The return to the decades that made the Mahatma — and the destiny of the subcontinent
Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah at the latter’s residence, November, 1939 (Photo: Getty Images)
THE FOUNDATIONS AND fissures of modern India were laid in the first decade of the 20th century. The British ensured the fissure with a sly and cynical incision of the polity in 1909. Ten years later, Mahatma Gandhi tried to bridge a still incipient chasm with an unprecedented mass movement that challenged the legitimacy of the Raj and set India on the course for freedom, although we also learnt, in 1947, that cynicism had longer legs than optimism. But the destiny of the Indian subcontinent was shaped by landmark advances, twists, curves and ellipses of the Roaring Teens.
The backstory was potent but not complicated.
In 1885, a newly assertive class of Indian lawyers, businessmen and professionals, which had seen the earlier feudal elite either self-destruct or slide into abject subservience after defeat in the 1857 war for independence, egged on by a sorehead bureaucrat Allan Octavian Hume, founded the Indian National Congress to press for greater local participation in British rule. London, always ready to hand out very little in return for taking a great deal, responded to this new mood with The Indian Councils Act of 1892 which found a place for ‘natives’ in the legislature through indirect elections. That was sufficient for the worthies of Congress in the 19th century. Aurobindo Ghosh, then a Cambridge-educated bureaucrat in a princely state and now more famous as the sage Sri Aurobindo, remarked scathingly that the Congress was merely a litigant in the dispute between India and Anglo-India.
The season of docility was punctured by a decision in 1904: the Viceroy, Lord Curzon, provoked by a rising nationalism in the middle and upper classes, announced the partition of the capital province of British India, Bengal, along communal lines. The seismic shock waves split the Congress between moderates, who claimed co-option was still the only reasonable objective, and extremists who perceived a more malevolent design to wreck India’s common cause against imperialism, and were ready to strive for economic liberation and political independence with agitation, boycott of foreign products and, occasionally, bombs. They demanded an immediate end to colonialism rather than a phased journey to self-rule without timelines.
In 1906, the British sponsored, through acolytes, the Muslim League as the third voice in public discourse. Equally, it made sense to give some gains to moderates in the Congress in their confrontation with extremists. And so the Indian Councils Act of 1909 expanded Indian seats from 16 to 60 in a legislature through elections with the Minto-Morley reforms. (Lord Minto was Viceroy, and John Morley Secretary of State for India in the British cabinet.) The venom lay in the tail. Muslims were allotted separate electorates. In other words, only Muslims could vote for Muslim candidates; and they, therefore, had no particular need to find space in their campaign for Hindu sentiment or indeed any common cause. This forked-tongue decision eventually poisoned the polity, as indeed it was intended to do.
The partition of India began with partition of the mind.
BOMBAY GOT ITS first Muslim barrister in 1895 when a 20-year-old Muhammad Ali Jinnah started practice after eating his dinners at Lincoln’s Inn. The Minto-Morley reforms proved fortunate for him; at the age of 35 he won the Muslim seat from Bombay. Luck beckoned in other ways as well. He got the seat only because two older frontrunners were deadlocked, and he slipped through. He held the seat till the last elections of British India, in 1946.
The first phase of Jinnah’s life was primary evidence that the Roaring Teens could indeed roar. As a young and impecunious lawyer, he turned down an official job with a high remuneration of Rs 1,500 a month on the grounds that he would quickly earn more than that in a day, and then lived up to his own promise. He lived in better style than high officials of the Raj, drank superior whiskey and indeed might have spoken better English than most of them. He quickly found a niche in Bombay’s top social circles. He was critical of separate electorates when they were introduced, predicting, correctly, that this might fracture the country. His first speech in the council, delivered on February 25th, 1910, took up a cause that a contemporary, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, had turned into a cause celebre in South Africa: indentured labour.
