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What is popularly called Transcendentalism among us, is Idealism; Idealism as it appears in 1842....mankind have ever divided into two sects, Materialists and Idealists; the first class founding on experience, the second on consciousness; the first class beginning to think from the data of the senses, the second class perceive that the senses are not final, and say, the senses give us representations of things, but what are the things themselves, they cannot tell. The materialist insists on facts, on history, on the force of circumstances, and the animal wants of man; the idealist on the power of Thought and of Will, on inspiration, on miracle, on individual culture....Every materialist will be an idealist; but an idealist can never go backward to be a materialist.

The idealist, in speaking of events, sees them as spirits....He does not deny the presence of this table, this chair, and the walls of this room, but he looks at these things as the reverse side of the tapestry, as the other end, each being a sequel or completion of a spiritual fact which nearly concerns him. This manner of looking at things, transfers every object in nature from an independent and anomalous position without there, into the consciousness....

The idealist takes his departure from his consciousness, and reckons the world an appearance...which is metaphysical....Mind is the only reality, of which men and all other natures are better or worse reflectors. Nature, literature, history, are only subjective phenomena.... His experience inclines him to behold the procession of facts you call the world, as flowing perpetually outward from an invisible, unsounded centre in himself, centre alike of him and of them, and necessitating him to regard all things as having a subjective or relative existence, relative to that aforesaid Unknown Centre of him.

From this transfer of the world into the consciousness, this beholding of all things in the mind, follow easily his whole ethics. It is simpler to be self-dependent. The height, the deity of man is, to be self-sustained, to need no gift, no foreign force. Society is good when it does not violate me; but best when it is likest to solitude. Everything real is self-existent. Everything divine shares the self-existence of Deity. All that you call the world is the shadow of that substance which you are, the perpetual creation of the powers of thought, of those that are dependent and of those that are independent of your will. Do not cumber yourself with fruitless pains to mend and remedy remote effects; let the soul be erect, and all things will go well. You think me the child of my circumstances: I make my circumstance. Let any thought or motive of mine be different from that they are, the difference will transform my condition and economy. I — this thought which is called I, — is the mould into which the world is poured like melted wax. The mould is invisible, but the world betrays the shape of the mould. You call it the power of circumstance, but it is the power of me....

The Transcendentalist adopts the whole connection of spiritual doctrine. He believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light and power; he believes in inspiration, and in ecstasy. He wishes that the spiritual principle should be suffered to demonstrate itself to the end, in all possible applications to the state of man, without the admission of anything unspiritual... the spiritual measure of inspiration is the depth of the thought, and never, who said it?...

[H]e, who has the Lawgiver, may with safety not only neglect, but even contravene every written commandment....

Jacobi, refusing all measure of right and wrong except the determinations of the private spirit, remarks that there is no crime but has sometimes been a virtue. "I," he says, "am that atheist, that godless person who, in opposition to an imaginary doctrine of calculation, would lie as the dying Desdemona lied; would lie and deceive, as Pylades when he personated Orestes; would assassinate like Timoleon; would perjure myself like Epaminondas, and John de Witt; I would resolve on suicide like Cato; I would commit sacrilege with David; yea, and pluck ears of corn on the Sabbath, for no other reason than that I was fainting for lack of food. For, I have assurance in myself, that, in pardoning these faults according to the letter, man exerts the sovereign right which the majesty of his being confers on him; he sets the seal of his divine nature to the grace he accords."

In like manner, if there is anything grand and daring in human thought or virtue, any reliance on the vast, the unknown; any presentiment; any extravagance of faith, the spiritualist adopts it as most in nature. The oriental mind has always tended to this largeness. Buddhism is an expression of it....

[O]f a purely spiritual life, history has afforded no example. I mean, we have yet no man who has leaned entirely on his character, and eaten angels' food; who, trusting to his sentiments, found life made of miracles; who, working for universal aims, found himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew not how, and yet it was done by his own hands. Only in the instinct of the lower animals, we find the suggestion of the methods of it, and something higher than our understanding. The squirrel hoards nuts, and the bee gathers honey, without knowing what they do, and they are thus provided for without selfishness or disgrace....

Nature is transcendental, exists primarily, necessarily, ever works and advances, yet takes no thought for the morrow....

It is well known to most of my audience, that the Idealism of the present day acquired the name of Transcendental, from the use of that term by Immanuel Kant, of Konigsberg, who replied to the skeptical philosophy of Locke, which insisted that there was nothing in the intellect which was not previously in the experience of the senses, by showing that there was a very important class of ideas, or imperative forms, which did not come by experience, but through which experience was acquired; that these were intuitions of the mind itself; and he denominated them Transcendental forms....whatever belongs to the class of intuitive thought, is popularly called at the present day Transcendental....

[T]hese seething brains, these admirable radicals, these unsocial worshippers, these talkers who talk the sun and moon away....

They are lonely; the spirit of their writing and conversation is lonely; they repel influences; they shun general society; they incline to shut themselves in their chamber in the house, to live in the country rather than in the town, and to find their tasks and amusements in solitude....they are not stockish or brute, — but joyous; susceptible, affectionate; they have even more than others a great wish to be loved. Like the young Mozart, they are rather ready to cry ten times a day, "But are you sure you love me?"...

[A]nd what if they eat clouds, and drink wind, they have not been without service to the race of man.

With this passion for what is great and extraordinary, it cannot be wondered at, that they are repelled by vulgarity and frivolity in people. They say to themselves, It is better to be alone than in bad company. And it is really a wish to be met, — the wish to find society for their hope and religion, — which prompts them to shun what is called society. They feel that they are never so fit for friendship, as when they have quitted mankind, and taken themselves to friend. A picture, a book, a favorite spot in the hills or the woods, which they can people with the fair and worthy creation of the fancy, can give them often forms so vivid, that these for the time shall seem real, and society the illusion....

[U]nwillingly they bear their part of the public and private burdens; they do not willingly share in the public charities, in the public religious rites, in the enterprises of education, of missions foreign or domestic, in the abolition of the slave-trade, or in the temperance society. They do not even like to vote....

On the part of these children, it is replied, that life and their faculty seem to them gifts too rich to be squandered on such trifles as you propose to them. What you call your fundamental institutions, your great and holy causes, seem to them great abuses, and, when nearly seen, paltry matters. Each 'Cause,' as it is called, — say Abolition, Temperance, say Calvinism, or Unitarianism, — becomes speedily a little shop, where the article, let it have been at first never so subtle and ethereal, is now made up into portable and convenient cakes, and retailed in small quantities to suit purchasers. You make very free use of these words 'great' and 'holy,' but few things appear to them such. Few persons have any magnificence of nature to inspire enthusiasm, and the philanthropies and charities have a certain air of quackery. As to the general course of living, and the daily employments of men, they cannot see much virtue in these, since they are parts of this vicious circle; and, as no great ends are answered by the men, there is nothing noble in the arts by which they are maintained. Nay, they have made the experiment, and found that, from the liberal professions to the coarsest manual labor, and from the courtesies of the academy and the college to the conventions of the cotillon-room and the morning call, there is a spirit of cowardly compromise and seeming, which intimates a frightful skepticism, a life without love, and an activity without an aim....

It is the quality of the moment, not the number of days, of events, or of actors, that imports....

I can sit in a corner and perish, (as you call it,) but I will not move until I have the highest command....

[M]ine is a certain brief experience, which surprised me in the highway or in the market, in some place, at some time...and made me aware that I had played the fool with fools all this time, but that law existed for me and for all; that to me belonged trust, a child's trust and obedience, and the worship of ideas, and I should never be fool more....My life is superficial, takes no root in the deep world; I ask, When shall I die, and be relieved of the responsibility of seeing an Universe which I do not use? I wish to exchange this flash-of-lightning faith for continuous daylight, this fever-glow for a benign climate....

What am I? What but a thought of serenity and independence, an abode in the deep blue sky?...

But this class are not sufficiently characterized, if we omit to add that they are lovers and worshippers of Beauty. In the eternal trinity of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, each in its perfection including the three, they prefer to make Beauty the sign and head....We call the Beautiful the highest, because it appears to us the golden mean, escaping the dowdiness of the good, and the heartlessness of the true. — They are lovers of nature also, and find an indemnity in the inviolable order of the world for the violated order and grace of man....

Their heart is the ark in which the fire is concealed, which shall burn in a broader and universal flame. Let them obey the Genius then most when his impulse is wildest; then most when he seems to lead to uninhabitable deserts of thought and life; for the path which the hero travels alone is the highway of health and benefit to mankind....

[T]here must be a few persons of purer fire kept specially as gauges and meters of character; persons of a fine, detecting instinct, who betray the smallest accumulations of wit and feeling in the bystander. Perhaps too there might be room for the exciters and monitors; collectors of the heavenly spark with power to convey the electricity to others....

But the thoughts which these few hermits strove to proclaim by silence, as well as by speech, not only by what they did, but by what they forbore to do, shall abide in beauty and strength, to reorganize themselves in nature, to invest themselves anew in other, perhaps higher endowed and happier mixed clay than ours, in fuller union with the surrounding system.

-- A Lecture Read at the Masonic Temple, Boston: The Transcendentalist, from Lectures, published as part of Nature; Addresses and Lectures, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in the eastern United States.[1][2][3] A core belief is in the inherent goodness of people and nature.[1] and while society and its institutions have corrupted the purity of the individual, people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent.

Transcendentalism emphasizes subjective intuition over objective empiricism. Adherents believe that individuals are capable of generating completely original insights with little attention and deference to past masters. It arose as a reaction, to protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality at the time.[4] The doctrine of the Unitarian church as taught at Harvard Divinity School was closely related.

Transcendentalism emerged from "English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Johann Gottfried Herder and Friedrich Schleiermacher, the skepticism of David Hume",[1] and the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant and German Idealism. Miller and Versluis regard Emanuel Swedenborg as a pervasive influence on transcendentalism.[5][6] It was also strongly influenced by Hindu texts on philosophy of the mind and spirituality, especially the Upanishads.


Transcendentalism is closely related to Unitarianism, the dominant religious movement in Boston in the early nineteenth century. It started to develop after Unitarianism took hold at Harvard University, following the elections of Henry Ware as the Hollis Professor of Divinity in 1805 and of John Thornton Kirkland as President in 1810. Transcendentalism was not a rejection of Unitarianism; rather, it developed as an organic consequence of the Unitarian emphasis on free conscience and the value of intellectual reason. The transcendentalists were not content with the sobriety, mildness, and calm rationalism of Unitarianism. Instead, they longed for a more intense spiritual experience. Thus, transcendentalism was not born as a counter-movement to Unitarianism, but as a parallel movement to the very ideas introduced by the Unitarians.[7]

Transcendental Club

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Transcendentalism became a coherent movement and a sacred organization with the founding of the Transcendental Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 8, 1836, by prominent New England intellectuals, including George Putnam (1807–1878), the Unitarian minister in Roxbury,[8] Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Frederic Henry Hedge. Other members of the club included Amos Bronson Alcott, Orestes Brownson, Theodore Parker,[2] Henry David Thoreau, William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Christopher Pearse Cranch, Convers Francis, Sylvester Judd, and Jones Very.[3] Female members included Sophia Ripley, Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Peabody,[4] Ellen Sturgis Hooper, and Caroline Sturgis Tappan.[5]From 1840, the group frequently published in their journal The Dial, along with other venues.

Second wave of transcendentalists

By the late 1840s, Emerson believed that the movement was dying out, and even more so after the death of Margaret Fuller in 1850. "All that can be said," Emerson wrote, "is that she represents an interesting hour and group in American cultivation."[9] There was, however, a second wave of transcendentalists, including Moncure Conway, Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Samuel Longfellow and Franklin Benjamin Sanborn.[10] Notably, the transcendence of the spirit, most often evoked by the poet's prosaic voice, is said to endow in the reader a sense of purposefulness. This is the underlying theme in the majority of transcendentalist essays and papers—all of which are centered on subjects which assert a love for individual expression.[11] Though the group was mostly made up of struggling aesthetes, the wealthiest among them was Samuel Gray Ward, who, after a few contributions to The Dial, focused on his banking career.[12]


Transcendentalists are strong believers in the power of the individual. It is primarily concerned with personal freedom. Their beliefs are closely linked with those of the Romantics, but differ by an attempt to embrace or, at least, to not oppose the empiricism of science.

Transcendental knowledge

Transcendentalists desire to ground their religion and philosophy in principles based upon the German Romanticism of Johann Gottfried Herder and Friedrich Schleiermacher. Transcendentalism merged "English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, the skepticism of Hume",[1] and the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant (and of German Idealism more generally), interpreting Kant's a priori categories as a priori knowledge. Early transcendentalists were largely unacquainted with German philosophy in the original and relied primarily on the writings of Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Victor Cousin, Germaine de Staël, and other English and French commentators for their knowledge of it. The transcendental movement can be described as an American outgrowth of English Romanticism.[citation needed]


Transcendentalists believe that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—corrupt the purity of the individual.[13] They have faith that people are at their best when truly "self-reliant" and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community can form. Even with this necessary individuality, transcendentalists also believe that all people are outlets for the "Over-soul." Because the Over-soul is one, this unites all people as one being.[14][need quotation to verify] Emerson alludes to this concept in the introduction of the American Scholar address, "that there is One Man, - present to all particular men only partially, or through one faculty; and that you must take the whole society to find the whole man."[15] Such an ideal is in harmony with Transcendentalist individualism, as each person is empowered to behold within him or herself a piece of the divine Over-soul.

Indian religions

Transcendentalism has been directly influenced by Indian religions.[16][17][note 1] Thoreau in Walden spoke of the Transcendentalists' debt to Indian religions directly:

Henry David Thoreau

In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma, and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water-jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.[18]

In 1844, the first English translation of the Lotus Sutra was included in The Dial, a publication of the New England Transcendentalists, translated from French by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody.[19][20]


Transcendentalists differ in their interpretations of the practical aims of will. Some adherents link it with utopian social change; Brownson, for example, connected it with early socialism, but others consider it an exclusively individualist and idealist project. Emerson believed the latter; in his 1842 lecture "The Transcendentalist", he suggested that the goal of a purely transcendental outlook on life was impossible to attain in practice:

You will see by this sketch that there is no such thing as a transcendental party; that there is no pure transcendentalist; that we know of no one but prophets and heralds of such a philosophy; that all who by strong bias of nature have leaned to the spiritual side in doctrine, have stopped short of their goal. We have had many harbingers and forerunners; but of a purely spiritual life, history has afforded no example. I mean, we have yet no man who has leaned entirely on his character, and eaten angels' food; who, trusting to his sentiments, found life made of miracles; who, working for universal aims, found himself fed, he knew not how; clothed, sheltered, and weaponed, he knew not how, and yet it was done by his own hands. ...Shall we say, then, that transcendentalism is the Saturnalia or excess of Faith; the presentiment of a faith proper to man in his integrity, excessive only when his imperfect obedience hinders the satisfaction of his wish.

Importance of nature

Transcendentalists have a deep gratitude and appreciation for nature, not only for aesthetic purposes, but also as a tool to observe and understand the structured inner workings of the natural world.[4] Emerson emphasizes the Transcendental beliefs in the holistic power of the natural landscape in Nature:

In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.[21]

The conservation of an undisturbed natural world is also extremely important to the Transcendentalists. The idealism that is a core belief of Transcendentalism results in an inherent skepticism of capitalism, westward expansion, and industrialization.[22] As early as 1843, in Summer on the Lakes, Margaret Fuller noted that "the noble trees are gone already from this island to feed this caldron,"[23] and in 1854, in Walden, Thoreau regards the trains which are beginning to spread across America's landscape as a "winged horse or fiery dragon" that "sprinkle[s] all the restless men and floating merchandise in the country for seed."[24]

Influence on other movements

Part of a series of articles on New Thought

Further information: History of New Thought

Transcendentalism is, in many aspects, the first notable American intellectual movement. It has inspired succeeding generations of American intellectuals, as well as some literary movements.[25]

Transcendentalism influenced the growing movement of "Mental Sciences" of the mid-19th century, which would later become known as the New Thought movement. New Thought considers Emerson its intellectual father.[26] Emma Curtis Hopkins "the teacher of teachers", Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, founders of Unity, and Malinda Cramer and Nona L. Brooks, the founders of Divine Science, were all greatly influenced by Transcendentalism.[27]

Transcendentalism also influenced Hinduism. Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833), the founder of the Brahmo Samaj, rejected Hindu mythology, but also the Christian trinity.[28] He found that Unitarianism came closest to true Christianity,[28] and had a strong sympathy for the Unitarians,[29] who were closely connected to the Transcendentalists.[16] Ram Mohan Roy founded a missionary committee in Calcutta, and in 1828 asked for support for missionary activities from the American Unitarians.[30] By 1829, Roy had abandoned the Unitarian Committee,[31] but after Roy's death, the Brahmo Samaj kept close ties to the Unitarian Church,[32] who strived towards a rational faith, social reform, and the joining of these two in a renewed religion.[29] Its theology was called "neo-Vedanta" by Christian commentators,[33][34] and has been highly influential in the modern popular understanding of Hinduism,[35] but also of modern western spirituality, which re-imported the Unitarian influences in the disguise of the seemingly age-old Neo-Vedanta.[35][36][37]

Major figures

Margaret Fuller

Major figures in the transcendentalist movement were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Amos Bronson Alcott. Some other prominent transcendentalists included Louisa May Alcott, Charles Timothy Brooks, Orestes Brownson, William Ellery Channing, William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Christopher Pearse Cranch, John Sullivan Dwight, Convers Francis, William Henry Furness, Frederic Henry Hedge, Sylvester Judd, Theodore Parker, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, George Ripley, Thomas Treadwell Stone, Jones Very, and Walt Whitman.[38]


Early in the movement's history, the term "Transcendentalists" was used as a pejorative term by critics, who were suggesting their position was beyond sanity and reason.[39] Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a novel, The Blithedale Romance (1852), satirizing the movement, and based it on his experiences at Brook Farm, a short-lived utopian community founded on transcendental principles.[40]

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a story, "Never Bet the Devil Your Head" (1841), in which he embedded elements of deep dislike for transcendentalism, calling its followers "Frogpondians" after the pond on Boston Common.[41] The narrator ridiculed their writings by calling them "metaphor-run" lapsing into "mysticism for mysticism's sake",[42] and called it a "disease." The story specifically mentions the movement and its flagship journal The Dial, though Poe denied that he had any specific targets.[43] In Poe's essay "The Philosophy of Composition" (1846), he offers criticism denouncing "the excess of the suggested meaning... which turns into prose (and that of the very flattest kind) the so-called poetry of the so-called transcendentalists."[44]

See also

• Dark romanticism
• Immanentism
• Self-transcendence
• Transcendence (religion)
• Fruitlands
• The Machine in the Garden


1. Versluis: "In American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, I detailed the immense impact that the Euro-American discovery of Asian religions had not only on European Romanticism, but above all, on American Transcendentalism. There I argued that the Transcendentalists' discovery of the Bhagavad-Gita, the Vedas, the Upanishads, and other world scriptures was critical in the entire movement, pivotal not only for the well-known figures like Emerson and Thoreau, but also for lesser known figures like Samuel Johnson and William Rounsville Alger. That Transcendentalism emerged out of this new knowledge of the world's religious traditions I have no doubt."[17]


1. Goodman, Russell (2015). "Transcendentalism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson."
2. Wayne, Tiffany K., ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism. Facts On File's Literary Movements. ISBN 9781438109169.
3. "Transcendentalism". Merriam Webster. 2016."a philosophy which says that thought and spiritual things are more real than ordinary human experience and material things"
4. Finseth, Ian. "American Transcendentalism". Excerpted from "Liquid Fire Within Me": Language, Self and Society in Transcendentalism and Early Evangelicalism, 1820-1860, - M.A. Thesis, 1995. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
5. Miller 1950, p. 49.
6. Versluis 2001, p. 17.
7. Finseth, Ian Frederick. "The Emergence of Transcendentalism". American Studies @ The University of Virginia. The University of Virginia. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
8. "George Putnam", Heralds, Harvard Square Library, archived from the original on March 5, 2013
9. Rose, Anne C (1981), Transcendentalism as a Social Movement, 1830–1850, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p. 208, ISBN 0-300-02587-4.
10. Gura, Philip F (2007), American Transcendentalism: A History, New York: Hill and Wang, p. 8, ISBN 978-0-8090-3477-2.
11. Stevenson, Martin K. "Empirical Analysis of the American Transcendental movement". New York, NY: Penguin, 2012:303.
12. Wayne, Tiffany. Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism: The Essential Guide to the Lives and Works of Transcendentalist Writers. New York: Facts on File, 2006: 308. ISBN 0-8160-5626-9
13. Sacks, Kenneth S.; Sacks, Professor Kenneth S. (2003-03-30). Understanding Emerson: "The American Scholar" and His Struggle for Self-reliance. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691099828. institutions.
14. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "The Over-Soul". American Transcendentalism Web. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
15. "EMERSON--"THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR"". Retrieved 2017-10-14.
16. Versluis 1993.
17. Versluis 2001, p. 3.
18. Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. Boston: Ticknor&Fields, 1854.p.279. Print.
19. Lopez Jr., Donald S. (2016). "The Life of the Lotus Sutra". Tricycle Magazine (Winter).
20. Emerson, Ralph Waldo; Fuller, Margaret; Ripley, George (1844). "The Preaching of Buddha". The Dial. 4: 391.
21. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Nature". American Transcendentalism Web. Retrieved 2019-04-15.
22. Miller, Perry, 1905-1963. (1967). Nature's nation. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674605500. OCLC 6571892.
23. "The Project Gutenberg eBook of Summer on the Lakes, by S. M. Fuller". Retrieved 2019-04-15.
24. "Walden, by Henry David Thoreau". Retrieved 2019-04-15.
25. Coviello, Peter. "Transcendentalism" The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Web. 23 Oct. 2011
26. "New Thought", MSN Encarta, Microsoft, archived from the original on 2009-11-02, retrieved Nov 16, 2007.
27. INTA New Thought History Chart, Websyte, archived from the original on 2000-08-24.
28. Harris 2009, p. 268.
29. Kipf 1979, p. 3.
30. Kipf 1979, p. 7-8.
31. Kipf 1979, p. 15.
32. Harris 2009, p. 268-269.
33. Halbfass 1995, p. 9.
34. Rinehart 2004, p. 192.
35. King 2002.
36. Sharf 1995.
37. Sharf 2000.
38. Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007: 7–8. ISBN 0-8090-3477-8
39. Loving, Jerome (1999), Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself, University of California Press, p. 185, ISBN 0-520-22687-9.
40. McFarland, Philip (2004), Hawthorne in Concord, New York: Grove Press, p. 149, ISBN 0-8021-1776-7.
41. Royot, Daniel (2002), "Poe's humor", in Hayes, Kevin J (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–2, ISBN 0-521-79727-6.
42. Ljunquist, Kent (2002), "The poet as critic", in Hayes, Kevin J (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, Cambridge University Press, p. 15, ISBN 0-521-79727-6
43. Sova, Dawn B (2001), Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z, New York: Checkmark Books, p. 170, ISBN 0-8160-4161-X.
44. Baym, Nina; et al., eds. (2007), The Norton Anthology of American Literature, B (6th ed.), New York: Norton.


• Harris, Mark W. (2009), The A to Z of Unitarian Universalism, Scarecrow Press
• King, Richard (2002), Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and "The Mystic East", Routledge
• Kipf, David (1979), The Brahmo Samaj and the shaping of the modern Indian mind, Atlantic Publishers & Distri
• Miller, Perry, ed. (1950). The Transcendentalists: An Anthology. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674903333.
• Rinehart, Robin (2004), Contemporary Hinduism: ritual, culture, and practice, ABC-CLIO
• Sharf, Robert H. (1995), "Buddhist Modernism and the Rhetoric of Meditative Experience" (PDF), Numen, 42 (3): 228–283, doi:10.1163/1568527952598549, hdl:2027.42/43810, archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-12, retrieved 2013-11-01
• Sharf, Robert H. (2000), "The Rhetoric of Experience and the Study of Religion" (PDF), Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7 (11–12): 267–87, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-13, retrieved 2013-11-01
• Versluis, Arthur (1993), American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions, Oxford University Press
• Versluis, Arthur (2001), The Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance, Oxford University Press
Further reading[edit]
• Dillard, Daniel, “The American Transcendentalists: A Religious Historiography,” 49th Parallel (Birmingham, England), 28 (Spring 2012), online
• Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History (2007)
• Harrison, C. G. The Transcendental Universe, six lectures delivered before the Berean Society (London, 1894) 1993 edition ISBN 0 940262 58 4 (US), 0 904693 44 9 (UK)
• Rose, Anne C. Social Movement, 1830–1850 (Yale University Press, 1981)
• Versluis, Arthur (2001), The Esoteric Origins of the American Renaissance, Oxford University Press

External links

Topic sites

• The web of American transcendentalism, VCU
• The Transcendentalists
• "What Is Transcendentalism?", Women's History, About
• The American Renaissance and Transcendentalism


• "American Transcendentalism". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
• "Transcendentalism", Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford}


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Meeting of Top CPI and CPSU Comrades: Representatives of the CC CP India General Secretary Cde. [Chandra] Rajeshwar Rao, members of the Politbureau Comrades [Shripad Amrit] Dange and [Ajoy Kumar] Ghosh, and member of the CC CP India Cde. [Makineni Basava] Punnaiah.
Present: Comrades G.M. [Georgy Maximilianovich] Malenkov, M.A. [Mikhail Andreyevich] Suslov, P.F. [Pavel Fyodorovich] Yudin, and V.G. Grigorian.
Original Language: Russian
Translated by Tahir Asghar.
February 04, 1951

Summary: Delegation representing the Indian Communist Party, including Rao, Ghosh, and Dange, discusses the internal disagreements within the ICP following the party's Second Congress, stemming largely over the question of armed struggle. Also touches on how the ICP should react to foreign policy issues, including US involvement in the Korean War.

Original Language: Russian

Present: Comrades G.M. Malenkov, M.A. Suslov, P.F. Yudin, and V.G. Grigorian.

Representatives of the CC CP India, General Secretary Cde. Rajeshwar Rao, members of the Politbureau Comrades Dange and Ghosh, and member of the CC CP India Cde. Punnaiah.

After mutual introductions by the participants of the discussion, the representatives of the CC CPI spoke about the aim of their visit.

Rao: We are very privileged to have the opportunity to come to the USSR so as to be able to get suggestions directly from the AUCP(b), the vanguard of international communism. After the publication of the editorial in the newspaper ‘For A Lasting Peace, For A People’s Democracy’ and the speech of Cde. Liu Shaoqi at the conference of trade unions of the countries of Asia in Beijing, serious differences have emerged among us regarding the political line of the party. The disagreements have resulted in a situation wherein the work of the party has come to a standstill. Everyone is expecting help and guidance from the AUCP(b). The masses are also looking for guidance. In India at present, many parties and groups are emerging, [and] each of these is trying to mobilize the masses and draw the masses to their side. Our party is demoralized, which creates a grave situation. All of us agree that we will not be able to resolve the crisis on internal strength alone. If we don’t get help, the Communist Party of India might fall apart. The party as a whole is looking for guidance from the AUCP(b). I want the other comrades to also speak. I have just stated my point of view.

Ghosh: I have nothing to add to what Cde. Rao has said. Serious differences have surfaced in the party. What these are I’ll mention later, but for now I would like to say the following: for us it is clear that without the help of the AUCP(b), we will not be able to move the party forward. We expect help from the international Communist movement and its vanguard—the AUCP(b). I join Cde. Rao in saying that the suggestions of the AUCP(b) will be acceptable to the whole party.

Dange: It is not for the first time that the AUCP(b) is giving us directions and guidance. The AUCP(b) gave us instructions in September 1947 when I was here and when Cde. Zhdanov as a representative of the CC AUCP(b) heard what I had to say about the Indian Question. It is well known that the AUCP(b) has always been a guiding force for all the parties, including the Communist Party of India.

Perhaps the question need not be explained in general terms as it has been done already in the documents that have been sent. Undeniably, the article in the newspaper ‘For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy’ served as the starting point in our differences. Maybe we misunderstood the article, so we request that we be given advice on how to interpret this article.

Punnaiah: There is an uncompromising split in the party. In order to avoid the split, we have reached a compromise. In December 1950 a meeting of the CC was held where a discussion took place on how to preserve the unity of the party till such time that we receive the suggestions from the AUCP(b). Factually, the party is split already. The provincial units are functioning independently. Centralism has been compromised. The members of the party have great trust in the AUCP(b) as the vanguard of the international communist movement. And all the left forces in the country also have trust in the leadership of the international communist movement–the Informbureau. We need to unite our party as it would give us new strength.

Rao: It has so happened that we have developed the habit of writing documents about our differences that run into hundreds of pages but have no idea of how this tradition began. It would be best if we put down our differences in writing and mention only the most serious questions, more so as, personally, I am not very fluent in English and when speaking can only with great difficulty express my opinion. Apart from this, I am insufficiently settled in my thoughts and need to think through before I can put forward my opinion. I would like to have some more time for this. We want suggestions and assistance on a number of questions both political and organizational, and we want to put together here with your help two draft resolutions on political and organizational questions, which we would take back with us, subsequently discuss, and approve in the conference.

(After exchanging opinions about the procedure of the discussion, the Indian comrades expressed their preference to speak about their views.)

Ghosh: I was arrested immediately after the Second Congress [i] of the party and let out of jail only 5 months ago. I do not have full firsthand information about what happened. Evidently, a dangerous organizational failure in the party has occurred, and the situation today is such that none of us know about the real state of affairs in the party. Repressions against the party are so severe that nobody has any knowledge about the party units in the provinces.

What is my opinion? The policy of the party before the Second Congress was a reformist one. It was severely criticized at the Second Congress. The Political Theses approved by the Congress were broadly correct, but there were a few mistakes also. In particular, there was no mention there about the stage of our revolution, and it was projected as if our revolution combined the features of two revolutions–a democratic and a socialist one. This was due to the influence of the delegate from Yugoslavia present at the Congress who tried to force this viewpoint on us.

The Congress elected the Central Committee, but the CC never met even once until May 1950. The General Secretary Cde. Ranadive conducted an ultra-left and sectarian policy that constituted a deviation from the line of the ‘Political Theses.’ In December 1948, he had drafted the documents that were approved by the Politburo. An ultra-left sectarian political line was propounded in these documents. I will not talk about them here. They are well known.

This political line was put into practice until the publication of the editorial of the newspaper ‘For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy.’ After this, the comrades began to openly criticize Ranadive’s political line. In May 1950, a meeting of the CC, the first since the Congress, was held in which 19 of the 31 members of the CC were present.

The CC approved a letter to party members in which the new political line of the party was spelled out. It was mentioned there that this political line has been formulated on the basis of the principles outlined in the editorial of the newspaper ‘For A Lasting Peace, For A People’s Democracy’ and the manifesto of the trade union conference held in Peking.

After the formulation of this new line of the party, the differences did not disappear. Instead they intensified. In December 1950, another meeting of the CC elected by the Second Congress was held, but even this meeting failed to iron out the differences. It was then that we decided to set up a unified Central Committee and Politburo in order to represent all political trends. Our CC and Politburo cannot be considered united in the sense of a unity of views. We had to take this step so as to prevent the party from breaking up.

In my opinion, the mistakes of the party after the Second Congress were of two kinds. The party made a mistake in determining the stage of our revolution and incorrectly considered that our revolution would be a combination of two revolutions.

Secondly, the party made the mistake while evaluating the situation in the country, exaggerated the maturity of the situation and the revolutionary fervor amongst the masses, and issued risky slogans thinking that the party would put these into practice and that the masses would follow them. These were the two errors.

When the masses began to get disenchanted with the Congress Party, the party failed to give concrete slogans and instead went ahead with slogans for rebellion and capturing power. As a result, though the Congress Party has been losing people these three years, we cannot say that the CP has increased its strength on the Congress’s account. On the contrary, other parties, say the Socialist Party, have benefited at the Congress’s expense.

The party could not extend its influence over the radical masses. The party just could not take up such vital questions as the increase of the government’s budget and peace movement so as to take the masses ahead step by step.

In August, the representative of the Indian government, or perhaps Nehru himself, declared that general elections were to be held on the basis of universal franchise. Until now, only about 12-13 percent of the people could vote. Every party came forward with its own program that created a great stir. The only party that had nothing to say was our party. If it had at that time come forward with a concrete program and demanded that the election be held, it would have led to success and intensified the influence of the party, but the party kept silent. The elections were postponed by one year. If the party had come forward then, it would have been able to direct the anger of the masses against the government.

The party documents state that India is in the midst of a civil war, and in one place it is stated that one who cannot see this civil war occurring does not understand the situation. According to me, this is an absolute over-estimation of the situation. A civil war as I understand takes place when there is an armed struggle between the armed masses and the army of the government on a large territory. Precisely on the basis of this over-estimation, the concrete demands of the masses were ignored.

We were unable to build up the peace movement. Why? Is it because we do not have enough hatred among the masses for English and American imperialism? Wrong. Even the Congress newspapers were against American aggression in Korea. The sympathies of our people for the Korean people are well known.

Nehru came out with a statement on the Korean question. All the newspapers responded, but our party did not. This shows that we were unable to show our sympathies for the Korean people and thus got isolated from the people.

