Moscow was equally, if not more, guilty in moulding the mindset of Indian communists. But, now the compulsions of her own foreign policy wanted the CPI to renounce the path of confrontation with the Indian government as well as its Telangana line of armed revolution.
The emergence of communist China as a successful culmination of the long peasant revolution led by Mao tse Tung had strengthened the commitment of a large section of Indian communist leadership to the path of armed struggle. The leadership was divided and it was not possible to create unanimity by remote control. Therefore, Stalin had to intervene directly in Indian affairs.
At his call, a high powered delegation consisting of C. Rajeshwar Rao, Ajoy Ghosh, S.A. Dange and M. Basavpunniah paid a secret visit to Moscow at the end of 1950 and came back in early 1951. There they were presented face to face with Stalin and his lieutenant Molotov. What transpired in Moscow, it is better to read in Dange'sown words. In an interview, Dange told Ganesh Shukla, ?Thanks to B.T. Ranadive, I was a member of the delegation that managed to reach Moscow underground and met Stalin. You know what he told us? ?Your people'swar policy was wrong. In August (1942), the Red Army had already seized the initiative and was throwing back Nazi hordes. How many bullets did the British supply us? Who advised you to cut yourself off from the freedom movement??
Dange continued, ?BTR'sgoose was already cooked. His problem was?Liberate the countryside and surround the cities. The Chinese path. Stalin made a far precise observations. He asked us: Do you have a safe hinterland which the Chinese had? Remember the snow clad Himalayas. Have you seen carefully your road, rail road and communication map? Compare it with the Chinese map in the thirties and forties. Don'tforget you have a nationalist bourgeoisie government. You should base yourself in the united front of workers, peasants, intelligentsia and the national bourgeosie.? The Chinese path was over. Our necks were saved from the noose.? (Ganesh Shukla, A Dialogue with Dange, in Mohit Sen (ed.), Indian communism: Life and work of S.A. Dange, Patriot Publishers, New Delhi, 1992, pp. 137-138.)
The delegation returned with an important document, termed as ?The Tactical Line? which carried the stamp of the authority of Stalin and Molotov. It was kept secret, presented to the Politbureau and some selected members of the Central Committee. In May 1951, a Policy Statement was published by the Central Committee. It was a clever rehash of the Tactical Line document, brought from Moscow. After this meeting Rajeshwar Rao was replaced by Ajoy Ghosh as General Secretary. The policy statement was formally adopted at the All India Conference held at Calcutta in October 1951. Telangana struggle was also finally withdrawn.
The new line adopted by the CPI was the one which P.C. Joshi had been advocating since the advent of Independence in 1947. Even after his suspension and expulsion from the Party, Joshi had been carrying on an incessant written campaign against Ranadive and later C. Rajeshwar Rao line. But his arguments cut no ice with the Party. If, ultimately, his line had to be admitted, it was done only under the Soviet dictates in the shape of an intervention by Stalin himself. Naturally, the Central Committee as a face-saving gesture readmitted Joshi in the party on June 1, 1951 with the statement that the ?expulsion of Comrade P.C. Joshi from the party was wrong and unjustified? (Gargi Chakravarty; P.C. Joshi : A Biography, Delhi 2007, p. 91.)
Meanwhile CPI had advice from Rajni Palme Dutt (RPD), in London. RPD in an editorial strongly pleaded for CPI'sparticipation in the coming General Elections, the first to be held on the basis adult franchise. Joshi was in regular touch with RPD. Already through J.D. Bernal, a British scientist, who had come to attend the Indian Science Congress in1950, Joshi had sent in writing a detailed analysis of the Indian situation to RPD. By early 1951, it was clear that the international communist leadership regarded the peace movement as a matter of primary importance and disapproved of the sectarian manner in which it had been managed by Ranadive and Rajeshwar Rao groups. The Soviet leadership had planned to use the peace movement as a cover to rope in independent liberal intellectuals, artists, social workers and politicians belonging to different parties. It was here that P.C. Joshi could play a very effective role. But the then CPI leadership was not inclined to allow him a leading role.
Even after a direct intervention by Stalin leading to the emergence of pro-Soviet leaders as Ajoy Ghosh and S.A. Dange in dominant position, the CPI was internally divided between Soviet loyalists and China loyalists. Joshi was all along inclined in favour of the new Soviet line of reconciliation with Nehruvian Congress and adoption of constitutional method rather than the Chinese line of armed struggle. Joshi had interpreted the directives of the Cominform more correctly than had the official leadership. He immediately appreciated the importance which the international communist leadership attached to the peace movement, (Overstreet and Windmiller. Communism in India, California, USA, 1959, p. 417). Perhaps, all these factors led to the induction of Joshi in the peace movement before his rehabilitation in the Party itself. And, therefore, we find that when the Preparatory Committee for the second All India Peace Congress met in New Delhi on March 3 and 4, 1951, P.C. Joshi was already its member. The Preparatory Committee meeting in Delhi revealed that although the peace movement was now functioning more in line with Cominform policy, the radical CPI leadership, under General Secretary Rajeshwar Rao was still reluctant to go along with the new peace policy. (ibid p. 416-17).
Faced with this reality, P.C. Joshi decided to play his role independently. On May 1, 1951 he launched from Allahabad a monthly magazine India Today and devoted its first issue to peace movement, containing a long analysis by him of Nehru'sforeign policy, highlighting a ?series of initiatives for peace by the Indian government in the recent past?. Joshi pleaded for a reconciliation between the ?progressives? and Nehruvians. The same issue of India Today carried an article by Krishan Chander, the Secretary of the Preparatory Committee. In communist party culture it was a very bold gesture to get published in the paper run by an expelled Communist leader. This could not have been possible without invisible blessings of the Soviet leadership.
(To be continued)