Sensing the growing anger, King George V reversed Bengal’s partition, but shifted the capital from Calcutta, a hive of ‘troublesome’ Bengali Babus, to Delhi. Jinnah refused to join the Muslim League until 1913, and then did so only on condition that his loyalty to the League would in no way compromise his commitment to the greater objective of Hindu-Muslim unity against British rule. Motilal Nehru was among those who called Jinnah “as keen a nationalist as any of us,” although 15 years later they would fall out when Jinnah began to drift.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was critical of separate electorates when they were introduced, predicting, correctly, that this might fracture the country. His first speech in the council, delivered on February 25th, 1910, took up a cause that a contemporary, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, had turned into a cause celebre in South Arica: Indentured labour
In April 1916, Motilal invited Congress and League leaders to his handsome residence in Allahabad to discuss a common slate of reforms that would end Hindu-Muslim disputes. This draft was known as the ‘Freedom Pact’. Jinnah left Allahabad for a holiday in Darjeeling where he would fall in love with Ruttie, daughter of a Parsi doyen, Sir Dinshaw Petit. They would marry against her father’s wishes two years later.
It was a time when Britain was suffering its worst fortunes in World War I. India was London’s biggest overseas source for money, troops and material, but the loyalty of Indian civilians was in the balance. The political class wanted a promise of Dominion Status, or Home Rule, after the war. And the much-vaunted strength of the Indian Army was dented significantly when General John Dixon’s forces were humiliated in Mesopotamia in April 1916.
Indian Muslims, in a parallel development, were trapped between their perceived pull of religion and their political status as citizens of the British Empire when in 1914 the Ottoman Sultan took Germany’s side in the Great War and, in his capacity as Caliph of Islam, declared a jihad against the British. Prominent Muslim leaders, including the Ali Brothers, Mohammad and Shaukat, and the young Abul Kalam Azad were arrested under martial law rules, and not released till the war ended. From this dichotomy was born the Khilafat, or Caliphate, movement. Jinnah, a very Western-oriented gentleman, disdained the hot-air rhetoric of mullahs, and remained largely indifferent to this Khilafat sentiment. He preferred a settlement through constitutional means.
The high point of Jinnah’s public life came in December 1916. A month earlier, he had met the Congress president, AC Mazumdar, in Calcutta and hammered out a formula: Muslims would get one-third of the seats in the national council, half in Punjab, 40 per cent in Bengal, 30 per cent in UP, 25 per cent in Bihar and Orissa, 15per cent in Central Provinces and Madras. This was slightly higher than the demographic weightage of Muslims, but the Congress president accepted the concession. Moreover, any bill that affected a community could only be passed if it was carried by three-fourth of its members. This became the basis of the Lucknow Pact. In his speech to the League session that year, Jinnah attacked the “shallow, bastard and desperate political maxims” that British bureaucrats flung at Indian patriots when they accused Indians of being unfit to govern themselves.
It is ironic that after Jinnah became the embittered standard-bearer of partition in the 1930s, this part of his speech was censored by partisans of the Pakistan movement.
One person was lost in the shadows at the Lucknow Congress session of 1916: Gandhi. Some notables thought he was a peasant. Gandhi would have considered this a compliment rather than a reproof. In fact, Gandhi had only one real claimant for his attention, a farmer from a region Gandhi had never heard of, Champaran in north Bihar, at the point where the Himalaya in Nepal sloped towards the plains of India. It was only later that Gandhi learnt that this was the land of Janaka, king of Videhi, a supreme example of the karmayogi and father of Sita, the model of virtue and wife of Lord Rama. Rajkumar Shukla described the tyranny of British indigo planters who for a century had impoverished and exploited the region through an oppressive system known as tinkathia (or, three kathas; 20 kathas constituted an acre). Every tenant was forced to plant indigo in at least three out of every 20 kathas and paid less than a pittance for the produce, which was then marketed at exploitative prices to the outside world. If farmers refused to plant indigo, they were taxed heavily or beaten by British collection agents called gumasta. They were not allowed to plant crops other than indigo even during the off-season. The daily wage for a male labourer was 10 pice (or paise), and a maximum of six for a woman. Children were given three pice. If a family earned four annas a day, or one-fourth of a rupee, it could consider itself fortunate.
Gandhi heard Shukla out in his tent at the Congress session, but gave no commitment that he would visit Champaran. From Lucknow, Gandhi went to Kanpur; Shukla followed, but got no more than a promise of a visit sometime in the future. When Gandhi reached his ashram, Shukla was there again. Gandhi was impressed by Shukla’s sincerity. Early in 1917, Gandhi went to Calcutta, and found Shukla there. This time, he could not say no. Gandhi and Shukla, looking like two rustics, took the train to Patna, en route to Champaran.
