Winston Churchill : Great Minds

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955.

As a young soldier,  Churchill sailed for India on 11 September 1896 and was garrisoned in Bangalore. He was to spend the next two years in India. It was at this time that he paid a visit to Ooty.   On of those days he sought to enter Ootacamund Club but was turned down as he owed Rs.78 balance to its sister club in Bangalore. But that did not stop the young Churchill from joining the outdoor sports like hunt.

It was on one of those days of Ooty hunt,  Churchill first confided his ultimate political aspirations, to Captain Bingham of the Royal Artillery. Bingham was Master of the Ootacamund Hounds, and was bringing the pack home through the dusty, undulating country when a young cavalry officer out riding fell in with him. They struck up a conversation, during which the young officer, puffing on a cigar, said he would be giving up the army for politics, and would one day be prime minister.

Chrurchill remembered Ooty for a long time. During the Boer War in South Africa in 1900 he was posted in Pietermaritzburg near  Durban,  where Gandhi was first thrown out of the train. He wrote, “ The town looks more like Ootacamund than any place I have seen. To those who do not know the delightful hill station of Southern India let me explain that Pietermaritzburg stands in a basin of smooth rolling downs, broken frequently by forests of fir and blue gum trees”

Nilgiri Documentation Centre

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