July 1st 1909 / 2021

On the 1st of July 1909, five shots rang out at the Imperial Institute in South Kensington and two men lay dead. Above is an artist’s view of the event from the Illustrated London News.

‘It was ascertained that the assailant is Madha Lao Dhingra, a Hindu from the Punjab who has been studying engineering at University College. He remained quite cool and collected after his arrest. He was taken to Walton Street Police Station and is said to have slept well during the night”. The Times, London, 3 July.

The name is mis-spelt. It is Madan Lal Dhingra and he was my great Uncle. After a trial  of half an hour, he was executed at Pentonville on 17th August. In 1976 at the request of Government of India, his remains were exhumed and returned to a hero’s welcome.

That was then. But today: 1st of July 2021, it is very present in my mind as my book EXHUMATION: The life and death of Madan Lal Dhingra will be published by HopeRoad on August 17th, the anniversary of of his execution.

Woven through the historical story, is a memoir of my search  for his story and untangling the impact of Partition on my life. A multi layered exhumation.  Taking the lid off things creates space for healing.

You can pre-order EXHUMATION: The life and death of Madan Lal Dhingra from HopeRoad Publishing.

3 thoughts on “July 1st 1909 / 2021

  1. Such an important statement by this relatively privileged young man about the impossibility of continuing British Rule in India.


  2. Absolutely fascinating, I will be ordering a copy of Exhumation. I was taking coffee at the former Carluccios on Sunday morning and thought of you.
    Best wishes


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: