We Shall Fight, We Shall Win: An Activist History of Mass Education in India

Nisha Thapliyal


Social movements for public education challenge neoliberal claims that there is no alternative to the market—to the inevitability of the privatisation of education. This article analyses the ways in which education activists in India deploy critical histories in their struggles for a public and common school system. It is empirically grounded in a critical analysis of a 2016 activist documentary film called We Shall Fight, We Shall Win. The film was produced by a grassroots activist coalition called the All India Forum for the Right to Education (AIFRTE) as part of their ongoing struggles against the commercialisation and communalisation of education. The film provides a rare opportunity to explore different kinds of historical knowledge produced in collective struggles for equity and social justice in India. In particular, this analysis examines the ways in which activists link the past and the present to challenge and decentre privatised narratives of education and development. In doing so, this research offers situated insights into the critical histories that inspire, sustain and co-construct one site of ongoing collective struggle for public education in India.


critical history; social movements; activist knowledge; public education; India

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25159/1947-9417/3582

Copyright (c) 2018 Nisha Thapliyal

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