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dc.contributor.authorBanerjee, Milinda
dc.identifier.citationBanerjee , M 2022 , ' The partition of India, Bengali “new Jews,” and refugee democracy : transnational horizons of Indian refugee political discourse ' , Itinerario , vol. 46 , no. 2 , pp. 283-303 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 279750003
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 28c49f46-b0a5-40b1-ba96-1889056b4760
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-7657-5626/work/120051507
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000861641900001
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85142024347
dc.description.abstractThis essay advocates “refugee political thought” as an autonomous category which needs to be centre-staged in global intellectual history. I concretise this by studying Bengali Hindu refugees who migrated from Muslim-majority eastern Bengal (after the Partition of British India in 1947 part of Pakistan, and after 1971, the sovereign state of Bangladesh) to the Hindu-majority Indian state of West Bengal, and occasionally their descendants as well. By studying the transnational horizons of Bengali refugees from the late 1940s to today, I posit them as part of modern global intellectual history. Bengali refugees and their descendants connected their experiences with those of refugees elsewhere in the world, seeing themselves, for example, as “new Jews.” Later, some of them aligned themselves with the Palestinian cause. Refugee politics became enmeshed with Cold War revolutionary currents. European, Soviet, and Chinese Marxist theory—and latent Lockean assumptions—propelled the everyday politics of refugee land occupation. Marxism, sometimes with Hegelian inflection, nourished the East Bengali-–origin founders of Subaltern Studies theory and Dalit (lower-caste) thought. Ultimately, this essay shows how Bengali refugees instrumentalised transnational thinking to produce new models of democratic political thought and practice in postcolonial India. I describe this as “refugee democracy.”
dc.rightsCopyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Research Institute for History, Leiden University. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.en
dc.subjectRefugee intellectual history; refugee political thoughten
dc.subjectRefugee democracyen
dc.subjectIndian refugeesen
dc.subjectBengali refugeesen
dc.subjectNew Jewsen
dc.subjectWest Bengalen
dc.subjectRefugee political thoughten
dc.subjectDS Asiaen
dc.subjectJV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migrationen
dc.subjectSDG 10 - Reduced Inequalitiesen
dc.subjectSDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutionsen
dc.titleThe partition of India, Bengali “new Jews,” and refugee democracy : transnational horizons of Indian refugee political discourseen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Historyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. St Andrews Centre for the Receptions of Antiquityen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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