Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Date: 22.03.08

Today is 25th day of Dharna before Utkal Alumina Internaitonal Limited plant site (wholly owned byHindalco-Aditya Birla Group), in Kashipur. Since 27th February, 2008 the already displaced people of the project (nearly 147 families of twovillages e.g. Kendukhunti, Tala Karol and Ramibeda )are sitting on a dharna with active cooperation fromthe rest of the 24 villages to be affected by the UAIL- Hindalco.

Since then, ongoing illegal construction work, started by the company just after the second phase ofrepression in December, 2004, is stopped. The construction work started by the Hindalco- AdityaBirla is illegal because they don't have proper environment as well as mining permission fromconcerned departments of Governmnet of India. Their permission granted for five years was lapsed in 2000 and since then it has not yet been renewed.

But Hindalco- Aditya Birla company continued their construction work with "support" from Police and state administration. This the true picture of so called industrialization in the state for which the presentNaveen Patnaik government ( BJP-BJD combined) is becoming crazy.

This craziness in Kashipur which has a history of violations of human rights, laws of this landincluding constitutions, now has come to a halt because local people have come and are sitting on adharna.

For Better Compensation :This opposition and dharna are mainly for better compensation. This is obvious because the alreadydisplaced families (displaced in 2006 January from their old villages) don't have any other livelihoodother than better employment.

Rest of the local people including PSSP organization is supporting them. It is commonly decided that if the company fails to fulfill those demands ( like better price for their land, permanent jobs both for landloosers as well as for displaced people, permanent houses etc) then company should leave the area anddisplaced people would cultivate their own land this year when rain comes.

Within these three years, the company has physically occupied only fifty percentage of the required landand has done the earth leveling work as well as the railway track construction work connecting from Tikirito Doraguda Plant Site.

Pressure tactics by District Administration: The district administration headed by Mr. Jyotirmay Sharma, IAS initially was threatening the people toarrest if don't leave the area. They did it for few days. But people became farm. The government hereprobably felt not to arrest any body which may cause wide publicity of the issue again and their illegalconstruction work may come into question.
But local police officials are not forgetting to threaten of arrest. In between, we learned that thecompany has already lodged a criminal case against all of us.

Surprisingly, the local media is totally silent on this issue. They are not carrying any news or storieseven though the work has been stopped for last few weeks. Our apprehension is, probably, the districtadministration and police are pressuring the media not to highlight it otherwise would face consequences. The company's is money is playing a role also. We have experienced in kashipur in these years of struggle that whenever the media becomes silent of our actions, we have gone through sever police repression.

At this stage, the news of dharna should reach many. I request my friends to bring this event to light inwhatever form so that the tactics of company and administration behind implementing the project becomepublic.

For More information you can contact :
Chitrasen Naik,

Secretary, DPs committee

(Cell No: 09437913923)

Bhagaban Majhi,

Convenor, PSSP.

Vill: Kucheipadar, Post : Kashipur,Dist : Rayagada,


(Cell No: 09437818854)

Monday, March 17, 2008

The War Against ‘Sympathy’


activist arrests
The War Against ‘Sympathy’
The recent arrests of five journalist-activists show the State’s increasing hostility towards worldviews that empathise with the extreme Left, reports SHOBHITA NAITHANI
ON DECEMBER 20, 2007, while addressing a chief ministers’ conference on internal security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a dramatic remark: “They (Naxalites) are targeting vital economic infrastructure so as to cripple transport and logistic capabilities and also slow down any development activity… They have also got involved in local struggles relating to land and other rights. I have said in the past that Leftwing extremism is probably the single biggest security challenge to the Indian State. It continues to be so and we cannot rest in peace until we have eliminated this virus.” He went on to assure states of greater investment in the police forces “to cripple the hold of Naxalite forces.”
The PM’s statement came in the wake of an ongoing crackdown by police in various states on anyone who remotely resembles a ‘sympathiser’ of extreme-Left ideology. The tools: the 1967 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 and the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act, 1992 — laws that allow the government to arrest virtually anyone with political leanings or associations it does not approve of, and thus threaten the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens by the constitution.
Govindan Kutty, Prafull Jha, Pittala Srisailam and Lachit Bordoloi — all of them journalists (or ‘former journalists’ as some would correct) and human rights activists who were arrested on charges of being Naxals or “sympathisers”, with the exception of Bordoloi, who has been charged with having links with the ULFA. This spate of arrests indicates a disturbing pattern. In most of the cases there is no charge of violence or any actual crime committed. There is merely empathy, tenuous links with extremist groups, or the accusation of such links. These arrests therefore reveal the government’s growing intolerance of people who hold political beliefs that are not statist and go against the new economic polices pursued by the government.
This, in brief, are the case histories and the story of the arrests so far.

A 48-year old human rights activist and former Uttarakhand correspondent of The Statesman, Prashant Rahi was arrested on December 22, 2007 from the forest in Hanspur Khatta in Uttarakhand. Charged that he is a Zonal Commander of the banned CPI (Maoist) group, Rahi has been implicated under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. When asked about it, PVK Prasad, SSP, Rudrapur, said: “You go speak to him in jail. I am not supposed to discuss the activities he is involved in.” Rahi’s daughter, Shikha, who works and lives in Mumbai, however, tells you what her father told her when she met him at Nanak Matta Police Station in Uddham Singh Nagar district on December 25, 2007. “He was arrested on December 17, 2007 in Dehradun. The next day he was taken to Haridwar, where they hit him and threatened to pump kerosene into his anus. They also told him that they would force him to rape me in their presence. It was only on December 22, 2007 that they made his arrest records.”
“Rahi’s arrest is perfectly timed with the PM’s statement that the Maoist insurgency is the single largest threat in the country and the state Chief Minister subsequently demanding Rs 208 crore from the Centre for modernisation of the police forces,” says Hardip, a freelance journalist and former colleague. Ashok Mishra, another former colleague and the editor of Garhwal Post, feels Rahi is being persecuted because of his beliefs. “He has a Leftist ideology and was involved in various people’s movements like the one for the creation of the new state, and the agitation against Tehri Dam. They picked him up because he was mobilising people against the land, liquor and builder mafia in Uddham Singh Nagar that works in tandem with the police. I am only happy that the police didn’t plant an AK-47 on him and kill him in a fake encounter.”

Prafull Jha, in the words of Rajendra Sail, the president of PUCL in Chhattisgarh, is “one of the top 10 anthropologists in Chhattisgarh and a journalist whose analysis has been used by national TV channels many a time.” The 60-yearold former bureau chief of Dainik Bhaskar was arrested on January 22, 2008 for his alleged links to a cache of arms seized by the police in Raipur. “He and his sons were given money by the Naxals to buy cars to transport their leaders and ply weapons. He was also translating their internal literature into Hindi,” says Chhattisgarh DGP Vishwa Ranjan Jha, adding, “Please don’t call him a journalist.” Sunil Kumar, editor, Daily Chhattisgarh, picks up from where the DGP let off. “His case has nothing to do with the media and the suppression of freedom of expression. He was an active and a paid worker of the Naxals.” Kumar says Jha was thrown out of a publication he earlier worked with on charges of embezzling money. Sail however thinks that the arrests, whether of Dr. Binayak Sen or Jha, are calculated to silence voices that spoke out against official policies. “It is my belief that Jha is not a Naxal. It would be improper to say he is not a journalist,” he affirms.
On December 19, 2007, the Kerala police picked up Govindan Kutty, the 68-year-old firebrand editor of People’s March, for his alleged connection with the banned CPI (Maoist) group. Charged under the 1967 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act among others, he was released on bail on February 24, 2008. On returning, Kutty found an order of the District Magistrate of Ernakulam pasted outside his house. It said that the registration of People’s March was cancelled as it contained materials that are “seditious in nature, bringing about contempt and disaffection against the Government of India by projecting ideologies and activities of CPI (Maoist).”
But why now, seven years after it started publication? “The articles go against the spirit of the Indian state. Police say they wanted to ban the magazine earlier, but attention was paid to it only after the arrest of Kutty,” says District Collector, Ernakulam, APM Mohammed Hanish. Kutty meanwhile feels it has become easy for the police to brand those who oppose government policy as Maoists, and audaciously admits that one is free to call him a Maoist if supporting the ideology makes him one. “There is violence everywhere. Corruption is violence, prostitution is violence, not paying minimum wage is violence, child labour is violence, caste discrimination is violence,” he says, adding, “I am a law-abiding citizen.”

Pittala Srisailam, the 35-year-old editor of online television Musi TV and co-convener of Telangana Journalists Forum (TJF) was arrested according to him on December 4, 2007, but according to the police (as reported in the papers) on December 5 in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh on the pretext of acting as a ‘courier’ of the Maoists. “I had gone to interview a Maoist leader and they slapped false charges on me (Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act, 1992 for abetting and helping the banned CPI (Maoist)),” says Srisailam, who was released on December 13. Both Musi TV and TJF support the idea of a separate statehood for Telangana. His colleague and convener of TJF, Allam Narayana sees this as a conspiracy by the government to silence those opposing the government. “After Srisailam’s arrest, the government implicated the TJF of having links with the Maoists. But we are journalists and know our limitations. Our only goal is Telangana and we will achieve it through a parliamentary system.” Srisailam explains that it’s not unusual for journalists or activists working with the poor and marginalised in the hinterland to encounter, or even interact with Maoists at some point. “But that doesn’t make them Maoists,” he clarifies.

A human rights activist and freelance journalist, who is actively involved in mediation between the government and the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Lachit Bordoloi was arrested on January 11, 2008 from Moranhat in Assam’s Dibrugarh district. He was charged with links to ULFA’s alleged plan to hijack an aircraft from Guwahati airport; to the recovery of arms and ammunition seized by the police in Assam’s Rangia town in 2007; and fund collection for ULFA. When asked about the charges, Guwahati SSP VK Ramisetti said, “In the hijack case, we got a statement from an apprehended ULFA militant in which he implicated himself and Bordoloi.”
The police’s claim is dismissed outright by Bubumoni Goswami, chairman of human rights body Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), of which Bordoloi is secretary general. “Some officials in the government and the police don’t want the ULFA problem to be solved. The Centre has always allocated a huge fund to tackle rebel activity in the state. If the situation continues, they will continue to benefit,” he points out. Bordoloi’s lawyer, Bijan Mahajan trashes the allegation of his client’s involvement in the Rangia case. “The investigating agencies should have picked him up immediately if it was true, but they didn’t. It is simply pick and choose politics that the State is indulging in,” says Mahajan.

The timing of the five arrests and the nature in which they were carried out indicates the government’s growing impatience with what the prime minister called “the single biggest security challenge to the Indian State.” The facts bear this out. Under the 11th Five Year Plan, an outlay of Rs.2500 crore has been approved to tackle internal security threats and beef up the Central and state security apparatus, which is nearly four times more than the allocations during the 10th Five Year Plan. Under the revamped Police Modernisation scheme, from 2005 onwards 76 districts affected by Naxalism will be provided Rs 2 crore each every year (for the first five years) for strengthening basic police infrastructure.
The government’s treatment of Naxalism purely as a law and order problem, while ignoring its socio-economic roots, has often come under sharp criticism. “The government is targeting all Left-wing activists who are exposing the government’s policies towards Maoists and Naxals or those who are involved in movements resisting the government’s land grabbing activities,” says civil liberties lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who practices in the Supreme Court. “Targeting peaceful activists will only fuel Naxalism in the country because it will force them to go underground and eventually join the Maoists,” he adds.
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 11, Dated Mar 22, 2008

