The Madness of Jodh Singh: Patriotism and Paranoia in the Ghadar Archives

Rohit Chopra

Abstract


My paper focuses on Jodh Singh, a marginal figure in the archives of the Ghadar Party, who was arrested for High Treason against the United States for his role in the “Hindu Conspiracy” plots aimed at the British government of India. Incarcerated in a California prison, Singh was moved to a sanatarium on displaying symptoms of insanity. Through a close reading of a web of archival documents and scholarly reflections—at the center of which lies the report of a commission appointed to inquire into his mental condition—I examine the account of the madness of Jodh Singh as a statement about patriotism and paranoia. In engagement with the work of Foucault, Guha, and scholars of the Ghadar movement, I describe how the record of Singh’s experiences indicts the juridical-legal-medical framework of American society as operating on a distinction between legtimate and illegitimate madness. I also examine how Jodh Singh points to the glimmers of a critique of the self-image of the Ghadar Party as a revolutionary movement committed to egalitarian principles. I conclude with a reflection on what Jodh Singh might tell us about the relationship between madness, political aspiration, and the yearning for solidarity.


Keywords


Ghadar, Revolution, Madness, Insanity, Patriotism, Jodh Singh, India, Paranoia

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References


References

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18740/ss27204

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