Communism and Nationalism in India: M.N. Roy and Comintern Policy, 1920-1939

Communism and Nationalism in India: M.N. Roy and Comintern Policy, 1920-1939

Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    Communism and Nationalism in India: M.N. Roy and Comintern Policy, 1920-1939
    Book Description:

    M. N. Roy, the founder of the Communist Party of India, has been described by Robert C. North as ranking "with Lenin and Mao Tse-tung." This book, focusing on the career of Roy, traces the development of communism and nationalism in India from 1920 to 1939.

    Originally published in 1971.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6932-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-1)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. 2-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    THIS STUDY traces the development of communism and socialism in India from the Second Congress of the Communist International in 1920, which dealt with the issue of communism and nationalism in colonial and semicolonial countries, to the defeat of the left wing of the Indian National Congress, or Congress party, in 1939. The latter date coincides with the outbreak of World War II. It marks the end of an important chapter in the development of the Indian nationalist movement and the beginning of a new phase in which the British government of India was less tolerant of dissent and allowed...

  7. 1. The Second Comintern Congress
    (pp. 11-19)

    THE Indian Brahmin Narendra Nath Bhattacharya, alias Manabendra Nath Roy, made his debut in the international communist movement at the Second World Congress of the Communist International (Comintern), which was held in Moscow from July 19 to August 7, 1920.aLenin had prepared in advance a draft thesis on the national and colonial question, which he circulated among the delegates with a request for comments and criticisms. As a result of Roy’s response, Lenin invited him to write an alternative draft.¹ Both Lenin’s and Roy’s theses were later submitted to the National and Colonial Commission for its consideration. In the...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. 2. The Dawn of Indian Communism
    (pp. 20-36)

    THROUGHOUT the 1920’s, M. N. Roy made strenuous efforts to organize a communist movement in India. Along with copies of the Comintern organ,International Press Correspondence, large quantities of Roy’s journal,The Vanguard of Indian Independence,awere smuggled into India with the aid of Indian seamen, or lascars, specially recruited for the purpose. This literature found its way into the hands of promising Indians, many of whom were also contacted directly through correspondence. During this early period, Roy hoped to penetrate the nationalist movement not only through radical Congress members, but also via the Khilafat movement, the Bengali revolutionary societies,...

  10. 3. The CPI and the Workers’ and Peasants’ Party
    (pp. 37-57)

    AS EARLY as 1922, Roy advocated the formation of a broad-based legal party in India with an illegal communist nucleus. At a secret meeting of the Colonial Commission, held in Moscow in November 1922, Roy reported that the tactics of the Indian communists should be “to combine the independence movement, the labor organizations and the Kishan Sabhas [Peasant Leagues] into one struggle.” The commission approved these tactics. Shortly thereafter Roy dispatched to India a series of letters which directed that the various communist groups there be linked together with the left wing of the National Congress, the left wing of...

  11. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  12. 4. The China Episode
    (pp. 58-79)

    IN THE mid-1920’s the Comintern focused its attention on China, where it was now believed the first significant advance of communism in the East would occur. It had already been declared at the Fifth World Congress in 1924 that world revolution was dependent on revolution in Asia. Once China becomes communist, it was now held, all of Asia—and by implication, the entire globe—would inevitably follow suit. In July 1925 Zinoviev, the chairman of the Comintern, wrote:

    The events in China will doubtless have a tremendous revolutionizing significance for the other colonies and the countries dependent on imperialist England....

  13. 5. The Radicalization of Indian Politics
    (pp. 80-107)

    ACCOMPANIED by a number of Russian advisers to China, including Oberst Galin (Vasili K. Blücher), Roy returned to Moscow in September 1927.¹ The reception was far from hospitable. Roy had been certain that he could explain his actions in China to Stalin, but he was denied the opportunity. Stalin refused to receive him. Friends were few at the moment Stalin’s favor was withdrawn. Those who stood by him included the British communists Rajani Palme Dutt, his brother Clemens Dutt, Hugh Rathbone, and outside the Comintern, Borodin,awho, himself in disgrace, discovered anew his friendship for Roy.²

    While in Moscow, Roy...

