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Theatre -> 'Yours Krishna Menon' by Lalit Mohan Joshi
By Lalit Mohan Joshi
31 August 2007 @ 6.00pm
The Nehru Centre,
8 South Audley Street

'Yours Krishna Menon', a period play by Lalit Mohan Joshi portrays India's struggle for freedom in London (1924 -47) where Krishna Menon plays the protagonist. The playwright claims that this is the first play written on Krishna Menon. Besides consulting various primary and secondary sources, Lalit has also met and interviewed some of Menon's contemporaries like Pamela Cullen and Menon's biographer TJS George.

Krishna Menon's contribution to India's freedom struggle lies in a state of limbo. Dimly remembered as Nehru's blue-eyed boy elevated to the post of the first High Commissioner of independent India in London (1947-52) or a failed Defence Minister (1957-62), he is perhaps only credited for an 8-hour speech about India's stand on Kashmir at the United Nations (1957).

While historians, by and large, have chosen to ignore his outstanding contribution to the cause of Indian freedom, the media continues to mirror the negative image of Krishna Menon that emerges from British Intelligence files", says Joshi.

Lalit Mohan Joshi's period play Yours Krishna Menon questions this negative perception of Krishna Menon in history. It tries to reassess his true role on the world stage between 1924-1947. Based on historical documents, publications and interviews, the play is a fictionalised account of Menon's life.

On 31 August, Rungmunch theatre company will present selections from this period play to pay tribute to India's freedom fighters. The venue is the Nehru Centre where Deputy High Commissioner of India in London Hon. Mr. Asoke Mukerji, will be the chief guest. This event is part of the Lord Mayor Ken Livingston's India Now celebration of the 60th anniversary of Indian independence.


Krishna Menon lived in Britain from 1924-52, studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of London and was also called to the English Bar. Then, spurning the security, comfort and luxury that lay within his grasp, he chose a life of privation, hardship and challenges by deciding to fight for India's freedom.

To achieve his goal, he lodged himself in the sparse office of the India League at the Strand in London, tirelessly lobbied politicians, befriended intellectuals, students and ordinary people, wrote in newspapers and traversed all over Britain giving speeches and campaigning for India's cause. Whenever important Indian political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru visited Britain, Krishna Menon used his wide contacts to link them with those in the corridors of power and with the British public. He also badgered Britons who wielded power to push their government to grant freedom to India. India's freedom was his passion, ambition and mission in life and he pursued it with dogged determination till it was achieved.

But, as Krishna Menon himself once remarked: "History is not what really happens but what people are taught." So, to get to the truth, the play Yours Krishna Menon will lift the Curtain of Time, and help you turn your gaze towards the Past.

The scenes depicted on 31 August will whisk you away from an ageing Krishna Menon hoisting the Indian tricolour on the first day of Indian Independence in London on 15 August 1947, to Madras in the early 1900s when Menon was an undergraduate student at the prestigious and class conscious Madras Presidency College. India was then part of the mighty British Empire, which not only ruled the waves but often also waived the rules!

Viewers will be linked with a young Krishna Menon. It will reveal the background, people and forces that influenced this amazing man! In a matter of about 90 minutes, the selections will cover a few decades and steer you up to the year 1932 …


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