Road Show of Indian Democracy

The veracity of Indian democracy
From Gujarat to Nandigram

If you disagree with the state, you will be killed. If you are not a Hindu you will be killed. You are a human being and think like one. This can provide enough reasons for killing you. Didn’t you hear this during the honorable tour of Indian democracy? Our right to live will be decided by the thermometer of majority of the parliamentary politics of India. The honorable journey in the service of finance capital is moving ahead crushing the oppressed masses. Chief Minister of a state challenges all those who oppose the mass killings by saying that he is elected by the majority. Not only this he even challenged his opponents to contest the elections to find it (let elections decide whether he is right or wrong). If we follow Narendra Modi or other monks of Indian democracy, we get to the conclusion that the people of Gujarat have not only welcomed the killings organized by Narendra Modi but also provided him a license to continue.
Crisis of Indian Democracy and Fascism.
Discussions are hot on the reelection of Narendra Modi. At many places caste equations and equations of congress and BJP are being discussed. But there are much important questions which are left out.i.e. Is Modi the first person to be elected after organizing mass killings? Indira Gandhi was responsible for enforcing an emergency. Repression reached to heights, people got killed but she got re elected with majority in just three years time. The facts lay strong emphasis on the questions that are being raised on democracy in India. This democracy based on semi feudal and semi colonial relations becomes more regressive with the deepening of economic crisis. If we talk about the present structure of parliament we find that power has been centralized to the cabinet and more so in the pre determined standing committees which are found to be serving the finance capital. Even the roles of ministers are decided by this finance capital. More importantly fascism has been borne out of the Indian parliament itself. The decision to put an emergency can be undemocratic but in no way unlawful in the parliamentary framework. If in majority the government has a right to reject crores of masses on the basis of decision taken by the cabinet as the whip of cabinet is a compulsion to all members of the parliament. Today the Indian parliament is undergoing severe crisis despite using caste, religion and other regressive measures. There is a contradiction between democracy and feudalism. The growth of democracy means decline in role of feudal institutions (such as caste, creed, religion etc) in our social political life. But what we find here is that these institutions have made a strong hold. Indian parliamentary politics has made all these feudal relations more strong. Apart from this we can get a glimpse of the increasing crisis in the present structure of governance where there is multi party position and multiparty opposition. Still it is hard to complete five years tenure. And now they are talking of revising the constitution. It is harsh reality that the parliament can do nothing more than have a mock debate on economic and external affairs. Now ordinance have taken the place of bills in parliament. Emergency powers are becoming the common tools of governance. In this way Indian democracy is becoming more and more another weapon to repress the masses. Political crisis is increasing in the country. If we read the indicators in the country we find that the whole of ruling class is busy serving finance capital. The rights and struggles of working classes are being curbed. The judiciary is all set to follow the directions provided by finance capital. These indications are found in many anti-struggles and anti strike decisions given by the court. Arundhati Roy was punished for standing by the people who are displaced in the Narmada project. Whereas, Narendra Modi was spared, when he announced that, “enemies of humanity will be killed as Sohrabuddin”. May be this is not contempt of court. The rulers use a section of people to built private gangs to crush any mass struggle by the masses. In Gujarat we saw that Narendra Modi mobilized all the classes against the Muslims. Even the dalits and tribes were mobilized for the genocide. We can also see the glimpse of these regressive measures taken by that state in organizing anti struggle gangs amongst the people against struggling masses of Orissa and Nandigram. After 1990’s there has been increase in private gangs backed by the state in areas of nationalities and naxal struggle. State consciously creates an environment of terror to garner the support of masses for its repressive measures. Time and again the masses are being told that they are in constant danger. They are sitting on a heap of gunpowder which can be ignited from anywhere in Pakistan or Bangladesh. This terror is being used by the government to justify its huge expenditure on intelligence and army (legal as well as illegal) such as Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh, grey hounds and cobra in Andhra Pradesh, NASUS in Jharkhand, SULFA in Assam, etc and black laws. In such a way it creates have inner contradictions amongst the masses.
The signs of fascism are quite clear. One thing the ruling classes have in common that they have all been using and organizing masses into reactionary forces. Fascism is deep rooted into the economic and political system. We also find that riots take place at those places were indigenous and handicraft industry have a strong hold. Such as Bhagalpur (silk mills), Aligarh (lock industry), Gujarat where there are a large number of small industries. Imperialism conflicts with indigenous techniques. It uses riots as means to destroy indigenous techniques. We find that not a single industrial organization protested when large numbers of small scale industries were destroyed during the riots.
Fascism in the country could be traced back to 1970s when the signs of world wide depression could be seen. Imperialism again plunged to a long term crisis from the 70s. This is the time when India faced the consequences of emergency. Indira Gandhi in her later years used Hindu chauvinism. The anti people decisions introduced fascism to the people of India in the times of growing economic and political crisis. By giving loans IMF started its structural adjustment programs in 1980s. Rajiv Gandhi’s reign saw many such anti people policies as well as concept of a strong Hindu nationalism.
The rise of Hindu fascist forces into a political force
The Hindu fascist ideology has been in existence for as long as seven and a half decades with the inauguration of the RSS in 1925 at Nagpur. But it did not play any significant role in state power. It has risen to power in the last 25 years and since then has become a strong political force. Initially its bases were upper caste people and Hindu merchant communities. In 1980s ruling classes decided to develop this fascist ideology. It has increased day by day and has made a place even amongst the dalits and backward castes. All the ruling classes have played a significant role in developing aiding and abetting the growth of fascist forces. The different fronts made with an intention of parliamentary alliances have legalized Hindu fascism. It has maintained a mask by making alliances with regional parties. BJP in its tenure associated with big commercial households and together with its organizations-CII, FICCI, and ASOCHEM-formed various committees with different ministries. It went so far as to make acquaintances with the PM office. We see that Hindu fascism is basically a result of a course of political events, which has been brought by the ruling class, which centers on imperialism and increasing political and economic crisis of national and foreign capitalists and ruling classes.
Does fascism have any definition?
According to the 13th meet of Communist International, “comrades, fascism in power was correctly described by the Thirteenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International as the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital”.(1) Dimitrov warns also of development of fascist ideology by the rulers if there is economic and political crisis .i.e. the main question is of economic and political crisis and class character. A special character of fascism is that, it is supported by regressive forces and it uses these forces to legalize its works. The regressive mass movement aroused by fascism is used by the rulers to terrorize and repress the people’s struggles. According to Togliyati,
“Fascism should be used only when the attack start on working class & it is being carried out on depending any mass base as petty bourgeoisie. We get this specificity in Germany, Italy, France, England, & all those other places where fascism is in existence.”2 ( translation ours)
If we read the signs coming from different parts of the country, it becomes clear that state is becoming fascist. Its roots are well dug into the crisis of imperialism which is leading to rise in dangerous political crisis.
Dying Imperialism And Growing Fascism
Fascism is directly related to finance capital. This relation can be understood by reviewing the past. After 1930’s, imperialism again went into deep and long term crisis in 1970’s. Before this period, surplus capital searched ways to grow. IMF, IBRD and globalization brought a solution for this. In 1980 inoperative capital found a way in giving loans to the third world. After 1990 .i.e. with the introduction of globalization, the surplus capital tried to make a place in the world market and come out of the depression. This technique helped a little but the crisis had come to say. After the dot.com bubble brusted in 2002, the situation became worse. The American economy started shrinking. Then came the housing bubble started by the Federal Reserve (central bank of America). It also gave fruits for some time but on august 16, 2007, the tree collapsed, which was called sub-prime crisis. This crisis had far reaching effects. According to Rodigo Rato, “US will bear the burnt of the economic consequences of the crisis, with the bulk of the impact not being felt until next year… The potential consequences of the episode should not be underestimated and the adjustment process is likely to be protected. Credit condition may not normalize soon, developed in the structure … it has an real effect on the real economy which will be felt more in 2008, with greater intensity in US, less in other areas.”(3)
The impact of the crisis of the American economy on the world economy is evident. Signs of depression cannot be ignored as it would increase the economic crisis globally.
The crisis in American sub prime market, lead to instability in all the share markets of the world. The results were so drastic that many of the leading banks of the world were endangered. So to save them, the central banks had to pour in a lot of wealth. The European Central Bank invested $130 billion, Japanese Bank invested $1 trillion and American Federal Bank invested $43 billion. As imperialism has already used all techniques, it has no other alternative left than to loot the already poor countries. This it would attain through the medium of globalization. “ To give some idea of the importance of profits from investments abroad in the total US economy, these represented about 6% of the total business profits in 1960s, 11% in 1970s, 15-16% in the 1980s &, 1990s, & have averaged 18% for the five years period 2000-2004.(4)
There has also been an increase in purchase and sale of stocks. “If we see trend of last 30 years in 1975, 19 millions stock shares traded daily on the New York stock exchange, by 1985.the volume had reached 109 million & by 2000, 1,600 million shares with a value of over $ 60 billion. Even larger is the daily trading on the world currency markets, which has gone from $ 80 billion a day in 1977, to the current average of $ 1.8 trillion a day. That means that every 24 days the dollar volume of currency trading equals the entire worlds annual GDP. (5) we can easily draw conclusions that the finance capital will search more and more avenues for profits and economic instability would increase.
Apart from this concentration has grown many folds. According to a study published in 2005 we find that the top 10 companies controls almost 59% market share of the world’s leading 98 drug firms. The top 10 companies control almost half of the $29,566 million global pesticide market. Analysts predict that only three major companies will survive in the conventional pesticide business by 2015. In 2004, the 10 global food retailers accounted for combined sales of $ 84,000 million – 24% of the estimated $ 3.5 trillion global market. We can asses from these oligarchies how trance national companies are controlling & shaping our social-economical-political life. At the beginning of this decade it was predicted by many analyst that the period of corporate mergers as seen in 1990s was over but in 2004, the global value of corporate mergers & acquisitions climbed to $ 1.95 trillion- a 40% jump over the $ 1.38 trillion in 2003. Combined sales of world’s largest 200 largest corporations account for 29% of world’s economic activity in 2004. It was about $ 11,442,253 million. We can asses the concentration of wealth from this fact that the total wealth of 946 world’s billionaires grew 35% year to year while income levels for the lower 55% of the world’s population declined or stagnate.
According to James Petras, “Given the enormous class and income disparities in Russia, Latin America and China (20 Chinese billionaires have a net worth of 29.4 billion USD in less than ten years), it is more accurate to describe these countries as ‘surging billionaires’ rather than ‘emerging markets’. In backward countries globalization was produced as the solution of all their problems. Mainstream economists preach us that capital always seeks the highest returns & typically flows from rich countries to poor ones- but The Economist notes that emerging economies sent about $350 billion to rich countries in 2004.(6) These all facts of concentration show that the crisis in imperialism is deepening. We know that the fundamental reason of the crisis of the imperialism is the contradiction between social form of production & private form of ownership. These all process would intense the contradictions of imperialism to a large extent. We can say that if imperialism in the period of com. Lenin was moribund & parasite then it is thousand times more moribund & more parasite. To come out from this crisis imperialism would take more reactionary measures. As result the plunder of oppressed nation would rise at huge level. The expenditure on imperialist war would increase. The market of weapon would be promoted. In all countries racial & religious sentiments would be ignited. To keep the level of profit high many genocide & mass killings would be organized. It is the last tool in hands of imperialism.
The leaders of the Indian economy are showing the economy to be full proof, but they themselves are not sure about it. The sales of shares, by the FIIs were the largest in August after the sub prime crisis. The monthly sales reached to a record figure since they were allowed participation in the Indian markets in the early 1990s. This means that a single crisis in American market has the potentiality to shake the whole market. Big comprador houses of India are bound as never before to the imperialists. Most of the private banks in India have become more foreign than Indian. The reasons for the flow of funds by the FIIs are the serious sub-prime crisis and low interests rates rather than the strong position of Indian economy. The foreign control on Indian economy has reached to dangerous limits. The foreign investment in telecom sector is about 74%. The real estate boom in India is going the U.S way. The crisis in Indian agriculture is known to all. In the past 30 years there is a record decline in food grain production. India’s foreign debt has grown by massive 23% during 2006-07 and stood at $165 billion. It constitutes 16.4% of the GDP. From May 2007 onwards there are signs of slowdown in the economy. With such high level of dependence on foreign capital, it is inevitable that even small shocks in the international economy will badly impact India. Apart from this concentration has increased during the period of globalization. According to James Petras, in India which has the highest number of billionaires (36) in Asia with total wealth of $191 billion, Prime Minister Singh declared that the greatest single threat to India’s security are the Maoist led guerrilla and mass movements in the poorest parts of the country. In China, with 20 billionaires with $29.4 billion net worth, the new rulers, confronting nearly a hundred thousand reported riots and protests, have increased the number of armed special anti-riot militia a hundred fold.( 7)
Social democrats and fascism
Social democracy in India which has changed to social fascism has also contributed to the growth of fascism. It has consciously ignored the class character and relation with finance capital. This is because It belongs to the same class of rulers in places where it has been for along time and its hunger for finance capital is well known.
In neck deep parliamentarianism, these fake Marxists consciously engage the struggle against fascism in equation of parliamentarianism. It even left behind the rulling class parties in becoming an agent of finance capital. Not only it mobilized the masses in interest of finance capital but it also used them against the struggling masses who fought against finance capital. It propagated largely about land reforms, but the fact is that distribution of a large part of acquired land is still pending in the court. The social democrats were not so serious to take the land from land lords and distribute amongst the landless than to snatch it from the farmers and give to the imperialists. Coming of fascism into power and role of social democrats in it is very rightly explained by Dimitrov, “Comrades, fascism also attained power for the reason that the proletariat found itself isolated from its natural allies. Fascism attained power because it was able to win over large masses of the peasantry, owing to the fact that the Social-Democrats in the name of the working class pursued what was in fact an anti-peasant policy. The peasant saw in power a number of Social-Democratic governments, which in his eyes were an embodiment of the power of the working class; but not one of them put an end to peasant want; none of them gave land to the peasantry. In Germany, the Social-Democrats did not touch the landlords; they combated the strikes of the farm laborers, with the result that long before Hitler came to power the farm laborers of Germany were deserting the reformist trade unions and in the majority of cases were going over to the Stahlhelm and to the National Socialists”.(8) is not the statement very apt for the social democrats in India? They in india advised the working class not to strike in interest of development. They told that it is time for class collaboration and not class struggle.
The social democrats frequently form alliances with other sections of compradors bourgeoisie and feudal rulling classes who have ample reasons to grow as fascist forces. On this Dimitrov writes “Was not the German Social-Democratic Party in a coalition government? It was. Was not the Austrian Social-Democratic Party in office? Were not the Spanish Socialists in the same government as the bourgeoisie? They were. Did the participation of the Social-Democratic Parties in the bourgeois coalition governments in these countries prevent fascism from attacking the proletariat? It did not. Consequently it is as clear as daylight that participation of Social-Democratic ministers in bourgeois governments is not a barrier to fascism”. (9). Dimitrov’s words expose these social democrats.
From 2002 Buddhdev Bhattacharya started to speak against madarasas & in favour to implement a draconian law like POTA in West Bengal.
These signals unveil the character of the social democrats. A chief minister orders to kill the masses in interest of foreign capital and reacts by saying that they have been paid back in the same coin. The same CM apologises for the attack on fascists In case of attack in Tapan Sikdar case. Does it not clear things? These social democrats declared that the largest threat were the struggling forces in the rural areas. They advised the ruling classes to understand the threat of Maoists in Nandigram. In Dimitrov’s words “Only such monstrous philistines, such lackeys of the bourgeoisie, as the superannuated theoretician of the Second International, Karl Kautsky, are capable of casting reproaches at the workers, to the effect that they should not have taken up arms in Austria and Spain. What would the working class movement in Austria and Spain look like today if the working class of these countries were guided by the treacherous counsels of the Kautskys? The working class would be experiencing profound demoralization in its ranks”. (10)
Social democrats today tell us to forget the dream of socialism. We should forget that barbarous states have plunged the world into ocean of blood just to make profits. We should forget that our friends have up rooted czar and chiang kai seik and gave there lives to create a new social system. We are being told that the martyrdom of crores of daughters and sons of the working class went in vain and socialism was there mental mayhem. We should forget that Hiroshima and Nagasaki was destroyed for profits. We should forget that the hands of these profiteers are dripping with the blood of our sisters and brothers in Vietnam and Chillie and other countries. But they should know that masses can never forget the dream of socialism. Kautsky’s legacy is not peoples’ legacy. Peoples’ legacy is with the legacy of writers such as the great Christopher Coldwell, Lorca, ken saro viva and philosophers and those great soviet daughters and sons , who under the leadership of Stalin, cut the claws of Hitler who dreamt of changing the world map.
The facts reveal that the crisis of imperialism and entrance of foreign capital and the rise of hindutva as a fascist force occurred in the same period. As the rate of foreign capital increased in the economy, more and more riots and hatred and hatred and anti people tools came into play. The road show of Indian democracy from Gujarat to Nandigram is also related to this foreign capital. The ruling classes have no other alternative than fascism to come out of this political crisis. By exaggerating the force of fascism, the social democrats and other liberal forces ultimately fulfill the interest of fascism. It ignores the fact that to crush the mass struggles it takes the path of fascism. To be in power it uses all reactionary means and create contradictions among masses. But mass uprisings take place from within these.\ and organize itself for bigger struggles. Struggle is the prime aspect here. About this Lenin says “ The school of civil war --- does not leave the people unaffected. It is a harsh school, and its complete curriculum inevitably includes the victories of the counterrevolution, the debaucheries of enraged reactionaries, savage punishments meted out by the old governments to the rebels, etc. But only downright pedants and mentally decrepit mummies can grieve over the fact that nations are entering this painful school; this school teaches the oppressed classes how to conduct civil war; it teaches how to bring about a victorious revolution; it concentrates in the masses of present day slaves that hatred which is always harboured by the downtrodden, dull, ignorant slaves, and which leads those slaves who have become conscious of the shame of their slavery to the greatest historic exploits”.(11)
The ruling classes are again becoming fascists. Fascism is not invincible. It would lead the ruling class to downfall. On the other side the struggles of masses have also increased. To crush this the ruling class is becoming more and more fascist. Today again imperialism is suffering from crisis and depression. It is becoming more and more reactionary. But on the other hand in latin America and Asia more and more masses are joining hands in struggle. Today the responsibility to smash fascism falls on the hands of inheritors of warriors & daughters and sons of soviet who sacrificed their lives in fight against profiteers state & fascism. Victory of the working class is in inevitable because only & only masses are creators of history. State only and only represses.

