Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Bangeswar Roy Collection

In 1932 Bangeswar Roy (1911-2001) co-founded the Communist Party of Bengal in Dhaka. Before joining this party, he belonged to an underground political movement of armed resistance against the colonial rulers. Several resistance movements existed all over India, although Bengal and Punjab were the main centres. Roy spent eleven years of his lengthy political career in prison.

Roy wrote two books about his experiences as a member of this movement against British rule, as well as works of fiction and poetry that were never published. Roys family donated his archive to the IISH. Despite its poor condition, this archive is an important acquisition, especially for the historiography of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, but also because of his efforts for the Society of Former Political Prisoners of the Andaman Cellular Jail, which was propbably the most horrific prison ever in India. Opened in 1858, this prison held freedom fighters from all over India, many serving life sentences. Thanks in part to Roys initiative, this prison is now a national monument. Documents include Roys notes about the Andaman prison, a brief personal life history that Roy wrote at age 90, a list of 121 names from Andaman political prisoners and manuscripts of his books.

Text was taken from On the Waterfront - newsletter of the Friends of the IISH Issue 7 (pdf, 743 Kb).