Satyendranath Tagore


First Indian to enter the Indian Civil Service (ICS) through the competitive exams in London. Elder brother of Rabindranath Tagore (second son of Debendranath Tagore). Posted to the Bombay ICS, where he served his entire career from 1864 to 1897. His wife is said to have introduced/adapted the use of wearing a blouse with a sari for Bengali women.

Published works: 

The Autobiography of Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, trans. by Satyendranath Tagore and Indira Devi (Calcutta: S. K. Lahiri, 1909)

Date of birth: 
01 Jun 1842

Mary Carpenter, Michael Madhusudan Dutt (lived together in London for a short while), Manomohun Ghose (barrister), Rabindranath Tagore.

Archive source: 

Rabindra Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name city of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Date of death: 
09 Jan 1923
Location of death: 
Calcutta, India
Tags for Making Britain: 

Sakuntala Performance, November 1919

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

Winter Garden Theatre, London


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

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

People involved: 

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

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

Published works: 

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


The Times, 15 Nov 1919

The Era, 19 Nov 1919

The Stage, 20 Nov 1919


Archive source: 

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

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


National Indian Association


The National Indian Association (NIA) was founded in 1870 by Mary Carpenter in Bristol, with the assistance of Keshub Chunder Sen. The organization's full name was originally ‘National Indian Association in Aid of Social Progress in India’.

In 1871, Mrs Manning and her step-daughter Elizabeth Adelaide Manning started a London branch. Mary Carpenter died in 1877 and the London branch became the headquarters for the Association. The NIA also has branches in other cities in the UK and in India. After the death of Manning in 1905, E. J. Beck, sister of Theodore Beck, became honorary secretary until her retirement in 1932.

The initial aim of the association was to encourage female education in India. They also sought to educate and inform the British about Indian affairs. As the number of Indians in Britain grew, an increasingly important function was to facilitate social intercourse between Indian visitors and the British. The association held soirees, conversaziones, lectures and meetings and often organized guided tours of sights. The NIA produced a monthly journal from 1871, providing information about their activities. In 1880, a sub-committee, the Northbrook Indian Club, was formed, to look after a reading room for Indian students. This became a separate society in 1881, called the Northbrook Indian Society.

In 1910, the offices were moved to 21 Cromwell Road in South Kensington, to be housed alongside the Bureau of Education for Indian students. The Association began to decline after its jubilee year in 1920. Few of its original members remained alive and an increasing array of different organizations arose in London to cater for Indian interests. The Association stayed alive in a residual form after Indian independence, merged with the East India Association in 1949, and was incorporated into the Royal Society for India, Pakistan and Ceylon in 1966.

Published works: 

Journal of the National Indian Association, from 1871

Handbook of Information Relating to University and Professional Studies for Indian Students (London: Archibald Constable, 1893), reprinted in 1904.

Other names: 


Secondary works: 

Apart from works on Mary Carpenter, Keshub Chunder Sen and E. A. Manning (see their entries), other works that give insight into the NIA include

Khalidi, Omar (ed.), An Indian Passage to Europe: The Travels of Fath Nawaj Jang (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Robinson, Andrew , ‘Selected Letters of Sukumar Ray’, South Asia Research 7 (1987), pp. 169-236

Burton, Antoinette, At the Heart of the Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in Late-Victorian Britain (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998)

Lahiri, Shompa, Indians in Britain: Anglo-Indian Encounters, Race and Identity, 1880-1930 (London: Frank Cass, 2000)

Date began: 
01 Jan 1870
Precise date began unknown: 
Key Individuals' Details: 

Emma Josephine Beck (secretary), Mary Carpenter (founder), Lord Hobhouse (president), Lady Hobhouse, Elizabeth Adelaide Manning (secretary), Keshub Chunder Sen (founder)

Date ended: 
01 Jan 1948
Archive source: 

Mss Eur 147, minute books of National Indian Association, financial papers and other miscellaneous papers, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras.

Liverpool Mercury, 22 December 1874

Pall Mall Gazette, 6 February 1888

The Times, 17 March 1886, 19 November 1886, 30 April 1891, 2 April 1892, 4 May 1897, 18 July 1898, 26 March 1901, 30 May 1903, 19 June 1906, 24 May 1907, 1 September 1908.

Western Daily Press, 10 September 1870

Precise date ended unknown: 
Organization location: 
Varied. Member's houses. Imperial Institute. In 1910, their offices were housed in 21 Cromwell Road, London, along with the Northbrook Society and the Bureau for Information for Indian Students.


21 Cromwell Road
London, SW5 0SD
United Kingdom
Involved in events details: 

Murder of Sir Curzon Wyllie by Madan Lal Dhingra at an 'At Home' held at the Imperial Institute, 1 July 1909


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