Is this Comrade Sak?
Who is this in the photo? It's clearly a professionally taken studio photograph - but unlabelled and undated.
The photograph is held in the London Metropolitan Archive. It's probably dated around 1910. Although the context doesn't really point in this direction, I do wonder if this is 'Comrade Sak' - Shapurji Saklatvala, the Communist MP for Battersea in the 1920s.
For comparison, here is a portrait shot of Saklatvala from 1922, taken by the Bassano studio and held by the National Portrait Gallery.
Saklatvala was from an elite Pasee family in Bombay (now Mumbai). His mother was a Tata - one of the foremost business dynasties in pre-independence India. In 1905, when aged about 31, Saklatvala moved to England to run the Tatas' office in Manchester. A few years later, he moved to London - he joined the ILP and started to mix with Sylvia Pankhurst's militant socialist and suffragette movement in the East End.
In 1907, he married an English woman, Sarah Marsh, who was fifteen years younger than her husband. The adjoining photograph of the couple shows Saklatvala at around the time the mystery portrait shot was taken.
But is that photo 'Comrade Sak'? Let me know what you think.
The portrait shot below, by the way, is again from 1922 and held by the National Portrait Gallery.
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