ISBN 9788189487935,An Early Communist

An Early Communist



Women Unlimited

Publication Year 2013

ISBN 9788189487935

ISBN-10 8189487930


Number of Pages 305 Pages
Language (English)

Biography & autobiography

From an occasionally employed, lower middle-class Bengali Muslim intellectual on the borderline of starvation in the city, he was to become 'the chief accused' at the Meerut communist trials started by the colonial government in 1929. What was the road travelled before challenging imperialism 'from the dock'? In 1913 Muzaffar Ahmad (1889-1973) was just one more individual adrift in the sea of migrants arriving from rural Bengal to Calcutta. His ambition was to be a writer. Yet in the vortex of metropolitan upheavals, his life would take a completely different turn. Taking Muzaffar Ahmad's early career (1913-29) as its chronological frame, this book examines the dialectical interplay between social being and a wider social consciousness in late colonial Bengal which drew a section of Muslim intellectuals to communism.

Muzaffar's life converged with a significant phase in the social and political history of India and the world: 1913 marked the eve of the First World War, while the Wall Street stockmarket crash set off the Great Depression in 1929. During this period, especially after the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, socialist ideas and communist activism became politically familiar in different parts of the globe. In the post-First World War climate, many alienated urban intellectuals - from Cairo to Shanghai - stood at the crossroads of established identities and radical currents. Informed by working- class protests from below and a leftward turn in the literary/cultural fields, many in India were also moving away from the political routes open to those from their social background to combat colonialism and identifying with alternative visions of decolonization.

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