• Krishna Menon's 125 Birth anniversary celebrated in London

     London, The 125th  birth anniversary of V K Krishna Menon, former defence minister of India, was celebrated in London  with speakers recalling his contributions to India's independence, particularly "fighting the Lion in its own den." In his opening address, Dr Cyriac Maprayil, Director of the V K Krishna Menon Institute, said "people of Indian origin and friends of India try to remind themselves of the sacrifices made by leaders like Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Subash Chandra Bose and Dr B R Ambedkar but "we forget the indispensable and crucial role played by Krishna Menon on the final stage of India's independence movement.".Dr Maprayil said Menon made lasting and memorable contributions. Menon came to London to study. After his studies he stayed on in London. He entered local politics and was in 1934 elected as a borough councillor in the London Borough of St Pancaras. He worked selflessly and tirelessly for the welfare of those in the borough. He became chairman of the library committee in 1945 and set up a travelling library to take books to the residents who could not find time to travel to the library. Later he set up paperback publications to make books available for students at affordable price. Dr Maprayil said though Menon was living in London he did not forget his people back in India. "Side by side with his other activities he was campaigning for India's independence using various platforms including the Labour party, India league and trade union movement."He said "Menon fought the lion in its own den singlehandedly carrying out the Indian war for liberation right in the heart of the enemy territory. He established the India League as an integral part of Indian national struggle and persuaded well known intellectuals like philosopher Bertrand Russell to be its chairman." Dr Maprayil said Menon's work among the people of Britain as well as within the labour party prepared Britain and the Labour government to part with power when, of course it became almost inevitable after the second World War. Sir Peter Lloyd, former Minister, said in  his keynote speech  that Menon was India's most brilliant and successful diplomat ever.  He said "Menon is best remembered as the leading exponent of non- alignment .Indeed Menon is credited with coining the term Non-alignment in his 1952 speech at the UN where he had become India's chief representative.For this initiative, unlike his army reforms,the timing and the opportunity were exactly right for a world divided into two camps -communist Russia and its satellites and the West lead by the U.S.A. It was a stalemate in which small countries had the choice of joining one camp or the other and accepting its leader or remaining separately marginalised and unremarked."India

  • Pranab Mukherjee: The politician who rose above politics

      India has had some outstanding presidents; it has also had a few presidents about whom it could be said did not live up to expectations. However, all presidents were decent, honourable people who served the world’s largest democracy most conscientiously. One of the most illustrious Presidents was Prof Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, a world-renowned academic and philosopher. Radhakrishnan, a close friend of Jawaharlal Nehru, was also an educationalist who played a major role in the creation of the new education system that incorporated many of our ancient learning features while at the same time blending harmoniously with modern requirements. Today, India is one of the most scientifically, technologically and culturally advanced nations in the world, overwhelmingly the product of a visionary and foresighted educational system bequeathed to the nation by India’s first independent government. Like Nehru, Radhakrishnan was a socialist, both embracing the doctrine of non-alignment and secularism. Pranab Mukherjee, who grew up in the Nehru era, was greatly inspired by perhaps the most idealistic Indian government in history. From very early on he championed socialism, non-alignment and India’s bold stand against colonial oppression. Today the fight against imperialism is virtually history, but in Mukherjee’s youth it had been a potent factor. India too, ha

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