Nehru in Barcelona

Nehru in Barcelona.jpg

Jawaharlal Nehru, future first Prime Minister of India, visited Barcelona in June 1938. The photo above shows Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi, who also later became Indian Prime Minister, together with Catalan president Lluis Companys.

See also India and the Spanish Civil War

It was the Europe of 1938 with Mr. Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement in full swing and marching over the bodies of nations, betrayed and crushed, to the final scene that was staged at Munich. There I entered into this Europe of conflict by flying straight to Barcelona. There I remained for five days and watched the bombs fall nightly from the air. There I saw much else that impressed me powerfully; and there, in the midst of want and destruction and ever-impending disaster, I felt more at peace with myself than anywhere else in Europe. There was light there, the light of courage and determination and of doing something worthwhile.

The quote is from Nehru’s autobiograpahy Toward FreedomFrom here

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