A dilapidated colonial bungalow where George Orwell was born is to be restored in a drive to lure tourists to one of India’s poorest states.
The author of Animal Farm and 1984 was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in Motihari, Champaran district, where his father, Richard, served as a collector at a colonial opium factory.
The author spent only his first year at the house before his mother took him to England, but officials hope to capitalise on the connection.
An Orwell museum is planned, and funds are being raised by the local Rotary Club to renovate the cottage to “put Motihari on the map”.
The state government in Bihar backed the campaign by declaring the house a protected monument.
The village was also host to one of the most important events in modern Indian history. Mahatma Gandhi’s campaign of resistance to British rule was launched to support local farmers forced to grow opium for the factory that employed Orwell’s father.
“The house is in a dilapidated condition. We have initiated the process of declaring Orwell’s house a protected monument,” said Vivek Singh, Bihar’s art and culture secretary.