An Uncompromising Rebel: M. P. T. Acharya and Indian Anarchism
Reflecting on the Indian anarchist M. P. T. Acharya’s trajectory from revolutionary anti-colonial nationalist to international anarchist pacifist in the first half of the twentieth century, the four essays presented here – transcribed and edited by the author – introduce this unique figure to a wider audience. It charts his life in exile among prominent Indian freedom fighters such as Shyamaji Krishnavarma, Madame Bhikaiji Cama, V. V. S. Aiyar, and Virendranath Chattopadhyaya, and his role in the formation of the exiled Communist Party of India (CPI) in Tashkent in October 1920, to his collaboration with well-known anarchist such as Alexander Berkman, Augustin Souchy, Rudolf Rocker, Thomas Keell, and E. Armand. From the early 1920s, Acharya articulated his own perspectives on anarchism from an Indian point of view, often denouncing Bolshevism and the Comintern, commenting on the Indian independence struggle, particularly the INC and Gandhi, as well as developing an economic critique of State capitalism. He fiercely attacked former comrades such as M. N. Roy and Shapurji Saklatvala, warning against the dangers of Bolshevism in India, and agitated instead for trade unions of a revolutionary syndicalist character in India. Acharya’s essays in this ‘Critical Edition’ focus on issues of colonialism, capitalism, decentralization, communism, poverty, and unemployment in the immediate post-independence years, opening a window onto the global reach of anarchism during that era.