FROM THE ARCHIVES

Photos: When Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara visited India

Images from the government archives of the iconic leader's 1959 trip to India.

In 2007, Om Thanvi, editor of the Hindi daily Jansatta, became curious about Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara’s visit to India in 1959. Che was an icon on T-shirt, but why was so little known about his trip to the subcontinent? The journalist thinks it's because Indian Communists chose to forget the Argentine’s visit because of Che’s comments against Russian communism.

Gripped by curiosity, Thanvi sent a colleague to the photo division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Officials there said Che never visited India because, if he had, they would have displayed the photographs in the diplomatic gallery. When Thanvi showed them evidence that Che had indeed come to India, they finally looked hard and found 14 photographs.

In official records, the officials explained, Che was mentioned by his official name, Commander Ernesto de la Serna. All over the world, it was much later that he came to be known as Che Guevara, and that is why it had been so difficult to find his photographs in the archives.

When Thanvi first published these photographs in Jansatta, some people did not believe them. So he went to Cuba to find out more about Che’s India visit. Among other things, he found a copy of Che’s report on the trip, Nehru’s memento to Che, and three photographs of Calcutta taken by Che.

Thanvi also traced KP Bhanumathy, who had interviewed Che for the All India Radio. She showed him her article recalling the interview. She also provided Thanvi some photographs taken during the interview. Thanvi also found some photographs and reports in the Hindustan Times archives.

Here are the amazing photos from the government archives and the other treasures Thanvi discovered:


Prime Minister Mr Jawaharlal Nehru welcoming Che Guevara in his Teen Moorti residential office on July 1, 1959). Photo by Kundan Lal of Photo Division, Government of India.



Che meets Defence Minister VK Krishna Menon, 3 July 1959.



Che visits a school in the Pilana Block near Delhi. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India.



At the Planning Commission of India.



Commerce ministry officials presenting Che Indian tea, coffee and cigars.



Checking out a metal detector at the laboratory of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.



An old villager in a Gandhi cap garlanding Che during Cuban team’s visit to a Community Project Area in Pilana Block near Delhi. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India.



Sketch of Che drawn by Abu Abraham in Hawana in 1962 for The Observer of London. On the collar are Che’s signatures.



Che and his colleagues arrive at the Palam Airport on June 30, 1959. In turban is DS Khosla, Deputy Chief of Protocol, MEA, who received the group at the Airport. On extreme left (next to Che) is his bodyguard who was personally trained by Che himself. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India.



Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in a happy mood after receiving a box of cigars as gift from the Cuban delegation on July 1, 1959. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India.



Mr SK Dey, Minister for Community Development and Cooperation, receiving Che at his office in New Delhi on July 3, 1959. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India



The Union Minister of Commerce Nityanand Kanoongo with the Cuban delegation led by Che in the Minister’s office on July 1, 1959. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India.



Picture of Che taken in New Delhi by Photo Division photographer Kundan Lal. 



At the Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi, sampling an improvised variety of wheat.



AP Jain, Union Minister of Food and Agriculture, receiving Che when the latter called on him in New Delhi on July 4, 1959. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India.



Che Guevara being shown a Lathe Manufacturing Machine at the Okhla Industrial Estate in New Delhi on July 1, 1959. Photo courtesy: Photo Division, Government of India.



KP Bhanumathy while interviewing Che. Photo by PN Sharma, provided by KP Bhanumathy.



KP Bhanumathy while interviewing Che. Photo by PN Sharma, provided by KP Bhanumathy.



Part of the front page of the Hindustan Times on 2 July 1959.



An official of the Centro de Estudios Che Guevara showing the khukri presented by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to Che Guevara on his visit to India in 1959. Photo by Om Thanvi, 2007.



Goddess Durga engraved on the cover of the khukri presented to Che by Jawaharlal Nehru. Photo by Om Thanvi, 2007


Photos of Calcutta by Che Guevara

From the book Self Portrait by Che Guevara, published by the Centre for Che Studies, Havana, in collaboration with Ocean Books, Australia.




For a detailed account of Che's trip to India, click here. 



Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of &flix and not by the Scroll editorial team.