Millennium Post

UK: Indian mission’s oldest employee passes away

One of the oldest employees of the Indian High Commission in the UK has passed away in London.
Maureen Travis, who took on secretarial work at India House in 1948 and went on to take charge of the library under 25 high commissioners over the years, had carried on working well into her 
90s. She passed away on Thursday evening.

“It’s hard to imagine India House without Maureen. She has been part of the history of India House from its very inception, and her passing away will leave a vacuum that can never be filled,” said Dinesh Patnaik, acting high commissioner of India to the UK.

Travis described the High Commission’s library, stocked with over 20,000 books and journals, as “love’s labour”.

She began by dividing time between her work in the education department and the library until 1956, when she shifted entirely to the latter.

“India came to me through its people and the books,” she was quoted as saying.

Travis, among the few local British staff employed at the mission, served under all Indian high commissioners to the UK starting with V K Krishna Menon, the first Indian envoy posted to the UK after independence.

“I was young then and quote nervous. Krishna Menon was a very kind and soft spoken person,” the librarian had said a few years ago.

Travis was much loved by the staff of India House over her 68 years of employment in the historic building.

While she was to never visit India, it was clear she knew all about the country having read every book in the India House library. 
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