The Most Remarkable Woman: The International Life and Diplomacy of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Time & Location
About the Event
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, “the most remarkable woman” Eleanor Roosevelt had ever met, was a pioneering politician and diplomat celebrated internationally for her brilliance, charm, and glamour. She straddled the twentieth century, her own story intertwined with that of India and the world. She was her country’s first woman Cabinet minister, first ambassador to the United Nations, and first ambassador to the Soviet Union. She was also the first woman ambassador to the United States and the first woman elected President of the UN General Assembly. She moved easily in global aristocratic circles, even as she worked tirelessly to improve the lives of suffering millions. She traded barbs and quips with Churchill, out debated Jan Smuts, and won more attention than James Cagney. And at the tail end of her career, she stood against her own niece, Indira Gandhi, to put an end to tyranny.
This virtual talk is based on Manu Bhagavan’s forthcoming biography of Madame Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. It will include a short reading and a discussion with Professor Taylor Sherman.
Manu Bhagavan is a specialist on modern India, focusing on the twentieth-century late-colonial and post-colonial periods, with particular interests in human rights, (inter)nationalism, and questions of sovereignty. His most recent book is the critically acclaimed The Peacemakers / India and the Quest for One World. Other major publications include India and the Cold War (edited volume), Sovereign Spheres, Heterotopias (editor), and Speaking Truth to Power and Claiming Power from Below (co-edited). Manu has also published articles in The Journal of Asian Studies, Modern Asian Studies, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, and the Economic and Political Weekly, among other places. He reviews books for numerous publications and has maintained a blog on CNN-IBN.
Dr. Taylor Sherman’s research concerns the cultural and political history of India in the transition from colonial rule to independence in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Her research explores conceptions of citizenship, belonging and the idea of the minority in Indian politics; Arab and Afghan migration to and from India; early postcolonial democracy and the first elections; language politics, multilingualism and the creation of linguistic states; and violence and criminal justice in South Asia. Her published works include Muslim Belonging in Secular India: Negotiating Citizenship in Postcolonial Hyderabad, State Violence and Punishment in India, 1919-1956, as well as an edited volume and numerous articles.
This event is co-sponsored by the London School of Economics - Contemporary International History and the Global Cold War International History Research Cluster and Biography and Memoir - The Graduate Center, CUNY.