To Orwell Today

The house that Eric Arthur Blair was born in still exists but is occupied by trespassers who will be difficult to remove. But they can be compensated and made to leave. It can be restored and made a shrine to Orwell. It is in the town of Motihari in present day Bihar.

It will be nice to start a fund and restore it. Keep in mind it is 101 years old [written in 2004].

-Nasir Abid

Greetings Nasir Abid,

I agree with you that the house in India where Orwell was born - on June 25th, 1903 - should be made into a shrine. Something special in remembrance of him would be a good influence on the people of the area. Especially since that part of India is in such close proximity to Communist China and could one day be absorbed, as was Tibet. A shrine to Orwell could represent a stand for Indian freedom because that was something Orwell believed India should have.

I went on a Homage to Orwell in England last summer [2003] and visited the hospital where he died and also the grave where he is buried. If I ever am so fortunate as to return one day to India (I was there in 1974) I would definitely like to visit the house where Orwell was born. Maybe by that time you will have convinced others to your way of thinking and it will be designated an historical site.

OrwellMapBirth   MapBiharIndia

When I look at Bihar on a map I see that I must have flown over it when I flew from Katmandu, Nepal* to Calcutta, India back in the early '70s.

From my readings by and about George Orwell I've learned that he held India very close to his heart. A friend of his, Jay Dubashi, wrote an article "George Orwell Always Spoke the Truth" describing Orwell's relationship to India and to the Indian people and also about the first and last time they met. See ORWELL SPOKE TRUTH ALWAYS

I think people all over the world would agree that Orwell was one of history's greatest truth speakers and should never be forgotten.

All the best,
Jackie Jura, 2004

Memorial BirthBedroom OrwellStatueBust
(house where Orwell born turning into museum)
Email, Oct 3, 2021

Motihari film highlights Orwell's life & works
(14 yrs working for preservation of birthplace)
watch George Orwell in the land of Satyagraha
TimesIndia/YouTube, Jun 27, 2017

ShererPoloPlayers OrwellIndiaUniform BurmeseDays
(Indian horse hockey transformed into polo)

HouseBirth BabyOrwell/Nanny HouseBedroom
(grandfather Bovill delivered babies there)
Email, Jan 23, 2017

Orwell birthplace threatened by Indian developers
Orwell Bust BabyOrwell/Nanny Memorial
(George Orwell born 113 years ago in Motihari)
DailyTelegraphDelhi, Jun 25, 2016

George Orwell's birthplace under threat from Indian developers, by Andrew Marszal, Delhi, Telegraph, Jun 30, 2015
Orwell -- real name Eric Arthur Blair -- spent the first year of his life in a small compound in Motihari, modern day Bihar, while his father Richard worked as an opium agent for the British colonial government, overseeing poppy growers and preparing the drug for export to China. The very same town 14 years later became the crucible for Mahatma Gandhi's resistance to British rule, as the freedom fighter launched his first "satyagraha" movement here to support local farmers forced to grow opium for the factory that employed Orwell's father. Competing bids to honour each of the town's remarkable heritages have clashed occasionally over the years, but were thought to have been settled in 2010 when the state government earmarked half of Orwell's former colonial compound for an "Orwell Park" and the neighbouring plot to commemorate the independence movement. However, a local society for protecting Orwell's legacy now claim that developers backed by local municipal officials are attempting to secretly and illegally expand the "rival" Gandhian plot -- known as Satyagraha Park -- ironically, straight onto the birthplace of one of the last century's greatest anti-imperialist writers....

The alleged encroachment came to light last Saturday, as Mr Mookherjee's George Orwell Commemorative Committee gathered at the site to mark the writer's 113th birthday. They noticed that construction for a parking lot and a new boundary wall had begun on the 12,000 square feet area set aside to conserve Orwell's legacy, and notified the authorities. On Wednesday, the district magistrate stepped in to halt the expansion of the Gandhi park, and ordered an inquiry be called into the matter.... Mr Mookherjee says the town is already becoming a hub of Orwell-related activity, including a national seminar on the author to be held in September. "People from all across the literary world are all supportive of Orwell's legacy and are coming together here to ensure his birthplace is protected as a heritage site", he said....

