Harald Fischer-Tine

Biography

Harald Fischer-Tiné is Professor of History at the ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich); He specializes in modern South Asian History and the History of the British Empire and has published widely in these fields. His English publications include the monograph Fischer-Tiné, Harald, Low and Licentious Europeans’: Race, Class and White Subalternity in Colonial India, New Delhi (Orient Longman) 2009 and three co-edited volumes: Tambe, Ashwini/ Fischer-Tiné, Harald (eds), The Limits of British Colonial Control in South Asia: Spaces of Disorder in the Indian Ocean Region, London (Routledge) 2008, Fischer-Tiné, H./Gehrmann, Susanne: Empires and Boundaries. Rethinking Race, Class and Gender in Colonial Settings, New York-London (Routledge) 2009 and Fischer-Tiné, Harald/ Mann, Michael (eds): Colonialism as Civilizing Mission. Cultural Ideology in British India, London (Anthem Press) 2004.

Title of Paper

Resistance in Interaction: Indian Exiles in Europe and the Emergence of Anti-imperialist “Terrorism”, 1905-1914

Abstract

In the decade preceding the First World War a small circle of Indian revolutionaries in exile grouped around the key figure of Shyamji Krishnavarma (1857-1930) and mostly based in London and Paris was at pains to establish anti-British networks with a variety of European and extra-European allies. Next to close contacts with Irish (or Irish-American Fenists) and Russian anarchists, Krishnavarma and his entourage also established close relationships with socialist activists in Britain, France and Germany. There were also attempts to forge alliances with the representatives of other anti-colonial national movements (such as the Egyptian one) andcapitalize on the sudden popularity of pan-Asianism in the wake of Japan’s triumph over Russia in 1905.

Crucial in the protracted debate between the Krishnavarma group, its multifarious allies and the public back in India was the question as to whether or not “Russian methods” (or ‘terrorism’, as the British preferred to call it) constituted a legitimate means of resistance against imperialist aggression. Afterproviding a sketch of Krishhnavarma’s world-wide web of anti-imperialism, the presentation will focus on an analysis of this key debate.