Latest News

File in Focus: 75th anniversary of independence of India and Pakistan

23.08.24 Document of the month   Online exhibitions  

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of independence of India and Pakistan, we are displaying some highlights from our files on bilateral relationships between Ireland and India.

The Dominions of India and of Pakistan came into being on 15 August 1947. The display includes the telegrams sent by An Taoiseach Éamon de Valera to congratulate the new Prime Ministers, as featured here (NAI 97/9/774). It also reaches back to 1943, when Ireland sent a very generous £100,000 to the Red Cross to mitigate the disastrous Bengal Famine: Indian students in the UK and Ireland sent a beautiful letter of thanks printed on silk mounted on a colourful paper backing.

On 31 January 1948, the day after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, de Valera telegrammed Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru expressing ‘the heartfelt sympathy of the Irish Government and people. The loss is not India’s alone.’ Nehru visited Ireland only a year later and was the first dignitary to be invited to Dáil Éireann after Ireland itself had attained the status of Republic (Republic of Ireland Act 1949).

Nehru also visited Ireland in 1956, and the relationship between the two countries has continued. One of the many documents illustrating this is the official itinerary for Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, President of India from September 1964, also included in the display.

The display can be found in the foyer to our public Reading Room: All welcome!