What regulatory mechanisms do democratic states employ to constrain the contentious transnational political action of their diaspora abroad? While this may seem like an oxymoron, my question calls our attention to the form of governmentality and subjecthood a democratic state showcases as it represses the contentious political action of its diaspora. In this talk, Rajshekar highlights the colonial origins of transnational repression as a state-building practice by illustrating how colonial democracies in the 20th century cooperated in constraining the political activity of their colonial subjects residing in their territories. Rajshekar presents evidence from three archival sites that documented the revolutionary activities of the first Punjabi immigrants in the United States as they supported the movement for independence in India. Rajshekar uses the Hindu Conspiracy trials as a case study to showcase the multiplicity of ways in which the US and Britain cooperated in not only repressing the political activity of the Punjabis but also how this practice influenced their early state-building projects and citizenship regimes.

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