London: Former British Labour Party politician, Member of Parliament (MP) for 50 years and a former Cabinet Minister Tony Benn will unveil an English Heritage Blue Plaque commemorating India`s first High Commissioner in London and campaigner for the country`s independence V.K Krishna Menon at his Highgate residence here on July 17.
Menon moved to England from Madras in 1924.
In the 1930s, he had a key role in the foundation of the celebrated Penguin and Pelican imprints.
He was elected as a Labour councillor for the Borough of St Pancras in 1934 and held the seat for 14 years whilst also being Chair of the Library Committee.
During the Second World War, he served as an air warden around Camden Square where he was living at the time and in 1955 he was made a freeman of St Pancras, only the second person ever to be given the honour - the first was George Bernard Shaw.
He was an indefatigable pamphleteer and platform speaker: James Callaghan, the former Prime Minister, described Menon as "the embodiment of the movement within Britain for India`s freedom".
In 1947, Menon was appointed by Nehru as independent India`s first High Commissioner in London. Keeping India within the British Commonwealth after gaining independence, and thereby setting the precedent for other republican constitutions to remain within it, is often cited among his greatest achievements.
A notorious ascetic, Menon reportedly lived on a diet of tea, drinking up to thirty cups a day, whilst eating only toast, buns, or biscuits.
Menon died in New Delhi on December 5, 1974.