Nirad C. Chaudhuri - Writers, Birthday and Childhood

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri's Personal Details

Bengali-English writer Nirad C

InformationDetail
BirthdayNovember 23, 1897
Died onAugust 1, 1999
NationalityIndian
FamousWriters, Writers, Novelists, Biographers
SpousesAmiya Dhar
Birth PlaceKishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)
GenderMale
Sun SignSagittarius
Born inKishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)
Famous asIndian writer

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri's photo

Who is Nirad C. Chaudhuri?

The only Indian ever to be awarded the prestigious Duff Cooper memorial Award, Nirad C. Chaudhuri was one of the best known Indian fiction authors of 20th century. Born in British India, his writings reflect the history of India in the context of British colonialism. He was a writer par excellence who over his long and productive career had produced several novels and biographies which earned him numerous awards and accolades. A fiercely independent man, he never feared to court controversy and in the very first book he wrote, he worded the dedication in such a way that was sure to infuriate the Indian official class. But here was a man who didn’t care a damn about what others thought of him. That was what set him apart from many a writer of his time. He was good friends with the equally fiery writer and novelist Khushwant Singh. Chaudhuri was deeply distressed by the hypocrisy he observed in the Bengali society, in particular that which stemmed from caste and social distinctions, and was fierce in his writings about them. He had several political connections that not only made him disillusioned with Indian politics, but also led him to be involved in controversies.

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Childhood & Early Life

He was born into the family of a country lawyer; his mother didn’t even know how to read, as was common with most women of those times.

After receiving his primary education from Kishorganj and Calcutta, he went to Ripon College, Calcutta. Then he studied history as his undergraduate major at the Scottish Church College, from where he graduated with honors.

He enrolled for M.A at the University of Calcutta but did not appear for all of his exams, and thus failed to clear the course.

Career

His first job was as a clerk in the Accounting Department of the Indian Army. It was during the same time that he also started writing articles for magazines. His first article that was published was on the Bengali poet, Bharat Chandra.

He did not find his work as a clerk to be very interesting. With his journalistic career picking up, he decided to ditch his job in the Accounting Department and became a full-time journalist.

By now he was acquainted with the writers Bibhuti Bhushan Banerjee and Dakshinaranjan Mitra with whom he was sharing accommodation. He began editing the popular English and Bengali magazines, ‘Modern Review’ and ‘Prabasi’, respectively.

Over the 1920s he also founded two Bengali magazines, ‘Samasamayik’ and ‘Notun Patrika’. These magazines did gain a reputation for their literary content, but were short-lived.

He was appointed as a secretary to Sarat Chandra Bose, a political leader in the nationalist movement in India, in 1938. Because of this position, he became acquainted with several political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Subhas Chandra Bose.

Working in close proximity with politicians made him realize several truths about the politics in India and made him skeptical about India’s future. He became very disillusioned with the Indian political system.

Even while working as a secretary, he continued writing articles for newspapers, in both Bengali and English. He also worked as a political commentator for the Calcutta branch of the All India Radio before working for the Delhi branch in 1941.

He had always been a journalist, but it wasn’t until he was 53 that he brought out his first book in English, ‘The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian’, in 1951. The book created much controversy at the time of its release as it infuriated a lot of Indians, especially the bureaucratic class.

Because of the book, he lost his job at the All India Radio as government rules prohibited government employees to publish memoirs. He was also deprived of his pension and was blacklisted as a writer.

However, his fortunes changed when the British Council and the BBC invited him to England in 1955 and requested him to contribute lectures to the BBC. He accepted it and contributed eight lectures on British life which were later collected in the ‘Passage to England’.

In 1965, he published ‘The Continent of Circle’, a collection of essays in which he discussed the Indian society from a socio-psychological perspective. In the book he presents a different viewpoint that goes against the “pacifist” theory that most people associate with India.

In 1970, he left India to settle in Oxford, England and spent his expatriate years, thinking and writing about India.

