Saturday, July 28, 2012

London life

From Ramachandra Guha's article "A London Year":
  • "Living as I do in Bangalore, a placid, even-tempered city not known for the vigour of its intellectual life, I took full advantage of my temporary good fortune. I heard more good talks in a year than I would in my home town in a decade, perhaps several decades. I listened to (and was educated by) several superb lectures on the Arab Spring, attended an excellent panel on Latin American politics, and heard a learned (and witty) disquisition on the relative merits of the economic theories of Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes.
  • London is an international city which has also long been an Indian city. The first desis who passed through or lived in London — in the 17th and 18th centuries — were sailors, sepoys and domestic servants. They were followed by maharajas and nawabsand, from the 19th century, by students and professionals.
  • To the historian of modern India, London carries a special significance, for it bears the imprint of the remarkable Indians who passed through its streets and houses. Rammohan Roy and Rabindranath Tagore spent extended periods in the city. The Grand Old Man of Indian nationalism, Dadabhai Naoroji, lived here for several decades, in which time he served a term as the member of parliament from the London locality of Finsbury.
  • The LSE, where I taught, is the alma mater of, among other people, V.K. Krishna Menon, K.R. Narayanan, and B.R. Ambedkar. Just north of the LSE is Holborn, which once had a vegetarian restaurant that a young M.K. Gandhi regularly patronized. Just south-east of the LSE is the Inner Temple, where Gandhi articled to become a lawyer. Gandhi returned to the city he had known as a student in 1906, 1909, and 1914, travelling each time from South Africa. He came back one last time in 1931, to plead the case for Indian independence."
Professor B R Shenoy also studied in LSE.

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