One more critical observation. Our CC does not give sufficient importance to the industrial workers. India, undoubtedly, is a colony, but a relatively developed colony with a large working class which occupies an important place in the economy. Therefore, the working class can play a significant role in the life of the country and not only in the agricultural regions. Apart from this, it is carrying on its own struggle against the imperialists and their adherents.

The documents reflect attempts at a blind imitation of the Chinese path. The comrades cannot see the great potential that the working class presents. I consider that our differences are mainly on the questions about the armed struggle and the democratic united front. In our documents, we have tried to outline the essence of our differences. The arguments come back to the question of to what extent has the revolutionary situation matured in our country. The different forms of struggle acquire dominance in different situations. The May meeting of the CC acknowledged that at present, an armed struggle is the main form of struggle and all [other] forms must be secondary. I think this is true in general for the colonies, but I also think that the conditions for this to happen have not yet matured. For the party, it would be wrong to approve this assertion formally without taking into account concrete conditions.

I consider that the party has become substantially weak due to repressions and our differences. The influence of the party amongst the workers has declined. The last strike by the textile workers was held under the leadership of the socialists.

I consider the main task of the CC CPI to be establishing the widest possible unity of the Indian people against English imperialism, feudalism and the collaborationist bourgeoisie. This democratic front must also be an anti-war front. At present, an armed struggle cannot be the main form of struggle, as the party has lost its influence among the masses. However, where the conditions have matured for an armed struggle, we need to carry it on but present it as selfdefense. Such an armed struggle must be a part of the peasant struggle for land. Consequently, we should take recourse to an armed struggle where the conditions for it are present.

Dange: I want to make some additional observations. The differences revolve around the question of how to interpret the Chinese path. I don’t want to speak about how the party line kept changing. Our party could never work out its own line without the help of other parties. Whenever the line of the party was wrong, other fraternal parties have helped us in correcting it. After the Second Congress, the differences started after the speeches of the comrades from Andhra. Discussions were going on whether India would follow the Chinese path. Some people thought one should follow the Chinese path, especially after the speech of Liu Shaoqi at the Peking conference which proposed armed struggle as the main form of struggle. A significant number thought that we are already following the Chinese path and, in every case, emphasis was placed on armed struggle and all other forms of struggle were ignored (strikes, meetings, campaigns for peace etc.). In all cases it was stated: take up arms!

Coordination of all forms of struggles was absent. It was not taken into account that in a democratic front, the essence of which is the peasant struggle for land, armed struggle must be present. But it should be consistent with other forms of struggle. Overlooking of this aspect was what I criticized as the new ultra-left sectarian politics.

The second difference cropped up in the interpretation of the Chinese path. How [are we to] coordinate the semi-legal and legal methods of struggle with a partisan war? I do not have experience in coordination of such forms of struggle. According to the directives of the CC, practically small armed units received the orders to fight against landlords which can hardly be viewed as a partisan war. Such directives were also extended to cities where workers were given the orders to kill police officers.

In one of the letters in May 1950, it is said that the beginning of the revolution in India is just a matter of days. This is adventurism, and I speak out against such an interpretation of the Chinese path.

The question of interpretation of the Chinese path is a difficult one, and I want to clarify this issue.

Ghosh: Cde. Dange thinks that the question of the Chinese path must be explained in detail. I would want to clarify the question of what a partisan war is.

In Andhra, a partisan war is being conducted against the landlords. Partisan units kill landlords and take away their belongings. Does such a struggle lead to liberation of the territories and prevent the partisan war from degenerating into terrorist actions against individual landlords? How [are we] to accomplish the task of transforming a partisan struggle into a genuine struggle against the armed forces of the reactionary government?

The next question is about Nehru’s government. How [do you] judge its policy? How [are we to] correlate it with the struggle for peace? These are the questions on which we would like to receive a response.

Punnaiah: As our secretary said, insufficient knowledge of English is a serious handicap for us. Comrades Dange and Ghosh have worked in the province of Bombay where people usually write and speak English. We have worked in the provinces where English is not used. Therefore, I would like to be excused for an insufficient knowledge of English. [It is possible that] we will not be able to always correctly convey our thoughts.

If we were to make our remarks on the opinions of Comrades Dange and Ghosh, it would amount to repeating what was said in our earlier documents. I have difficulty; I do not know how to explain a number of questions. Before coming to the question of the ‘Chinese path’ and other theoretical questions, I want to remind ourselves of some facts.

At the time of the Second Congress, we were carrying out an armed struggle over a territory that included 3000 villages. The struggle had been going on for about 10 months. This struggle was being stalled by General Secretary Ghosh and his reformist tactics: ‘be cautious and leave a loophole for retreat.’ The struggle practically had to be conducted in Telengana against the directives of the CC whose representatives demanded that it be stopped.

But the situation forced us to continue moving ahead. During the Second Party Congress, sufficient attention was not paid to the question of the agrarian revolution in Telengana. The delegation from Andhra and Telengana (more than 180 persons) had to carry out propaganda work among the delegates of the Congress in favor of the Telengana movement. The main speaker Cde. Ranadive made all attempts to avoid the question of the struggle in Telengana and Andhra. Our delegation managed to push through a strong resolution at the Congress and thus draw the attention of all the delegates to this problem.

Many problems that were not clear before the Congress have not become any clearer after the Congress. Such questions as the question of the balance of class forces, of the stage and prospects of the revolution, of unity of classes [and] of the armed struggle surfaced, and we could discuss these. On all-India questions, we put forward a draft of a speech and asked the CC to allow it to be discussed in the Party units. The CC did not meet. The Politburo discussed and rejected the draft. We again demanded that our draft be discussed. Then the Politburo came out with the document ‘On Strategy and Tactics,’ which was a reply to our document.

We stopped all discussions. But in the provinces we continued the armed struggle in the form of a defensive struggle. Subsequently, the Peking Conference of trade unions of Asia[ii] took place, and the editorial was published in the journal, ‘For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy.’

After this, the differences existing in the Party emerged with greater force. Such are the facts to which I wanted to draw attention.

In May 1950, the Plenum of the CC took place. In the CC, only 19 out of 31 members were left. The rest were in jail [and] two were removed on allegations of immoral behavior. The first discussions that took place were very strange. Those comrades who earlier defended Trotskyite positions such as carrying out a single-phase revolution now started to say that we should begin all over again. Earlier, they asserted that there is no imperialism in India and that the Indian bourgeoisie is leading the reactionary forces. Now these comrades say that nothing at all has happened and that the Indian bourgeoisie is a lackey of imperialism. In the Second Congress, a shift from revisionism to sectarianism has occurred. All the members of the Politburo and the CC came out against the earlier positions. At the same time, Joshi[iii] published his brochure, ‘Views,’ where he defends his consistently reformist line that was totally rejected by the Second Congress. Joshi argued against the armed struggle in Telengana, beckoned us to support Nehru’s government, and proposed putting an end to the struggle in Telengana when the Indian forces enter Hyderabad. Within the party there were comrades who shared Joshi’s views. At the December plenum, some members of the CC supported Joshi.

In these conditions, the new party line was worked out. The armed struggle was put forward as the main form of struggle with the aim to show that the Party needs to utilize existing reserves.

When Cde. Dange declares that the CC said ‘take rifles and shoot,’ it is slander against the party. In many provinces, different forms of struggle are present. To oversimplify the issue means to prevent its resolution. The CC approved the new political line after the provinces, where armed struggle was in progress, had presented their comprehensive documents in which it was shown how the landlords’ land was divided, how our rule was organized, etc. Only after a thorough scrutiny of these documents did the CC make its decision.

The question that we did not create a peace movement and that we did not participate in the elections I’ll touch upon later. The CC started its work in June. There was a shortage of cadres, as only 9 persons were elected to the CC, of which 4 had to leave the provinces. The rest of the members were demoralized and were in no situation to draft a resolution. The comrades who had been released from jail did not appear in the CC for 6 months. How was it possible in those conditions to demand that the CC must do this and this and that? It is not right to accuse the CC that it did not organize a movement for peace and did not call for an election campaign.

The people who are accusing us say that we got carried away by the idea of an armed struggle to the detriment of all other forms of struggle. I do not understand why they accuse us of rejecting elections because in Hyderabad, where the armed struggle was being conducted, we participated in the election campaigns, but the elections were cancelled.

I believe that we need to come to an agreement on a number of questions. Nobody is objecting to a united National Front, but there are questions regarding the form of this front [and] about the Chinese path. All in the leadership of the party are in agreement with the editorial in the journal ‘For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy’ about the Chinese path. Comrades Dange and Ghosh say that we want to mechanically apply the Chinese path, but we believe that they have a mechanical understanding of the question of the Chinese path. They say that India is an economically advanced country. They emphasize this aspect in order to prove that India is more developed than China and say that there was an army in China whereas there is none in India and make a reference to Cde. Stalin who has supposedly said that the Chinese path cannot be applied to India.

Regarding the foreign policy of Nehru. How do we expose this policy? Cde. Ghosh said that all the parties have made their statements on Nehru’s policies but our party has not. We did not know how to expose the duplicitous policy of Nehru.

It is clear to me that as a result of our discussions, we need to put together such documents that would put an end to all factional struggles.

In the past our party has committed many mistakes, and these impair party unity. It is also important that you also give your criticism about our mistakes, as this would help us in correcting them and unite the party.

Rao. Comrades, in the beginning I would like to make some observations regarding the communication of Comrades Dange and Ghosh. They have simplified our line by typifying it by a formula ‘take to guns and shoot.’ This is a simplification that does not help our cause in any way. I will demonstrate later on that Dange is an opportunist. He accuses us of not understanding the role of the working class. I’ll talk later about why a range of questions were not raised earlier. We have articulated our communications in the document of over 100 pages. The question of election campaign is also mentioned there.

I will dwell on what is central, on the question that the armed struggle is the main form of struggle. I will talk of how we understand this question. When it is declared that we speak of the necessity of conducting an armed struggle everywhere, it is not our views that are being spoken about. We conducted an armed struggle in two regions—in Telengana and Andhra—and in other areas we employed other forms of struggle. In Telengana, we conducted armed struggle in only 2 out of 8 districts, [and] in Andhra only 4 out of 11. That is how we expanded the scale of the armed struggle. What do we understand by armed struggle? In present times, whatever form of struggle we may start, everywhere you will encounter a fascist type repression. That is why we advance the question that the masses with arms in hand should defend their right to struggle. That is why we should directly tell the people that without armed struggle they cannot protect their right of voicing their demands. Our opponents now say the armed struggle can become the main form of struggle in just a few of the regions, but they are not prepared to tell the people in the face the fact that without an armed struggle they cannot protect themselves.

There are three trends regarding this question: we–the CC; second–Joshi. Even though he is not in the party, this trend is present in the party. The third trend is represented by Cde. Ghosh. I do not know where Dange stands. As he has changed his stand so frequently, let him ascertain where he stands himself. After his release from jail he made a declaration that was in spirit very close to our view. Later he published another statement totally contrary in nature. The document put forward by Cde. Ghosh contains many contradictions. In this manner, there are three trends: us, Joshi and Ghosh.

Should we speak about the position of Ranadive?

After the publication in ‘For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy,’ he continued to adhere to his own positions and later plunged into a totally opposite direction. He declares that he supports the position of the CC, but I am not sure if he does.

Our assessment of the situation regarding the level of the consciousness of the people? As we have pointed out in our document, the Congress Party which plays the central role in the political life of the country enjoyed widespread influence among the people but has been losing it since 1947, and to the masses who have started to understand the reactionary nature of the Congress, all that the CC with Joshi at its head has to say is that it is necessary to support the Congress party. Seventy-five percent of the agricultural workers in Andhra, a majority of which consists of the ‘untouchables’, understood the betrayal by the Congress party [and] tell us, ‘if you do not accept us, then who will?’

Before the Second Congress we called for a united front of all forces—from the Congress Party to the communists excluding only the small faction led by Patel and others. After the Second Congress we have been saying that though Ranadive has been making a call for a rebellion, in reality he has been obstructing us in a number of regions where the masses were ready for an armed resistance.

During the war we refused to organize the agricultural workers as we were afraid of disrupting peasants’ unity.

When Gandhi was assassinated,[iv] clashes between the organization that perpetrated the killing and other chauvinistic organizations erupted. The government used these as an excuse to liquidate the peasant movement in the regions of Telengana and Andhra.

Our delegation arrived at the Second Congress illegally. In the Andhra party organization, a debate on the Chinese path and armed struggle etc. was going on. In response to the draft document presented by the Andhra provincial committee, a Trotskyite document ‘On Strategy and Tactics’ was put forward.

A peasant movement was also rife in the province of Kerala. The CC did not come to the support of this movement too, taking the plea that [they must] ‘first create a democratic movement and only then start to organize armed resistance.’ There are numerous such instances.

Much has been written in the newspapers regarding use of arms in the cities, but this is not true. In many places arms are simply not available. In Bengal where arms were available, Ranadive took them out of circulation. It would be untrue to say that Ranadive organized an armed struggle in the towns. He promoted terrorism in which only one policeman was killed.

We assert that our movement was on the verge of transforming into an armed struggle. In Bengal, 19 regions were in the grip of the peasant movement. But the arms taken away from the police were returned.

The leadership of the party in the past has been avoiding the question of the armed struggle. The Congress has not fulfilled even a single promise. The masses are looking towards other parties, and we have not made use of this situation. We called for a general strike and nobody supported us, and in places where the peasantry was switching to armed struggle, they were dissuaded from doing so.

The majority of the people are moving away from the Congress, which can now lean only on the armed forces. The Congress party certainly has other means, but the fascist style repression is the main method that we encounter.

Even though we carried out left-wing factional tactics that led to a decline in our influence, the people still are looking towards our party for leadership. Our party is a major force, and in some of the provinces the influence of the party is increasing. If we use correct tactics, we will be able to attract the wide masses that are moving away from the Congress party to our side. We cannot remain inactive. We are to act and act fast.

Regarding the assessment of the policy of the government, I do not know if it is possible to talk about the progressive nature of the government that was proclaimed to be reactionary by us.

Continuation of the Discussions (6 February)

Dange: Our country has come to the stage of an agrarian revolution. The landless peasants and the agricultural wage earners constitute the majority of the population of the country. Impoverishment of the peasantry is leading to a decline of production, and the money-lenders that are being helped by the Congress and the police are robbing the peasants. This is the source of the deep agricultural crisis which the government is not capable of resolving. The influence of the Congress [Party] is declining. In these conditions, a proper solution to the agrarian question must be found.

Many party organizations view the party line formulated in May 1950 in this light: create small armed groups from among the bold party members, kill the landlords, and then go into hiding in the jungles. Those landlords that survive will out of fear satisfy the demands of the peasants, or alternatively they will call the police. As a result, the peasants will learn how to offer resistance to state terror; the police will rule by the day and we by the night. And when the whole of the country is in the grip of such a struggle, we will accomplish the agrarian revolution. We will have a liberation army and be in control of liberated areas.

My objections were that an armed struggle as the main form of struggle under present circumstances is nothing but political adventurism and that we should also pay attention to other forms of struggle necessary for uniting the people that would reinforce our armed struggle. The line of the CC of our party is ultra-left adventurism in a new form. Many amongst us talk in terms that it is a matter of days or months before we start our revolution. The question that is being totally ignored is whether the party has the strength to accomplish the charted line regarding the armed struggle as the main form of struggle. And when I criticize this line of the CC, I am branded as an opportunist as the existence of fascist-style terror in the country justifies the armed struggle. It is not correct to state that the whole of the country is in the grip of a fascist-style terror, that conditions for a civil war are present in India and that under such circumstances our participation in the elections is unnecessary and we should simply arm ourselves. I think this is not correct.

I have always spoken in favor of the armed struggle in Telengana. I think that the economic crisis in the country would help in organizing such forms of struggle as in Telengana— the most backward feudal princely state under the rule of the Muslims. One should take to arms at the appropriate time, and a mechanical generalization of the experience in Telengana and Andhra would lead us to an untimely insurrection. We know of what has been done in Telengana and Andhra only in very general terms. Those regions are characterized by many comrades as regions of peoples’ democracy. We must also, at the same time, not underestimate the successes achieved in these regions.

I also want to state that the CC should put an end to the bureaucratic practice of its organizational units and move on a democratic path. I have been unjustly accused. A factional campaign has been initiated against me while simultaneously supporters of left-wing politics have been accommodated in the party. We have been wrongly accused of freezing party funds, of passing on party property to the government, etc. Some of the differences that have emerged can be resolved, but many serious ones still remain.

I want to get clarification on the following questions:

1. How should we pose the question of nationalization of land in colonial and semi-colonial countries?

2. What is the nature of Nehru’s government and its foreign policy? Can Nehru be viewed as a puppet in the same manner as Jiang Jieshi and the French government and seen as puppets of American imperialism?

3. How are we to exploit the differences and vacillations in the government circles, particularly on the Korean problem?

4. Should we have the practice of passing the death penalty to communists as proposed by some comrades if in relation to these comrades doubts remain taking into account their integrity and loyalty towards the party? Recently such a proposal was made but the punishment was not put into effect as it subsequently turned out that the comrade was an honest communist. There are fears that such a punishment can be used for a factional purpose.

5. Should the communists in India during the course of an armed partisan struggle expropriate the property of the landlords and traders for the needs of the revolutionary struggle even before creating our own organs of power?

Rao: The Congress Party is disintegrating and is losing influence among the people. Anti-Soviet and anti-Chinese sentiments are also declining among the middle class. The Socialist Party has increased its influence among the people who have been moving away from the Congress and has been forced to lead the strikes, though organizing these within the limits of Gandhian non-violence and forcing this tactic on the working class. The left parties are ready to form a coalition with the communists on the question of struggle for peace, the Korean question, and coordination of trade union activities. We cannot move ahead without making the partisan struggle the main form of struggle. Our country has reached the stage of agrarian revolution. It would be wrong to think that we need to first build a party and a democratic front and then begin the armed struggle. Our experience speaks otherwise. In view of ruthless repression, a democratic front can be created through an armed struggle, and in the process our party organizations will get established and strengthened. Life has demonstrated that an armed struggle should be continued with, as recently this struggle has spread to some other regions. We ourselves were surprised when we came to know about the strong support that the peasants offer to the units that were sent by us to these regions. They give them provisions and all other help that they need for their activities. With the help of the masses we must crush the fascist bands and only then we will be able to win the trust of the masses. Outside of the armed struggle we will be forced to do only propaganda work without undertaking any other mass activities.

I think that our struggle in the country must pass, sequentially, through three stages:

1. Partisan action on a wide scale

2. Creation of liberated areas (in Telengana and other areas)

3. Liberation of the whole of India.

Dange and Ghosh oppose the armed struggle. This is a reformist path. We do not exclude partisan resistance in any part of the country. The masses are the main factor, and if the people are marching ahead then we should support them and not wait until a large party is established.

It would be wrong to negate the international significance of the Chinese revolution. The fall of Mukden [Shenyang] was celebrated by all Indians. Dange and Ghosh do not want to bring out the question of an armed struggle before the masses for discussion.

I want to pose the following questions to comrades Dange and Ghosh:

1. Are you willing to put up the question of the armed struggle before the people?

2. Do you exclude having an armed struggle in the near future in a number of provinces where such a struggle does not yet exist?

3. What tactics do you support in those regions where the government has established a particularly ruthless regime of terror and where we are strong, in Kerala for example?

4. In which provinces does the possibility of an armed struggle exist?

Cde. Dange did not pay attention to leading the general strike in Bombay. This was wrong, and this allowed the other parties to attract the striking workers to their fold. I think that the tactics of an armed revolt and a general political strike in the cities is ruled out for us at present.

(The representatives of the CC Communist Party [of India] gave their response to the questions that we asked during the discussions.)

Question: We know from our French and Italian comrades that a special case was made against Cde. Dange. What was he accused of, how did this case end and is there any concluding document that you can make available for us?

Rao: The question regarding Cde. Dange was considered at the last meeting of the CC. Many people thought that Ranadive had links with the Yugoslavs. Refuting the charges, Ranadive declared that if there is anyone who can be accused of having links with the Yugoslavs, then it is Dange who had links with an English girl sent to work on recommendation from Dange. Ranadive also put forward a series of other accusations against Dange. An inquiry committee of the CC was set up that investigated the accusations against Dange and found that these accusations were baseless. This girl is not working in the Yugoslavian but in the Czechoslovakian embassy in Delhi. Regarding the addresses mentioned by Ranadive, the accusations were also found to be baseless as no addresses were found in the diary referred to by Ranadive.

Punnaiah: I will add something as I was a member of this committee. The question regarding the infiltration of Titoites in the CPI was being considered as was the question that the links of the Bombay committee of the party persisted even after Tito was exposed. Ranadive contended that these links were encouraged by Cde. Dange. The committee investigated these accusations and found that these accusations were groundless.

Question: We know that CC CPI, while considering armed struggle against the government to be its task, has at the same time given a call for supporting the foreign policy of this government in relation to China. This was communicated in the Indian newspapers. Maybe you are right, but we ask you to clarify how you reconcile such a call with your general line.

Dange: In relation to Truman’s statement about the use of the nuclear bomb, before our departure, a draft statement was prepared by us in Bombay endorsing Nehru’s policy on the question of condemning China as an aggressor. But we did not discuss this statement or take any decision regarding its publication. Possibly the comrades in Bombay independently decided to publish it. We were not in India already. We need to further think about the contents of this statement.

(Comrades Rao, Ghosh and Punnaiah agreed with the answer given by Cde. Dange.)

Question: You told us about the serious differences among you and at the same time in the December Plenum of the CC where these differences crystallized, [and when] Comrades Dange and Ghosh were admitted to the Politburo. We wanted to know on what principle these changes were made in the constitution of the Politburo?

Ghosh: The CC, consisting of 9 persons, was unanimous about the need to bring changes in the constitution of the Politburo. When we came out of jail, we wrote a document criticizing the political line of the CC. Factually two tendencies came to be formed. Then it was decided, in order to avoid a split in the party, to have a CC and Politburo consisting of representatives of both the tendencies.

(Comrades Rao, Dange and Punnaiah agreed with the answer.)

Question: Does the Communist Party of India have its own program and constitution [charter]?

Dange: Our party does not have a program of its own.

In 1929, the Communist Party of India, at the time of its joining the Comintern, presented a ‘Draft Platform of Actions of the Communist Party of India’ on the basis of which the Communist Party of India was allowed to join the Comintern. However, at present we do not consider that Platform as our program.

What concerns the constitution—in 1943, during the First Congress of the Party, a constitution of the Party was adopted. In 1948, at the Second Congress of the party, the constitution [charter] was reviewed and approved with certain changes.

(Comrades Rao, Ghosh and Punnaiah confirmed this.)

Question: Can you in greater detail inform us about the partisan movement in India? In which regions is the partisan movement taking place, and against whom is it directed? What is the scale —are there any regions of substantial scale that have been liberated by the partisans? Where have the partisans consolidated themselves, and if so, [where have] organs of peoples’ democratic power been created? What is the factual state of affairs in Telengana and Andhra, where, as you conveyed, the partisan movement is most developed and what kind of arms do the partisans possess?

Rao: The partisan movement is taking place mainly in the provinces of Telengana and Andhra.

In Telengana, until 1948, before the arrival of the Indian army in Hyderabad, regular partisan units were active, the total number of which was two thousand armed men. They were poorly armed and possessed 30 automatic [weapons], 200 rifles and the rest were armed with spears, swords, and hunting weapons. After the strong measures taken by the armed forces against the partisan units, the number of partisans dropped significantly. At present these units have about 500 men. The units operate in small groups at night. They are divided into groups of 5 men. The party has sent 400 political workers who do not participate in the armed raids but conduct political work among the people to support them.

There never was a liberated region with its own organs of power in the past, and there are none now.

In Andhra in 1949, there were about 1,000 persons in the partisan units. As a result of government repression, part of the armed partisans moved into Telengana, and at present there are no regular armed partisan units in Andhra.

Cde. Ghosh, making an observation regarding the answer given by Cde. Rao, said that in assessing the scale of the partisan movement, there exists a tendency to exaggerate and view any incident in the rural areas as a revolt.

Responding to this observation, Cde. Punniah said that he used the figures from foreign media, as the CC CPI does not have any information from the provincial party committees.

Question: What work is being conducted by the Communist Party of India in the army and what is its influence in the army?

Rao: The party has not done any work in the army and has no influence there. The party has a little bit of influence in the air force and the navy.

The government, in order to suppress the peasants’ actions, sends in the army units from other provinces that are as a rule not acquainted with the language of the populations where the incidents take place. A significant part of the army is recruited in Nepal under a special agreement between the Nehru government and the government of Nepal.



[i] The Second Congress of the Communist Party of India took place in Calcutta, opening on 28 February 1948. It was highly critical of “right-wing reformism” ready to compromise with the new Nehru government and called for armed struggle in a Political Thesis authored by General Secretary Bhalchandra Trimbak Ranadive.

[ii] Liu Shaoqi’s report designating China as the model for Asian revolution was presented in December 1949 to the Trade Union Conference of Asian and Australasian Countries of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) in Beijing. The speech during Mao’s visit to Stalin in January 1950 was not published in Russian.

[iii] P. C. Joshi was General Secretary of the Indian Communist Party in the 1930s and into the 1940s. He was purged from the Politburo in 1948 and forced to perform “self-criticism” at the Second Congress.

[iv] Gandhi was assassinated on 29 January 1948.
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Indian Communist Party Strategy Since 1947
by John H. Kautsky
University of Rochester
April, 1955

EVER SINCE its beginning, the Communist Party of India has sought to adhere to international Communist strategy as determined in Moscow, though it has not at all times been equally prompt or successful in making the required changes. It has always attempted to give the same answers as Moscow to the three main questions determining Communist strategy: who was, at any time, the main enemy and consequently what classes and groups were eligible as allies of Communism and what type of alliance was to be formed with them. A study of CPI strategy thus throws light on the development of international Communist strategy in general, particularly in the period since the end of World War II when changes in the CPI line have been much more clearly marked than some of the corresponding shifts in Moscow.1

Organized as an all-India party as late as 1933, the Communist Party of India began its career following the "left" strategy of Communism as it had been laid down by the 6th Congress of the Communist International in 1928. This strategy characteristically considered capitalism and the native bourgeoisie as enemies at least as important as feudalism and foreign imperialism and therefore looked forward to an early "socialist" revolution merging with, or even skipping, the "bourgeois-democratic" revolution. It sought a united front "from below" by appealing to workers and also the poor peasantry and petty bourgeoisie as individuals or in local organizations to leave nationalist, labor and bourgeois parties and work with the Communists. Though it thereby isolated itself from the great Indian nationalist movement, the CPI, according to this "left" strategy, denounced the National Congress as "a class organization of the capitalists" and the Congress Socialist Party as "Social Fascists.'"

When Moscow finally recognized the danger posed by German Fascism and changed its foreign policy and, correspondingly, the strategy of international Communism, the CPI, too, after some delays, obediently switched to the "right" strategy as it had been ordered to do at the 7th Comintern Congress of 1935. This strategy regarded imperialism and feudalism (or, in Western countries, Fascism) as the Communists' main enemies and therefore envisaged first a "bourgeois-democratic" and only later a "proletarian-socialist" revolution. It called for an alliance of the Communist Party with anti-imperialist and anti-feudal (or anti-Fascist) parties, both labor and bourgeois, a united front "from above" or popular front. Accordingly, the CPI began to seek unity with the Indian Socialists and the Congress, now referred to as "the principal anti-imperialist people's organization," although, it may be noted, these groups, unlike the Communists' new popular front allies in the West, were much more anti-British than anti-Nazi or anti-Japanese.

Although it was rather unnecessary (because of this last-mentioned peculiar Indian situation), the CPI, like all Communist parties at that time, shifted back from the "right" to the "left" strategy after the conclusion of the Stalin-Hitler Pact of August 1939, once again "unmasking" its erstwhile allies as "reformists" and "agents of imperialism" and denouncing the war against the Axis as "imperialist." While this line proved not unpopular in India, the return to the "right" after the German invasion of Russia in June 1941, which eventually resulted in such growth in Communist strength and prestige in the West and in Southeast Asia, proved disastrous for the CPl's reputation in India, for the Party's new ally was to be Britain, still widely regarded as India 's main enemy. Only under great pressure, especially from the Communist Party of Great Britain, long the CPI's mentor, could the Party be prevailed upon to shift from the line of "imperialist war" to that of "people's war."

In accordance with the continuing wartime alliance of the Great Powers and the participation of Communists in Western coalition governments, Moscow apparently expected the CPI, too, to persist in the postwar period in its adherence to the "right" strategy of cooperation not only with the Congress and Socialists but also the Moslem League, and even to combine this, at least until the end of 1945, with a relatively friendly attitude toward the British. Emerging from the war isolated and demoralized and receiving little or no guidance from Moscow (which was then preoccupied with Europe rather than Asia), the CPI could, in view of these utterly unrealistic expectations, only follow a hesitant, bewildered "right" course,3 for the groups with which it was expected to form a united front were strongly opposed both to the Communists and to each other. For a period in 1946 a faction gained the upper hand in the leadership of the frustrated CPI which, as was especially indicated in the Central Committee resolution "Forward to Final Struggle for Power" (People's Age, Bombay, August 11, 1946), even switched its strategy temporarily back to the "left." This was a fact of some importance because it was during this period that the Communists seized the leadership of a peasant uprising in the backward Telengana district of Hyderabad, which was destined to continue for five years and to play a crucial part in CPI strategy discussions. This "left" anti-Congress line was not, however, acknowledged by Moscow which, though clearly anti-British by now, remained uncertain in its attitude toward the Congress. By the end of 1946, the CPI had returned to the "right" strategy of attempted cooperation with the "progressive" wing of the Congress and also the Moslem League, and when the Mountbatten Plan of 1947 announced the forthcoming division of India as well as during the subsequent communal riots, the CPI repeatedly pledged its support to Nehru and "the popular Governments" of India and Pakistan, notably in its so-called Mountbatten Resolution (People's Age, June 29, 1947).

In the meantime, however, Moscow, along with its policy of more conciliatory relations with the West, was giving up the "right" strategy for international Communism. In June 1947 a session on India of the USSR Academy of Sciences (in Moscow) strongly denounced -- at the very time when the CPI was praising part of it -- the entire Congress, including Nehru, as an ally of imperialism and advocated instead an anti-imperialist movement led by the Communists. While thus agreeing on the abandonment of the "right" strategy of cooperation with the Congress "from above," this session also marked the beginning of a striking disagreement in Moscow (hardly even noticed by outside observers at the time) on the strategy to be substituted for it. V. V. Balabushevich and A.N. Dyakov, the two chief Soviet experts on India, identified the entire bourgeoisie with imperialism and thus, by implication, favored a return from the "right" to the "left" strategy with its proletarian, anti-capitalist approach.5 E. M. Zhukov, the head of the Academy's Pacific Institute, on the other hand, condemned only the "big" bourgeoisie,6 thus leaving the way open to cooperation by the "working class" (i.e., the Communists) not only with peasants and the petty bourgeoisie, as under the "left" strategy, but also with the so-called "medium" or "progressive" capitalists. This was to be accomplished, not as under the "right" strategy through a united front "from above" with the capitalists' parties, but rather through the united front "from below" against these parties, an approach hitherto associated only with the "left" strategy.

Zhukov thus introduced the essential element of a strategy until then unknown to international Communism, but destined to become within only a few years its almost universally applied line. This strategy had first been developed in China by Mao Tse-tung during World War II as the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal strategy of the "bloc of four classes" leading to the "new democracy" rather than immediately to the "socialist" revolution. It implied that the Communist Party itself, not in alliance with the major bourgeois and labor parties, was now considered the true representative of the interests not only of the exploited classes but also of the capitalists. The "left" Dyakov-Balahushevich line and the new Zhukov line existed side by side in Moscow for about two years, strongly suggesting that the differences between them and the general import of the new strategy were not yet appreciated there and perhaps also that Moscow at that time seriously underestimated the Chinese Communists' prospects of victory.

Far from explaining its switch of strategy, Moscow, less interested then in Asian affairs than later, did not even inform the CPI of it, but let it continue its reluctant adherence to the unsuccessful "right strategy." Only through the much more publicized speech by Zhdanov on "The International Situation" (For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy!, November 10, 1947) to the founding meeting of the Cominform in September 1947 did the CPI become aware of the change in the international line. That speech, expounding the thesis of the division of the world into two camps, did not, however, clearly favor either the "left" or the new alternative to the "right" strategy. It was almost exclusively concerned with the situation in Europe and the role of the United States, though its general anti-imperialist (rather than anti-capitalist) tenor could be interpreted as favoring the new strategy, a possibility generally overlooked at the time, when any abandonment of the "right" strategy of international Communism was widely regarded as necessarily tantamount to a return to the "left." At any rate, the Zhdanov thesis was interpreted as calling for a turn to the new strategy in an important article by Zhukov on "The Growing Crisis of the Colonial System" (Bolshevik, December 15, 1947), which, this time, expressly included the "middle bourgeoisie" in the Communist united front "from below." Nevertheless, both Balabuchevich and Dyakov continued to champion the "left" strategy for India; the uncertainty between the two strategies in Moscow had apparently not yet been resolved or perhaps even recognized.

