London, September 16 (Language) London-based India Club will close permanently on Sunday. This India Club has been associated with the Indian independence movement, as it has been a center for Indian nationalists from home for years.
Its walls are adorned with photographs of prominent Indians such as former Prime Ministers. The founding member of this club was Krishna Menon, who became independent India’s first High Commissioner to Britain. The India Club was one of the earliest Indian restaurants in the UK and after Indian independence it became a center for the British South Asian community.
Club manager Firoza Marker said: “Ever since people came to know that we are closing the club from September 17, a huge crowd has gathered here.”
“We are closing the club but looking for new premises to move it nearby,” he said.
Yadgar Markar, of Parsi origin, runs the facility with his wife Frannie and daughter Firoza. He took it in 1997. At that time its condition was very bad.
The family had launched a ‘Save India Club’ appeal and won the first battle to save the building from partial demolition a few years ago when they were told by the landlords to make way for a state-of-the-art hotel. .
People who came to this club located in central London used to enjoy hot dosas and pakodas here.
British Indian historian and journalist Shravani Basu said: “As an Indian journalist based in London, it was a source of inspiration for us. Beer and pakodas will no longer be available in the historic bar. We will miss him.”
Smita Tharoor, London-based daughter of journalist Chandran Tharoor, one of the co-founders of the India Club, was a regular visitor to the club along with her brother and Congressman Shashi Tharoor and other family members.
He said: “Many former leaders and founders of the India League had formed the India Club. Its purpose was to provide a place away from home for Indians living in London. When we were growing up in India, my father used to tell us stories about it.”
She said: “For me the closure of the club is very emotional and sad because it is associated with memories of my father and I used to come here when I missed him. He died in 1993 at the age of 63. It is not just a place to taste the Indian cuisine, without a place that reminds us of the past.”
Language Amit Suresh
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