“Brewing Resistance”: New book by Professor Kristin Plys

Brewing Resistance: Indian Coffee House and the Emergency in Postcolonial India (Cambridge University Press, 2020) uncovers the little known story of the movement against the Emergency as seen through New Delhi’s Indian Coffee House based on new archival evidence and oral histories with the men who led the movement against the Emergency. Created by British plantation owners to weather the Empire-wide export commodity surplus crisis of the 1930s, Indian Coffee House was occupied by its workers in 1946 and eventually transformed into a cooperative as part of an anti-colonial and anti-capitalist workers movement. By the 1970s, Indian Coffee House became more than an economic intervention into the processes of capitalism and empire— it was transformed into a radical space where politically and artistically minded intellectuals of various persuasions and viewpoints gathered to resist the Emergency.

Professor Plys is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her areas of expertise include political economy, postcolonial theory, sociology of development, labour and labour movements, historical sociology, and global area studies.

The book’s publisher, Cambridge University Press, includes the following book description on their website:

In 1947, decolonization promised a better life for India’s peasants, workers, students, Dalits, and religious minorities. By the 1970s, however, this promise had not yet been realized. Various groups fought for the social justice but in response, Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi suspended the constitution, and with it, civil liberties. The hope of decolonization that had turned to disillusion in the postcolonial period quickly descended into a nightmare. In this book, Kristin Plys recounts the little known story of the movement against the Emergency as seen through New Delhi’s Indian Coffee House based on newly uncovered evidence and oral histories with the men who led the movement against the Emergency.