Why I am an Atheist – Bhagat Singh


It is a matter of debate whether my lack of belief in the existence of an omnipresent, omniscient God is due to my arrogant pride and vanity. It never occurred to me that sometime in the future I would be involved in polemics of this kind. As a result of some discussions with my friends, (if my claim to friendship is not uncalled for) I have realised that after having known me for a little time only, some of them have reached a kind of hasty conclusion about me that my atheism is my foolishness and that it is the outcome of my vanity. Even then it is a serious problem. I do not boast of being above these human follies. I am, after all, a human being and nothing more. And no one can claim to be more than that.

I have a weakness in my personality, for pride is one of the human traits that I do possess. I am known as a dictator among my friends. Sometimes I am called a boaster. Some have always been complaining that I am bossy and I force others to accept my opinion. Yes, it is true to some extent. I do not deny this charge. We can use the word ‘vainglory’ for it. As far as the contemptible, obsolete, rotten values of our society are concerned, I am an extreme sceptic. But this question does not concern my person alone. It is being proud of my ideas, my thoughts. It cannot be called empty pride. Pride, or you may use the word, vanity, both mean an exaggerated assessment of one’s personality. Is my atheism because of unnecessary pride, or have I ceased believing in God after thinking long and deep on the matter? I wish to put my ideas before you. First of all, let us differentiate between pride and vanity as these are two different things.

I have never been able to understand how unfounded, baseless pride or empty vanity can hinder a person from believing in God. I may refuse to acknowledge the greatness of a really great person only when I have got fame without doing any serious efforts or when I lack the superior mental powers necessary to become great. It is easy to understand but how is it possible that a believer can turn into a non-believer because of his vanity? Only two things are possible: either a man deems himself to be in possession of godly qualities, or he goes a step further and declares himself to be a god. In both these states of mind he cannot be an atheist in the true sense of the word. In the first case, it is not an outright rejection of God’s existence; in the other, he is affirming the existence of some kind of supernatural power responsible for the working of universe. It does not harm our argument whether he claims to be a god or considers God to be a reality in existence above his own being. The real point, however, is that in both cases he is a theist, a believer. He is not an atheist. I want to bring home this point to you. I am not one of these two creeds. I totally reject the existence of an omnipresent, all powerful, all knowing God. Why so? I will discuss it later in the essay.

Incorrect allegations

Here I wish to emphasise that I am not an atheist for the reason that I am arrogant or proud or vain; nor am I a demi-god, nor a prophet; no, nor am I God myself. At least one thing is true that I have not evolved this thought because of vanity or pride. In order to answer this question I relate the truth. My friends say that after Delhi bombing and Lahore Conspiracy Case, I rocketed to fame and that this fact has turned my head. Let us discuss why this allegation is incorrect. I did not give up my belief in God after these incidents. I was an atheist even when I was an unknown figure. At least a college student cannot cherish any sort of exaggerated notion of himself that may lead him to atheism.

It is true that I was a favorite with some college teachers, but others did not like me. I was never a hardworking or studious boy. I never got an opportunity to be proud. I was very careful in my behavior and somewhat pessimistic about my future career. I was not completely atheistic in my beliefs. I was brought up under the care and protection of my father. He was a staunch Arya Samaji. An Arya Samaji can be anything but never an atheist. After my elementary education, I was sent to DAV College, Lahore. I lived in the boarding house for one year. Besides prayers early in the morning and at dusk time, I sat for hours and chanted religious Mantras. At that time, I was a staunch believer. Then I lived with my father. He was a tolerant man in his religious views. It is due to his teachings that I devoted my life for the cause of liberating my country. But he was not an atheist. His God was an all-pervading Entity. He advised me to offer my prayers every day. In this way I was brought up.

In the Non-cooperation days, I got admission to the National College. During my stay in this college, I began thinking over all the religious polemics such that I grew sceptical about the existence of God. In spite of this fact I can say that my belief in God was firm and strong. I grew a beard and ‘Kais’ (long head of hair as a Sikh religious custom). In spite of this I could not convince myself of the efficacy of Sikh religion or any religion at all, for that matter. But I had an unswerving, unwavering belief in God.

Then I joined the Revolutionary Party. The first leader I met had not the courage to openly declare himself an atheist. He was unable to reach any conclusion on this point. Whenever I asked him about the existence of God, he gave me this reply: “You may believe in him when you feel like it.” The second leader with whom I came in contact was a firm believer. I should mention his name. It was our respected Comrade Sachindara Nath Sanyal. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with Karachi conspiracy case. Right from the first page of his only book, Bandi Jivan (Incarnated Life) he sings praises to the Glory of God. See the last page of the second part of this book and you find praises showered upon God in the way of a mystic. It is a clear reflection of his thoughts.

According to the prosecution, the Revolutionary Leaflet which was distributed throughout India was the outcome of Sachindara Nath Sanyal’s intellectual labour. So often it happens that in revolutionary activities a leader expresses his own ideas which may be very dear to him, but in spite of having differences, the other workers have to acquiesce in them.

In that leaflet, one full paragraph was devoted to the praises of God and His doings which we, human beings, cannot understand. This is sheer mysticism. What I want to point out is that the idea of denying the existence of God did not even occur to the Revolutionary Party. The famous Kakory martyrs, all four of them, passed their last day in prayers. Ram Parshad Bismal was a staunch Arya Samaji. In spite of his vast studies in Socialism and Communism, Rajan Lahiri could not suppress his desire to recite hymns from Upanishads and Gita. There was but only one person among them who did not indulge in such activities. He used to say, “Religion is the outcome of human weakness or the limitation of human knowledge.” He is also in prison for life. But he also never dared to deny the existence of God.

A romantic revolutionary

Till that time I was only a romantic revolutionary, just a follower of our leaders. Then came the time to shoulder the whole responsibility. For some time, a strong opposition put the very existence of the party into danger. Many leaders as well as many enthusiastic comrades began to uphold the party to ridicule. They jeered at us. I had an apprehension that some day I will also consider it a futile and hopeless task. It was a turning point in my revolutionary career.

An incessant desire to study filled my heart. ‘Study more and more’, said I to myself so that I might be able to face the arguments of my opponents. ‘Study’ to support your point of view with convincing arguments. And I began to study in a serious manner. My previous beliefs and convictions underwent a radical change. The romance of militancy dominated our predecessors; now serious ideas ousted this way of thinking. No more mysticism! No more blind faith! Now realism was our mode of thinking. At times of terrible necessity, we can resort to extreme methods, but violence produces opposite results in mass movements. I have talked much about our methods. The most important thing was a clear conception of our ideology for which we were waging a long struggle. As there was no election activity going on, I got ample opportunity to study various ideas propounded by various writers. I studied Bakunin, the anarchist leader. I read a few books of Marx, the father of Communism. I also read Lenin and Trotsky and many other writers who successfully carried out revolutions in their countries. All of them were atheists.

The ideas contained in Bakunin’s God and State seem inconclusive, but it is an interesting book. After that I came across a book Common Sense by Nirlamba Swami. His point of view was a sort of mystical atheism. I developed more interest in this subject. By the end of 1926, I was convinced that the belief in an Almighty, Supreme Being who created, guided and controlled the universe had no sound foundations. I began discussions on this subject with my friends. I had openly declared myself an atheist. What it meant will be discussed in the following lines.

