Who

Who are we?

Founded in 1891, the Cambridge Majlis is a historic, influential society aiming to strengthen the relationship of South Asians in the city and University of Cambridge with the Subcontinent.

A famous forum for debates, cultural events and the promotion of dialogue, it hosted some of the most important leaders from the region in those heady, fateful decades before and after Independence was won, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Past members include Jawaharlal Nehru and President Emeritus Amartya Sen.

Today, we host topical debates, invite prominent speakers and organise social events. Join us as we embark on our quest to revitalise the University’s oldest South Asian society.

Past

Scroll for a brief look through our history

  • 1891

    Our Humble Beginnings

    Founded by students at Cambridge University from the Indian subcontinent, the Majlis comprised of names which would go on to achieve major significance in South Asian political life.

  • 1896

    The Oxford Majlis

    Our counter-parts founded the Oxford Majlis with whom we held a varsity debate each year and ran a joint publication called "Bharat".

  • 1931

    Gandhi talks to the Majlis

    As published in the Cambridge Daily News, "At 8.15pm he attended a meeting at Carpenter Hall [on the site of the Cambridge Unitarian Church, Emmanuel Road], which was crowded to the doors with both English and Indian students. Instead of making a formal speech he answered questions, which were put to him in great number by the audience till nearly 9.15pm. Mr Chowdhury presided as President of the Indian Majlis, and Mr Rajah was the secretary on this occasion"

  • 1934 - 1947

    Fighting the Raj

    During the Raj, the Majlis was instrumental to the anti-colonial cause, with pro-independence figures such as poet and philosopher Sri Aurobindo reputed to be a founding member whilst an undergraduate studying for the Indian Civil Service. During the inter-war period, the Majlis hosted a wide range of prominent speakers from both anti-colonial and imperial circles. This included Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi as well as India Secretary Lawrence Dundas and future British Chancellor R.A. Butler. Viewed as potentially subversive by the British authorities, the Majlis was subject to surveillance by Special Branch.

  • 1937

    The USSR

    The Majlis hold a congress of friendship with the Soviet government.

  • 1955

    Amartya Sen

    Amartya Sen is elected President of the honourable society.

  • Period of inactivity

    After partition, transnational geopolitical divisions on the subcontinent permeated South-East Asian student communities at Oxbridge. An unfortunate demise in the spirit of collaboration eventually rendered the Majlis dormant at both universities.

  • March 2019

    Relaunch

    A small group of students, with a strong interest in Indian history, politics and cultures, felt that the re-establishment of the Majlis could be an incredible force for inspiring intelligent South Asians at Cambridge to care and think about the region. They proceeded to look for interest and quickly found a strong team that re-founded the society. Sahil Baid, Mahid Qamar, Dhruv Kaushik, Tohin Munshi, Karamvir Kumar and Areesha Saif organised the first debate and established the first committee to debate Indian involvement in the 1971 war.



For further information on our rich history, see here and here.

Future

Our vision

Given its integral position in the story of Cambridge students from the subcontinent, we feel it is our collective ancestral obligation that the society is revived and restored. Just as it once was, the Majlis will be a non-partisan association open to all and free from national or religious bias. Within the University, there is a scarcity of space for serious contemplation of socio-political and economic issues in that region, the Majlis will fill this vacuum by encouraging civilised debate. In addition, we will celebrate our shared cultural affinities and honour the traditions that our forefathers have struggled to make free. Regardless of your background, we hope to see you at some of our events!

Committee

Our team

Omar Kidwai

President

Dhruv Kaushik

Vice President

Gaurav Kakkar

Treasurer

Sara Saloo

Speakers Officer

Zainab Rehman

Secretary

Danial Surti

Speakers Officer

Aayush Pindoria

Publicity Officer

Karamvir Kumar

Communications and Tech

Contact Us

Reach us via Facebook or at majlis@cusu.cam.ac.uk