By Binoy Viswam
The 26th day of December, 1925 is an unforgettable day in the history of Communist movement in India. That was the day on which the CPI was born. Though it was a day of December cold in Kanpur, the young revolutionaries who had gathered there were thrilled with the fire of unflinching hope and aspirations of a new world. They came from various parts of the country representing the newly born communist groups in places like Madras, Calcutta, Bombay, Punjab, Kanpur etc. Even beyond the borders of India, in places like Tashkent Communist groups were formed prior to the founding conference of the party on Indian soil. Their dream was a free and prosperous India, marching ahead through the path of socialism. Of course, it was not a spontaneous outcome of accidental events. It was a purposeful footstep taken after much deliberations taking place in an unfavourable socio-political background. British imperialism and their Indian henchmen were trying hard to pluck off even the slightest shoots of anti-colonial awakening. Yet the Communist Party was born in Indian soil, as it was an irresistible historical necessity.
The course of history has been changed by the triumph of great October socialist revolution in 1917. Its message was reverberating among the oppressed masses and also nations in all continents. At the call of great October, which was inspired by the emancipatory ideology of Marxism, revolutionary groups began to acquire a new insight of social change. In India the Naujawan Bharat Sabha and the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association led by Bhagat Singh and his comrades, the band of youth led by Surya Sen, the Jugantar and Anushilan groups in Bengal were all part of this awakening. In 1908 itself when Bal Gangadhara Tilak was arrested, the workers in Bombay declared a strike, the first ever political strike of Indian working class! It was for six days as Tilak was to be in incarceration for six years. “Release Tilak ” was their only slogan that stormed the streets of Bombay. Learning about this working class action, Lenin wrote that the Indian working class has attained maturity. That maturity led to the foundation of AITUC in 1920. Along with the workers, the peasants, the youth and other downtrodden sections rose in revolt against colonial rule. Their quest for a new path of struggle paved the way for the formation of Communist Party. Disillusionment in the ranks of Congress caused by the half-hearted actions of its leadership also urged the Indian revolutionaries to search for new avenues of freedom and progress.
Even before its inception, Communist Party and its ideology were attacked by the forces of darkness led by British imperialists. Conspiracy cases one after another were framed against the young revolutionaries who jumped into the battlefield, influenced by the ideals of socialism. There were five Peshawar legal cases that took place from 1922 to 1928, the Kanpur conspiracy case, the Lahore conspiracy case, the Meerut conspiracy case, the list was long and without respite as the British rulers were keen to crush any opposing voices. If falsification and conspiracies could have killed the Communist Party, it would not have existed in this country. But braving all the odds instigated by the oppressors and class enemies, the Communists were relentless in their struggle to liberate the country while moving towards a new world. The slogan of complete independence was aired by the Communists in Indian political horizon. In 1921 at the Ahmedabad session of Indian National Congress, it was Hasrat Mohani who moved the resolution for complete independence. The move was rejected. Just one year later, in 1922, at the Gaya session of the Congress, Singaravelu Chettiyar repeated the same demand with a larger support. After five years, by the end of 1926, in the foundation conference of the CPI at Kanpur, Hasrat Mohani became the chairman of the reception committee. Singaravelu Chettiyar was the president of the foundation conference of CPI. Since those eventful days, the Communists did play undeniable role in the freedom struggle of India. In building up the All India Kisan Sabha, the All India Students Federation, the progressive writers association, all in 1930s. Organizations of youth, women and other oppressed masses also were formed with communists in the forefront.
The history of the CPI is a great saga filled with heroic struggles and sacrifices. The party led the masses on their march for freedom from economic, political as well as social oppression. Eventful armed struggles in Telengana and Punnapra Vayalar against feudal and colonial forces, non-violent Tebhaga movement among others would be marked in red letters in Communist history. The martyrs in various parts of the country who selflessly fought under the red flag against the exploitation and oppression will ever be remembered by generations. At every turning point in the history of independent India, Communist Party stood at the front rank to champion the cause of working people and toiling masses. It was the CPI which always fought against the disastrous designs of right reactionary forces, upholding the cause of democracy, secularism and socialist goal. The party always vigilantly cautioned the nation about the impending nature of the communal fascist forces and the party with its understanding of world history and Indian developments was clear that a broad-based platform of secular, democratic, left forces is necessary to fight back the menace of fascist threat. The CPI always devoted its strength and energy to fight for the rights of workers, peasants, youth, students, women, dalits and Adivasis. Across the country, the red flag of CPI was visible in the arena of people’s struggle against the atrocious policies of the ruling classes.
The party fought against colonial rule from its inception to 1947, then against the anti-people policies of the Congress for several decades, now it is tirelessly mobilizing the masses for the crucial battles against the most reactionary regime led by the BJP and controlled by the fascist RSS. It is the CPI that declared with utmost clarity that the main enemy before Indian masses today is the communal fascist forces. And CPI is the first party that advanced the political perspective for the realization of a broad-based platform of all secular democratic left forces to win this battle against the main enemy. Standing trustworthy to the scientific ideology of Marxism, the CPI always has tried to analyze the socio-political contradictions in our country and around the world. In this attempt it has learned valuable lessons from its own experiences and that of the world. In this regard the CPI is proud to proclaim that it is a proud contingent in the ranks of the world communist movement. During the collapse of the Soviet Union and the weakening of world socialism the party unhesitatingly stated that it is not the failure of Marxism, but the fall of a particular mode of its application. In its 15th Congress, after the crisis, the party took up the challenge of addressing the new situation through creatively developing the revolutionary science of Marxism. On this occasion of its 96th anniversary the CPI calls up on its members, sympathizers, and well-wishers of the left to equip themselves through learning of the revolutionary theory and practice of Marxism.
While looking back, the CPI is naturally proud of its innumerable achievements in service of our great nation and interests of our masses. Along with it, the party is aware of its failures also. CPI is the only party which has shown the courage to accept its mistakes that have happened in its long voyage. That reflects its honesty to the people and commitment to the ideology. With the same spirit, the CPI reiterates its position on the crucial question of reunification of the Communist Movement on a principled basis. A principled and objective introspection would help the communists to understand the fact that the split in our movement has only weakened the revolutionary movement and strengthened the class enemies. The forthcoming centenary and its deliberations should provide the Indian communists an opportunity to engage in meaningful debates that would help them in their search for unity in thought and action.
For the lakhs of CPI members and sympathizers and for tens of thousands of its units, this anniversary is not just an occasion for celebration or observance. This is a moment for rededication to the great ideals for which the party was founded in 1925. They should not forget that the RSS which also was founded in the same year has extended its tentacles to the vitals of our nation. This has happened not because of their righteousness. In fact, righteousness is anathema for them. They are the Indian face of Hitlerite fascism trained from the school of Mussolini. The rightward wind in India launched by neo-liberalism helped them to assimilate strength for the ulterior motives. On the wings of racial pride and super profits they attempt to make inroads into the secular fabric of our county and are trying to sow the seeds of communal divide in the society. They should be prevented through mobilizing the people. The Central government through many of its legislative steps unleashes the communal fascist forces and the corporates of the world. They nurtured a complex that they are undefeatable. The historic struggle of the peasants of India shattered their whims of supremacy. The country has to learn a lot of lessons from the one yearlong battle of the peasants. In this context, the call of the Puducherry Congress becomes even more relevant to the Communist Party. That call, “Reconnect with the people” should be the watch word for the communists. (IPA Service)