Eric Blair is standing third from the left

Orwell and his parents were culturally Anglo-Indians. He was born in India and served for five years in Burma as an Assistant District Superintendent in the Indian Imperial Police. The centrality of the sub-continent to Orwell’s cultural, professional and imaginative identity can be observed throughout his life and work.

He published Burmese Days in 1934.

In 1938, his plans to return to Lucknow, in India, to work on a newspaper did not reach fruition. He had two ‘wasted’ years at the BBC at the beginning of World War Two, broadcasting propaganda to India.

The dust jacket of Orwell’s 1941 book, The Lion and the Unicorn, emphasises that the author was born into an “Anglo-Indian family”.

During the last years of his life, Orwell continued to look towards “The East”. Recently discovered letters, written to David Astor in 1945, reveal Orwell’s desire to return to Burma as a war correspondent in order to report on the closing stages of the military campaign and to interview Burmese political leaders on the eve of independence from Britain.

Orwell, in the year prior to his death, returned to the Anglo-Indian world of his youth and was  working on what would be an unfinished literary project, set in Burma and titled, A Smoking-Room Story.

Douglas Kerr’s new book, Orwell and Empire, is essential reading on this topic.

I will travel to India in late 2023 hoping to identify Orwell’s Ayah and discover more about his Anglo-Indian heritage.

India & Burma Collection

Blurton, T. Richard, India: A History in Objects, Thames & Hudson, 2017. 320pp.

Carr, Ray, The Red Tiger, London: Skeffington & Sons Ltd. 1929. 288pp. (Ray Carr was the pseudonym for Emile Charles Victor Foucar [1894-1963] who wrote I Lived in Burma)

Carr, Ray, Moonshine, London: Gerald Howe, 1932. 287pp. (first edition)

Carr, Ray, Moonshine, Bournemouth: William Earl & Company, Ltd., 1937. 126pp.

Clerici, M.C. and Walker, G.E.D., Duties and Diversions: Vignettes of Policing in the United Provinces & Elsewhere in India, Indian Police (UK) Association 1987, 77pp.

Collis Maurice (1953) Into Hidden Burma: an Autobiography, London: Faber and Faber (First Edition)

Collis, Maurice, Trials in Burma, Faber and Faber, 2011. 224pp.

Cook, Thomas (Staff), India, Burma, and Ceylon: Information for Travellers and Residents, London: Thos. Cook & Son Ltd, 1928

Curry, J.C., The Indian Police, London: Faber & Faber, 1932, 353pp.

Etchart, Julio, Imagining Orwell from Katha to Catalonia, Blurb, 2017. 80pp.

Etchart, Julio, Imagining Orwell in Three Continents, Dorset: Just Press, 2020. 76pp.

Foucar, E.C.V., They Reigned in Mandalay, London: Dennis Dobson, 1946. 165pp.

Foucar, E.C.V., Mandalay The Golden, London: Dennis Dobson, 1963. 240pp.

Gaskell, Nathaniel and Gujral, Diva, Photography in India: A Visual History from the 1850s to the Present, 2019. 304pp.

griffiths, percival

Griffiths, Percival, To Guard My People: The History of the Indian Police, London: Ernest Benn, 1972 (second corrected impression), 444pp.

ကသာခရိုင်အသင်း(ရန်ကုန်) မဂ္ဂဇင်းဖြစ်မြောက်ရေးကော်မတီမှစီစဉ်သည်။ ” ကသာခရိုင်အသင်း(ရန်ကုန်) မဂ္ဂဇင်း ” ၂၀၂၀ ပြည့် မတ်လတွင် ပထမအကြိမ် ထုတ်ဝေသည်။ Katha District Association (Yangon) Magazine, First Edition March 2020 (includes my article, ‘Eric Blair in Katha’). Thanks to Rina Crick for her kindness in sending this from Myanmar.

