Indians in the Spanish Civil War

indians in Spanish Civil War

Event organised by the Spain-India Committee to raise funds for the Spanish Republic on Friday 12 March 1937 in London . Note classical dancing from India and National dances of Spain. Text “FOR SPAIN INDIAN EVENING ARRANGED BY SEHRI SAKLATVALA MIRA DEVI Brilliant Classical Dancer from INDIA ANDRIEVA DANCERS IN NATIONAL DANCES OF SPAIN By courtesy of Madame Andrieva SHANTA GANDHI Indian Folk Dances A. BHATTACHARYA INDIAN ORCHESTRA OF CENTURIES-OLD INSTRUMENTS and BABY BHATTACHARYA Speakers : JOHN STRACHEY ISABEL BROWN INDIRA NEHRU (Daughter of President Nehru) ” Source:

Note mention in poster to Indira Gandhi

[Indira Gandhi ] would frequently travel by train from Oxford to London and dine with Fcrozc, Krishna Mcnon. and others at Indian restaurants. Indira also became associated with an organization that solicited volunteers for the International Brigade. The Brigade fought on hehalt of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. and Indira was clearly entranced by that war, Shanta Gandhi—no relative of Indira or Fcro/c Gandhi, but a schoolmate of Indira’s from their Poona days— recalls that Indira often helped her organize fund-raising events for the London-based Aid Spain Committee. Shania Gandhi would perform Indian classical dances at some of these events. On one occasion, according to her, Indira impulsively offered her dainty meenakari bracelet for an auction. The filigree bracelet fetched fifty pounds, an impressive sum in those davs. Source

Sent to me by Alan Warren

In T.C. Worsley’s “Behind the Battle”, when he was in Barcelona in January 1937, he mentions meeting an Indian journalist he calls “Krishna” who was writing for 50 Indian newspapers. I dont think it is his real name (though he calls Stephen Spender, Spender, but has an American doctor he calls “Rathbone”, who I think is Dr. Barsky from what he is doing). The American journalist Fernsworth asked how he billed all the newspapers for his reporting, to which “Krishna” replied that he was not paid, but was doing it to let people in India know what was happening in Spain. Fernsworth was astounded!

Ambulance donated by the Spain-India Committee to “the courageous Spanish democrats in the name of the people of India and Ceylon.”

india in Spanish Civil War

See also Nehru in Barcelona


1938 Glasgow Spanish Civil War banner


Banner “Spanish Workers Dying for Democracy ” made in Scotland in 1938 and hanging now in the People’s Palace museum, Glasgow. Found it on Wikipedia.

From The Glasgow Story

“A banner of the Govan Branch of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) from 1938. The Scottish Socialist Party was founded by Patrick Dollan in 1933 as an alternative to the Independent Labour Party. It merged with the Labour Party in 1940.

When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 the SSP supported the democratically-elected Republican Government against the rebel Spanish Army and Nationalist factions. This propaganda banner depicts Spanish workers armed only with spades and pickaxes facing up to the well-equipped Spanish Army. The SSP was critical of the British Government for its refusal to permit British suppliers to supply arms to the Republicans.

The text to the left of the banner draws a comparison between the Spanish Republicans and Scots Thomas Muir (transported in 1794), John Baird and Andrew Hardie (both executed 1820), who suffered for their political beliefs.”