Re-Imagine: India-UK Cultural Relations in the 21st Century

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The British Council and Bloomsbury India today launched Re-Imagine: India–UK Cultural Relations in the 21st Century (ISBN: 978-93-82951-34-6) a volume of future-forging pieces by leading thinkers in India and the UK, exploring the evolving relationship between the two countries, tracing not only the shared history but also its contemporary ramifications.

The launch was followed by a panel discussion on “India and the UK will have to Re-Imagine their relationship for it to work in the 21st Century”. The panel comprised Baroness Prashar of Runnymede CBE, Deputy Chair, British Council, K VijayRaghavan, Secretary of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India; Indrajit Hazra, novelist and journalist, Martin Davidson CMG, Chief Executive British Council and was chaired by Sujata Sen, Director British Council East India. 

Edited by Shrabani Basu, the book draws on historical anecdotes, personal history and current policies to reflect on a special relationship between the two countries forged on a common love for cricket, curry, parliamentary democracy and the English language and how it can be taken forward gainfully in the decades to come. 

The book emerged out of a project of the same name carried out by the British Council in India in collaboration with partners Counterpoint, UK, King’s India Institute, London and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). It attempts to understand the current relationship between India and the UK and what it may look like in the future.

Each writer discusses in their inimitable style topics critical to the evolving relationship between India and the UK. Tracing people to people links, unravelling family history, exploring the attitude of media and youth in both countries, linking the development of arts, science, language, trade and business, the authors explore myriad facets of the history of this relationship and their contemporary ramifications in each country and internationally.

Rob Lynes, Director India, British Council said: “The book makes fascinating reading and is recommended for all who are interested in the special relationship between India and the UK. In our exploration of the relationship between the two countries we found that the past offers a strong platform for rebuilding a new relationship, but it has to be based on an equal footing, recognising the cultural nuances and current ambitions of both nations. The book re-affirms this and goes deeper. I would like to thank the editor and all the contributors for their generosity with time and thought.” 

Shrabani Basu, journalist and author and the editor of the book said: “This book is on a subject that is close to my heart. It was a wonderful experience to work with writers and thinkers from both India and Britain and I would like to thank the British Council Re-Imagine project for providing me the opportunity to do so.”

Rajiv Beri, Managing Director of Bloomsbury India said: “We are delighted to partner with the British Council in the publication of this unique book which gives a fascinating insight into the continually evolving special relationship between the UK and India.”

For media queries, please contact Angeles Micah in the British Council Communications Team on +91 11 4149 7240 or

Notes to Editor

The Editor

Shrabani Basu is an author and journalist. She is the author of Victoria & Abdul, The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidante (2010), Spy Princess, The Life of Noor Inayat Khan (2006) and Curry, The Story of the Nation’s Favourite Dish (1999/2003). In 2010 she set up the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust and her efforts were instrumental in the bust of Noor Inayat Khan being unveiled in Gordon Square in London by HRH The Princess Royal.


MIKE KING worked as an investigator on abduction, fraud and asset recovery cases around the world. Since 2006, he has spent much time researching his family's Indian history.

PHILLIP KNIGHTLEY AM, was a special correspondent for The Sunday Times for twenty years (1965-85) and one of the leaders of its Insight investigative team.

INDRAJIT HAZRA is a novelist and journalist. He is a columnist for various publications, including Hindustan Times where he writes 'Red Herring' every Sunday.

TOM BIRD is the Executive Producer at Shakespeare's Globe. In 2012 he directed the Globe to Globe Festival.

SANJOY K. ROY is the Managing Director of Teamwork Films and Teamwork Productions which he established in 1989. 

NASREEN MUNNI KABIR is a renowned documentary filmmaker and author of twelve books on Hindi films.

PRADEEP KAR, founder, chairman and managing director of Microland, India’s leading provider of outsourced IT infrastructure management services. 

SITA BRAHMACHARI is a writer whose artistic and academic work has explored cultural diversity and representation within the Arts.

K. VIJAYRAGHAVAN, Secretary of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India is a developmental biologist whose interests are in understanding the mechanisms underlying the formation of nerve circuits and development of animal behaviour.

NIRMALYA KUMAR was headhunted by the Tata Group and joined them as Head of Strategy from 1 August 2013. He is Professor of Marketing and Director of Aditya Birla India Centre at London Business School. 

JACK E. SPENCE, OBE, teaches in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. He has specialised in a Post-Graduate course on Diplomacy.

MIHIR S SHARMA is a writer, policy analyst and journalist. Currently editor of the opinion pages of Business Standard, India's most respected financial daily. 

KAPIL KOMIREDDI, a journalist, has written from South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

WILLIAM CRAWLEY AND DAVID PAGE, Senior Fellows at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, and Co-Directors of the Media South Asia Project ( 

JO JOHNSON was elected as the Member of Parliament for Orpington in May 2010. He currently serves as Head of Policy Unit at No 10. 


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. We work in the arts, education, science, sport and governance and last year we reached over 128 million people. 

Re-Imagine: India-UK Cultural Relations in the 21st Century is an ongoing research and dialogue initiative looking at the relationship between India and the UK in the 21st Century. 

The British Council is recognised across India for its network of 9 libraries and cultural centres. We offer a range of specialised projects in arts, education, exams, English language and society to audiences across India and more than 100,000 members. We also provide access to English language training and learning for both students and teachers, offer UK qualifications in India and enable opportunities to study in the UK.