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AAWH 5th Congress  

12-13 October 2022

India International Centre

New Delhi, India

Asia and the Globe: Connecting the Past with the Present



Popular Movements and the State


 The last couple of centuries have witnessed a wide variety of popular movements in Asia. These movements have been against all kind of states. Initially they were against autocratic indigenous rulers or against the rapacious colonial states. The colonial states themselves were varied depending on which country was the metropolitan, colonizing power. French, British, Japanese, Portuguese or Dutch colonial states were different in character spawning vastly different kinds of movements against them. Asia, like in other parts of the world, witnessed popular movement against post-colonial Communist regimes, liberal democratic regimes, right-wing military/bureaucratic dictatorships as well as religious identity based oppressive regimes. Papers in this panel will bring out the rich variety of popular movements and how they succeeded or failed against different kinds of states. These papers will bring out the best practices historically in popular movements successfully overthrowing or transforming the state and thus will provide a direction for the future globally. Conversely papers could analyze the complex circumstances which explain failed popular movements.


Keynote Speaker

Prof. Mridula Mukherjee

Professor of Modern Indian History (Retired) 

Centre for Historical Studies,

Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi

Former Director,

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,

New Delhi

Message from Mridula Mukherjee


The role of popular movements in influencing, shaping and sometimes even determining the direction and fate of state policies, state structures, indeed, the very nature of the state itself cannot be emphasized enough. This has been brought home to us in India most recently by the year long farmers’ movement which succeeded in bringing a government known for its tough stance to bend to its wishes. In the panel on Popular movements and the State, at which I am privileged to present the keynote address, we look forward to exploring these complex and fascinating relationships, and enrich our understanding of how they impact other institutions and practices in society as a whole. We expect that scholars from different countries across Asia, representing varied cultures and historical contexts, will bring a comparative focus to the subject which will throw up fresh insights and theoretical and conceptual possibilities. My own work on and interest in the mass and popular aspects of India’s struggle for freedom, on peasant struggles against the colonial state, and on social movements in independent India, on the relationship between the nature of popular resistance and the nature of the State, makes me look forward eagerly to engage with fellow scholars who will bring their rich experience to the Vth AAWH International Conference being held in my historic city, Delhi.

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