London Nostalgia - Impressions of a Researcher
Syed Ali Mujtaba
My association with England has been primarily for academic purposes. In the year 1994 I was awarded government of India fellowship to pursue my doctoral research further while doing PhD at the JNU, New Delhi.
I got this field grant because my thesis “The Demand for Partition of India and British Policy 1940-45” demanded an archival survey of the British sources.
My thesis also demanded incorporation of British perspective to the Partition debate particularly with reference to its India policy during the Second World War.
So this pursuit made me stay for six months in England. I was based in London and lived in a rented room at the 45 Colliers High Road, South London. It was quite close to Sainsbury supermarket where I use to frequent for my groceries.
The building where I lived was owned by a Pakistani of Indian origin. It had some very interesting people living there. There was a Pakistani couple in the ground floor, a group of Korean students in the second floor. There were two Romanians gentlemen and an English couple besides me in this building.
I use to take the southern line tube and go waterloo from where I use to walk to the backfires bridge where the India Office Library was located at that time.
During my stay in London I use to visit the School of Oriental and African Studies library the Record office at the Q’s gardens and the British Museum.
Some time I use to get down at Temple tube station walk to the High Court side either to visit the Indian consulate office or to the LSE, while on some other day I may be walking straight to the Kings College to attend some Talks organized there.
I used to be spent my evenings sometimes at the Piccadilly Circus, the China town, the globe theater and the Charring Cross. Some times I use to walk along the embankment watching the flow the river Thames, go up to the Big Ben and see the time, take a round of 10 Downing Street and walk along the British Parliament.
At times in the evenings, I use to go to the Indian YMCA, British Museum and Baden Powell Hall for some programmes.
While staying in London, I use to frequent Oxford University for my research. Normally I use to go the St Anthony College to meet some Professors or to sit at Bodleian library at the Oxford University.
Similarly, I use to travel to the Cambridge University and even stayed with some friends for few days there. At the Cambridge I had given a talk at the Darwin College. I had also visited the Kent University at the Canterbury.