In May 1927, I was arrested in Lahore. This arrest came as a big surprise for me. I had not the least idea that I was wanted by the police. I was passing through a garden and all of a sudden the police surrounded me. To my own surprise, I was very calm at that time. I was in full control of myself. I was taken into police custody. The next day I was taken to the Railway Police lockup where I spent a whole month. After many days’ conversation with police personnel, I guessed that they had some information about my connection with the Kakori Party. I felt they had some intelligence of my other activities in the revolutionary movement. They told me that I was in Lucknow during the Kakori Party Trial so that I might devise a scheme to rescue the culprits. They also said that after the plan had been approved, we procured some bombs and by way of test, one of those bombs was thrown into a crowd on the occasion of Dussehra in 1926.

They offered to release me on condition that I gave a statement on the activities of the Revolutionary Party. In this way I would be set free and even rewarded and I would not be produced as an approver in the court. I could not help laughing at their proposals. It was all humbug. People who have ideas like ours do not throw bombs at their own innocent people. One day, Mr Newman, the then senior Superintendent of CID, came to me. After a long talk which was full of sympathetic words, he imparted to me what he considered to be sad news, that if I did not give any statement as demanded by them, they would be forced to send me up for trial for conspiracy to wage war in connection with Kakori Case and also for brutal killings in Dussehra gathering. After that he said that he had sufficient evidence to get me convicted and hanged.

I was completely innocent, but I believed that the police had sufficient power to do it if they desired it to be so. The same day some police officers persuaded me to offer my prayers to God two times regularly. I was an atheist. I thought that I would settle it to myself whether I could brag only in days of peace and happiness that I was an atheist, or in those hard times I could be steadfast in my convictions. After a long debate with myself, I reached the conclusion that I could not even pretend to be a believer nor could I offer my prayers to God. No, I never did it. It was time of trial and I would come out of it successful. These were my thoughts. Never for a moment did I desire to save my life.

A true atheist

So I was a true atheist then and I am an atheist now. It was not an easy task to face that ordeal. Beliefs make it easier to go through hardships, even make them pleasant. Man can find a strong support in God and an encouraging consolation in His Name. If you have no belief in Him, then there is no alternative but to depend upon yourself. It is not child’s play to stand firm on your feet amid storms and strong winds. In difficult times, vanity, if it remains, evaporates and man cannot find the courage to defy beliefs held in common esteem by the people. If he really revolts against such beliefs, we must conclude that it is not sheer vanity; he has some kind of extraordinary strength. This is exactly the situation now.

First of all we all know what the judgement will be. It is to be pronounced in a week or so. I am going to sacrifice my life for a cause. What more consolation can there be! A God-believing Hindu may expect to be reborn a king; a Muslim or a Christian might dream of the luxuries he hopes to enjoy in paradise as a reward for his sufferings and sacrifices. What hope should I entertain? I know that will be the end when the rope is tightened round my neck and the rafters move from under my feet. To use more precise religious terminology, that will be the moment of utter annihilation. My soul will come to nothing. If I take the courage to take the matter in the light of ‘Reward’, I see that a short life of struggle with no such magnificent end shall itself be my ‘Reward.’ That is all. Without any selfish motive of getting any reward here or in the hereafter, quite disinterestedly have I devoted my life to the cause of freedom. I could not act otherwise.

The day shall usher in a new era of liberty when a large number of men and women, taking courage from the idea of serving humanity and liberating them from sufferings and distress, decide that there is no alternative before them except devoting their lives for this cause. They will wage a war against their oppressors, tyrants or exploiters, not to become kings, or to gain any reward here or in the next birth or after death in paradise; but to cast off the yoke of slavery, to establish liberty and peace they will tread this perilous, but glorious path. Can the pride they take in their noble cause be called vanity? Who is there rash enough to call it so? To him I say either he is foolish or wicked. Leave such a fellow alone for he cannot realise the depth, the emotions, the sentiment and the noble feelings that surge in that heart. His heart is dead, a mere lump of flesh, devoid of feelings. His convictions are infirm, his emotions feeble. His selfish interests have made him incapable of seeing the truth. The epithet ‘vanity’ is always hurled at the strength we get from our convictions.

You go against popular feelings; you criticise a hero, a great man who is generally believed to be above criticism. What happens? No one will answer your arguments in a rational way; rather you will be considered vainglorious. Its reason is mental insipidity. Merciless criticism and independent thinking are the two necessary traits of revolutionary thinking. As Mahatmaji is great, he is above criticism; as he has risen above, all that he says in the field of politics, religion, Ethics is right. You agree or not, it is binding upon you to take it as truth. This is not constructive thinking. We do not take a leap forward; we go many steps back.

Our forefathers evolved faith in some kind of Supreme Being, therefore, one who ventures to challenge the validity of that faith or denies the existence of God, shall be called a Kafir (infidel), or a renegade. Even if his arguments are so strong that it is impossible to refute them, if his spirit is so strong that he cannot be bowed down by the threats of misfortune that may befall him through the wrath of the Almighty, he shall be decried as vainglorious. Then why should we waste our time in such discussions? This question has come before the people for the first time, hence the necessity and usefulness of such long discussions.

A realistic man

As far as the first question is concerned, I think I have made it clear that I did not turn atheist because of vanity. Only my readers, not I, can decide whether my arguments carry weight. If I were a believer, I know in the present circumstances my life would have been easier; the burden lighter. My disbelief in God has turned all the circumstances too harsh and this situation can deteriorate further. Being a little mystical can give the circumstances a poetic turn. But I need no opiate to meet my end. I am a realistic man. I want to overpower this tendency in me with the help of Reason. I am not always successful in such attempts. But it is man’s duty to try and make efforts. Success depends on chance and circumstances.

Now we come to the second question: if it is not vanity, there ought to be some sound reason for rejection of age-old belief in God. Yes, I come to this question. I think that any man who has some reasoning power always tries to understand the life and people around him with the help of this faculty. Where concrete proofs are lacking, [mystical] philosophy creeps in. As I have indicated, one of my revolutionary friends used to say that “philosophy is the outcome of human weakness.”

Our ancestors had the leisure to solve the mysteries of the world, its past, its present and its future, its whys and its wherefores, but having been terribly short of direct proofs, every one of them tried to solve the problem in his own way. Hence we find wide differences in the fundamentals of various religious creeds. Sometimes they take very antagonistic and conflicting forms. We find differences in Oriental and Occidental philosophies. There are differences even amongst various schools of thoughts in each hemisphere. In Asian religions, the Muslim religion is completely incompatible with the Hindu faith. In India itself, Buddhism and Jainism are sometimes quite separate from Brahmanism. Then in Brahmanism itself, we find two conflicting sects: Aarya Samaj and Snatan Dheram. Charvak is yet another independent thinker of the past ages. He challenged the Authority of God. All these faiths differ on many fundamental questions, but each of them claims to be the only true religion. This is the root of the evil. Instead of developing the ideas and experiments of ancient thinkers, thus providing ourselves with the ideological weapon for the future struggle, – lethargic, idle, fanatical as we are – we cling to orthodox religion and in this way reduce human awakening to a stagnant pool.

It is necessary for every person who stands for progress to criticise every tenet of old beliefs. Item by item he has to challenge the efficacy of old faith. He has to analyse and understand all the details. If after rigorous reasoning, one is led to believe in any theory of philosophy, his faith is appreciated. His reasoning may be mistaken and even fallacious. But there is chance that he will be corrected because Reason is the guiding principle of his life. But belief, I should say blind belief is disastrous. It deprives a man of his understanding power and makes him reactionary.

