« The ‘Tan Stranger’ from Ceylon » by Manan Desai

« Chandra Dharma Sena Gooneratne, a graduate student at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, is a fascinating if also mysterious figure in SAADA’s archive. As a student in Hyde Park, he served as the captain of the Varsity Polo Club and was a member of the ROTC, all the while completing an M.A. and Ph.D.1 One source described him as an Indian from an « old high-caste family with several landed estates, »2 while another describes his time serving with British Forces in World War I in Mesopotamia, Persia, and Flanders.3 While in the U.S., he lectured on the Chautauqua circuit, which took him across different towns around the Midwest in the late 1920s and the early 1930s. The topics of his lectures ranged from figures like Tagore and Gandhi to the cause for Indian independence and the need to abolish the caste system. Reporters covered not only the content of his lectures, but spent a great deal of print on the exotic impression he left on his audience. »

via: http://www.saadigitalarchive.org/tides/article/20140708-3618


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