Maia Ramnath and the Search for a Decolonised Antiauthoritarian Marxism

A Review of Haj to Utopia and Decolonizing Anarchism by Maia Ramnath

in Historical Materialism
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In her two books, Maia Ramnath attempts to construct an antiauthoritarian/anarchist anti-colonialist politics through an analysis of India’s freedom struggle. Ramnath reconstructs a history of Indian anti-colonial movements from an anarchist perspective, while seeking to locate forgotten possibilities such as the ‘libertarian Marxism’ of the Ghadar party and its successors. Haj to Utopia is an important addition to the literature on early communism in India inasmuch as it allows us to revisit said history in India in a renewed and critical manner. On the other hand, Decolonizing Anarchism is an ambitious book that seeks to unearth an antiauthoritarian account of India’s struggle for independence, but falls far short of its intended goal because of Ramnath’s inattentiveness to the implications of Hindu revivalism on caste and gender in India. Thus, she reproduces many of the characteristics of mainstream nationalist narratives.

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References

BasuPradip Towards Naxalbari (1953–1967): An Account of Inner-Party Ideological Struggle 2000 Calcutta Progressive Publishers

ChattopadhyaySuchetana An Early Communist: Muzaffar Ahmad in Calcutta, 1913–1929 2011 New Delhi Tulika Books

DhanagreD.N. Peasant Movements in India 1920–1950 1986 Oxford Oxford University Press

History Commission of the Communist Party of India History of the Communist Movement in India, Volume 1: The Formative Years, 1920–1933 2005 New Delhi Leftword Books (Marxist)

JudgeParamjit Insurrection to Agitation: The Naxalite Movement in Punjab 1992 Bombay Popular Prakashan

LihLars T. 2008 Chicago Haymarket Books Lenin Rediscovered: ‘What Is To Be Done?’ in Context, Historical Materialism Book Series

RamMohan Indian Communism: Split Within a Split 1969 New Delhi Vikas Publications

RamnathMaia Haj to Utopia: How the Ghadar Movement Charted Global Radicalism and Attempted to Overthrow the British Empire 2011a Berkeley University of California Press

RamnathMaia Decolonizing Anarchism: An Antiauthoritarian History of India’s Liberation Struggle 2011b Oakland, CA. AK Press

RoyArundhati AmbedkarB.R. ‘The Doctor and the Saint’ Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition 2014 New Delhi Navayana

SarkarSumit Modern India: 1885–1947 1983 New Delhi Macmillan India, Ltd.

3

Ramnath 2011a, p. 51.

4

Ramnath 2011a, p. 23.

5

Ramnath 2011a, p. 22.

6

Ramnath 2011a, p. 27.

7

Ramnath 2011a, p. 30.

8

Ramnath 2011a, p. 31.

9

Ramnath 2011a, p. 32.

10

Ramnath 2011a, p. 35.

11

Ramnath 2011a, p. 4.

12

Ramnath 2011a, p. 5.

14

Ramnath 2011a, p. 7.

15

Ramnath 2011a, p. 37.

16

Ramnath 2011a, p. 39.

17

Ramnath 2011a, p. 44.

18

Ramnath 2011a, p. 50.

19

Ramnath 2011a, p. 62.

20

Ramnath 2011a, p. 51.

22

Ramnath 2011a, p. 54.

23

Ramnath 2011a, p. 60.

24

Ramnath 2011a, p. 51.

25

Ramnath 2011a, p. 62.

26

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 77–94.

27

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 175–6.

28

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 170–5.

29

Ramnath 2011a, p. 176.

30

Ramnath 2011a, p. 177.

31

Ramnath 2011a, p. 178.

32

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 185–93.

33

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 194–5.

34

Ramnath 2011a, p. 196.

35

Ramnath 2011a, p. 201.

38

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 201–2.

39

Ramnath 2011a, p. 2.

40

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 140, 162.

41

Ramnath 2011a, p. 14.

42

See Ram 1969, pp. 1–158; Basu 2000, p. 3; Judge 1992, pp. 67–70.

43

Ramnath 2011a, p. 139.

50

Ramnath 2011a, p. 125.

51

Ramnath 2011a, p. 164.

52

Ramnath 2011a, p. 6.

53

Ramnath 2011a, p. 2.

54

Chattopadhyay 2011, pp. 84–135.

55

Chattopadhyay 2011, p. 95.

56

Chattopadhyay 2011, p. 53.

57

Ram 1969, p. 4.

58

Ramnath 2011a, p. 125.

59

Ramnath 2011a, p. 164.

60

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 156–7.

61

Ramnath 2011a, pp. 163–4.

62

Lih 2008, p. 7.

63

Ramnath 2011a, p. 236.

64

Ramnath 2011a, p. 6.

66

Ramnath 2011b, p. 37.

67

Ramnath 2011b, p. 26.

69

Ramnath 2011b, p. 27.

70

Ramnath 2011b, pp. 124–62.

71

Ramnath 2011b, p. 9.

72

Ramnath 2011b, pp. 38–9.

73

Ramnath 2011b, p. 60.

74

Ramnath 2011b, p. 61.

75

Ramnath 2011b, p. 77.

76

Sarkar 1983, pp. 135, 145.

77

Ramnath 2011b, p. 84.

79

Ramnath 2011b, pp. 163–4.

80

Ramnath 2011b, p. 164.

81

Ramnath 2011b, p. 174.

82

Dhanagre 1986, pp. 89–92; Roy 2014, pp. 90, 111–12.

83

Ramnath 2011b, pp. 180–1.

84

Roy 2014, pp. 49, 84.

85

Roy 2014, p. 140.

86

Ramnath 2011b, p. 231.

87

Ramnath 2011b, p. 232.

89

Ramnath 2011b, p. 231.

90

Ramnath 2011b, pp. 241–2.

91

See Roy 2014.

92

Ramnath 2011b, p. 233.

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