Any person who claims to be a realist has to challenge the truth of old beliefs. If faith cannot withstand the onslaught of reason, it collapses. After that his task should be to do the groundwork for new philosophy. This is the negative side. After that comes in the positive work in which some material of the olden times can be used to construct the pillars of new philosophy. As far as I am concerned, I admit that I lack sufficient study in this field. I had a great desire to study the Oriental Philosophy, but I could get ample opportunity or sufficient time to do so. But so far as I reject the old time beliefs, it is not a matter of countering belief with belief, rather I can challenge the efficacy of old beliefs with sound arguments. We believe in nature and that human progress depends on the domination of man over nature. There is no conscious power behind it. This is our philosophy.

A few questions

Being atheist, I ask a few questions from theists:

1. If, as you believe there is an Almighty, Omnipresent, Omniscient God, who created the earth or universe, please let me know, first of all, as to why he created this world. This world which is full of woe and grief, and countless miseries, where not even one person lives in peace.

2. Pray, don’t say it is His law. If He is bound by any law, He is not Omnipotent. Don’t say it is His pleasure. Nero burnt one Rome. He killed a very limited number of people. He caused only a few tragedies, all for his morbid enjoyment. But what is his place in history? By what names do we remember him? All the disparaging epithets are hurled at him. Pages are blackened with invective diatribes condemning Nero: the tyrant, the heartless, the wicked.

One Genghis Khan killed a few thousand people to seek pleasure in it and we hate the very name. Now, how will you justify your all powerful, eternal Nero, who every day, every moment continues his pastime of killing people? How can you support his doings which surpass those of Genghis Khan in cruelty and in misery inflicted upon people? I ask why the Almighty created this world which is nothing but a living hell, a place of constant and bitter unrest. Why did he create man when he had the power not to do so? Have you any answer to these questions? You will say that it is to reward the sufferer and punish the evildoer in the hereafter. Well, well, how far will you justify a man who first of all inflicts injuries on your body and then applies soft and soothing ointment on them? How far the supporters and organizers of Gladiator bouts were justified in throwing men before half starved lions, later to be cared for and looked after well if they escaped this horrible death. That is why I ask: Was the creation of man intended to derive this kind of pleasure?

Open your eyes and see millions of people dying of hunger in slums and huts dirtier than the grim dungeons of prisons; just see the labourers patiently or say apathetically while the rich vampires suck their blood; bring to mind the wastage of human energy that will make a man with a little common sense shiver in horror. Just observe rich nations throwing their surplus produce into the sea instead of distributing it among the needy and deprived. There are palaces of kings built upon the foundations laid with human bones. Let them see all this and say “All is well in God’s Kingdom.” Why so? This is my question. You are silent. All right. I proceed to my next point.

You, the Hindus, would say: Whosoever undergoes sufferings in this life, must have been a sinner in his previous birth. It is tantamount to saying that those who are oppressors now were Godly people then, in their previous births. For this reason alone they hold power in their hands. Let me say it plainly that your ancestors were shrewd people. They were always in search of petty hoaxes to play upon people and snatch from them the power of Reason. Let us analyse how much this argument carries weight!

Philosophy of Jurisprudence

Those who are well versed in the philosophy of Jurisprudence relate three of four justifications for the punishment that is to be inflicted upon a wrong-doer. These are: revenge, reform, and deterrence. The Retribution Theory is now condemned by all the thinkers. Deterrent theory is on the anvil for its flaws. Reformative theory is now widely accepted and considered to be necessary for human progress. It aims at reforming the culprit and converting him into a peace-loving citizen. But what in essence is God’s Punishment even if it is inflicted on a person who has really done some harm? For the sake of argument we agree for a moment that a person committed some crime in his previous birth and God punished him by changing his shape into a cow, cat, tree, or any other animal. You may enumerate the number of these variations in Godly Punishment to be at least eighty-four lack. Tell me, has this tomfoolery, perpetrated in the name of punishment, any reformative effect on human man? How many of them have you met who were donkeys in their previous births for having committed any sin? Absolutely no one of this sort! The so called theory of ‘Puranas’ (transmigration) is nothing but a fairy-tale. I do not have any intention to bring this unutterable trash under discussion.

Do you really know the most cursed sin in this world is to be poor? Yes, poverty is a sin; it is a punishment! Cursed be the theoretician, jurist or legislator who proposes such measures as push man into the quagmire of more heinous sins. Did it not occur to your All Knowing God or he could learn the truth only after millions had undergone untold sufferings and hardships? What, according to your theory, is the fate of a person who, by no sin of his own, has been born into a family of low caste people? He is poor so he cannot go to a school. It is his fate to be shunned and hated by those who are born into a high caste. His ignorance, his poverty, and the contempt he receives from others will harden his heart towards society. Supposing that he commits a sin, who shall bear the consequences? God, or he, or the learned people of that society?

What is your view about those punishments inflicted on the people who were deliberately kept ignorant by selfish and proud Brahmans? If by chance these poor creatures heard a few words of your sacred books, Vedas, these Brahmans poured melted lead into their ears. If they committed any sin, who was to be held responsible? Who was to bear the brunt? My dear friends, these theories have been coined by the privileged classes. They try to justify the power they have usurped and the riches they have robbed with the help of such theories. Perhaps it was the writer Upton Sinclair who wrote [Bhagat Singh is referring to Sinclair’s pamphletProfits of Religion] somewhere “only make a man firm believer in the immortality of soul, then rob him of all that he possesses. He will willingly help you in the process.” The dirty alliance between religious preachers and possessors of power brought the boon of prisons, gallows, knouts and above all such theories for the mankind.

I ask why your omnipotent God does not hold a man back when he is about to commit a sin or offence. It is child’s play for God. Why did He not kill war lords? Why did He not obliterate the fury of war from their minds? In this way He could have saved humanity of many a great calamity and horror. Why does He not infuse humanistic sentiments into the minds of the Britishers so that they may willingly leave India? I ask why He does not fill the hearts of all capitalist classes with altruistic humanism that prompts them to give up personal possession of the means of production and this will free the whole labouring humanity from the shackles of money. You want to argue the practicability of Socialist theory, I leave it to your Almighty God to enforce it. Common people understand the merits of Socialist theory as far as general welfare is concerned but they oppose it under the pretext that it cannot be implemented. Let the Almighty step in and arrange things in a proper way. No more logic chopping!

I tell you that the British rule is not there because God willed it but for the reason that we lack the will and courage to oppose it. Not that they are keeping us under subjugation with the consent of God, but it is with the force of guns and rifles, bombs and bullets, police and militia, and above all because of our apathy that they are successfully committing the most deplorable sin, that is, the exploitation of one nation by another. Where is God? What is He doing? Is He getting a diseased pleasure out of it? A Nero! A Genghis Khan! Down with Him!

Now another piece of manufactured logic! You ask me how I will explain the origin of this world and origin of man. Charles Darwin has tried to throw some light on this subject. Study his book. Also, have a look at Sohan Swami’s Commonsense. You will get a satisfactory answer. This topic is concerned with Biology and Natural History. This is a phenomenon of nature. The accidental mixture of different substances in the form of Nebulae gave birth to this earth. When? Study history to know this. The same process caused the evolution of animals and in the long run that of man. Read Darwin’s Origin of Species. All the later progress is due to man’s constant conflict with nature and his efforts to utilise nature for his own benefit. This is the briefest sketch of this phenomenon.

