The myth of the outsider: from Whitehall to Elysium Row, 1917-21

Twentieth Century Communism - ISSN 1758-6437
Volume 2014 Number 6

The myth of the outsider: from Whitehall to Elysium Row, 1917-21
Suchetana Chattopadhyay pages -


Throughout the years of the first world war and during its immediate aftermath, racial stereotyping of visitors – many of whom were categorised as members of lesser races with minds infected by and carrying ‘evil’ ideologies – was an essential ingredient of political surveillance in colonial India. Local people suspected of empathy towards anti-state ideologies were seen as having fallen victim to dangerous ‘outside’ influences harmful to the imperial body politic. The colonial state was desperate to ward off, contain and suppress the spread of Bolshevik and Pan-Islamist ideas and movements, which were gaining popular support and drawing sympathetic interest in the contemporary colonial world. This article examines the official representations of the ‘Bolshevik Menace’, ‘Jewish Bolshevik agents’ and ‘Moslem-Bolshevik Agitators’ in the Indian context, through a study of post-war Calcutta, and thereby seeks to grasp the particular racial stereotypes that shaped colonial political surveillance on early communism in India, which was being promoted and conceived during an extraordinary crisis of Empire.

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To cite this article
Suchetana Chattopadhyay (2014) The myth of the outsider: from Whitehall to Elysium Row, 1917-21, Twentieth Century Communism, 2014(6), -

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