Edinburgh

Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah

About: 

Ikbal Ali Shah was the Son of the Nawab of Sardhana, and great grandson of the Afghan statesman Jan Fishan Khan. He came to Britain before the First World War and studied at Oxford and Edinburgh University, where he met his wife, the Scottish author Morag Murray. They had three children, the Sufi writers and translators Amina Shah (1918), Omar Ali-Shah (1922-2005) and Idries Shah (1924-96), with whom Doris Lessing later studied Sufism. He wrote collections of tales and adventure, like The Golden Caravan, as well as non-fiction like The Spirit of the East. He later taught Sufi "classes" in England, which were the precursors to the Sufi school established by his son, Idries Shah.Ikbal Ali Shah also wrote biographies, including on President Kemal Attaturk whom he claims to have known personally.

Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah was a prolific writer of articles, and books relating to South Asia, Sufism and the Muslim World. He published in The Bookman and other journals, but struggled to live by his writing. In 1939 he contacted the India Office for work as a writer in the Information Department, for whom he wrote articles useful for Muslim papers in India and he provided the Ministry with a regular service of news along these lines. In a letter dated 19 January 1939, A. H. Joyce (Secretary Political, External Department) stated that the India Office had known Ikbal Ali Shah ‘as a contributor of articles, principally to the provincial newspapers in this country, on matters affecting the Muslim world and particularly those affecting India and Afghanistan. He is also the author of quite a number of books of a popular type covering a similar field’ (L/I/1/1509). He was also a prolific speaker and addressed the Oxford Majlis in 1941 on the topic ‘Incompatibility of Islamic and Fascist Philosophies’, and lascars in the East End on ‘English, Their Country and Their Ways’. He also wrote a paper ‘Little Arabia in Britain', on Cardiff’s Muslim community.

Ikbal Ali Shah was linked to the controversy surrounding the 1967 publication of a new translation of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, by his son Omar Ali-Shah and the English poet Robert Graves. The translation was based on an annotated "crib", supposedly derived from an old manuscript said to have been in the Shah family's possession for 800 years. L. P. Elwell-Sutton, an Orientalist at Edinburgh University, and others who reviewed the book, expressed their conviction that the story of the ancient family manuscript was false. Graves had been led to believe that Ikbal Ali Shah had access to the disputed manuscript. Shah was about to produce it at the time of his death from a car accident, to allay the growing controversy surrounding the translation. He and his wife are buried in the Muslim section of the cemetery at Brookwood, Woking, Surrey.

Published works: 

Afghanistan of the Afghans (1928)

Westward to Mecca (1928)

Eastward to Persia (1930)

The Golden East (1931)

Mohamed: The Prophet (1932)

Alone in Arabian Nights (1933)

Islamic Sufism (1933)

The Golden Pilgrimage (1933)

The Prince Aga Khan (1933)

Afridi Gold (1934)

Kemal: Maker of Modern Turkey (1934)

The Controlling Minds of Asia (1937)

(ed.) Coronation Book of Oriental Literature (1937)

(ed.) The Golden Treasury of Indian Literature (1938)

Nepal: Home of the Gods (1938)

Spirit of the East (1939)

Occultism: Its Theory and Practice (1952)

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1894
Connections: 

Robert Graves, Morag Murray.

Contributions to periodicals: 
Precise DOB unknown: 
Y
Archive source: 

L/I/1/1509 Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Sardhana
Country of birth: 
India

Locations

University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, EH8 9AD
United Kingdom
55° 57' 7.956" N, 3° 10' 19.4196" W
Oxford University Oxford, OX2 6QD
United Kingdom
51° 47' 13.6464" N, 1° 17' 24.6012" W
Date of death: 
04 Nov 1969
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1914
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1914-69

Location: 

Edinburgh, London, Oxford.

Edinburgh Indian Association

About: 

The Edinburgh Indian Association was founded in 1883. It was a society for students from India who had come to study in Edinburgh. In supplying figures to the 1907 Lee-Warner Committee into Indian Students, they mentioned eighty-four Indian members. They held regular social events and debates for Indians in Edinburgh and for Scottish members.

In 1911, the Association was involved in litigation in order to win independence from the university authorities. 

Published works: 

Edinburgh Indian Association, 1883-1983 (Centenary Issue, 1983)

See reports of activities in Journal of the National Indian Association
 

Secondary works: 

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

Mukherjee, Sumita, Nationalism, Education and Migrant Identities: The England-Returned (London: Routledge, 2010)

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

Date began: 
01 Jan 1883
Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, GB/NNAF/C75445, Edinburgh University Library, Edinburgh

Annual Dinner Programme 1937, GB239 GD1/50, Lothian Health Services Archive, Edinburgh University Library, Edinburgh
 

Location

George Square Edinburgh, EH8 9LF
United Kingdom
Involved in events details: 

Gave evidence to Lee-Warner Committee into Indian Students, 1907

Gave evidence to Lytton Committee into Indian Students, 1921-2
 

Tags for Making Britain: 

P. C. Ray

About: 

P. C. Ray was a chemist, a historian and sociologist of science and an industrial entrepreneur. Following education in Calcutta, he won a Gilchrist Scholarship to study in Britain in the 1880s. He was met in London by Jagadish Chandra Bose and Satyaranjan Das. A week later he went up to Edinburgh University, with letters of introduction to Edinburgh families provided by Elizabeth Manning.

Ray studied chemistry, physics and zoology for a BSc and was then awarded a DSc in inorganic chemistry in 1887. He was elected Vice-President of the University Chemical Society in 1887. Ray wished to apply for a position within the Indian Educational Service although the higher posts in education were all but closed off to Indians. He returned to India in 1888, and armed with various letters of recommendation tried to enter the service. He was unemployed for a year until he got a temporary teaching post in Calcutta.

