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Revolutionary afterlives, promiscuous martyrs, and India’s haunted present – Dr Chris Moffat
Episode 326th August 2021 • Religion and Global Challenges • Cambridge Interfaith Programme
00:00:00 00:38:25

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In this third and last episode of our mini-series on the politics of martyrdom, we talk to historian Dr Chris Moffat (Queen Mary University London) about the manifold afterlives of the early-twentieth-century Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. Our conversation explores the political potency of self-sacrifice, interrogates the difficulty to stabilize the meaning of martyrdom, and reflects on the politics of commemoration in contemporary India.

Music: Plaster Combo by Blue Dot Sessions; Punjab Shuffle by The Polish Ambassador


Chris Moffat is Lecturer in South Asian History at Queen Mary University of London. In 2019 he was Visiting Faculty in the Department of History, Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan. Chris is the author of India’s Revolutionary Inheritance: Politics and the Promise of Bhagat Singh, published with Cambridge University Press in 2019. He is currently writing a book on architecture, politics and the philosophy of history in Pakistan. 

References (in order of mentioning)

  • Alex Houen, ‘Sacrificial Militancy and the Wars around Terror’, in Elleke Boehmer and Stephen Morton (eds.), Terror and the Postcolonial (Chichester, 2010), 113-140. 
  • Faisal Devji, The Terrorist in Search of Humanity (New York, 2008). 
  • Jagmohan Singh and Chaman Lal (eds.), Bhagat Singh aur Unke Saathianke Dastavez (Delhi, 1986). 
  • Chaman Lal, The Bhagat Singh Reader (New Delhi, 2019). 
  • Christopher Pinney, Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India (London, 2004). 
  • Sumathi Ramaswamy, The Goddess and the Nation: Mapping Mother India (Durham, NC, 2010). 
  • Kama Maclean, A Revolutionary History of Interwar India (London, 2015). 
  • Simona Sawhney, ‘Bhagat Singh: A Politics of Death and Hope’, in Anshu Malhotra and Farina Mir (eds.), Punjab Reconsidered (Delhi, 2012), 377-408. 
  • Vyjyanthi Rao, ‘Hindu Modern: Considering Gandhian Aesthetics’, Public Culture 23:2 (2011), 377-394. 




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