1. United front against fascism – Dimitrov
2. Palmiro Togliatti on Fascism
3. The Independent, 25 September 2007.
4. Monthly Review, December 2006
5. Ibid
6. The Economist, 24 September 2004
7. Global ruling class, James Petras
8. United front against fascism – Dimitrov
9. Ibid
10. Ibid
11. [V. I. Lenin, Collected Works 15:183]
(Sushmita is a researcher .Translated from Hindi by Lalima.)

Representing Nayagarh

G N Saibaba
MORE than the event it is often the representation of the event that leaves an impression on the human mind. And when it is a political movement based on Maoist ideology it becomes the battle for the hearts and minds. Media representation of the synchronised attacks carried out by the CPI (Maoist) on police stations and armoury at Nayagarh in Orissa, 85 km from Bhubaneswar, becomes important in this context. How the image got imprinted in the opinion of the civil society was for everyone to see.As has been reported, the attack was carried out simultaneously in Nayagarh District on the armoury, town police station, police training school and the police stations at Daspalla, and Nuagaon, the police outposts at Galeri and Mahipur. Media quoted government authorities as saying arms to the tune of thousands, lakhs of rounds of ammunition as being taken by the Maoists. These simultaneous attacks were spread over about 75 km in the districts of Nayagarh, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, and Kandhamal. In the ensuing gun battle 13 police personnel and two others were killed. Nine police personnel were injured.The media reported this as yet another story of the inability of the state to match the strike power of the Maoists. Words strategically deployed to name the act, the ethics or the politics that defined the act, finally became the act itself. Both the print and electronic media gave countrywide coverage of the incident for over a week with contradictory figures of casualities on both sides, the quantity of arms, ammunition carried away by the Maoists. It also reported the alleged brutality of the Maoists on the police.No one asked as to the need for the state to have such a huge stockpile of sophisticated arms in the remotest villages in Nayagarh where some of the poorest live. From whom or where was the threat? There is another story to which the media turns a blind eye. Orissa is one of the richest states in India abounding in minerals, forest wealth, precious stones, etc. But it has the poorest of people unable to eke out a living, even one square meal a day. But then this hardly makes news.This is also the state where POSCO, TATA, Jindal, Mittal, Vedanta and others have made a beeline for the resources of the people, which the government euphemistically calls second-generation reforms. So then we come to the old question. Who needs such security? Such a pile-up of sophisticated arms? But then this question hardly bothers the media. This is evident from the silence on the massive built up of security forces in the area post-Nayagarh with Air Force choppers to boot. That this has terrorised villagers is for anyone to see with many fleeing fearing air raids.An independent fact-finding team headed by a former professor of Delhi University, Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty in an initial report released from Bhubaneswar, on February 24, stated that “the environment of excessive deployment of (state armed forces) creates unnecessary tension, insecurity, and fear in the day-to-day life of people.”The Orissa Government has reinforced the existing forces with four more companies of the notorious Greyhound police borrowed from Andhra Pradesh, five companies of CRPF sent by the Centre and two battalions of Orissa State Armed Police. Post-Nayagarh saw fierce gun battles on the Gasama hills bordering Kandhamal District, 50 km from Nayagarh between the police / paramilitary forces and the Maoists. Three police personnel were killed including an Assistant Commandant of the Special Operation Group.Two days later, the Chief Minister declared that in the continuing combing operations to capture the Maoists the state forces recovered 40 per cent of the weapons while killing 20 of them. But a report sent by the Joint Command Centre of the CRPF, Orissa Police and Greyhounds to the CRPF headquarters in Delhi, as cited by a section of the press, contradicts this version. It says that the arms recovered were burnt ones - made useless by the Maoists and left behind before they moved into the dense forests - perhaps those which were mainly used for training purposes by the police. The report didn’t mention any casualty on the side of the Maoists.The fact-finding team mentioned above also confirms that the “casualties on the Maoist side are not known even though there were unconfirmed reports of some killings.” Not a single Maoist body was recovered. Air Force helicopters were used for co-ordinating the ground forces resulting in a war-like situation in the region bordering Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. A section of the press was told by the intelligence that helicopters were called in to bomb the Maoists.Security personnel were moved from place to place as per the information provided through helicopter surveillance. Though the Central government maintains that the army will remain non-interventionist in the operations in the heartland of the country, after Nayagarh the IAF set up a task force headed by a senior officer to oversee search and reconnaissance. Even though in the past some army officers opposed drawing the army to fight citizens, post-Nayagarh developments come as bad omens.Police and paramilitary forces were upset about a so-called directive that the NHRC had sent to the state Government prohibiting aerial bombing. Tribals in and around Gasama hills fled their villages fearing full-scale war and harassment. Some of them now live in a temporary camp in a school near Bhanj Nagar.On Nayagarh, the Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil chose to contradict the learned Prime Minister as he refused to consider Naxalism “the single biggest security threat to the country”. The strange argument is that Naxalism is a “scourge” and so it shouldn’t be termed the ‘single biggest threat’. The logic sounds postmodern and feudal simultaneously.He argues that Naxalism is more or less contained in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar and is now limited to Chhattisgarh- Orissa-Jharkhand. Therefore, the learned Prime Minister is misplaced despite his insistence for the last four years that Naxalism is the ‘biggest internal security threat’. Shivraj Patil betrays himself in the same interview as he calls for constitutional changes to get the Centre “special powers to handle Naxalism.” Further, “for the deployment of forces in the states, the Constitution has to be amended with a two-thirds majority in Parliament and backing from half of the State legislatures.”The Home Minister speaks his mind when he presses for a major constitutional amendment. Perhaps the stories that the media is silent about will answer the urgency in the need for the Home Minister to amend the Constitution for a further centralised authoritarian state. All words, ‘single largest threat', ‘constitutional amendment', ‘development’, ‘violence’ and ‘victims’ are placed in the larger narrative: that it is because of the Maoist tribals have to face the ire of the state. It successfully hides the situation prevalent in this region.A life of skewed choices for the tribals reduced to sub-humans between life and death. More and more capital investment in this region has only made their plight worse. Demonisation or romanticisation of the Maoists misleads any genuine attempt at understanding the Maoist movement. The Maoists are neither the rustic heroes nor Robin hood-like saviours of the rural populace. They are the only force responding to the aspirations of the people. They oppose the politics of destruction, destitution and death brought forth by Liberalisation-Privatisation-Globalisation. It is this story that the media is again silent about.The author teaches at the University of Delhi

(This article appeared in The New Indian Express in South India in the OP-Ed Page as main article, Friday February 29 2008 06:50 IST)

Monday, February 25, 2008

'I was released from Prison today': P. Govindan Kutty, Editor, People's March

Sunday 24th February, 2008.

I was released from prison today around noon. I thank the print and mass media in extending their support for my struggle in prison. I thank the civil and democratic rights organisations, Kerala Working Journalists Union, Advocates P.A. Pauran, Madhusudan in extending legal assistance, Arundhati Roy, Girish Karnad, Maheshwata Devi in espousing my cause. People's March publication will be resumed as early as possible.

Normally police seize only the hard disks of any computer. In My case they seized the whole C.P.U., Monitor, Key Board, Mouse, Speakers everything. I have to buy everything as the seized items will be returned only after the closure of the case by court. Normally police seize only the SIM card. In my case police seized the mobile instrument itself. That means I have to spend money for a computer and mobile. The owners of the printing press which prints People's March were threatened by police. They refuse to print People's March.

These are the problems before the People's March. Even though People's March is a Registered Newspaper registered under the Registrar of Newspapers for India.Liberal financial assistance is the need of the hour to resume People's March publication.
-P. Govindan Kutty, Editor, People's March

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Press Release





We condemn in the strongest words the arrest of Lachit Bordoloi a journalist and civil rights activist from Assam. He was arrested by the Assam police. He is the advisor of the Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), the convenor of the Peoples Committee for Peace Initiatives in Assam (PCPIA) and the People's Consultative Group that was set up in 2005 to initiate discussions between the Government of India and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).

The circumstances leading to the arrest followed by the planted stories in the media all point to a larger design of conspiracy on the side of the Indian State to subvert the present initiatives that are developing in Assam as well as among the various communities in the North East.

The media has flashed the story of Lachit being arrested and charged by the police of conspiring to hijack a plane. On the midnight of February 9, 2008, Guwahati police personnel had raided Bordoloi's rented flat in Guwahati, where his wife and daughter were staying alone. He had left earlier that day for a meeting at Tinsukia district in upper Assam. The police personnel seized his laptop and other material and did not offer a seizure form to his spouse.

The media also reported that the Guwahati police had arrested two supposed ULFA activists from the city on February 8-9, 2008. At a press statement, police spokespersons said that the arrested activists were in the city to try and hijack planes and that there were several prominent persons in the city who were helping them out.

What all this indicate is very clear: that the Indian State does not respect the possibility of a dignified resolution of the aspirations of the people of Assam or for that any other community be it the Kashmiris or the Nagas. This is evident from the observation of Lt Gen B S Jaswal, GoC 4 Corps: ''They must come to designated camps, deposit weapons and talk. In 2006 when we had unconditional ceasefire, they took advantage and consolidated and as a result there was mayhem.''

The arrest and then the framing up of someone like Lachit Bordoloi who is a known civil rights activist and journalist and who has been championing the cause of the Assamese people is a clear indicator from the side of the Indian State that they are ready to violate the confidence building that was done as part of the peace initiative process.

This is not something new for the Indian state and its comprador rulers. They have done the same with the Maoists in Andhra Pradesh when they had initiated the dialogue with the state government there in 2002. What came out of the talks was a series of planned murders of the leadership of the Maoist party. The Nagas are still continuing with the dialogue hoping that the Indian State would honour the commitments made at various junctures. The arrest of Lachit Bordoloi should be seen in this context as he had emerged as a mediator between the Assamese people and the Nagas thus becoming a thorn in the divisive strategies employed by the treacherous Indian state.

We once again condemn this arrest as it is breach of the trust that the Assamese people have conferred on the Indian government. It is a design to breach the trust forged between the Assamese and the Nagas in solving their problems among themselves and thus delimiting the role of the divide and rule tactics of the Indian state.

Such people who work for the betterment of their people as well as the common good of the peoples of the North East should not be arrested and kept behind bars as part of the devious designs of the Indian state. He should be unconditionally released.

Raj Kishore
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

Press Release

In Ranchi, Jharkhand, people from various walks of life participated in a convention to highlight the abysmal condition of women Political Prisoners on 21 January 2008. Out of the hundreds of patrticipants in the convention, 21 people including women and cultural artists were illegally detained by the police in Hazaribagh while returning to their places. They were kept for 4 days in illegal police custody and tortured. Ramesh Ghanju of Jharkhand Abhen, a revolutionary cultural organisation, Pratima Kumari and Salina Besara of Nari Mukti Sangh, as well as Ashok Mahato and Govind Mahato were sent to Girdhi Jail. RDF condemns the fascist means adopted by the Jharkhand Government to crush the democratic rights of the people and their organisations, by framing false charges, illegal arrest, custody and torture etc. and demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the arrested activists.

Thursday, January 24, 2008



by Anasuya Sen

I am a woman in my eighties. When we were young, people were inspired by the examples of karmayogis who were patriotic, motivated by ideals of service, wise and virtuous. We considered ourselves blessed if we could follow in their footsteps.

I had so far been a silent spectator to the injustice and violence that pervades our free democracy today, but only because I was personally untouched by it. But now, as an aged mother, and outraged by the blows of injustice, I wish to break my silence. Inconsolable in my pain at the age of eighty-one years, I now wish to make a humble appeal to the people of free, democratic India.

As perhaps many of you are aware, my son Dr. Binayak Sen is today held in jail, a victim of extreme injustice. At the age of four years, he was troubled by questions of injustice: why didn’t the boy who helped us at home not eat with us? Why did he have to eat alone on the kitchen floor? Why couldn’t he join him at meal times?

