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Mainstream, Vol XLVII No 13, March 14, 2009

An India Connection

Sunday 15 March 2009, by Prakash Karat

Victor Kiernan belonged to the group of British Marxist historians who made a great contribution to the writing of history. Having spent eight years in India, he was in close touch with the fledgling Communist Party and became a friend of P.C. Joshi, who was General Secretary of the party.

Kiernan was one of the intrepid British Communists who fully identified with India’s cause of Independence. While teaching in Lahore, he learnt Urdu and translated Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz into English for the first time. In later years his range of writings was truly versatile and his analyses of the colonial empire and societies were path-breaking.

I was fortunate to have been a student of his in the late 1960s. The bond between us was strengthened by his India connection. I last met him in September 2008, a few days after his 95th birthday. He was cheerful, and asked about developments in India.

Kiernan will be remembered both in India and Pakistan for his empathy with, and erudition of, this part of the world.

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

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