Kaye; John William; Taylor, Meadows; Watson, John Forbes, The People of India: A Series of Photographic Illustrations, Creative Media Partners, LLC, 2022. 224pp.

Kerr, Douglas, Orwell and Empire, Oxford University Press, 2022. 240pp. (kindly inscribed by the author)

Khan, Abdullah, A Man from Motihari, Penguin Random House India Pvt. Ltd., 2023. 304pp. (kindly inscribed by the author)

Khan, Omar, Paper Jewels: Postcards from the Raj, Mapin, 2018. 240pp.

Langham-Carter, R.R., Old Moulmein 875-1880, Moulmein: The Moulmein Sun Press, 1947. 96pp. (Thanks to Rina Crick for her kindness in finding this ‘unprocurable book’ and sending it from Myanmar)

Larkin, Emma, Secret Histories: Finding George Orwell in a Burmese Teashop, John Murray, 2004. 232pp.

Larkin, Emma, Finding George Orwell in Burma, Granta, 2011. 304pp.

Mason, Philip, The Men Who Ruled India, London: Jonathan Cape, 1985.

Mason, Philip,  A Shaft of Sunlight: Memories of a Varied Life, London: HarperCollins, 1978.

Mason, Philip, A Matter of Honour: An account of the Indian Army, Its Officers and Men, London: MacMillan, 1986

Maugham, W. Somerset, The Gentleman in the Parlour, Avon, 1947. (Originally published in 1929 this is the first paperback edition of the author’s journey from Rangoon to Haiphong)

Midwood, Jimmy (ed), Chinthe Tales: Reminiscences by Members of the Burmah Oil Society, 1994. 184pp. (Published by the Burmah Oil Society for members)

Murray, John (ed.), A Handbook For Travellers In India, Burma and Ceylon, Including All British India, The Portuguese And French Possessions, And The Indian States, London: John Murray, 1924

Oi, Yasuo, Birumano Eguzairu (Exile of Burma), Tokyo: Kindai Bung-eisha, 1996 (Japanese)

Orwell, George, Burmese Days, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1934

Orwell, George, Burmese Days, London: Victor Gollancz, 1935

Osborne, Henry, Diaries of Henry Osborne, Sub-Deputy Opium Agent for the Opium Department, India Office, of the British Government in Bengal Province, India, 1876-1905, Lett’s Diaries Company, Ltd

Paget-Tomlinson, E.W., The History of the Bibby Line, Liverpool: Bibby Line Limited, , 1969. 78pp.

The Police JournalVolume 1 Issue 2, October 1928

The Police JournalVolume 2 Issue 4, October 1929

Rayner, Hugh (ed), Naini Tal and the Kumaun Lakes: An Anthology of 3 Early Guide Books, Bath: Pagoda Tree Press, 2010. 172pp.

Riddick, John F., Glimpses of India: An Annotated Bibliography of Published Personal Writings by Englishmen, 1583-1947, New York: Greenwood Press, 1989. 195pp.

Riddick, John F., Who Was Who in British India, New York: Greenwood Press, 1998. 445pp.

Robinson, Captain H.R., A Modern De Quincey: An Autobiography, George G. Harrap and Co, 1942. 150pp. First Edition (signed copy in good dust jacket)

Simmons, Stephen, Maymyo Days : Forgotten Lives of a Burma Hill Station, Thailand: River Books, 2023. 200pp.

South African Air Force Golden Jubilee Souvenir Book, Per Aspera Ad Astra 1920-1970,  Johannesburg: Keartland Press, 1970. 144pp.

Tibes, Ken van, Spirits and Wonders: Following Orwell in Burma, Books on Demand, 2018. 296pp.

Thompson, Edward, Burmese Silver, Paris: The Albatross, 1947. 245pp.

Vicar, Edward C., Birthday Honours, London: Selwyn & Blount, 1938. 288pp.

Vicar, Edward C., Illegal Tender, London: Selwyn & Blount, 1936. 287pp.