A prolific writer, he continued writing till the end of his life. His book, ‘Thy Hand, Great Anarch!’ (1987) was an autobiographical sequel to ‘The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian’, which he had written decades earlier.

Major Works

His first book, ‘The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian’ is considered to be his magnum opus. It was a memoir detailing his life from his birth in a small town, to his growth as an individual in Calcutta. The book stirred a lot of controversy but also made him immensely popular as a writer.

Awards & Achievements

His book, ‘The Continent of Circle’ won the prestigious Duff Cooper Memorial Award in 1966, making Chaudhuri the first Indian to have won the prize.

He was presented with the Sahitya Akademi Award for his biography on Max Muller, ‘Scholar Extraordinary’ in 1975.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married another well-known writer, Amiya Dhar in 1932. The couple had three sons.

He lived a very long and productive life. He was actively writing well up to the end of his life, publishing his last work at the age of 99! He died in 1999 of natural causes, just two months short of his 102nd birthday.

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri biography timelines

  • // 23rd Nov 1897
    He was born into the family of a country lawyer; his mother didn’t even know how to read, as was common with most women of those times.
  • // 1932
    He married another well-known writer, Amiya Dhar in 1932. The couple had three sons.
  • // 1938
    He was appointed as a secretary to Sarat Chandra Bose, a political leader in the nationalist movement in India, in 1938. Because of this position, he became acquainted with several political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Subhas Chandra Bose.
  • // 1941
    Even while working as a secretary, he continued writing articles for newspapers, in both Bengali and English. He also worked as a political commentator for the Calcutta branch of the All India Radio before working for the Delhi branch in 1941.
  • // 1951
    He had always been a journalist, but it wasn’t until he was 53 that he brought out his first book in English, ‘The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian’, in 1951. The book created much controversy at the time of its release as it infuriated a lot of Indians, especially the bureaucratic class.
  • // 1955
    However, his fortunes changed when the British Council and the BBC invited him to England in 1955 and requested him to contribute lectures to the BBC. He accepted it and contributed eight lectures on British life which were later collected in the ‘Passage to England’.
  • // 1965
    In 1965, he published ‘The Continent of Circle’, a collection of essays in which he discussed the Indian society from a socio-psychological perspective. In the book he presents a different viewpoint that goes against the “pacifist” theory that most people associate with India.
  • // 1966
    His book, ‘The Continent of Circle’ won the prestigious Duff Cooper Memorial Award in 1966, making Chaudhuri the first Indian to have won the prize.
  • // 1970
    In 1970, he left India to settle in Oxford, England and spent his expatriate years, thinking and writing about India.
  • // 1975
    He was presented with the Sahitya Akademi Award for his biography on Max Muller, ‘Scholar Extraordinary’ in 1975.
  • // 1987
    A prolific writer, he continued writing till the end of his life. His book, ‘Thy Hand, Great Anarch!’ (1987) was an autobiographical sequel to ‘The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian’, which he had written decades earlier.
  • // 1st Aug 1999
    He lived a very long and productive life. He was actively writing well up to the end of his life, publishing his last work at the age of 99! He died in 1999 of natural causes, just two months short of his 102nd birthday.

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri's FAQ

  • What is Nirad C. Chaudhuri birthday?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri was born at 1897-11-23

  • When was Nirad C. Chaudhuri died?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri was died at 1999-08-01

  • Where was Nirad C. Chaudhuri died?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri was died in Oxford, England

  • Where is Nirad C. Chaudhuri's birth place?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri was born in Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)

  • What is Nirad C. Chaudhuri nationalities?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri's nationalities is Indian

  • Who is Nirad C. Chaudhuri spouses?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri's spouses is Amiya Dhar

  • What is Nirad C. Chaudhuri's sun sign?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri is Sagittarius

  • How famous is Nirad C. Chaudhuri?

    Nirad C. Chaudhuri is famouse as Indian writer