Interview with Monica Clough [sound recording]

Scope and Content

Summary of interview: Plantation life in South india; description of estate; conditions for labourers and managers on estates; class barriers between British and Indians; life for Europeans on estates. Mrs Clough's education; her mother's dislike of club life; contacts with Indian culture and between Europeans and Indians; prejudice against Anglo-Indians; standards of health; contacts with tribal peoples such as Muddurans and Moplans; reminiscences of Maharajah's birthday celebrations in Travancore; quashing of Travancore's UDI bid in 1947; activities of UPASI (United Planters Association of South India); influence of F.E. James and Sir Pervical Griffiths on Mrs Clough; reminiscences of plantation labour force; voyage from England to India in 1940; war work; impact of Japanese victories on British attitudes; Mrs Clough's marriage; description of Calcutta and her life there; relics of 18th century India; problems of drawing boundary between India and Pakistan in Bengal; activities of Quit India movement; European view of INA and Subhas Chandra Bose; communal riots and tensions; Gandhi's peacekeeping role in Calcutta; description of Independence Day celebrations in Calcutta; improved Anglo-Indian relations after Independence; need for rapid transfer of power because of increasing inertia in administration.

Administrative / Biographical History

Childhood and upbringing in South India as a tea planter's daughter. Life in Calcutta after 1940 as wife of Calcutta businessman

Access Information

Sound recording currently unavailable at SOAS Library due to preservation reasons. Researchers can access a copy of this audio recording at the British Library Listening & Viewing Service. For more details see or contact / 020 7412 7418.


Conditions Governing Use

Private study only. For publication or broadcast please refer to Archivist

Copyright held by British Library

Custodial History

Recorded as part of the ’Memories of the British in India’ project by India Office Library & Records [subsequently the Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library]. This recording was previously held at SOAS Library as part of the 'British in India Oral Archive Project' collection [Reference OA2], removed from this collection in August 2014 to reflect the recording’s alternative provenance as part of the ‘Memories of the British in India’ project.

Location of Originals

Original sound recording of interview available at British Library Listening & Viewing Service [Reference: C63/70-75]