The Voice of India

The Voice of India, vol. 1 no. 1 (September 1944)- vol. 3 no. 6/7 (April/May 1947), Library of Congress.

I have copied selections from issues from September 1944-December 1945.

  • Published by the National Committee for India’s Freedom
  • Each issue is 16 pages long
  • After first issue, each publication begins with section, “Looking Around,” which summarizes major developments in India, which is followed by an “Editorial” written by Anup Singh, the main editor.
  • After the front-page articles, the publication usually ends with some combination of “Direct from India”—selections from Indian newspapers, nationalist speeches and letters, “Book Review,” and “Letters to the Editor.”

November 1945, vol. 2, no. 2: “Mrs. Pandit Calls on President”—“On October 31st, Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, accompanied by Hon. Emanuel Celler, called upon President Truman at the White House.  She is probably the first Indian to have met the President of the United States without the usual diplomatic formalities” (197).

Vol. 5, No. 10, January 1945

“Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit”

  • Documents Pandit’s engagements from her attendance of the Conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations at Hot Springs, VA from January 6-16, to her reception in New York City Hall by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia on January 18, to a January 27 White House lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt.

(February commitments in following issue)

Vol. 5, No. 9, December 1944

“India Leader Arrives in New York”

  • Full, front-page article on Mme. Pandit’s arrival on December 8
  • Quotes extensively from a December 10 press conference held by Mme. Pandit in New York.
  • Pandit believed that “thousands of American lives would be saved” if the Indian political situation were resolved, because, Pandit argued, Indian soldiers could not be fully committed to a government that did not consist of Indians and therefore did not fight to their fullest capacity against the Japanese in Burma.

Vol. 5, No. 8, November 1944

“India Leader to Visit U.S.”

  • Reports that Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit was about to embark on a 3 month trip to the United States to visit her daughters at Wellesley College and attend the January conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations in January. Describes Pandit’s many political accomplishments.
  • In a footnote, notes that “Pandit” is “both a title and a surname.”

America’s Contributions to India’s Freedom

Muzumdar, Haridas. America’s Contributions to India’s Freedom. Allahabad, India: Vanguard Press, 1962.

  • The recollections of Dr. Haridas T. Muzumdar, a close associate of Gandhi and an Indian-American who worked to gain American support for India’s freedom.
  • “Hossain, Anup and I looked upon ourselves as crusaders for India’s freedom first and as professional lecturers or writers second” (28).

India League of America

  • “While Syud Hossain, Anup Singh, Shridharani and I had been doing significant work on behalf of India in our individual capacities, it seemed to me in the mid-thirties that an organized effort to promote India’s cause might be in order” (42)= founding of the India League of America with Mr. N. R. Checker as president and Muzumdar as secretary.
  • “The team of J.J. and Anup Singh, with Mr. Hemendra K. Rakhit, made the India League a beehive of activities” (43)
  • “Through his business contacts and with businesslike methods, Mr. J.J. Singh brought new blood into the organization. American citizens were invited to become members and were elected to serve on the Executive Board.  This lent prestige to the organization and made it more effective” (43).
  • After Anup Singh left the League to help found the National Committee for India’s Independence in Washington, DC, William D. Allen replaced him as editor of India Today: “I [Muzumdar] know of no American who has made greater sacrifices…for India’s cause that William D. Allen” (44).

The National Committee for India’s Independence

  • Members of India Lobby felt a need to have an organization based in Washington, DC and so founded the National Committee at the end of 1943 with Dr. Syud Hossain as president, Muzumdar as V.P., K. Shridharani as the second V.P., and Anup Singh as secretary (44).
  • *Membership restricted to Indians (Hess, 122)
  • “The Voice of India, the monthly published by the National Committee under Dr. Anup Singh’s competent editorship, immediately made India’s freedom on the the issues of the war” (45)

U.N. San Francisco Conference

  • “The most significant job of public relations on behalf of India was performed by the charming Madam Vijayalakshmi Pandit….She pretty nearly played the role of the unofficial representative of India to the U.N.” (46)

December 8, 1944-April 1945: Mme. Pandit’s U.S. Visit

  • Mme. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit arrives in New York just before Christmas, with the approval of the State Dept. on a flight coordinated by U.S. air force commander General Stratemeyer. Though Pandit visits her daughters in college, her trip’s real purpose is to raise support for Indian independence by making a cross-country lecture tour (Kux, 36-7)

Kux, Estranged Democracies (1993)

  • Kux describes Pandit’s visit as “well-publicized and successful” by giving “the Indian nationalist cause in the United States” a “substantial boost” (36-37)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt invited Pandit to lunch at the White House: “a further sign of U.S. desire to keep on good terms with Indian nationalists” (37)

Gould, Sikhs, Swamis, Students, and Spies (2006)

  • trip endorsed by Gandhi (379)
  • “Vijayalakshmi’s sharp intellect, enormous charm and striking appearance enabled her to be a highly effective spokesperson for a viewpoint with which the mainstream American diplomatic establishment still felt far from comfortable” thereby making her a valuable asset to the India Lobby (379)
  • describes lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt as an important media opportunity (380)

Hess, America Encounters India (1971)

  • “As the sister of Nehru and a leader in the National Congress for two decades, she was the only important nationalist figure permitted to visit the United States during the war” (151).
  • “her charm, keen mind, fist-hand experience, and sincerity made Mrs. Pandit the most effective voice of the nationalist cause heard in American during the war” (152)

Clark Getts (1893– )

  • owner of Clark H. Getts, Inc., a “lecture and radio production bureau” who organized a lecture series for Mme. Pandit in 1945 as she made her way from New York City to San Francisco
  • In her memoir, Pandit describes Getts as “an amazing little man” who expected her to be bedazzled in colorful saris and jewels (The Scope of Happiness, 192)
  • “Clark was intelligent, sophisticated, and creative. His many interests included art, literature, current events, and history. Although his company was a small one, her was highly respected in the field” (Imperato, They Married Adventure: The Wandering Lives of Martin & Osa Johnson, 194).

Primary Sources

Papers, 1932-1980. American Heritage Center, The University of Wyoming.

Getts' introduction to Pandit lecture series


Pandit lecture tour program

Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (1900-1990)

  • Younger sister of Jawaharlal Nehru
  • “unofficial delegate” at 1945 San Francisco UN Charter Conference
  • “brilliant, silver-tongued orator” (A. M. Wendell Malliet, “Little Nations Deal Blow to Ambition of Gen. Smuts,” New York Amsterdam News, December 14, 1946, pg. 1
  • Ambassador to the United States, 1949 (previously, Ambassador to USSR)
  • President of the UN General Assembly, 1953

Online reference source:

Dictionary of National Biography, Pandit


Andrews, Robert Hardy. A Lamp for India: The Story of Madame Pandit (1967).

Grover, Verinder and Ranjana Arora, ed. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. Vol. 4, Great Women of Modern India. New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publications, 1993.

Guthrie, Anne. Madame Ambassador; The Life of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962.

Jensen, Irene Khin Khin. “The Men Behind the Women: A Case Study of the Political Career of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit,” in Contributions to Asian Studies, Vol. 10, 1997, 76-93.

Primary Sources:

Papers: Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi; British Film Institute, National Archive

The Scope of Happiness: A Personal Memoir. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1979.

Nehru, Jawaharlal, Before Freedom (2000) [letters to Vijayalakshmi]

American History in Video:

1955, India used to look to America as a beacon of freedom

1953, Interview on Longines Chronoscope

1951, Truman signs grain bill for India