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Nirad C. Chaudhuri

From Academic Kids

Nirad C. Chaudhuri (23 November 18971 August 1999) was born in Kishorganj in the Mymensingh district of East Bengal (now in Bangladesh). He was educated in Kishorganj and Calcutta, where he attended Scottish Church College, Calcutta with honours in History. He topped the University of Calcutta merit list standing First Class First. However in his M.A. exams, at the same university, he did not appear for all of his exam papers, and thus did not get his M.A. degree.

Throughout his life, he followed the dicta of the great English Neo Classical poet, Alexander Pope:

  • "This long disease, my Life"
  • "The Proper Study of Mankind is Man"

He was a productive and prolific writer till the very end; publishing his last work at the age of 99. His masterpiece, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian ISBN 0-201-15576-1 published in 1951 put him on the short list of great Indian English writers.

Casting a dyspeptic eye on Indian Independence in 1947, he wrote his autobiography, which spanned the height of the British Raj in India to its eventual dissolution. To his last day, he remained the quintessential Victorian English country gentleman, if not by ownership, then by knowledge, habit, refinement and taste. He lived by his genteel squirearchical standards till he breathed his last.

He wrote a sequel, Thy Hand, Great Anarch! published after his death.

He died in Oxford, England two months short of his 102nd birthday in 1999.

He wrote the following books:

  • The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian
  • A Passage to England
  • Clive of India (biography)
  • To Live or Not to Live
  • Max Muller (biography)
  • The Continent of Circe
  • The East is East and West is West
  • From the Archives of a Centenarian
  • Thy Hand Great Anarch

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