Your next question will be why a child is born blind or lame even if he was not a sinner in his previous birth. This problem has been explained in a satisfactory manner by biologists as a mere biological phenomenon. According to them the whole burden rests upon the shoulders of parents whose conscious or unconscious deeds caused mutilation of the child prior to his birth.

You may thrust yet another question at me, though it is merely childish. The question is: If God does not really exist, why do people come to believe in Him? Brief and concise my answer will be. As they come to believe in ghosts, and evil spirits, so they also evolve a kind of belief in God: the only difference being that God is almost a universal phenomenon and well developed theological philosophy. However, I do disagree with radical philosophy. It attributes His origin to the ingenuity of exploiters who wanted to keep the people under their subjugation by preaching the existence of a Supreme Being; thus claimed an authority and sanction from Him for their privileged position. I do not differ on the essential point that all religions, faiths, theological philosophies, and religious creeds and all other such institutions in the long run become supporters of the tyrannical and exploiting institutions, men and classes. Rebellion against any king has always been a sin in every religion.

Origin of God

As regard the origin of God, my thought is that man created God in his imagination when he realized his weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings. In this way he got the courage to face all the trying circumstances and to meet all dangers that might occur in his life and also to restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God, with his whimsical laws and parental generosity was painted with variegated colours of imagination. He was used as a deterrent factor when his fury and his laws were repeatedly propagated so that man might not become a danger to society. He was the cry of the distressed soul for he was believed to stand as father and mother, sister and brother, brother and friend when in time of distress a man was left alone and helpless. He was Almighty and could do anything. The idea of God is helpful to a man in distress.

Society must fight against this belief in God as it fought against idol worship and other narrow conceptions of religion. In this way man will try to stand on his feet. Being realistic, he will have to throw his faith aside and face all adversaries with courage and valour. That is exactly my state of mind. My friends, it is not my vanity; it is my mode of thinking that has made me an atheist. I don’t think that by strengthening my belief in God and by offering prayers to Him every day, (this I consider to be the most degraded act on the part of man) I can bring improvement in my situation, nor can I further deteriorate it. I have read of many atheists facing all troubles boldly, so I am trying to stand like a man with the head high and erect to the last; even on the gallows.

Let us see how steadfast I am. One of my friends asked me to pray. When informed of my atheism, he said, “When your last days come, you will begin to believe.” I said, “No, dear sir, Never shall it happen. I consider it to be an act of degradation and demoralisation. For such petty selfish motives, I shall never pray.”  Reader and friends, is it vanity? If it is, I stand for it.


1942 August struggle and the communist party of india

by Dilip Bose

Forward By

C Rajeswara Rao

This is not the first time that the Quit India moment has been forked out to slander and attack the communist moment in our country. Whenever the ruling circles and reactionary vested interested are in the tight corner or the communist moment making headway, they would dig up old fables to whip up anti-communist prejudices.The pet theme is the so called ‘betrayal’ of the freedom struggle in 1942 by communist party of india. Such things happened a number of times in the past, even as late as in 1975,during the days of emergency imposed by Mrs Indira Gandhi.

Now extreme reaction is worried because of the forging of left unity through the united struggles of the toiling people and also its gathering round of democratic allies. Hence this resurrection of the ghost of 1942 once again by Arun shourie in order to isolate the communist moment by fanning anti – communism

Communists are second to none in their love for the motherland. Sometimes our path and tactics are differed from thoseof the leadership of the Congress. But that is another matter. We are also second to none in making sacrifices in the cause of the countries freedom and its advance. Because of this the communist moment in our country could attract ardent patriots and revolutionaries form all streams of the freedom moment, including the congress, some of whose names are mentioned in the booklet.

We are proud that we brought the organized movements of the workers, peasants, agricultural labourers, students , youth and women in to the freedom struggle

We are also proud that in the final phase of the freedom struggle, communist party of india led such revolutionary movements as the famous Telengana armed struggle, punnapra vayalar Armed struggle,in Kerala and Bombay textile workers in support of RIN mutiny, Nilgiri- Dhenkanal struggles in the former princely states of Orissa and the Banga Tegbhaga struggle in which over 5000 communists laid down their lives. In this way the CPI played its roll in the foiling the game of British imperialists and their stooges, the native princes, to balkanise our country by spilling the blood of heroic martyrs.

(will be continued..)



  1. India Moves For Freedom

1.1. The CPI was founded on December 1925 in a conference convened on Indian soil in Kanpur. The process had begun earlier when Indian communists abroad had gathered at Tashkent in 1920 and tried to form an Indian Communist Party. The birth of the Party was the result of tremendous historical developments at home and abroad. It was born when India was groaning under British imperialist rule, just after the anti imperialist struggle had acquired new mass militant dimension.

1.2. Rooted in the National Liberation Struggle which began in the early 20th Century, guided by the scientific theory of Marxism-Leninism, and inspired by the Great October Revolution in Russia, the communists went among sections of the Indian people0workers, peasants, youth and intellectuals who had already begun to fight against their condition of life and were seeking a new path to revolution after the withdrawal of the Non-cooperation Movement.

The Party had begun its work under illegal conditions and faced ruthless repression from the British rulers who launched one conspiracy case after another on communists (Peshawar, Kanpur, Meerut, etc).

1.3. Imbibing the revolutionary legacy of the freedom struggle in our country and the 1917 socialist revolution in Russia, and guided by the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, the Communists combined patriotism with internationalism in all their activities and world outlook.  Work among the working people and close contact with them became their mission.

1.4. The National Liberation Struggle led by the Congress was preceded by a series of revolts by various sections of the Indian people attempting to overthrow the alien rule. Following the defeat of India’s First War of Independence in 1857, there took place many tribal revolts (Santhal Insurrections, the Chotonagpur revolt led by Birsa Munda and several others), the heroic actions by  national revolutionaries dubbed as “terrorists” by the rulers, growing workers’ strikes and peasants actions heralding the emergence of new classes and their involvement in the fight for independence. Communists were among the first to raise the slogan of ‘Complete Independence”, as early as 1921 at the Ahmedabad session of the Indian National Congress, when the official bourgeois leadership was only talking about Home Rule under the British. Again in 1922, Communists at the Congress Gaya session repeated this demand.

1.5. The Nineteenth Century witnessed the ruthless march of the colonial powers who subjugated one country after another by the relentless use of arms against defenceless or poorly equipped people. They used their superior economic might-the might of the capitalist system to seize the raw material resources and capture the markets of these countries.

The Twentieth Century marked the rise of the national liberation movements in the colonies of imperialism. Colonies in Asia and Africa, and also in Latin America won their independence in this century through prolonged and bitter struggles facing brutal and leonine repression. The twentieth century has been marked by great changes for social and cultural progress and economic emancipation. The revolution that heralded a new social system in the history of mankind, the system of socialism took place in this century.

Mankind advanced from national suppression to national independence, from economic exploitation and social oppression to radical improvement in people’s life, from autocracy to democracy. No doubt there have been serious defeats and setbacks in the course of the onward march, which only shows that the revolutionary advance does not always proceed in an ascending straight line.

