Event, Metaphor, Memory: Chauri Chaura, 1922-1992 by Shahid Amin

By Shahid Amin

Taking Gandhi's statements approximately civil disobedience to middle, in February 1922 citizens from the villages round the north Indian marketplace city of Chauri Chaura attacked the neighborhood police station, burned it to the floor and murdered twenty-three constables. Appalled that his teachings have been became to violent ends, Gandhi known as off his Noncooperation stream and fasted to carry the folk again to nonviolence. meanwhile, the British govt denied that the insurrection mirrored Indian resistance to its rule and attempted the rioters as universal criminals. those occasions have taken on nice symbolic significance between Indians, either within the fast area and nationally. Amin examines the development itself, but additionally, extra considerably, he explores the methods it's been remembered, interpreted, and used as a metaphor for the Indian fight for independence.

The writer, who used to be born fifteen miles from Chauri Chaura, brings to his learn an empathetic wisdom of the zone and a willing ear for the nuances of the tradition and language of its humans. In an creative negotiation among written and oral proof, he combines very good archival paintings within the judicial documents of the interval with box interviews with neighborhood informants.

In telling this elaborate tale of neighborhood reminiscence and the making of reliable histories, Amin probes the silences and ambivalences that give a contribution to a nation's narrative. He extends his obstacles way past Chauri Chaura itself to discover the advanced dating among peasant politics and nationalist discourse and the interaction among reminiscence and background.

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Extra info for Event, Metaphor, Memory: Chauri Chaura, 1922-1992

Sample text

He drilled the volunteers in Chaura bazaar within earshot of the local thana, he participated in the bigger nationalist meetings, he tried picketing Mundera bazaar, and when rebuked by the sub-inspector came back with a stunning `Lund-se' (Fuck You) whiplash to the head of the police station. Not surprisingly, this resulted in his being beaten up by the inspector, and it was the beating of Bhagwan Ahir by the police that subsequently forced the pace of events. The Dumri leaders flared into heat.

The evidence on social relations in Dumri, especially between the locally powerful Musalmans and the middle castes (Sainthwars and Ahirs) and Untouchables (Pasis and Chamars), is scanty but interesting. The village akhara (wrestling pit) was run by a Musalman guru who had Ahir lads as his apprentices. The Musalmans had their drinking-water well separate from the one drawn on by caste Hindus, but a large number of Untouchable Chamars used this `Muslim' well. A quarrel in early 1921-over the entry of a sacrificial pig from the Chamar quarters into a Musalman's house-had ended this social proximity.

This procedure is followed for two subsequent Saturdays. 30 Special preparations are made for sending out contingents for 4 February, the third Saturday. The volunteers are determined not to retreat before police oppression; 400 gather from far and near, and are split, as instructed, into smaller groups. `They marched from the Congress office in Barhampur to Chauri Chaura', four miles due north. The first batch is `pounced upon by the sepoys, armed guards, horsemen and chaukidars', but it continues its forward march.

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