself. Besides which, quite apart from speaking to her, or any question of language, I am fond of her.' As a team they worked well, all were leftists as well as admirers of Gandhi, and they managed to hold a May Day meeting inside the prison:

A few words from me on its significance. Attari Devi sang 'Inquilab Zindabad'; Raghbir Kaur spoke in Punjabi on the peasant and the worker; Aruna a little on Lenin and the significance of the Russian revolution. A funny rambling affair, but we did manage to celebrate it. Had a gnawing feeling inside me because of newspaper reports on Deoli, couldn't eat properly, felt like vomiting. The temperature has gone to 116. Mentally, it doesn't worry me.20

Concern about the plight of her husband was a constant preoccupation -- she was anxious about reports of a hunger strike at the much more spartan and remote Deoli camp and worried when she didn't hear from him for weeks on end. 'In his confinement, he must be thinking of me, and indeed I have felt him almost physically with me these last stirring days,' she wrote on the second day of her detention. The occasional telegram from Bedi gave her a big boost. One came on Ranga's seventh birthday -- 'Congrats for Bunny Heart'. 'Such a silly telegram and so nice to get it.' Freda missed her son too and was delighted when permission was given for him to spend a few days with her, sharing her bed. Ranga too -- who still has notes he sent as a child to his parents in their separate jails, one in Punjabi and the other in English -- was thrilled to spend time with his mother. But he wasn't allowed to accompany her during the day as she worked, and some children of the non-political detainees jeered and mocked him, so it was a short stay.

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