Communist Internationalism and the South Asian Left ca. 1917-1979
Dr. M. Ali Raza
This project seeks to examine networks of South Asian revolutionaries who affiliated themselves with the ideals and politics of Communist Internationalism with the objective of contesting the British Raj and reshaping the postcolonial states that succeeded it. This association began in the immediate aftermath of the October Revolution in 1917 and continued well beyond independence in both India and Pakistan. Of particular interest are the social, political, and intellectual engagements of these networks and individuals in global arenas as well as local contexts. These encounters provide fascinating insights into how the politics of Communist Internationalism was interpreted, articulated, translated, created, and enacted through familiar social, cultural and religious reference points. Thus, aside from contributing to the histories of these networks and individuals – who have long been marginalized by nationalist and anti-progressive narratives – this project will examine the various meanings attached to 'communism(s)' in an attempt to provide further insights into the intellectual and social history of South Asia. In doing so, it will also reassess the continuities and divergences between the colonial and post-colonial state(s) and explore the history of progressive possibilities which have been neglected within dominant historiography on South Asia.