The Mutiny at the Margins series takes a fresh look at the revolt of 1857 from original and unusual perspectives, focusing in particular on neglected socially marginal groups and geographic areas which have hitherto tended to be unrepresented in studies of this cataclysmic event in British imperial and Indian historiography.
Chapter 6: Communist and Socialist Perspectives on the Centenary
Communist and Socialist Perspectives on the Centenary
THE centenary of 1857, and how to commemorate it, became a source of political tension in India and Pakistan. The Indian government was keen to emphasise mutual heroism and Muslim and Hindu unity, rather than focusing on anti-British sentiment. Ideas of stability and continuity were as important to the Indian National Congress as they were to the British. They wanted to maintain friendly diplomatic relations with Britain and their own position, mindful that any popular anti-imperialist reaction that might be triggered by 1857 commemorations could easily transition into revolutionary, anti-government sentiments. Not all political factions shared this pacifying approach. The Communist and Socialist parties of India particularly embraced the revolutionary aspects ...