P. C. Ray eventually set up the Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works in Calcutta, India's first pharmaceutical company. In 1904 he toured Europe and was given a warm reception by Indian students at Edinburgh. In 1912, the University of Durham conferred unto him an honorary DSc degree. Ray was awarded with the Companionship of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1912 and a knighthood in 1919. In 1916 he took up a position at the University College of Science in Calcutta, where he remained until retirement.

Published works: 

Antiquity of Hindu Chemistry (Calcutta, 1918)

Autobiography of a Bengali Chemist (Calcutta: Orient Book Company, 1958)

Essays and Discourses (Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1918)

History of Hindu Chemistry from the Earliest Times to the Middle of the Sixteenth Century A. D., 2 vols (London: Williams and Norgate, 1902-9)

Makers of Modern Chemistry (Calcutta: Chuckervertty, Chatterjee, 1925)

Pursuit of Chemistry in Bengal: A Lecture (Calcutta: B. M. Gupta, 1916)

Date of birth: 
02 Aug 1861
Secondary works: 

Lourdusamy, J., Science and National Consciousness in Bengal 1870-1930 (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2004)

Archive source: 

P. C. Ray Museum, University College of Science, Calcutta

City of birth: 
Raruli, Bengal
Country of birth: 
India
Current name city of birth: 
Raruli
Current name country of birth: 
Bangladesh
Other names: 

Prafulla Chandra Ray

Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray

Location

University of Edinburgh EH8 9YL
United Kingdom
55° 57' 7.956" N, 3° 10' 19.4196" W
Date of death: 
16 Jun 1944
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1882
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Y
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1882-8, 1904, 1920, 1926

Location: 

Edinburgh University

Tags for Making Britain: 

Cedric Dover

About: 

Dover was born in Calcutta to Eurasian parents in 1904. Dover's mixed-race ancestry (English father, Indian mother) and his studies in biology fostered in him a strong concern with ethnic minorities and their exclusion and oppression, as well as their cultural achievements. He studied at St Joseph's College, Calcutta, and Medical College, Calcutta, before joining the Zoological Survey of India as a temporary assistant in charge of entomology, also helping with an anthropometric study of the Eurasian community of Calcutta, writing several scientific articles and editing the Eurasian magazine New Outlook. In 1929 he met Jawaharlal Nehru. After a brief time studying at the University of Edinburgh (zoology and botany) and at the Natural History Museum in London (systematic entomology), he took up various zoological posts in Malaya and India where he also applied his scientific expertise to social welfare problems. 

Dover settled in London in 1934 in order to further pursue anthropological studies on issues of race. Julian Huxley supplied Dover with an early proof copy of We Europeans. This book marked the turning point for Dover's thinking on issues of race and drove him to write Half-Caste. He travelled widely in Europe, lecturing on race and using his scientific knowledge to help dispel the eugenicist myths surrounding race and in particular mixed-race lineage. In Britain Dover also wrote several papers and books about race including Half-Caste and Hell in the Sunshine. He was a firm believer in Indian independence, describing himself as the first Eurasian to ally himself with the struggle for Indian independence. Through these nationalist sympathies he became loosely linked with Krishna Menon and the India League

In the 1940s he was a regular contributor to the BBC Indian Section of the Eastern Service alongside many other Britain-based South Asians such as Mulk Raj Anand, M. J. Tambimuttu and Venu Chitale. He also befriended George Orwell. During the Second World War, he worked in Civil Defence and served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He also found work as a lecturer for the Ministry of Information and edited Three, the journal of No. Three Army Formation College. Furthermore, Dover developed a mosquito repellent, known as 'Dover's Cream', which was widely used by soldiers serving in South and South East Asia. 

In 1947, after the war, Dover moved to the United States where he held a range of visiting academic posts in the field of anthropology and 'inter-group relations', focusing his concern on American minority communities.  His interests extended into the field of visual art, including 'Negro' arts. He was a member of the Faculty of Fisk University, as Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology. He also briefly lectured at the New School of Social Research, New York, and Howard University. During this period, Dover renewed his interest in African American culture. In the 1950s, after the Second World War and his career in the USA, he returned to London. He continued to lecture and contribute to publications on minority issues and culture until his death.

Published works: 

Cimmerii Or Eurasians and their Future (Calcutta: Modern Art Press, 1929)

Know This of Race (London: Secker & Warburg, 1930)

The Kingdom of Earth ( Allahabad: Allahabad Law Journal Press,1931)

Half-Caste (London: Secker and Warburg, 1937)

Hell in the Sunshine (London: Secker & Warburg, 1943)

Feathers in the Arrow: An Approach for Coloured Writers and Readers (Bombay: Padma, 1947)

Brown Phoenix (London: College Press, 1950)

American Negro Art (London: Studio, 1960)

Date of birth: 
11 Apr 1904
Contributions to periodicals: 

Burma Review

Calcutta Review

Congress Socialist

The Crisis

Freethinker

Indian Forest Recorder

Indian Writing

Left Review

Life and Letters Today

Marriage Hygiene

Mother and Child

Nature

New Outlook (editor and publisher)

Our Time

Phylon (contributing editor)

Pictorial Knowledge (associate editor)

Poetry Review

Quarterly Review

Spectator

Three (editor)

Tribune

United Asia

Secondary works: 

Nasta, Susheila, Home Truths: Fictions of the South Asian Diaspora in Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002)

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

Involved in events: 

Second World War (served with  Royal Army Ordnance Corps)

City of birth: 
Calcutta
Country of birth: 
India
Current name city of birth: 
Kolkata
Date of death: 
01 Dec 1961
Location of death: 
London
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1934
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Y
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

mid 1920s, 1934-47, 195?-1961

Location: 

Edinburgh, London.

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