Gandhi thought Shukla would have made some arrangements for the halt in Patna, but found Shukla as clueless about where to go as he was. He quickly learnt that the Patna lawyers whose names Shukla had mentioned as mentors treated him like a menial. Gandhi took a chance and went to the home of a luminary of the Patna bar, Rajendra Prasad. He was not there. Two servants were disdainful. When Gandhi wanted to use the inside latrine, they showed him the outdoors one. When he tried to take water from the house well for a bath, they would not permit it, lest their caste got polluted by Gandhi’s use of the well. In hindsight, Gandhi found this entertaining; in any case, he was used to much worse. It was then that Gandhi remembered a fellow student from his London days, Mazharul Haq, who had become League president in 1915 and met Gandhi again at the Congress session that year. Haq had invited Gandhi to drop by if he ever came to Patna. Gandhi sent word to Haq.
Haq arrived in a grand car and immediately offered to take him home. All that Gandhi wanted was guidance on how to take the first train towards Champaran. He left for Muzaffarpur that evening. At the station was a professor from the government college who had just resigned from his job, Acharya Kripalani, with a crowd of students. In the meantime, word about Gandhi’s presence in Bihar had spread. Prasad received a cable and came rushing back.
Gandhi’s first decision was that this was not a matter for lawyers and courts. Indeed, lawyers were quite capable of charging as much as a staggering Rs 10,000 in those days for an opinion. But Gandhi understood that the problem was not unjust law, but a terrible fear. ‘The real relief for them,’ he wrote in his autobiography My Experiments with Truth, ‘is to be free from fear’. He assigned the bevy of lawyer-volunteers a new role: they could do the clerical work for the in-depth investigation he planned into the agrarian conditions of indigo cultivation. Gandhi wanted to find the truth, document it, and then raise the cry for justice through satyagraha. If that meant prison, Gandhi would be at the head of the queue.
The secretary of the Planters’ Association told Gandhi he had no business being there; the commissioner ordered him out of Trihut division, of which Champaran was part. Gandhi shrugged and carried on. On the afternoon of April 15th, 1917, Gandhi alighted from a train at Motihari, and was on his way to Jasaulipatti when he heard about a farmer, living some five miles away, who had been beaten and whose property had been destroyed. Gandhi got on an elephant and set off to see this victim. Halfway, he was stopped and served a familiar notice from the police superintendent. He was ordered to leave immediately. A bare-bodied Gandhi refused. He was arrested. Trial was set for the next day.
Angry, agitated Indians jampacked the court. For once, officials realised that they were not in control; Gandhi was. ‘That day in Champaran was an unforgettable event in my life and a red-letter day for the peasants and for me,’ Gandhi noted in his autobiography. In truth, the British were on trial in Champaran, not Gandhi. And, in the end, they acquitted themselves well.
The magistrate offered Gandhi a deal; leave, and the case would be withdrawn. “This cannot be,” replied the Mahatma simply. Gandhi would submit without protest to the penalty of disobedience, in obedience to a higher law, the voice of his conscience. The rest was verbiage. An order was postponed. Gandhi wired full details to the viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and friends in Patna. Two days later, on April 20th, the case was withdrawn on instructions from the Lieutenant Governor of Bihar Sir Edward Gant. Gandhi’s inquiry could continue.
Gandhi recorded the statements of 8,000 cultivators, ignoring complaints from his volunteers that they were repetitive. His only worry was Indian newspapers and journalists who might prejudice the environment by publishing inflammatory accounts. Gandhi wanted nothing but hard, and harsh, ground reality. He wrote to editors requesting them to keep their reporters at home. Gandhi’s painstaking documentation produced results. The government was forced to institute a formal inquiry, with Sir Frank Sly in the chair and Gandhi as member of the committee. It recommended, unanimously, the abolition of tinkathia, and ordered a refund of portions of exaction. This became the thrust of the Agrarian Act passed by the Bihar legislature on March 4th, 1919.
In between, Gandhi brought another historic curse of British imperialism to an end: indentured labour, a practice by which the British replenished their requirement of labour in distant colonies after the official abolition of slavery by 1832. Indians, often peasants fleeing mass starvation, were now sent to the islands across the eponymous seven seas.