1.6. By 1925 workers’ actions on various issues and demands had begun to surge. The years when the Great Depression overtook the world saw great upsurge in working class actions both on political and economic issues.  Trade unions were springing up in many industries, and by 1920 the first All India Trade Union Centre, the AITUC had come into existence. The anti-imperialist temper had gripped the working class. The communist party grew along with the growth of the workers’ trade union movement. The imperialist rulers repeatedly struck against the Communists but failed to destroy the Communist Party.

1.7. By the time the CPI came into being and grew, all India mass organizations of workers, kisans, students, cultural and literary intelligentsia were also formed. All India Trade Union Congress had already been formed in 1920. The All India Kisan Sabha, the All India Students Federation, the Progressive Writers Association were set up in 1936.The Indian People’s Theatre Association was formed in 1943. Their activities and struggles on demands further enriched the content of the freedom struggle and gave it militancy and mass character. Advanced militants from among them joined the Communist Party, which already included many of the national revolutionaries and patriots who had acquired communist ideology while in the British prisons.

1.8. Communists were in the forefront in all these mass organizations and in their struggles, braving hardship and repression. It became the party of workers, peasants, toiling people, students and revolutionary intelligentsia. The party inherited and carried forward the legacy of the revolutionaries and all those who had courageously fought the British rule and made untold sacrifices in the course of this fight. While the Congress led by Gandhiji was in the lead, several streams joined in the mighty turbulent flow of the Movement that finally led on to the achievement of Freedom on August 15, 1947.

1.9. The stormy forties heralded this dawn of Freedom. Following the defeat of the fascist powers in bringing about which the Soviet Union made the greatest sacrifices and played the decisive role, gigantic post-war revolutionary upsurge swept across the globe. Our country and our people moved forward to the final and decisive confrontation with British imperialism. The “Quit India” movement had already prepared the ground. Unprecedented mass demonstrations and upheavals shook the country. They took the form of solidarity actions with solders and officers of the Indian National Army founded and commanded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. This tidal wave had its impact on the armed forces leading to the historic Revolt of the Royal Indian Navy in 1946. The armed forces of the British imperialists had begun to turn against the foreign oppressors of our people in a manner unparalleled since the Great Revolt – the First War of Independence in 1857.

1.10.     It had become clear that the British could no longer continue their rule. The CPI and the mass organizations led by communists threw themselves into this tremendous anti-imperialist upsurge with all the strength at their command. Massive peasant struggles broke out during this period, such as the Telengana, Vayalar– Punnapra     and Tebhaga struggles, all of which drew several lakhs of peasants into militant and even armed actions.

1.11.     Under the Nizam’s rule in the native state of Hyderabad,– the biggest in British India, the atrocities of landlords on the peasants knew no limits. The Nizam administration and police invariably sided with the landlords. The struggles against the landlord’s atrocities and levies soon developed into a struggle for land. It implied a fight against prevailing laws as well as Nizam’s rule. It grew into a full-faced guerrilla warfare against the armed forces of the Nizam. After India achieved Freedom, there was a conspiracy to keep Hyderabad state as an independent entity right in the centre of the country. The Telengana struggle led by the communists fought against the conspiracy incurring huge loss of lives. It paved the way for Hyderabad’s accession to India. The inevitable bye-product of this struggle was the land struggle, the distribution of land belonging to jagirdars and landlords. It was at the same time a truly liberation struggle, against imperialism which was the main prop behind the Nizam, against feudalism represented by Jagirdars and landlords, a struggle for national integration and for advance of the languages and cultures of the Telugu, Marathi and Kannad-speaking people.

1.11 The Tebhaga movement in undivided Bengal in 1946 revealed the revolutionary potential of the peasantry and the poor rural masses when roused into action and led by a revolutionary party. Nearly six million sharecroppers, poor peasants and agricultural workers participated in it. Police opened fire in a number of places and killed 72 among whom 11 were women. Hindu and Muslim share croppers joined together and fought shoulder to shoulder against Hindu and Muslim jotedars who had united and called for action by government against “loot and intimidation by the communists”. It was a struggle of class vs class. The base of the Left in the countryside of Bengal nad built up from those days. It  prepared the ground for the land reforms which were ultimately carried out by the Left Front government.

The Bakasht movement shook many districts of Bihar.  The landlord-dominated  Congress actively opposed it.

1.12 In October 1946 there took place the death defying battle in the district of Alleppey (Travancore, now in Kerala), where the workers, peasants and agricultural workers fought under the leadership of the Communist Party. The sinister “Cabinet Mission Plan” on the eve of the transfer of power had in addition to partitioning India, given the princely states the choice either to remain as independent states or join India or Pakistan. The autocratic Dewan of Travancore had hatched the plan to setup a ‘Free Travancore’ with  an “American Model of Administration”. The ringing slogan advanced by the Communist Party was “Out with the American model! Dump it into the Arabian sea!”. Unprecedented bloody confrontation between poor toiling people armed with sharpened poles and scythes and the armed forces of the state with latest firearms took place. In six days nearly one thousand peasants and workers became martyrs.

The revolutionary significance of this struggle was the powerful combination of poor landless peasants and thousands of workers led by the revolutionary party.

1.13       For long the people in the native-states were kept away from the movement in the  rest of India under direct British rule. The CPI however targeted these native rulers and chieftains from the outset. It regarded the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles as interlinked. Marx while writing on India in 1953 had branded the princely state as ‘the stronghold of the present abominable English system and the greatest obstacle to Indian progress”.

1.14       Praja Mandals came up in several states under the influence of anti-feudal democratic sections. The All India State People’s Conference was organised in the course of these movements. If later the native states were finally and irrevocably integrated into Free India, the credit was in no small measure due to these heroic fights.

1.15       While the Left, democratic and progressive movements gathered strength on the one hand, on the other reactionary and communal forces also grew. This was the time when the RSS arose on the basis of an aggressive anti-Muslim slogan, and for a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Nationhood began to be defined on the basis of religion. The “two-nation theory” was expounded, first by the Hindu Mahasabha and later picked up by the Muslim League. The antagonism between Hindus and Muslims was exploited to the hilt by the imperialist rulers. This later became the basis of the demand for Pakistan. The CPI tried its utmost to prevent this tragic division of the country by putting forward the slogan of Hindu-Muslim unity (strongly advocated by Gandhiji himself) and the vision of a voluntary federation of a united India.

1.16        Freedom was accompanied by the partition of the country into India and Pakistan with all the tragic consequences. The British imperialists transferred power to the Congress in India and to the Muslim League in Pakistan. The seeds were sown of conflict between the two states which to this day continues to trouble this sub-continent. The genesis of the Kashmir problem has to be traced to this wily imperialist maneuver. The persistence of communalism has also to be traced to this diabolic imperialist conspiracy and to the use of religion in politics. This underlines the need and urgency of secular-democratic polity in the country as the basis of India’s unity and integrity, which the CPI consistently stands for.

1.17       Developments that have taken place down the years in the world and in India show that the 21st century will witness that through many ups and downs, twists and turns, temporary and long-term set-back and forward movements, world social development will inevitably overcome imperialism and capitalism and advance towards socialism. For India too socialism is the future.

2. Post-Independence Developments

2.1         During the British rule Indian economy remained backward; it was dependent and   colonial in character. But imperial interests dictated the need for a certain measure of capitalist development though superimposed on a feudal-landlord base in the country. An industrial bourgeoisie thus came into being by the end of the Second World War. There was concentration of capital in some spheres, and certain growth in banking.  A few influential monopoly groups also grew in the ranks of the Indian bourgeoisie. A number of undertakings belonging to the British groups were bought out by this section of the bourgeoisie from the profits made from war supplies to Britain. The Indian Railway system which the British government had already taken over from private British investors came into the hands of the government of India after Independence with the sterling reserves that had accumulated to the credit of India. Nationalized railways became the first item to mark the beginning of the state sector in Independent India.