  14. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  15. 6. The Sixth Comintern Congress
    (pp. 108-143)

    ON MAY 25, 1928 the Program Commission of the ECCI adopted a “Draft Program of the Communist International,” which foreshadowed the strategy and tactics which would be adopted at the Sixth Comintern Congress. This document reflected a marked change of attitude toward the nationalist bourgeoisie. It was now held that in dependent areas this group had “already crossed over into the camp of the avowed counterrevolution or is crossing over.” Consequently workers and peasants must be organized in their independent organizations and “liberated from the influence of the nationalist bourgeoisie.” Henceforth, only “temporary agreements” with the nationalist movement were to...

  16. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  17. 7. The Decline of Indian Communism
    (pp. 144-163)

    THROUGHOUT 1929 the Congress party made preparations for the lauching of a civil disobedience campaign against the British government. The year was climaxed by the declaration at the annual Congress session in Lahore of the goal of complete independence. The antigovernment campaign, when it was launched the following April, met with an enthusiastic response by an aroused Indian public.

    Indian communists, however, were unable to take advantage of the upsurge of nationalist, anti-colonialist sentiment that Gandhi had unleashed. Furthermore, the initial advantage that they had secured in the labor movement was soon dissipated. Ordinarily it would have been expected that...

  18. 8. The Foundations of Royism in India
    (pp. 164-214)

    BERLIN in the late 1920’s was a haven for foreign students who were attracted to economically-depressed Germany by the quality of its universities and its low living costs. Berlin was also at this time a center for political refugees from colonial countries. Germany was not a major colonial power and consequently its government adopted an attitude of benevolent neutrality toward anti-colonialist groups. Among communist and other radical groups in exile there, the aspiration of linking the anti-imperialist struggle with the left wing of the workers’ movement of the major western powers was widespread.¹

    After his escape from Moscow in April...

  19. 9. Left-Wing Unity and the Indian Nationalist Movement
    (pp. 215-239)

    THE decade preceding World War II was a crucial period in the history of the Indian nationalist movement. It was at this time that the leadership of Gandhi and the “old guard”—Congress veterans who, with few exceptions, were annually re-elected to the party’s Working Committee—faced its most serious challenge for control of the Congress party. The outcome of this internal party struggle determined the nature and scope of the independence movement throughout the war years and until the attainment of freedom in 1947. It also determined the political complexion of the party that was to guide the Republic...

  20. 10. Nationalism and Socialism
    (pp. 240-258)

    IT WAS largely through Jawaharlal Nehru that the CSP hoped to influence Congress policy. In the early years of the CSP its leaders looked upon Nehru as one of their own and fully expected him to join with them and lead their party. At their CSP conference at Meerut, in January 1936, the socialists adopted a resolution recommending Nehru for the presidency of their party.¹ But Nehru assiduously refrained from joining the socialists, although he was sympathetic to their outlook. This was largely due to Gandhi’s skill in handling Nehru and to the latter’s devotion to the nationalist cause above...

  21. 11. Twentieth-Century Jacobinism
    (pp. 259-300)

    THE Congress leadership from an early date sought to utilize peasant unrest for nationalist ends. This effort can be dated from the period 1917-18 when Gandhi led the Champaran peasantry in a struggle against certain privileges which had been granted by the government to indigo planters and had resulted in hardships on the peasantry. The activities of the Congress party among the peasantry were directed toward the creation of additional pressures against British rule, rather than the promotion of class unrest in the countryside. For example, participation in the U.P. no-tax campaign of the early 1930’s was deliberately extended to...

  22. Notes
    (pp. 301-342)
  23. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 343-378)
  24. Index
    (pp. 379-390)
  25. Books Published by the Research Institute on Communist Affairs of Columbia University
    (pp. 391-392)