Gandhi had drafted the first petition protesting indenture in South Africa, in 1894. After harsh and often hopeless struggle, with spells in prison, he had finally won his point in 1914, after which he returned to India. In March 1916, Pandit Malviya moved a resolution in the Imperial Legislative Council for the formal abolition of indenture. Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy, who had been helpful on this issue, accepted the motion and promised repeal in ‘due course’. His successor, Chelmsford, took a relaxed view of ‘due course’. In February 1917, Malviya demanded immediate abolition. When this was refused, Gandhi started making plans for a nationwide agitation and, as was his practice, informed the Viceroy. His deadline was July 31st, 1917. There was immediate response. A delegation of influential women, including Lady Tata, called on Chelmsford. As Gandhi toured the big cities, from Karachi to Calcutta, in third-class coaches of packed trains, he was harassed constantly by CID policemen. On one occasion, Gandhi paid 12 annas to a porter to shove him through the window on a journey to Calcutta because he could not afford to miss an appointment. As temperatures rose, the government intervened. Indentured labour was abolished before the deadline set by Gandhi.
The season of docility was punctured by a decision in 1904: The Viceroy, Lord Curzon, provoked by a rising nationalism in the middle and upper classes, announced the partition of Bengal, along communal lines
Whether consciously or not, Gandhi was changing the political dynamics of India by the political empowerment of a new constituency—the impoverished masses. It has often been said that the great non-cooperation movement he launched in 1920 was the first organised mass agitation in Indian history, but that did not happen by accident. The poor had been watching for five years. Gandhi won their trust, belief and faith step by step. Champaran was the first step, but not the only one. By 1919, the forgotten Indian poor had finally found a great soul who sought freedom not for lawyers and professionals, but for them; and understood that without economic emancipation freedom was an empty shell.
1917 was a blur of continuous action that created the conditions for non-cooperation. When Gandhi got control of the Congress in 1920, he was able to change it from being the upper-class litigant of Sri Aurobindo’s phrase to a vehicle for the national aspiration of every Indian. In Gandhi, the poor found a leader who only knew how to give, and never to take.
Gandhi expanded his arc when he took up the cause of textile workers on strike in Ahmedabad. He had to deal with at least one personal issue. The determined leader of mill owners was Seth Ambalal Sarabhai, with the largest textile business, and a powerful voice in the community. Ambalal’s sister Anusayabai had become a disciple of Gandhi and his wife Sarladevi was as close as a sister.
As ever, Gandhi laid down rules before he took up leadership: no violence, even towards ‘blacklegs’; no alms, even in the direst circumstances; no infirmity, no matter how much the pain. Every day, the striking workers met under a tree on the banks of the Sabarmati river, and then marched in a procession through the city, carrying banners marked with the slogan ‘Ek Tek’ (Keep the Pledge). The mill owners were a bit more ingenious than the planters of Champaran. They too wanted Gandhi out of the way but with a rather more clever argument: workers were like their children so why should an interloper interfere? But the impoverished do not always have lasting power. Within a fortnight, the workers began to flag, and frustration bred anger. Attendance at the tree meetings dwindled, despair set in. In a flash of inspiration, Gandhi introduced a new element; he would go on a fast. Anasuyabai broke down; the workers begged for forgiveness and promised to fast alongside. There was no need for that, said Gandhi; all they had to do was find some work somewhere to tide over their financial crisis. The initial reaction of mill owners was smug sarcasm, with Ambalal being the most stubborn. Gandhi claims that it was a pleasure to find such a clear and transparent adversary. But within three days of the fast, the mill owners gave in.
1917 was a blur of continuous action. When Gandhi got control of the Congress in 1920, he was able to change it from being the upper-class litigant of Sri Aurobindo’s phrase to a vehicle for the national aspiration of every Indian
THERE WAS SOME bathos when the owners decided to celebrate by distributing a massive quantity of sweets to the workers. The beggars of Ahmedabad turned up and created chaos. The distribution had to be postponed to the next day. ‘The grinding poverty and starvation with which our country is afflicted is such that it drives more and more men every year into the ranks of the beggars, whose desperate struggle for bread renders them insensible to all feelings of decency and self-respect,’ wrote Gandhi with feeling while recalling this episode in his autobiography.