Weakened by lack of guidance from abroad, by factionalism and by internal discontent with the "right" strategy, the CPI leadership eagerly executed what it interpreted to be the change of line desired by Moscow. In December 1947, soon after the full text of Zhdanov's speech had become available to it, the Central Committee of the CPI met and adopted a resolution, "For Full Independence and People's Democracy" (World News and Views, January 17, 1948), signaling the abandonment of the "right" strategy and containing all the essential elements of the "left" strategy. It sharply attacked both the entire Congress (thus turning from the "right" strategy) and the entire bourgeoisie (thus failing to follow the new strategy) as allies of imperialism, favored a united front "from below" against them, looked forward to an early anti-capitalist revolution (another characteristic of the "left" strategy alone) and implied that the use of violent methods was in order, as Zhdanov's speech, too, had done with reference to the colonial areas.

B. T. Ranadive, who at the December meeting took over effective control of the CPI from P. C. Joshi, its General Secretary, was clearly convinced that the formation of the Cominform and Zhdanov's report to it heralded Moscow's return to the "left" strategy.7 That he should have remained unaware of the uncertainty actually prevailing on this point in Moscow is not surprising when it is considered that he had only Zhdanov's vague and largely inapplicable language to guide him. He must have felt sure, however, that he was expected to discard the "right" strategy, and, like many of the CPI leaders, he was in any case inclined to be "leftist" and had never known any but the "left" alternative to the "right" strategy. Even when Zhukov's application of the Zhdanov thesis to the colonial areas must have become known in India, Ranadive, like Balabushevich and Dyakov in Moscow, persisted in giving that thesis a "left" interpretation, probably not so much in reliance on those two Soviet experts and in defiance of the Zhukov view as simply in ignorance of the difference between them. Moscow apparently neither supported nor rebuked Ranadive, who is likely to have emerged as the CPI's new leader more because he had long been the outstanding "left" rival of Joshi, whose "right" policy was discredited by the Zhdanov speech, than as a result of any direct intervention by Moscow.

The switch from "right" to "left" in the CPI's line through the little-publicized December 1947 resolution was publicly confirmed at its Second Congress held in February-March 1948 in Calcutta. This, following immediately upon the Moscow-sponsored Southeast Asia Youth Conference in the same city, has often mistakenly been regarded as the turning point in CPI strategy. The Second Congress formally replaced Joshi by Ranadive as General Secretary and adopted a Political Thesis (Bombay, 1949) which was essentially an elaboration of the December resolution, though somewhat more explicit on the use of violent methods and making even clearer Ranadive's fantastic belief, derived from Zhdanov's two-camp thesis, in the imminent outbreak of revolution in India and throughout the world. It is only on the basis of this expectation that CPI policy during the next two years can be understood.

There was a striking absence of comment in Moscow on the Second CPI Congress. Throughout 1948 the international Communist leaders neither clearly approved nor disapproved of the CPI's new "left" strategy. As yet the new strategy as it had been advocated by Zhukov and earlier developed by Mao had not become dominant in Moscow, for Balabushevich and others continued to include statements in their writings implying adherence to the "left" strategy. While they now sometimes confined their condemnations to the "big" bourgeoisie, thus approaching Zhukov's line, they did not, like the latter, take the crucial step of including any section of the bourgeoisie among the forces led by the Communist Party.

Thus again left without clear direction from Moscow but no doubt in the belief that it enjoyed Soviet support, the CPI, following its Second Congress, embarked on a policy of violent strikes and terrorism, especially in large urban areas. This resulted in heavy loss of support for the Party and growing dissatisfaction and factionalism within it, but this merely led Ranadive to engage in further adventures and intra-Party repression, bringing the CPI close to complete collapse. Only the Telengana uprising was fairly successful during this period. It was led by the Andhra provincial committee of the CPI, which had long enjoyed considerable autonomy and now, because of its independence and the relative success of its program of rural violence, became the most dangerous rival of Ranadive whose policy of urban violence was failing. The ensuing conflict between the two reflected in an extreme fashion the uncertainty between the "left" and the new strategy then prevailing in Moscow.

In June 1948 the Andhra Committee submitted an anti-Ranadive document to the CPI Politburo advocating adherence to the new strategy.8 Basing themselves completely on the Chinese Communist example, as was only natural for Asian Communists engaged in armed clashes and leaning on peasant support mobilized through a program of agrarian reform, the Andhra Communists stood for both the specifically Chinese elements of that strategy (rural guerrilla warfare and chief reliance on the peasantry) as well as its essential elements (concentration on imperialism and feudalism, rather than capitalism, as the main enemies; a "democratic" but not "socialist" revolution in the near future; and the inclusion of a section of the bourgeoisie as well as the "middle" and even the "rich" peasantry in the united front "from below").

Just as the Andhra document had gone well beyond Zhukov's analysis in its adherence to the new strategy, so Ranadive's reply to this challenge, formulated at a Politburo session lasting from September to December 1948 and published in the form of four statements appearing between January and July 1949,9 reached a point in its uncompromising advocacy of the "left" strategy never approached by Dyakov and Balabushevich in Moscow. The native Indian bourgeoisie, rather than foreign imperialism and feudalism, was now depicted as the main enemy, not only in the cities but (in the role of the rich peasantry) even in the countryside. The united front "from below" against the Congress, therefore, could be based only on the urban and rural proletariat and poor peasantry and could include some middle peasant and petty bourgeois elements, but in no case any part of the bourgeoisie or the rich peasantry. Correspondingly, the coming revolution would be a "socialist" one. The issue between the "left" and the new strategy was thus joined in the conflict between Ranadive and the Andhra Communists and the differences between the two were clearly brought out, while their similarities  -- the reliance on the approach of the united front "from below" against the Congress and the possible use of violent tactics -- also emerged by implication from the discussion.

However, Ranadive went further and, no doubt, in order to ingratiate himself in Moscow, where he apparently expected an early shake-up of the international Communist leadership, he sharply accused various unnamed "advanced" Communist parties for having been guilty of "revisionism" since the end of World War II. By this he meant all forms of cooperation with bourgeois elements, whether "from above" with bourgeois parties, as applied in the "right" strategy in Western Europe: in the immediate postwar years, or "from below", as used in the new strategy of Mao Tse-tung in China against the Kuomintang (hitherto considered the principal bourgeois party) -- two very different approaches which, as a doctrinaire "leftist," Ranadive was unable to distinguish. Finally, in the last of the four Politburo statements, Ranadive went even beyond this point and, relying heavily on Zhdanov's Cominform speech, attacked Mao Tse-tung by name, ridiculing the assertion that he was an authoritative source of Marxism, mentioning him in one breath with Tito and Browder and describing some of his passages advocating the promotion of capitalism as "in contradiction to the world understanding of the Communist Parties," "horrifying" and "reactionary and counterrevolutionary."10 Whether Ranadive actually enjoyed the support in Moscow as he, the leader of a small and unsuccessful Communist Party, must have believed before he would have made such an attack on the powerful Mao and whether Moscow or one faction in Moscow, such as one representing the now dead Zhdanov, was opposed to Mao and approved of or even encouraged Ranadive's step are questions on which it is fascinating to speculate11 but on which no evidence is available.

Whatever Moscow's attitude toward Mao, it was Ranadive's misfortune that by the time he had reached the high point of his opposition to the new strategy Moscow had finally, after two years of uncertainty, given its support to the latter. Quite apart from any influence the Chinese Communist victories may have had, the Soviet leaders no doubt realized that the "left" line, by regarding capitalism as an enemy, unduly limited the range of the Communists' potential supporters in their cold war with the United States to the so-called exploited classes and thus entailed the serious danger that each Communist party would concentrate on the bourgeoisie in its own country as its main enemy, to that extent ignoring Moscow's main enemy, the United States. It is even possible that both Ranadive's practical course in 1948 and 1949 and his theoretical formulations in his conflict with the Andhra Committee contributed to this realization in Moscow and to the recognition that the new strategy with its willingness to cooperate with virtually everyone regardless of class against its main enemy, foreign imperialism, was far better suited to the needs of the Soviet Union's anti-American foreign policy.

The adoption of the new strategy in Moscow was marked by two concurrent events in June 1949. One was the publication in Pravda of a pamphlet (Internationalism and Nationalism12) by the foremost Chinese Communist theoretician, Liu Shao-chi, written as early as November 1948. The cause of the delay in its appearance in Moscow could hardly have been its main contents, which, being directed against Tito, would have been welcomed earlier, but is likely to have been a passage at its very end in which the Communists in colonial and semi-colonial countries, including India, were expressly told that they would be committing "a grave mistake" if they did not "enter into an anti-imperialist alliance with that section of the national bourgeoisie which is still opposing imperialism." At the very time when this vigorous directive to the Asian Communist parties to adopt the new strategy appeared in the pages of Pravda, a meeting of the Soviet Academy of Sciences on the colonial movement was taking place. It differed sharply from the similar meeting held two years earlier. The reports delivered (as well as another set of reports presented to the Academy later in 1949 13) showed that not only Zhukov but also the former champions of the "left" strategy, Balabushevich and Dyakov, who dealt specifically with India, favored the inclusion of some bourgeois elements in the united front "from below," though it is interesting to note how much more grudgingly and reluctantly the latter two took this step than Zhukov and some other Soviet writers represented in these reports. During the months following June 1949, the Cominform journal and Pravda also showed clearly that the new strategy now had Moscow's approval by featuring pronouncements of Mao Tse-tung and Chu Teh advocating it.

A showdown between Moscow and the CPI now became inevitable. The situation, in which Ranadive, who had always thought of himself as a faithful follower of Moscow, was now hopelessly doomed, did not lack elements of drama. The end, however, was not to come for several months. Ranadive seems to have long remained unaware of the most recent change in Moscow; in fact his most violent attack on the new strategy appeared in print a month after Moscow had publicly embraced it. In November 1949 Moscow utilized the meeting in Peking of one of its international front organizations, the World Federation of Trade Unions, to dramatize and publicize to the Asian Communist parties the fact that Moscow's and Peking's views on Communist strategy now coincided. Sounding the keynote of this meeting and, indeed, of the subsequent history of Asian Communism, Liu Shao-chi in a speech reprinted in the Cominform journal of December 30, 1949, directed the various colonial Communist parties in the most unequivocal language to take "the path" of China and of Mao Tse-tung and defined this path as union of the "working class ... with all other classes, parties, groups, organizations and individuals who are willing to oppose the oppression of imperialism" in a broad united front, but as requiring "armed struggle" only "wherever and whenever possible." That India was not considered a country where armed struggle was possible (a fact of crucial importance in the next phase of the CPI's history) was implied in the Manifesto issued by the Peking meeting and printed in the Cominform journal of January 6, 1950, and had already been suggested earlier in Zhukov's reports to the Academy of Sciences.

Even the clear call of the Peking WFTU Conference was ignored by the CPI. Ranadive seemed too blindly convinced of the correctness of his "left" strategy to understand any but the most direct orders from Moscow and was, in any case, by now too deeply committed to that strategy to be able to give it up without admitting that his intra-Party rivals had been right and thus losing power to them. More immediate intervention by Moscow finally came in the form of an editorial in the Cominform journal of January 27, 1950, entitled "Mighty Advance of National Liberation Movement in the Colonial and Dependent Countries," telling the CPI to take the Chinese "path" of forming the broadest united front with all anti-imperialist classes and elements, but again pointedly omitting India from the list of countries where the use of armed violence was appropriate. The editorial thus did substantially no more than repeat the message of the WFTU Conference, but it was addressed directly to the CPl and, above all, it emanated not from Peking, which Ranadive despised as a source of Communist strategy, but from the very Cominform on which he had placed his main reliance. Thus publicly abandoned by Moscow, Ranadive's fate was sealed and his Party rivals began to close in on him, which they had not ventured to do (in spite of the utter failure of his policies) as long as he could claim Moscow's support. Still he sought desperately to cling to his authority. Instead of issuing a statement of abject "self-criticism" called for by Communist ritual in this situation, Ranadive, writing in the February-March issue of Communist, hailed the Cominform editorial but subtly reinterpreted it to justify and even praise his own strategy. It is not clear whether this was the result of his inability to understand the import of the editorial or a desperate gamble to gain time, but in any case Moscow did not accept his statement and, by remaining silent, allowed the Andhra faction to press its attack against the hated Ranadive. On April 6 Ranadive issued one more statement, far more self-critical than its predecessor but apparently still an attempt to remain in power. This, too, failed to regain Moscow's support and, at a meeting held in May and June 1950, the Central Committee "reconstituted" itself and the Politburo and replaced Ranadive as General Secretary with Rajeshwar Rao, the leader of the Andhra faction. A CPI Central Committee statement (appearing half a year after the Cominform editorial had initiated the shake-up) announcing the change in both leadership and policy was published in Pravda and Izvestia of July 23, 1950,14 and was thus given Moscow's stamp of approval.

The leadership of the CPI had fallen into the Andhra Communists' hands because they had long been the foremost champions of the new strategy in India and the only well-organized opposition to Ranadive within the Party and not because they had been selected by Moscow for their clear understanding of what was desired there. In a series of statements published after their assumption of the CPI's leadership in the July-August 1950 issue of Communist, they not only mercilessly criticized Ranadive's "left" strategy and restated the fundamentals of their own new strategy but also made it clear that, deeply committed as they were to the type of peasant guerrilla warfare they had been carrying on in Telengana, they (wrongly) interpreted Moscow's and Peking's references to the "Chinese path" as including the specific Chinese Communist tactics of such warfare, as well as the essential four-class element of the new strategy. The continuation by the Andhra leaders of Ranadive's emphasis on violent methods, though their focus was now being shifted entirely from urban to rural areas, led to further disintegration of a Party already on the brink of ruin and to what a September 1950 circular of their Politburo called "a state of semi-paralysation."15

Three months earlier, a Chinese Communist statement, "An Armed People Opposes Armed Counterrevolution," had appeared in the Peking People's Daily of June 16, 1950, and in English in People's China of July 1, 1950, thus being available to the CPI. After referring to the WPTU Conference and the Cominform editorial and specifically to the Indian Communists, it had pointed out that "armed struggle ... can by no means be conducted in any colony or semi-colony at any time without the necessary conditions and preparations." However, this pointed warning was ignored by the CPI, for even its Andhra leadership, though it took the Chinese Communists as its example, looked to Moscow alone for directives. Yet Moscow, in spite of the admittedly disastrous situation within the CPI, seemed again in no hurry to provide specific guidance on how its order to adopt the new strategy was to be implemented.

Finally, in December 1950, such guidance arrived in the form of an open letter, published in the CPI's Cross Roads on January 19, 1951, from R. Palme Dutt, the British Communist leader of Indian descent who had in years past often served as Moscow's voice for the CPI. The Party was now told in some detail that its "present paramount task is ... the building of the peace movement and the broad democratic front." Here it was also suggested that Nehru's neutralism, again and again "unmasked" by the CPI since December 1947 as subservience to "Anglo-American imperialism," was "a very important development." In the same month the CPI's Central Committee met to enlarge itself and reconstitute the Politburo by adding adherents of the new strategy in its peaceful form to its violent followers in the Andhra faction. While it was openly admitted that "differences on vital tactical issues have yet to be resolved" (Cross Roads, December 29, 1950, p. 5), a number of statements made at this meeting and in subsequent months emphasized the themes struck in Dutt's letter and thus underlined the ascendancy of the peaceful over the violent form of the new strategy in the CPI. This shift in policy, unlike the earlier ones from Joshi's "right" to Ranadive's "left" and from the "left" to Rajeshwar Rao's new strategy, was a gradual one. The leaders of both factions shared power, an arrangement inconceivable in the earlier cases, which indicates that the differences between violent and peaceful tactics, though more spectacular, are far less fundamental than those among the three strategies of Communism.

In April 1951, the CPI leadership published a new Party program (reprinted in the Cominform journal of May 11, 1951) which, in strict accordance with the new Communist strategy, did not demand a united front with the Congress as had the "right" strategy, and explicitly rejected the antibourgeois revolution called for by the "left" line. It called for replacing "the present anti-democratic and anti-popu1ar Government by a new Government of People's Democracy, created on the basis of a coalition of all democratic anti-feudal and anti-imperialist forces in the country." The May Day Manifesto of the same period defined these forces as consisting of Socialists who oppose their anti-Communist leaders, "other Leftists, honest Congressmen, and above all, the lakhs of workers, peasants, middle classes, intellectuals, non-monopoly capitalists and other progressives,"16 a perfect statement of the new strategy's united front "from below" uniting workers and capitalists. By April 1951, however, the Party's leadership was also sufficiently consolidated around the Moscow line not merely to reaffirm its adherence to the new strategy but also to issue an authoritative Statement of Policy17 on the tactics by which this strategy was to be achieved. Both Ranadive's urban insurrections and the Andhra Communists' guerrilla warfare were specifically rejected and "the correct path" was now proclaimed, "a path which we do not and cannot name as either Russian or Chinese." The view which Moscow and Peking had been hinting at for well over a year, that armed violence on the Chinese model was not applicable in India, was then elaborated at some length, though the use of violence in principle in the more distant future was not rejected.18 The immediate tasks of the Party were again described as the formation of the broadest possible united front against the Congress and Socialist Parties and the building up of the peace movement, both of which were intimately related to the essential element of the new strategy, its "four-class" appeal.

The Statement of Policy marked the defeat of the violent application of the new strategy as advocated by the Andhra faction, a fact confirmed when the Central Committee in the following month replaced Rajeshwar Rao with Ajoy Ghosh as the Party's new leader and when, after the failure of efforts at negotiations with the government, the Party in October 1951 nevertheless called off the fighting in Telengana.19 The changes in leadership and the Party's documents setting forth the new line were finally ratified by an All- India Conference of the CPI in October 1951 and, in a Politburo statement appearing in the Cominform journal of November 2, 1951, were hailed as settling all differences and disputes that had torn the Party during the preceding years. Though harmony was now by no means established among the CPI leaders, the Party leadership has, ever since 1951, been firmly settled on the new strategy in its peaceful form and, most important for its stability since then, was for the first time in at least two (and possibly four) years successful in comprehending Moscow's wishes concerning both strategy and its violent or peaceful execution.

That the CPI's strategy has, since 1951, enjoyed Moscow's approval is indicated by the publication in the Cominform and Soviet press of CPI documents, which had been strikingly absent during the preceding years, and of five major articles (within two and a half years) in the Cominform journal by Ghosh, the present General Secretary,20 an honor not once accorded to Ranadive or Rajeshwar Rao. Palme Dutt and several Soviet writers also praised the CPI's new line in the year following its adoption. Finally, at a session of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in November 1951, which offered the clearest indication up to that time of the Soviet view of Communist strategy in underdeveloped countries in general and in India in particular,21 both Zhukov and Balabushevich very clearly distinguished between the essential four-class element of the new strategy, which was applicable everywhere, and its specific Chinese element of armed violence, which was applicable in some countries but was explicitly and vigorously rejected for India.

Since this agreement on the new strategy in its peaceful form was reached in 1951, only differences on tactics have remained to plague the CPI leadership. A full discussion of these would be beyond the scope of this article,22 but some of the difficulties the CPI has faced in executing the new strategy during the past four years may be briefly noted. One of the most pervasive of these seems to be "sectarianism," i.e. the reluctance of party members to cooperate with the many non-Communist elements who must be drawn into the united front of the new strategy. Another is the tendency to form that united front primarily from above by entering into alliances with various relatively small "left" parties, in which the CPI's identity is in danger of being submerged, rather than from below by winning members away from the major anti-Communist parties, the Congress and the Socialists. Still another problem, related to that of sectarianism, is the continued hostility on the part of wide circles in the CPI toward the broad non-party peace movement which the Communists have sought to build up since 1951.

All these difficulties were aired at the CPI's Third Congress held in January 1954 in Madurai. The last mentioned issue appeared in the form of a conflict over whether Britain or the United States was to be regarded as the main enemy.23 Those who hold the primarily anti-British view, notably the Andhra Communists, are also the ones who wish to emphasize the "national liberation movement" and to concentrate on building a strong Party and who, being "sectarians," tend to look down on the peace movement where they are expected to cooperate with non-Communists. The anti-American attitude, on the other hand, is closely associated with emphasis on the peace movement and would definitely seem to be closer to Moscow's desires. Why, then, could the conflict between the two not be resolved clearly in favor of the latter, but was in fact treated with the greatest caution by the leadership? The answer is suggested by Ghosh's reports on the Third Congress, when he said that the anti-American position would lead to "full support" of the Nehru government, which the CPI seems to regard as basically pro-British and anti-American. Such a step, the CPI leadership recognized, would involve another shift in strategy back to the "right" line of a united front "from above" with the Congress. Moscow, however, does not (at any rate not yet) seem to regard the Nehru government as sufficiently anti-American and pro-Soviet to warrant CPI efforts at cooperation with it. Obviously, Nehru's neutralist foreign policy poses a dilemma for the Indian Communists.24 This was recently confirmed when their Central Committee, perhaps in response to an editorial in Pravda praising Nehru, blamed the CPI's disastrous defeat in the Andhra elections of February 1955 primarily on the Party's failure to emphasize sufficiently the "important part India was playing in recent times in the international arena in favor of world peace and against imperialist warmongers."25

The new strategy of international Communism is essentially the Soviet Union's reaction to the cold war, an adjustment of Communist policy to a situation where the major parties in a country, both bourgeois and labor, are relatively pro-American and anti-Soviet and yet where the Communists want to unite all the classes represented by these parties against the United States. This situation prevails throughout most of the non-Soviet world, and the new strategy has in recent years been applied throughout it, not only in the underdeveloped areas of Asia and Latin America, but even in the West. In countries, however, where the governments and some major parties are neutralists, difficulties of the type just mentioned as besetting the CPI may arise. Whether Moscow and the Communist parties will be able to adjust to such a situation remains to be seen. Guatemala under the Arbenz regime and Indonesia, where the united front "from below" was given up for that "from above" with anti-American parties, point one way, whereas Burma, where the Communists have for years fought a civil war against a neutralist government, suggests another direction.



1. This article is based on research done by the author at the Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1953-43. Its complete and documented results are available in his CENIS paper, shortly to be published as a book, “Moscow and the Communist Party of India: A Study in the Postwar Evolution of Communist Strategy,” Cambridge, Mass., 1954. The general concept of Communist strategy on which this case study is based is set forth in the author’s article, “The New Strategy of International Communism,” to appear in the June or September 1955 issue of “The American Political Science Review.” The author wishes to express his deep appreciation of the advice he has received from Morris Watnick and Bernard Morris.

2. For a short history of the CPI during the prewar and war periods, with many quotations from Communist documents illustrating the Party’s attitude, see Madhu Limaye, “Communist Part, Facts and Fiction,” Hyderabad: Chetana Prakashan, 1951, pp. 18-50. For a fuller treatment of these periods, also useful for its quotations and notes, see M.R. Masani, “The Communist Party of India, A Short History,” London: Derek Verschoyle; New York: Macmillan, 1954, chapters 1-5.

3. See the draft and final versions of the CPI’s election manifesto, “For a Free and Happy India,” “World News and Views,” December 1, 1945, p. 391, and “Final Battle for Indian Freedom,” ibid., March 10, 1946, p. 78.

4. For a very useful analysis, with many quotations of Soviet statements on India during the postwar years, see Gene D. Overstreet, “The Soviet View of India, 1945-1948,” Columbia University (unpublished M.A. thesis in Political Science), 1953.

5. Akademia Nauk SSSR, Uchenye zapiski tikhookcanskogo institute, Moscow, 1949, Vol. II.

6. E. Zhukov, “K polozheniiu v Indii,” Morovoe Khoziaystvo I Mirovaya Politika, July 1947.

7. See P.C. Joshi, “Views,” Calcutta, May 1950, p. 27. This first and only issue of Joshi’s periodical is an extremely revealing collection of anti-Ranadive statements made by him after his ouster from the CPI.

8. The text of this document has not been available to the author but its main features can be reconstructed from “Struggle for People’s Democracy and Socialism – Some Questions of Strategy and Tactics,” “Communist,” Bombay, June-July 1949, pp. 21-89; and from “Statement of Editorial Board of “Communist” on Anti-Leninist Criticism of Comrade Mao Tse-tung,” ibid., July-August 1950, pp. 6-35.

9. “On People’s Democracy,” Ibid., January 1949, pp. 1-12; “On the Agrarian Question in India,” ibid., pp. 13-53; “Struggle Against Revisionism Today in the Light of Lenin’s Teachings,” ibid., February 1949, pp. 53-66; “Struggle for People’s Democracy and Socialism,” loc. cit.

10. “Struggle for People’s Democracy and Socialism,” loc. cit., pp. 77-79. It is fascinating to note that Ranadive also attacked Maoism for placing its entire reliance on the Communist Party instead of the working class, ibid., p. 88, partly quoted in Robert C. North, “Moscow and the Chinese Communists,” Stanford, 1953, p. 242. He thus puts his finger on a real weak spot (from the point of view of Marxian theory) of Maoism. What Ranadive remained unaware of is that he was here attacking the very basis of Leninism, that it was Lenin, not Mao, who first “deviated” from Marx on this fundamental point and that Maoism, being an adjustment of Marxism to an even more undeveloped country than Tsarist Russia, is but Leninism in a more developed form. Both Leninism and Maoism seek to obscure their perversion of Marxism by defining the working class, in a most un-Marxian manner, in terms of its adherence to Communist ideology, thus generally identifying the Party and the class, a trick which Ranadive by distinguishing between the two very uncautiously laid bare in his attack on Maoism.

11. See Franz Borkenau, “The Chances o a Mao-Stalin Rift,” “Commentary,” August 1952, pp. 117-123; Ruth Fischer, “The Indian Communist Party,” “Far Eastern Survey,” June 1953, pp. 79-84.

12. Pravda, June 7, 8 and 9, 1949, in “Soviet Press Translations,” July 15, 1949, pp. 423-489; also Liu Shao-chi, “Internationalism and Nationalism,” Peking: Foreign Languages Press, no date.

13. “Colonial Peoples’ Struggle for Liberation,” Bombay: People’s Publishing House, 1950; also condensed from Voprosy Ekonomiki, August and September 1949, in “Current Digest of the Soviet Press,” January 3, 1950, pp. 3-10; and “Crisis of the Colonial System, National Liberation Struggle of the Peoples of East Asia,” Reports presented in 1949 to the Pacific Institute of the Academy of Sciences, USSR, Bombay: People’s Publishing House, 1951.

14. “Current Digest of the Soviet Press,” September 9, 1950, p. 31.

15. Quoted in Limaye, op. cit., p. 75.

16. “May Day Manifesto of Communist Party of India,” “Cross Roads,” April 27, 1951, p. 3. A lakh is one hundred thousand.

17. Bombay, 1951; also “Cross Roads,” June 8, 1951, pp. 3, 6, and 16. Most of the important passages are reprinted in “Communist Conspiracy in India,” Democratic Research Service, Bombay: Popular Book Depot, (distributed in the U.S. by the Institute of Pacific Relations, N.Y.) 1954, pp. 20-23.

18. See “Tactical Line,” in “Communist Conspiracy in India, op cit.,” pp. 35-48 and in Masani, op cit., pp. 252-263. This supposedly secret document on which the “Statement of Policy” was based makes the last-mentioned point more frankly but in essence does not differ substantially from the published Policy Statement.

19. “C.P.I. Ready for Negotiated Settlement in Telengana,” “Cross Roads,” June 15, 1951, p. 3; “C.P.I. States Basis for Telengana Settlement,” ibid., July 27, 1951, pp. 1-2; “Congress Game in Telengana,” ibid., August 10, 1951, p. 8; “C.P.I. Advises Stoppage of Partisan Action in Telengana,” ibid., October 24, 1951, pp. 1, 3.

20. On October 19, 1951; March 28, 1952; November 7, 1952; February 5, 1954; May 21, 1954.

21. Izvestia Akademii Nauk SSSR, History and Philosophy Series, Vol. IX, No. 1, January-February 1952, pp. 80-87, in “Current Digest of the Soviet Press,” June 28, 1952, pp. 3-7 and 43; and in “Labour Monthly,” January 1953, pp. 40-46; February 1953, pp. 83-87; March 1953, pp. 139-144.

22. The present divisions of the CPI are well summarized in Marshall Windmiller, “Indian Communism Today,” “Far Eastern Survey,” April 1954, pp. 49-56.

23. “Communist Conspiracy in India,” op. cit., pp. 12-19 and 51-52; Ajoy Ghosh, “On the Work of the Third Congress of the Communist Party o India,” “For a Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy!,” February 5, 1954, p. 5; “Political Resolution,” New Delhi: Jayant Bhatt, 1954.

24. See the very interesting discussion of the CPI’s attitude toward Nehru in Madhu Limaye, “Indian Communism: The New Phase,” “Pacific Affairs,” September 1954, pp. 195-215, 205-207 and 212-213.

25. Quoted in A.M. Rosenthal, “Indian Reds Admit Error in Andhra,” New York Times, March 31, 1955. The CPI’s failure to pursue “correct” united front tactics before the election also was criticized by the Central Committee.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:48 am

Record of Conversations between G.M. Malenkov and M.A. Suslov with the Representatives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India
Translated by Vijay Singh.
February 21, 1951

Summary: G.M. Malenkov speaks with representatives of the Indian Communist Party, including [Shripad Amrit] Dange, Ghosh, and Rao. The ICP delegation asks for Soviet advice on party organization and composition. Malenkov responds, warning the ICP to take care not to come off as a Soviet puppet. Malenkov's main suggestion is to determine a firm party line, and publish a singular and clear program for the party, so as to unite disputing factions.

Original Language: Russian

Record of the Discussions of Comrades G.M. Malenkov and M.A. Suslov with the Representatives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India Comrades Rao, Dange, Ghosh, and Punnaiah

21 February 1951

Malenkov: We have been informed of your desire to discuss organizational questions with us. As you already are aware, discussions on questions touching on the program of the party will take place in a matter of days.

Rao: Yes, we wish to talk about organizational questions. Our main organizational problems are the following: we must settle the question of the postponement of the congress and the composition of the Central Committee. Comrade Stalin spoke of the need to finish the endless discussions in the party. We consider that the party congress should take place after the determination of the political line. We will need to explain to the party masses why, when the congress has not been held for a significant period already, it has not been fixed in the current period. In our party the opinion exists that the party organs starting from the lowest and ending with the highest must be elected in a democratic way. If we in our own name say that the party congress must be put off, that would probably not carry weight. If, however, we say that this is the advice of the international communist movement, then we may convince the members of the party. Now some words on the second question: the composition of the Central Committee. From the constituents of the current Central Committee, 14 persons are left (in 1949 the Central Committee consisted of 31 persons; in May 1950 there were 9 persons). It is not representative, as only our tendency and the tendency of Ghosh and Dange are represented. Therefore, such a Central Committee cannot guarantee the unity of the party. It seems to me that Joshi must be reinstated to the party. This is necessary in order to guarantee the unity of the party. The question of the entry of Joshi as a part of the central committee would be put up by a significant number of party members. We hold contrary positions to Joshi, but I consider that he must become part of the central committee. Some trends which exist in the provinces are not represented in the central committee. They must be represented. Only thus will we go ahead. I consider that it is necessary to establish regular contact with the CPSU (b) for the benefit of resolving questions which spring up in the course of our daily practical work. In our time, we were given the advice of the CC of the CPSU (b) in 1933. In 1947, the discussion between Dange and Zhdanov took place, but the advice we were then given was half implemented. We found it outrageous that Dange never informed us why this advice was not carried out. We wish to know what advice was given to us [and] how it was sabotaged so that we may get to know particular individuals better. In 1947, one of the Chinese comrades returning from a session of the World Federation of Trade Unions had a discussion with Joshi lasting 6-7 hours, but nothing of this was reported to the Central Committee, and we learned about it only recently.

Malenkov: We can give you advice as to how in principle one should approach the resolution of organizational questions. You must excuse us as we will not manage to give you advice on separate practical problems and details. I wish to remind you that our advice is not obligatory. It may or may not be accepted by you.

It seems to me that for you to cite the advice of the international communist movement, in order to lean upon this advice to justify the postponement of calling the congress of the Communist Party of India, would be incorrect. It is harmful. You will be declared agents of Moscow and this will inflict damage on the communist movement in India.

We always avoid giving the least pretext to dub this or that party an agent of Moscow. Whether the Communist Party of India can cope with such kind of an organizational problem, we think that they can manage it. You will now have a party program. It is an important circumstance. In this is the advantage of the present stage of relations between the CPSU (b) and the Communist Party of India: we will work out the document, the program of the Communist Party of India. This document will lie at the basis of all of the activities of the Communist Party of India. It will facilitate the activity of the Communist Party of India.

The most reliable and tested members of the Communist Party must come into the Central Committee. The central committee must not represent an amalgam of the representatives of all of the existing tendencies in the party.
You asked how some individual comrades should be dealt with. First of all, Joshi. Once you have your program, the Central Committee as currently constituted will determine all activity which will rally the entire party. In constituting the Central Committee, the reliable and tested comrades must be included who have the ability to lead the party in the direction indicated by the program. Whether Joshi proceeds from this point of view is for you to consider. If I am not mistaken, there were previous discussions on this theme. It is necessary to verify in what measure Joshi will fulfill the will and program of the party.

Contact between the Communist Party of India and the CPSU (b) is necessary. It has been useful. To that measure, in whatever way the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India might carry out this contact, it is necessary to do it. We will assist [you in] this. Maybe we can think of establishing an organization of specialists in radio relations for this. We might be able to render some sort of assistance for this purpose.

