Asian Anarchists

Pankaj Mishra writes that, at the time when Woodrow Wilson was igniting the Great American Century, ‘Marxism was … being studied and debated in many Asian cities and towns’ (LRB, 21 February). In fact, Asian radicals and nationalists were studying anarchist texts at least as energetically as they did The Communist Manifesto. The Indian independence fighter and socialist Bhagat Singh said that the Sanskrit phrase ‘vasudev kutumbakam’ (‘universal brotherhood’) had the same meaning as ‘anarchy’, and Har Dayal, the founder of the Ghadar movement, which campaigned for Indian independence, also founded the Bakunin Institute of California and tried to unite anarchism with Buddhism. (Gandhi also claimed to be an anarchist.)

Felix Holmgren
Malmö, Sweden

(Letter to London Review of Books)


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