2.2         During the national liberation movement democratic elements, inside the Congress and far-sighted representatives of the bourgeoisie; as well as leaders of the Communist movement and the working class movement had advocated a broad policy of industrialization in order to overcome the colonial backwardness of India. The struggle for development of economic independence was necessary to strengthen the political independence that India had won. This was  against the interests of imperialism. In order to expand the internal market and to mobilize capital resources it was also vitally necessary to carryout a certain measures of land reforms and restrict feudal relations in agriculture. This came in conflict with the interests of the landlords and princely houses. It had to be anti-feudal in its direction. The demand had emerged during the national liberation movement itself. However the bourgeois leadership was not prepared to carry this out to its logical conclusion. It displayed strong vacillations and compromising policies on vital aspects which signified a retreat from the programme of the national liberation movement.

2.3         Encouraged by the vacillations and compromising policies, the imperialists tried to keep the Indian economy tied up to imperialist finance capital through offers of “aids” and schemes like the Colombo Plan. This proved   illusory. In the meanwhile the socialist world had made tremendous advance and was prepared to give selfless help to India’s aim of independent economic development. The growth of the democratic movement and its demand of economic advance made the government to mute its vacillations and establish contacts with the socialist countries and to formulate policies accordingly. Measures which reserved  certain strategic industries for the state sector, and undertake certain measures of  nationalization helped to mobilize internal resources for planning growth and gave government a grip over the finance. This initiated the establishment of state sector industries. These measures obviously did not concur with the policy of the imperialists. They were also not to the liking of the top monopoly groups of the Indian bourgeoisie who shortsightedly wanted the state sector to be restricted to defence industry, transport and public utilities, leaving the whole field of industries free for the private sector. Actually the growth of the public sector helped the growth of the private sector.

2.4          The Soviet Union and other socialist countries extended a helping hand to India in building heavy and strategic industries. Such help was without any strings, was efficient and cheaper and the know-how and technical training were given to our workers without reservation. New branches of industry and projects which emerged as a result of socialist aid have gone a long way to eliminate the legacy of the colonial past and reduce India’s dependence on the capitalist world market for trained manpower, materials and machinery.

All this was however within the limitations of the capitalist path of development, and with government policies which were inhibited by the narrow class interest of the bourgeoisie. Development has been a slow, halting process, extremely painful for the masses in terms of their sufferings and resulting in a measurably low rate of economic growth. Land reforms were also sabotaged due to bourgeois government’s compromising with landlord elements in the country. Therefore the internal market did not expand to the desired extent. The obstacles that stand in the way are precisely because of the capitalist path pursued by the bourgeois – landlord dispensation at the helm of the state, which in addition to its compromise with semi-feudal elements, also has links with foreign monopoly capital.

2.5.        The public sector in the country’s economy is nothing else but state capitalism. This development of capitalism since independence suffers from all inherent and inevitable contradictions, crisis and serious limitations of the capitalist system and its basic laws.

2.6.        The bourgeoisie draws the resources for industrial and economic development of India by laying increasing burden on the common people, mainly in the form of growing indirect taxation, inflation, fleecing the peasantry through the market, intensifying exploitation of wage labour etc. In particular, the failure to unleash the initiative of the peasant masses for an upsurge in agricultural production through radical land reforms and all-round agrarian reform is one of the major factors contributing to the low rate of growth of national economy. Therefore there is increasing contradiction between growing industrial production and low purchasing power due to impoverishment of people. It tried to expand by inviting foreign private monopoly capital in partnership with itself. Through such collaboration agreement foreign monopoly capital seeks to penetrate and influence India’s national economy including the state sector.

2.7.        One of the most striking result of the path of capitalist development is the concentration of capital with economic power in the hands of a few big monopolies who enrich themselves at the expense of the people and even the other broad sections of the Indian bourgeoisie. These monopolies represent a combination of industrial, banking and marketing companies. The big monopolies who have grown into specific corporate entities not only hold strong positions in their own private sector but also have infiltrated into the state sector and use “public money” for their own aggrandisement and maximum profits. They aggravate the economic crisis by fostering price rise, corruption, hoarding and black marketing

2.8.         In the political sphere they seek to consolidate right reactionary forces in the country, encourage the communal parties, influence the ruling party for their narrow class interest, unleash an offensive against all progressive policies and mount offensives to disrupt and defeat the democratic forces.

Driven by the big bourgeois interests the government even discriminates against and neglects the small-scale and tiny industries, and repeatedly withdraws several items from the list reserved for the Small Scale Sector.  It repeatedly redefines the criteria for SSI with a view to accommodate the interests of the big sector.  The small-scale and tiny industries play an important role.  They claim to contribute 40% of industrial output and about 35% share in exports.  They employ about 20 million workers.  Government has also lifted the cap on the FDI in the SSI sector.  This will enable foreign capital to take over many small-scale units, particularly those which are hi-tech, in the name of technology transfer.  There is a growing contradiction between this section of the bourgeoisie and the corporates and big bourgeoisie.

They seek to subvert the foreign policy of Non-Alignment and Peace and give it a pronounced pro-imperialist, specifically pro-US orientation.

2.9.        From the late eighties and nineties, a new set of policies of economic liberalization is being increasingly pursued. They have now crystallized into the policy of ‘neo- liberalism’ boosted as ‘economic reform’. Following the demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the socialist countries in East Europe imperialism headed by US and their international agencies such as IMF, WB and newly established WTO have stepped up their offensive for a “Free Market Economy,” for carrying through Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization.

2.10.     The constant refrain that is heard today is ‘privatization’ in all spheres of economic and even cultural and social life. It has become a dogma, an article of faith with the ideologues of ‘free market’. In pursuance of this policy several public sector undertakings have been dismantled and privatized by selling government equity in them.   Even the equity in nationalized banks is sought to be brought down, as a prelude to  their ultimate privatization. Corporate Houses and Big Businesses are being invited to open new banking concerns. It has come up against serious obstacles, first and foremost due to the bank employees’ determined resistance and the Left parties’ vigorous opposition. They are now touting a new concept, viz. ‘Public Private Partnership’ which is actually a public mask for private aggrandisement. In their craze for privatizing the financial sector the government has failed to recall the bitter lessons of bank failures in the US, Germany, England, and other developed capitalist countries. A serious  financial crisis overtook the capitalist world from 2008, which brought on a deep economic depression that continues to this day. If India’s financial sector survived this onslaught, it was primarily due to the financial sector in the country remaining in the public sector. However the bourgeois government in India persists in its drive for privatization. While in the West they are talking of state regulation and even buying up of equity, government talks of giving licenses to Business Houses for launching private banks.

India and China escaped the severity of the world capitalist financial and economic crisis because they were in a way uncoupled from the US financial empire.  But now with huge exports tied to the western markets which are not showing healthy signs of recovery, they are liable to be affected.

