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Last updated:26 May 2015

Autographs - and a link to Indian independence

"Long Live Indian Independence".

With these words the men of the British Battalion of the XV International Brigade in Spain greeted the visit of Jahawarlal Nehru and V. Krishna Menon, as recorded in the Daily Worker of 20 June 1938. The two campaigners for Indian independence were in Spain to show their solidarity with the Second Republic and its fight against fascism.

Autograph bookA few weeks before this visit, every member of the Brigade had been given a copy of The Book of the XV Brigade, the Library's copy of which bears the signatures of these two giants of Indian history. The same Daily Worker article mentions that the two men were besieged for autographs during their visit, and it was doubtless on this occasion that they added their signatures to our copy of this important source book of the Spanish Civil War.
Equally fitting, and very timely, the Library has just received a donation of an autograph book full of the signatures of leading figures in the British labour movement of the early 20th century. Among these is the signature of H. N. Brailsford, a great public intellectual and author of The War of Steel and Gold (1914), an anti-imperialist tract that was published on the eve of the First World War.
Historian Christopher Hill has described Brailsford as "a devoted worker for women's suffrage, for the emancipation of the Balkan, Irish and Indian Peoples and a steadfast advocate of internationalism and peace".
In this year of jingoistic celebrations of the 'Great War', Brailsford's signature thus forms a fitting pendant to the more illustrious figures of Nehru and Krishna Menon.
Stuart Walsh, volunteer

August 2014

Click here for more about India in the library collection

Click here for more information about the library's Spanish Civil War collection


Resources about India in the library collection

Ben Bradley, India: what we must do (1942) - Shelfmark: AG India Box 1

Jean Jones, Ben Bradley: fighter for India's freedom (no date) - Shelfmark: AG India Box 3

J Hindle and M Brothers, Conditions in the textile industry of India: the report of an investigation (1927) - Shelfmark: AG India Box 2

Arthur W Silver, Manchester men and Indian cotton, 1847-1872 (1966) - Shelfmark: H50

Peter Harnetty, Imperialism and free trade - Lancashire and India in the mid-nineteenth century (1972) - Shelfmark: H41

S Saklatvala and MK Gandhi, Is India different?: the class struggle in India - correspondence on the Indian labour movement and modern conditions (1927) - Shelfmark: AG India Box 1

Romesh Dutt, The economic history of India in the Victorian age - from the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the commencement of the twentieth century 5th ed. (1900) - Shelfmark: K04

R Palme Dutt, India to-day (1940) - Shelfmark: E08

Edward Thompson, A history of India (1927) - Shelfmark: Q41


Resources relating to the Spanish Civil War and International Brigades at the Library

Material on the period, much of it archival, forms one of the most extensive and interesting collections in the Library. The collection consists of books, pamphlets, journals, archival material, artefacts and tape recordings.

Click here for further details about the types of material held at the Library relating to the Spanish Civil War and International Brigades

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