When he graduated with his first medical degree with distinction at the age of twenty two from the Christian Medical College in Vellore, he refused to heed his father’s wish for him to go to England to study for the MRCP. Whatever knowledge he needed to practice medicine in his own country, he insisted, he could acquire right here. He was subsequently awarded the M..D. in paediatrics from Vellore, and then joined JNU as an assistant professor with a wish to study for a PhD in Public Health. But he could brook no further delay. He left his academic position to take up a position at the TB Research Centre and hospital run by the Friends’ Rural Centre at Hoshangabad (MP). After a couple of years there, he found an opportunity to work among the miners in Chhattisgarh. There he joined the late independent trade unionist Shankar Guha Neogi and devoted himself selflessly to serving the daily wage labourers of the Bhilai factories and the mineworkers and their families at the mines of Dalli Rajhara and Nandini, aiding and organizing the poor and the oppressed untiringly in their daily struggles to rid themselves of their many social ills. It was here, while working with Shankar Guha Neogi’s Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh, that Dr. Sen set up a health centre run for and by the workers of the area. Within a few years this grew to a 25 bed hospital. Dr. Sen then left this hospital in the care of the workers and a few other doctors who had been inspired by his example to work there, and joined his wife Dr. Ilina Sen in Raipur in starting a NGO called Rupantar. This organization worked in the areas of community health, ecologically sustainable agriculture, helping women become independent, and formal and informal education for children and adults. Work proceeded apace in all areas successfully. When a rice research centre had opened at Bhatagaon, a scientist cited Dr. Sen in one of his works as “Dr.Binayak Sen, a farmer”. Dr. Sen also opened community health centres in the villages of Dhamtari and Bastar districts, devoted to treating patients and training health workers for administering primary health care and raising awareness of their own communities in matters of health. Primary and adult education centres were opened at various villages.

Dr. Sen’s example inspired several other doctors from famous medical institutions like AIIMS to give up lucrative careers and comfortable lifestyles to open similar health centres in Bilaspur. These centres are now running very successfully.

While working with Rupantar at Raipur, Dr. Sen joined the People’s Union of Civil Liberties as an all-India Vice President and Secretary for the state of Chhattisgarh. In the course of his medical work among the poor and the oppressed, which was already occupying all his time, he became aware of the abuses of the state towards the poor adivasis of Bastar district, and protested against the state sponsored Salwa Judum movement that pitted adivasis against one other. The state did not take kindly towards his protestations on behalf of the poor.

When the brother of an aged and ailing prisoner of Raipur Central Jail asked Dr. Sen to visit and treat his brother in prison, Dr. Sen did so with the permission of the jail authorities. The fact that the prisoner was a Naxalite gave the state an opportunity to arrest and imprison Dr. Sen on May 14, 2007 under the state’s Public Security laws. The patriot who had devoted his entire professional life to the untiring service of the poor – a record acknowledged by the Paul Harrison Award bestowed on him by his alma mater – that very person was now in jail charged with being a terrorist waging war against the state.

When the Chhattisgarh High Court denied Dr. Sen his appeal for bail, his wife Dr. Ilina Sen appealed to the Supreme Court. The date for the hearing of the bail petition was fixed for Monday, December 10 2007.

A Bench consisting of a senior and a junior judge was appointed to hear the appeal for bail. The initial junior judge was subsequently replaced by another. On December 8, the Chhattisgarh government invited the senior member of this Bench to Raipur as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of a Legal Aid Centre, and extended its hospitality to him till December 9 when the senior judge returned to New Delhi. The very next day, the Bench dismissed Dr. Binayak Sen’s appeal for bail in just thirty-five minutes.

Here, without casting any doubts or aspersions on anyone’s integrity, I humbly wish to pose my question to all the people and revered leaders of free, democratic India: SHOULD I REGARD AS JUSTICE the refusal of bail to one who even as a child was moved by injustice, who having devoted his entire working life selflessly to providing food and health to the poor, who without coveting wealth survived for days on dal, rice and green chillies, who is accustomed to living like the poor, who dedicated his life to serving the people of his country, and who is now arraigned for breach of public security and waging war against the state?

If this is justice, where I should I seek redress against injustice? Should I remain a victim of injustice even at this age? Does this son of mine – a selfless, wise, virtuous, humble, peace-loving karmayogi, motivated entirely by the ideals of service, and living among the poor - have to spend his days in prison? My simple question to all compassionate readers of this appeal is: How much longer to that day when Dr. Binayak Sen will receive justice?

I ask this question not just for myself and for my son, but also on behalf of all mothers suffering from the injustice meted out to their children. Is justice so elusive in our free, democratic country?




Dear friends and comrades ,

This is to inform you of the recent arrest of Prashant Rahi, a senior journalist of Uttarakhand, by the state police. Prashant was arrested on 15 th of this month in Dehradun and was allegedly charged of being a Maoist commander. The police secretly confined him for five days after which he was shown arrested from the forests of Hanspur Khatta on 21 st December. The police have charged him with various sections of IPC including 121, 121A, 124A, 153B, 120B. All the media carried the same version as stated by the police.

Just to give you a background, Prashant Rahi had been working in close association with the local people's struggles in Uttarakhand since last 17 years. He has been a journalist by profession. Started his career from Himachal Times, moved on to The Statesman and worked many years covering people's issues. He is a native of Maharashtra and pursued his education from Banaras Hindu University .

This incident is in continuance of the trend set by many innocent arrests in the last few months including that of Binayak Sen and some journalists in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh of targeting pro-people intellegentsia. The trend has become increasingly apparent in those parts of the country where people's movement is strong.

We firmly believe that this state action is a part of the efforts being carried out by the various state governments to secure hefty amount of funds from the central government in the name of combating naxalism. For this, it becomes imperative for them to prove that the state is inflicted with this insurgency.

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the arrest of Prashant Rahi and call upon all the concerned individuals, civil society organisations, journalist unions, writers unions, people's movements and struggling groups to join hands in solidarity and support.

Rajendra Dhasmana (President, PUCL, Uttarakhand)
Manglesh Dabral (Poet and Journalist)
Pankaj Bisht (Editor, Samayantar)
Anand Swaroop Verma (Journalist and Human Rights Activist)
P.C. Tiwari (National Secretary, Indian Federation of Working Journalists)
Suresh Nautiyal (General Secretary, Uttarakhand Patrakar Parishad)
Anil Chaudhary (President, INSAF)
Jagdish Yadav (Photo Editor, Pioneer)
Harsh Dobhal (Managing Editor, Combat Law)
Shekhar Pathak, Senior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
Gautam Navlakha (Consulting Editor, Economic and Political Weekly)
Ashish Gupta (Asamiya Pratidin)
Anil Chamadia (Journalist)
Jaspal Singh Siddhu (UNI)
A.K. Arun (Editor, Yuva Samwad)
Madan Kashyap (Poet)
Pankaj Singh (Poet and Journalist)
Karuna Madan (Journalist)
Piyush Pant (Editor, Lok Samwad)
Sarvesh (Photo Journalist)
Panini Anand (Journalist, BBC Hindi)
Avinash (Journalist, NDTV India)
Bhupen Singh (Journalist, STAR News)
Sukla Sen (CNDP India)
Aanchal Kapur (Kriti Team)
Vijayan MJ ( Delhi Forum)
Sanjay Mishra (Special Correspondent, Dainik Bhaskar)
Prem Piram (Director, Jagar Uttarakhand)
Ashok Pandey (Poet)
Arvind Gaur (Director, Asmita Theatre Group)
Pankaj Chaturvedi (Poet)
Satyam Verma (Rahul Foundation)
Ranjit Verma (Advocate)
Bishambhar (Secretary, Roji Roti Bachao Morcha)
Ajay Prakash (Journalist, The Public Agenda)
Swatantra Mishra (Journalist, IANS)
Vandana (Special Correspondent, Nai Dunia)
Shree Prakash (INSAF)
Abhishek Srivastava (Freelance Journalist)
Rajeshwar Ojha (Asha Pariwar)
Raju (Human Rights Law Network)
Rajesh Arya (Journalist)
Kamta Prasad (Linguist and Translator)
Abhishek Kashyap (Writer)
Thakur Prasad (Managing Editor, Samprati Path)
Rajiv Ranjan Jha (Writer)
Srikant Dube (Journalist)
Rishikant (Journalist)
Pankaj Narayan(Journalist)

Statement of Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist)



The Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist) strongly condemns the arrest of comrade Govindan Kutty, editor of People's March and demands its immediate and unconditional release.
We express our solidarity to the Indian comrades and also to the people of India who are being subjected to state terror by the Govt. of India for many years. The governments and the imperialists all over the world are trying to gag the progressive and revolutionary individuals, organizations and parties. They are trying to keep the people into the dark, to stop them by organizing themselves and fighting back. They are trying to abolish all the democratic rights like the freedom of speech and of expression, rights that were won by the people through long and bloody struggles.

They are trying to stop the revolutionary attempts that are gaining ground in Southeast Asia, in Latin America and elsewhere. Day by day the people of the world find out their strength and the system its weakness. That's what they are afraid of and that's why they use state terror against progressive people and revolutionaries, that's what they are trying to stop. But they will not succeed. We will continue our right cause and struggle.

Chris Mais
International Bureau
Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist)


AUGUST 15, 1947

Suniti Kumar Ghosh*

(From Aspects of Indian Economy, No. 43, July 2007)

It is held as an axiomatic truth that India became an independent, sovereign state from 15 August 1947 when the British imperialists transferred power to Indian hands. Do facts bear out what is generally supposed to be true?

At the end of World War II India stood at the crossroads. One road led to genuine independence, the overthrow of colonial rule as well as its domestic props, transformation of Indian society, destruction of all the structural barriers – foreign and domestic – to her regeneration – all the barriers that inhibit her development. Genuine decolonization means that the old order of the colonial era must yield place to a new one – political, economic, social and military. The other road led to formal transfer of power to classes that were traditional Indian allies of imperialism, continued integration into the capitalist-imperialist system and revolving around metropolitan powers as a satellite, continued existence of the development-inhibiting structural barriers that colonial rule had created and consequent ‘development of underdevelopment’.

At the end of World War II, British imperialism was beset with several contradictions –with U.S imperialism (on which it depended for its post-war reconstruction), international communism, national liberation struggles in colonies, its own armed forces who mutinied in some places to realize their demand for speedy demobilization, etc. Of all the contradictions with which British imperialism was confronted, its contradiction with the Indian people was no doubt the principal one.

Two forces at work
In India there were two forces at work, besides the Raj , at the end of the war. When the war in Europe ended, Viceroy Wavell released the members of the working committee of the Congress from prison and convened a conference at Simla in June-July 1945. As V.P Menon wrote, the Congress came in for co-operation without any conditions.1 The Congress leaders were eager to join the Viceroy’s Executive Council (which Wavell intended to reconstitute with representatives of Indian political parties) “on the basis that they would whole-heartedly co-operate in supporting and carrying through the war against Japan to its victorious conclusion”. (The Congress leaders’, including Gandhi’s, faith in the creed of non-violence was remarkably flexible.) Nehru felt overjoyed and said: “We feel we must succeed at Simla …I am very hopeful.”2 But the Simla Conference foundered on the rock of the League’s claim to nominate all Muslim members of the reconstituted Council.

Wavell wanted the Congress leaders to “see to it that a peaceful atmosphere is preserved in the country”. Wavell was afraid of a post-war upheaval in the country. So was Gandhi.3 The Congress president Abul Kalam Azad wrote to the Viceroy: “… the contacts established between the Congress and the Government had largely allayed past bitterness and marked the beginning of a new chapter of confidence and goodwill.”4

As we shall see, it was that surge of “confidence and goodwill” for the British imperialists that continued to rise and yielded the transfer of power. Congress leaders had reasons to feel “confidence and goodwill” for the British imperialists. Close co-operation between the Raj on the one hand and the Indian big bourgeoisie and Congress leaders on the other had already started. The Raj regularly invited discussions with Congress leaders on constitutional issues, the future administrative set-up, “a scheme of army reorganization” and other matters like education, industry and planning. Nehru was being consulted on constitutional questions and army reorganization. In June 1944 Sir Ardeshir Dalal, a Tata director and an author of the Bombay Plan, so much lauded by Nehru, had been appointed a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in charge of planning and development. During the war the British Raj and the Indian big bourgeoisie were bound with close ties of collaboration, for instance, in the Eastern Group Supply Council and on various official committees.

On the other hand, after the end of the war the people – workers, peasants, the youth, office employees, even sections of the Raj’s regular armed forces and the police did not share the Congress leaders’ “confidence and goodwill” for British imperialism and though not led and organized by any political party, rose throughout India to liberate themselves from imperialist fetters. Nehru appraised the revolutionary situation correctly and joined hands with the imperialists and tried by all means to dissipate the revolutionary situation. Nehru said that India was on the “Edge of a Volcano” and that “We are sitting on the top of a Volcano”.5 P.J.Griffiths, the leader of the European group in the Central Legislative Assembly, also said: “India, in the opinion of many, was on the verge of revolution.”6

India on the “verge of revolution”
In the winter and summer months of 1945-6 India, as all sorts of reactionaries feared, was on the “edge of a volcano” – ready to erupt at any time – as Nehru said. Almost immediately after the end of the war, on 21 to 23 November 1945, Calcutta saw the first outburst of the pent-up fury of the people who had suffered incredibly under the fascist British Raj during the war. The immediate cause of it was the police firing on a procession of students demanding the release of the Indian National Army (INA) officers who were then on trial. A student and another youth became martyrs and several were wounded. That set Calcutta and the suburbs ablaze. The city was completely paralyzed. Trains were stopped. Barricades were set up and street battles took place. All communal considerations were forgotten and the people fought with primitive weapons the heavily armed forces of the Raj. Police and military vehicles were burnt down – about 150 of them. According to official estimates, 33 persons including an American, were killed and 200 civilians, many policemen, 70 British and 37 American soldiers were wounded.7 The whole of Bengal was surcharged with bitter anti-imperialist feeling.

