A former diplomat, 94-year-old Pran Nevile, has donned many other hats – journalist, researcher, Soviet bloc expert, UN adviser, and author of 14 books. He recently released his latest book ‘Carefree Days - Many Roles, Many Lives’ on April 9. Launched at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre by former Union Cabinet minister Kunwar Natwar Singh, the book is an autobiographical account of Nevile’s youthful years spent in Lahore.
Specialising in the study of the social and cultural history of the subcontinent, Lahore holds a special place in his heart. His first full-length literary work, which was published in 1992, was called ‘Lahore-a Sentimental Journey’. In the past two decades, he has written several other books on British rule and pre-independence India, including the art, culture, and history of the time. He has also served as a consultant for two BBC films.
His published works include ‘Marvels of Indian Painting: Rise and Demise of Company School’, ‘Beyond the Veil - Indian Women in the Raj’, ‘Stories from the Raj - Sahibs, Memsahibs and Others’, ‘Rare Glimpses of the Raj’, ‘Nautch Girls of India: Dancers, Singers, Playmates’, ‘Love Stories from the Raj’, and ‘The Raj Revisited’.
Born in Lahore in 1922, Neville served a long career as a diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and the United Nations (UN) before turning to writing after Hindustan Times published his article.
“I had a brilliant academic career and won the university scholarship in 1937. I completed a post-graduate degree from Government College, Lahore. After serving in IFS and the UN, I became a freelance writer,” says Nevile.
“I have a long association with Hindustan Times. It was only after HT published my first article in 1989 that I became a writer,” he says.
Neville is also an ardent fan of singer KL Saigal and has even authored a book on him titled ‘KL Saigal - Immortal Singer and Superstar’. He is also the founder-convenor of KL Saigal Memorial Circle, which has organised several musical events in Delhi and Gurgaon.
Now, the author is enjoying his life in DLF City Phase 1. He says he likes the peace and tranquillity that allows him to spend quality time with his friends.
“I love this place. I walk, chat and spend time with my friends talking about various subjects,” he says.