Jackie sends Debapriya Mookherjee contact info for Daily Telegraph Delhi correspondent

Andrew requests contact info for the Debapriya Mookherjee, head of Orwell conservation efforts in Motihari

What George Orwell's birthplace looks like (suspended in time), by Syed Zeeshan Ahmed, DawnCom, Aug 24, 2014
It was a really cold morning on January 21, 2014 in Motihari, Bihar. As the three of us -- my father, brother and I -- traveled down the road on a cycle rickshaw, a thick fog hung everywhere I looked. I kept checking the map on my cellphone. I knew we had crossed Gyan Babu Chowk and the place I was looking for was not that far now. We decided to ask a pedestrian about the place.... The path passed through a shanty town. Chickens, goats and pigs roamed about. After a few minutes, we saw a building. We had found the school, it seemed... It only took a minute or two to finally arrive at an old, large gate. We were finally at George Orwell's birthplace. It was only last year that I found out that Motihari is not just famous for its association with M.K Gandhi but also the celebrated writer Eric Arthur Blair, commonly known by his nom de plume George Orwell... When I found out that Orwell was born in Motihari, a place I had visited three times before (my aunt lives there with her family), I was ecstatic and determined to make a visit. Now, I was standing right next to the single-storey building where Orwell was born over a century ago.... Without doubt, this experience was one of the most fascinating ones of my life.

OrwellBBCIndia ORWELL SPOKE TO INDIA ON BBC (Rahul is travelling to Motihari, India for a BBC radio program about the museum at Orwell's birthplace)

Coming up for Motihari, by Shreevatsa Nevatia, Hindu Business Line, Aug 1, 2014
If it weren't for the recent presence of masons and labourers, there would have been little cause for optimism. After many promises, district authorities finally began renovating Orwell's birthplace in the last week of June, and handed current occupants notices to evict the property. While his younger brother monopolises the bed, watching episodes of Dexter in what may have well been George Orwell's first room, 29-year-old Aditya Abhisekh says that even though the British author is synonymous with 1984, he too has some claim on that date. That's the year he was born. Similarly, he adds, "More than George Orwell's, this is my home. Yes, he was born here, but he left only a few months later. I have lived here for 30 years". Even though he remains anxious about having to move house during the monsoon, Abhishekh doesn't directly blame Orwell for his woes. "Once this house is renovated, Motihari will be on the world map, and we will have Orwell to thank for it"...

NepalRoute FREAKY HIPPY DAYS IN KATMANDU (Prabod emails from Nepal, close to Motihari where Orwell was born)

UnbornSuckThumb FIGHTING FOR LIFE IN KIWI ELECTION (Walter asks to use the unborn-sucking-its-thumb pic showing fetal development like Orwell described in Keep the Aspidistra Flying, this year's typing page on Orwell's birthday)

Saad is producing a TV show about travel in India with a segment on Orwell's birth place in Motihari, Email, June 2014

Ashok from India is having difficulty obtaining Orwell books and biographies to read, Email, June 2014

watch Orwell Motihari Documentary (Orwell...But Why?), YouTube, January 21, 2014

Documentary on '1984' author George Orwell, TheHindu, Jan 20, 2014
As a special tribute to English author George Orwell, a documentary film seeks to spread awareness about the importance of cherishing the legacy of his birthplace. Mr. Orwell was born on in the lake town of Motihari in Bihar's East Champaran district. For many years this part of his life was not known to the local residents until renowned British journalist Ian Jack discovered the birthplace in 1983. The short film titled 'Orwell!...but why?' is "the first ever documentary made on the writer's birthplace," said director Bishwajeet Mookherjee, also a freelance journalist based in Delhi..."The film – a social awareness project – seeks to address three main issues: the ignorance about the place, the ignorance about Mr. Orwell himself and why we need to promote his birthplace," Mr. Mookherjee told The Hindu.