Dange: At the time of the discussion in 1947, such a proposal was brought up but was left unimplemented.

Ghosh: I agree that, having obtained advice on principles on organizational questions, we will limit it to this and must leave all the affairs of organizational relations for the Indian Communist Party.

I wish to ask you, so far as members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India who are permanently situated in East Pakistan are concerned, should they be members of the Central Committee.

Malenkov: To have relations with the workers of East Pakistan is helpful. To have organizational relations, i.e., to have them as members of the Central Committee, is not obligatory.

Dange: Since my meeting with Cde. Zhdanov has been referred to here, I must inform you that after my return from Moscow I made a detailed report on this meeting to the Politburo of our party -– Comrades Ranadive, Joshi, Adhikari. There is no document of this for the reason that I was working in conditions of complete conspiracy and it was not possible to distribute my report in the form of a written document then as that would have been dangerous. I communicated all the questions including the question of radio relations.
In February 1948 the Second Congress of the party took place and in April I was put into prison and cut off from party life.

Malenkov: In past discussions we touched upon the question of instituting candidate membership in the party. This would help to raise the quality of the party and draw in tried and tested people, not enlarging the membership of the party too much but rather placing emphasis on the quality of persons taken into the party.

Dange: Yes, we thought over this suggestion and consider it feasible.

Punnaiah: After our program is published, it will be clear that we strongly made a mess-up of many questions. It will be clear that we were incorrect on many questions. For example, on the question of understanding the Chinese path of development. After the publication of the program, let there appear leading articles in the press of the fraternal communist parties morally supporting the program and the Central Committee. This would be a great help to us. I asked you also to bring clarity to some questions which I have on the problem of partisan warfare in India.

Malenkov: You will bring out the program of the party in the name of the Central Committee which will unite people on the basis of that program. Following from this, the activists will unite around the program. I think that the publication of the program of the Communist Party of India will determine our relations to them. The position of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India would be very strong. And then that fact–whatever were the earlier points of view -- acquires a secondary significance once the program comes out, uniting the Central Committee. Each one of you would be recognized as one who steadfastly contributed to the party program. This will end confusion and unite the Central Committee on the basis of the program.

Ghosh: I fully agree with this. Once the publication of our program is a fact, that will be fully sufficient.

Malenkov: Do the comrades still have any questions for us? I want to inform the comrades that if they wish to get to the bottom of difficult material problems, then they might want to take into consideration that at the present time there exists the ‘International foundation to help the left workers’ organizations.’ We can render help in accordance with this.

Rao: We will think over this and inform you.

Dange: We need to open the struggle against the influence of bourgeois ideology over the masses, particularly on the questions of the history and philosophy of India. Our youth find bourgeois psychology on these questions acceptable. Maybe the Academy of Sciences can take upon itself this specialized work in order to render us some assistance. We require English translations of books appearing here on India and, in particular, we wish to receive the Chronological Notebooks of Marx on India. We have only two books devoted to the history of India: the book of Dyakov[i] and my book on the ancient history of India. If we might find the corresponding forms to relate the scientific work in India with the work of the Academy of Sciences, that would be a great help for us.

I wish to return to the request to have a meeting with the chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, Comrade Kuznetsov, for a discussion on trade union questions.

Cde. Malenkov said that the request of Comrade Dange would be fulfilled.

[Taken down by] V. Grigor’yan 22.II.51



[ i] A. M. Diakov was a leading Soviet scholar and political commentator on India since the 1930s. In 1948, his book The Nationality Question and English Imperialism in India found opportunities for revolutionary activity among India’s nationalities. His over-eagerness was attacked in 1952, and Diakov opted for self-criticism.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:49 am

Record of a Conversation between Stalin and representatives of the Indian Communist Party
February 09, 1951
by Wilson Center Digital Archive
Translated by Gary Goldberg.

Summary: Meeting in Moscow between Stalin and Indian Communist Party representatives C. Rajeswara Rao, S. A. [Shripad Amrit] Dange, A. K. Ghosh, and [M. Basava] Punnaiah. Stalin responded to a series of prepared questions from the representatives.

Original Language: Russian

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION BETWEEN I. V. STALIN and representatives of the Indian Communist Party CC, Cdes. [C. Rajeswara] Rao, [S.A.] [Shripad Amrit] Dange, [A. K.] Ghosh, and [M. Basava] Punnaiah
9 February 1951

Cde. Stalin: I have received your questions. I will reply to them and then state some of my own views.

Possibly it will seem strange to you that we discuss everything in the evening. We are busy in the daytime. We are working. We get off work at 6 P.M.

Possibly it will seem strange to you that the conversation lasts a long time but unfortunately we cannot perform our mission otherwise. Our CC has entrusted us with meeting with you personally to help your Party with advice. We don’t know your Party and your people well. We take this mission very seriously. As soon as we took it upon ourselves to give advice we thereby took the moral responsibility for your Party upon ourselves and we cannot give frivolous advice. We wanted to acquaint ourselves with the materials and with you, and then give advice.

It might seem strange to you that we asked you a number of questions and have almost made an interrogation. But our position is such that we could not do otherwise. Documents do not give a complete idea and therefore we resorted to such a method. This is a very unpleasant business but nothing can be done about it. The situation demands it. Let’s move to the substance of the matter.

You ask: how should the impending revolution in India be evaluated?

We Russians view this revolution as primarily agrarian. This means the liquidation of feudal property and the division of land between peasants into their personal property. This means the liquidation of feudal private property for the sake of establishing private peasant property. As you see, there is nothing socialist here. We do not think that India is on the threshold of a socialist revolution. This is also the Chinese way which they talk about everywhere, that is, an agrarian revolution, anti-feudal without any confiscation and nationalization of the property of the national bourgeoisie. This is a bourgeois-democratic revolution or the first stage of a people’s democratic revolution. The people’s democratic revolution which started before China in the countries of Eastern Europe has two stages. The first stage is an agrarian revolution or agrarian reform, if you wish. The countries of the people’s democracies in Eastern Europe went through this stage in the first year after the war. China is in this first stage right now. India is approaching this stage. The second stage of a people’s democratic revolution, as it has manifested itself in Eastern Europe, consists of moving from an agrarian revolution to the expropriation of the national bourgeoisie. This is already the start of a socialist revolution. Factories, mills, and banks have been nationalized and handed over to the state in all the people’s democratic countries of Europe. China is still far from this second stage. This stage is also far from India or India is far from this stage.

They have been talking there in India about the lead article of the Cominform newspaper concerning the Chinese way of unleashing a revolution. This lead article was prompted by the articles and speeches of [Balachandra Trimbak] Ranadive, who thought that India was on the path to a socialist revolution. We Russian Communists think that this is a very dangerous thesis and have decided to speak out against it, pointing out that India is experiencing the Chinese path, that is, the first stage of a people’s democratic revolution. This means that you will have to create your own revolutionary front this way: rouse the entire peasantry and kulaks against the feudal lords, and rouse the entire peasantry so that the feudal lords feel isolated. The public and all progressive strata of the national bourgeoisie need to be roused against British imperialism in order to isolate the bloc of British imperialists and national bourgeoisie. You are accustomed to saying that all imperialists need to be expelled at one stroke, all of them, both British and American. The front cannot be created this way. The sharp edge of the nationwide front needs to be directed against British imperialism. Let the other imperialists, including the Americans, think that you aren’t concerned with them. This is necessary so that all the imperialists are not united against you by your actions and in order to sow discord among them. Well, but if the American imperialists get into the fight themselves then it will be necessary to turn the united national front of India against them, too.

Ghosh: It’s not clear to me why only against British imperialism at a time when a struggle is going on in the entire world against American imperialism, which is considered the sharp edge of the antidemocratic camp?

Cde. Stalin: Very simply, a united national front against Britain is for national independence from Britain, not from America. This is your specific national character. India is semi-liberated from whom? From Britain, not from America. India is in a Commonwealth of Nations not with America, but with Britain. The military and other specialists in your army are not Americans, but Britons. These are the historical facts, and there’s no getting around them. I want to say that the Party should not pile every task on itself, the task of fighting the imperialists of the entire world. [Only] one goal needs to be set, liberation from British imperialism. This is India’s national goal. The same thing about the feudal lords. Of course, the kulaks are enemies. But it is foolish to fight both the kulaks and feudal lords. It is foolish to pile two burdens on yourself, fighting kulaks and fighting feudal lords. A front needs to be created so that not you, but the enemy, is isolated. This is, so to speak, a tactic which makes the struggle of the Communist Party easier. Not a single person, if he is reasonable, would be willing to take all burdens on himself. Only one goal needs to be taken on, the elimination of feudalism, a remnant of British rule. Isolate the feudal lords, liquidate the feudal lords, and smash British imperialism, without at the same time touching the other imperialists. If this works, it will make matters easier. Well, if the American imperialists butt in, then the struggle against them will have to be waged, but the people will know that it is they who attacked, not you. The Americans’ turn will come, of course, and the kulaks, too. But then each in his own turn.

Ghosh: Now it is clear to me.

Dange: Will this not interfere with waging agitprop work against the American imperialists and fighting them?

Cde. Stalin: Of course not. They are enemies of the people and they need to be fought.

Dange: I asked this question so that no one would interpret the task of struggling against American imperialism in an opportunistic way.

Cde. Stalin: The enemy needs to be isolated cleverly. Propose a resolution not against American imperialists, but against British imperialists. If the Americans butt in, then that is another matter.

Rao: Among the kulaks there is a small group which engages in feudal exploitation: they lease land and are usurers. They usually side with the landlords.

Cde. Stalin: This doesn’t mean anything. In comparison with the great overall goal of liquidating the feudal lords, this is a particular case. In your propaganda you need to speak out against the feudal lords, but not against prosperous peasants. But you yourselves ought not incite kulaks into an alliance with feudal lords. It’s not necessary to create an alliance for the feudal lords. The kulak has great influence in the village and peasants think that the kulak became someone thanks to his great abilities, etc. The kulak need not be given the ability to defeat the peasants. Are your feudal lords nobles?

Rao: Yes.

Cde. Stalin: Peasants do not love nobles. You need to latch onto this in order not to give the feudal lords an opportunity to have allies among the peasants.

Punnaiah: We have confusion among ourselves concerning the issue of the national bourgeoisie. What is meant by the national bourgeoisie?

Cde. Stalin: Imperialism is the policy of seizing foreign countries. Does your national bourgeoisie really think about seizing foreign countries? Meanwhile, the British imperialists are seizing India. The national bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie of India, is the middle and big [bourgeoisie]; these are your own national exploiters. You need to say that you are not going against them, but against a foreign enemy, against the British imperialists. Many will be found among the national bourgeoisie who agree with you. The top level of the national bourgeoisie is already in league with the imperialists but this is only a part, and moreover not a large one. The bourgeoisie is mainly interested in supporting you in the struggle for the complete independence of India. It is also interested in feudalism being liquidated. The bourgeoisie needs a market, a good market. If peasants obtain land there will be a domestic market, and there will be people able to buy. All this needs to be explained in the press. It is to your advantage that the national bourgeoisie not switch to the side of the British. You need to arrange things so that the British imperialists do not get new allies in India. There are no steps being contemplated in China to expropriate the bourgeoisie. They have nationalized only Japanese property in China and even American enterprises have not been nationalized; they are operating. If you have the Chinese type of revolution you should not for the time being take steps which would push your bourgeoisie in the direction of the British imperialists. That’s the Chinese way for you. They don’t touch the national bourgeoisie in China and now it speaks only against the American imperialists and helps the Chinese people’s government. It means that one can say that the American imperialists inside China are isolated. As regards the partition of India, that this was an act of fraud organized by the British. If you outline a program of action then you should say in it that you are demanding a union between Pakistan, India, and Ceylon, [both] military and economic. These three countries, artificially cut off from one another, will draw closer together. It will end with these three countries uniting. You should promote this idea of rapprochement and the people will support you. The leaders of Pakistan and Ceylon will oppose it but the people will crush them. What this artificial partition has led to is evident from Bengal alone. In the first place, the Bengali provinces are disconnected from Pakistan.

Dange: In the concept of national bourgeoisie they constantly taught us in the spirit that the middle bourgeoisie is called the national bourgeoisie. In India the big bourgeoisie went over to the side of the British imperialists.

Cde. Stalin: Are there purely British banks in India?

Dange: Yes, there are British banks in India, and there are joint[ly-owned] banks. In our platform there are demands for the nationalization of the big bourgeoisie. This is bureaucratic capital.

Cde. Stalin: This is not bureaucratic capital, this is industrial and commercial capital. Bureaucratic capital in China was acquired from state resources. This is capital associated with the state and very little with industry. The Sung and other families received money for favorable agreements with the Americans. As regards the large industrialists and merchants in China, they remained intact. I would not advise you to expropriate the big capitalists, even if they are in alliance with the American and British banking capitalists. It is better to say quietly that those who openly go over to the side of the enemy will lose their property. Unquestionably, part of the big capitalists will bolt if a revolution flares up there. Then declare them traitors and confiscate their property, but I don’t advise expropriating the big bourgeoisie for being in league with British capitalists. Act like they do in China. If you have a demand to expropriate the big bourgeoisie in your platform then it needs to be eliminated. You need to draw up a new platform or a program of action. It is very much to your advantage to neutralize the big bourgeoisie and split off nine-tenths of all the national bourgeoisie from it. You don’t need to artificially create new enemies for yourself. And so you have many of them. The big capitalists’ turn will come, too, and, of course, then their turn will come. The problems of a revolution are decided in stages. All stages cannot be lumped together. [They] need to be decided in stages and enemies need to be beaten step by step: today some, tomorrow others, and when you become stronger, you can beat all of them, but right now you are still weak. Your people are copying our revolution. But these are different stages. You need to take the experience of the other fraternal parties critically and adapt this experience to the specific conditions of India. Don’t be afraid of being criticized from the left. Bukharin and Trotsky criticized Lenin from the left but they ended up ridiculous. Ranadive has criticized Mao Tse-tung from the left, but Mao Tse-tung is right -- he is acting in accordance with the conditions of his own country. Pursue your own policy and pay no attention to leftist shouting.

Now about the second question, about the Chinese way.

I’ve already talked about the Chinese way in the political and social area. This will be an agrarian revolution. As regards armed struggle, then it needs to be said that the Chinese didn’t talk about armed struggle, they talked about an armed revolution. They regarded this as partisan warfare with liberated areas and with a liberation army. It means it was necessary to talk about an armed revolution and partisan warfare, and not about armed struggle. The expression “armed struggle” was used by the Cominform newspaper. Armed struggle means more than partisan warfare, it means a combination of partisan warfare by peasants with general strikes and revolts by workers. Partisan warfare is still [larger] in scale than armed struggle. How did the Chinese begin an armed revolution?

In 1926-1927 the Chinese comrades broke with the Kuomintang. Having a trained army of 40-50,000 men against the Kuomintang, they broke away to a separate camp. This army was the basis for partisan warfare. They began to hide in the forests and mountains far from cities and railroads. Of course, the main cadre were there where the CC of the Chinese Communist Party was. The Chinese Liberation Army could not base itself in a city. It was lightly armed, and in order not to be surrounded and broken up, they withdrew far from cities and railroads and established free partisan regions in a number of places. They were surrounded, escaped encirclement, abandoned the old liberated areas, created new ones, tried to avoid battle, and the longer it lasted the more the Chinese communists were cut off from the workers and cities. Of course, Mao Tsetung did not want to break off ties with the workers, but the path of partisan warfare led to losing touch with the cities. This was an unfortunate necessity. Finally, they were based in Yenan where they defended themselves for a long time. They summoned the peasants to them, instructed them in how to wage an agrarian revolution, expanded their army, and turned it into a serious force. But all the same they did not avoid the serious drawbacks which are characteristic of partisan warfare.

What is a liberated partisan area? It is nevertheless an island in a country. This region has no rear area, it can be surrounded and blockaded. There is no rear area on which one can rely. And that’s the way it happened. Yenan was surrounded and the Chinese withdrew from there with great losses. And this would have continued for a long time had the Chinese Communists not decided to relocate to Manchuria. In moving to Manchuria they improved their position right away and found a rear area in the form of a friendly country. This was now no longer an island but something like a peninsula which relied on the USSR at one end. After this, Chiang Kai-shek lost the ability to encircle the Chinese partisans. And only after the Chinese had rested did they acquire the ability to conduct an offensive from the north to the south. That’s the history. What are the implications of this? Partisan warfare by peasants is a very serious matter and a great gain for a revolution. The Chinese introduced something new in revolutionary practice in this area, particularly in backward countries. And, of course, every Communist in a country where peasants are 80-90% [of the population] is obliged to add this method to the arsenal of their struggle. This is undeniable. But at the same time it follows from the experience of the Chinese comrades that partisan warfare with liberated areas has its own big drawbacks. These drawbacks are that partisan regions are an island which can always be blockaded. There is only one way to escape this ring as the victor, by creating a strong rear area, closing it off, linking up with and relying on a friendly neighboring country, and turning this country into one’s own strong rear area. The Chinese made a wise move in relocating to Manchuria. And if this had not occurred I don’t know how the matter would have ended. Partisan warfare doesn’t have its own forces to achieve victory. Partisan warfare will always lead to victory if it relies on a friendly neighboring country. It is very characteristic that before moving to Manchuria the Chinese comrades did not want to attack, fearing encirclement, and only after this move did they deliberately begin to attack and have success against the forces of Chiang Kai-shek. These drawbacks of partisan warfare need to be considered. They tell us there [in India] that partisan warfare is completely sufficient to achieve the victory of the revolution in India. This is incorrect. Conditions in China were much more favorable than in India. There was a trained People’s Liberation Army in China. You do not have a trained army. China does not have such a dense rail network as India and this is a great convenience for partisans. You have fewer opportunities for successful partisan warfare than China. India is more developed than China industrially. This is good from the point of view of progress but poor from the point of view of partisan warfare. No matter what detachments and liberated areas you would create they would still remain little islands. You don’t have such a friendly neighboring country on which you could rely as a backbone as the Chinese partisans created, having the USSR at their back.

Afghanistan, Iran, and Tibet, where the Chinese Communists cannot yet reach…This is not such a rear area as the USSR. Burma? Pakistan? These are all land borders and the rest are maritime. Therefore you need to look for an alternative [vykhod].

Is partisan warfare necessary? Unquestionably, it is.

Will you have liberated areas and a people’s liberation army?

Will there be such areas and will there also be the possibility of having such an army? But this is insufficient for victory. Partisan warfare needs to be combined with revolutionary actions by the workers. Without this, partisan warfare alone cannot have success. If the Indian comrades could organize a serious, general rail strike then this would paralyze the activity of the country and government and give great aid to partisan warfare. Take the peasant…If you tell him that here’s partisan warfare for you and you’ll do everything with it then the peasant will ask why you’re imposing the burden of the struggle on him alone, what will the workers be doing? And he won’t agree to take the entire burden of the revolution on himself. He is smart enough, he recognizes that all evil comes from the city, taxes, etc. He would like to have an ally in the cities.

If you tell him that he will wage a struggle together with the worker he will understand and accept this. It was this way here in Russia. You need to pursue a struggle not only among the peasants and not just create partisan detachments, but also pursue serious intensive work among the working class and gain their trust, winning over a majority, and you need to also have armed detachments among the workers, prepare strikes by the workers and railroad men, and have detachments of workers in the cities.

When these two streams merge victory can be considered secured. You know that in Russia in 1905 the Czar yielded to the people, gave [them] a Duma and a number of other freedoms. The Czar was forced to yield.

What caused the Czar such fear? A rail strike! The capital was cut off from the country. The railroad workers only let delegates of the workers into Peterburg, but no goods, nothing else.

The importance to the revolution of rail strikes is very great and this would help partisan detachments.

Then, work among garrisons and soldiers. In 1917 before we propagandized so much among the soldiers that the entire garrison was on our side.

What got the soldiers? The issue of land.

This is such a weapon which even the Cossacks, these Praetorians of the Czar, could not resist. If you pursue a correct policy you can foster revolutionary sentiments and provoke dissension in reactionary circles.

The Chinese way was good for China.

It is insufficient for India where a proletarian struggle in the cities needs to be combined with the struggle of the peasants. Some people think that the Chinese comrades are against such a combination. This is incorrect. Would Mao Tse-tung not have been pleased if the workers of Shanghai had struck when his troops were moving on Nanking or military factory workers had struck? Of course not. But this didn’t happen because Mao lost contact with the cities. Of course, Mao Tse-tung would have been pleased if the railroad men had struck and Chiang Kai-shek would have been deprived of the ability to receive shells. Yet the lack of contact with the workers was a sad necessity, but not an ideal situation. It would be an ideal situation if you were to manage what the Chinese were not able to do, combining a peasant war with the struggle of the working class.

Dange: We have almost turned partisan warfare into theory without the participation of the workers.

Cde. Stalin: If Mao Tse-tung knew this he would curse you. ( Laughter). Let’s turn to the next question. Can Nehru’s government be considered a puppet of British imperialism just as the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek is a puppet of American imperialism or the current French government of [Rene] Pleven is a puppet of the same American imperialists?

In my opinion, Chiang Kai-shek could not be considered a puppet when his base was in China. He became a puppet when he moved to Formosa. I cannot consider Nehru’s government to be a puppet. He has his own roots among the population nevertheless.
This is not the government of Bao Dai…Bao Dai is really a puppet. Hence it follows that partisan war in India cannot be considered the main form of struggle; maybe it needs to be called the highest form of struggle? The peasants have: a boycott of merchants, a strike by agricultural workers, a refusal to work by lessees [Translator’s note: tenant farmers], individual clashes with landlords, the seizure of landlords’ lands, and then partisan warfare as the highest form of struggle. The same with the workers: a local strike, an industry [strike], a political strike, and a general political strike as a precursor to an uprising, and then an armed uprising as the highest form of struggle. It cannot therefore be said that partisan warfare is the main form of struggle in the country. It is also incorrect to say that a civil war is in full swing in the country right now. This is wrong, there isn’t one right now. They seized land in Telengana but it doesn’t mean anything for now. This is still an initial open struggle, but not the main form of struggle. India is still far from it. Peasants need to be taught struggle in small issues -- a reduction of rent payments, a reduction of the share of the harvest paid to the landlord, etc. Cadre need to be instructed in such small issues, but not to talk right away about armed struggle. If a wide-scale armed struggle were to begin then you would have serious difficulties since your Party is weak.

It is necessary for the Party to be strong and that the struggle of the masses be channeled in the necessary direction and that sometimes the masses [need to] be restrained. How did we begin in 1917?

We had many sympathizers in the army and navy, and we had the Moscow and Leningrad [SIC] soviets. However we restrained the insurrectionist workers movement. Demands to dissolve the provisional government were presented. But this did not enter into our plans, for the Leningrad garrison was not in our hands. In July the workers of the large Putilov plant where 40-50,000 people worked began a demonstration with sailors and soldiers behind them. They demanded the overthrow of the provisional government and came to the CC building with these demands. We dissuaded them, for all was not yet ready. We knew that we were headed for a serious uprising. There was an objective factor of an uprising, when the masses were rushing forward, but there was no subjective factor of an uprising. The Party was not yet ready.

We raised the question of an uprising one month [before], in September. We decided to organize an uprising, but it was supersecret. And when Politburo members Kamenev and Zinov’yev came out against the uprising in the press, considering it a foolhardy venture [avantyura], Lenin declared them to be traitors and said that they had betrayed our plans to [our] enemies. Therefore one cannot shout about an uprising [or] the element of surprise of the uprising will disappear.

Here Cde. Rao says, let’s speak to the people and ask them about an armed uprising…This cannot be done, one cannot shout about one’s plans [or] they’ll arrest all of you. I’ll assume that, let’s say, the peasants say: yes, it’s necessary to have an uprising. But this still does not mean that you need to follow the people and lag behind them. To direct means to lead people behind you. With regard to the advisability of such an uprising the people sometimes say that they are ready for an uprising based on the facts and events of their region, but not from the point of view of the entire country. This question needs to be decided by the CC. If [this] is clear, let’s move to the next question.

The Indian comrades: Yes, it’s clear.

Cde. Stalin: You ask whether the Party organization can issue a death sentence to a Party member for treason in which doubts have arisen.

It cannot. Lenin always taught that the highest form of punishment which the CC could issue was expulsion from the Party, but when the Party comes to power and some Party member violates the laws of revolution then the government calls him to account. It is evident from several of your documents that comrades are frequently inclined in the direction of individual terror with respect to enemies. If you are asking us Russian Communists about this, then we should tell you that here our Party was always taught in the spirit of repudiating individual terror. If the people themselves are fighting against landlords and kill a landlord in a clash, then we do not consider this individual terror inasmuch as the masses participated in this clash. If the Party itself organizes terrorist detachments to kill a landlord and manages without the involvement of the masses, then we always speak against this as against individual terror. Such vigorous actions of individual terrorists in conditions of passivity by the masses kill the spirit of spontaneous activity of the masses and instills a spirit of passivity in the masses, for the people reason this way: we cannot act, there is a hero who will work for us. Thus there is a hero and, on the other hand, there is a mob which is not participating in the struggle. Such actions are very dangerous from the point of view of instilling and organizing active participation by the masses.
There was a party, the Social Revolutionaries, in Russia which had special detachments and terrorized the chief ministers. We always spoke out against this party. This party lost any credit among the masses. We are against theory, the hero and the mob.

You also ask now, how should the question about the nationalization of land in India now be raised?

You don’t need to advance this demand at this stage. On the one hand, it is impossible to advance demands to divide the landlords’ land and at the same time say that the land ought to be transferred to the state. The nationalization of land was never proclaimed in the countries of the people’s democracies, and certainly not in China. How did they act in the countries of the people’s democracies? They prohibited the purchase and sale of land. This is the approach to nationalization. Only the state can obtain land. The accumulation of land in the hands of private individuals is prohibited. It is not to your advantage right now to promote a demand for nationalization.

Some of your comrades think that a civil war is underway in India. It is still early to talk about this. Conditions there for a civil war are increasing, but they have still not developed.

What are you to do now?

It would be good for you to have some sort of platform or, let’s say, an action program. Of course, you will have differences. We also had differences but we decided a question this way: what the majority was decided was the law. And even those comrades who did not agree with the decision of the majority carried out this decision honorably since the Party can have only a single will. You all want discussions. This can be allowed in peacetime but a revolutionary situation is building in your country and this luxury cannot be permitted there. This is why you have so few people in the Party, because your endless discussions confuse the masses.
The Russian Bolsheviks held open discussions in the period between 1903 and 1912, inasmuch as this was possible in Czarist conditions, in order to drive out the Mensheviks. Then when we had a policy of schism [raskol]. But you don’t have such a situation where the Party includes enemies. After we kicked out the Mensheviks in 1912 and created our own Party free of Mensheviks the Party became homogeneous. There were also differences. Then we gathered in a narrow circle [of people], discussed the question and simply acted the way the majority decided. After the Bolsheviks came to power Trotsky imposed a discussion on the Party which we didn’t want but which they began since Trotsky had stated provocatively that the Party allegedly did not want discussions because the Party was afraid of the truth. We commenced discussions and defeated Trotsky. But this was a discussion against which stood the entire Party. If a Party is more or less homogeneous and has ideological unity then such a Party does not need a discussion. A discussion needs to be held only in a narrow circle, not moved to the press. What the majority decides is law.

Ghosh: Cde. Stalin is right. Open discussion is not permissible impermissible for us anymore.

Cde. Stalin: asks if there is an institution of sympathizers in the Indian Communist Party.

Rao and Dange: No, we have only Party members.

Cde. Stalin: There are 5,600,000 members and 800,000 candidate members in our Party. What is the importance of the candidates’ probationary period? Earlier, we screened those who wanted to join the Party before accepting them into membership. We kept some four or five years [as candidate members], screening them and training them. Many want to join the Party, but they should first be screened and, second, need to be trained. [They] need elemental socialist education and then accept [them]. In our experience, this institution of candidate membership has proven its worth. We have a dense layer of sympathizers around the Party. But we should not crowd the Party with new members, we should not expand the Party very much. The quality of the people being accepted, not the quantity of Party members, needs to put ahead of everything else.

You also ask me, under what conditions can a partisan war be initiated? Partisan warfare cannot have great importance in the leading capitalist countries. Here they would quickly catch a partisan. Partisan warfare has especially great importance in less-developed [sredne-razvitye] and backward countries. For example, it is very difficult to start a partisan war in the United States of America or Germany. There are many large cities, extensive rail networks, and industrial areas there, and partisans would quickly be caught in these conditions. It is necessary that the mass of people consider themselves the hero, but they consider a hero to be instruments [ispolnitel’] of their own will so that individual acts directed against the enemy lead not to passivity by the masses but to activism. What happened in Telengana needs to be supported in every way, of course. These are the first shoots of a civil war, but you need not just hope for a partisan war. It helps, of course, but it needs help itself. [You] need to work more among the people, among the workers, in the army, and among intelligentsia and the peasantry. If armed detachments exist among the workers they could seize government offices in the event of turmoil. We had a worker’s guard in Leningrad, we trained it, and the workers were of great service during the uprising and seized the Winter Palace. Our peasantry had great help from the working class. Generally speaking, of all the classes of society, the peasantry trusted the working class the most. These two forms of struggle need to be combined, the struggle of the workers and the peasants, peasant uprisings and the actions [vystupleniya] of workers.

You remember the events in Indonesia. There were good Communist Party leaders in Indonesia but they allowed themselves to provoke a premature uprising. These were good, devoted, brave people, but they allowed themselves a provocation and perished.

It would be good for you to have a platform or an action program. Put agrarian revolution at the top of this platform or program.

You ask me also about the nature of Nehru’s foreign policy. This is a game, maneuvers, calculated to show that they are supposedly against American policy. In fact the Nehru government is playing between Britain and America.

Cdes. Rao, Dange, Ghosh, and Punnaiah thank Cde. Stalin for the conversation and declare that they will reconsider all their actions on the basis of the instructions of Cde. Stalin and act in accordance with these instructions.

Cde. Stalin: I gave you no instructions. This is just advice, which is not obligatory for you. You can accept it or not.

The conversation lasted over three hours

Transcribed [zapisal] by V. Grigor’yan 10.II.51

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:54 am

Pavel Yudin
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Accessed: 4/16/20

Pavel Fyodorovich Yudin (Russian: Павел Фёдорович Юдин; 6 September [O.S. 26 August] 1899 – 10 April 1968) was a Soviet communist official specialising in the fields of culture and philosophy, and later a diplomat. He was a hard line supporter of Joseph Stalin.


The son of peasants, Yudin worked as a lathe operator in a railway workshop in 1917-19. He joined the Russian Communist Party in 1918, served in the Red Army 1919-21, and graduated from the Zinoviev University (later renamed the Stalin University) in Leningrad in 1924, after which he began a post graduate course at the Institute of Red Professors, where he was one of the minority of students who supported Stalin against the right wing opposition, led by Nikolai Bukharin, who opposed the forced collectivisation of agriculture.

