Nirad Chaudhuri honoured by Oxford, his adopted home

October 4th, 2008 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Oxford, Oct 4 (IANS) A blue plaque was put up Friday at the Oxford home of the late Indian writer Nirad C. Chaudhuri, who spent his last 17 years in the leafy suburbs of this English university town.Chaudhuri, author of the seminal “Autobiography of an Unknown Indian”, lived at 20 Lathbury Road from 1982 to 1999, when he died at the age of 101.

The blue plaque, a singular British honour that commemorates famous figures, will say, “Nirad C. Chaudhuri, 1897-1999, writer, lived here 1982-1999.”

Chaudhuri, who described himself as an Englishman and a Bengali, wrote the second volume of his autobiography, “Thy Hand, Great Anarch!”, published in 1987, at the double-story brick-coloured Oxford home.

At the age of 100 he also published his last book, “Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse” - also written at the Oxford house - becoming possibly the oldest man to write and publish a book.

The plaque was unveiled by Bengali writer, Amit Chaudhuri, a great admirer of Nirad Chaudhuri, and the event was attended, among others, by his granddaughter Satarupa Chaudhuri, who flew in from India.

Chaudhuri was awarded a CBE and in 1992 given an honorary degree by the University of Oxford.

He joined a long list of people to be honoured with a blue plaque in Oxfordshire county, including authors Elizabeth Goudge, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

Oxfordshire Blue Plaque Board, which has honoured 41 other people, said: “Nirad C. Chaudhuri, a distinguished Indian writer and remarkable personality, was an internationalist, in the sense of one who takes the best of all cultures but never loses his own, and published many works on Indian and European civilization.

“He was an original thinker, forthright in his opinions, and a passionate admirer of western culture who decided to make his home in Oxford in 1970 when he was over seventy. He was a familiar and arresting sight out and about in Oxford, a diminutive figure, always impeccably dressed in a three-piece suit, although he wore Indian attire at home.”

Niradbabu also wrote acclaimed books in Bengali at his Oxford home, including “Aaji Hotey Shotoborsho Aagey” (a hundred years ago) and “Amaar Debottor Shompotti” (my bequeathed property).

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