Accepted Paper:

Meerut and its impact on regional politics: a case study of the Punjabi Leftist movement  


Ali Raza

Paper short abstract:

This paper will seek to explore the impact of the Meerut Conspiracy Case on regional and local politics. In this regard, the focus of this paper will be on the Leftist movement within the Punjab.

Paper long abstract:

The Meerut Conspiracy Case was one of the most important events in the formative years of the South Asian Left. While the colonial state failed to crush the leftist movement - and indeed it could be argued that it inadvertently provided an impetus to it - the trial did manage to drive a wedge within the Left. More broadly, the case also encouraged a realignment of alliances and engagements within the wider political spectrum. As far as the Left was concerned though, the implications of the case were far more serious. For one, the state succeeded in relegating the Left and the idioms of its politics to the political fringe. This was a far cry from the 1920s when leftist idioms of politics were part of a wider vocabulary that was employed by politicians of all hues and stripes.

This paper will aim to highlight these shifts by using the case study of the Punjabi Leftist movement. It will seek to show how the Meerut Conspiracy Case impacted the development of leftist politics in the province. More crucially though, this study will also shed insights into the differential impact of the Conspiracy Case which in turn only highlights the diversity of the Leftist movement and its varied political experiences in South Asia.

Panel P16
Meerut revisited: the conspiracy case in context, 1929-1934