Yudin was one of three signatories of an article, published in Pravda on 7 June 1930, denouncing Abram Deborin, who was the leading soviet communist philosopher of the 1920s.[1] Deborin regarded the late Georgi Plekhanov as the most authoritative Russian Marxist philosopher. Yudin and his co-signatories - who included his long time colleague M. B. Mitin - upheld Vladimir Lenin as the greater philosopher. Unable to dislodge Deborin from his commanding position in the Institute of Red Professors, or his control over the scientific magazine Под Знаменем Марксисма (Pod Znamenem Marxisma - Under the Banner of Marxism, they made a direct appeal to Stalin in December 1930 to intervene. Stalin met the leaders of the party organisation within the Institute of Red Professors to tell them that Deborin was guilty of 'Menshevik idealism'. Yudin went on to claim that “the works of Comrade Stalin continue the best traditions of the founders of Marxism.”.[2]

In January 1931, Yudin was co-opted onto the editorial board of Under the Banner of Marxism. In 1932-1938, he was Director of the Institute of Red Professors. From May 1933, until 1937, he was chief editor of the magazine Литературни Критик (Literaturni Kritic - Literary Critic). In 1934-37, he was deputy head of the Culture department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Conflict with Gorky

In April 1932, Yudin signed one of the first attacks on RAPP, and its leader Leopold Averbakh, on the day when Stalin ordered RAPP to disband and be incorporated in the new Union of Soviet Writers. Yudin was one of the original members of the organising committee of the Writers Union, but very soon earned the contempt of its Chairman, the writer Maxim Gorky, who wrote Stalin a long letter on 2 August 1934 accusing Yudin of promoting "intellectually feeble men." He added:

My attitude to Yudin is becoming more and more negative. I'm offended by his peasant cunning, his lack of principle, his duplicity, and the cowardice of someone who, while aware of his own personal impotence, attempts to surround himself with people even more insignificant and to hide among them.[3]

Role in the Purges

During the Great Purge, according to the Yugoslav communist leader, Josip Broz Tito "in the Soviet Union there was a joke about Yudin, that he was 'the best philosopher among the NKVD-men and the best NKVD-man among the philosophers."[4] In April 1937, he sent Stalin and Lazar Kaganovich a lengthy memo denouncing the playwright Vladimir Kirshon as an associate of Averbakh and of the ousted former NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda, both recently arrested, saying that Kirshon and Averbakh had "held discussions of a Trotskyite nature", and that Kirshon had undergone a "repugnant Political and personal disintegration." He also accused Gorky's long-serving former secretary Pyotr Kryuchkov of having 'poisoned' Gorky's relations with the writers union. Those four were all executed, but the historian Isaak Mints survived despite being denounced by Yudin, in the same letter as "a two-faced Janus, the toady of Yagoda and Kryuchkov."[5]

Post War Career

In 1937-1946, Yudin was director of OGIZ (the Association of State Books and Magazines), the state publishing house. In 1939-1944 he was also Director of the Institute of Philosophy of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1940-42, Yudin and Mitin edited the three volume История философий (Istoriya filosofi - History of Philosophy), which won the 1942 Stalin Prize, reputedly the first book on philosophy to achieve that award. But in May 1944, the third volume was attacked in an editorial in the magazine Bolshevik for allegedly failing to recognise that the philosopher Georg Hegel was a German nationalist and racist. The Stalin Prize committee revised its previous decision, saying that the prize was for the first two volumes of the History of Philosophy, and Yudin and Mitin were sacked from the positions they held in the Institute of Philosophy and on the board of Under the Banner of Marxism. Yudin suffered another humiliation in October 1946, when he was accused of having mismanaged OGIZ, and was sacked.[6]

These setback in Yudin's were obviously connected to the rise of Andrei Zhdanov, who emerged around 1946 as the Soviet communist party's chief ideologist and Stalin's successor-in-waiting. That Yudin was frightened of Zhdanov is evident from the eye witness account by the Serbian communist Koca Popovic:

At the end of 1947 I paid a visit to Zhdanov about some problems relating to Albania. While we were discussing the matter, the telephone rang and Zhdanov told me that Yudin was coming with an issue of the Cominform journal, published in Belgrade. A few minutes later the door opened and Yudin came in, bowing towards Zhdanov while he was approaching him. He left the newspaper on the table and retreated, bowing all the time. He covered in that way more than six or seven yards, because the room was rather large, and in bowing himself out he backed into the door, while nervously trying to find the doorknob with his hand.[7]

Diplomatic career

When Cominform was founded, in October 1947, Yudin was appointed editor of the Cominform journal, For a Lasting Peace, For a People's Democracy!, based in Belgrade, which was then the capital of Yugoslavia. There he played a major role in the split between the USSR and Yugoslavia, which culminated in the Yugoslav communist party's expulsion from Cominform, and a failed attempt by Moscow to destroy the Tito regime. In March 1948, Yudin suppressed an article written for the journal by the Yugoslav communists Vladimir Dedijer and Radovan Zogović, which had expressed solidarity with liberation movements in Asia.[8] In that instance, he was almost certainly following orders, because he was allowed almost no initiative while running this magazine, every issue of which had to be sent to Moscow for approval before it could be published.[9] - but according to the future Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, he used his position to sow trouble between Tito and Stalin, by sending Stalin a report alleging that the Yugoslavs had made insulting remarks about the military and technical advisers sent to them from the Soviet Union. The report was circulated to members of the Soviet Politburo[10] Soon afterwards, the Soviet Union withdrew its advisers. On 27 March 1948, the Soviet leadership sent a letter Tito setting out various complaints, including an allegation that Yudin was under surveillance in Belgrade.[11] Tito later alleged: "Yudin's work in Belgrade was not restricted to the paper. He took an active part in preparing the final reckoning with Yugoslavia. He tried hard to poison relations between Yugoslavia and her neighbours, especially Bulgaria and Albania."[12]

In 1950, when Stalin was concerned that China might be the next communist country to refuse to recognise him as leader of the communist bloc, Yudin was dispatched to Beijing, to assist in arranging publication of the works of Mao Zedong. According to Khrushchev, this was at Mao's request, because "Mao wanted an educated man to help him put his works into proper shape and catch any mistakes in Marxist philosophy before Mao's works were published."[13]

He was back in Moscow in October 1952, for the 19th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, at which he was made a member of the Central Committee and a candidate member of the Praesidium of the Central Committee. After the Congress, he was sent to Berlin as political advisor to the Soviet Control Commission in East Germany. In 1953, he was promoted to the post of Deputy High Commissioner of the USSR in East Germany.[14]

Yudin was Soviet Ambassador to China from 3 December 1953 to 15 October 1959. He was re-elected to the Central Committee at the 20th Party Congress in 1956 (the one during which Khrushchev delivered the Secret Speech exposing Stalin's crimes.) Having delivered a speech to the Central Committee plenum afterwards, Yudin reputedly exclaimed, purely out of habit "Long live Comrade Stalin!" - which produced an embarrassed silence, followed by an apology from the speaker.
[15] He was recalled from China after the split between the USSR and China, which followed Khrushchev's meeting with President Eisenhower in Camp David. On his return, he blamed Khrushchev, rather than Mao, for the split, to which Khrushchev retorted: "I might remark with some justification that we were sure to have discord with any country where Yudin was sent as ambassador. Yudin was sent to Yugoslavia and we had a falling out with Tito. Yudin went to China, and we had a falling out with Mao. This is no coincidence."[16]

In 1960-68, Yudin worked at the Institute of Philosophy of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

In Literature

Yudin is mentioned by name in Vasili Grossman's classic novel, Life and Fate, when a soldier named Vavilov tells his comrades: "Once, I had to drive a lecturer from Moscow to the front - -Pavel Fyodorovich Yudin. The member of the Military Soviet had said that it would be the end of me if I lost so much as a hair off his head. Now that was really hard work. We had to dive straight into the ditch if a plane came anywhere near. But Comrade Yudin certainly knew how to take care of himself -- I'll say that for him."


1. "Юдин, Павел Фёдорович". Википедия. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
2. Ogurtsov, Alexander. "Подавлени Философии".
3. Katerina Clark, and Evgeny Dobrenko (2007). Soviet Culture and Power, A History in Documents, 1917-1953. New Haven: Yale U.P. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-300-10646-6.
4. Dedijer, Vladimir (1954). Tito Speaks, His Self Portrait and Struggle with Stalin. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 306.
5. Clark, and Dobrenko. Soviet Culture. pp. 311–12.
6. Hahn, Werner G. (1982). Postwar Soviet Politics, The Fall of Zhdanov and the Defeat of Moderation 1946-53. Ithaca: Cornell U.P. pp. 71-73. ISBN 0-8014-1410-5.
7. Dedijer. Tito Speaks. p. 307.
8. Ra'anan, Gavriel D. (1983). International Policy Formation in the USSR, Factional "Debates" during the Zhdanovshchina. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon. p. 114. ISBN 0-208-01976-6.
9. Dedijer. Tito Speaks. p. 308.
10. Khrushchev, Nikita (1971). Khrushchev Remembers. London: Sphere. p. 341.
11. Hahn. Postwar Soviet Politics. p. 99.
12. Dedijer. Tito Speaks. p. 308.
13. Khrushchev Remembers. pp. 427–28.
14. Vergasov, Fateh. "Павел Фёдорович Юдин". Псевология (Pseudology). Retrieved 19 January 2019.
15. "Юдин, Павел Фёдорович". Википедия. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
16. Khrushchev Remembers. p. 427.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 1 of 2

Caste and the Andhra Communists
by Selig S. Harrison
University of California (Berkeley)
American Political Science Review, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp. 378-404
June 1956

The primary raw material of Communist power in economically less developed regions of the world is neither the landless peasant with outstretched rice bowl nor the intellectual in search of a cause. Even more basic than these frequently summoned symbols, the realpolitik of social tensions determines political events where economic scarcity aggravates the particularisms dividing man from man.

This contention gains strength from a study of Communist fortunes in a representative Asian setting. With little or no industrial economy to ease population density and underemployment, Andhra State on the southeast coast of India bears the familiar marks of Asian poverty. Here has emerged the most successful regional Communist movement in India. Yet the explanation for Andhra Communist strength does not lie in economic factors. The postwar decade in Andhra demonstrates that social factors can relegate even unusually powerful economic factors to a position of secondary importance.

A comparative analysis spanning three elections in Andhra shows that Communist success has depended primarily on the effective manipulation of social tensions. In Andhra these tensions have been twofold: the rivalry between two rising peasant proprietor caste groups, and the struggle of all Andhra, a Telugu-speaking region of 20,507,801 people, to win linguistic identity as a separate province within the Indian Union. Communist candidates have won their margins of victory most often when they have been able to exploit allegiance to caste and to language region. They have made the most of economic despair, signs of decay in the governing Congress party, and the reflected glory of international communism, but these alone do not get to the bottom of the Communist roots in Andhra soil.

The present study seeks to establish the crucial importance of caste manipulation as a source of Andhra Communist strength.1 This is not to say that Communists monopolize exploitation of caste. Inevitably the institution of caste, so peculiarly integral to all Hindu social organization, pervades the entire political system in predominantly Hindu India. Whether caste in India lends itself more readily to political manipulation than do social factors elsewhere has not yet been explored. But Hindu caste discipline clearly wields a measure of political influence in India that cries for serious study. While the non-Hindu who presumes to assess this influence cannot escape his own limitations as an outsider, he sees at the same time that those in the fold who could speak with greater authority rarely do so by the very fact of their personal position.

As an example of Hindu caste discipline in political motion, the postwar decade in Andhra merits special attention. Caste has played so fundamental a role during this period that this examination becomes in effect a case history in the impact of caste on India's representative institutions.

The accident of three free elections within a decade in Andhra -- 1946, 1951, and 1955 -- makes Andhra a uniquely convenient unit of study. The first of these elections came only a year before independence. The British Indian regime conducted a limited franchise ballot to choose provincial legislatures which, in turn, named the constitution-writers of India's first Constituent Assembly. By 1951, Prime Minister Nehru's government had launched nationwide direct elections on a basis of general adult franchise to select new members both of the lower house of the Indian Parliament and of state assemblies. The 1951 balloting set a relatively stable political pattern throughout India, with the notable exceptions of Andhra, Travancore-Cochin, and the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU).

In the case of Andhra, the legislators elected in 1951 were seated alongside deputies speaking Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada, in the legislature of multilingual Madras State, a sprawling political Babel carved out by British mapmakers with little regard to south India's cultural differences. It was only after Potti Sriramulu, a prominent Gandhian advocate of provincial autonomy, fasted unto death in 1952 that the Nehru government demarcated Andhra as a separate state. When the new unit was inaugurated in October, 1953, the 160 Telugu members of the Madras legislature, including a 41-member Communist bloc, became the new Andhra legislature. A Congress cabinet took office, but factionalism within and Communist harassment from the outside brought its collapse on a no-confidence motion by November, 1954. New elections had to be conducted in February, 1955, the third in less than ten years.

For all Andhra political groups, this decade of near-deadlock was a rigorous exercise. Where else in Asia has a major Communist bid for power faced so intensive a testing process at the polls? Moreover, the checkered course of Andhra Communist strategy during the period under study enhances the significance of this examination. For the primacy of caste and language manipulation in Andhra Communist success has persisted through the gamut of a wartime united front, four bloody guerrilla years, and the present parliamentary phase of Indian communism.

By focusing on caste and language it is possible to discover why the Andhra Communists, while successively increasing their popular vote from 258,974 (on a limited franchise in 1946) to 1,208,656 (1951) to 2,695,562 (1955), were able to win a significant number of seats in the legislature only in 1951. To add to this seeming discrepancy, not only did the popular vote increase -- it increased without disturbing the localized concentration of Communist power.


In all three elections Andhra. communism demonstrated its greatest strength in the fertile rice delta where the Krishna and Godavari rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal. Contrary to the theme that poverty above all breeds communism, arid Rayalaseema in west Andhra has consistently failed to produce a significant Communist response.


To find the keys to this puzzling situation it is necessary first to establish the major caste contours of the Andhra political landscape. As the Indian government's recent report on rural credit warned:

It is necessary to place the operational picture against the social background of rural India. This is more important than almost anything else for a true understanding of the working of rural credit, cooperative, governmental, or other, just as indeed it is also indispensable for the proper appraisal of the effects of any particular measure of policy or legislation or administration as they shape themselves, or sometimes fail to take shape at all, in the actualities of the Indian village.2

In the case of the Andhra Communists, the effective use of caste does not arise full-blown out of a bottomless tactical armory but rather out of the caste homogeneity of the Andhra Communist leadership itself. Since the founding of the Andhra Communist party in 1934, the party leadership has been the property of a single subcaste, the Kamma landlords, who dominate the Krishna-Godavari delta.3 This fact carries enormous importance in view of the rising influence of the Kammas in Andhra life. The war and postwar years were a boom period for the Kamma farmers,4 who own an estimated 80 per cent of the fertile delta land.5 High prices for both food and cash crops made many Indian peasant proprietor castes newly rich, but for the Kammas, presiding over land as productive as any in all India, the boom was especially potent.

Kamma funds have made the Andhra party better able to support itself than any other regional arm of Indian communism. In fair political weather or foul a virile, expensively produced Communist press in Andhra's Telugu language has been kept alive by a Kamma publisher, Katragadda Rajagopal Rao,'6 whose family also operates one of India's largest Virginia tobacco plantations and virtually monopolizes the fertilizer market in Andhra.7 As "the people who count"8 in the villages of the delta districts, even relatively modest Kamma landholders have been in a position to put decisive influence on the side of the Communist party.9

Aruna Asaf Ali, a member of the Indian Communist Central Committee, has said that "a distinguishing feature of the Andhra party is its social content. The rural intelligentsia (numerically stronger and politically a great deal more mature than in the rest of India) has provided the party with a leadership that knows its mind and is unmistakably competent."10 Three wealthy Kamma intellectuals have maintained for at least the past 15 years key control of the Andhra Communist party: party secretary Chandrasekhar Rao, former national Indian Communist party secretary Rajeshwar Rao, and M. Basava Punniah, a member of the Indian Communist Central Committee.11 As a result, an Andhra Communist dissident has coined the epithet kulak pettamdar to attack the Andhra leadership, coupling the Russian word for rich peasant with the Telugu word for head of a caste or tribe.12

In sharp contrast to Kamma control or the Communist party, stands the power of the rival landowning Reddi caste in the Congress party.13 This posture of political competition between the two caste groups is only a modern recurrence of an historic pattern dating back to the fourteenth century14. In the past century15 the rivalry has sharpened to the point where the Kammas have felt themselves an excluded "out" group in social and political life -- a sociological fact which has figured prominently in the strategy of both major parties in the elections under study.

Kamma lore nurtures the image of a once-proud warrior clan reduced by Reddi chicanery to its present peasant status. Reddi duplicity, recounted by Kamma historian K. Bhavaiah Choudary, was first apparent in 1323 A.D. at the downfall of Andhra's Kakatiya dynasty. Reciting voluminous records to prove that Kammas dominated the Kakatiya court, Choudary suggests that the Reddis, also influential militarists at the lime, struck a deal at Kamma expense with the Moslem conquerors of the Kakatiya regime. The Kammas lost their noble rank and were forced into farming.

In his research Coudary frankly has an axe to grind: he seeks to establish Kamma claims to Kshatriya (warrior) rank, second in the traditional Hindu caste hierarchy, rather than their present Sat-Sudra status.16 His main outline of Kamma and Reddi history, however, does not differ essentially from the consensus of more disinterested scholars.17 Both Kammas and Reddis were probably warriors in the service of the early Andhra kings. Later they became farmers, some feudal overlords and others small peasant proprietors who to this day take part in the cultivation of their land. Between them they dominated rural Andhra, leaving Brahmans beyond the pale of economic power in the countryside.

For five centuries the Kammas have centered in the four mid-Andhra delta districts, which Choudary says were once known as "Kamma Rashtra" or "Kamma Land." The 1921 census18 shows 600,679 Kammas congregated in the delta districts, with another 560,305 scattered in other Andhra districts and in pockets in neighboring Tamil territory.19 The extent of Kamma dominance in the delta is exemplified in Guntur district, where all other peasant proprietor castes together totaled 149,308, less than half the Kamma figure.

Thc Reddis20 gravitated to the five Rayalaseema districts of west Andhra. Here Kammas are in the minority; in Cuddapah, for example, Reddis numbered 211,558 to 20,171 Kammas, and in Kurnool, Reddis were 121,032 to 14,313 Kammas. Today in popular Telugu parlance the region is called "Reddiseema."

This geographical separation of the two powerful castes had a tribal logic; in anyone local area, only one or the other caste group with its patriarch could be dominant. When British tax-collectors came onto the scene, they formalized the status quo, extending the sway of leading landholders in each caste over vast zamindari estates. Fourteen Kamma zamindars became the biggest estate owners in the delta country.

Despite their wealth, the Kammas and Reddis as a village-centered rural gentry lagged behind the traditionally education-minded Brahmans in gaining the English literacy that was the entry to political leadership in the early years of the independence movement. For example, the 1921 census showed that out of 79,740 literate Kammas, only 2,672 were able to read English, while out of 159,730 literate Telugu Brahmans, as many all 46,498 were literate in English.21

Choudary explains this in the following way:

Shorn of their principalities, commanding officer's posts, and choudariships, Kammas had to content themselves with the lot of peasants and husbandmen. Learning only Telugu, they looked after their ryotwari [holdings]. Only about 1900 A.D., Kammas awakened to the fact that without English education they cannot better their position. The few educated Kammas who joined government service had to struggle hard to come up due to lack of patronage and the opposition of Brahman vested interests.22

It was inevitable that Kamma-Reddi competition would increase with the educational advancement of the two castes, and that the Brahman politicians who controlled the Andhra Congress party would gradually lose their actual -- if not titular -- party control to others exercising greater local power in Andhra. This is precisely what happened between 1934 and World War II. Both Kammas and Reddis, pushing forward with the anti-Brahman movement that swept all South India, supported the Andhra branch of the short-lived Justice party.23 Then Reddi power lodged itself in the Congress behind a Brahman facade at the same time that a clique of young Kamma intellectuals was founding the Andhra Communist party. Choudary notes that Kamma youth were attracted by "the Communist Party, with its slogans of social equality," but he does not seek to explain why the party in Andhra became "predominated by Kammas" rather than Reddis.24

The circumstances explaining the polarization of Kamma-Reddi warfare on a Communist-Congress basis deserve further study. The consensus in Andhra points to geographical accident: the Kammas happened to be in the delta. There political activity of every stripe had always been greater than in Rayalascema. From the beginning of the independence movement Gandhian Congress leaders found their liveliest Andhra response in the delta rice trading towns of Vijayawada and Guntur, centers of the region's intellectual and political ferment. Thus, just as the then Brahman-dominated Congress drew its leadership from the delta, so the challenge to this leadership emerged within the strongest non-Brahman caste group in the delta. In addition, in the delta's legions of landless laborers there was the grist of a mass movement plain to any young Marxist intellectual looking for a cause.

The young Reddi intelligentsia in the Rayalaseema hinterlands was politically quiescent by comparison with the Kammas. The young Reddi who did desire a political career could best seek it in the Congress, where his caste group, gravitating almost by default, had cornered the market on the bulk of the party's non-Brahman patronage. Some young Reddi leaders were a part of the Communist party from its inception, but they have always been outnumbered by Kammas. Only one has held his own in the party hierarchy, Puchalapalli Sundarayya, whose real name is Puchalapalli Sundar Rama Reddi.25 He is in a position comparable to that of the Kamma Congress veteran, N. G. Ranga, a nationally prominent Congress figure and another notable exception to the rule of caste politics in Andhra. Both of these politically displaced persons enjoy wide personal popularity, but both strike discordant notes within the otherwise relatively homogeneous leadership cliques of their respective parties.


Against this historical backdrop it is now possible to examine the course of political events surrounding the 1946, 1951, and 1955 elections in Andhra in an effort to explain the consistent concentration of the Communist popular vote in the delta as well as its special potency in 1951.

In 1946, Andhra was the only region in India where the Communists felt strong enough to enter a bloc of candidates across one large contiguous group of constituencies against the candidates of the Congress-recognized champion of independence at a time when India remained under foreign domination. In Bengal, Malabar, and parts of north India, where the Communist party was also an election factor, Communist entries were pinpointed in scattered centers of industrial or farm labor, but in Andhra they were massed solidly over the delta. Of the 62 constituencies in areas now forming Andhra,26 the Communists contested 29, all virtually side by side. Twenty-four were located in Krishna, Guntur, East and West Godavari districts, the delta belt commonly called the "Circars."27 This concentration in the delta was no momentary accident of tactics but a reflection of the basic character of Andhra communism. The pattern of 1946 remains the pattern of 1955.


Year / Votes Cast in Four Delta Districts:* % of Total Votes Cast / Communist Votes Cast in Four Delta Districts: % of Total Communist Vote / Communist Candidates Contesting in Four Delta Districts: % of Total Communist Candidates

1946 / 55.1 / 94.7 / 89.2
1951 / 54.3 / 85.5 / 72.2
1955 / 56.2 / 72.8 / 57.4

* The four Andhra districts in the Krishna-Godavari delta are Krishna, Guntur, East Godavari, and West Godavari.

With Communist candidates almost exclusively centered in the delta in 1946 (see Table I), it was not surprising that most Communist votes were recorded there. Even in 1955, however, with only 57.4 per cent of the Communist candidates running in the delta districts, 72.8 per cent of the Communist vote still went to these delta contestants. In 1951, 31 of the 41 successful Communist candidates were in delta constituencies; in 1955, 11 of 15. In all three elections, the delta has provided an average of 55 per cent of Andhra's total vote.

View this concentration in the delta alongside the failure of the Communists in 1955 to win more than 15 seats in a 196-member chamber28 -- at the same time that they were increasing their share of the popular vote from18.6 to 31.2 per cent. Congress quarters reason hopefully29 that the increased vote resulted naturally from the greater number of Communist, candidates in 1955 (169 out of a total 560) than in 1951 (61 out of 614). Yet this explanation ignores the fact that the Communists retained their high proportion of the vote in their delta heartland. While their ambitious "shotgun" strategy helps explain why the Communists won comparatively few seats in 1955, other factors must be found to explain the consistent concentration of the Communist popular vote as well as its special potency in 1951.

Certainly one feature distinguishing the delta scene from other parts of Andhra is the high population density -- especially the high percentage of landless laborers. Density runs from 900 to 1200 persons per square mile in the delta, as compared with 316 in the rest of Andhra. Thirty-seven per cent of the total agricultural population in the delta is landless labor, a concentration second only to Malabar District on the West Indian coast.30

Andhra Communist leaders have from the outset attempted to organize the Adi-Andhras, an untouchable subcaste comprising the bulk of the region's landless migrants.31 Their success has been conceded by Communist leaders outside Andhra who granted that "the organized strength of agricultural workers in Andhra is by far the biggest in any province."32 The likelihood that the votes of landless laborers have been a bulwark to Communist strength gains further support from an analysis of the concentration of Communist votes alongside the irrigation map of the delta. The same extensively irrigated delta rice country which, as a focus of fanning, has dense settlements of landless labor, such as Tenalii, Gudivada, Bapatla, and Bandar taluks (subdivisions) in Krishna District, is also the site of consistently high Communist voting.33 After the 1951 elections, the Congress publicly acknowledged that Communist "canalization" of agricultural labor votes had played an important part in the election.24 There is no evidence to suggest that this factor was absent in 1955. On the contrary, the Communists themselves claim that "the moot oppressed and exploited strata of the people in the rural areas, the agricultural workers and poorest peasants, stood firmly by the party."35 Independent press comment has accepted this as a fact.36

In 1946, however, the Communists could not have derived much benefit from this source of strength. Franchise limitations excluded all but 13 per cent of the population. In addition to a literacy requirement, only registered landholders owning, in addition to their homes, immovable property valued at the rupee equivalent of $10 or more were permitted to vote.37 Therefore, landless farm laborers were unable to take part in the election.

In any case, the support of landless labor would not explain the two subsequent elections. To be sure, six of the 31 seats won by the delta Communists in 1951 were reserved for scheduled castes (untouchables). These seats, by their very nature, hang on the support of landless labor. In addition, these six reserved seats were in double-member constituencies in which the Communists also won the six non-reserved seats. In these double constituencies both general and scheduled caste voters can vote twice, each influencing the outcome in both seats; landless labor thus clearly played a role in the six non-reserved seats in these double-member constituencies. In the remaining 19 of the 1951 Communist victories, landless labor votes must also have been an important prop to Communist candidates. But if dependable landless labor support alone explains Andhra communism, why then could the Communists not win as many seats in 1955 as in 1951?

It is the contention of this study that Communist victory in 1951 stemmed from a timely confluence of events, favorable to the manipulation of social tensions, which did not recur in 1955. In 1951 the movement to carve a separate Andhra State out of Madras had reached a high emotional pitch. The Communists surcharged the election atmosphere with propaganda keyed to Telugu patriotism, while in 1955, with Andhra State a reality, the Congress could make Indian nationalism the issue. Furthermore, at the same time that they were exploiting Telugu solidarity in 1951, the Communists made the most of a bitterly tense moment in Andhra's caste rivalries -- a crisis which the Congress was able to surmount in time for 1955.


At the end of the war, with the polarization of Andhra politics on caste-party lines almost complete, the Kamma Congress leader, N. G. Ranga, was on the far fringes of the Andhra Congress power structure. Inside, a personal rivalry raged between two prominent Telugu Brahman politicians: Pattabhi Sitaramayya, official historian of the Indian National Congress, and Tanguturu Prakasam, "Lion of Andhra," a mass idol, who won a legendary reputation in the independence movement when he bared his chest before British police, daring them to shoot. Sitaramayyu typified the Brahman facade behind which Reddi power made its appearance. In 1946 he held firmly onto the Andhra Congress machinery, though Prakasam maneuvered many of his own choices into election nominations. N.G. Ranga was, then, part independent operator, part Prakasam satellite.

Frankly building his political career on a Kamma base, Ranga had articulated a "peasant socialist" theory38 gingered by Western class slogans but boiling down in concrete terms to a defense of peasant proprietorship as opposed to land nationalization. In Andhra he organized a compact political striking force, bent on increasing Kamma influence in the Congress while at the same time fighting the Communists by reciting the story of Stalin and the peasant. In 1946, however, with Congress activity only beginning to regain momentum after the war, there was little time to put a striking force into action before the elections. Relatively few Kammas won Congress nomination and election, even in Kamma strongholds (see Tables II and III).

The Kamma Communist leaders were in a more favorable position. During the war the Andhra Communists fattened handsomely on the official patronage accorded All-India communism for support of the defense effort. The Congress, demanding freedom first, protested when Britain decided that India was at war. Thus, while Congress leaders spent the war in British jails, Communist leaders not only had a clear field to organize but actually had government support to popularize rationing and talk down strikes.39 In parts of India where the Communist movement had gained a foothold before the war, this favored position presented a rare opportunity for rapid expansion. The Andhra Communists could take full advantage of the situation. Besides the wealth and influence of their Kamma leaders, they had capitalized as much as any regional Communist party from the prewar united front with the Congress Socialist party, walking off with almost the entire Andhra Socialist organization in 1939.40


Year / Communist Kamma / Communist Reddi / Communist Brahman / Communist Other / Congress Kamma / Congress Reddi / Congress Brahman / Congress Other

1946 / 9 -- / 1 / 1 / 4 / 3 / 4 / 7
1951 / 22 / 2 / 3 / 15 / 17 / 7 / 2 / 20
1955 / 32 / 4 / 6 / 24 / 28 / 7 / 7 / 25

Note: Constituencies reserved for scheduled castes and tribes have been omitted. In the case of 1946, when certain constituencies were also reserved for urban as distinct from rural voters, and on the basis of labor union membership, religion, and sex, these figures apply only to general rural constituencies.


Year / Communist Kamma / Communist Reddi / Communist Brahman / Communist Other / Congress Kamma / Congress Reddi / Congress Brahman / Congress Other

1946 / -- / -- / -- / -- / 4 / 3 / 4 / 7
1951 / 14 / 2 / 3 / 6 / 3 / 3 / -- / 4
1955 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 3 / 24 / 7 / 7 / 25

Note: Constituencies reserved for scheduled castes and tribes have been omitted. In the case of 1946, when certain constituencies were also reserved for urban as distinct from rural voters, and on the basis of labor union membership, religion, and sex, these figures apply only to general rural constituencies.

The Andhra Communists waged a vigorous campaign in the 1946 elections, putting their major effort into Kamma strongholds. Because the sole successful Communist contestant won in a labor stronghold,41 the dominantly rural nature of the Communist effort in 1946 has been overshadowed. Of the 24 delta seats for which the Communists contested, 17 were entirely in rural areas. Of these 17, six were reserved seats for scheduled castes. In each of the 11 remaining "general rural" constituencies, the per cent of the vote polled by the Communists was surprisingly high -- ranging from a low of 11.5 to a high of 31.9, with the median falling just above 20.42 When the franchise property restriction in 1946 is kept in mind, this figure assumes its proper importance. These were not to any substantial degree the votes of agricultural labor. Rather they were votes drawn from the general landed caste Hindu population in the countryside and from propertied voters in small rural centers.

Here a caste analysis of candidates highlights the Kamma base of the Communist leadership, Omitting the xix constituencies set apart for scheduled castes, a caste breakdown of the 11 Communist caste Hindu entrants shows nine Kammas, while of 18 caste Hindu Congress entrants for rural seats in the four delta districts only four were Kammas (Table II).


After the 1946 elections, events in India led quickly to the final withdrawal of British rule and the establishment of the new Nehru government. The Indian Communist party, caught in the wartime united front spirit of world communism, was swearing its love for Jawaharlal Nehru as a leftist force in the Congress when the Cominform made its celebrated switch to a terrorist line in Asia in late 1947. Party secretary P. C. Joshi became the scapegoot, and a new insurrectionist strategy was launched under the leadership of B. T. Ranadive. In different parts of India this strategy took different forms. Acid bombs were hurled in the streets of Calcutta as Ranadive talked of urban proletarian uprisings. But in Andhra revolutionary form then distinctive in Indian Communist experience was taking shape. It combined in a paradoxical fashion the power of the Kammas in the countryside with the land hunger of the migrant untouchables in the delta and in neighboring Telengana, the Telugu-speaking southeast corner or Hyderabad State.

This was the so-called Telengana movement, organized along standard Communist guerrilla lines with wholesale land redistribution and parallel village governments. Clusters of villages in the delta and nearly all of Warangal and Nalgonda districts in Hyderahad went under Communist control from 1948 through 1950. Andhra and Telengana Communist leaders directed a two-way offensive, north into Telengana and south into the delta, from a 40-village base or operations in Munagala Jungle in northwest Krishna District.42 Communist squads raided villages by night, police battalions by day. When Indian Army troops conducted their 1948 "police action" against the Nizam of Hyderabad, they stayed on in Warangal and Nalgonda to drive the Communists out. It took them until 1951 to restore normal local government.

In all the tumult in the delta, most Kammas with their valuable paddy lands went unscathed. So long as the middling-rich farmers, who make up the bulk of the caste, stayed above the battle, they were classified in Communist strategy as "neutralized."44 This was outright deviation, not only from the Ranadive line, which saw all landowners as equally villainous, but also from the Moscow-Zdhanov line decreeing unequivocal guerrilla offensives throughout Asia. B. T. Ranadive, attacking the Andhra Secretariat, publicly charged that in Andhra Communist ranks "it is the rural intellectuals, sons of rich peasants and middle peasants, that preponderate in important positions. The party politically based itself on the vacillating politics of the middle peasants and allowed itself to be influenced even by rich peasant ideology." He contrasted Andhra's "wrong social base" with the working class base of the Tamihnad party and the "poor peasant" base in Kerala.45

The Andhra Communists had made no secret of their "rich peasant" policy within the party. They explicitly declared themselves on this point in a 1948 program report for the Indian Communist Politburo which stressed two major tactical rules of thumb:

1. In delta areas the pressure of population would be heavy, and as such slogans should be raised for the distribution of lands belonging to rich ryots among poor peasants and laborers ...

2. Propaganda should be carried on to convince the ryots about the just demands of the workers, and we should also effect compromises with such of those ryots who would follow with us. Assurance should be given that we should not touch the lands of rich ryots.46

B.T. Ranadive singled out for special attack another statement of this position in a 1948 Andhra Secretariat document discussing tactics toward government rice procurement for rationing:

In the matter of procurement of paddy, the Secretariat believes that it is possible to neutralize the rich peasants as the government plan goes against the rich peasantry also. Though the rich peasantry as a class is not standing firmly in the fight, it is parting with paddy with dissatisfaction.

This, Ranadive charged, "constitutes the real practical gist of the document, a program of class collaboration in rural areas, of bowing down before the rich peasant."47

Ranadive and the Andhra Secretariat waged unabashed open warfare that may have reflected a larger struggle in world communism. For then, in mid- 1949, Mao Tse-tung did not yet control the Chinese mainland. Soviet policy still belabored Mao for his "New Democracy" with its expansive welcome to "patriotic" capitalists and rich peasants. The Andhra document specifically justified its "rich peasant" policies by pointing to Mao. But, Ranadive declared, Mao's "horrifying" departures from accepted Stalinist dogma "are such that no Communist party can accept them; they are in contradiction to the world understanding of the Communist parties." Ranadive scolded the Andhra comrades, who "should have thought ten times before making such a formulation."48

John Kautsky has pieced together intricate details of international Communist publications during the period of the Andhra-Ranadive exchange to show that in their controversy they "reflect in an extreme fashion the uncertainty between the 'left' and 'Maoist' views then prevailing in Moscow." Kautsky, describing the disorganized state of Indian communism, also notes the "peculiar internal cohesion and individual character" which makes the Andhra party a striking exception. "As a result, while other regional CPI organizations were at Ranadive's mercy, the Andhra Committee seems to ha\'e remained relatively immune from his interference."49

By January, 1950, the Cominform journal had endorsed the "path taken by the Chinese people,"50 and by the summer of 1950 the Indian Communists were apologizing profusely to Mao.51 They praised "New Democracy" as a model for India to follow, and replaced B.T. Ranadive with the Kamma Andhra Communist leader Chandra Rajeshwar Rao, whose family rice plantation sprawls over 290 acres of fertile delta land.


