Anusilan Samiti

From Anarchy In Action

Anusilan Samiti, established in 1902 or 1903, was a group of athletic and social clubs in Bengal, opposed to British colonization of India. The group carried out targeted assassinations, bombings, sabotage, and banditry. The Anglo-Irish anarchist Sister Nivedita, who had met with Kropotkin and become deeply influenced by his writings, worked closely with Arusilan Samiti and introduced them to anarchist philosophy. The group published two papers, one in English and one in Bengali. [1]

At their headquarters in the outskirts of Calcutta, Anusilan Samiti members took classes in anarchism, the Bhagavad Gita, economics, history, geography and revolution.[2]

The group's Bengali-language frequently justified revolutionary violence: "The laws of the English are based on brute force. If we want to liberate ourselves from these laws, it is brute force that is necessary."[3] The English-language paper did arguably advocate the taking of state power, in passages such as the following one quoted by historian Maia Ramnath:

[Indian secretary of state] Mr. Morley has said that we [Indians] cannot work the machinery of our Government for a week if England generously walks out of our country...[But] did it not strike Mr. Morley that if, instead of walking out the English were by force driven out of India, the Government will go on perhaps better than before, for the simple reason that the exercise of power and organisation necessary to drive out so organised an enemy will in the struggle that would ensue teach us to arrange our own affairs sufficiently well.[4]

  1. Maia Ramnath, Decolonizing Anarchism: An Anti-Authoritarian History of India's Liberation Struggle (Oakland: AK Press, 2011), 48-9.
  2. Ramnath, Decolonizing Anarchism, 50.
  3. Ramnath, Decolonizing Anarchism, 52.
  4. Ramnath, Decolonizing Anarchism, 54.