Orwell Diaries 1938-1942


A little bit of India transplanted to England. For some weeks our Marathi newsletters were translated and broadcast by a little man named Kothari, completely spherical but quite intelligent and, so far as I could judge, genuinely anti-Fascist. Suddenly one of the mysterious bodies which control recruitment for the BBC (in this case I think MI5) [1] got onto the fact that Kothari was or had been a Communist, active in the students’ movement, and had been in jail, so the order came to get rid of him. A youth named Jatha, working at India House and politically OK, was engaged in his place. Translators in this language are not easy to find and Indians who speak it as their native tongue seem to tend to forget it while in England. After a few weeks my assistant, Miss Chitale, came to me with great secrecy and confided that the newsletters were still in fact being written by Kothari. Jatha, though still able to read the language, was no longer equal to writing it and Kothari was ghosting for him. No doubt the fee was being split between them. We can’t find another competent translator, so Kothari is to continue and we officially know nothing about it. Wherever Indians are to be found, this kind of thing will be happening.

[1] This is presumably a reference to the mysterious and unexplained ‘College’ to which Orwell refers from time to time.