Describing the mood of the people, Bengal Governor Casey wrote: “Both in North and South Calcutta a feature of the disturbances … was that the crowds when fired on largely stood their ground or at most only receded a little, to return again to the attack…. Throughout the forenoon and early afternoon of the 23rd [November], Congress and some Communist propaganda cars toured the affected areas dissuading the students from further participation.”8

Viceroy Wavell rushed to Calcutta. On 27 November he informed the Secretary of State: “Casey was impressed by the very strong anti-British feeling, behind the whole demonstration, and considered the whole situation still very explosive and dangerous.” Significantly, Commander-in-Chief Auchinleck made an appreciation of the internal situation within India on 24 November, the very day after the uprising. The Viceroy agreed generally with the appreciation. Auchinleck wrote:

“If the Indian Forces as a whole cease to be reliable, the British Armed Forces now available are not likely to be able to control the internal situation or to protect essential communications, nor would any piecemeal reinforcement of these forces be of much avail. To regain control of the situation and to restore essential communications within the country nothing short of the organized campaign for the reconquest of India is likely to suffice.”9

The lesson of the November uprising went home to the British imperialists. On 24 November itself, Auchinleck met some representatives of provincial governments about I.N.A trials. In his letter to Wavell of the same day Auchinleck wrote that the provincial representatives agreed that “the trials should be limited to those involving brutality and murder of such a nature that it could not be defended as an act committed in good faith by a combatant”. He added: “The evidence reaching us now increasingly goes to show that the general opinion in the Army … is in favour of leniency.” On 30 November – within a week of the uprising – the Indian Government issued a press communiqué which stated: “Until all investigations are complete, it is not possible to state the number who will be brought to trial but the total is unlikely to be as many as fifty and may be as few as twenty, and, as explained above, trials will be limited to those against whom brutality is alleged.”10 The charge of ‘waging war against the king’ was dropped and the sentences already passed were remitted.

It may be noted that in the meantime the British had brought home as captives tens of thousands of captured I.N.A officers and men and started court-martials of them. The original plan which had received the “gratified approval” of the Congress leaders11 had been to release some, sentence many others to imprisonment and execute 40 to 50 prisoners. As we have said, the plan was changed almost immediately after the November uprising.

As stories of Subhas Bose and the I.N.A, who had founded the provisional government of Free India in Southeast Asia and planted the flag of Indian freedom in Kohima, spread, they sent a thrill from one end of the subcontinent to another. As R.P. Dutt said, the example of the I.N.A and “the subsequent trials of the I.N.A leaders kindled to white heat the flame of militant patriotism and the conception of the armed conquest of power in place of the old non-violent struggle.”12 The most alarming thing to the British imperialists was the impact of the I.N.A on the British Indian armed forces.13 Nehru wrote to Commander-in-Chief Claude Auchinleck: “Within a few weeks the story of the I.N.A had percolated to the remotest villages in India and everywhere there was admiration for them and apprehension as to their possible fate … The widespread popular enthusiasm was surprising enough, but even more surprising was a similar reaction of a very large number of regular Indian army officers and men. Something had touched them deeply.”14

On 26 November 1946, Auchinleck wrote to Wavell that “there is a growing feeling of sympathy [among the men of the British Indian armed forces] for the I.N.A.”15 The loyalty of the British Indian armed forces was thoroughly shaken by the I.N.A; large numbers of them transferred their allegiance to their motherland.

Gandhi rushed to Calcutta immediately after the November uprising. He had a series of interviews with Governor Casey. He assured Casey that “our future long term relations would be good”, that he would do his utmost in bringing about a peaceful solution of India’s constitutional problem, and that he was lulling the people into the belief that “India was going to get her freedom out all right” and asking them to “work on that assumption and no other”.16 The Congress working committee met in Calcutta and reiterated its faith in non-violence “for the guidance of all concerned” and clarified that nonviolence “does not include burning of public property, …” and so on. Before and after the November upheaval, Nehru went on emphasizing “the necessity of maintaining a peaceful atmosphere…” He went on telling the people that the “British are packing up”, that “in the present day world the British empire has ceased to exist” and expatiated on “the folly of disorder and violence”. He advised students not “to take suddenly the reins of the nation in their own hands” and “to leave political leadership to those… qualified to lead”.17 On 3 December 1945 he assured Sir Stafford Cripps, an important member of the British cabinet (and through him the entire British cabinet), that he was doing his “utmost to avoid conflict and restrain the hotheads”.18 Sardar Patel advised the youth not to waste their energies in “fruitless quarrels”.

Again, on 27 January 1946, Nehru wrote a long letter to Cripps, in which he stated: “Elections have somewhat held people in check but as soon as these are over, events of their own motion, will march swiftly…. What happened in Calcutta two months ago and what is happening in Bombay now are significant signs of the fires below the surface. A single spark lights them”. He said that any delay on the part of the British to take the initiative “might well lead to disastrous consequences”. He assured Cripps (and obviously the British cabinet) that the gulf between India and Britain, which “has never been so wide”, could perhaps “be bridged even now with a great effort” and that he worked “to that end”. 19

Ignoring the Congress leaders’ sermons upholding law and order and the creed of non-violence, Calcutta rose again from 11 to 13 February 1946. The occasion was a protest demonstration by students against the rigorous imprisonment for seven years passed on Abdul Rashid of the I.N.A. The city’s life stopped because of a general strike. For two days mills and factories in Calcutta’s suburbs remained closed; trains did not run; people fought bitter street battles with the armed police and army units riding armoured cars. A marked feature, like that in November, was strong solidarity among Hindus and Muslims who together directed their attacks against Europeans. The upheaval surpassed that in November. According to official estimates, 84 persons became martyrs and 300 injured. As in November, the anti-imperialist wave in Calcutta and the suburbs sent ripples throughout Bengal. Bands of Congress, Muslim League and Communist volunteers moved along the streets of Calcutta and neighbouring areas jointly and helped in restoring order. On 13 February Swadhinata, the Bengali organ of the CPI, condemned indiscipline and disorder as the Congress president was doing.

Waves of anti-imperialist struggle rose one after another in different parts of India – from North to South, from East to West _ and lashed at the regime of the imperialists. The most spectacular and most significant among them was the uprising in Bombay which began on 18 February 1946. The ratings of the Royal Indian Navy (R.I.N.) rose in revolt first in Bombay and then in Karachi, Calcutta and Madras. The rebel navymen, who had various grievances – bad food, racial discrimination, insults meted out by British officers and so on – were inspired by the deeds of Subhas and the example of the I.N.A.20

By 22 February 1946 the rebel sailors were in control of about 22 vessels in Bombay, including the flagship of the British Vice-Admiral. A total of 78 ships of the R.I.N., 20 shore establishments and 20,000 ratings were involved in the struggle. Over a thousand men in the Royal Indian Air Force camps in Bombay came out on a sympathy strike. When ordered, Indian soldiers refused to fire on the R.I.N. ratings in Bombay as well as in Karachi. On 21 February the strike by the navymen developed into a pitched battle between them and British troops who had been called in as Indian soldiers refused to fire.21 And Bombay’s workers and youth, irrespective of the community to which they belonged, stood by the heroic men of the navy, carried food to them, erected barricades and fought pitched battles with armed policemen and several British battalions equipped with armoured cars and tanks. On 22 February, Bombay observed a general strike in the teeth of the opposition from big Congress and Muslim League leaders.

Ignoring the Congress and League leaders, the entire working class of Bombay came out at the call of the Naval Central Strike Committee, which was supported by the CPI. For two days there were pitched battles on the city’s streets, in which, according to official estimates, there were about 1,500 casualties including more than 200 dead. “The British tanks could clear the streets”, wrote B. C. Dutt, one of the leaders of the revolt, “only after hundreds had been shot down. This was the first time in the turbulent history of India’s freedom movement that the rulers were forced to use tanks to battle with unarmed and leaderless people…. February 21 had been the ratings’ day. February 22 belonged to the workers of Bombay.”22

In his ‘Foreword’ to Dutt’s book, S. Natarajan wrote: “What was impressive among the ratings was their complete freedom from communal or sectarian prejudices and their staunch loyalty to each other.”23 To quote Dutt, “The R.I.N. mutiny was the one conspiracy against the crown in which there was no king’s witness. They tried their best. They drew blank”.24

Besides Bombay, Karachi was the scene of actual fighting between navymen and British soldiers. Gurkha soldiers refused to obey orders to fire on the Hindustan, an old sloop, which put up a brave fight. The Gurkha soldiers had to be replaced by British soldiers. Not only did the Indian army units refuse to obey orders to fight the navymen, they went on strike in several places in sympathy with the rebel navymen. We have noted that one thousand men of the Indian Air Force went on sympathy strike in Bombay. So did the men of the Air Force in Poona, Calcutta, Madras and Ambala. To quote Dutt, “An R.I.A.F. squadron, which had been ordered to proceed to Bombay, was grounded at Jodhpur; every aircraft had mysteriously developed engine trouble.”25 Hallett, then Governor of the U.P., informed Wavell on 19 November 1945 that soldiers of the Air Force stationed in Allahabad, Bamrauli and Cawnpore had sent their contributions to the I.N.A. Defence Fund.26 The Indian Air Force stationed in Calcutta opposed the court martial of the I.N.A. men. It sent its subscription to the I.N.A. Defence fund with the words: “for the defence of the brave and patriotic sons of India.”27 Penderel Moon noted: “There was also unrest at this time in the R.I.A.F. and in some of the technical units of the Indian Army.”28 Not only was there unrest in some technical units of the army but army units, as pointed out before, disobeyed orders in Bombay and Karachi. In the Jubbalpur cantonment soldiers staged a revolt in March 1946 and in Dehra Dun Gurkha soldiers went on strike. In some places the police also rose in revolt. In March 1946 the police in Allahabad and Delhi went on hunger-strike. In April 10,000 policemen struck work. In September the military police went on strike in Patna and Begusarai. There was a widespread strike by policemen in Bihar in March 1947. The wall sedulously erected by the British Raj to segregrate the armed forces from the people crumbled down. At no time since the First War of Indian Independence in 1857-8 did the regular armed forces come out to defend the cause of freedom as they did now.

The brave men of the navy refused to be cowed by any threat – not even the threat of Admiral Godfrey (who had flown in bombers) to sink the navy. They appealed to political parties to lead them, promised to hand over to them the navy which they had renamed the Indian National Navy. But no political party, not even the CPI, responded to their appeal though they could have access to the rebel men of the navy.

Jinnah’s appeal to them, especially the Muslims among them, to surrender came in the early hours of 23 February when their representatives were meeting to decide their future course of action. Dutt wrote: “… the overwhelming majority were for a fight to death and not for surrender.”29 The Naval Central Strike Committee ultimately took the decision to surrender, stating that they were surrendering not to the British Raj but to the Congress and the League. In their last message to the people, they said: “For the first time the blood of the men in the services and the people flowed together in a common cause. We in the services will never forget this. We also know that you, our brothers and sisters, will never forget. Long live our great people. Jai Hind.”30

After the surrender the man-hunt began. More than two thousands of the rebels were arrested and kept in detention camps; about five hundred were sentenced to prison terms to serve as common criminals. The top Congress leaders, who had given the pledge that “no disciplinary action” would be taken, did little to keep their pledge.31

What role did the Congress leaders play during the historic naval revolt? Sardar Patel, Abul Kalam Azad, S.K. Patil (secretary of the Bombay Provincial Congress Committee, and later, minister of the central government), Jinnah and Chundrigar of the Muslim League openly opposed the call for a strike on 22 February issued by the Naval Central Strike Committee and advised the navymen to surrender to the British. Patil had secret confabulations with the Bombay governor and the Congress and the League placed ‘volunteers’ at the service of the Raj to “assist the police” and British army units to fight the people.32 Colville wrote to Wavell that on 22 February he “saw several of these volunteers… and they did useful though limited work”.33

Bombay observed a successful general strike in the teeth of the bitter opposition of the Congress and the League leaders. Workers and students of Bombay fought pitched battles in the streets with British army units and the armed police, who were assisted by Congress and League volunteers.

At a mass meeting held in Bombay with the permission of the Bombay government on 26 February, Nehru and Patel strongly condemned “the mass violence in Bombay”, that is, the resistance of the navymen and workers who had dared to raise the banner of anti-imperialist revolt. Addressing the press next day, Nehru thundered: ‘The R.I.N. Central Strike Committee had no business to issue such an appeal [to the city of Bombay to observe a sympathy strike]. I will not tolerate this kind of thing.”34 The Nehrus alone had the right to issue calls for strikes!

Gandhi, the prophet of non-violence, condemned the rebels for their thoughtless orgy of violence – not the real orgy of violence by the Raj, of which the people were victims. To him the “combination between Hindus and Muslims and others for the purpose of violent action is unholy…”35 He went on denouncing those who disbelieved in British professions that they would grant freedom to India.

It was a country-wide anti-imperialist revolt. Wavell noted in his diary on 7 March 1946 that the victory parade that was organized in Delhi was boycotted and crowds of men burnt down the Town Hall.36

Workers were on the march everywhere despite the opposition of Congress and League leaders. The number of workers who went on strike in 1946 was 1,961,984 and in 1947, 1,840,784. There was an unprecedented upsurge of anti-imperialist struggle throughout the country, in which workers, peasants, students, other youths, office employees, navymen and sections of the Indian army, air force and police and lower rungs of the bureaucracy took part, and armed confrontations were frequent.37

Peasant revolts took place in different parts of India. In the Thana district in Maharashtra the struggle of the Warlis broke out. In the Alleppey district of the native state of Travancore (now a part of Kerala) peasants and workers launched a united struggle. In several districts of Bengal, especially in North Bengal, the Tebhaga struggle broke out under the leadership of the Communist Party. It was a struggle of the peasantry, mainly sharecroppers (who bore the expenses of cultivation) for a two-thirds share of the produce. Peasants fought heroically. In the undivided district of Dinajpur, forty peasants became martyrs. In 1946 began the historic struggles of the peasants in Telangana districts of the native state of Hyderabad (Telangana, now a part of Andhra Pradesh) under the leadership of the Andhra State Committee of the CPI. It developed into a struggle for land and power. Large areas were liberated. The struggle continued even after the march of troops of the Indian government in 1948 to suppress it, until it was withdrawn unconditionally by the CPI leadership in 1951. In several other native states ruled by princes, puppets of the British Indian government, there were revolts of the people, especially in Travancore and Kashmir.

