Ali Raza is a historian specializing in the history of modern South Asia. He received his DPhil from the University of Oxford and was a research fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. His research and teaching interests include the social and intellectual history of South Asia, comparative colonialisms, decolonization and post-colonial theory. Raza’s work has appeared in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies; Itinerario; South Asian History and Culture; and Contemporary South Asia. He is also the co-editor of The Internationalist Moment: South Asia, Worlds, and World Views, 1917-39 (Sage, 2014) and the author of Revolutionary Pasts: Communist Internationalism in Colonial India. (Cambridge, 2020; Folio, 2020)
Communist Internationalism in Colonial India
by Ali Raza
In this engaging and innovative history of the communist movement in colonial India, Ali Raza reveals the lives, geographies and anti-colonial struggles of Indian revolutionaries and how they sought to remake the world. Driven by the utopian visions of Communist Internationalism, Indian revolutionaries yearned and struggled for a global upheaval that would overthrow European imperialisms and radically transform India and the world. In an age marked by political upheavals, intellectual ferment, collapsing empires and global conflicts, Indian revolutionaries stood alongside countless others in the colonised world and beyond in their desire to usher in a future liberated from colonialism and capitalism. Drawing from a wealth of archival materials, Raza demonstrates how Communist Internationalism was a crucial project in the struggle for national liberation and inaugurates a new approach to the global history of communism and decolonisation.
“Written with great flair, and refreshingly nonpartisan, Revolutionary Pasts will shift the paradigms of studying the Left in South Asia. Ali Raza embraces and acknowledges the complexity and dissonance he encounters in his archive, unpacking its agendas and offering them up to the reader with astute analysis, restoring race to histories of leftist activism.”
-Kama Maclean – University of New South Wales, Sydney
“Ali Raza captures the utopian imaginaries and the global itineraries that shaped Indian Communism, and brought Marx to the subcontinent in this beautifully written, meticulously researched book. His is a signal contribution to global intellectual history and to studies of Left thought and praxis.”
-Anupama Rao – Columbia University, New York
Publisher: Folio Books
Publishing date: January 22, 2021
Rights: South Asia excluding India
Friedrich Engels, an illustrious German philosopher, social scientist and journalist, was born on November 28, 1820 in Barmen, Rhine province, Prussia. He is considered as the closest collaborator of Karl Marx in the foundation of modern communism. Although born to an affluent German businessman, Engels received little formal education. But his inquisitive potential developed in him a fancy for Hegel who influenced him the most later on. In 1845, Engels published ‘The Conditions of the Working Class’, his first notable communist treatise which introduced him to another revolutionary communist, Karl Marx. Same year, Engels went to Brussels to join Marx in organizing the German workers like the French and English workers were uniting. They became members of the German Communist League and were asked to draft a manifesto for the organization, which is now widely known as the Communist Manifesto. Thereafter, they worked together till Marx’s death in 1883, with Engels editing the second and third volumes of the famous Das Kapital after his friend’s death. Marx regarded him as highly informed on economics, political and military issues. Friedrich Engels died on August 5, 1895 in London, England
Tithi Bhattacharya is Associate Professor and Director of Global Studies at Purdue University. She was one of the main organizers of the International Women’s Strike in the United States and is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review.
George Orwell (June 25, 1903 to January 1, 1950), born Eric Arthur Blair, was a novelist, essayist and critic best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Born to British civil servant, Orwell spent his infancy days in India and came to England with his mother when he was one year old. Like many other boys in England, Orwell was sent to boarding school. In 1911 he went to St. Cyprian’s in Eastbourne, where he got his first taste of England’s class system. On a partial scholarship, Orwell noticed that the school treated the richer students better than the poorer ones. He wasn’t very popular with his peers, and in books he found solace from his difficult situation. He read works by Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells, among others. Due to impoverishment, he had to discontinue formal education. Instead he joined the India Imperial Police Force in 1922. After five years in Burma, Orwell resigned his post and returned to England. He was intent on making it as a writer.
Raza Rumi is a policy analyst, journalist and an author. He is Director, Department of Journalism at Ithaca College, New York. Rumi is also visiting faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. He has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy. He is the editor of Naya Daur and frequently writes for leading English dailies of Pakistan. He has authored several books including Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and the Arts (2018) and Delhi by Heart (2013).