SPECIAL ON 150 YEARS OF 1857
Did Moscow play fraud on Marx??XVIII
Inner party struggle of the CPI
By Devendra Swarup
?The course of our struggle is, and will be, basically on the lines of the Chinese struggle, i.e., establishment of liberated bases through prolonged guerrilla warfare and nourish the liberation army to completely liberate the country from the imperialist big business feudal clutches.??CPI in April 1950
Here, Moscow was following P.C. Joshi, and not leading him. Joshi published and attributed two NYDT articles on 1857 Revolt to Marx in the September 1952 issue of India Today while Moscow included only one NYDT article on 1857 in its publication, On Britain in 1953. But it remains a puzzle why Moscow did not choose to include the two earlier articles published by Joshi in this anthology? Similarly, why did the CPI immediately rush to include the only article on 1857 published by Moscow in the subsequent edition of its publication Karl Marx on India (PPH, Bombay, 1953), Hindi translation, Bombay, 1954. Why did the CPI choose to ignore the two articles published earlier by its own former General Secretary? Similarly, why did P.C. Joshi in his long article ?1857 in our history? published in Rebellion-1857 (PPH, Delhi, 1957, pp 199-212), while referring to the four NYDT articles on 1857, choose to give the credit of sending the photocopies of these articles to the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, Berlin and did not make any mention of the bunch of these articles sent to him by Syed Sibte Hassan in 1952? Joshi adopted the same strategy for the set of another four NYDT articles attributed to Karl Marx published in the August 1957 special number of the New Age monthly, an official organ of the CPI.
The statement that ?Joshi had the advantage of access to Berlin to the writings of Marx on the rebellion that had appeared anonymously in the NYDT, and his (Marx?s) perception of it as a ?national revolt? noticeably influenced Joshi? (Irfan Habib, Foreword in Rebellion 1857), NBT edition 2007, p. ix), does not reveal the true story. Similarly to say that, ?to ordinary readers those writings of Marx became available only in 1959 when a collection containing them was published from Moscow under the title The First Indian War of Independence (FIWI) (ibid, p. IX), is not factually correct, because these articles were already available in India in at least four publications mentioned above.
To solve this puzzle, we need to probe the inner party struggle going on in the CPI as well as changing policy of the USSR vis-a-vis India and the CPI in those days. The inner party struggle in CPI began with the coming of Indian Independence on August 15, 1947. Indian communists, fed upon anti-Gandhism and anti-Congressism, were faced with a dilemma whether to welcome it or to reject it. They were made to believe that only a party of the proletariat and not a party like Congress-led by the bourgeoise, could win the war of liberation against imperialism and lead to national independence. Similarly, they were convinced that violence was necessary for the success of any revolution. But for them, deciding upon any line of action, the final word lay with the CPSU or Comintern (now christened Cominform) in Moscow. The CPI was entirely subservient to Moscow for all its decisions and activities. Moscow had chosen to guide the CPI through the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) represented by Rajni Palme Dutt, Bradley and Harry Pollit etc.
Moscow those days was involved in a Cold War against the Western block led by USA and U.K. In September 1947, immediately after India?s Independence Soviet Union spokesman A. Zhadanov gave an open call to all Communist parties to wage a violent civil war against their governments which were nothing but stooges of imperial powers. P.C. Joshi, the then General Secretary of the CPI who during his stewardship of 12 years had built it into a powerful organisation, did not agree with this view and line of action. But he found himself completely isolated in the second Party Congress held at Calcutta on February 28, 1948. The CPI Congress, reiterating Zhadanov?s thesis, dethroned P.C. Joshi and elected B.T. Ranadive, the hard liner as its General Secretary. The CPI declared Nehru ?the Chiang Kai-shek of India and ?an Imperialist stooge?. It decided to establish the rule of the proletariat through a violent struggle and selected Telangana as its field of operation. Russian propaganda machine also declared India as its enemy No. three, next only to USA and Britian. Indian Government was declared an agent of Anglo-American imperialism.
The Communists can never tolerate any difference of opinion or open debate within the party. It is dubbed as ?revisionism?. True to this Communist character the dominant B.T. Ranadive faction first suspended the dissenter P.C. Joshi from the party in January 1949 and finally expelled him in December 1949. But, by now the establishment of the Communist Republic of China under the leadership of Mao-tse Tung on October 1, 1949 had introduced a new power centre in the international communism. CPI was now faced with a problem of divided loyalty between USSR and Communist China.
So far it was dependent entirely upon the CPSU for its guidance as well as sustenance. Earlier, in December 1948, the CPI displaying its loyalty to the CPSU, had taken the position that, ?we must state emphatically that the CPI has accepted Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin as authoritative sources of Marxism. It had not discovered new sources of Marxism beyond these.? (Documents of the History of the Communist Party of India, (DHCPI), Vol VII (1948-1950), Ed. M.B. Rao, PPH New Delhi, 1976 p. 293). Sometime in the middle of 1949, Ranadive criticising Mao-tse Tung wrote, ?Some of Mao?s formulations are such that no Communist can accept them. They are in contradiction to the world understanding of the Communist parties... why do the Chinese have to go through a protracted civil war?? (M.R. Masani, The Communist Party of India: A Short History, Bombay, 1967). But, the same Ranadive-led CPI in April 1950 took just the opposite stand saying, ?The course of our struggle is, and will be, basically on the lines of the Chinese struggle, i.e., establishment of liberated bases through prolonged guerrilla warfare and nourish the liberation army to completely liberate the country from the imperialist big business feudal clutches? (DHCPI, VII, p. 889). Those days CPI slogans used to be ?Yeh Azadi Jhooti Hai?, ?China?s line is our line?, ?Telangana is the Yanan of India?.
But by now there appeared a radical change in the USSR policy towards India. It was reflected in an editorial of the Cominform?s mouthpiece, For a Lasting Peace, For a People?s Democracy (FLPFPD), dated January 27, 1950.
(To be continued)