A group of local citizens from the Rotary Club have been campaigning with the State government for building a memorial in the place. For a brief period the issue took a controversial turn with local politicians opposing the idea on the ground that Mr. Orwell's birthplace was a symbol of British imperialism. In a rival bid, they proposed a Satyagraha Park in the next plot.

"People asked, 'why should we promote an 'angrez' [Englishman] in a place like 'Motihari' which is known for its contribution to the Indian freedom struggle?' When I started my research on the film last November, I went through Mr. Orwell's biography as well as his writings. In his book 'Burmese Days', there are first reflections of his anti-imperialist position. In fact, I learnt that he was one of the chief guests at a celebration held in London on August 15, 1947. He loved India, but why has India forgotten him?" Mr. Mookherjee said. The documentary will be released at MS College in Motihari on January 21, Mr. Orwell's death anniversary. The 23 minute six second video will also be uploaded on YouTube. "Every year, we celebrate his anniversary with floral tributes, but Motihari remains unaware about him. The documentary will help us reach a wider audience," Mr. Mookherjee said.

BIG BROTHER INDIA ABANDONS ORWELL (Harsh sends the link to his Times of India article "Big Brother can't be bothered")

Big Brother can't be bothered, by Harsh Kabra, The Times of India, June 23, 2013

POONA & MOTIHARI ORWELL MEMORIES (journalist Harsh from Pune, India is writing a newspaper feature on the state of Orwell's house in Motihari)

MOTIHARI MOOKHERJEE DEFENDS ORWELL (James sends an article on local efforts to protect Orwell's birthplace)

ORWELL & THE TIMES AT MOTIHARI (journalist Robin is planning to visit the house in India where Orwell was born)

CRPF commandant's house to become George Orwell House, Hindu Times, Aug 10, 2012
Patna: To commemorate literary giant George Orwell's birth in East Champaran district in Bihar, the CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force] commandant's residence in Motihari will be named as "George Orwell House", CRPF sources said today. According to Parma Shivan, new commandant of 153rd battalion CRPF, Champaran district had seen several great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Orwell. Orwell who had the best-seller "Animal Farm" is famous for delving into the reality of living in a communist state. "I am saddened by the grip of the CPI (Maoist) over Champaran and assure that the CRPF would leave no stone unturned to root out the Reds from the area. For this we will take the help of civil police who can help strengthen the relationships with the people under Maoists' influence," said Parma Shivan. Under a civic action plan, the CRPF would impart training to 30 youths of Maoist-infested villages with the help of an NGO to provide them with jobs.

watch India Central Reserve Police Force largest in world, YouTube

CRPFmen outsmart Maoist death trap, TimesIndia, Aug 8, 2012
New Delhi: It could easily have been a re-run of the Chintalnar massacre in April, 2010, but for an alert Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) that did not walk into the trap this time. CRPF along with local police personnel have unearthed 130 IEDs that were lined on a road in Jharkhand that the force was supposed to take for patrolling. The road was flanked on one side by hills and on the other by a dam making it a fool-proof trap. The force, however, avoided the road while patrolling and took to trekking through the hills. CRPF sources said the force had had an encounter with a Maoist dalam on July 23 following which patrolling was intensified in all Maoist-infested areas. One such expedition was also on in Jharkhand's Saraikela Kharswan district, where the force was expected to take the Palna-Mahadevbera Road under Chouka police station. The road has hills on one side and a damn on the other. However, the patrolling party knew that the Maoists might be waiting for the opportunity and that the road could be a trap, thanks to its terrain. "It was amply clear that had we entered the road, the Maoists would explode the IEDs and then rain bullets on us. There would have been no escape route, either," said a CRPF official. Four detonators, 900m of Codex wire and 350m of electric wire were seized from the spot. The same modus operandi was used in the massacre of 75 CRPF men at Chintalnar in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, in April, 2010. Over 80 personnel of CRPF's 62 battalion were on an area-domination exercise when they entered an open field flanked on three sides by hills. The Maoists had laid a trap on the hills and rained bullets on the contingent from all sides. With no escape route, the CRPF fought till the last bullet, and only seven personnel survived the deadly assault. Go to TIBET & TIANANMEN TYRANT HU & MAOISTS KILLED NEPAL ROYAL FAMILY

