The peasant armed
The peasant armed
Bengal, Vietnam and transnational solidarities in Utpal Dutt’s Invincible Vietnam
The process of decolonisation refers to both struggles against colonial authorities and those against local elites who acquired and abused power after independence. Such struggles often sought inspiration through transnational networks, as illustrated by the global resonance of the nationalist independence struggle in Vietnam since 1945, against French and American domination. This chapter focuses on Indian movements in support of Vietnam which began in Bengal even before the independence of India. Such processes intensified after independence as leftist politics in Bengal merged Vietnamese struggles with the idiom of the local agrarian struggles that operated as the fulcrum of leftist politics. Utpal Dutt’s Invincible Vietnam (1966) was not only a product of these political and cultural processes but also contributed to them. The play was part of Dutt’s programme of ‘revolutionary theatre’, designed to revive the native traditions of militant struggle through the creation of a transnational idiom of national and international revolutionary struggles. This chapter focuses on Invincible Vietnam within this context, and locates this as part of Dutt’s larger project of staging the subaltern, especially since his plays were performed in front of hundreds of peasants and workers.
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