History / 13.01.2017

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Three: The Rise and Fall of Indian Communists (1933-1951) – (Continued) The Second Congress of CPI The last days of the British Raj was marked by a rise in militant radicalism. Greatly enthused by certain successive events of spontaneous rebellion and uprisings in various sections of people in India the party was greatly upbeat. The triumphant advance of Soviet Red Army in the Eastern Europe in the wake of the Second World War, impending victories of communists and the national liberation movements in China and the Far East, and finally the winning of the independence of India because of Great Britain losing its grip on the vast fractured Empire were too many powerful shots in the arms of CPI. The INA trial in the Red Fort, Delhi had greatly agitated the Indian people who took the INA soldiers as their ‘national heroes’. In February 1946, Indian...

History / 30.12.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Three: The Rise and Fall of Indian Communists (1933-1951) – (Continued) Muslim Question & Pakistan As the subject matter of this book is primarily an inquiry into the genesis and development of the communist movement in Pakistan it may not permit us to fully explore and discuss in equal detail the genesis and development of the Pakistan movement as well. But, as some of its cardinal aspects and contesting issues involved in the question were to have a direct impact and bearing on the course of future political developments in Pakistan and the positioning and the part initially played by the CPI and subsequently by the Communist Party of Pakistan in it, we will discuss some of its key aspects as we go along. At this stage, a brief backdrop of the Muslim question is warranted. More of it will be discussed in chapters Four and...

History / 17.12.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Three: The Rise and Fall of Indian Communists (1933-1951) – (Continued) INA and Hukoomat-e Azad Hind While Indian National Congress was still undecided about its collective response to the imperialist war and the opportunity of undertaking a massive national liberation movement, Subhash Chandra Bose escaped from India disguised as a Muslim Pathan ‘Ziauddin’ to Kabul with the help of former Jihadi revolutionary, Mian Akbar Shah of Nowshehra. From Kabul, disguised as an Italian diplomat to avoid British spies in Afghanistan (20), he reached Germany in April, 1941 to seek support in forming an Indian National Army. Sardar Ajit Singh, the brother of famous Bhagat Singh, also reached Berlin from Italy where he was teaching oriental languages at Naples University. But, a sizable number of Indian war prisoners in Europe were not available in Germany to help form a meaningful Indian army. At the same time, Rash...

History / 03.12.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Three: The Rise and Fall of Indian Communists (1933-1951) By 1933 when the Indian communist leaders were released early on account of their reduced jail terms in Meerut Conspiracy Case the CPI was in doldrums. Having left the Workers and Peasants Parties on the advice of Comintern, the CPI leaders turned towards internal re-organisation and re-assessment. G. Adhikari, P.C. Joshi, S.G. Patkar, Muzaffar Ahmed, and S.A. Dange reconstituted CPI in December 1933 in Calcutta as their main political platform. The CPI was formally affiliated to the Comintern and a provisional Central Committee was elected. An All-India Party convention was held in March 1934 and a ‘Draft Political Thesis’ was adopted. It reflected the changes that had started taking place in Soviet Union after the rise of Nazi fascism in Germany in 1933. Russia and the Comintern was moving towards a less ideological and more...

History / 12.11.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Two: The Communist Party of India – Its Genesis (1920 – 1932) – (Continued) Meerut Conspiracy Case With the CPI being underground, communist workers mostly engaged in political work from various Workers and Peasant parties. Worried about the growing radicalization of politics and the communists’ influence in trade unions, the British Indian government launched a major attack arresting communists and leaders of the workers and peasant parties and tried them under Meerut Conspiracy Case (67). Amir Haider managed to escape to Goa and from there he reached Moscow to report to Comintern the developments relating to recent large scale arrests in India. 25 years old B.T. Ranadive emerged in Bombay as the party leader in the field. Not all of the accused were formal members of the Communist Party but nonetheless they were charged for sedition. Dr. M.A. Ansari and Jawaharlal Nehru were in the Defence...

History / 07.11.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Two: The Communist Party of India – Its Genesis (1920 – 1932) – (Continued) The First Communist Conference in India During the proceedings of Kanpur Conspiracy case, strong protests were made in the British press and the parliament against trial of accused for being communists and having links with the Communist International while the communist parties were legally allowed to operate in the Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and many European countries. M.N. Roy, in his open letter addressed to Ramsay MacDonald, the newly inducted Labour Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Labour Government and the British Working Class on behalf of the workers and peasants of India, said, “Has socialist and communist propaganda – that is to say working-class propaganda – been declared illegal in Great Britain and the dominions? Then why should it be illegal in British India? Have socialist and communist parties,...

History / 31.10.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Two: The Communist Party of India – Its Genesis (1920 – 1932) - (Continued) Communists in India The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia under the leadership of Lenin in October of 1917 had powerfully shaken the world; it was never to be the same again. The Soviet revolution had caused strong reverberations in many European countries. Hungary and Germany were on the brink of a socialist revolution. These epoch-making changes had an electrifying effect in the colonies, including India. Many young people were drawn toward socialist ideas. Freedom fighters, political and trade union activists, writers, and journalists in India gravitated toward the new socialist ideology. Many of them freely mixed Marxist theory with other popular liberal and theosophical trends and their own cultural and religious biases. Some communist workers formed active groups in Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Ahmadabad, Kerala, Kanpur, Karachi, Lahore, and Amritsar. These groups...

History / 12.10.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter Two: The Communist Party of India – Its Genesis (1920 – 1932) The Indian revolutionaries and Muhajirs arriving in Russia in 1920 from different directions played a major role in forming the first Communist Party of India. They had different ideas and had taken different paths to reach to this point where by a quirk of history they met and converged together in Tashkent to acquire a new organisational structure. In all, there were about 200 of Indian Muhajirs-Mujahidin who had crossed over into Soviet Russia from the Afghan border in the autumn of 1920. A number of Indians, mostly from trading castes from Gujarat and Sindh, were already living in the Central Asia, having fairly old business relations and interests in the region. They were living in major Central Asian towns like Bukhara, Samarkand, and Baku. While Indian Muhajirs were still in Baku a...

History / 26.09.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter One: The Roots of Revolution (Continued) III. The Jihad Movement Almost simultaneous to these events but, apparently independent of them, some other developments were taking place in India. By early 1900s, the international situation in Europe and the Middle East was getting tense, especially for Indian Muslims. Their anxiety was increasing with the successive bad news coming from the borders of the then vast Muslim Turkish Empire. While the British Empire was in ascendancy in late 1800s and early 1900s, the Turkish Empire was disintegrating bit by bit. Much of its possessions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia had already been broken away or annexed by other empires in the previous century. Italy had landed its army at Tripoli (in today’s Libya) in 1911, initiating the first War of Tripoli between Turkey and Italy. The Italian invasion of Tripoli was soon followed by the start of Balkan Wars...

History / 13.09.2016

By Ahmed Kamran Chapter One: The Roots of Revolution (Continued) II. International Revolutionaries While a steady migration of Indian peasants and working classes as indentured labour was slowly taking place towards the British colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, a new and more comprehensive political and administrative order as crafted by Lord Macaulay was put in place in India by the colonial rulers. With it gradual reforms in education and political life of India were introduced. Schools and colleges with instruction in English language were set up by the Missionary churches and the secular government in major Indian towns. In these schools, modern education was imparted to Indian children to produce a new breed of loyal and educated gentlemen, imbibed with western ideas and colonial outlook. This brought a slow but significant social change, particularly, in the middle classes. They were getting engaged in commerce or in services...