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Taraknath Das papers

Identifier: GTM-801201

Collection-level scope and contents note

The Taraknath Das Papers are contained in the John J. Meng Papers. Other papers from the Taraknath Das Foundation, as well as correspondence between Meng and Das, are also located in the Meng papers. Material in this collection span the years 1932 to 1940 and relate to Das' work "Indien in der Weltpolitick." Manuscripts for articles and papers by Das are included.


  • 1932-1940

Conditions Governing Access note

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical/Historical note

Taraknath Das (June 15, 1884-December 22, 1958) was an anti-British Bengali Indian revolutionary and internationalist scholar.

"Das came to the United States as a poor student around 1905 from Calcutta. He had a revolutionary interest in freeing India from the British Raj. At first he attended the Vermont Military Academy, but was expelled for his anti-British sentiments. He became involved with the Ghadr Party in California and with German diplomats during World War I. Both of these groups had an interest in undermining the British Empire. Once the United States entered the Great War on the side of Britain and the British Empire, the plotting Indians and Germans were arrested and tried in California in 1917. This came to be called the Hindu Conspiracy Case. Taraknath Das was one of those convicted and served about one and a half years in a federal prison. Upon release, he turned to more peaceful pursuits than the attempt to smuggle arms into India. He lived from 1884 to 1958 and was a pioneer of the South Asian community in the U.S. In the pre-1965 era, this community was small and from 1924 to 1946 none of them could become U.S. citizens. Dr. Das belonged to both India and to the U.S. and obtained U.S. citizenship around the beginning of the First World War which the U.S. government later tried to take away from him because he was a convicted felon and suspected because of his great hostility to the British Empire. He fought to retain his American citizenship and succeeded.

He linked India and America, informing each about the other, writing often for the "Modern Review"of Calcutta and other periodicals about world affairs, speaking and teaching in the U.S. and Europe as well. He earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Washington in political science. As one concerned with his two countries, he was particularly engaged by the fate of his motherland which for most of his life was ruled by the British. After India was free, he returned to visit, felt somewhat disillusioned by what he found, and then came back to the U.S. which was now his home.

He had long been concerned with the difficulties of Indian students abroad. That is the primary reason why he started the Foundation in the 1930's. At first he took the money out of his own pocket to help some struggling Indians whom he encountered. Gradually this aid project became institutionalized."

(Source: Leonard A. Gordon, Director of the Taraknath Das Foundation)

The Taraknath Das Foundation at Columbia University continues his work.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

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Taraknath Das papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057