It's well known that George Orwell spent part of the war working for the BBC - in what would now be called the World Service. Less well known that he edited and contributed to a 1943 book based on the BBC's wartime broadcasts to India.
To my great delight, I came across a copy of the book for well under a tenner in a Bloomsbury second hand bookshop. An excellent website about Orwell's books says of Talking to India:
'Despite his continuing health problems, Orwell managed during 1942-43 a prodigious output. In addition to his time-consuming duties at the BBC (which included writing 15-minute commentaries, reading many of them over the air, and producing booklets and courses), he was a regular contributor of essays and reviews to the Partisan Review, the New Statesman, Tribune, and other weekly newspapers. ... Talking to India, wrote Orwell, was "a representative selection…with a literary bias" of the programs broadcast to India. The approximately 2,000 copies printed of the book were sold out by 1945. Orwell's contribution, beyond the Introduction, was "The Rediscovery of Europe: Literature Between the Wars," broadcast in March 1942 and published that same month in the Listener (the BBC magazine). ...'
The aside that 'talks marked by an asterisk were written by Indians or other Asiatics' jars today, but was intended then as an indication that the BBC 'talking to India' in wartime involved Indians and others from across Asia, not simply metropolitan voices.
Orwell's introduction is posted below - it makes much of the inclusion of a broadcast not on the BBC, but 'a verbatim transcript of a broadcast from Berlin by the Bengali leader, Subhas Chandra Bose'. Orwell goes on to make a case for 'a difference between honest and dishonest propaganda', Bose being an example of the latter, which at least makes clear what he thought was the BBC's wartime purpose.
The photos included in the book are the highlights - that at the bottom (Eliot, Orwell, Mulk Raj Anand, Tambimuttu, all in the same BBC radio studio) is justly renowned - the others not quite so acclaimed, but just as remarkable.
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