The Meerut Conspiracy Case was directed largely at the emerging radical trade union and workers’ and peasants’ movements in India, while aiming its blow more specifically at an internationalist communism or socialism. The public impact of Meerut, however, was not unidirectional or confined to leftists, and it came to epitomize the arbitrariness of imperial authority. It was part of a larger process that created divisions and solidarities at the same time. Roy and Zachariah’s essay traces the new divides and solidarities that the case facilitated and its impact on a wider popular political imagination as seen, in particular, through the lens of the Indian youth movement. In many ways, the authors contend, Indian communists’ responses to Meerut, backed in part by their British communist comrades, showed that a top-down directive from Moscow did not in fact have the impact that it was supposed to. Meerut was thus the pivotal point that went a long way toward defining the politics of the 1930s, both within and outside India.
Meerut and a Hanging: “Young India,” Popular Socialism, and the Dynamics of Imperialism
Franziska Roy, Benjamin Zachariah; Meerut and a Hanging: “Young India,” Popular Socialism, and the Dynamics of Imperialism. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 1 December 2013; 33 (3): 360–377. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-2378139
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