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State practice, nationalist politics and the hunger strikes of the Lahore conspiracy case prisoners, 1929-39

By Taylor C. Sherman


This article examines the hunger strikes of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, a small group of revolutionary prisoners in India's jails in the midst of the nationalist movement. It examines the everyday practices of the state and demonstrates that the legal powers and medical duties designed to guide prison administrators in fact provided room for individual officers to improvise non-standard means of causing prisoners physical distress in order to end the strike. In these daily encounters, the prisoners adapted novel forms of resistance to meet each new technique. The second purpose of this article is to explore the reasons why their hunger strikes brought these men to the forefront of India's nationalist movement. It is argued, that although many members of the Indian National Congress were ambivalent about these revolutionaries, Congressmen nonetheless used the patriotic sacrifices of these prisoners to mobilize ordinary Indians for the nationalist cause

Topics: DS Asia, HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Publisher: Berg Publishers
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.2752/147800408X341686
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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