'Stunning work'

Written by Amit Roy for The Telegraph (India) Online on Saturday, October 17th, 2020

Marc Wadsworth’s biography of Shapurji Saklatvala, the Communist who held Battersea North in London as a Labour parliamentarian from 1922-1923 and from 1924-1929, is a stunning work of scholarship. It took Marc 10 years to bring out the first edition of Comrade Sak in 1998. The revised second edition, just out, has new material on how MI5 spied on Saklatvala and his correspondence with Gandhi.

Marc, born in Birmingham of a Jamaican father and a Finnish mother with Indian ancestors from Bihar, he believes, has been a radical member of the Labour Party. He calls the book “a labour of love” but assures me it is not a hagiography. “He was wrong in his dispute with Gandhi” over how to achieve Indian independence. That said, Saklatvala, a member of the Tata family, was, in Marc’s opinion, “the most important Indian fighter for independence outside of India in the 20th century, with Dadabhai Naoroji coming at the end of the 19th century”.