Nirad C. Chaudhuri
Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri (1897-1999) was born in Kishoreganj (now in Bangladesh) and had his education there and later in Calcutta.
He worked as a writer of commentaries for All India Radio and in his mid-fifties moved to Oxford, England. Nirad Chaudhuri began his career as a writer with the book he is best known for: The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, which dwelt at great length on his experiences and growing up in a little village in Bengal, and the influence of the British rule on India.
His admiration for the role of the British in shaping India’s destiny earned him plenty of criticism at home. Though his later books did not receive that much fame, his reputation as a scholar who considered himself the quintessential English gentleman at heart was established. He wrote his last book after he was past hundred.
Nirad C. Chaudhuri was a fellow of the Royal Literary society of England and was conferred an Honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
- The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian
- A Passage to England
- Clive of India
- To Live or Not to Live
- Scholar Extraordinary: The Life of Max Muller
- The Continent of Circe
- The East is East and West is West
- From the Archives of a Centenarian
- Thy Hand Great Anarch
- Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse
The Continent of Circe, the result of a lifetime’s effort to understand the nature of things Indian, describes the human situation in India after independence. Applying the historical method, the author sees no staticity in it, but discovers a continuing, dynamic and even explosive process, within which history and geography have worked to create dissimilar communities and endless conflicts. The account is therefore a “motion picture”, which links events comparatively recent as Nehru’s death with those as far off as the Aryan migrations in a coherent, though shifting, perspective, and which also reveals that the grip of their established traditions on all the communities has not relaxed.
The human groups dealt with are the Aboriginals, Hindus with their Anglicized variety, Muslims, Eurasians, and Indian Christians. The main feature of the book is the imaginative interpretation of the Hindu personality based on original sources. The author puts forward the revolutionary thesis that the Hindus are really Europeans in India, corrupted and denatured by the tropical environment. The geographical setting, whose stupefying essence pervades the book, exerts its baleful influences on all the incoming peoples, for which reason the author has called India the Continent of Circe.