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South Asia’s Partitions and the Changing Aspirations of its Working Classes

Monday, April 24, 2023 at 12:15pm

Uris Hall, G02
Central Campus

Talk by Anushay Malik (History, Simon Fraser University)

Before 1947, the working classes in the province of Punjab imagined themselves as part of a world much bigger than the one they would find themselves in after Punjab was partitioned to carve out the new states of India and Pakistan. This time (in the 1940s) of anticolonial movements and rising labor struggles affected the historical imagination of the working classes, leading them to believe that a revolution was possible. Focusing on Pakistan and using autobiographies, intelligence reporting, and newspapers, this discussion will show how the “imagined communities” that workers in Pakistan were part of shifted during South Asia’s Partitions, referring to both 1947 and Bangladesh’s liberation war in 1971. As the belief that the working classes would seize the day burnt down to its embers, former worker groups moved into religious and regional movements, a testament to the rise of a new form of belonging in Pakistan.

Dr. Anushay Malik is a social historian who has worked on leftist and labor movements in South Asia, South Asian diasporas, and, most recently, histories of citizenship in the region. She formerly taught in the history department at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and is currently a lecturer at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada. 

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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program, History





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