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


Madrid 1937 – The Black Planes

Los Aviones Negros (The Black Planes)

Madrid 1937 under fascist bombs – Los Aviones Negros (The Black Planes) (1937) by Horacio Ferrer Morgado. In Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

Note: Los Aviones Negros (The Black Planes) was the painting the Basque government wanted for the Paris World Fair – they didn’t like a certain painting Picasso had produced.

Meanwhile today those who tried to stop this murder in Madrid are to have a small monument to them pulled down while those responsible for the city’s bombing still have huge arches built to the name of their “victory”

International Brigade memorial under threat in Madrid

ib memorial madrid

Unbelievable….except it isn’t anymore. “Madrid’s Complutense University has been given 10 days (from 3 June) to remove the memorial to the International Brigades that was unveiled on 22 October 2011 in the presence of four IB veterans, including David Lomon. The order was made by a Madrid court, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia, on the grounds that the monument had been erected without planning permission. The IBMT donated 500 euros towards its cost.”

The Guardian Well worth reading this article.

“It is often said that history is written by the winners. But what is happening in Madrid is not just an asymmetrical exercise of historic memory. It is an intolerant, dangerous, dysfunctional way to treat the past and sits uneasily with the image Madrid likes to project as an open, diverse and transparent city of the future.”

And here too also in the Guardian