ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Vernacular Communism

‘Marginal’ History of Satyabhakta

Satyabhakta’s engagements with communist politics, the Hindi print public sphere, and workers’ movements in the Gangetic heartland often intermeshed caste, gender, and nationalism, with an indigenous communism. Signifying a strand of the Hindi literary project, he represents some of the suppressed traditions of left dissent, and takes us back to debates between internationalism and nationalism, materialism and spiritualism, class and caste. Even if his ideas were, at times, amateur, they provide us with the everyday lived realities of communist lives, and utopian dreams of equality, which need to be taken into account and historicised seriously.


Figures 1 and 2 accompanying this paper are available on the EPW website.

I am grateful to Karmendu Shishir for his inputs in my research on Satyabhakta. The paper has greatly benefited from the comments of Aditya Nigam and the anonymous reviewer. The paper is part of a larger book project on “Life Narratives in Hindi in Early Twentieth Century.”

Satyabhakta’s historical significance is that he turned many old revolutionaries towards Marxism and mass movements … If any one person can be credited with being the founder of the communist party, he is Satyabhakta.

— R Sharma (1982: 397, 407)

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Updated On : 12th Jun, 2021
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