From the mills of the city it was straight to ploughing fields devastated by famine in Kheda. Officials refused to suspend revenue assessment, and answered pleas with insults. The law said that peasants could only claim suspension of assessment if the crop was less than one-fourth of normal output, and the commissioner claimed crop figures were more than this quarter. Gandhi advised the patidars to resort to satyagraha. It was during the Kheda agitation that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel gave up his lucrative practice at the bar and joined Gandhi. Farmers got help from fellow Gujaratis, including merchants in Bombay. In the end, there was a clumsy compromise. If the richer farmers paid up, the poor would not have to, but Gandhi was unhappy since officials determined who was ‘rich’.
The Viceroy needed Gandhi for a very different reason in 1917. The punishing World War had drained Britain of men, and there was urgent need of fresh recruits who could be shoved into battle for yet another offensive. Gandhi was invited to a war conference in Delhi. He agreed to attend because he was clearly searching for a modus vivendi with the authorities, but the consequences would turn out to be momentous when in 1919 Gandhi felt he had been betrayed. Gandhi would never trust the British again, leading to a mistake in January 1921, and total antagonism towards the British during World War II.
In 1917, Gandhi believed Chelmsford. He left for Delhi in the midst of the Kheda campaign, with only one caveat: Muslim leaders, under arrest without ever being charged of any crime, should be there as well. Maulana Mohammad Ali used to write long letters to Gandhi from jail in either Betul or Chindwara, but Gandhi never got permission to visit them. He tried to understand the emotions and compulsions that had driven Indian Muslims to support the Caliph-Sultan of Turkey, dubbed the Khilafat (or Caliphate) movement. Gandhi reached out, after as ever double-checking with his conscience, and wrote to Chelmsford urging a ‘just settlement’ of the ‘Khilafat question’, particularly after he discovered that British Prime Minister Lloyd George had granted that there was some justice in the Muslim demand. But for the moment, at the height of a crisis within the British Empire, Chelmsford proved more persuasive when he told Gandhi “Can you refuse to help the Empire at such a critical juncture? You may raise whatever moral issues you like and challenge us as much as you please after the conclusion of the war, not today.”
Gandhi considered this a commitment. He would not forget.
He supported the resolution on recruitment ‘with a full sense of my responsibility’. He spoke in Hindustani, the first person in living memory to use any language other than English in the presence of a Viceroy. Conscious of its importance, Gandhi set out his terms in writing and sent the letter to the Viceroy, resident in Simla, through a British priest. India would offer men but not money, for the Empire had already taken more wealth from her colony than its capacity permitted. In return, Gandhi wanted self-government at the end of the war. He wrote to Chelmsford: ‘We must perceive that, if we serve to save the Empire, we have in the very act secured Home Rule.’
He sent a potent warning as well: ‘Ours is a consecration based on hope of a better future. I should be untrue to you and to my country if I did not clearly and unequivocally tell you what that hope is. I do not bargain for its fulfilment, but you should know that disappointment of hope means disillusion.’ He ended this historic letter thus: ‘I write this, because I love the English nation, and I wish to evoke in every Indian the loyalty of Englishmen.’ Gandhi was still very much a worthy recipient of the Kaiser-i-Hind medal, which he had been awarded on his return to India.
Gandhi became the Mahatma of both Hindus and Muslims, and Jinnah was booed off the Muslim League dais for opposing Gandhi at the annual conference held in Amritsar in 1919. Neither the Congress nor India would be the same again
And then Gandhi, anxious to prove his sincerity, went overboard while trying to arouse Gujarati peasants to march to the martial music of war trumpets. He started his search for recruits in Kheda and found Gujarat’s peasants indignant at the thought of serving an Empire that had driven them to penury. Gandhi could not even get a cart for hire. He had to walk. The few volunteers had to carry food in their satchel. No one had bedding or sheets, but this did not prove too much of a handicap in the warm Gujarati weather. His favourite food in those days used to be groundnut butter and lemons, the first a weakness. This led to such severe dysentery that he came close to death; at one point, his ashram inmates began to sing his favourite hymns in what seemed to be his final hours.
