Transnational Revolutionaries and Imperial Surveillance: Bengal Revolutionary Networks Outside India
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This chapter explores how imperial intelligence agencies responded to the global dimensions of the Indian revolutionary movement during and after the First World War. From the beginnings of the revolutionary movement in Bengal, the Bengal Police’s intelligence and surveillance work ranged beyond the borders of the British Empire, as revolutionaries used the French colonial enclave of Chandernagore, north of Calcutta, as a base for their activities. During and after the Great War, revolutionaries overseas provided ideological inspiration and practical assistance in the form of arms to the revolutionary groups. The chapter focuses on two interrelated issues: (1) the lives and revolutionary aspirations of prominent Bengali anticolonialists who lived abroad, including the terrorist turned communist revolutionary M. N. Roy and the nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose, and (2) the efforts of imperial intelligence agencies, under the supervision of the office of Indian Political Intelligence in London, to monitor revolutionaries’ activities and thwart their plans.