Indian Communists and Trade Unionists on Trial: The Meerut Conspiracy, 1929-1933

The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933

The Meerut Conspiracy Trial, 1929-1933

The Communist Party has been a freely elected governing party in India more times than anywhere else in the world and it remains a mass party in India to this day. The Meerut Conspiracy Trial was an early turning point in its history
John CallaghaUniversity of Salford

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Indian Communism and trade unions on trial, the Meerut treason trial, 1929-1932

The Meerut Conspiracy refers to the 1929 arrest and trial of twenty-nine Indians and three Englishmen suspected of having either communist or trade union affiliations. They were collectively charged under Section 121A of the India Penal Code with “conspiracy to deprive the King of Sovereignty of British India.” This collection contains documents derived from a variety of sources, including the India Office and the private papers of Ben Bradley, one of the accused conspirators. These documents provide a balanced perspective on the trial and its consequences for British imperialism in India.  

Note: This collection is accompanied by an online guide written by John Callaghan. 


Indian Communists and Trade Unionists on Trial: The Meerut Conspiracy, 1929-1933...

Containing 10,201 pages belonging to 54 documents housed in 4 volumes...

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Selected India Office Records

The following documents, drawn chiefly from the IOR/L/PJ/12 series held at the British Library, illustrate the establishment's reaction to both...

Ben Bradley papers

Benjamin Francis Bradley (1898-1957) was a communist metalworker, born in Walthamstow, who was sent to India to promote militant trade...

Selected files from the William Gillies papers

William Gillies (1885-1958) was the first International Secretary of the Labour Party between 1920 and 1944. These selected files, housed...

Miscellaneous books and pamphlets relating to the trial

The material here offers analytical and autobiographical accounts of some of the chief accused in the Meerut trial, namely Philip...


  • The India Office Records are official records relating to communism, trades unions and surveillance upon those thought to be involved in either of those movements in India. Details of the trial and appeal also feature.
  • The Ben Bradley papers are unofficial records of his activities before the trial and of the trial itself. Bradley's letters to his family include details of attempts to secure evidence and funds for his defence.
  • The William Gillies papers include resolutions and evidence of support from the labour movement in the UK. They also include correspondence from the Trades Union Congress and League Against Imperialism.
  • Two of the books written about the trial were written by men who had been on trial at Meerut. Other books and pamphlets that relate to the trial were written by supporters while it was ongoing.
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