Former Times correspondent Philip Crosland, who edited The Statesman in Delhi during a 30-year career in the Indian press, has died aged 93.
An obituary in today’s Times (behind paywall) said Crosland was ‘one of the last of a group of British journalists to make a career working in the Indian national press”, adding:
Over a period of nearly 30 years he covered the run-up to Independence and its bloody aftermath, the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the prolonged dispute over Kashmir and clashes with Pakistan and China.
He arrived in India shortly before the Second World War and after active service worked his way up to became the editor of the Delhi edition of The Statesman and later the newspaper’s general manager before returning to Britain in the late 1960s.”
Crosland was commissioned into the 15th Punjab Regiment of the (British) Indian Army during World War II but returned to The Statesman in Calcutta in 1946, reporting on the build up to Independence in 1947 and the assassination of Gandhi.
In September 1955 he returned to the Delhi edition of The Statesman as news editor, and was appointed editor of the edition in April 1962
He also wrote for titles including Montreal Star, New Zealand Herald, The Age (Melbourne), The Observer and The Times, where he was first the newspaper’s Delhi correspondent and later its Calcutta correspondent.
The Times reported:
His Indian colleagues knew him as a kindly, hardworking, quiet man with unorthodox food habits – the only English sahib who sent for snacks from the workers’ canteen. Datta-Ray said that whenever he attempted something new on The Statesman – ‘headings without capitals, lines aligned on the right, reverse type’– he was told: ‘Crosland Sahib has done it already.”
Crosland returned to England, where his children were at boarding school, in 1967, blaming the devaluation of the rupee for his departure. He then worked for the Central Office of Information and was latterly on the editorial staff of the Surrey Advertiser.
He finally retired from journalism, with enormous reluctance, when he was 80. He married Joy Shaw in 1946. She died in 2007, and he is survived by a son and a daughter.