Virtual Exhibition - SF 2000

Sunil Janah: Inside India, 1940-1975


Subsection 1.3:   Political Leaders & Others

Photographs, panels & text:   © Sunil Janah 1939-2000
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Index, Introduction,
Entrance Panel...
History in
the Making
Building India's
The Land and
the People
Dance and Temple

Subsections of Section 1 (History in the Making)
1.1:   Independence Movement
1.2:   Famine, Riots & Refugees
1.3:   Political Leaders & Others

Index to Section 1.3

Section 1.3 text


1.3   Political Leaders and Others

Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammad Ali Jinnah were the three leaders who influenced events in the subcontinent the most during its transition from British rule to independent India and Pakistan. Gandhi was the moving spirit, inspiring the masses and drawing them into the freedom movement. Nehru, the first prime minister, shaped policy according to a vision of a modern industrialized state. Jinnah, once their colleague in the Indian National Congress, later formed the Muslim League, demanding a separate state for the Muslims of India. He did not anticipate the disasters that followed--the terrible riots and mass migrations, the hostilities and conflicts that have continued ever after. Pakistan eventually broke into two, the Bengali-speaking eastern part going through its own struggle and war of liberation to become Bangladesh, another separate country.

Subhash Chandra Bose and Vallabbhai Patel are two other politicians remembered for their special roles. Bose, a former Congress president, was a radical who broke away from the Congress to form the militant Forward Bloc. He escaped from a British prison during the war, traveled to Germany and Japan and recruited Indian prisoners of war and Indian nationals in southeast Asia to form the Indian National Army. This army marched on British India from Japanese-occupied Burma. But it was defeated. Bose is said to have died in a mysterious air crash, in circumstances that never became known.

Patel is renowned for taking on, after independence, the tough job of persuading the rulers of the many princely states to join the Indian Union. These states, such as Hyderabad, Patiala, Gwalior and Baroda, had been semi-autonomous feudal principalities under British rule.

Many other well-known faces in the India of those years appear in these panels. They played significant roles in achieving India’s independence, or made major contributions as artists, scientists and philosophers.

  - Sunil Janah

All photographs, and text:   © Sunil Janah 1939-2000


1.3   Political Leaders and Others

Panel 8:   Political Leaders

Top Row:
Rajagopalacharya  - Congress politician and later governor-general of India.   sf.049

Jawaharlal Nehru  - first prime minister of India, 1959.   sf.050

Sarojini Naidu  - poet and politician, 1945.   sf.051

Middle Row:
Indira Gandhi - prime minister of India, and daughter of Nehru, 1972.   sf.052

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan nationalist leader known as the "frontier Gandhi," from the North West Frontier Province. The area is now in Pakistan. -- He organized fiercely independent Muslim frontiersmen into "Khudai Khitmatgar" units, to offer non-violent resistance to British rule.   sf.053

Vijayalakshmi Pandit - Congress politician and sister of Nehru, 1945.   sf.054

Bottom Row:
Kalpana Dutt - a young revolutionary who later married P.C. Joshi. -- She was allegedly involved, at age fifteen, in the Chittagong Armory raid against the British rulers; escaped the hanging that was the fate of most other accused; but remained exiled and jailed, in the remote Andaman Islands, for fourteen years.   sf.055

P.C. Joshi - CPI (Communist Party of India) general secretary, 1946. -- He was ousted for opposing hardliners and urging cooperation with Nehru's progressive policies.   sf.056

V.K. Krishna Menon - India's outspoken representative to the United Nations, and later Defence Minister (under Nehru during the Chinese invasion of the 1960's).   sf.057

Photographs © Sunil Janah

Center: A.G.Khan.    
Clockwise from top left:  
Kripalani, J.Nehru, S.Naidu, V.Pandit, K.Menon, P.C.Joshi, K.Dutt, I.Gandhi. 
© Sunil Janah
For photographs of Mohandas K. Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Subhas Bose and Vallabbhai Patel, see:   Sunil Janah's Home Page (Introduction), the Virtual Exhibition (SF 2000) Start Page (Introduction and Entrance Panel), plus Section 1.1 (Panels 2 and 3).   (Nehru is also portrayed in Panel 8 above.)

Photographs, panels and text above, below:   © Sunil Janah 1939-2000.

Panel 9:   Cultural Figures

Top Row:
Jiddu Krishnamurthi - philosopher, Benares, 1972. -- He was groomed to be the theosophist messiah; renounced this, and matured into a non-sectarian sage, advocating pure attention and awareness of cultural conditioning.   sf.058

Satyen Bose - physicist, Calcutta, 1965. -- His work on the the statistical dynamics of a gas of photons (light-particles), sent by him to Einstein, led to Bose-Einstein statistics, and the classification of the universe of elementary particles into fermions and bosons.   sf.059

Second Row:
Jamini Roy - unusually successful painter.   sf.060.

Sayajit Ray - acclaimed film director, Calcutta, 1956.   sf.061.

Third Row:
Kazi Nazrul Islam - poet, whose revolutionary poetry inspired a generation of young Bengalis, 1940s.   sf.062.

Manik Bandopadhya - Bengali writer, Calcutta, 1948.   sf.063.

Margaret Bourke-White, 1945 - well-known American photographer, on assignment from Time-Life, teamed with Janah to photograph the spread of famine to South India, as well as partition refugees and riots. -- She covered Gandhi's assassination and funeral; wrote a book on her experience in India; was portrayed in the popular film "Gandhi".   sf.064

Photographs © Sunil Janah

Clockwise from top left:  
J. Krishnamurthi, S.Bose, S.Ray, M. Bandopadhya, M. Bourke-White, N. Islam, J.Roy. 
© Sunil Janah

This is section 1 (HISTORY IN THE MAKING), subsection 1.3 (Political Leaders and Others).

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Photographs, panels & text © Sunil Janah 1939-2000
This is an online virtual approximation to the exhibition
"Sunil Janah, Inside India 1940-1975",
curated by Sunil, Monua & Sobha Janah, and held in San Francisco, 2000.
Image quality and size are much poorer and smaller here than they were in the real exhibition.
Website design and coding: Arjun Janah, 2000