ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Translating Marx: Mavali, Dalit and the Making of Mumbai’s Working Class, 1928-1935

Examining the Marathi translation of The Communist Manifesto published in 1931 and situating it in the socio-historical context of workers' movements in Mumbai in the 1920s and 1930s, this paper argues that the so-called subordinated classes engaged with it and created a workers' public that was in conversation with the elite public sphere. But it holds that the vernacular version had to navigate the structures of language and a social structure in which caste was an important feature to make itself comprehensible to other intellectuals, trade union leaders and workers. It was in this process that its strategy of obscuring caste subjectivities and creating a new identity of class found its greatest success and also its ultimate failure.

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Translating Marx: Mavali, Dalit and the Making of Mumbai’s Working Class, 1928-1935

Juned Shaikh

Examining the Marathi translation of The Communist Manifesto published in 1931 and situating it in the socio-historical context of workers’ movements in Mumbai in the 1920s and 1930s, this paper argues that the so-called subordinated classes engaged with it and created a workers’ public that was in conversation with the elite public sphere. But it holds that the vernacular version had to navigate the structures of language and a social structure in which caste was an important feature to make itself comprehensible to other intellectuals, trade union leaders and workers. It was in this process that its strategy of obscuring caste subjectivities and creating a new identity of class found its greatest success and also its ultimate failure.

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