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Non-Brahmans and Communists in Bombay

Gail Omvedt
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 8, No. 17 (Apr. 28, 1973), pp. 800-805
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4362584
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Non-Brahmans and Communists in Bombay
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Abstract

This paper studies the radical working class movement which emerged in Bombay in the late 1920s and which brought together, in curious fashion, an emerging communist leadership with the leaders of the largely peasant-based non-Brahman movement. The ambiguities and outcome of these contacts and conflicts were decisive not only for the development of social radicalism but also for the direction of the nationalist movement in Maharashtra. While the focus of the paper is on the Bombay working class, the larger issue is the relationship of the 'cultural revolutionary' non-Brahman movement with nationalism and communism. The purpose is to provide some additional insight into why the nationalist movement in India consolidated itself under a conservative leadership. The first part of the paper, which appeared last week, showed how caste elitism was a major barrier to the spread of the Maharashtrian communist movement. Receptivity to a radical ideology existed among both urban and rural areas, but an anti-communist and conservative section of the non-Brahman elite was also there, ready to take advantage of any failure of the communists. These failures, along with the effectiveness of British repression, were decisive. However, the genuine possibilities that did exist for a consolidation of communist strength not only among the working class but also to some degree in the rural areas are illustrated by the influence of the workers' movement on Dinkarrao Javalkar. In this, the concluding part of the article, the author examines the role of Dinkarrao Javalkar.

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