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5: The Revolutionary Left in Colonial India

Seminar Questions:

1. Why was it important for the colonial state to view the rise of Communism in India as a ‘conspiracy’?
2. How did the Communist movement before Independence a) overlap and b) diverge from the goals and strategies of mainstream anti-colonial nationalism?

Seminar Readings:

1. Stephen Sherlock, “Berlin, Moscow and Bombay: The Marxism That India Inherited”, South Asia, 21:1 (1998), pp. 63-76
2. Ali Raza, “Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Meerut and the Creation of ‘Official’ Communism in India”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 33:3 (2013), pp. 316-330
3. Robin Jeffrey, “India’s Working Class Revolt: Punnapra-Vayalar and the Communist ‘Conspiracy’ of 1946”, Indian Economic and Social History Review, 18:2 (1981), pp. 97-122
4. Arun Sinha, Against the Few: Struggles of India’s Rural Poor (London, 1991), pp.122-138

Background Readings:

1. Sumit Sarkar, Modern India 1885-1947, chts. 6-8
2. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay: From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India
3. Achin Vanaik: The Painful Transition: Bourgeois Democracy in India (London, 1990)