Imperialism unable to rule in the old way
We have noted Commander-in-Chief Claude Auchinleck’s appreciation, of 24 November 1945, of the Indian situation, with which Viceroy Wavell generally agreed. On 19 February 1946, Wavell recorded in his diary that he had seen Porter, Secretary, Home Department, who was all for capitulation to the I.N.A; that he had discussed with Bewoor, Secretary, Posts and Air Department, about a postal strike; that he had talks with Carr, A.O.C-in-C, about R.I.A.F mutiny; with Griffin, Chief Commissioner of Railways and Conran Smith, Secretary, War Transport Department, about a railway strike; and “finally the C-in-C, most gloomy of all, about R.I.N. mutiny in Bombay and the I.N.A trials; What a cheerful day – prospect or reality of three mutinies and two strikes”, commented Wavell.38

After referring to the “serious rioting in Bombay”, “a mutiny in the R.I.N., much indiscipline in the R.I.A.F., some unrest in the Indian Army” and “threatened strikes on the Railways, and in the Post and Telegraphs”, Wavell wrote to King George VI on 22 March 1946: “Perhaps the best way to look at it is that India is in the birth-pangs of a new order…”39

When in late March 1946, the Cabinet Mission with Secretary of State Pethick- Lawrence, Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander came to India to negotiate, mainly with Congress and League leaders, a settlement of the constitutional issues and met the Viceroy’s Executive Council, Edward Benthall said on behalf of it that “ the Council was unanimous that a change of Government at the Centre was imperative... It [ the Council’s lack of confidence] is due to the uncertainty of Indian troops and police to whom they must look for defence and support in the future.”40

The role of ‘the big boys of Congress and League’

Towards the end of March 1946, Turnbull, Secretary to the Cabinet Mission, wrote: “The only hope is that the big boys of Congress and League are said to be much alarmed lest their followers break loose and of Russia.”41

The “big boys of Congress and League”, particularly “of Congress”, did not fail the imperialists; they acted in more than one way to save the Raj from the wrath of the rebellious people. As negotiations with the Cabinet Mission started, a bitter “war of succession” began. The seemingly endless negotiations and the brave declarations with communal demands of the leaders for a larger share of the British legacy were having an insidious effect on the people, much to the satisfaction of the Raj and the Indian reactionaries. “Amidst these ‘summit talks’,” wrote Michael Brecher, “the poison of communalism penetrated deeper into the body politic of India.”42

It is a cruel irony that Calcutta, the city of many glorious anti-imperialist struggles which the people fought shoulder to shoulder, irrespective of faiths, and other democratic struggles, the latest being the very successful general strike in sympathy with the All India Postal strike, – the city of nightmares to the imperialists and their underlings in India – became the first scene of a communal blood-bath. The people elsewhere, too, became victims of the vicious ‘war of succession’ between the two rival sets of compradors in the absence of a revolutionary party which could lead and co-ordinate their struggles to win victory. The imperialists, instead of trying to extinguish the communal flames, welcomed them and their Indian henchmen spread them by their acts and rhetoric. Later, on 24 January 1947, the director of the Intelligence Bureau, Government of India, noted for the benefit of the policy-makers:

“The game so far has been well played, in that (a) both Congress and the League have been brought into the Central Government; (b) the Indian problem has been thrust into its appropriate plane of communalism; … Grave communal disorder must not disturb us into action which would reproduce anti-British agitation.”43 After the communal carnage in Calcutta, Gandhi told Wavell “that if a blood-bath was necessary, it would come about inspite of non-violence.”44 On 21 July 1946 he wrote to Vallabhbhai Patel: “A great many things seem to be slipping out of the hands of the Congress. The postmen do not listen to it, nor does Ahmedabad, nor do the Harijans, nor Muslims. This is a strange situation indeed.”45

Again, writing to Patel on 24 July, Gandhi lamented: “There are other strikes on top of the postal strike. All this looks significant…. The Congress position may seem strong on the surface but it appears to have lost its hold on the people. Or it may be that the Congress itself is involved in these troubles if only from a distance. This must be clarified; otherwise the battle which we are on the point of winning will be lost.”46

The Mahatma released a torrent of denunciation of strikes and strikers, especially political and ‘sympathetic strikes’, and asked Patel to do the same.47 Nehru condemned the all-India strike of one lakh extremely low-paid postal employees as “against the interests of the common people”. But the fact is, the common people went on ‘sympathetic strikes’ throughout India on 29 July to give the postal employees their support. Those who opposed these strikes were the imperialists and the Gandhis and Nehrus. These were not adversaries but allies and they were on the same side of the barricade and the people on the other. The waves of struggle continued to rise. The situation in India was growing alarming for the British Raj and the Congress leadership. At the end of July the India and Burma Committee of the British cabinet concluded that if “some positive action” was not taken “without delay”, “the initiative might pass from His Majesty’s Government. The postal strike and the threatened [all-India] railway strike were symptoms of a serious situation which might rapidly deteriorate.” Wavell agreed and wired to Pethick-Lawrence on 31 July: “Widespread labour trouble exists and general situation is most unsatisfactory. The most urgent need is for a Central Government with popular support. If Congress will take responsibility they will realise that firm control of unruly elements is necessary and they may put down the Communists and try to curb their own left wing.” Wavell added that he disliked “intensely the idea of having an interim Government dominated by one party [Congress] but I feel that I must try to get the Congress in as soon as possible.”48

From U.P. Governor Wylie reported: “This strike business, for instance, is most unsettling…. With all this strike fever about, it would be too much to expect that the police would remain totally unaffected …”49

The director of the Intelligence Bureau, Government of India, warned: “… the labour situation is becoming increasingly dangerous…. I am satisfied that a responsible government, if one can be achieved, will deal more decisively with Labour than is at present possible.”50 On 6 August Wavell again wired to the Secretary of State: “I think it is quite likely that Congress [if it joins the government at the centre] would decide to take steps fairly soon against the communists, or otherwise the labour situation will get even worse.’51

British imperialism found itself unable to rule in the old way. In an undated note Attlee wrote: “In the event of a breakdown of the administration or a general alignment of the political parties against us are we prepared to go back on our policy and seek to re-establish British rule as against the political parties and maintain it for 18 years? The answer must clearly be No.” Among the reasons he cited was the lack of the necessary military force.52 In a “top secret” message to the Viceroy on 25 November 1946, the Secretary of State informed him that “We could not contemplate anything in the nature of reconquest and retention of India by force against the nationally organised opposition, and quite apart from the desirability of such a decision we do not believe that it would be practicable from a political, military or economic point of view”.53 In a footnote it has been stated that “the terms of this reply [to Wavell’s letters] were agreed at a meeting” between Attlee, Pethick-Lawrence, Cripps and officials of the India Office.54

When the British Raj felt unable to stem the tide of revolutionary struggles, it wanted some political party or parties of India with popular support to do it for them. The Congress leaders were lending their support from the outside but that was not enough. As the Muslim League refused to join the Congress in an interim government on Congress terms, the British imperialists decided to entrust the Congress with the task of running the state machinery for them.

When British imperialists found it unwise to take extreme measures to suppress the people, Congress leaders were entrusted to do so. The Congress leaders felt no less worried at the situation as it was developing. They were only too eager to join hands with the British imperialists to fight back the revolutionary tide and suppress the rebellious people. In August the Congress Working Committee adopted a resolution condemning the growing lack of discipline and disregard of obligations on the part of workers.55

On 5 August Wavell reported to Pethick-Lawrence that, according to an unimpeachable source, “Patel… was convinced that the Congress must enter the Government to prevent chaos spreading in the country as the result of labour unrest.”56 The British cabinet had decided on 1 August that ‘if the Muslim League were unwilling to come in [on Congress terms], it would be necessary to proceed with the formation of an Interim Government with Congress only”.57

So Congress president Nehru was invited to form an ‘interim’ government with himself as vice-president under Wavell. The Congress leaders undertook to fight and suppress the rebellious, anti-imperialist people – not only from the outside but also from the inside of the imperialist state machinery – to serve as imperialism’s shield and protect it from the wrath of the people. There was a preliminary round of ‘transfer of power’ when the ‘interim’ government was installed in office on 2 September 1946 – the first round of ‘transfer of power’ through which imperialism tried to save itself. In his letter to Mountbatten, dated 18 March 1947, appointing Mountbatten Viceroy of India, Attlee wrote: “… while the Interim Government would not have the same powers as a Dominion Government, His Majesty’s Government would treat the Interim Government with the same consultation and consideration as a Dominion Government…”58

Imperialism’s hopes were more than fulfilled, its reliance on the Congress leaders to extricate it from an “increasingly dangerous” situation was more than justified. On 9 October 1946 Nehru informed Wavell that “A short while ago the [U.P. Congress] Government issued an ordinance of the kind we have been issuing here to tide over the period from 1st October…” The U.P. ordinance “provided for the maintenance of public order and essential services through preventive detention, imposition of collective fines, and the control of meetings and processions.”59

On 21 January 1947 Wavell informed Pethick-Lawrence that searches, still then incomplete, had been conducted, that “the Madras [Congress] Government appear to have taken action against communists and are contemplating a conspiracy case [conspiracy against the King–Emperor] against leading members of the party…. The Bombay [Congress] Government have also written strongly for Central action or a Central directive against the party and indicating that they propose, in the absence of either of these, themselves to take strong action for detention of Communist agitators who constitute a great threat to public tranquillity in that Province.”
In this holy war against the anti-imperialist people, the Congress leaders would brook no interference even from British Parliament. Wavell’s message added that Home Member Patel deprecated the idea of any discussion in British Parliament of the action taken against Communists “as it can only impede the efforts of Congress to deal with the revolutionary element in the country.”60

A discussion in Parliament would expose the fascist nature of the Congress leaders’ attack on “the revolutionary element in the country”. The country-wide search of the offices of the CPI, trade unions, Kisan Sabha, Students Federation, Friends of the Soviet Union, etc., was carried out “under the direction of the Government of India”, of which Patel was Home Member. But in reply to R.P. Dutt’s cable, Nehru unhesitatingly wired back: “The police raids on the Communists took place without the authority or knowledge of the Ministers.” A similar reply he sent to Harry Pollitt.61

Even Wavell was amused. Communicating to Pethick-Lawrence on 29 January 1947 that “the Congress Government in Bombay had decided that the only way to deal with the Communists was to resort to detention without trial”, Wavell had a dig at the Labour Party minister: “it may come as a shock to you if they should resort to such ‘imperialistic’ methods”.62

On 27 February the Bombay Governor reported to Wavell that Bombay’s Congress ministry “are determined to handle the communist and other extreme Left Wing elements firmly, and are bringing forward this session a new Public Safety Measures Bill which re-enacts all our Ordinances in full…”63

The Bombay Governor also wrote on 2 April to Viceroy Mountbatten that the Congress ministers of Bombay felt that “their real opponents are the Congress Socialists and the Communists”64 – not the British imperialists.

At its twenty–second session held in Calcutta from 13 to 19 February 1947, the All India Trade Union Congress expressed its concern at the “indiscriminate firing by the police on workers” and stated in a resolution: “Firing was resorted to in Coimbatore, Golden Rock, Kolar Gold Fields, Ratlam, Amalner and Kanpur, resulting in the death of more than 50 persons including women and children and injury to more than 400.”

After referring to “the suppression of civil liberties”, ban on workers’ meetings, arrests and internment of trade union workers, destruction of union properties and so on, the resolution added: “In Madras alone, hundreds of labour workers are in jail, and in some places, Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been applied demanding security of good behaviour from labour leaders.”

The AITUC also protested against “the recent amendments to the Bombay District Police Act and the enactment of ordinances in the provinces of Punjab, Madras, Bengal, United Provinces and the Central Provinces under which persons can be arrested, externed or detained without trial.”

It also condemned the governments of Madras, Bombay and the Central Provinces [all Congress-ruled provinces] for detaining trade unionists in jail without trial and for externing some of them.65

It was an all-out war against the people who were fighting against cruel exploitation and oppression and for freedom, that the Congress leaders waged before and after their assumption of office at the Centre. At the Meerut session of the Congress presided over by Kripalani and addressed by Nehru among others, held in November 1946, Sardar Mota Singh, a delegate, “thundered that the British were using Pandit Nehru and his colleagues as ‘political cows’ to prevent the masses from attacking the British power, standing behind the cows.”66 As we shall see, it is to these “political cows” that the British transferred power in what became the Indian Union.

The Congress leaders found that along with repression other means were necessary: they tried other means also. One of these was to try to break the workers’ unity, which had withstood all communal tension. On 12 August 1946 the CWC adopted a resolution drafted by Nehru to organize the Hindustan Mazdoor Sevak Sangh on an all-India basis.67 This organization had been functioning in Ahmedabad under another name on Gandhian lines as a stooge organization of Ahmedabad’s textile magnates. When militant working class struggles threatened the very foundations of British imperialism and the Indian big bourgeoisie, the Nehrus took upon themselves the mission of splitting the working class.

And at its meeting in Calcutta on 7 December 1945 the CWC took disciplinary action against the communist members of the AICC and asked all subordinate committees to purge the Congress of all communists. As part of their fierce onslaught against the people, they accused the communists of having cooperated with the government in order to isolate them from the people. The irony was that when they themselves were acting as willing agents of the Raj to war against the people they accused the communists of having cooperated with the Raj after Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union – which they did for ideological reasons. And what about Gandhi who pledged cooperation with British war efforts in 1944 and 1945 – and people like Rajagopalachari?

Gandhi’s disciple D.G. Tendulkar observed that Gandhi “was aware of the deep hatred of the British rulers that was in the people’s heart. To forestall and prevent the conflagration of the deep-seated hatred was his constant concern.”68

On 4 December 1946, Nehru said: “There was a great urge among the masses of India for political progress. The Congress leaders had tried with some success to restrain that urge and keep it behind the Government.” 69

Though essentially true, it is an understatement. Throughout the twenties and the thirties and the Second World War years and after, the Congress leaders acted as the enemy within (of all the top Congress leaders, Subhas Chandra Bose alone was a patriot and that is why he was hounded out of the Congress in 1939). The others did not hesitate to stoop to any falsehood and deception and occasional, atrocious attacks on the people (as when they held ministerial offices in eight provinces between 1937 and 1940 and again from 1946) to kill their “great urge” to become free.

