Ranjitsinhji, our glorious hero bold
The first Indian man to play cricket for England, KS Ranjitsinhji, was described in these glowing terms in a song written in his honour. His cricketing career in England began while he was studying in Cambridge. He played for Sussex from 1895 to 1904 and for England against Australia from 1896 to 1902.
KS Ranjitsinhji, Mirror of British Merchandise, 1896
In 1899 he achieved an amazing first for cricketers – over 3,000 runs in one year. Incredibly, he managed to repeat this in 1900. The Ranji song is featured in the British Library’s Asians in Britain web pages where you can learn more about his life. The web pages were initially developed through projects led by Professor Susheila Nasta of the Open University, including Making Britain: South Asian Visions of Home and Abroad, 1870-1950
The Asians in Britain web pages tell the story of the long history of people from South Asia in Britain and the contributions they have made to British culture and society. They include ayahs (nannies), lascar seamen, politicians, campaigners such as suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, scientists and authors. The web pages also highlight the vital contribution people from South Asia made during the world wars.
Dadabhai Naoroji, elected MP for Finsbury, 1892
Mirror of British Merchandise, 1892
The Ranji song is among many fascinating and beautiful items currently on display in an exhibition at the Library of Birmingham, Connecting Stories: Our British Asian Heritage.
For further details about the exhibition, events and opening hours please see the Library of Birmingham’s website. The exhibition and community engagement programme continue the partnership between the British Library and the Library of Birmingham. They are supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Head of India Office Records and exhibition curator
Rozina Visram, Asians in Britain: 400 years of history, (London, 2002)
Susheila Nasta with Florian Stadtler, Asian Britain: a photographic history, (London, 2013)
Mirror of British Merchandise, 1892, 1896 Reference: 14119.f.37