National Indian Communist policy under Rajeshwar Rao's leadership proceeded to misread the Cominform editorial by "assuming that it had been asked to pursue the Chinese path by adopting armed struggle."52 The Telengana struggle was thus stepped up at the very moment when the Nehru government was bearing down on the movement with all its military might. By the Spring of 1951, the superior power of Indian government forces had crushed guerrilla strength in Telengana and the delta. At the same time, a factional split was growing between Rajeshwar Rao and forces led by S.A. Dange, the veteran Bombay Communist labor leader. Dange saw the plainly increasing stability of the Indian political scene and favored participation in the general elections scheduled for the end of the year. To resolve the crisis, Moscow summoned Rajeshwar Rao, his Andhra Kamma colleague Basava Punniah, S.A. Dange, and party stalwart Ajoy K. Ghosh to the Soviet Union to put a Kremlin imprimatur on a peace settlement. The result was the selection of Ajoy Ghosh as party secretary and a new, moderate policy.

As its first peace overture to the government, the Communist party sent out feelers in mid-summer offering to behave as a legal party in exchange for the release of imprisoned detenus, many of whom were the strongest Communist election contenders. At first, the Communist press complained that the government of Hyderabad, where the initial overtures were made, "did not even bother to reply."53 In a Parliament speech August 14, the then Home Minister Chakravarti Rajagopalachari declared that "the party cannot have it both ways, delivering speeches and carrying on other election activities while killing and terrorizing." As late as November 19, the official Congress party organ said that "it would be unprecedented for any government to release men convicted by courts or reasonably detained as enemies of the state.54 Still, in spite of these declarations, the government had an historic last-minute change of heart,55 and released most of the Madras Communist prisoners.

Communist leaders hurried from South Indian jails to their home districts with all the martyr's aura reserved in Indian society for those who suffer privation at the hands of authority. A notification in the Gazette of India dated August 11, 1951 showed 202 communist prisoners in Madras, most of them -- although district by district breakdowns are not available -- from Andhra. Month by month figures in Home Ministry files show the Madras total of its detenus dropping to 86 in December and four by February, 1952. These figures do not include an almost equal number placed on parole at this time and later declared free. Thus, most of the Andhra Communist high command were freed in time to map election strategy for the January balloting. They campaigned feverishly to make up for their late start, well aware that the deep factional crisis then gripping the Congress camp presented a rare opportunity.


In the years between the 1946 and 1951 elections, Andhra Congress leaders were locked in a factional war, in which the fortunes of N. G. Ranga went first upward and then to rockbottom. The three-way tussle between Ranga, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, and T. Prakasam was complicated by the multi-lingual nature of Madras politics during that period. To score a point at any given moment, each Andhra faction could reach across not only caste but also regional lines, striking at its rival by aligning with Tamil-speaking factions in the Madras government.

Prakasam, having helped his own lieutenants win Congress seats in the Madras Assembly, could command powerful support in the first skirmish of this period. In the 1946 wrangle for ascendancy in the multi-lingual Madras Legislature Congress party, Prakasam emerged with the prize of the Madras Chief Ministership. But his majority was perilous, for Tamil members of the Assembly had joined in electing him for factional reasons of their own. The ruling Tamil Congress bloc, predominantly non-Brahman, used Prakasam to head off Tamil Brahman Chakravarti Rajagopalachari in his bid for the Chief Ministership. Once succcssfnl, they hurried to hunt allies to replace Prakasam. Caste loyalties on both the Andhra, and the Tamil sides thus vanished at the linguistic border. The 20 Andhra supporters of Brahman Sitaramayya lined up with the non-Brahman Tamil bloc and half of the Malayalam-speaking members of the legislature to unseat Prakasam.

To save his political position in his home territory, Prakasam joined forces with Ranga. Together they took control of the Andhra Congress machinery from Sitaramayya. Ranga won the Andhra Congress presidency, defeating N. Sanjiva Reddi, nominee of the Sitaramayya group.

In the bitter ensuing warfare, both sides aired charges of corruption which the Communist propaganda network carried into remote rural regions. As a result, the Congress leaders soon lost the prestige of their independence movement days. Prakasam followers charged Sitaramayya members of the new Madras regime with trafficking improperly in commercial permits and transport franchises, blackmarketing, and rampant nepotism. They also contended that the Communists enjoyed an unholy alliance with the active leader of Sitaramayya forces in the Madras government, Revenue Minister Kala Venkata Rao. Prakasam cited chapter and verse to allege that Rao, later a national general secretary of the Congress, helped arrange facilities for Red Flag meetings, looked the other way when Communists staged illegal squatter movements, solicited and received Communist help to defeat Prakasam candidates in local elections, and fed anti-Prakasam propaganda to Communist leaders.56

With the Kamma Ranga at the head of the Congress, the opposition to Prakasam and Ranga had strong caste overtones. Reddi forces were a part of the maneuvering that brought Ranga's downfall in April, 1951, when K. Sanjiva Reddi won the Andhra Congress presidency in a close 87-82 decision. Ranga and Prakasam, charging that the Reddi victory hung on "irregularities," walked out of the Congress. Fifty of their sympathizers on the Andhra Congress Committee followed them out of the party. Then came the final blow to Congress unity, a Ranga-Prakasam split. Prakasam announced that his candidates in the general elections would carry the symbol of the new Kisan Mazdoor Praja (Peasants Workers Peoples) party led by Acharya J. B. Kripalani. Ranga formed a Kamma front, the Krishikar Lok (Farmers') party. Therefore, in delta election constituencies where Kamma influence counted, the three-way Congress split meant that at least two Kammas, a Ranga candidate and a nominee of the official Congress, and in many cases other Kammas named bu Prakasam, the Socialist party, or independent local groups, all competed for the campaign support of their wealthy caste fellows.


It was into this inviting situation that the Andhra Communists strode from prison in the fall of 1951. Already on good terms with their Kamma brethren because of their sweet reasonableness during guerrilla days, they warned that the Reddi-dominated Congress was out to get them. Ridiculing Ranga's KLP as a splinter group, they argued that he could not possibly emerge with a majority. The Communists presented themselves as political comers who would soon be able to protect the caste from the citadels of government power.

They had the issues on their side. Not only could they promise five acres and a cow to their traditional supporters, the Adi-Andhra landless laborers; they could also put the Congress on the defensive in the Andhra State issue. Then too, they could inflate popular discontent with food shortages and blackmarketing that grew worse while ruling Congress politicians seemed too busy feuding to take action -- or, as the popular image had it, were knee deep in the trough of corruption.

The Kammas could well have been impressed with the apparently rising star of their caste fellows at the helm of the Communist party. Even the Kamma historian Choudary, outspokenly anti-Communist in his writings, recites with obvious pride a long list of Communist Kamma notables, adding that "many other young Communist legislators have turned out to be able debaters and formidable opponents."57 The Kammas must certainly have considered how desirable it would be to crystallize friendly relations with a revolutionary leadership that had already shown it could be reasonable about whose land was confiscated.

Whatever the understanding58 between the Communists and Kamma patriarchs, a significant section of the Kammas plainly put their funds, influence, and votes behind the Communist Kamma candidates (see Table IV). This factor appears to have tipped the scales in the delta. While the Kamma vote was divided, the share of Kamma support won by the Communists provided the margin of victory in 14 of the 25 delta general constituencies where Communist deputies were elected.59 Three of the six Communist members of the lower house of Parliament elected in 1951 from the delta are Kammas.

The victorious Communist in 1951 drew on the numbers of the landless laborers and protest votes of erstwhile Congress supporters, but powerful Kamma backers gave him in a substantial number of cases even more decisive support -- identification with village-level authority. In a society hardly out of feudalism, this is an intangible which should not be underestimated.


* Constituencies shown represent all those in which Kamma Communist candidates were elected in 1951. The outcome in the same constituencies is shown in 1955, though it should be borne in mind that new delimitation of constituencies prior to the 1955 elections makes the 1955 constituencies not exactly congruent with the originals under comparison. These constituencies do not necessary represent the sites of greatest Kamma Communist success in 1955. The site of one 1951 Communist victory - Chintalapudi (West Godavari) -- cannot be compared meaningfully with any 1955 constituency.
** Candidates designated in this manner are members of the Kamma subcaste.
*** Renamed Paruchur in 1955.
**** Renamed Denduluru in 1955.
Note: Percentages have been rounded to the nearest decimal. Communist-supported Kamma candidates running on other party tickets or as independents in other constituencies are not included in this analysis in view of the author's inability to gain a precise picture of the division of support in the constituencies concerned. A Communist-supported Kamma won election on the KMP ticket in Narasaropet (Guntur) while a CP-supported candidate lost on the KLP ticket in Tenali (Guntur) and another lost as an independent in Nuzvid (Kirshna).

To a great extent the 1951 results in the delta can be explained simply by the multiplicity of candidates, which enabled the Communists to capitalize on a divided opposition. But it is necessary to examine the nature of this multiplicity. The telling strength of the Communists in this opportunity came from the fact that they were uniquely situated to exploit the divisions in the Kamma camp. Their leaders were Kammas on Kamma ground. Kamma influence is spread evenly enough over the delta so that even in those delta constituencies where non-Kamma Communist candidates were successful, the Kamma population must have played an important role. Furthermore, a glance at the votes polled by the winning Communist Kammas places the factor of multiplicity of candidates in proper perspective. The average Communist Kamma winner polled 44.6 per cent of the votes. In only two constituencies, Eluru and Chintalapudi, did the combined vote of non-Communist Kamma candidates exceed that of the Communist Kamma victor. Even in defeat, Communist Kamma candidates in 1951 polled 33.1 per rent of the votes (see Table V), with their margin of defeat a matter of from one to four percentage points in every instance where the successful candidate was also a Kamma. In sharp contrast, other defeated Communist candidates in the delta polled only an average 22 per cent. Thus the multiplicity of candidates alone cannot explain the large number of Communist victories. The fact that the Communists could compete strongly for the support of the caste group most strategically placed in delta politics was the key to the Communist sweep.


Constituency / Congress % / CP % / KLP % / Others %

Krishna Kaikalur / 37* / 36* / -- / 27
Guntur Guntur / 24* / 23* / -- / 53
Duggirala / 42 / 38* / 13* / 7
Prathipadu / 26 / 25 / 22* / 27
East Godavari Pamarru / 49* / 46* / -- / 5*
West Godavari Tanuku / 29* / 25* / -- / 46*
* Candidates designated in this manner are members of the Kamma subcaste.
Note: Percentages have been rounded to the nearest decimal. Communist-supported Kamma candidates running on other party tickets or as independents in other constituencies are not included in this analysis.

Outside the delta, too, in constituencies where the Kammas were a potent minority but not dominant, the Communists chose to rely on Kamma support. For example, in the Chittoor parliamentary contest, the Communists unsuccessfully supported a Kamma independent against a Reddi Congress candidate. In Nellore, a coastal district adjacent to the delta where the Kammas have only half the numerical strength of the Reddis,60 the Communists lost out to Congress Reddis in three constituencies where they nominated Kammas.61 Where they won in Nellore it was with Reddi candidates in two solidly Reddi constituencies,62 and with a Brahman in another.63 The two Reddis elected on the Communist ticket in Nellore may owe much of their strength to the prestige of the sole major Communist Reddi leader, Sundarayya, in his home district. Where scattered Reddis were elected in other districts,64 the result appears to have hinged on local and personal factors. The only other Communists elected outside the delta were four Brahmans and one Velama, a petty landlord subcaste.

It was in Nellore that Kamma-Reddi bitterness in 1951 reached its high point in the defeat of the prominent Andhra Congress leader B, Gopala Reddi, Finance Minister in the Madras government, by a KMP Kamma candidate in Udayagiri constituency. Reddi, who once remarked lightly in the Madras Assembly that his was "a Reddi government for Reddis,"65 told reporters that Kammas had "wreaked vengeance" on him.66 His supporters explained that a would-be Kamma candidate in Chingleput had been refused a Congress nomination by Congress leaders there. The Kammas in Udayagiri blamed it on backstage maneuvering by Reddi. This was one of the rare episodes in which Kamma- Reddi enmity had ever burst into the open.
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After the 1951 elections and the formation of the Andhra State in 1953, open Kamma-Reddi warfare increased with the two rivals now pitted directly against each other. No longer was there the intervening presence of non-Andhra elements in a multi-lingual legislature. Even Jawaharlal Nehru could not bring N. G. Ranga under the wing of Sanjiva Reddi's party leadership.67 The controversy over the choice of the new state's capital once again polarized Andhra politics on what was now widely conceded to be a regional-caste basis, the Reddi-dominated Congress winning the selection of Kurnool in Rayalaseema over the bitter protests of the Communists and Ranga's KLP as champions of the delta.68

Puchalapalli Sundarayya charged that the Congress:

... wanted to rouse regional feelings; it wanted to rouse communal feelings, and that is why it selected Kurnool as the capital.... The Congress raises the slogan of Reddi vs. Kamma. It says: If you want to change from Kurnool to any centralized place, then Kamma domination will come and Reddi domination will go. These are facts that cannot be controverted by anybody who knows anything about Andhra.69

A newspaper correspondent reported during this episode that:

In recent years the rivalry between the Reddys of Rayalaseema and rich Kammas of delta districts has grown to alarming proportions. Congressmen have tended to group themselves on communal lines, and the Sanjiva Reddy-Ranga tussle for leadership which finally resulted in Ranga's exit from the Congress is a major instance in this regard. And rightly or wrongly the choice of Kurnool is looked upon by the Kammas as another major triumph for the Reddys.70

Ostensibly, the Congress stand for Kurnool in the capital dispute honored a 1937 commitment by Congress leaders from the delta that the underdog Rayalaseema area could have first claim in the location of the capital or High Court of the future Andhra State, with the delta getting the one left over. But in the 1953 wrangle there was more at stake. Both the Communists and the KLP were voicing not only the local pride of the delta communities seeking the capital, but real estate and mercantile interests as well.71

By the time the first Andhra Congress ministry had collapsed in November, 1954, a scant year after its installation, Congress leaders in New Delhi had come to realize that firm intervention from outside would be necessary to forge a united front for the new elections in February, 1955. From Jawaharlal Nehru down, there was a determination that the history of the 1951 Kamma defection should not repeat itself. For N. G. Ranga this was an important political moment in which his whole future as a Kamma spokesman lay at stake. Nehru summoned the forces of Ranga, T. Prakasam, Sanjiva Reddi, and assorted other anti-Communist Andhra leaders to map a united election campaign. Working closely with such Kamma Congress powers as Kotta Raghuramaiah, India's delegate to the U.N. Trusteeship Council, Ranga emerged from the negotiations with control over nominations in 38 constituencies as part of a Congress United Front, enough to assure a single Kamma entry by Congress forces in all Kamma strongholds. The regular Congress organization received 136 constituencies and the People's party, a Prakasam rump group comprising Andhra remnants of the defunct KMP, won control of nominations in 20 constituencies.

Although Sanjiva Reddi, leader of what by then was popularly called "The Rayalaseema Junta," sulked in protest against the very principle of alliance with Ranga,72 the pressure for a joint front against the Communists was too much for him. The Congress high command assigned Bombay Congress strong man S. K. Patil to enforce factional unity. With the Congress camp united, independents shunned battle. There were 78 straight contests between the Congress and the Communists, 65 more with only three contestants, and in only the remaining 53 was there the dispersion of 1951. The Communists, confidently dashing into the fray, had announced their candidate lists in the first week of December to place themselves squarely on the offensive. But this cut two ways: the Congress had time to match caste with caste in selecting candidates. The upshot was that in their delta stronghold the Communists won only 11 seats, two of these in reserved constituencies, as opposed to their 31 delta seats in 1951. A solitary Kamma was elected on the Communist ticket.73

Ironically, in 1955 their caste may in certain cases have been a liability to Kamma Communists. The defection of C.V.K. Rao, a Communist leader of the Devadasi caste, was openly trumpeted in anti-Kamma terms by Rao's election-rump "Communist Unity Centre." Handbills ridiculing Communist leaders as "Red landlords" sufficiently nettled them to elicit a special campaign appearance by Rajeshwar Rao. Announcing that he and his brother had donated the equivalent of $40,000 over the years to Communist coffers, Rajeshwar Rao added: "I do not say that all our property is exhausted; there is still something left. We shall spend it, along with our lives, in the service of the people."74

The Communists made every bit as intensive an effort in 1955 as in 1951 to capitalize on the Kamma "social base"76 in the delta, running Kamma candidates in 29 delta constituencies. Underscoring the Kamma orientation of Communist tactics is the fact that in nine of these 29 constituencies, the Communist candidate was the only Kamma in the field.

With anti-Communist Kamma forces consolidated in the Congress, however, the Communists could not make their Kamma support a decisive factor in 1955. Confronted with a single Kamma opponent (see Table IV), the Communist Kamma candidate was in a defensive position. N.G. Ranga had recaptured the initiative in the contest for Kamma support by showing he could drive a hard bargain for the caste within Congress councils. The 28 Kamma Communist losers still won substantial support in their caste strongholds -- an average 38.7 per cent of the votes. But this was a drop from an average 44.6 per cent polled by the 14 Kamma Communist winners in 1951.

Despite this six per cent decline in their Kamma strength, the Communists increased their popular vote in most of the delta just as in the rest of Andhra.76 This is explained by the even distribution of their 1955 vote over a wide range of constituencies, in contrast to spotty 1951 voting concentrations in constituencies where they then enjoyed strong Kamma support. Unlike 1951, when the Communist Kammas fared better than other Communist candidates, the Communist Kammas in 1955 were on a par with the 34 other defeated Communist candidates in the delta. Defeated non-Kamma Communist candidates in the delta in 1955 averaged 38.3 per cent, while in 1951 non-Kamma Communist losers had polled only 22 per cent, and even defeated Kammas had polled only 33.1 per cent.

The Communist share of Kamma support went a long distance with the Congress Kamma camp divided in 1951, but the Ranga-Congress alliance made Communist inroads on Kamma backing less significant in 1955. Nor did the issues fall on the Communist side in 1955 as they had in 1951. The Kammas responded to the general strength of the Congress cause, coupled with a successful appeal to the caste's economic stake in keeping the Communist party out of power. The Congress election platform stressed agricultural price support. The Communist press bitterly complained that propertied interests had ganged up against them. In a reference to Divi, the home constituency of the Kamma Rajeshwar Rao, the Communist weekly New Age declared that "all quarrels of caste or community have been forgotten. They [the landlords] have united to face the common people. They are all in the Congress now".77

While Congress leaders such as S. K Patil deluged all Andhra with effective anti-Communist propaganda, the body blow to the delta Communists came from the fact that the veteran anti-Communist ideologian, N.G, Ranga, now had the prestige to make an effective appeal in the Kamma constituencies, the central arena of the contest. G. S. Bhargava reported from Andhra that credit for delivering the telling punch in the delta "must go to the KLP leader, Mr. N.G. Ranga, who for the first time carried the fight against communism into villages hitherto regarded as impregnable Communist fortresses."78 A. Kaleswara Rao, a Grand Old Man of the Andhra Congress, wrote the author at the time polling was about to take place: "The Congress United Front formed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, roping in Sri Ranga ... is very successful in the Communist-infested districts, e.g. in central Andhra. The Kamma community, which is predominant in this area, have joined the Congress United Front with patriotism."79

The reference to patriotism is important, for undoubtedly the fact that a procession of respected national Congress leaders came to Andhra to denounce the Communists in unequivocal terms of nationalism played an important election role, not only in rousing Kamma support, but throughout Andhra. Jawaharlal Nehru attacked the Communists as "professional maligners of the Indian people."80 Congress president U. N. Dhebar warned Andhra voters that "if one Communist state in India is established, our international strength will be lost."81 S. K. Patil's posters and pamphlets blasted the Communists as outright traitors, painting gruesome pictures of horror in China and the Soviet Union.82 The fall of Malenkov on February 8, just as polling was getting underway, was a convenient reminder of past purges. Moreover, the Congress had dulled the ideological edge of the Communist appeal at its national session at Avadi in January by announcing a "socialistic pattern of society" as its goal. What hurt even more, the Communists were denied the support of Russian policy and its propaganda machine. Pravda published an historic editorial on the eve of India's Republic Day, January 26, marking the end of seven years of attacks on the Nehru government and confounding the Communists' election strategy. How could the Communists parade the banner of an international big brother who praised "the outstanding statesman, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru,"83 at the same time they were waging an election campaign against his party?


By successfully making Indian nationalism a live issue in a state election, the Congress, still for all its sins a symbol of independence, was calling forth its trump card. The resultant election-time atmosphere was a complete reversal of 1951, when the Communists had been able to wrap themselves in the banner of the Andhra provincial autonomy movement and make Telugu patriotism a live ballot issue.

But Andhra's formation as the first frankly linguistic state in India, while relaxing the tension between the Telugus and the central government, only heightened the political struggle among Telugu castes. The newly intimate confrontation of Kammas and Reddis in Andhra typifies one of the less obvious consequences of linguistic provinces in India. By and large, the endogamous group or subcaste in India is bounded on a linguistic basis.84 Thus, the power relationship of castes to each other in a multi-lingual political unit with its many caste groups differs radically from the reality of their relationship in the smaller linguistic unit. The Kammas and Reddis were part of the welter of castes in the old Madras State, but in Andhra they face each other as titans.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Nehru's former Law Minister, sees this through the eyes of an outcaste when he warns that the formation of linguistic provinces "means the handing over of Swaraj to a communal majority."85 Switzerland, Ambedkar said in a Parliament debate, "has no difficulties as a multi-lingual state because linguism there is not loaded with communalism. But in our country linguism is only another name for communalism ."86 "Take Andhra," he wrote, "there are two major communities spread over the linguistic area. They are either the Reddis or the Kammas. They hold all the land, all the offices, all the business. The untouchables live in subordinate dependence on them. Take Maharashtra; the Marathas are a huge majority in every village in Maharashtra ... In a linguistic stale what would remain for the smaller communities to look to?"87

The broad implications of the conjunction between caste and language region and, more specifically, of the change in the vantage of castes which is likely to result from the formation of new linguistic provinces, deserve searching study. In the case of Andhra, it is already clear that political stability will depend to a great extent on the ability of Reddi and Kamma leaders to work together in a united government.

Developments since the 1955 elections suggest strongly that the future Kamma-Reddi relationship remains to be decided. At first, N. G. Ranga announced that the KLP, which had kept its party identity intact as a member of the election front, would return unconditionally to the Congress.88 It was generally understood that Ranga had been promised the presidency of the Andhra Congress, with B. Gopala Reddi to be named Chief Minister. Reddi did become Chief Minister, but in the election of the party president, the forces of Deputy Chief Minister N. Sanjiva Reddi successfully fought N. G. Ranga with a Kshatriya candidate, Alluri Satyanarayana Raju. Ranga's defeat was a setback not only to Kamma-Reddi amity but also to the personal prestige of Gopala Reddi, and a signal for Sanjiva Reddi to assail him as a Kamma stooge.

A breakdown of Congress legislators elected in 1955 shows 85 out of the 146 deputies divided between the three major peasant proprietor subcastes, with Reddis the largest group (45), Kammas next (24), and the Telagas a newly-active political force (16) to be reckoned with. The Gopala Reddi cabinet reflected the Kamma and Reddi strength in the party's legialative ranks with two Reddi ministers (Gopala Reddi and Sanjiva Reddi), two Kammas (K. Chandramouli and G. Latchanna),89 and two Brahmans (Kala Venkata Rao and Nageswara Rao). The Telagas, not yet able to make their weight felt, received no representation in the ministry; here may be the makings of a new "out" group. Further, subcaste divisions within both Kamma and Reddi ranks could harden into a still more complex array of political battle lines.

The Indian Government's announced intention to merge Andhra and Telengana in a "United Andhra" poses the prospect of a basic realignment in the power balance between Telugu castes. If this merger takes effect, the delta Kammas in the new larger unit would confront not only the Reddis of Rayalaseema, but also the politically distinct Telengana Reddis -- whose rivals on their home ground have been the Telengana Brahmans. Already the Reddi-Brahman rivals in Telengana and the Kamma-Reddi antagonists in Andhra can be seen each jockeying to establish ties across the border. To complicate matters still more, the Telengana Communist leadership lacks caste homogeneity. Ravi Narayan Reddi and a Brahmin, D. V. Rao, lead rival factions. How will these rivals adjust to their new common relationship to the delta Communist leaders?

Whether or not the solidarity of their leadership suffers in a United Andhra, certainly the Communists, in their efforts to make a comeback, will exploit caste disaffection wherever they can. In 1955 their campaign manifesto showed a new interest in such politically strategic Andhra artisan castes as the Kammari (blacksmith), Kummari (potter), Vadrangi (carpenter), Rajaka (washermen), Mangali (barber), and Ganda (toddy tappers).90 As an opposition playing its main role outside the legislature, the party will be in a free-wheeling tactical position, able to step in wherever there is an opening in the Congress flank.91

The failure of the Andhra Communists to win strong legislative representation in 1955 is by no means a final political verdict. In doubling their popular vote, not only did their strength remain concentrated in their demonstrated stronghold, but also in two of the delta district, West Godavari and Guntur, they increased their poll by as much as 16 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.92 Furthermore, as The Hindu has pointed out,93 "in a large number of constituencies they missed success by very small majorities."94 These facts spell a clear warning against "underrating the threat to peace and progress that the Andhra Communist Party is still potentially capable of offering."



* The field research for this study was conducted during the author's three years in India as Associated Press correspondent, 1951-54. Research was completed as a consultant to the Modern India Project, University of California (Berkeley). Statistical data were compiled with the assistance of the Littauer Statistical Laboratory, Harvard University, where the author was Nieman Fellow in 1954-55.

1 A forthcoming full-length study by the author to be published by the Modern India Project, University of California (Berkeley), seeks to analyze the challenge presented by regional particularisms throughout India to the development of Indian nationalism.

2 All-India Rural Credit Survey, Vol. 2: General Report (Bombay, 1954), p. 54

3 Bhargava, G. S. discusses this in A Study of the Communist Movement in Andhra (Delhi, Siddhartha Publications, 1955), pp. 2, 14, 22–34 Google Scholar; see also Choudary, K. B., A Brief History of the Kammas (Sangamjagarlamudi, Andhra: published by the author, 1955), pp. 98, 123

4 Choudary, A Brief History of Kammas, p. 124 Google Scholar, notes that “the Second World War and the years that have followed have once again seen rocketing of the prices of paddy, pulses, turmeric, tobacco, and fruits. These have been very prosperous years for agricultural communities like Kammas.”

5 This is the private consensus of members of different Andhra castes. No official figures exist showing caste land ownership in Madras.

6 Katragadda Rajagopal Rao's role is noted in “The Future of Andhra,” Thought (New Delhi), Oct. 3, 1953, p. 4

7 The holdings of the six Katragadda brothers are described in Joshi, P. C., Among Kisan Patriots (Bombay, People's Publishing House, 1946), p. 4 This pamphlet reviews the Vijayawada, Andhra, session of The All-India Kisan Sabha.

8 Kamma status in the delta is so described in “How Red is Andhra?,” The People (pro-Congress weekly, New Delhi), March 4, 1952, p. 8

9 For an excellent description of the manner in which a dominant caste can mold village behavior, see All-India Rural Credit Survey, pp. 56–58.

10 In an interview with an editor of the New Age, Feb. 13, 1955, p. 7

11 These three have remained members of the secretariat of the Andhra Communist Committee in all reshuffles announced in the Communist press. The most recently declared (1954) membership of the Secretariat also included in its eight names four other Kammas: M. Hanumantha Rao, a member of the Indian Communist Central Committee; G. Satyanarayana; K. Gopal Rao, a member of the lower house of the Indian Parliament; and Krishna Rao.

This caste breakdown and the tables in this study showing castes of Congress and Communist candidates and legislators have been compiled through the cooperation of members of major Telugu castes. The compilation has included a cross-check test of the designations made by each cooperating informant by other persons of different castes.

12 Kulak pettamdar recurs throughout Rao, C.V.K., Rashtra Communist. Navakalhwapu Bandaram [Bluff of the Andhra Communist Leadership] (Masulipatnam, Andhra, 1954) Rao is a member of the Devadasi caste. Partially translated from Telugu for the author.

13 Reddi power in the Congress figures in Rao, D. V. Raja, “Election Lessons,” Swatantra, Feb. 15, 1952, p. 13 Google Scholar; Choudary, A Brief History of the Kammas (cited in note 3), p. 97 Google Scholar; and an earlier article by the author, “How Nehru Did It in Andhra,” New Republic, March 21, 1955, p. 7

14 See Choudary, A Brief History of the Kammas (cited in note 3), p. 55 Google Scholar, and his earlier three-volume history, Kammacharitra Sangraham (Sangamjagarlamudi, Andhra: published by the author, 1939), Vol. 1, p. 20 Partially translated from Telugu for the author.

15 Bhargava, A Study of the Communist Movement in Andhra (cited in note 3), p. 14 Google Scholar, traces the present degree of Kamma-Reddi enmity to the turn of the century.

16 Sat-(Good) Sudra status is accorded to Kammas, Reddis, Velamas, and other Telugu peasant proprietor subcastes to distinguish them from less prosperous Sudra subcastes, according to Francis, W., Census of India, 1901, Vol. 15: Madras, Part I (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1903), p. 136

17 See Thurston, Edgar, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, 14 vols. (Madras: Government Press, 1909), Vol. 3, p. 94 Google Scholar; MacKenzie, G., Manual of Kistna District (Madras, 1883), p. 53 Google Scholar; Census of India, 1901, Vol. 15, p. 159 Google Scholar; Hutton, J. H., Caste in India (London: Oxford University Press, 1946), p. 11

18 The last in which district caste tables for Madras are available.  

19 Census of India, 1921, Vol. 13: Madras, Part IT, by Boag, G. T. (Madras: Superintendent of Government Press, 1922), Table XIII, p. 119

20 Reddis are also referred to by anthropologists as Kapus. However, this terminology is confusing in contemporary Andhra; Kapu is loosely applied to other non-Brahman peasant castes.

21 Census of India, 1921, Vol. 13, Table IX, p. 77

22 Choudary, A Brief History of the Kammas (cited in note 3), p. 122

23 A coalition of aggrieved non-Brahman castes throughout South India.

24 Choudary, A Brief History of the Kammas (cited in note 3), pp. 97–98

25 A brilliant orator in Telugu, Sundarayya is the party's most popular mass leader in Andhra.

26 “Delimitation of Madras Constituencies,” Government of India (Provincial Legislative Assemblies) Order, 1936, cited in Narain, Jagat, Law of Elections in India and Burma (Calcutta: Eastern Law House, 1937), pp. 250–58

27 Return Showing the Results of Elections to the Central Legislative Assembly and Provincial Legislatures, 1945–46 (New Delhi: Government of India, 1946)

28 The legislature was increased from 160 to 196 members before the 1955 elections in a new delimitation of constituencies.

29 For example, The Hindu, March 10, 1955, p. 4 This issue also contains detailed election statistics.

30 Shea, Thomas, “Agrarian Unrest and Reform in South India,” Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 23, pp. 81–88, at pp. 84–85 (June, 1954). See also District Census (1951) Handbooks (Madras: Government Press, 1953)Google Scholar, Tables D-III: Krishna, p. 183; West Godavari, p. 168: East Godavari, p. 292; Guntur, p. 206.

31 For the history of the Andhra Communist party, see Sundarayya, P., Vishalandralu Prajarajvan [People's Rule in Vishalandhra] (Vijayawada: Vishalandhra Publishing House, 1946)Google Scholar, Ch. 6. Translated from Telugu for the author.

32 “The Struggle for People's Democracy and Socialism, Some Questions of Strategy and Tactics,” The Communist, Vol. 2, pp. 21–90, at p. 35 (June–July, 1949) This was formerly the monthly organ of the Communist party of India.

For additional references to Communist organization of agricultural labor in Andhra, see Rao, N. Prasada, “Agricultural Laborers Association,” News Bulletin of the All-India Kisan Sabha, Oct.–Nov., 1952, p. 22 Google Scholar, which terms agricultural labor “the rock-like base of the [Communist] movement in Andhra”; and “Second Andhra Agricultural Labor Conference,” Aug., 1953, p. 6 Google Scholar, setting organized strength in the region then at 94,890.

33 Imperial Gazeteer of India, Provincial Series, Madras I (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1908), p. 309 See canal locations in frontispiece maps in District Census (1951) Handbooks; note also Cushing, S. W., “The Geography of Godavari,” Bulletin of Geographic Society of Philadelphia, Vol. 9, pp. 2–3 (Oct., 1911)Google Scholar, reprinted.