2.11.     Liberalization has meant ‘free trade’ under the WTO regime. While the imperialist and developed capitalist countries have forcibly prised open our markets for their goods and for acquiring a grip over our raw material resources they have themselves taken care not to reciprocate by opening their markets by brazenly mounting several non-tariff barriers against the developing countries. In its eagerness to woo foreign capital, the government. is even discriminating against our own industrial structure particularly  in the public sector.  This is a process of guaranteeing private profits at public risks.

The people are treated to a lot of propaganda about “Free Market” and ‘Competition’ as the desirable goals of modern economic and social life. It is true developing capitalism in the earlier phase fought vigorously for free market so as to remove all obstacles to the free flow of capital and commodities. But  experience shows that competition gave rise to the gradual concentration of production on a large scale, which at a certain stage of development led on to monopolies and corporate entities. It continues further through a series of mergers and acquisitions, pirating of equity shares in order to gain effective control, cartel arrangements for sharing  the market, collaboration agreements between MNC’s and local monopolies. The rise of the MNC’s is a feature of monopoly growth based in the most advanced capitalist countries.

2.12.     There is a virtual competition among the developing countries including India for attracting FDI. With the ‘open door’ policy and the red carpet treatment meted out to foreign investors specially the MNC’s, what is missed is that the bulk of FDI is determined by the search for natural resources and markets, such that the labour cost -differential makes it more profitable to invest rather than export  commodities from the home country. Some sections of the local bourgeoisie in the developing countries whose interests are hurt have no choice but to cry out for a “level playing ground”, that is to say, ask for similar concession and facilities for themselves. This is sowing the seeds of contradictions between the local bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie of the advanced capitalist countries notwithstanding the collaborationist role played by the monopoly sections aided and abetted by the government. There are some Indian corporate houses which  have grown to such an extent that they are aspiring to become world players, and have even managed to become so.

The CPI does not oppose  FDI under all circumstances.  To make up the need for capital investment, foreign capital, whether from the U.S. or any other country is welcome if it helps the growth of productive forces, brings in new and advanced technology and opens up fresh avenues of employment.  But moves by government to invite FDI in retail trade has to be firmly opposed as it will cause large scale displacement of more than 4 crores of people (along with their dependents),  throwing them out of their livelihood, nor will it bring worthwhile new technology.  We oppose FDI in banking and insurance, as it will mean foreign control over our financial sector.

2.13.     The inclusion of agriculture and food in WTO negotiations has specially hit hard the Indian farmers. The impact of Dunkel on our agriculture, specially on the poor-resource farmers is extremely harsh. Its impact on the food market due to obligatory imports and exports, and the control which the developed capitalist countries exercise on the gene sequences, micro-biological resources and genetic engineering, or on the preservation, sale and free exchange of seeds etc will have far more significance here and can prove disastrous for the whole country. For a vast country like India attaining self-sufficiency in food is of utmost importance. Drawing food into the world market and allowing the food MNC’s to acquire a strangle-hold over this market has serious consequences.

2.14.     The monopolizing of innovations and technology has reached a stage that “Intellectual Property Rights” (TRIPs) has been mandated to an international treaty. Hitherto in our patent laws we had tried to balance the interest of patent holders with public interest. But under the new patent regime it will be difficult to ensure the primacy of the public interest. Patent holders are often the multinational corporations.

2.15.     The Structural Adjustment Programme, the Dunkel treaty were both latest        ploys of imperialism. “Market fundamentalism”, monopoly of high technology, grip over communication and media, international trade dictated by the WTO regime are all weapons pressed to that end. This is imperialism in the epoch of the scientific and technological revolution and the rise of International Finance Capital. It is nothing but an attempt to prolong the crisis-ridden world capitalist system through an offensive against the working people in each country and against the people of the Third World in general.

Times have changed indeed but imperialism continues to be a threat no less than before. The task is done in more sophisticated form, making the task of fighting them many times more difficult than before. However the task of fighting imperialism remains a priority for carrying forward the democratic revolution.

2.16     This neo-liberal globalisation is widening economic inequality, generating poverty, debt and unemployment. The US and the IMF are pushing India for capital market liberalization.  It has been shown by the experience of the ‘East Asia Crisis” more than a decade back, that capital market liberalization brings instability and a crippling financial crisis.  India should rebuff such pressure. The Indian people have to participate actively in the growing worldwide movement against ‘globalisation’.  This movement had correctly highlighted that with ‘globalisation’ poverty does not decrease.  Inequality actually rises. Disparities among and within countries continue to grow.  The richest people in the world and in each country corner the wealth and the vast mass of people are left without means for their bare existence.  This state of affairs cannot be accepted.  We have to fight to change it.

2.17       Following the demise of the Soviet Union the capitalist powers led by the U.S. pronounced that “socialism is dead; It is the ‘end of history; Capitalism is the only viable social and economic system”. Actually capitalism including its latest variant of neo-liberal capitalism, so-called ‘crisis-free capitalism’ has not only sunk into a deeper crisis than ever, but has also failed to solve the problems of poverty and unemployment. Rather, these problems have been further aggravated, both in relative and absolute terms, as can be seen from these facts:

– Nearly one and half billion people out of world population of six billion continue to live in absolute poverty and on the verge of starvation.

–  More than eight hundred million people go to bed hungry. All this at a time when the world’s resources, its production potential and the advance in science and technology is capable of meeting their requirement in food and other necessities.

– The gap between the rich and poor, among people and countries is widening by the day. The richest 20% of the world’s population hold almost 83% of the world’s wealth. The poorest 20% controls only 1.4%. This was 2.4% only thirty years ago.

– The poorest of the developing countries have more than half of the world population, but only 5.6% of the world income.

2.18    The world capitalist system is now gripped by a deep financial and economic crisis.  Despite all bailout packages liberally handed out by bourgeois governments to the corporates, recovery is very slow and tardy.  It is a crisis of the capitalist system, and not a manifestation of any mismanagement, or aberration of the system in this or that country.  Capitalism can no longer find a solution to the main contradiction that afflicts it, – the sharpening contradiction between the social character of production and the private nature of capitalist appropriation.

2.19    The competitiveness between the most advanced capitalist economy, the USA first and foremost, and the emerging economic powers, such as China, India, Brazil, is intensifying.  The correlation of forces is changing and new realignments are coming up.

With deepening crisis the political system of capitalist countries becomes more reactionary and more repressive.

2.20    Faced by growing unemployment corporate greed and widening inequalities, masses of people in many countries are corning out on the streets, abominating capitalism and demanding a change even though many are not yet clear what or how.

2.21    Economic growth measured in terms of rise in the GDP, in national income, in per capita income hides the actual economic inequality that exists within the country, the yawing gap between those at the top who are rolling in wealth, and the vast majority at the bottom that is wallowing in poverty. To calculate the per capita income among such unequal incomes and suggest a rise in general prosperity is to mock at poverty and divert attention from it.

Bourgeois governments,  repeatedly speak of development as their goal.  But economic development implies  that along with growth there are positive changes in the distribution of the fruits of that growth, as well as changes in the economic structure itself.  Development must mean growth with equity and justice.  It must mean satisfaction of the basic needs of the mass of people as a matter of priority.  Those who sidetrack this issue are the votaries of the notorious ‘trickle down’ strategy.

The total number of people in India belonging to the poor and vulnerable group having a daily per capita consumption of less than Rs. 20in 2004 –05 is 836 million,  constituting about 78 per cent of our population. Since then the number has grown.

About 88 per cent of India’s SCs/STs belong to this group of poor and vulnerable.  Similarly about 85 per cent of all Muslims other than the SC/ST and 80 per cent of all OBCs except Muslims are poor and vulnerable living below per capita consumption of Rs. 20 per day.

