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The Lives of Freda Bedi
Historian, lecturer and journalist Andrew Whitehead will join the Bookclub to talk about the little-known story of Freda Bedi. Bedi was an English woman who made her life in India after marrying a Punjabi-Sikh student in Oxford in 1933. After marriage, Bedi regarded herself as Indian and lived in Lahore where she championed India’s national cause during the Second World War. She later became an active Kashmiri nationalist, a Tibetan Buddhist and towards the end of her life a Buddhist nun, but India would remain her home to the end.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was undoubtedly one of the most popular Qawaali singers of South-Asia and thus in 1989, Nusrat performed at Slough Gurdwara singing texts from the Sikh tradition. Virinder Kalra joins the Bookclub in conversation with Pritpal Singh to explore the ways in which Nusrat’s Qawaali engaged with other spiritual music texts. He will look at how the space of diaspora enabled interactions across religious boundaries and created the conditions to re-imagine a nineteenth century Punjab in which the role of musicians was not delimited by their religious identity.
Historian George Morton-Jack, author of 'The Indian Empire at War' - drawing on long-lost Indian veteran interviews and oral memories in India and Pakistan to explore neglected personal stories of 1914-1918