A Tadworth woman’s father was personally picked by Gandhi to be on a committee to broker peace between Muslims and Hindus after widespread rioting.

Arthur Wise was the speaker for the European group’s House of Representatives that helped bring peace in Kolkata after Direct Action Day on August 16, 1946, when more than 4,000 people were killed.

Understood to have marked the beginning of ‘The Week of the Long Knives’, it is said to be the worst communal rioting that British India had ever seen.

One of his three daughters, Pamela Tolwill, said: “The killings were terrible between Muslims and Hindus."

“There had always been strife, but not in the general public, and there were people who came in and caused trouble.

“No one seemed to be able to intervene and so there was nothing that the British, the police or anybody could do.”

Gandhi “felt constrained” to visit Kolkata, where the worst killings and atrocities were happening, to try and broker peace between the two groups.

When he discovered Mr Wise was a Christian and a businessman, he chose him to help form a peace committee comprising of 10 Muslims and 10 Hindus who were important people in the city.

Mrs Tolwill, who now lives in Motts Hill Lane in Tolworth, added: “It was so successful that when all the uprising was happening, Kolkata was the only city where there was peace during this time.”

But violence continued even after the peace rallies, forcing further action.

Ninety-year-old Mrs Tolwill said: “Gandhi was so upset about this that he went into fasting, and this time he said it would be a fast to his death if they didn’t stop.

“He fasted for two days and was growing weak, my father pleaded with him not to do it and he said, ‘I have to do this otherwise the killing will not stop amongst these people’.

“There was so much upset amongst the people who agreed to hold the peace that they came to Gandhi’s house and they threw in all their weapons in his courtyard.

“Because Gandhi was so dearly loved across India, nobody wanted to be responsible for his death.”

Arthur was born in Kolkata on March 24, 1896, and became a director at Andrew Yule and Company, living there for 40 years before spending his remaining years in Banstead.

He helped provide fresh water which reduced the amount of diseases, clear rubbish in the streets, provide regular collections of trash and helped build hospitals to treat the sick and wounded.

Pamela helped take care of him until he died at the age of 96 in May 1992.

She will appear on a Newsnight special, featuring on BBC Two, titled Partition: 70 Years On which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the partition of India.

Another programme, My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947, also documents time in her life in a two-part series.

You can catch tonight’s programme at 10.30pm tonight and the second programme tomorrow (August 16) at 9pm on BBC One.