In commemoration to V.K. Krishna Menon’s long and eventful association with London, the British government has decided to put up an English Heritage blue plaque at the house where he lived when he first moved to the city. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel are among the other Indian leaders previously honoured by English Heritage.
Who was V.K. Krishna Menon?
(Born: May 3, 1896, died October 6, 1974)
Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon was an Indian nationalist, diplomat and statesman. He was India’s first High Commissioner to the UK and later became Defence Minister of India from 1957 to 1962.
Menon in the UK
While his stay in the UK, he served as a Labour councillor for the Borough of St. Pancras in 1930s, and is still remembered for introducing travelling libraries and children’s corners. During the Second World War, he served as an air warden around Camden Square, where he lived at the time, and in 1955 St. Pancras conferred on him the Freedom of the Borough, the only other person so honoured being George Bernard Shaw. He was described by the former Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan as “the embodiment of the movement within Britain for India’s freedom.”
Menon in India:
Menon was noted for his eloquence, brilliance, and forceful, highly abrasive persona. He inspired widespread adulation and fervent detraction in both India and the West; to his supporters, he was an unapologetic champion of India in the face of Western imperialism. Returning to India, he was repeatedly elected to both houses of the Indian parliament from constituencies as varied as Bombay, Bengal, and his native Kerala, and served as Minister of Defense, overseeing the modernization of the Indian military and development of the Indian military-industrial complex, and spearheading the Indian annexation of Goa. He resigned in the wake of the Sino-Indian war, following allegations of India’s military unpreparedness, but remained counselor to Nehru, Member of Parliament and elder statesman until his death.
As as Minister of Defense, overseeing the modernisation of the Indian military and development of the Indian military-industrial complex, and spearheading the Indian annexation of Goa. He resigned in the wake of the Sino-Indian war, following allegations of India’s military unpreparedness, but remained counselor to Nehru, member of parliament and elder statesman until his death.
Who are the other Indian leaders honored with Blue Plaque previously?
Other Indian leaders namely Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel have been honoured by this English Heritage, previously.
Why is the significance of blue plaque?
The Blue Plaque Scheme of London was founded in 1866 is run by the William Ewart MP and the Royal Society of Arts to commemorates the association between the notable figures of past and Britain’s famous residents. More than 760 plaques have been placed across London by now. It is a uniquely successful means of connecting people and place. The Royal Society launched the scheme in 1867 with the unveiling of a commemorative tablet for Lord Byron.