OrwellPoliceIndia George Orwell, graduate of Provincial Police Training School, Mandalay, Burma, 1923

ORWELL MOTIHARI BIRTHPLACE MILLIONAIRE (...I read, also, that Kumar won't be letting the million-dollar winnings interfere with his plans to study for the Civil Service exam. That's another Orwellian similarity because Orwell had to study very hard to pass the India Civil Service exam too. He even hired a tutor to help him get through it. The news articles about Sushil Kumar say that after he passes the Civil Service exam he'll be building a library in Motihari so young people will have access to learning. I can't help but think that books by George Orwell will be prominent on the shelves.)




Orwell Bust ORWELL STATUE IN MOTIHARI (Debapriya Mookherjee sends news & photos of a bust of Orwell that has been installed at his birth place; the date of the unveiling was symbolically January 21st, 2010 - the 60th anniversary of Orwell's death)


India gov't saving Orwell's birthplace from decay (dedicated fan Jackie Jura runs ORWELL TODAY website) & George Orwell & India ("I am Indian and was born there") & Orwell birthplace to be restored (priority to protect it followed by renovation) & Orwell birthplace saved from becoming animal farm (Jackie Jura at ORWELL TODAY thrilled gov't will restore) & Orwell's birthplace aims to attract tourists (funds being raised for Orwell museum in Bihar)& India declares Orwell birth house protected (plan to develop building & site in Motihari). AFP/Blog/NYT/Times/Telegraph, Dec 27-31, 2009



Orwell birthplace to be restored (priority to protect it followed by renovation). NewYorkTimes, Dec 31, 2009

Orwell's birthplace aims to attract tourists (funds being raised for Orwell museum in Bihar). UK Telegraph, Dec 28, 2009

George Orwell & India ("I am an Indian and was born there"). Maddy's Ramblings

India gov't saving Orwell's birthplace from decay (Orwell had India in his blood). AFP, Dec 29, 2009

George Orwell birthplace is saved from becoming an animal farm (British enthusiast's photos on Orwell Today website), The Times, Dec 29, 2009

Orwell's birthplace aims to attract tourists (funds being raised for Orwell museum in Bihar). UK Telegraph, Dec 28, 2009

Govt declares Orwell's house in Bihar as protected site. Press Trust of India, Dec 28, 2009 - Patna: In good news for fans of George Orwell, the author of one of last century's best dystopian novels '1984' and 'Animal Farm', Bihar government in eastern India has decided to declare the house in which he was born as a 'Protected Site'....The matter was brought to Singh's notice by locals of Motihari who wanted Orwell's birth place to be protected.)

India declares Orwell birth house protected (plan to develop building & site in Motihari). Calcutta Telegraph, Dec 27, 2009

Clive is planning another trip to India and wonders about progress on the renovation of Orwell's bungalow in Motihari, Bihar

Chandreshwar visited Orwell's birthplace in Motihari on Orwell's 106th birthday

Reader Amit is from Motihari - Orwell's birthplace - and wants to be a part of efforts to develop it as a shrine and tourist attraction

LONDON BANKER BEHIND BIHAR (Reader Manish is keen to help refurbish and develop Eric's birthplace as a tourist destination)

Flood devastation in Bihar, India (relief materials siphoned by gov't officials). BBC, Aug 25, 2008

Gov't urges Bihar India's poor to eat rats (rodents eat over 50% of food grains) & India rat farms will commercialize rat meat (raise socio-economic status of rat-eaters) & Is it healty to promote eating rats in Bihar? (some rats weigh 3 kilos). BBC/Money/BiharTimes, Aug 22, 2008. Go to 31.Love Nest & 44.Room 101

British couple wants to renovate Orwell’s Bihar house. Thai-Indian News, Apr 25th, 2008
Patna - ...London-based retired English professor Clive Collins and his wife Monica Collins have written to the district magistrate in Motihari as well as the local Rotary Club, offering help...."Moved by reports of Orwell's dilapidated house, the British couple has decided to renovate it and develop it as a tourist spot," Debapriya Mukherjee, district chairman of the Rotary Club, told IANS on phone. The couple has also assured the Rotary Club that they will launch a campaign to spread awareness about Orwell and his works in Britain, Mukherjee added. About four years ago the Heritage Foundation of India announced that it would renovate Orwell's house. However, no progress was made.)