34 The Hindu, March 3, 1952, p. 1

35 Ghosh, Ajoy, “The Andhra Elections and the Communist Party,” New Age, March 4, 1955, p. 1 New Age is the weekly organ of the Communist party in India.

36 For example, see “Andhra Victory,” editorial in Times of India, March 10, 1955, p. 4

37 Public General Acts and Measures, Vol. 1. Sixth Schedule, Part II: Madras (London, 1935–1936), pp. 256–57 H.M.S.O.

38 For example, Ranga, N. G., Outlines of National Revolutionary Path (Bombay, Hind Kitabs, 1945), pp. 109–10

39 The Communist role during the war is summarized in The Communist Party of India, Publication No. 2681, Research and Analysis Branch, Office of Strategic Services, August, 1945, p. 21 Google Scholar; note also P. Sundarayya, op. cit., Ch. 6, where it is estimated that Andhra Communist membership rose from 1,000 in 1942 to 8,000 in 1945.

40 Narayan, Jayaprakash, Towards Struggle (Bombay, Padma Publications, 1946), pp. 171, 174

41 P. Venkateswarulu in West Godavari-cum Kistna-cum Guntur (Non-union) Factory Labor constituency.

42 Ellore, 19.3; Bhimavaram, 19.4; Narsapur, 21.4; Bandar, 28.4; Bezwada, 31.9, Guntur, 26.9; Narasaropet, 17; Tenali, 16.6; Ongole, 14.4; Rajahmundry, 11.5; and Amalapuram, 18.4.

43 The designation of Munagala as headquarters during this period is part of a colorful description of the Telengana movement as seen by delta Congress leaders in Charges against the Madras Ministry (by Certain M LAs), published by Rao, A. Kaleswara, (Madras, Renaissance Printers Ltd., 1948), p. 28

44 An example of this characterization is in The Communist, Vol. 2, p. 71 (June–July, 1949)

45 Ibid., p. 34.

46 The 1948 report appears in part in Self-Critical Report of the Andhra Communist Committee, January 1948–February 1952, Part Two, March 1949–March 1950, a party document not intended for publication.

47 The Communist, June–July, 1949, p. 72

48 Ibid., p. 60.

49 Kautsky, John H., Moscow and the Communist Party of India (Cambridge, Mass., Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1954), pp. 124, 128

50 Editorial in For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy, Jan. 27, 1950.

51 “Statement of Editorial Board on Anti-Leninist Criticism of Comrade Mao-Tsetung,” The Communist, Vol. 3, pp. 6–35, at pp. 6–7 (July–Aug., 1950)

52 Masani, M. R., The Communist Party of India (New York, 1954), p. 110

53 “For Settlement in Telengana,” editorial in the then national weekly of the Communist Party of India, Crossroads, Aug. 3, 1951, p. 1

54 “Reds' Threat,” Congress Sandesh, Nov. 19, 1951, p. 4

55 The decision to release the Communist detenus is generally attributed to Prime Minister Nehru. A high Indian official with responsibilities in this matter told the author at the time that Nehru felt the Communists would prosper more if permitted to increase their martyrdom behind bars than if out in the open where, given enough rope, they might eventually be their own undoing.

56 Charges against the Madras Ministry (cited in note 43), pp. 6–7, 30–31.

57 Choudary, A Brief History of the Kammas (cited in note 3), p. 98

58 C. V. K. Rao, op. cit. (in note 12), says that Dharma Rao, a brother-in-law of Basava Punniah, has enrolled hundreds of Kammas as actual party members on the promise that the caste group would benefit when the CP came to power. As an example of specific allusions to Communist Kamma support, see also “CPI May Win More Seats in Madras,” The Statesman, Jan. 8, 1952, p. 1

59 The figure of 25 excludes six reserved constituencies in which Communists won in the delta.

60 Census of India, 1921, Vol. 13, Table XIII, p. 119 Google Scholar, showa 109,969 Kammas and 208,018 Reddis in Nellore.

61 Venkatagiri, Gudur, and Rapur.

62 Kanigiri and Darsi.

63 Kovur.

64 Nandikotkur in Kurnool; Kamalapuram and Rajampet in Cuddapah; and Anantapur in Anantapur District were the sites of other Communist Reddi successes.

65 Quoted by D. V. Raja Rao, op. cit. (in note 13), p. 13.  

66 “Congress Reverses in Madras,” Hindustan Standard, Jan. 14, 1952, p. 8

67 “Ranga Keeps Out,” Times of India, Oct. 2, 1953, p. 1

68 For example, see “Andhra Election Scene,” Times of India, Jan. 10, 1955, p. 6

69 “We Demand Free and Fair Elections,” Parliament speech by Sundarayya, P., cited in For Victory in Andhra, CPI publication (Delhi, 1955), p. 13

70 Times of India (Bombay), June 16, 1953, p. 7

71 In “The Future of Andhra,” Thought, Oct. 3, 1953 Google Scholar | PubMed, G. S. Bhargava reports that Kamma property owners in Vijayawada had confidently based land investments on the expectation that the capital would be there, and suffered heavy losses.

72 “Rift in Andhra Congress,” Times of India, Jan. 1, 1955, p. 10

73 V. Visweswara Rao in Mylavaram constituency, Krishna District.

74 New Age, Dec. 26, 1954, p. 16

75 This phrase is attributed to the Communists in “Caste Factor,” Times of India, Feb. 1, 1955. p. 6

76 While the popular vote increased in Krishna, for the Communists their increase did not keep pace with the overall increase; the Communist percentage of the total in the district dropped from 48 per cent in 1951 to 44 in 1955.

77 New Age, Jan. 17, 1955, p. 3

78 Bhargava, G. S., “Verdict on Communism,” Ambala Tribune, March 15, 1955, p. 4

79 Analysis prepared for the author, dated Feb. 19, 1955, Vijayawada. Rao has served on the All-India Congress Committee for over 30 years. He was elected a member of the Andhra legislature from the Vijayawada constituency in the 1955 election.

80 Times of India, Jan. 16, 1955, p. 4

81 The Hindu, Feb. 8, 1955, p. 4

82 See “Nehru's Congress Filth,” New Age, Feb. 6, 1955

83 Cited in Times of India, Feb. 1, 1955, p. 3 The editorial also stated that the Indian Republic was “a peace-loving state upholding its national independence,” which has “set itself to the grim task of gradually eliminating colonialism.”

84 Karve, Irawati, in Kinship Organization in India, Deccan College Monograph Series (Poona, 1953)Google Scholar, discusses the conjunction of caste and language region at length (esp. pp. 1–24); Ghurye, G. S., Caste and Class in India (Bombay: Popular Book Depot, 1950), p. 23 Google Scholar, says that “in the beginning of the 19th century, the linguistic boundaries fixed the caste limits.” See also pp. 19 and 32; and Hutton, J. H., Caste in India (cited in note 17), p. 10

85 Ambedkar, B. R., “Linguistic States—Need for Checks and Balances,” Times of India, April 23, 1953, p. 4

86 “Ambedkar's Plea for Amendment of Constitution,” Hindustan Times, Sept. 3. 1953, p. 3

87 B. R. Ambedkar, “Linguistic States—Need for Checks and Balances” (cited in note 85).

88 “KLP to Join the Congress,” The Hindu, March 1, 1955, p. 4

89 Latchanna is a member of the Sree-Sainaa, a Srikakulam subcaste group kindred to the delta Kammas and organized politically by Ranga's KLP.

90 A Communist-backed toddy-tappers' agitation in the summer of 1954 is noted in Windmiller, Marshall, “The Andhra Election,” Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 24, pp. 27–28 (April, 1955)

91 The Congress government in Andhra appears to be assured its tenure until 1960 under Article 172 of the Indian Constitution, providing for five-year duration of state legislative assemblies. Under this provision Andhra need not elect a new legislature when the next general elections are held throughout India, probably in 1957. The formation of a united Andhra, incorporating Telugu districts now in Hyderabad state, could necessitate earlier elections.

92 West Godavari, 195,024 in 1951 to 265,193 in 1955; Guntur, 289,932 to 392,268.

93 “Andhra Verdict,” The Hindu, March 9, 1955, p. 4

94 While the Congress margin of victory averaged 13 per cent in Krishna and West Godavari district constituencies, 16 per cent in Guntur, and 21 per cent in East Godavari, these margins do not represent crushing defeat when it is kept in mind that these were straight fights pitting a three-party Congress coalition on one side against the Communists on the other.

Moreover, the per cent of voting in delta constituencies for Communist candidates shows an average decline in Krishna only, from an average 48 per cent of the constituency vote in 1951 to an average 43 in 1955. In Guntur, it increased from 40 to 41; in East Godavari, from 38 to 39; in West Godavari, from 32 to 41.

Outside the delta, where the Communists made virtually no effort in 1951, they emerged in 1955 with an average 22 per cent of the votes in 18 Vizagapatnam constituencies where they contested; 23 per cent in 12 constituencies, Srikakulam; 35 in 13, Anantapur; 26 in 8, Cuddapah; 30 in 11, Kurnool; 37 in 19, Nellore; and 34 in 11, Chittoor.
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Shripad Amrit Dange
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 4/16/20

Shripad Amrit Dange
Member of the Indian Parliament for Bombay City North
In office: 15 April 1952 – 4 April 1957
Preceded by: Constituency established
Succeeded by: V. K. Krishna Menon
Member of the Indian Parliament for Bombay City Central
In office: 5 Apr 1957 – 31 March 1962
Preceded by: Jayashri Naishadh Raiji
Succeeded by: Vithal Balkrishna Gandhi
Member of the Indian Parliament for Bombay Central South
In office: 4 March 1967 – 27 December 1970
Preceded by: Vithal Balkrishna Gandhi
Succeeded by: Abdul Kader Salebhoy
Personal details
Born: 10 October 1899, Karanjgaon, Bombay Presidency, British India (now Maharashtra, India)
Died: 22 May 1991 (aged 91), Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Spouse(s): Ushatai Dange

Shripad Amrit Dange (10 October 1899 – 22 May 1991) was a founding member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and a stalwart of Indian trade union movement. During the British Raj, Dange was arrested by the British authorities for communist and trade union activities and was jailed for an overall period of 13 years. After India's Independence, a series of events like Sino-Soviet split, Sino-Indian war, and the revelation that while in jail, Dange had written letters to the British Government, offering them cooperation, led to a split in the Communist Party of India, in 1964. The breakaway Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) emerged stronger both in terms of membership and their performance in the Indian Elections. Dange, who remained the Chairman of the CPI till 1978, was removed in that year because the majority of party workers were against Dange's political line of supporting Indian National Congress, and Indira Gandhi, the then Congress Prime Minister. He was expelled from the CPI in 1981. He joined the All India Communist Party (AICP), and later, United Communist Party of India. Towards the end, Dange got increasingly marginalised in the Indian Communist movement. He was also a well-known writer and was the founder of Socialist the first socialist weekly in India. Dange played an important role in the formation of Maharashtra state.

Early years

Shripad Amrutpant Dange was born in 1899, in the village of Karanjgaon in Niphad Taluka of Nashik District, Maharashtra. His father worked in Mumbai as a government officer and was a major landowner of the area and lived in one palace-like house in Karanjgaon. Dange was sent to study in Pune. He was expelled from college for organising a movement against compulsory teaching of the Bible. While in work, Dange was exposed to conditions of workers when he undertook voluntary work in the textile mill areas of Mumbai. Dange was drawn into active politics by the fervour of the nationalist movement against the British rule in India.[1] Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a veteran leader of the Indian National Congress from Maharashtra, the earliest proponent of [url]swaraj[/url] (complete independence) greatly inspired young Dange. Later, when Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920, Dange gave up his studies and joined the Independence movement.[1]

Swarāj (Hindi: स्वराज swa- "self", raj "rule") can mean generally self-governance or "self-rule", and was used synonymously with "home-rule" by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati and later on by Mohandas Gandhi, but the word usually refers to Gandhi's concept for Indian independence from foreign domination. Swaraj lays stress on governance, not by a hierarchical government, but by self governance through individuals and community building. The focus is on political decentralisation. Since this is against the political and social systems followed by Britain, Gandhi's concept of Swaraj advocated India's discarding British political, economic, bureaucratic, legal, military, and educational institutions. S. Satyamurti, Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru were among a contrasting group of Swarajists who laid the foundation for parliamentary democracy in India.

-- Swaraj, by Wikipedia

He became interested in Marxism, while following the Russian Revolution of 1917. He grew increasingly skeptical about Gandhism, especially about Gandhi's promotion of cottage industries as the sole solution for India's economic ills, while overlooking possibilities of an industrial economy.

Gandhi Vs. Lenin

In 1921, Dange published a pamphlet titled Gandhi vs. Lenin, a comparative study of approaches of both the leaders; but, Lenin coming out as better of the two. This work proved to be a turning point in Dange's life. Prominent Marxist leader M.N. Roy read the work and went on to meet its young author, when he came to Mumbai. Ranchoddas Bhavan Lotvala, a flour mill owner from Mumbai who 'concerned himself for radical causes', also read this treatise and was impressed by its contents. Lotvala sponsored Dange's study of Marxism for several years, and together they built up a library of Marxist Literature and published translations of classics.[2]

In 1922, with Lotvala's help, Dange launched the English weekly, Socialist, the first Indian Marxist journal.[citation needed] Later Mohit Sen, Dange's contemporary and a well-known communist intellectual, wrote that Dange's articles in the Socialist impressed Lenin himself.[3]

Influence of Bolshevik Revolution

The second decade of the 20th century proved to be formative years for young Dange. The period also witnessed worldwide economic crises. There were long strikes in the industrialized world, especially in Britain. In India, the working class movement gained steady momentum during this period. It was during one of the long textile mill strikes that Dange got himself acquainted with the conditions of laborers.

The period also coincided with influence of Bolshevist ideas, following the Russian Revolution of 1917, manifesting in political events in countries outside Russia. This process was quickened by the establishment of the Third International or the Communist International, or in popular parlance—its abbreviated form -- Comintern, an international communist organisation founded in Moscow in March 1919. As a resolution adopted in the Founding Congress of the Comintern its stated objective was to fight 'by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State'.[4]

Meeting with M.N. Roy

M.N. Roy, an ex-member of the Anushilan Samiti, perhaps the most important secret revolutionary organisation operating in East Bengal in the opening years of the 20th century, went to Moscow in by the end of April 1920.[5] The new Russian government under Lenin evinced interest in him and encouraged him to form an Indian Communist Party. Roy went on to found the émigré Communist Party of India on 17 October 1920[6] in Tashkent. On his return to India, M.N. Roy who had read Gandhi Vs. Lenin met Dange in 1922. Dange at that time was closely associating with Lotvala to spread Marxian ideas. It was during this period that Dange grew in prominence as a Marxist; a sure way those days to invite antagonism from the British Government.

Foundation of the Communist Party of India

The British Empire saw the founding of Comintern as a disruptive force that would cause internal disorder. It viewed the nascent leftism in India with great suspicion. During the 1920s, the Government foisted a series of 'conspiracy cases'[7] against persons whom they suspected to have communist leanings.

Dange in the eyes of the British authorities

During this period M.N. Roy, the spokesperson of the Comintern, was seen as the most dangerous of Indian communists. During that time all the letters written by Roy from Moscow to Dange were intercepted and delivered.[8]

The British government initially did not think Dange was dangerous.

In 1923, they came to the conclusion that they did not have enough to prove anti-government activity as "Dange is a pure doctrinaire and nothing here seen of him indicate any real power of organisation." The Government of India soon changed its mind and the file notes that 'The evidence collected clearly shows that Dange has been an important figure in the conspiracy as constant reference to his name would be unavoidable in any event in the prosecution to be instituted against other members of the conspiracy at [Allahabad].[8]

The conspiracy referred to here is the Kanpur Conspiracy Case that would catapult Dange to a leader with national prominence.

Kanpur Bolshevik conspiracy case

On 17 March 1924, M.N. Roy, S.A. Dange, Muzaffar Ahmed, Nalini Gupta, Shaukat Usmani, Singaravelu Chettiar, Ghulam Hussain and others were charged, in what was called the Cawnpore (now spelt Kanpur) Bolshevik Conspiracy case. The specific charge was that they as communists were seeking "to deprive the King Emperor of his sovereignty of British India, by complete separation of India from imperialistic Britain by a violent revolution."

The case attracted interest of the people towards Comintern plan to bring about violent revolution in India. Communist trials had taken place in India, in frontier towns like Peshawar where Russian trained muhajir communists were put on trial. "But no case had attracted public gaze like the Kanpur case. Pages of newspapers daily splashed sensational communist plans and people for the first time learned such a large scale about communism and its doctrines and the aims of the Communist International in India."[9]

Singaravelu Chettiar was released on account of illness. M.N. Roy was out of the country and therefore could not be arrested. Ghulam Hussain confessed that he had received money from the Russians in Kabul and was pardoned. Muzaffar Ahmed, Nalini Gupta, Shaukat Usmani and Dange were sentenced for various terms of imprisonment.[9] This case was responsible for actively introducing communism to the Indian masses.[9] Dange was released from prison in 1925.

Formation of the Communist Party of India

The industrial town of Kanpur, in December 1925, witnessed a conference of different communist groups, under the chairmanship of Singaravelu Chettiar. Dange, Muzaffar Ahmed, Nalini Gupta, Shaukat Usmani were among the key organisers of the meeting. The meeting adopted a resolution for the formation of the Communist Party of India with its headquarters in Bombay.,[10] The British Government's extreme hostility towards communists, made them to decide not to openly function as a communist party; instead, they chose a more open and non-federated platform, under the name the Workers and Peasants Parties.

Initial years of labor movement in India

In 1920 the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was formed at Mumbai by N.M. Joshi and others. Joshi was a philanthropist who was sympathetic to the workers'cause. At that time AITUC did not have a cohesive ideology, but it was sympathetic to the Indian National Congress.[11] When Dange wrote about the founding session of AITUC at Mumbai, he brought out the organisation's Congress roots:

The AITUC was guided principally by the Congress leaders. The masses at this period were being led by Lokmanya Tilak and his group, in which Lala Lajpat Rai from Punjab, Bepinchandra Pal from Bengal and others had a big place. Mahatma Gandhi had refused to sponsor the idea of founding the AITUC and so he did not attend.[12]

Communists were also largely excluded when, again in Mumbai, in 1923, jobbers and mill clerks came together and started Girni Kamgar Mahamandal (Great Association of Mill-Workers). They participated in the long textile strike in 1924.[13]

Girni Kamgar Union

The early trade union movement in India were not directly inspired by the communists. Dange played an important role in bringing the labor activists amongst Bombay textile workers under the communist umbrella. Girni Kamgar Mahamandal was split and the communists formed their own union, the Girni Kamgar Union during the general strike of 1928.

The linkages which were forged in this strike placed the communists firmly in control of the Girni Kamgar Mahamandal and enabled them to dominate trade union movement. They were now forced to confront problems forced by the structure of industrial relations. The initiative taken by the communist leadership in reflecting working class-militancy enabled them to establish their presence at the level of industry as a whole. To consolidate this position it was imperative that the Girni Kamgar Union as it is now called to penetrate the level of the individual mill...On 30 October 1928 the Girni Kamgar Union had a membership of 324; by the end of that they boasted 54000 members.[13]

Two long and bitter strikes in 1928 and 1929 involving the members of Girni Kamgar Union followed. Dange was the general secretary of the Girni Kamgar Union. For their role in the strikes he was arrested along with Muzaffar Ahmed and Shaukat Usmani.

Dange edited the Marathi journal, Kranti, the official organ of the Girni Kamgar Union from the time of its inception.

Comintern's involvement

Believing that the world capitalism was in crisis, during the 1920s the Comintern deployed its workers to various countries. Indian communists had forged a close relationship with Communist Party of Great Britain. In 1926 and 1927 members of the British Communist Party, notably Philip Spratt and Ben Bradley, came to India.[14] mandated by Comintern to work among the industrial laborers of Bombay and Calcutta(present spelling: Kolkatta). Workers' and Peasants' Parties were started in those cities and in the United Provinces.

The communists were addressing ground level problems and as a result "N.M. Joshi, in spite of money and no persecution from the government lost the leadership (of AITUC) to the communists.[15]" The communists took over the leadership of the AITUC in December 1929, when their rivals, led by N.M.Joshi, walked out of the session, and founded a rival organisation. Like rest of the world, it was a period of great unrest in India too.

In India throughout 1928 and 1929 there was a strong wave of strikes, on the railroads, in ironworks and in the textile industry. 31 million working days lost in 1928, through industrial disputes. Trade union numbers and organisation grew rapidly during this period."[16]

Muzaffar Ahmed, Usmani and Dange joined these later campaigns on their release from jail.

Meerut Conspiracy Case

Main article: Meerut Conspiracy Case

Portrait of 25 of the Meerut Prisoners taken outside the jail. Back row (left to right): K. N. Sehgal, S. S. Josh, H. L. Hutchinson, Shaukat Usmani, B. F. Bradley, A. Prasad, P. Spratt, G. Adhikari. Middle Row: R. R. Mitra, Gopen Chakravarti, Kishori Lal Ghosh, L. R. Kadam, D. R. Thengdi, Goura Shanker, S. Bannerjee, K. N. Joglekar, P. C. Joshi, Muzaffar Ahmed. Front Row: M. G. Desai, D. Goswami, R.S. Nimbkar, S.S. Mirajkar, S.A. Dange, S. V. Ghate, Gopal Basak.

The British Government was clearly worried about the growing influence of the Communist International. Its ultimate objective, so the government perceived, was to achieve "complete paralysis and overthrow of existing Governments in every country (including India) by means of a general strike and armed uprising.".[16] The government's immediate response was to foist yet another conspiracy case—the Meerut Conspiracy Case.

In more than one way the Meerut Conspiracy case trial helped the Communist Party of India to consolidate its position among workers. Dange along with 32 persons were arrested on or about 20 March 1929[16] and were put on trial under Section 121A of the Indian Penal Code, which declares,

Whoever within or without British India conspires to commit any of the offenses punishable by Section 121 or to deprive the King of the sovereignty of British India or any part thereof, or conspires to overawe, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, the Government of India or any local Government, shall be punished with transportation for life,[17] or any shorter term, or with imprisonment of either description which may extend to ten years.

The charges

The main charges were that in 1921 Dange, Shaukat Usmani and Muzaffar Ahmad entered into a conspiracy to establish a branch of Comintern in India and they were helped by various persons, including the accused Philip Spratt and Benjamin Francis Bradley, sent to India by the Communist International. The aim of the accused persons, according to the charges raised against them was

to deprive the King Emperor of the sovereignty of British India, and for such purpose to use the methods and carry out the programme and plan of campaign outlined and ordained by the Communist International.

The Sessions Court in Meerut awarded stringent sentences to the accused in January 1933. Out of the accused 27 persons were convicted with various durations of 'transportation'. While Muzaffar Ahmed was transported for life, Dange, Spratt, Ghate, Joglekar and Nimbkar were each awarded transportation for a period of 12 years. On appeal, in July 1933, the sentences of Ahmed, Dange and Usmani were reduced three years. Reductions were also made in the sentences of other convicts.[16]

Impact of Meerut Conspiracy Case

Though all the accused were not communists, the charges framed against them betrayed the British government's fear for growth of communist ideas in India. In the trial the accused were all labeled as Bolsheviks. During the trial of four and a half years, the defendants turned the courtroom into a public platform to espouse their cause. As a result, the trial saw strengthening of the communist movement in the country. Harkishan Singh Surjeet, a former General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) wrote about the aftermath of the Meerut Conspiracy case thus:

a Party with a centralized apparatus, came into being only after the release of the Meerut prisoners, in 1933. The Meerut Conspiracy Case, though launched to suppress the communist movement, provided the opportunity for Communists to propagate their ideas. It came out with its own manifesto and was affiliated to the Communist International in 1934.[18]

The CPI and the independence movement

During the period, prior to India's Independence, the Communist Party of India's responses to freedom struggle were dictated by the Comintern's views. After its admission to the Third International, the Communist Party of India was seen to be guided by the policies imposed by Joseph Stalin on the international communist movement. Stalin's policies were, in turn, dictated by Russia's geopolitical interests. As a result the positions taken by the CPI ran many times counter to popular nationalist sentiments, leading to erosion of the Party's popular base.

Up to 1934, the CPI viewed India's freedom struggle as a movement of the reactionary bourgeoisie politicians. The British government had banned communist activities from 1934 to 1938. When the Comintern adopted the Georgi Dimitrov thesis of popular front against fascism, CPI declared support for the Congress in 1938. The communist leaders like Dinkar Mehta, Sajjad Zaheer, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, and Soli Batliwala became members of the national executive of the Congress Socialist Party.

The Raj re-banned the CPI in 1939, for its initial anti-War stance. The line was changed when, following the Nazi-Soviet pact (1939-40). The Communist Party of India did not take an active stance against Adolf Hitler and his policies. But when Hitler attacked Poland, the Communist Party of India had called World War II, an 'Imperialist War'. But when he attacked the Soviet Union, the same Communist Party of India decided to call the war, a People's War[19].

After the USSR had sided with the Great Britain in the war, the Communist Party of India was legalised for the first time. Saying that the freedom struggle would impede the war against fascism, the CPI stayed away from the freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress was able to politically corner the communists, as the popular sentiments were overwhelmingly supporting Gandhi's Quit India Movement.

Dange in 'P.C. Joshi era'

After the sudden arrest of then Somnath Lahiri, Secretary of CPI, during end-1935, Puran Chand Joshi became the first general secretary of Communist Party of India, for a period from 1935 to 1947—or as it was called the 'P.C. Joshi era.'

In 1943 Dange for the first was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI.[20] In October 1944 he attended the XVII Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain in London as a fraternal representative from the Communist Party of India. Between 1929 and 1935 Dange remained in jail for role in Meerut conspiracy case. After being released from jail in 1935, Dange went on a speaking tour in Andhra Pradesh on the invitation of the Congress Socialist Party leadership from there. His tour resulted in that many prominent Congress Socialist Party leaders from Andhra Pradesh joining the Communist Party.[21] After he came out of the jail, up to 1939, he was working for the Party and was trying increase its hold over the trade union movement.

Around this time Dange's legislative career also took off. He was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly as Communist candidate in 1946.

Dange's rise in trade union movement

In 1939 Dange was convicted to four months of rigorous imprisonment for organising a strike of textile workers. He was arrested on 11 March 1940 for leading a general strike of textile workers in Bombay and interned in the Deoli Detention Camp. At Deoli several other communist leaders were also jailed along with him. In prison he started a political study circle amongst the prisoners. He was released in 1943.[22]

Even before the takeover of the AITUC by the communists, in 1927, Dange was elected Assistant Secretary of AITUC.[23]" During the year 1943- 1944 Dange was elected for the first time as the chairman of the All India Trade Unions Congress.

In 1944-1945 he was a delegate to the World Trade Union Conference in London. In 1945-1947 he became the vice chairman of the All India Trade Union Congress. Also in October 1945 he became a member of the Executive Committee and chairman of the General Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions. In February 1947, Dange again became the chairman of All India Trade Union Congress and continued to be at the helm of that organisation either as general secretary or chairman.

CPI on the eve of independence

Around the time that the British decided to transfer power to the Indians, the CPI found itself in a not very happy situation. For once their disassociation with the Quit India movement made them unpopular with the people. Secondly huge support that the Congress garnered ran contrary the CPI's portrayal of it as a mere bourgeoisie party.

Internationally also CPI found itself lost. At the start of World War II, the Comintern supported a policy of non-intervention, arguing that the war was an imperialist war between various national ruling classes. But when the Soviet Union itself was invaded on 22 June 1941, the Comintern changed its position to one of active support for the Allies. Stalin disbanded Comintern in 1943. It is surmised that the dissolution came about as Stalin wished to calm his World War II Allies (particularly Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill) not to suspect that the Soviet Union was pursuing a policy of trying to foment revolution in other countries.[24]

The CPI was in a state of confusion and the Party clearly needed advice. In July 1947, P.C. Joshi, the then General Secretary, secured Dange's entry to USSR.

Dange in Moscow

On the day India got freedom, 15 August 1947 Dange was in Moscow talking to the Soviet leaders. Andrei Zhdanov and Mikhail Suslov, leading Soviet theorists of the period, participated in the 1947 talks with Dange.

The following free and frank exchange between Dange and Zhdanov on the day after the India's Independence day, that is, on 16 August 1947, brings out the chaotic situation in which the Communist Party of India found itself at that historical juncture:

Further com. Zhdanov asks com. Dange to explain why the Congress managed to strengthen its authority.

Comrade Dange opines that during the war the Congress, taking into account the anti-English sentiments of the wide masses, opposed the English and by this action acquired a semblance of a national organisation fighting for the national sovereignty.

The Communist Party during the war supported the allies, including the English and by this action weakened its influence as a lot of people could not correctly understand the position of the Party. A considerable part of the supporters of the Communist Party during the war shifted to the Congress.[25]

The Soviet leaders closely questioned Dange about the Congress. For years questions regarding what attitude should be taken toward the Congress would be debated inside the left parties in India. The following portion shows Dange's attitude towards the Congress and Muslim League, at that time.

Com. Zhdanov: What is Nehru – a capitalist or a landowner?

Com. Dange: A bourgeois.

Com. Zhdanov: And Jinnah?

Com. Dange: Also a bourgeois. He is an eminent advocate, has acquired a lot of money and has invested it in enterprises. Nehru also belongs to a family of eminent advocates and has invested his substantial savings in the Indian company of Tata.... .[25]

The 1950s: internal strifes within the CPI

Around the time of independence the CPI was sending confusing signals—from left to centrist to right. General Secretary Joshi was advocating unity with the Indian National Congress under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru. By the end of 1947, P.C. Joshi found himself in the minority. His line was challenged by the radicals who claimed that "ye azaadi jhoota hai[26]". B.T. Ranadive, a prominent radical leader, was inspired by the great strides that the Chinese communists had made, and wanted a similar model for India.

The Communist Party of India’s second congress at Calcutta (new spelling Kolkata) on 28 February 1948, the Zhdanov line of insurrection was adopted on the premise that 'free' India was only a "semi-colony of British imperialism". Joshi, who stood collaboration with Congress was sidelined, and Ranadive became the General Secretary. Open call for taking up arms, known as 'Calcutta thesis' and was closely identified with its main proponent and the new General Secretary, Ranadive. As a result insurgencies took place in Tripura, Telangana and Travancore.

A rebellion in the Telangana region in the northern part of what was to become Andhra Pradesh, a peasant struggle against the feudal regime of the Nizam was already happening when Calcutta thesis was adopted. To use the Telangana rebellion to herald in the Indian revolution was one of the main pillars of Ranadive strategy. During the peak of Telangana rebellion, 3,000 villages and some 41,000 square kilometers of territory were involved in the revolt. The ruler of Hyderabad state, nizam had not yet acceded his territory to India, but the violence of the communist-led rebellion, the central government sent in the army in September 1948. By November 1949, Hyderabad had been forced to accede to the Indian union, and, by October 1951, the violent phase of the Telangana movement had been suppressed.

Dange had been a member of the CPI Central Committee since the founding of the Party. But during 1950-1951 he was not included in the Central Committee.

Stalin's intervention

At the start of the 1950s, the CPI was bitterly divided over the manner in which political power in India should be captured. The militants advocated the 'Chinese path', or capture of power through violent means and the other group that included Dange was for the 'Indian path'(a moderate strategy to capture power within the constraints of Indian Constitution.

The proponents of the `Chinese path' led by C. Rajeswara Rao and those of the `Indian path' led by Ajoy Ghosh had set up their own centers and the CPI was on the verge of a split.[27]

On 30 May 1950, the extremists with hundreds of their followers split from the Party and came out in the open.[28] When the war of attrition between both continued unabated, the Soviet Communists intervened. The warring leaders were invited to Russia for a discussion with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1951.

Events that followed were described Mohit Sen thus:

Four leaders, two from each center, were brought to Moscow. They travelled in cognito as manual workers in a Soviet ship from Calcutta. They were Ajoy Ghosh and S.A. Dange from the 'Indian Path', and C. Rajeswara Rao and M. Basava Punnaiah, from the Chinese path.

S.A. Dange and C. Rajeswara Rao have both told me about the meeting with the leaders of the CPSU. The first meeting was attended from the Soviet side by Comrades Suslov, Malenkov and Molotov. It was on the third day that it was announced that Comrade Stalin would attend. So he did for subsequent days....

Stalin's view also was that India was not an independent country but ruled indirectly by British colonialists. He also agreed that the Communists could eventually advance only by heading an armed revolution. But this would not be of the Chinese type. He strongly advised that the armed struggle being conducted in Telangana should be ended.[27]

In 1951, Dange was elected to both the Central Committee and the Politburo. In 1952 Dange lost elections to the Indian Parliament from Bombay.

Visit of Bulganin and Khrushchev to India

In mid-1955, Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Indian Prime Minister visited USSR and received a tremendous welcome. This was followed by the maiden visit to India of the Soviet leaders, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev in 1955. Jawaharlal Nehru, frankly put forward to the visiting Soviet leaders that the Communist Party of India was claiming to receive direction from the CPSU.

To this Khrushchev's response was a reiteration of the official Soviet Party line, that with the abolition of the Comintern, there was no organisation for leading the Communist Parties in other countries. Khrushchev and Bulganin's visit paved way for forging of a strong relationship between the Government of India (and later Congress Party) and the USSR, independent of CPI.

