Ralph Russell

Part 1
Part 1 of my autobiography, entitled Findings, Keepings: Life, Communism and everything, was published in December 2001.

It covers the years 1918 to 1946 – my childhood in a Yorkshire village; boyhood in Essex, twelve miles from London, on the edge of Epping Forest, and at a small public school; the development of political awareness, from atheist humanism to pacifism, socialism and communism; clashes with the school establishment; work in the Communist Party, before, during and after my years at Cambridge (1937–1940); my time in the army in Britain, and for three and a half years as an officer in the Indian Army; and my first year back in Britain, 1945–1946.

Part 2
Part 2, entitled Losses, Gains, continues the story of my life from 1945 when I returned from the war in India, to 1958. It provides an introduction to a complex period of social and political change. Internationally, from a situation where Britain, the USA and the Soviet Union were war-time allies to the Cold War and McCarthyism. In Britain, a period of austerity and severe winters, a housing crisis, the nationalisation of coal, the creation of a National Health Service. In India, the early years of independence, land reform and peasant uprisings, tensions with Pakistan. It is likely to be published before the end of 2008.

Part 3
Part 3, provisionally entitled Some day, Someone, takes the story up to the mid 1980s. It includes accounts of my visits to India and Pakistan in 1958, 1969 and 1973, and the story of the publication of my and Khurshidul Islam's first books, Three Mughal Poets and Ghalib, life and letters. There are chapters on the momentous events of 1968 and their aftermath in SOAS, and on the long battle with the SOAS establishment after that. It describes my development of new types of teaching materials for students at SOAS and in the community, and gives a full account of the campaign for the teaching of Urdu in Britain.

Still to be added are chapters on my personal values, my position as an atheist working closely with Muslim believers, and the outcome of a lifetime of reflections on what a communist party should be like. I hope that Part 3 will be ready for publication by the end of 2008.

Why write an autobiography?
To read an extract of the opening of Findings Keepings click here
Click here to see some Readers’ responses

Findings Keepings: Life, Communism and everything
is published by
Shola Books (2001)
ISBN 0-9519752-2-6
Order from Longstone Books

Also available in Urdu and Panjabi:
In Urdu, translated by Arjumand Ara, as Joinda yabinda
City Press Book Shop, Pakistan (2005)
ISBN 969-8379-77-0
Order from City Press

In Panjabi, translated and published by Jogindar Shamsher (2007)
Orders in North America: 50 Manor Haven Drive, River Park South, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Orders in the UK: Longstone Books

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