Michael, John

About the author

John Michael was the pseudonym of Ernest John D’Oyly Inglis (1899– ?). He wrote a pair of books set in India (possibly in what is now Pakistan –I have not read either book so cannot check). Both feature racing. Meena Khorana in The Indian Subcontinent in Literature for Children and Young People describes his Chokra and Tags as as ‘carefully-structured, action-packed story’, but finds that despite its Indianised hero, it is ‘thoroughly colonial and Eurocentric’. The book sees Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle for freedom for India as a political nuisance.

Finding the books
Chokra isn’t outstandingly common, and pricing does vary. Chokra and Tags is tricky.

Links and sources
Meena Khorana: The Indian Subcontinent in Literature for Children and Young People
The British Library
Thanks to Lisa Catz for the photograph and summary



Macmillan & Co, London, 1957, 247 pp. Illus Stuart Tresilian

Chokra is a fourteen-year-old, horse-obsessed boy. His father had been the riding instructor for the Royal Scottish Hussars, stationed in Northern India, and Chokra was born there. After WWI many soldiers stayed in India, to enjoy their passion for polo and racing. Chokra longs to be a jockey, and gets the chance to exercise three racehorses. When their owner is injured, and can’t ride, he wants to sell the horses. Chokra wants to take his place at the last race meeting, even though itmeans racing against a ruthless Irish jockey, who is not above breaking the rules.

Chokra and Tags

Macmillan & Co, London, 1958, 202 pp.

Chokra is apprenticed at the Kingsbourne Stables. He takes to it very well, but his guardian, “Tags”, has to stay out in India, and Chokra begins to suspect all is not well with him.