Further dissensions

The party was again on the verge of split at its fourth congress held at Palakkad in 1956. Against the ultra-left line of Ranadive, Dange and P.C. Joshi were for reviving the 'popular front' and working with the ruling Indian National Congress. These differences within the Communist Party of India, up to Palakkad congress was an internal matter of the Party; the international communist movement at that time was united. Ranadive who was earlier shunned for his extremism made a comeback to the Party leadership at the Palakkad congress.

Formation of Maharashtra

After India's independence in 1947, the princely states were integrated into the Indian Union, and the Deccan States including Kolhapur were integrated into Bombay State, which was created from the former Bombay Presidency in 1950. The Government of India had appointed the States Re-organisation Committee for setting up states on the basis of language. This committee recommended a bi-lingual state called Bombay for Maharashtra-Gujarat, with Bombay as its capital. The state came into being on 1 November 1956, but stirred up political unrest in both the states. In Maharashtra, under the leadership of Keshavrao Jedhe, an all-party meeting was held in Pune and a joint Maharashtra council (Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti) was founded. In the second general elections the Samiti defeated the stalwarts of Congress by securing 101 seats out of 133, including 12 from Mumbai.

Shripad Amrit Dange representing the CPI at the fifth congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, Berlin. 12 July 1958.

Dange was elected to the 2nd Lok Sabha in 1957 from Bombay City (Central) Constituency of the State of Bombay.[29]

Dange along with S.M. Joshi, N.G. Gore and P.K. Atre fought relentlessly for Samyukta Maharashtra, a struggle that cost a lot of lives. Finally on 1 May 1960, pre-dominantly Marathi-speaking state of Maharashtra was born.

Dange was later elected to the 4th Lok Sabha in 1967 from Bombay City (Central) Constituency of the Maharashtra State.[29]

Sino-Indian border dispute

Dange was the leader of the Communist group in the House of the People (Lok Sabha), when the Sino-Indian border dispute broke out—an event that would sharpen the differences within the CPI. The Calcutta Congress at the end of September 1959 brought into open the differences within the Party. As Manchester Guardian reported:

Half the party wants to express its support for the Congress stand that there will be no gift (to China) of the and that India stands broadly by the McMahon line. The other half wants to go back to guerrilla tactics and give up the parliamentary experiment. The nationalist parliamentary wing of the CP, led by Ajoy Ghosh, believes that the time for violence has not come and that Moscow counsels patience.... The other half of the ICP (sic), fed up with the parliamentary experiment, argues that Kerala proved that the ruling class will never allow a people's Government to capture power democratically. This is the first time that the ICP has been so s divided, and that the division has become so public.[30]
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International Socialists vs. Nationalists

Sino-Indian border dispute brought into open bitter internal war within the CPI between those who described themselves as international socialists and others who advocated that national sentiments should not be completely ignored. Mr. Dange, leader of the Party in Parliament, M.N. Govindan Nair, secretary of the Kerala unit, and Dr. Muzaffar Ahmed of Uttar Pradesh were the proponents of the nationalist cause.

The conflict came in the open when P.C. Joshi, who controlled the Party's weekly New Age, suppressed Mr. Dange's statement in Parliament that he sharply stood by the McMahon line, and also a resolution passed by Maharashtra State Committee supporting Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the border dispute. Joshi was earlier sidelined for his pro-Congress advocacy, but later rehabilitated by making him the editor of the Party journal.

Initial advantage with Dange

An important leader publicly to join the nationalist Dange faction was A.K. Gopalan, the deputy leader of the Communist group in Lok Sabha. He was quoted by a newspaper that he(Gopalan) was shocked by the 'Ladakh incident',[31] lamenting the loss of Indian lives, and stating that the country would support Nehru in his efforts to avoid any repetition of it.[32]

In the initial stages, Dange's nationalist line was the dominant one. To quote Manchester Guardian, "Hence not only the Party's extremists of the Joshi wing, but also the middle-of-the-road Moscow faction were at that time visibly losing ground. This favourable development was probably accelerated by the attitude of studied neutrality adopted in Moscow, where the Soviet press printed both the Chinese and Indian accounts of the Ladakh skirmish, without appearing to take sides.[33] His general nationalist communist position had the backing of the Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh units of the party.

Dange losing ground

But soon after opposition against Dange erupted in the Party when Dange came up with his own definition of communist internationalism, different from standard Marxian understanding of the term. In his view internationalism is valid only for 'domestic' issues such as Hungary and Tibet, which were the 'domestic' affairs of the USSR and China. But he regards relations between India and China as non-domestic, so that Indian communists may side with the Indian Government in this specific cases. Even the comrades who sided with Dange on the Sino-Indian border issue, were not ready to compromise on basic tenets of communism. Dange was severely criticised and he had own up his fault in the Party forum, through a process called 'self-criticism'.[34]

There was also a consolidation among the communist internationalists at this stage. The Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung identified B. T. Ranadive, a former general secretary(1948–50), as supporting P.C. Joshi in his pro-Chinese attitude. According to these two militants, Nehru ought to be condemned by the Party as a "reactionary", and the policy of Congress should be resolutely opposed. At this stage, the secretariat's eight members were divided as follows:

• Dange, Gopalan, Ahmad - nationalist communists
• Joshi, Ranadive - extremists, pro-China
• Bhupesh Gupta - former extremist, present views uncertain.
• Ajoy Ghosh and one other not identified by the newspaper(probably Basavapunnaiah ) - centralists, attempting to restore unity.[35]

Sino-Indian War

Main article: Sino-Indian War

In the meanwhile fighting began on the Himalayan border on 10 October 1962 between the Chinese People's Liberation Army and Army of India. The war ended when the Chinese unilaterally declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962, which went into effect at midnight.

Sino-Soviet differences

Main article: Sino-Soviet split

Another issue that fueled the split in the Communist Party of India was parting of the ways between the USSR and China. Though the conflict had a long history, it came out in open in 1959, Khrushchev sought to appease the West during a period of the Cold War known as 'The Thaw', by holding a summit meeting with U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. Two other reasons were USSR's unwillingness to support Chinese nuclear program and their neutrality in the initial days of Sino-Indian border conflict. These events greatly offended Mao Zedong and the other Chinese Communist leaders.

Left vs. Right

In 1962, Mao criticised Khrushchev for backing down in the Cuban missile crisis. By that time the Soviets were openly supporting India in its border dispute with China. These events were followed by formal statements of each side's ideological positions: the Chinese came out with their document in June 1963.[36] The Soviets too came out with their own document.[37] Thereafter the two parties stopped communicating.

Chairman Dange

These events had their direct fall-out in the Communist Party of India. Former nationalist vs. international socialist debate had now turned into a conflict between the Right (the Russian line) and the Left (the Chinese line). Dange, who was supporting the Nehru Government, was the main leader of the Right. After the death of Secretary-General Ajoy Ghosh in January 1962, a truce was established. Dange, who at that time was the head of the All-India Trade Union Congress, became the first chairman of the CPI and the centrist leader, Namboodiripad, became the Secretary-General.

Split in the CPI

At that time, the Government of India had arrested 400 prominent communist leaders of the Left wing for their alleged pro-China views. Dange, seized this opportunity, a move that would further erode his base, to reassert the right-wing control over the pro-left strongholds of West Bengal and the Punjab. In February 1963—with 48 of its 110 members absent, in detention or in hiding—the National Council voted to "administer the work of the West Bengal Party" through a Provincial Organising Committee acting on behalf of the Central Secretariat.

Through such partisan measures Dange alienated the centrist leader, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, who resigned from the post of Secretary- General, leaving Dange to take over the post. By earlier 1963 the Left had established an underground organisation for what amounted to a breakaway West Bengal Communist Party Unit. According to prominent leftist fortnightly Link, New Delhi, the new outfit enjoyed the support of 14,000 of the 17,000 Communist Party members in the state.[38] Similar moves were made in many other states by the left-wing. Release of their leaders from jails by the state governments also helped the leftists to consolidate their position among cadres.

In September 1963, A.K. Gopalan (formerly with Dange in 1959) was able to organise an impressive anti-official party rally in Calcutta. Dange still had a majority of two-to-one on the council, but the emerging alliance between the Leftists and Namboodiripad's smaller Centrist faction forced him to be cautious. However, at that stage, with secessionist organisations already at work in several states, no caution or concession could halt the drift towards a split; though attempts were still not given up for unity. Suddenly in March 1964, a trigger was provided by what was called the 'Dange letters', that exploded on the face of the Party, precipitating a split.

Dange letters

The Current, a Bombay magazine published these letters which were said to be written by Dange to the British Viceroy from prison in 1924, after his conviction in the Kanpur Conspiracy Case, and in which he had promised to cooperate with the British government.[39] Dange, who was the chairman of the Party got the Secretariat to denounce the letters as a forgery. But slide towards split became unstoppable. His opponents exploited this opening, and called for his removal from the leadership to facilitate investigation.

The birth of CPI(M)

The cascading events following the Dange Letters ultimately resulted in the split of the Party in October, 1964. The left challenge came into the open with a conference to prepare a party program, immediately after the Dange Letters. The showdown came on 11 April 1964 when 30 Leftists and two Centrist leaders. Namboodiripad and Jyoti Basu, walked out of a National Council meeting. and proceeded to appeal to all Indian Communists to repudiate the Dange leadership. National Council suspended the thirty-two leaders.

The left leaders who were ousted, in turn, announced a separated national convention. After the Tenali convention the CPI left-wing organised party district and state conferences. Also it was decided in the Tenali convention to hold a party congress of the left-wing in Calcutta. The Calcutta Congress was held during 31 October - 7 November 1964. Simultaneously, the official Party under Dange convened a Party Congress of the Communist Party of India in Bombay. The split was complete. The left group which assembled in Calcutta decided to adopt the name 'Communist Party of India (Marxist)'.This party also adopted its own political programme. P. Sundarayya was elected general secretary of CPI(M).

General Elections 1967

After the split, the first event that tested out the relative strengths of both groups was the Kerala Assembly Elections held in 1965. The Communist Party of India contested in 79 seats but only win 3 seats, polling about 5 lakh votes with 8.30% vote share. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) contested 73 seats, won 40, with about 13 lakh votes, 19.87% of the total.[40]

In 1967, General Elections to the Parliament, Dange won from the Bombay Central South Constituency. The results had again shown a weakening CPI. They contested in 109 seats, won only 23, with about 75 lakh votes ( that is 5.11% of total votes polled. The CPI(M) contested in 59, won 19, with 62 lakh votes(4.28%).[41]

In the state legislative elections held simultaneously, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) emerged as a major party in Kerala and West Bengal. In Kerala a United Front government led by E.M.S. Namboodiripad was formed. The Communist Party of India was a minor coalition partner. In West Bengal, Communist Party of India (Marxist) emerged as the main force, but the chief ministership of the coalition government was given to Ajoy Mukherjee of the Bangla Congress, a provincial break-away group of the Indian National Congress. For the Communist Party of India, The Kerala experiment of coexisting with Communist Party of India(Marxist) did not work for long.

Split in the trade union

Even after the party split, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party cadres remained unified in the All India Trade Union Congress. After the short-lived coexistence between both the Parties broke down in Kerala and also in West Bengal similar rupture happened, the trade union wing also split. In December 1969, eight Communist Party of India (Marxist) members walked out of an All India Trade Union Congress executive committee meeting. Later, the Marxist break-away members would organise an All India Trade Union Conference in Calcutta, on 28–31 May 1970. The Calcutta conference was the founding conference of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, new Communist Party of India (Marxist) trade union.[42]

Collaborating with Congress

The issue whether to support Congress or not bedevilled the undivided Communist Party right from the year of independence, 1947, when the then general secretary P.C. Joshi strongly spoke in favour of it. Joshi was marginalised for this, yet the question persisted and was one of the reasons for the CPI split. It was increasingly becoming clear that anti-Congress faction, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was stronger of the two groups.

In the late 1960s, however, the mood within the Communist Party of India turned strongly anti-Congress. In the Bombay party congress in 1968, the CPI took the decision of forging an anti-Congress front. This had resulted in collaborating with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for a short while. Soon differences between both Parties again came out in the open. From 1970 onwards Communist Party of India started once again working with the Congress. Dange was one of the principal architects of this union.

Bangladesh War

One of the events that facilitated cooperating with Congress was the Bangladesh Liberation War. In 1971 Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) declared its independence from Pakistan. The Pakistani military tried to quell the uprising; but Indian military intervention thwarted such moves. There was confusion within the ranks of the Indian communists—while the pro-Soviet CPI had no problem in supporting the war, and the Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, the CPI(M) found itself in quandary participated in the resistance struggle, the pro-China communist groups were in a quandary, because China had sided with Pakistan in the war.[citation needed]

CPI-led government in Kerala

During the period 1970-1977, CPI was a strong ally of the Congress party and nothing typified better than the alliance both the parties forged in Kerala. Both the parties formed a coalition government together in that state, with the CPI-leader C. Achutha Menon as the Chief Minister. In Kerala legislative elections held in 1970, the Communist Party of India won only 16 seats, out of a total of 133, whereas the coalition leader Indian National Congress had won 30 seats.[43] Still, Congress accepted Achuta Menon's leadership till the next election that would be held seven years later.

The CPI and the Emergency

Main article: Indian Emergency (1975–1977)

A state of emergency declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in June 1975, by invoking Article 352 of the Constitution of India, and it lasted for 21 months. Emergency provisions suspended all the Constitutional rights and gave power to rule by decree. It enabled the Prime Minister to suspend elections and civil liberties.

Indira Gandhi took this extreme step due to a host of reasons. The venerated Gandhian leader Jaya Prakash Narayan's agitation in Bihar for change in provincial government, was getting increasingly against the Central Government. More immediate reason for clamping of emergency was that in a judgment dated 12 June 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court held that Mrs. Gandhi was guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign. The case was filed by Raj Narain, who had been recently defeated in the parliamentary election by Indira Gandhi. The court declared her election null and void and unseated her from her seat in Lok Sabha. The court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years.

CPI support to Indira Gandhi

CPI saw emergency as an opportunity and welcomed it 'as necessary to combat fascist movement led by Jaiprakash Narayan and the parties of right reaction. CPI leaders believed they could turn emergency into a communist revolution. Almost a decade of close cooperation with Indira Gandhi and the Congress seemed to be on the verge of bringing about a massive revolutionary breakthrough for the CPI.[44]

Backlash: General elections, 1977

In 1977, Indira Gandhi went for general elections and CPI was still supporting her. The Congress lost the elections and emergency was lifted. The CPI suffered its worst ever losses in general elections. CPI(M) was able to hold on to its base in West Bengal, but, electoral support for the CPI took a nosedive, as the following table would show:

Comparative Performance of the Communist Parties in General Elections of 1971 and 1977.[45][46]

Party / Seats(1971) / Seats (1977) / % of Votes(1971) / % of Votes(1977)

CPI / 23 / 07 / 4.73% / 2.82%
CPM / 25 / 22 / 5.12% / 4.29%
Total / 48 / 29 / 9.85% / 7.11%

Towards left unity

To both the communist parties, election results raised serious questions regarding their relevance in the Indian political system. Newly strewn up Bharatiya Lok Dal[47] - a medley of groups ranging from Congress rebels to Hindu party Jan Sangh - under the patronage of Jaiprakash Narayan, was able to garner 41.32% of the votes polled. Congress though lost heavily in terms of seats, still had 34.52% of popular votes. To the left parties the fact that these two parties accounted for more than three-fourth of the electorate and 449 out a total of 542 seats did suggest a possibility of a two (bourgeoisie) party political system. The result was a lot of soul searching for both the parties. Eventually both the parties would regroup and would form an alliance.

Dange's isolation in CPI

As one of the few parties that supported emergency, the CPI was under attack from all other quarters. In spite of strong pro-Indira arguments presented by Dange, CPI in its eleventh party congress at Bhatinda, repudiated the support to emergency and opted for a new policy of left democratic unity. In Bhatinda congress two separate groupings emerged, one led by Dange and another led by C. Rajeswara Rao. The Rajeswara Rao's faction was victorious and the Bhatinda congress confirmed the shift towards creating alliances with leftist forces against Congress. Dange's pro-Congress line was severely tested within his own party. Similarly in their tenth party congress held at Jullunder around the same time, CPI(M) also decided pursue a path of left unity.

Even after Bhatinda congress, Dange was able to retain some of his influence though the majority was moving towards unity with CPI(M). The main reason for this was CPI sharing power with the Congress in Kerala.

Initially, both parties differed on the concept of what left and democratic unity would mean. This came out in open in when leaders of both parties met for the first time after 1964 split in New Delhi on 13 April 1978. In spite of repudiation of emergency, the CPI was not ready to change its overall assessment of Congress. Congress according to CPI contained left and democratic elements. This stand also justified continued cooperation between Congress and CPI in Kerala.[48]

All India Communist Party

By 1980, the writing on the wall was clear. Poll alliance between CPI and CPI(M) was forged. CPI had parted ways with Congress in Kerala. The Dange group within the party was reduced to an insignificant minority. In 1980 a section of CPI cadre who wanted to retain the close relationship with the Congress, broke away from the Party and formed All India Communist Party. Roza Deshpande, the daughter of Dange and her husband Bani Deshpande, played an important role in organising the founding of the new party.[49] It is said that Dange himself was initially largely sceptical of a split in the CPI.[50]

The founders of All India Communist Party retained close communications with Dange. In May, 1981 the National Council of CPI expelled Dange. When the first conference of AICP was held in Meerut,[51] commencing on 13 March.[52] Dange turned up there uninvited and took charge of the new party. He was elected general secretary of the party.[53]

Marginalisation within the communist movement

Although having Dange as its leader, AICP was not able to attract any major nationwide following for two main reasons. Firstly, the Soviet Union did not give any political support to the new party. The founders of AICP were upholding the pro-Soviet CPI policy of cooperating with the National Congress, but the Soviets were not interested in a split within CPI. Secondly, the Congress showed limited interest towards the idea of having a national alliance with the new party.

AICP versus Congress

In the end, the two parties would be poised against each other in several local elections. Not only that, the Congress successfully outmaneuvered the new party in taking over a pro-Soviet goodwill organisation. As an alternative to the CPI-controlled Indian-Soviet Cultural Society (ISCUS), members of AICP and the Congress had set up the Friends of the Soviet Union. Eventually the control over this organisation was completely taken over by the Congress.[54]

Merger into United Communist Party of India

In 1987 AICP merged with the Indian Communist Party and formed the United Communist Party of India. Veteran communist leader Mohit Sen was the general secretary of the party until his death in 2003.

The party failed to register any presence in the country. In the 2007 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, UCPI launched three candidates, Devi Dayal Yadav in Karki (572 votes, 0.49% of the votes in the constituency), Anand Kumar in Baberu (899 votes, 0.82%) and Vimal Krishan Srivastav in Banda (456 voes, 0.39%).[55] Similarly, in 2006 Tamil Nadu elections, UCPI could garner only 921 votes in the state.[56]

Death and legacy

Dange died at a Bombay hospital on 22 May 1991. He was given a state funeral by the Maharashtra state government.[57] He was survived by his wife Ushatai and daughter, Roza Deshpande.

Birth centenary

Seven years later, in 1998, it was decided to celebrate his birth centenary celebrations, starting from 10 October that year in a gathering of trade unionists in Mumbai. A committee was set up to undertake a project for instituting a memorial to Dange. The concept of the memorial approved in the meeting was that it would house a modern education center, a large library and facilities for research on various issues concerning the working class movement. There will also be a trade union school with hostel and canteen facilities.[58] This project did not take off.

Another attempt by various communist organisations was to hold a national communist conference in Mumbai on the occasion of Dange's birth centenary celebrations. But this had failed due to the paucity of funds. The communist organisations could not raise sufficient funds nor could find a generous sponsor to host the meet in Dange's own city. Therefore, the venue of the conference was shifted to Kerala.[59]

Honour by the Indian Parliament

On 10 December 2004, The Indian Parliament honoured Dange when Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India unveiled his statue along with other left leaders such as Acharya Narendra Deva and A.K. Gopalan in Parliament House. The 9-feet high bronze statue of Dange, sculpted by Vithoba Panchal, has been donated by the labor organisation, Shramik Pratishthan, Mumbai.[60]

Mitrokhin Archives

Controversies continued to dog Dange even after death. In what were supposedly based on KGB documents, notes smuggled out by former KGB spy Vasili Mitrokhin at the time of his defection to Britain, Christopher Andrew published, in 2005, a book[61] Mitrokhin Archive II, that contained details of alleged transactions between the CPI and the KGB during 1975-76, and it claimed that the money exchanged was between 4 to 8 lakh rupees a month. The supposed KGB papers claim that deceased CPI leaders Dange and C. Rajeswara Rao regularly received bribes and favours from the Russians in the mid-1970s and Dange even issued receipts for the money he received. This money changed hands from car windows in desolate areas near New Delhi, the book claimed.

Mitrokhin Archives are not KGB papers per se, but were notes taken by Vasili Mitrokhin over 30 years. CPI questioned the authenticity of these papers. "This is utter nonsense. We have said this before and we say it again that these documents haven't been verified and no one knows if these are real KGB papers," said CPI leader Manju Kumar Majumder, when the book was out,[62] Academicians like J. Arch Getty[63][64] and counter-intelligence specialists[65] had questioned the veracity of these papers.

Benediktov Diaries

Diaries of I.A. Benediktov, Russian ambassador to India during the 1960s named Indian communist leaders seeking aid from the Soviet Union. Dange's name figured in the first excerpt is from a 17 January 1962 entry from the journal Benediktov describing a conversation with Bhupesh Gupta, the then Secretary of the National Council of CPI.

Gupta reported that after the death of Ghosh at the present time in the party there is an acute insufficiency of means for the preelection campaign. He expressed the fear that with the death of Ghosh the source for receiving means for the communist party from the CPSU might be closed. These questions were handled by Ghosh alone, Gupta underscored. He never consulted with him /Gupta/, and even less with [Elamulam M.S.] Nambudiripad and G. Nair/ with the latter two only about using the assistance/. All these matters were held in strictest secrecy from other leaders of the party and members of the National Council. This explains the fact that not a single report on this question has appeared in the press. Gupta said that he cannot singlehandedly take on responsibility in questions of assistance, therefore he considers it necessary to consult with Nambudiripad, whom he characterized as a person of crystalline honesty and whom Ghosh trusted. Gupta confidentially reported that A. Ghosh had not consulted on this problem with Akhmed or with [Shripad Amrit] Dange, who once proposed that he entrust to him alone all matters connected with the receipt of aid from abroad.[66]

In as much as Mitrokhin archive was based entirely on notes based on alleged primary sources, the Benediktov diaries also brought in Dange through a mere hearsay. But both these documents were used by the critics of communism to attack the communist parties and Dange.

Dange the author

Dange's arrival in the political arena was through the pamphlet Gandhi vs. Lenin that got him two important contacts of his youth: M.N. Roy and Lotwala, the rich flour-mill owner from Bombay. The latter helped him to launch the first ever socialist magazine in India, The Socialist. Mohit Sen said that Dange's articles in The Socialist impressed Lenin himself.[67]

Dange was a keen follower of literature. He had published a book called Literature and People that advocated socialist realism, as opposed to elitism.

From Primitive Communism to Slavery

Dange's major work, From Primitive Communism to Slavery was published in 1949. The book attempted to analyze stages of growth of society in ancient India. The author had painfully researched ancient scriptures and other sources to make it a definitive tome. Engels’ book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State was the kind of road map he used. He analyzed the ancient epics to arrive at the reasons for origin of private property in India. The first draft of the book was written in Yerwada Central Jail between October 1942 and January 1943.

Dange's magnum opus was severely criticised by historian D.D. Kosambi, who said that in order to defend Engels, he had to deny Dange. He went on to say that Dange’s work was unquestionably a caricature of Engel’s work.[68] Kosambi was especially severe when he said, ‘Marxism is not a substitute for thinking, but a tool of analysis which must be used, with a certain minimum of skill and understanding, upon the proper material.[69]

The book was released in 2002, under the title Vedic India by his daughter Roza and her husband, Bani Deshpande. Dange was again criticised for "his ideas on ancient India and his discovery of the ideals of communism in the primitive ages (and hence a glorification of the ancient culture) left him exposed to charges of having read Marxism in the most unscientific fashion".[70]


1. "Obituary reference in the Indian Parliament". Parliament of India website. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
2. Riepe, Dale (1977). "Marxism in India". Marxism, Revolution and Peace. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 41. ISBN 978-90-6032-066-2. Retrieved 18 April 2009.
3. Sen, Mohit (2002). "The Dange Centenary". S.A. Dange - A Fruitful Life. Progressive Publishers, Kolkata. p. 43.
4. MI5 History. The Communist Threat. in chapter The Inter-War Period
5. Roy, Samaren M.N. Roy: A Political Biography Orient Longman 1997. p.54.
6. Documents of History of the Communist Party of India (ed.) G. Adhikari with the assistance of Dilip Bose. New Delhi: People's Publishing House. 1982. p. 229.
7. Criminal cases in which the accused are charged with actions that would alienate the sovereignty of British India, from the British King.
8. "Ganachari, Arvind". Evolution of Law of 'Sedition' in the Context of the Indian Freedom Struggle 1837-1922 in Dossal, Mariam and Maloni, Ruby (ed.) State Intervention and Popular Response: Western India in the Nineteenth Century Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. 1999. p. 175.
9. Ralhan, O.P. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Political Parties New Delhi: Anmol Publications p.336
10. The two major Indian communist parties, namely, Communist Party Of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) maintain different views on exactly when the Communist Party of India was founded. The date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925. But according to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the party was founded in Tashkent, USSR on 17 October 1920.
11. Ganachari, Arvind. Evolution of Law of 'Sedition' in the Context of the Indian Freedom Struggle 1837-1922 in Dossal, Mariam and Maloni, Ruby (ed.) State Intervention and Popular Response: Western India in the Nineteenth Century Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. 1999. p. 176.
12. "S.A. Dange" in his introduction to AITUC 50 Years Documents, Volume 1. published by AITUC Publications. p.xxiii.
13. "Chandavarker, Rajanarayan". Imperial Power and popular politics: Class, resistance and state in India New York: Cambridge University Press. 1998. p.131
14. Tomlinson, Professor B.R. (Tom). India Text Notes left on the net by Tomlinson, Professor B.R. (Tom). Department of History, School for Oriental and African Studies.SOAS. University of London London
15. Chandavarker, Rajanarayan. Imperial Power and popular politics: Class, resistance and state in India New York: Cambridge University Press. 1998. p.183
16. "Working Class Movement Library" Meerut Conspiracy Trial Archived 13 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
17. During the British rule, a severe form of punishment was banishing convicts to a penal settlement in Andaman Islands.
18. Surjeet, Harkishan Singh 75th Anniversary of the Formation of the Communist Party of India, an article in The Marxist, New Delhi, Volume: 2, No. 1 Issue: January- March 1984
19. Standard, Business (5 April 2016). "Letters: Downfall of the CPI". Business Standard India.
20. B.T. Ranadive. S.A. Dange (1959) in Banerjee, Gopal (ed.) S.A. Dange - A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p. 26.
21. B.T. Ranadive. S.A. Dange (1959) in Banerjee, Gopal (ed.) S.A. Dange - A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p. 23.
22. B.T. Ranadive. S.A. Dange (1959) in Banerjee, Gopal (ed.) S.A. Dange - A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p. 25.
23. B.T. Ranadive. S.A. Dange (1959) in Banerjee, Gopal (ed.) S.A. Dange - A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p. 19.
24. Robert Service, Stalin. A biography. (Macmillan - London, 2004), pp 444-445
25. "Transcript" of the Discussion held on 16.VIII.1947 from 6 pm to 8 between Comrade A.A. Zhdanov with Com. Shripad Amrit Dange, Member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Of India.
26. This freedom is bogus.
27. "Sen, Mohit". A Traveller and the Road – The Journey of an Indian Communist. New Delhi: Rupa Co., 2003. p. 81
28. Rival Red Party Is Set Up in India, Forswearing the Tactic of Violence 31 May 1950 New York Times. New York.
29. "Member's Profile - 4th Lok Sabha". Lok Sabha Secretariat, New delhi. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
30. The Manchester Guardian. 30 September 1959.
31. Heavy Indian casualties occurred a peak of the Karakorum on the Aksai-chin plateau. The area was said to be a part of Ladakh by the Indian Government, but the Chinese claimed it to be a part of Sinkiang. In 1959 the Indian patrols suffered heavy losses in the hands of Chinese army in this region and is referred to as Ladakh incident.
32. The Baltimore Sun. 6 October 1959.
33. Manchester Guardian. 30 October 1959.
34. Manchester Guardian. 29 October 1959.
35. Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 27 October 1959.
36. The Chinese Communist Party's Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist MovementArchived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
37. Open Letter of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
38. Link, 7 July 1963. New Delhi
39. 7 March 1964, The Current, Bombay.
40. Statistical Report of General Elections, 1965 to the Legislative Assembly of Kerala The Election Commission of India, New Delhi.
41. Statistical Report of General Elections, 1967 to the Fourth Lok Sabha Archived 4 March 2009 at the Wayback MachineThe Election Commission of India, New Delhi.
42. Bose, Shanti Shekar. A Brief Note on the Contents of Documents of the Communist Movement in India. National Book Agency: Kolkata. 2005. p. 56-59
43. Statistical Report of General Elections, 1970 to the Legislative Assembly of Kerala. The Election Commission of India, New Delhi.
44. page 224, Coalition Strategies and Tactics of Indian Communism by Stanley A. Kochanek appearing in Coalition Strategies of Marxist Parties, edited by Trond Gilber Published 1989 Duke University Press
45. Statistical Report on General Election 1971 to the Fifth Lok Sabha. Archived 16 June 2007 at the Wayback MachineThe Election Commission of India, New Delhi
46. Statistical Report on General Election 1977 to the Sixth Lok Sabha. Archived 31 October 2008 at the Wayback MachineThe Election Commission of India, New Delhi.
47. Bharatiya Lok Dal was formed at the end of 1974 through the fusion of seven parties opposed to Indira Gandhi. The leader of the BLD was Charan Singh. In 1977, the Bharatiya Lok Dal combined with the Jan Sangh and anti- Indira Gandhi breakaway Indian National Congress (Organisation) to form the Janata Party. The newly formed Janata Party contested the 1977 elections, and got majority to form the first non-Congress Government in India. But the Janata Party contested the election on the Bharatiya Lok Dal symbol. Therefore, on record of the Election Commission of India, the government was formed by the Bharatiya Lok Dal, and not, Janata Party.
48. page 226, Coalition Strategies and Tactics of Indian Communism by Stanley A. Kochanek appearing in Coalition Strategies of Marxist Parties, edited by Trond Gilber Published 1989 Duke University Press
49. Andersen, Walter K.. India in 1981: Stronger Political Authority and Social Tension, published in Asian Survey, Vol. 22, No. 2, A Survey of Asia in 1981: Part II (Feb., 1982), pp. 119-135
50. Sen, Mohit. A Traveller and the Road – The Journey of an Indian Communist. New Delhi: Rupa Co., 2003. p. 388
51. Das Gupta, Jagadish, in Banerjee, Gopal (ed.), S.A. Dange – A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p. 101
52. New York Times 14 March 1981
53. Banerjee, Gopal (ed.), S.A. Dange – A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p.153
54. Bhattacharya, Mrimoy in Banerjee, Gopal (ed.), S.A. Dange – A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p. 141
55. Statistical Report on General Election 2007 to the Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh. The Election Commission of India. New Delhi.
56. Statistical Report on General Election 2006 to the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu The Election Commission of India. New Delhi.
57. Banerjee, Gopal. S.A. Dange - A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p. 13.
58. The Indian Express 7 July 1998.
59. The Indian Express 24 November 1998.
60. Press release from the office of the Speaker, Lok Sabha
61. A sequel to the earlier book Mitrokhin Archive published in 1999
62. "CPI's Dange, Rajeshwar named in KGB files". website. 22 September 2005.
63. "Book Review by Getty". American Historical Review. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007.
64. B Raman (26 September 2005). "The Mitrokhin mystery". Retrieved 13 November 2008.
65. Former Indian counter-intelligence specialist Bahukutumbi Raman pointed out that Mitrokhin did not bring either the original documents or photocopies. Instead, he brought handwritten/typed notes of the contents of the documents.
66. "Russian Foreign Ministry Documents on the Soviet-Indian Relations and Sino-Indian Border Conflict. Cold War International History Project". Virtual Archive Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars website. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012.
67. Sen, Mohit. The Dange Centenary in Banerjee, Gopal (ed.) S.A. Dange - A Fruitful Life. Kolkata: Progressive Publishers, 2002. p.43.
68. D.D. Kosambi. Marxism and Ancient Indian Culture. Review of S. A. Dange's India from Primitive Communism to Slavery, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, xxix (Poona, 1949), 271-77.
69. D.D. Kosambi. Marxism and Ancient Indian Culture. Review of S. A. Dange's India from Primitive Communism to Slavery, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, xxix (Poona, 1949). p.277.
70. Ananth, V. Krishna. Commentary on events, personalities. The Hindu 12 February 2002 Review of Problems of Indian Renaissance: S. A. Dange, Edited by Bani Deshpande and Roza Deshpande; Vichar Bharati Prakashan, Mumbai-400014.
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