In the chapter "Poets and Pancakes" from My Years with Boss by Ashokamitran, I want to know whether Stephen Spender visited as a communist or if he visited Gemini Studios after he quit communism.


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Stephen Spender became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1936 but became disillusioned with it after World War II. He contributed an essay to the book The God that Failed, published in 1949, which contained essays by authors had, like him, become disillusioned with communism and abandoned it. This is the book of which Asokamitran writes,

The reaction to Stephen Spender at Gemini Studios was no longer a mystery. The Boss of the Gemini Studios may not have much to do with Spender’s poetry. But not with his god that failed.

Stephen Spender visited Gemini Studios in Madras in the 1950s, i.e. after he had abandoned communism. David Leeming tells us in Stephen Spender: A Life in Modernism (Henry Holt, 2011):

Spender devoted much of 1953 to travel and lecturing abroad. (...) And late that fall after his Encounter appointment, he did a two-month tour for the Congress for Cultural Freedom that took him to Paris, Rome, Athens, Beirut, Karachi, Singapore, Darwin, Kandy, Madras, Cochin, Trivandrum, Bangalore, and Bombay.

The question remains what the link between Gemini Studios between ex-communists or anti-communists was. This is provided by Ashokamitran, who writes that (Wikipedia link added by me),

When Frank Buchman’s Moral Re-Armament army, some two hundred strong, visited Madras sometime in 1952, they could not have found a warmer host in India than the Gemini Studios. (...)
It was some years later that I learnt that the MRA was a kind of counter-movement to international Communism and the big bosses of Madras like Mr. Vasan simply played into their hands.

Summary: Gemini Studios welcomed both the (presumably) anti-communist MRA and the ex-communist Stephen Spender in the earlyy 1950s.

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