Nor did the CPI emerge as a rallying point for nationalists. Its leadership strengthened the people’s illusions about the Congress leaders instead of shattering them. To cite only one instance here, P.C. Joshi, then general secretary of the CPI, wrote in Congress and Communists (1944): “To us the Congress is our parent organization, its leaders our political fathers…” He described his own party men as “Communist Congressmen”.70 Individual communists and groups of communists stood by the people bravely and selflessly and led many of their struggles.

But in the absence of an organized revolutionary party – the crucial subjective factor – the objectively revolutionary situation gave rise not to revolution but to counter-revolution: the most unnatural partition of India on communal lines costing enormous blood-baths and close integration of the two new states into the capitalist-imperialist system, which preserved all the structural barriers to her development. A telegram from London to Campbell-Johnson, Viceroy Mountbatten’s press attaché, dated 3 June 1947, said: “A packed House of Commons listened with intense interest to Prime Minister’s announcement [ of the agreement between the British Raj and the leaders of the Congress and the League to create two new states on the basis of partition of India and dominion status] this afternoon. Proposals and first reaction from India undoubtedly created profound gratification among all Parties. Sense of unity and recognition of tremendous issues and possibilities involved were comparable only with most historic moments during war.... This has been a great day for us all.”71

India was regarded by the British imperialists as “the essential linchpin in the structure of the Commonwealth”.72 They devoutly wished that India would remain within the British Commonwealth. As early as 16 April 1943, when World War II raged, the Secretary of State, L. Amery, wrote to Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “To keep India within the Commonwealth during the next ten years is much the biggest thing before us… [ and ] should be the supreme goal of the British policy.”73 He wrote to British Foreign Secretary Eden in a similar vein on 9 May 1943.74 The goal of the British imperialists was to have a self-governing India within the British Commonwealth and to enmesh her with Commonwealth ties – economic, political and military.

When “much the biggest thing before us” was achieved, with Nehru and Patel themselves seeking dominion status,75 it was, no doubt, a “great triumph” of the British imperialists. The reaction of the U.S.imperialists was quite enthusiastic, though there was “the most appalling bloodshed and confusion” in India.

The Nehrus assured the British Raj that “in their view Hindustan would not ultimately leave the Commonwealth, once Dominion Status had been accepted”. But they emphasized “the need for secrecy on this matter because if it became known that Congress leaders had privately encouraged the idea, the possibility of their being able to bring their party round to it would be serious[ly] jeopardized.”76

How independent and sovereign did India become after the transfer of power?
Did India become truly independent and sovereign with the transfer of power or in name only? Did she undergo a revolution – the overthrow of the rule of imperialism, big comprador capital and feudalism, the structural barriers to her development? Or, did imperialism make a formal withdrawal behind its flunkeys – the “political cows”, as Sardar Mota Singh said – in order to blunt the edge of the national liberation struggle? Was the old order of the colonial era – the order the colonizers built in order to help them best to exploit and oppress the Indian people, after destroying the pre-colonial society – economic, social, political and military, refashioned by an independent, sovereign India which would lead to her regeneration?

The Indian economy had no independence of its own and remained an appendage of the economy of Britain during the colonial rule. British capital dominated every sector of Indian economy and sucked the life-blood of our people. We shall cite a few facts to point out that Indian economy did not become free from imperialist fetters after the transfer of power: the stranglehold of metropolitan capital was more and more tightened instead of being relaxed. Nehru assured the British capitalists in December 1946 that they would have full freedom to flourish here.77

In different official resolutions, speeches and so on, the Indian government extended a warm welcome to imperialist capital. An official memorandum of the Indian government in September 1949 declared: “The policy of the Government of India was to allow foreign capital to come in to operate freely in the industrial field…. Every attempt must be made to secure the maximum possible influx of foreign capital in the shortest possible time.”78

The Birlas’ Eastern Economist wrote in a leading article: “India for many years to come will need foreign capital and technical skill which must come mainly from the United States and Great Britain… it is clear from the Eastern Economist’s recent calculations so far as India is concerned that without foreign investment, it is quite impossible now to maintain our standard of life [already quite abominable]… India’s hunger for food this year is great but her hunger for capital – if less evident – is nearly as deep.”79

Some Indian magnates such as Tata and Birla had been negotiating with British and U.S. monopolies for the establishment of joint enterprises in India even before the ‘transfer of power’ and some deals were already concluded. On 2 May 1945, Manu Subedar, a small industrialist and leader of an anti-collaborationist group in the Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Bombay, denounced in the Central Legislative Assembly the collaboration between foreign monopolies and Indian big capital as “illegitimate marriage”.80 The joint ventures between imperialist monopolies and Indian big capital soon became the norm in India, encouraged by the Indian government. And trade followed the old colonial pattern.

For some years after the transfer of power the Indian rupee was tied to British sterling. When in September 1949, Britain was forced to devalue the pound in relation to the dollar by 30.5 per cent, India had to devalue the rupee in the same proportion. Announcing the devaluation, John Matthai, India’s then Finance Minister, said that he “had to act, not on conviction born of logical necessity but, so to speak, by the compulsion of events; since sterling was devalued, there was no other course open to us.” As a result, India’s exports became cheaper and imports dearer and the people became poorer.

The sterling debts – between Rs 1,700 crore and Rs 1,800 crore in 1946 – tied the Indian economy to the metropolitan economy. These sterling balances, which Britain owed to India, represented the value of goods and services compulsorily taken away from India during World War II and in the months following it. Indian food, raw materials, textiles and other finished products were taken away not only for the army but for the civil population of England and other countries when the Indian people were victims of acute scarcity, steep inflation, sky-kissing prices, black markets and famine. The goods were taken by Britain at controlled or negotiated prices at which Indians could not get them. “The price paid by India”, to quote Subedar, “runs into millions of lives.”81 The British government refused to give any assurance that it would not scale down the debts: it even refused to enter into any negotiations about them. The Anglo-U.S. Financial Agreement of December 1945 made it mandatory on the U.K to scale down the debts. In his memorandum on Indian Sterling Balances, dated 5 August 1947, Hugh Dalton, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, wrote like a super-imperialist: “The Indians have asked for releases of £48.5 millions [out of £1,160 millions estimated by him] from the blocked account for the remainder of 1947. On my instructions the request has been rejected… No commitment for further releases after the end of 1947 has been made in the present negotiations, nor are we committed to recognize the total, without further cancellation or adjustment …. More than three quarters of them earn only one-half per cent [as interest].”82 This was one of the swindling tricks of imperialism. The Indian ruling classes collaborated in it even after the transfer of power.

In a note on India’s sterling balances, Subedar wrote: “There is no reason why assets, at least those who [which] belong to Britishers non-resident in India, should not be mobilized by the British Government with a view to reducing the outstanding balance.”83 He wrote to Patel, “It is most extraordinary that three Cabinet ministers [ members of the British Cabinet Mission, who came to India in March 1946] should have come here and not a word was said to them by any Indian in regard to the sterling balances.”84 On 7 July 1950, Nehru said that, “our economy is obviously tied to England and other allied powers.”85

In November 1951, G.D.Birla proposed the formation of an Indo-American Development Corporation with business magnates and officials of the two countries – a kind of “supertrust directing the future of Indian economy.”86 And in January 1952, B.R.Sen, then India’s Ambassador to the U.S.A, “recommended an investment company in which both American and Indian private capital would participate initially on a 70:30 per cent basis”.87 Both the representative of the Indian government and an outstanding leader of the Indian big bourgeoisie were keen that the future of the Indian economy should be directed not by the Indians but chiefly by U.S. big capital. Were these the voices of an independent, sovereign India or of a client state?

As regards feudal or semi-feudal relations in the vast countryside, there was no fundamental change, except that some grosser manifestations of feudalism were curbed. There was no democratic, or agrarian, revolution in India. There was no basic change in the property structure in the rural areas.

We shall confine ourselves to a few words on the changes in the political and social system in India after the transfer of power. The long-cherished aim of the alien rulers to have India within the British Commonwealth was fulfilled. The British imperialists of all hues celebrated the transfer of power on the basis of partition and dominion status as a “great triumph”, as a gain not a loss.88 They were sure that those to whom they had entrusted the subcontinent would defend and preserve their long-term interests in India and in the Indian Ocean region. And this is how they resolved their bitter contradiction with the Indian people. Indian ‘independence’ was the new face of British imperialism in India – a manoeuvre very deceitful and very successful.

India’s ‘freedom’ was ushered in with the playing of ‘God Save the King’ followed by Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka.89 Nehru toasted the health of the British king and Mountbatten toasted the health of the Dominion government.90 It was symbolical that Union Jack was not lowered; it flew proudly when the Indian flag was unfurled.91

The last Viceroy and Governor-General of India became the head of the new Indian state and Nehru and Patel “wanted him to stay on as long as he would”.92 H.V. Hodson, a former Reforms Commissioner of India, observed: “By a strange paradox Lord Mountbatten as constitutional governor-general of independent [!] India exercised more direct executive authority in certain spheres than he had enjoyed as autocratic viceroy.”93 Nehru and his colleagues sought Mountbatten’s advice about the composition of the cabinet for post-colonial India, “tore up the list of cabinet” they had prepared and changed four members of the old list.94 The trust that the top Congress leaders, quite astute men, reposed in Mountbatten reflected their trust in – and their closeness to – British imperialism. Gandhi had said earlier: “The sole referee of what is or is not in the interest of India as a whole will be Mountbatten in his personal capacity.”95 Leonard Mosley wrote that “from that moment on” – Nehru’s first meeting with Mountbatten in India – Nehru became “Mountbatten’s man”.96 We shall not refer here to Patel’s effusive expressions of gratitude to Mountbatten. These were the persons who, with the complementary role played by the leaders of the CPI – P.C. Joshi and his associates – left a profound influence on the course of Indian history.

Invited by the Congress leaders, Sir John Colville and Sir Archibald Nye (who became next year U.K High Commissioner in New Delhi) remained as governors of the two largest provinces – Bombay and Madras. While in ‘free’ India, they flew Union Jack on the bonnets of their cars. Campbell-Johnson commented that the invitation to Colville and Nye to continue as governors “gets our relations with the new India off to a start good beyond all expectations”.97

As President of the Indian Constituent Assembly Rajendra Prasad requested Lord Mountbatten, the head of the new State, to convey “a message of loyal greetings from this House” to the British King. It said: “That message [ the King’s message to the new dominion] will serve as an inspiration to the great work on which we launch today, and I have no doubt that we anticipate with great pleasure association with Great Britain of a different kind. I hope and trust that the interest and sympathy and the kindness which have always inspired His Majesty, will continue in favour of India and we shall be worthy of them.”98

As the Congress leaders had assured the British imperialists, the Indian Union joined the British Commonwealth of Nations, which recognized the British sovereign as head of the Commonwealth, to whom all dominions had to swear allegiance. It may be noted that on 2 May 1949, almost immediately after the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in London, Attlee declared in the House of Commons “with reference to the London agreement that no distinction should be drawn between the use of the terms ‘Commonwealth’, ‘British Commonwealth’ or ‘British Empire’, all of which should be regarded as interchangeable”.99 Appreciating Nehru’s role in the 1949 London Conference, Attlee said: “Mr. Nehru for India showed high statesmanship in accepting a new relationship whereby in respect for India the [British] monarch was recognized as Head of the Commonwealth."100

Both Nehru and Jinnah agreed that India and Pakistan would fly the Union Jack on twelve days in the year but wanted that this should not be publicized. “In fact,” Mountbatten wrote, “they are worried about their extremists agitating against over-stressing the British connection although they are quite willing to retain it [ the Union Jack in the upper canton of the Indian flag, as designed by Mountbatten] themselves.”101

Indian society underwent no radical change. The administrative structure built by the colonizers remained. The British-trained Indian Civil Service (I.C.S.), the steel-frame of the colonial administration, continued as before. Its successor, the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.), to quote Francine Frankel, “retained the structure and style of its elitist forerunner, perpetuating a national administrative system that in numbers and outlook was more suitable to carrying out the narrow colonial functions of law and order than the broad responsibilities for economic development of an independent government.”102 The police and the judiciary continued with little change. The same laws prevailed with few changes, only the repressive laws were given more teeth and the coercive apparatus of the State has been strengthened with the passing of years as para-military forces have proliferated. Formally, colonialism died but the colonial spirit and structure remained.

The Indian Constitution, under which we are governed, owes much to the British. The Constituent Assembly, that framed the Constitution, was constituted on the basis of the 16 May (1946) Statement of the British Cabinet Mission and the Viceroy. The members of the Constituent Assembly were not elected on the basis of adult suffrage, which Congress leaders like Nehru had promised several times. The then existing provincial legislative assemblies of ‘British India’, formed under the Government of India Act of 1935 (which Nehru called a “charter of slavery”), which restricted the franchise to about 11.5 per cent of the people and provided for separate electorates for different religious communities, were asked to elect their representatives by single, transferable votes of their members (except Europeans), Muslim and non-Muslim members voting separately. And, according to an agreement between Nehru and the Chamber of Princes, on the accession of the native states to the Indian Union, about fifty per cent of the seats allotted to them in the Constituent Assembly were filled by nominees of the princes (who had been stooges of the British government) and the rest were supposed to represent the people of those states.

