24-May-2018

Tributes to be paid to VK Krishna Menon on his birth anniversary on May 3 in London

By A Staff Reporter

LONDON May 2: Tributes will be paid to former defence minister and India's first high commissioner to the UK V K Krishna Menon with a remembrance event to be held on his 122nd Birth Anniversary which falls on May 3, 2018.
 
The VK Krishna Menon Institute, based in London, will hold an event titled "Remembering V.K. Krishna Menon with a panel discussion, featuring prominent persoanlities on Thursday May 3, 2018 from 6.30pm at the Nehru centre in London.
 
Panellists include Professor Philip Murphy, Director, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London and Mr Joao P. Fernandes, CEO and General Secretary, Indian Y.M .C .A, London.
 
Dr Cyriac Maprayil, Executive Director of the V K Krishna Menon Institute, recalled the crucial role played by Menon while living in the UK before India's Independence. 
 
"He was elected as a Councillor at the Camden Borough way back in 1934 and continued to be a Councillor for the next 14 years. During that period, he set up a series of Libraries in the Borough. Subsequently, he was chosen as a 'Freeman of the Borough of St Pancreas'.
 
Earlier only George Bernard Shaw was chosen for the the title, Menon set up the India League in the UK and used it effectively to create public opinion in favour of India's independence, Maprayil said. 
 
"He fought for India's independence but once India was declared independent, he was willing to come and make friendship with the United Kingdom on equal terms," he said. 
 
Krishna Menon was born in Kerala. When he came to England and enrolled at the London School of Economics he came into contact with the formidable theoretician of British socialism Harold Laski. Menon and Laski became good friends.
 
Menon founded the India League, the unofficial embassy of British-occupied India in London. It became a powerful force in the overseas movement to help liberate India. Nehru soon became aware of Krishna Menon and they quickly became close friends, a friendship that was to last until Nehru’s death.
 
Apart from his work with the India League, Krishna Menon was also a councillor in what was then the Borough Council of St. Pancras, now Camden.
 
His was an extraordinarily busy life but even more extraordinary was his achievements as a publisher. He briefly served as India’s first High Commissioner in London after independence.
 
Subsequently he acted as India’s permanent UN representative and later he served as India’s Defence Minister.
This event is being organised in association with the VK Krishna Menon Institute.
 
The Institute was launched in 2006 to celebrate and commemorate the life, times and achievements of this prodigiously talented statesman, India’s first High Commissioner in London, Union Minister of India and pioneering London councillor.
 
Dr Cyriac Maprayil, Executive Director of the VK Krishna Menon Institute is a journalist, historian and academic. He is also a human rights campaigner and was the Director of the East London Human Rights Commission and prior to that the Director of Race Equality council in Tower Hamlet for over a decade.
 
He is the author of several highly acclaimed books, the best known of which are Nehru and the Commonwealth, The Crisis of India: The Way Forward and The Agony of India. Dr. Maprayil will be chairing the discussion.