Nirad C. Chaudhuri

Indian Bengali−English writer and man of letters
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Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri (23 November 1897 – 1 August 1999) was an Indian Bengali−English writer and man of letters. He was born in a Hindu family in 1897 in Kishoreganj, then part of Bengal, British India.


  • The immense noisy crowds that greeted the end of British rule in India with deafening shouts of joy on August 15, 1947, did not recall the old saying: they thought nothing of British rule would survive in their country after the departure of the White men who had carried it on. They never perceived that British rule in India had created an impersonal structure.... a system of government for which there was no substitute.
    • Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse: Nirad C Chaudhuri, Oxford University Press, 1997. quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism.
  • I understood the life around me better, not from love, which everybody acknowledges to be a great teacher, but from estrangement, to which nobody has attributed the power of reinforcing insight.
    • The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian
  • By the time the Muslims established their rule in the country (circa 1200 A.D.) the old inhabitants of the country, i.e. the Hindus, had lost their vitality to such an extent that they became incapable of dealing with or even facing a situation if it was difficult or unpleasant. So they surrendered to any situation that was created for them by history and tried to be at peace with their conscience by banishing it from their mind with soothing words.
    • Quoted from (1997). Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar? Edited by Goel, S. R. [31, Baljit Rai]
  • As soon as the English mind came in contact with the Hindu's, which was a very different kind of mind, it completely lost its temper, and so became incapable of dispassionate analysis. But the display of temper was at least spectacular, like fireworks.
    • 'On Understanding the Hindus', Encounter June 1965
  • I say that the Muslims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque. From 1000 A.D., every Hindu temple from Kathiawar to Bihar from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas, has been sacked and ruined. Not one temple was left standing all over northern India… Temples escaped destruction only where Muslim power did not gain access to them for reasons such as dense forests. Otherwise it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation, with any self-respect, will forgive this. They took over our women. And they imposed the Jaziya, the tax. Why should we forget and forgive all that? What happened in Ayodhya would not have happened, had the Muslims acknowledged this historical argument even once. Then we could have said : All right, let the past remain in the past and let us see how best we can solve this problem…
    • Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri , Sunday Times of India, August 8, 1993; in an interview to its Editor Dileep Padgaonkar
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