V. K. Krishna Menon
(1896-1974)

Died aged c. 78

Vengalil Krishna Kurup Krishna Menon (3 May 1896 – 6 October 1974) was an Indian politician, non-career diplomat and nationalist. He was described by some as the second most powerful man in India, after his ally, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. He wrote the first draft of the Preamble to the Constitution of India, initiated the idea of the Constituent Assembly of India and is considered the architect, and to have coined the name, of the Non-Aligned Movement. He was chairman of the Indian delegation at the United Nations General Assembly from 1953 to 1962, at sessions of the United Nations Trusteeship Council from 1953 to 1956, and to the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament. He was a member of the Indian National Congress and also at one time a member of the British Labour Party. Noted for his eloquence, brilliance and forceful and highly abrasive personality, Menon inspired widespread adulation as well as angry detraction in both India and the West. To his supporters, he was an unapologetic champion of India in the face of Western imperialism, who famously "taught the white man his place". To his Western detractors, he was "Nehru's evil genius". US president Dwight Eisenhower characterised him as a "menace ... governed by an ambition to prove himself the master international manipulator and politician of the age", but Indian President K.R. Narayanan eulogised him as a truly great man. Decades after his death, Menon remains an enigmatic and controversial figure. As a young man, Menon served as founding editor of the Pelican imprint of Penguin Books. He led the overseas wing of the Indian independence movement, launching the India League in London, aggressively campaigning within the United Kingdom to win public support for Indian independence, and rallying the support of world powers such as the Soviet Union. In the immediate wake of independence, Menon emerged as engineer of and spokesman for India's foreign policy, and, more generally, architect of the non-aligned movement. He headed India's diplomatic missions to the United Kingdom and the United Nations, and distinguished himself in diplomatic matters including the Suez crisis. In 1957, Menon set the record for the longest speech (8 hours) before the U.N. Security Council while defending India's rights to the disputed territory of Kashmir, in the process earning widespread popularity and the sobriquet "Hero of Kashmir". Returning to India, he was repeatedly elected to both houses of the Indian parliament from constituencies as varied as Mumbai, Bengal, and Trivandrum in his native state of Kerala. He served as a minister without portfolio and later as Minister of Defence, overseeing the modernization of the Indian military and development of the Indian military-industrial complex, and spearheading the Indian annexation of Goa. He resigned in the wake of the Sino-Indian War, following allegations of India's military unpreparedness, but remained counselor to Nehru, member of parliament and elder statesman until his death.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Spudgun67 on Wikimedia Commons
Spudgun67 on Wikimedia Commons

In this house from 1924 to 1947 lived V. K. Krishna Menon St. Pancras Borough Councillor 1934-1947 Honorary Freeman 1955 High Commissioner for India 1947-1952

57 Murray Street, Camden, London, United Kingdom where they was

V. K. Krishna Menon 1896-1974 campaigner for Indian Independence lived here

30 Langdon Park Road, Highgate, N6 5QG, London, United Kingdom where they lived