The first session of the Constituent Assembly was convened by Viceroy Wavell and held on 9 December 1946. Speaking at the subjects committee meeting during the Meerut session of the Congress in November 1946, Nehru declared: “when we attain freedom, we shall have another Constituent Assembly.”103 Deception was the name of their game. The draft of the Constitution was prepared by members of the I.C.S., chief among whom was Sir Benegal N. Rau, the constitutional adviser to the Constituent Assembly. Campbell-Johnson pointed out that dominion status made possible the maximum administrative and constitutional continuity, on the basis of the great India Act of 1935.104 “Approximately 250 articles [out of 395 articles],” wrote Michael Brecher, “were taken either verbatim or with minor changes in phraseology from the 1935 Government of India Act, and the basic principles remained unchanged.”105 G.D. Birla proudly claimed that “we have embodied large portions of the [1935] Act as finally passed, in the Constitution which we have framed ourselves and which shows that in it [the 1935 Act] was cast the pattern of our future plans”.106 “The new constitution accepted the basically British compromise of 1935”, observed Thomas Balogh, the Oxford economist who was for some years adviser to the British cabinet.107

As regards military arrangements, the old order continued in the main. Immediately after the transfer of power Claude Auchinleck, the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian army, became the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of India and Pakistan. The commanders of the three branches of the armed forces of India – the army, the navy and the air force – remained British. Until the late fifties the commander of the Indian navy was British. An appeal was made to British officers and other British personnel in India’s armed forces to continue and a 50 per cent increase in ‘India Allowance’ was granted to British ‘other ranks’. 49 per cent of the British officers and 94 per cent of ‘other ranks’ were retained in the armed forces of ‘free’ India.108 But there was no place in the Indian army for the officers and men of the I.N.A.(whom Nehru described in 1945 and 1946 as “the pick of the Indian Army”, “a splendid lot”, “a fine lot” – “brave, stout-hearted and capable and very politically minded” – whose “standard of… fighting is admittedly very high” and “It is possible they will be acceptable to the future army of free India”).109 The navy men who rose against the British in February 1946 and the Indian soldiers who joined the Indonesians in their struggle against the Dutch imperialists who were trying to reconquer their country at the end of the war, were not reinstated for their revolt against imperialism.

The Joint Defence Council of India and Pakistan was composed of Mountbatten, Auchinleck, Baldev Singh and Liaquat Ali – two Britishers and one representative each of India and Pakistan – with Mountbatten as Chairman. Both Nehru and Jinnah “wholeheartedly welcomed” the British government’s proposal to negotiate “overall Commonwealth defence arrangements”. The Joint Defence Council was empowered to conduct negotiations on behalf of India and Pakistan. To quote from Mountbatten’s message to London dated 8th August 1947:

“As I shall continue to be Chairman of the Joint Defence Council after 15th August, I shall hope to be able to regulate these discussions [with the British military delegation to decide on ‘overall Commonwealth defence arrangements’] and trust that the desired objects will be achieved.”110

India became a partner of the “overall Commonwealth” military arrangements. Besides, as L.Natarajan pointed out, “India signed its first military agreement with the United States under the Mutual Defence Assistance Programme in March 1951...”111 These military agreements were concluded not between equals but between giants and a pigmy, between powerful imperialist countries – one of them a superpower seeking to dominate the world – and India, an underdeveloped country teeming with “half-naked, half-starved” people. “Thus came to an end”, wrote Attlee later, “the direct rule of the British in India.”112 Do all these facts indicate that India became independent and sovereign with the transfer of power?

“…the fact is”, writes Robin D.G.Kelley, “while colonialism in its formal sense might have been dismantled, the colonial state was not.”113 Imperialism today, as Thomas Balogh said, does not require overt political domination to enforce its rule.114 Instead of directly administering a dependent country, it dominates it through local agents and using the levers of capital (both direct investment and ‘aid’, a euphemism for loan-capital), technology, military hardware, etc. Besides, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international institutions, set up on the initiative of U.S. imperialism, play the role of the colonial administration of enforcing the rules of the imperialist game. The essence of neo-colonialism or semi-colonialism lies in subordinating the dependent country’s economy, politics and military strategy, to the economy and global strategy of imperialism.

Though India did not become free, an important change occurred. From a colony India became a semi-colony: India’s dependence on Britain yielded to dependence on several imperialist powers, chief among which is the U.S.A. A semi-colony is formally independent, but in reality, it is dependent on several imperialist powers. In this ‘semi-dependent country’ the domestic ruling classes enjoy political power but within the framework of basic dependence on imperialist powers. As part of the world capitalist-imperialist system, they cannot shake off this dependence, for they can survive and expand by collaborating with and serving imperialist monopoly capital as they did before – at the cost of the abysmal misery and wretchedness of the people.

References and Notes:

*The following has been abridged from the first chapter of a forthcoming publication by S.K. Ghosh. Interested readers may also pursue related themes in the following works by the same author: The Indian Big Bourgeoisie: Its Genesis, Growth and Character (2nd edn., Calcutta, 2000), India and the Raj (2nd edn., Calcutta, forthcoming), and The Tragic Partition of Bengal (Allahabad, 2002). (back)

1. Mansergh, N. (Editor-in-Chief), Constitutional Relations between Britain and India: The Transfer of Power (TOP), XII , pp.790-1; S.Gopal (ed.), Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru (SWJN), XIV, p. 47. (back)

2. Ibid, p.27; also p.37. (back)

3. TOP, IV, pp.333-8; 340-4, 365-9; V,pp.1-2, 127, 424, 431; Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWGM), LXXX, pp. 444-5; H.M. Seervai, Partition of India, p.32 and fn 15.TOP, IV, pp.333-8; 340-4, 365-9; V,pp.1-2, 127, 424, 431; Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWGM), LXXX, pp. 444-5; H.M. Seervai, Partition of India, p.32 and fn 15. (back)

4. TOP, VI; p. 455; SWJN, XIV, p.497 – emphasis added. (back)

5. TOP, VI, p. 1117. (back)

6. Cited in R.P.Dutt, Freedom for India, London, 1946, front cover page. (back)

7. TOP, VI, p. 713. (back)

8. Ibid, p. 725. (back)

9. Ibid, pp. 543, 582. (back)

10. Ibid, pp. 531-3, 588. (back)

11. Philip Mason (Joint Secretary to the War Department of the Govt of India, who drew up the plan), “Foreword” to Hugh Toye, Subhas Chandra Bose, p. IX; Hugh Toye, ibid, p.188; John Connell, Auchinleck, London, 1959, p.799. (back)

12. R.P. Dutt, Freedom for India. (back)

13. TOP, VI, pp.382-3, 507-8, 530-3, 536, 542-3, 807. (back)

14. SWJN, XV, p.92 – emphasis added. (back)

15. TOP, VI, pp. 382-3. (back)

16. Ibid, pp. 589, 599, 633, 679; CWMG, LXXXII, p.452. (back)

17. See SWJN, XIV, pp. 195, 207, 229, 231, 241, 252, 254, 491, 493, passim. Emphasis added. (back)

18. Cited in R.J. Moore, Escape from Empire, p. 76. (back)

19. SWJN, XIV, pp. 141-2, 146, 147. (back)

20. B.C. Dutt, Mutiny of the Innocents, p.61, for the report of the R.I.N, Enquiry Commission; Hindusthan Standard (a daily now extinct), 21.1.1947. (back)

21. See SWJN, XV, p. 1, note 2. (back)

22. B.C. Dutt, op cit, pp.174, 175. (back)

23. S. Natarajan, “Foreword” to ibid, p.7. (back)

24. B.C. Dutt, ibid, p. 78. (back)

25. Ibid, pp. 174, 175. (back)

26. TOP VI, pp. 507-8. (back)

27. SWJN, XIV, p. 543, fn. 4. (back)

28. Penderel Moon (ed.), Wavell the Viceroy’s Journal, p. 216. (back)

29. B.C. Dutt, op cit, p.181. (back)

30. Ibid, p. 185. (back)

31. Ibid, pp. 185-6. (back)

32. See Bombay governor John Colville’s report to Viceroy Wavell, 27 Feb. 1946, TOP, VI, pp. 1079-84; see especially p. 1082. (back)

33. Ibid, p.1082. (back)

34. SWJN, XV, pp. 4, 13; TOP, VI, p. 1083 – emphasis added. (back)

35. CWMG, LXXXIII, pp.171, 183, 184, 241-2, 243, 304, 360, 403, 441. (back)

36. Moon (ed.), op cit, p. 220. (back)

37. See G.Adhikari, Resurgent India at the Crossroads. (back)

38. Moon (ed.), op cit, p. 215. (back)

39. TOP, VI, p. 1233. (back)

40. Ibid, VII, p. 7 – emphasis added. (back)

41. Ibid, p.72 – emphasis added. (back)

42. Brecher, Nehru: A Political Biography, pp. 318-9. (back)

43. TOP IX, p. 542. Copies of this note were sent to Prime Minister Attlee, Alexander and Stafford Cripps. (back)

44. Ibid, VII, p. 262; VIII, p.313; X, p. 69; CWMG, LXXXV, 17; Moon, (ed.), op cit, pp. 260, 341 and the editor’s note; Alan Campbell- Johnson, Mission with Mountbatten, p. 52. (back)

45. CWMG, LXXXV, p.35. (back)

46. Ibid, p. 49. (back)

47. Ibid, pp. 82, 116-7; LXXXIV, pp. 8, 102-3, 336. (back)

48. TOP, VIII, pp.150, 154, 155 – emphasis added. (back)

49. Ibid, p.161 – emphasis added. (back)

50. Home Poll (1) 12/7/1946, cited in Sumit Sarkar, Modern India, 431 – emphasis added. (back)

51. TOP, VIII, pp. 190-1, 194. (back)

52. Ibid, IX, p. 68. (back)

53. Ibid, IX, p.174. (back)

54. Ibid, IX, 171. (back)

55. Note on Labour by J. B. Kripalani, A.I.C.C. Papers, File No. G 26/1946, cited in Sumit Sarkar, op cit, p. 429. (back)

56. TOP, VIII, pp. 190-1. (back)

57. Ibid, p. 169. (back)

58. Ibid, IX, p. 973. (back)

59. SWJN, Second Series, I, p. 177 and fn. 5 – emphasis added. (back)

60. TOP, IX, pp. 524-5 – emphasis added. (back)

61. SWJN, Second Series, I, p. 616 and fn.2, p.617 fn. 2, p. 618. (back)

62. TOP, IX,p. 575. (back)

63. Ibid, p. 822. (back)

64. Ibid , X, p. 87 – emphasis added. (back)

65. AITUC, Report: Twenty-Second Session, pp. 77, 78 – emphasis added. (back)

66. Hindustan Times, 22 Nov. 1946, reprinted in TOP, IX, pp. 133-4. (back)

67. SWJN, XV, p. 636. (back)

68. Tendulkar, Mahatma, Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, VII, pp. 106-7 – emphasis added. (back)

69. SWJN, Second Series, I, p.128 – emphasis added. (back)

70. Joshi, Congress and Communists, pp. 2, 20. (back)

71. Alan Campbell-Johnson, Mission with Mountbatten, p. 110 – emphasis added. (back)

72. TOP, VIII, pp. 224, 348-50, 547; VII, pp. 122, 591; VI, pp. 561, 659-60, 666, IX, p. 307, passim. (back)

73. TOP, III, pp. 895-7 – emphasis added. (back)

74. Ibid, p. 955; see also ibid, IV, p. 388. (back)

75. Ibid, X, pp. 716, 732, 735. (back)

76. Ibid, pp. 974-5 – emphasis added; see also pp.897-8. (back)

77. SWJN, 2nd Series, I, pp. 426, 428. (back)

78. Cited in L. Natarajan, American Shadow Over India, p. 71. (back)

79. “India and the United States”, Eastern Economist, 14 Jan. 1949, 44 – emphasis added. (back)

80. Cited in L. Natarajan, op cit, pp. 52, 266 (note 1). (back)

81. Quoted from Subedar’s article in Tribune, reprinted in Modern Review (now extinct), July 1945, p.4; see also Subedar’s Note on Sterling Balances in Durga Das, (ed.), Sardar Patel’s Correspondence 1945-50, III, pp. 214-6. (back)

82. TOP, XII, p. 540. (back)

83. Quoted from Subedar’s Note in Durga Das (ed.), op cit, p.215; see also p. 225. (back)

84. See Durga Das (ed.), op cit, p. 230. (back)

85. Quoted in Natarajan, op cit, p.147. (back)

86. Hindustan Times, 5.11.1951; cited in ibid, p. 92. (back)

87. New York Times, 30.1.1952, cited in ibid. (back)

88. TOP, X, p. 945. (back)

89. TOP, XI, pp. 107, 127, 146, 156, 279; XII, p. 731. (back)

90. Campbell-Johnson, op cit, p. 158. (back)

91. Ibid., p. 161. (back)

92. Ibid, p. 36. (back)

93. Hodson, “The Role of Mountbatten”, in Philips and Wainwright (ed.), The Partition of India, p.123. (back)

94. TOP, XII, p. 601. (back)

95. Campbell-Johnson, op cit, p. 71. (back)

96. Leonard Mosley, The Last Days of the British Raj, Bombay, 1966, p.101. (back)

97. Draft Note by Campbell-Johnson (undated), TOP, XI, p.842; see also ibid., XII, p. 193. (back)

98. TOP, XII, p.777, fn. 55. (back)

99. R.P. Dutt, India Today, Bombay, 1949 edn.,p. 575. (back)

100. Attlee, op cit, pp. 186-7. (back)

101. TOP, XII, p. 231. (back)

102. Frankel, India’s Political Economy, 1947-1977, Delhi, 1978, p. 81. (back)

103. SWJN, 2nd Series, I, p.19. (back)

104. Campbell-Johnson, op cit, p.355 – emphasis added. (back)

105. Brecher, Nehru: A Political Biography, p.421 – emphasis added. (back)

106. Birla, In the Shadow of the Mahatma, p.131 – emphasis added. (back)

107. Balogh, The Economics of Poverty, 2nd edn, 1974, fn. p.260. (back)

108. TOP, XII, pp. 94, 765. (back)

109. Nehru to Krishna Menon, sometime in September 1945; 27.10.1945; and Nehru’s speech in Delhi, 23.1.1946; SWJN, XIV, pp. 98, 343, 374. (back)

110. TOP, XII, p. 599. (back)

111. Natarajan, op cit, pp. 102-3. (back)

112. Attlee, As It Happened, p.186, fn. 55 – emphasis added. (back)

113. Kelley, “A Poetics of Anti-Colonialism”, Monthly Review, (Indian reprint), Nov 1999, p.19. (back)

114. Balogh, op cit, (1st edn, 1966 ), p.29. (back)