Question: Write a critical note on the rise and development of the Left in the Congress.
Answer – After the second decade of the twentieth century, a powerful Left party emerged in India. Marxism and other socialist ideas spread very rapidly. Politically, this power was expressed in the form of the rise of a Left within the Congress, which worked to bring the stream of national liberation struggle closer to the stream of socio-economic emancipation of the Dalits and the exploited. The leaders of this new trend were Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose. This Left did not limit its focus to the anti-imperialist struggle, but also raised the question of internal class exploitation of the capitalists and landlords. Gradually, two powerful parties emerged in the Left-Communist Party of India (CPI) and Congress Samajwadi Party (CSP).
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Leftist ideology in India emerged due to political and economic conditions after the First World War and it inevitably got associated with the nationalist movement. The main factors for the rise of the Left Movement in India were:
1- The impact of the Russian Revolution was the main driving force behind it. On 7 November 1917, the Bolshevik Party (Communist Party) led by Lenin overthrew the Tsar’s monarchical rule and announced the establishment of the first socialist state. The new socialist rulers of Russia announced the abandonment of their colonial rights in China and other parts of Asia. The people were inspired that if the common people i.e. workers, peasants and intelligentsia could unite and overthrow the powerful empire of the Czar and establish such a social system in which one man does not exploit the other, then to fight the British Empire. Indian people can also do the same. Thus people got fascinated by the revolutionary ideas of Marx.
2- After the First World War, the economic condition of the country became very deplorable. The prices of items of daily necessities increased greatly. Due to black marketing of traders and dishonesty of officers, a famine situation arose in the country. In this way the hideous form of imperialism and capitalism was exposed to the people.
3- Many young people who participated in Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement were not happy with its results and were not satisfied with Gandhian policies, ideas and even alternative Swarajist programmes. Therefore, for guidance, those people turned their attitude towards socialist ideas. That section of the educated middle class which had lost faith in the liberal policy of the British and which was clearly visible in the face of unemployment, was also drawn towards it.
4- Later on, the worldwide recession of 1929 also made it clear that even in this race, continuous progress can be made in socialist countries. It is noteworthy that Russia was not only isolated from the grip of this recession, but its progress rate was also high.
5- But above all this, Jawaharlal Nehru was such a person, who gave a socialist vision to the national movement and after 1929 he became a symbol of socialism and socialist ideas in India and declared that if the common man achieves economic liberation, then only political Salvation can be worthwhile. Thus Nehru mobilized an entire generation of young nationalists and helped them to assimilate socialist ideas.
The Emergence of Communist Thought
During 1920-21, Nehru’s interest in economic issues increased during the peasant movement of eastern Uttar Pradesh. He studied communist ideas in prison in 1922. In 1927, he came in contact with the communists and warriors fighting against colonialism from all over the world at the International Congress against Colonial Repression and Imperialism held in Brussels. He extended his hand of cooperation with Subhash Chandra Bose to make his ideas logical. In the Lahore session of the Congress of 1929, Nehru declared that, ‘I am a socialist and a democrat and I do not believe in kings and princes. I also do not believe in the system which gives birth to modern kings in industries.’ In the Lucknow Congress of 1936, he expressed his commitment to socialism and said in clear words that ‘I have become firmly convinced that the world and India’s. Socialism is the only key to solve problems. When I use the term, I do not do so in a vaguely humanistic sense, but in a scientific and economic sense, which calls for vast and revolutionary changes.’ But Nehru’s commitment to socialism had a special framework, In which political and anti-imperialist struggle was given a prominent place till the time India was ruled by a foreign power.
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Nehru told the socialists in 1936 that two things impressed him. They are political freedom and social freedom, which are represented by Congress and socialism respectively, and mixing these two is the main problem of socialists. Therefore, Nehru did not accept the proposal to form an organization which was separate from or independent of the Congress. The main task was to influence the Congress or to completely transform it in the socialist direction and this goal could be best achieved only by living under the Congress flag and involving the farmers and workers in this organisation.
In fact, Nehru did not want to allow left-wing people to form a separate sect separate from the main stream of the national movement. In this way, in the second decade of the twentieth century, parties of socialists and communists came into existence all over the country. In Bombay, Shripad Amrit Dange published a pamphlet named ‘Gandhi and Lenin’ and started the first socialist weekly ‘The Socialist’. Muzaffar Ahmed took out ‘Navyug’ in Bengal and published ‘Bengal’ with the help of poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. In Punjab, Ghulam Hussain together with some others published ‘Inquilab’. In Madras, M. Singaravelu established the ‘Laber Kisan Gazette’. Apart from this, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose toured the whole country. During his tours, he criticized imperialism, capitalism and zamindari system and taught to adopt socialist ideology. The extremist revolutionaries led by Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad also leaned towards socialism. In this way two main streams of leftist movement developed in India :-
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First, communism, which emerged as part of the international movement and was controlled by the Comintern, which was Russia’s international communist organization, and second, the Congress Socialist Party, which was the leftist party of the Indian National Congress and democratic socialism. believed to. Both these movements were based on the anti-imperialist sentiments prevailing in India.
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