Why a Mexican Nightclub is Named After an Indian Freedom Fighter

Though many may not know international communist operative M.N. Roy today, he was a complicated model for transnational activism.

M.N. Roy during his time as an international communist operative.

Maya Bhardwaj


August 14, 2020

In the southern end of Roma, a picturesque middle-class neighborhood in Mexico City that gained international fame after the eponymous 2018 movie, lies a nightclub hidden away between residential homes: M.N. Roy — an oddly Indian-sounding name for the city’s “most exclusive” nightlife.

I first learned about the nightclub after moving to Mexico City in 2018 as a community organizer. When I reached out to Chilangos — the local name for residents of Mexico City — about the club, Laura, a freelance writer who once frequented the space and requested her name be changed, told me that she thought the space was beautiful but the vibes were off. “The door policy is strict, and people are there to be seen — not to have fun,” she said. She told me that the club was named for “un wey politico,” or a political guy, but added, “everything is so fresa [preppy or bougie] there.”

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