The people of Kheda had a few sharp questions: Gandhi had been a champion of non-violence, so what was he doing telling them to rise and shoot people in the service of a foreign country? What had the British done to deserve such loyalty? Strangely, one of the arguments used by Gandhi went something like this: The blackest deed of British rule was the Arms Act, which had in fact disarmed Indians since it prevented them from possessing weapons. If the people supported the government now, distrust would disappear and the ban withdrawn.
If the people ended up as confused as Gandhi, one could hardly blame them. To everyone’s relief, the war ended before any Gujarati could be recruited.
Gandhi had honoured his word. He now expected the British to honour theirs. Instead, as the Roaring Teens entered their last year, 1919, they ended with a bitter and tragic denouement.
In 1915, the Raj had imposed martial law through the Defence of India Act. Indians expected their repeal with the end of a conflict in which they had played a significant part in the Allied victory. Instead, the seditions committee, chaired by a King’s Bench Justice Sir Sidney Rowlatt, recommended extension of emergency powers for at least six months. This was the first bill introduced in the post-war central council, on February 6th, 1919.
Indians had suffered in numerous ways during the war years; between 1918 and 1919, for instance, as many as six million died from influenza. They now reacted with a vehemence that surprised their leaders and shocked British officialdom. Chelmsford, instead of taking heed, became even more cussed. All 22 Indians in the council opposed the ‘Black Act’ as the Rowlatt legislation was popularly called, but Chelmsford pushed it through with the help of 34 rubber stamps, or official members in the council. The only time that Gandhi visited the council was during the debate on this bill, and found Indian eloquence impotent before an obdurate Viceroy. In March 1919, the Black Act became law.
On the night after it was passed, Gandhi, then in Madras, had a dream where he got the idea that the country should observe a one-day hartal in protest, and spend it in fasting and prayers. As Gandhi noted, you can wake up someone only if he is really asleep; the British were only pretending to sleep. Satyagraha’s moment had come. The date for the hartal was first set for March 30th, but later postponed to April 6th. Delhi, which did not learn of the postponement, observed the protest with commendable restraint and unity. But the rest of the country was wrapped in a more rebellious fervour. There was violence even in Ahmedabad, which pained Gandhi particularly. He was, along with Sarojini Naidu, in Bombay on April 6th, and witnessed the passionate anger among Muslims when they carried him and Sarojini Naidu to a mosque to deliver speeches.
The Khilafists were feeling devastated. First, their Caliph had been defeated, and now they watched while Muslim nations in the Ottoman Empire were grabbed by ‘Christian’ victors and humiliating terms were imposed on Turkey. Their grievances, major or minor, some real and some imagined, had reached fever levels. It was the rising point of the perfect storm.
The British could not make up their minds about whether it was safer to arrest Gandhi or keep him on the streets; but they were determined to prevent him from going to Punjab where disturbances had peaked. On April 13th, Gandhi suspended civil disobedience. But on April 14th, 1919, the day of Baisakhi, a berserk and manic Brigadier General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on thousands of unarmed civilians at an enclosed garden near the sacred Golden Temple, called Jallianwala Bagh. For 10 minutes, those troops pumped 1,650 rounds at point blank range. At least 400 died, and thousands were injured.
It was the most astonishing display of barbaric brutality in the history of British rule but Lord Chelmsford considered it a mere “error of judgment”. In London, many, but not all, Empirewallahs feted Dyer as the ‘Hero of Punjab’ and an officer who had saved India from another mutiny. Eight dukes, six marquesses, 31 earls, 10 viscounts and 74 barons gifted Dyer a handsome purse and a bejewelled sword. India could not suppress its outrage. For Gandhi, this was the moment of departure; Indians would have to take their destiny into their own hands. The age of cooperation with the British was over.
Gandhi became the Mahatma of both Hindus and Muslims, and Jinnah was booed off the Muslim League dais for opposing Gandhi at the annual conference held in Amritsar in 1919, even as Gandhi, in his own words, marked his ‘real entrance into Congress politics’ at its annual convention held in the same city at the same time. Neither the Congress nor India would be the same again. The stage was set for the non-cooperation-cum-Khilafat movement in 1920 and, through its contradictions, for the independence of India and the Partition of the subcontinent.
(MJ Akbar’s new book Gandhi’s Hinduism: The Struggle Against Jinnah’s Islam will be published by Bloomsbury in January 2020)