House Fence HouseWaterPump House Birth House Bedroom VISITING ORWELL'S BIRTHPLACE (reader Clive sends photos of his 2008 visit to the house where Orwell was born)

Reader Clive is going to India in March 2008 and plans to visit Motihari and the house where Orwell was born

Nasir suggests readers send in suggestions for the Motihari Orwell project

ORWELL'S MOTIHARI NEIGHBOUR (sends news about Orwell's birth place)

Bihar pays cash to stop kidnappings (30,000 abductions since 1992). BBC, Mar 27, 2006

ORWELL MOTIHARI MUSEUM MUSINGS ("...We have initiated a movement to restore Orwell's Motihari home," Rotarian Debapriya Mookherjee said, adding that they were planning "a plaque outside the house with the writer's life history, a museum and a library with Orwell's works and the restoration of his house to its original grandeur" from article in London Times of India and Makeover of Orwell's Home in BBC, Aug 23, 2005)

Shashi from Motihari wants to make a documentary film on Orwell

ORWELL MUSEUM A HAPPENING (Nasir sends news that Orwell Museum in Motihari is being funded 5-million rupees by the Heritage Foundation of India from article Homage to Orwell: India's opium state plans park at author's 'home'. The Independent, Jun 29, 2005

Nasir sends information from Mr Mookerjee on how to get to Motihari and where people can stay when they get there

Nasir is receiving no response for fund-raising plans to restore Orwell's house in India

Nasir suggests fund-raising toward restoration of Orwell's house in commemoration of his birthday on June 25th

Nasir wonders about my great-grandparents being buried in India

ORWELL MOTIHARI MUSEUM PROGRESS (...Maybe in the future a wealthy philanthropist with a vision of freedom for mankind will donate the money required to fix up the house of Orwell's birth. And it would be a good idea if the government of India took some pride in being the birthland of England's greatest writer of the 20th century and donated the house for purposes of being restored and made into a museum and shrine. No doubt an alternative house could be found for the school teacher who is presently living there.... Nasir sends updates on progress of the Orwell museum & accommodations in Patna and the article All's Not Well With Orwell's House. Telegraph, Nov 14 2004)

Caroline is updating the Bihar chapter of Rough Guide to India & needs info on Orwell Museum & accommodation in Motihari

Nasir sends Merry and Happy wishes to Orwell devotees

ORWELL MUSEUM IN INDIA (Nasir says Motihari is restoring Orwell's birth house into a museum from article in London Telegraph, Oct 28, 2004)

INDIA, ORWELL, JFK & CHINA (Nasir and Jackie discuss Orwell's job offer at Lucknow Pioneer and pick bones about India & China)


REFLECTIONS ON GANDHI, by George Orwell, Partisan Review, 1949

ORWELL SPOKE TRUTH ALWAYS, by Jay Dubashi, Hindu Times, 2003
...Orwell is thus a Bengali, Bihari, Indian and an English man and for a while was also a Burmese, having worked in Burma as a member of the Imperial Police Service, or IPS, when Burma was part of India....

BOOKLOVERS' CORNER (...After getting off the underground we strolled leisurely down the High Street of Hampstead which is a very trendy area full of unique shops and cafes and interesting-looking flats and houses. Zoe noticed in the A to Z that a nearby park had a statue of Karl Marx "if we wanted to go and see". I almost choked on my ice-cream cone and told her I'd much prefer going to see a statue of George Orwell - one of England's greatest writers - than of an author no one's read but everyone talks about, and who was the figurehead of a political system Orwell spent the last fifteen years of his life actively opposing. But to this date there are no statues of Orwell...)






Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~