The emergence and growth of the leftist movement was the result of a combination of factors
- Development of Indian industries.
- Economic crunch caused by the two World Wars.
- Success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
Emergence of Indian Communism !!!
- The emergence of Indian Communism out of the shortcoming of the mainstream national movement is quite undeniable. It was borne out of mostly of peasant and labour activists, Non-Cooperators, Khilafatists and revolutionaries whose aspirations and participation in the national movement remained either unfulfilled or insufficient. They sought alternate roads for their demands and some joined the Left Movement.
- After meeting the Bolshevik Mikhail Borodin in Mexico in 1919 and helping in the establishment of a Communist Party, Roy attended the second Congress of Communist International in Russia in 1920.
- Hereafter ensued a much celebrated dialogue between Naren Bhattacharki and Lenin on the strategy of Communists in the colonial world.
- He then founded the Communist Party of India in Tashkent in October 1920.
- Various formal Communist bodies were formed in the period 1921-25 in different parts of the country.
- Satyabhakta organised an All-India Conference of the communists at Kanpur in December 1925.
- The convening of this Conference under the President-ship of Singaravelu Chettiar of Madras is considered as the formal beginnings of Indian Communism.
- Between 1922 and 1927 a number of organisations cropped up, essentially to provide legal cover to workers and peasants. These included Labour Swaraj Party of Bengal, Congress Labour Party in Bombay, Kirti Kishan Party in the Punjab and Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan in Madras. Ganbani, Mehnatkash, Kranti and Krantikari were some of the popular journals and newpapers.
With the agreement of supporting the national movement as encouraged by Lenin, the Communist Party of India (CPI) asked its members to join the ranks of the Congress and to form a strong Left wing within it.
The labour movement was not far behind in its development. In the first half of 1920 there were approximately 200 labour strikes. Under the Presidentship of Lala Lajpat Rai All-India Trade Union Congress held its first session in October in Bombay. Leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, and Subhas Chandra Bose were also Left inclined and brought Left-wing tint in Congress. The left influences was very, strongly visible in the second, phase of revolutionary terrorism between 1922 and 1928.
In December 1928, a Conference of different labour-kisan parties was called forth and they merged into All-India Workers and Peasant’s Party (WPP). Its’ aim was to work within the Congress and infuse in it a more radical orientation. Their programme comprised
- abolition of zamindari and redistribution of land,
- development of the peasants and workers movement and
- raising the general standard of the masses.
Their presence in the Congress gave the Communists a strong entrée point. However, the Government, ever paranoid of socialism, grew alarmed at the increase in Left activities and subsequently arrested 32 political and trade union leaders in March 1929 under Meerut Conspiracy Case which dragged on for three odd years. These were defended by Jawaharlal Nehru, M. A. Ansari and M. C. Chagla. 27 of the accused were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment while Muzzafar Ahmed was given life imprisonment.
In 1928 with the adoption, in CPI meet at Calcutta in 1929, of the Comintern change of policy, the Congress was declared as the class party of the, bourgeoisie and all connections with it were broken.
|ACHARYA NARENDRA DEV|
There was another shift when in 1934, the Communists were asked to join back the national movements against imperialism. Many Communists joined the leadership of the Congress Socialist Party (CSP). CSP was formed in 1934 in Pune under the chairmanship of Narendra Dev with the aim of consolidating Leftist proposals after gaining independence. It was geared towards moulding Congress along socialist lines. Nehru and Bose supported CSP from outside. However, CSP could not really gain much headway. Neither could it leave Congress that this point in time as it would have weakened the CSP. Gradually, within Congress there emerged two camps on account of the rowing socialist influence in INC. Congress got divided along “Leftist” and “Rightist” predilections. The radical leaders like G. B. Pant, P. D. Tandon and Sri Prakash joined CSP and harped on the local Congress executives to implement radical measures like removal of middlemen; cancellation of debts of peasants owed to the landlords and regulation of land tax. This was criticized by the right wing leaders like Patel.
The Cabinet Mission Plan was rejected by the CSP and it boycotted the Constituent Assembly. CSP dropped Congress from its nomenclature in February-March 1947 and threw its door open to non-Congress members. Its connections with the Congress were formally severed in 1948 after Patel’s declaration that all political parties formed within Congress were outlawed. Given the option to join or opt out, the Socialist Party chose the latter. However, socialist influence was carried on by Nehru who did not agree with forming a separate organisation or breaking away from Congress and severing the ties with Gandhi and right wing nationalists.