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.
Our counter-parts founded the Oxford Majlis with whom we held a varsity debate each year and ran a joint publication called "Bharat".
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"
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.
The Majlis hold a congress of friendship with the Soviet government.
Amartya Sen is elected President of the honourable society.
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.
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.
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