Those who are poor are also illiterate and poorly educated.  They also account for 79 per cent of the unorganized workers with informal and casual employment with no job security, social protection or minimum wages and working in abysmal physical conditions.  Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy or poor education go together.

2.22    Economic growth is certainly necessary for development.  But economic growth perse does not mean development which should bring general improvement in the living conditions of the vast masses.  The harsh reality is that under neo-liberal capitalism high economic growth and social development are moving divergently.  Even the bourgeois rulers are aware of this.  In their relatively frank moments, when faced with peoples’ discontent they talk of the need for ‘inclusive growth’.  The steps they suggest is to announce some welfare measures, some efforts at poverty alleviation, some targeted relief schemes for specific sections, – most of them with an eye towards embellishing the image of the ruling circles. However these are palliatives which do not alter or touch the basic flaws of the system.  This has resulted in India being placed 134th among 187 countries in the Human Development Index Report, 2010.

2.23    Real inclusiveness will mean that it encompasses the workers and peasants, the dalits, adivasis and minorities, the most backward sections among the OBCs, not merely as objects, as beneficiaries but as subjects involved in the process of economic growth and development.  This is possible only in a new dispensation with changed class forces at the helm.  It can come about only through political action and mass movements of these sections of people, for the overthrow of capitalism.

2.24.   India has only 1.3% of the world GDP but 17% of world population. It is almost at the bottom of ‘Human Development Index’ in world reckoning, despite the claim that the rate of growth is 8 to 9%. Over 2.5 million children die in India  every year, accounting for one in five child’s death in the world. Poverty and inequality is glaring yet the government pursues the neo-liberal economic policies, which benefit the rich and hit the poor.

The WHO in its report squarely blamed the World Bank policy of health privatization and pointed out that poor are the casualty for such health reforms. Yet the bourgeois governments in India persist in implementing a policy of health privatization.

2.25    The Communist Party of India is the political party of the Indian workers, peasants, toiling people in general, youth, students, men and women, intelligentsia and others devoted to the cause of overcoming imperialism and capitalism, and of ushering in socialism.  It has equipped itself with the scientific ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which is a tool for understanding and analyzing the complex reality of Indian society and its evolution through decades of pre and post independence periods.  It is the guide to action for transforming this reality through the course of struggles for completing the tasks of the new democratic revolution and its transition to socialism.

The CPI presents this programme before the Indian people.  It is not a manifesto  for any particular election.  It is a long-term programme that charts the strategy and tactics for basic revolutionary change in India, for its socialist future.

3. World Capitalism in Crisis

3.1. It has been seen that the possibilities of crisis constantly exist within the capitalist system. The contradiction between the social nature of production and the private nature of capitalist appropriation is at the root of this crisis. This contradiction between social production and private appropriation is constantly becoming deeper. Even as the world produces and consumes more the rich-poor gap widens.

3.2. The crisis that struck the world recently originating from that haven of capitalism,– the USA, is a combination of financial crisis and an economic depression. Based on the market economy, on speculation, and on the ‘profit first’ principle, the maximization of profit under neo-liberal dispensation, the financial economy has grown several times over the real economy. The sub-prime speculation in the US hit the financial economy like a tsunami, leading to the bankruptcy and collapse of several giant banking institutions in America. It spread to other developed capitalist countries and adversely affected the economy of most developing countries. If India and China could manage to avoid the worst it is because the financial sector was very largely in the hands of the state. For this in India the credit belongs to the communists and the Left and to the unions in the financial sector who tenaciously and firmly opposed the move of the bourgeois government to move towards privatization of these sectors.

3.3. The failure of the all-powerful US monopoly capital to recover from the economic melt-down underlines the general crisis of capitalism. This is despite the fact that huge financial packages running into trillions of dollars in the entire capitalist world were handed over to the capitalists to ‘stimulate’ the economy and help its recovery. All this was done at the expense of the working class and other sections of the people, for whom social spending from the budget was drastically cut and austerity measures were imposed on the people in a blatant move to pass on the burden of the crisis on to the toiling sections and the common people. Several countries like Greece, Portugal, Italy had to face pressure from International Finance Capital.  People of course put up stiff resistance.

Overwhelmed by crisis capitalism hands out bailout packages to corporate houses, monopoly groups, finance capital and the banks.  At the same time it resorts to mass dismissals, closures alongwith attacks on workers and trade union rights, on wages, pensions, social security etc.  Peoples’ earnings are reduced, and there is huge increase in unemployment and poverty.  Political systems become more reactionary and repressive.

Job loss, unemployment is the major form of attacks on the working people as a way-out of the crisis of capitalism. The International Labour Organisation  in its ‘The World of Work Report 2011’ has painted a gloomy picture of the world economy and said just 40 million or half of the 80 million jobs were likely to be created over the next 2-years. Most of these new jobs would be created in the developing world, while just 2.5 million would be created in advanced economics.  As a result, industrialized countries would be short of 24.7 million jobs during 2012 and 2013, it said.  The developing world, including India, needs to create 53 million jobs in the next 2-years, required to attain pre-crisis employment rates.

3.4. The US had been all through the decades a consumer society living beyond its means. It has been described as a parasite sucking the blood of others by using its economic and military might. Its foreign debt has accumulated to unprecedented and unmanageable dimensions. The danger of default to its creditors stared this mighty country in the face. It had to enter into a ‘deal’ between the Democrats and the Republicans to limit the debt ceiling and to cut its excesses. This has led to the downgrading of US credit rating for the first time in history.

There is good deal of talk about environmental standards today. People have woken up to the issue of preventing environmental pollution and protecting the ecological balance. Actually the profligate consumption in which the world’s rich indulge is the single biggest factor in destroying environment and upsetting the ecological balance. The manner in which driven by the craze for earning super-profits, resources of this earth are being denuded and the entire ecosystem is being destroyed; the speed at which the air, the terrain, rivers, lakes and seas are being polluted, spell disaster for the future of entire humanity.  The most industrialized nation, the one which is responsible for the maximum damage to the  environment, viz. the United States of America, has refused to sign the ‘Kyoto Protocol’, E.U. and the USA are stalling fruitful negotiations at the World Conferences on Climate change.

3.5 The size of the financial economy today is several times bigger than the real economy.  This is so both globally and in each country.  This has given rise to tremendous volatility to finance capital leading to widespread speculation, movement of capital across borders, instability in national currencies etc.  The dominance of finance capital, of the money market over all and a liberalized system has come to mean an over- heated stock market and unrestrained speculative activities by which colossal sums are transferred from public to private pockets and huge profits are raked in without any corresponding productive activity.  In this free-for-all market, money has a merry free run.  The foreign banks lead in this swindle from up front.

3.6 International financial oligarchy is on the rampage, blackmailing governments in certain countries, manipulating changes within governments and even bringing them down.  Of course all this is within the framework of the World Capitalist System.

3.7The imperialist powers, in particular the USA, remain as exploitative and aggressive as ever before. Times have changed and therefore tactics and propaganda methods have also changed. Armaments including weapons of mass destruction are piling up. The USA and its allies have a monopoly of them. Under imperialist domain the world military spending has reached Himalayan dimension. Of this more than half is spent by the US alone. A literal arms race has been unleashed. India, Pakistan and other developing countries have been drawn into it. Little wonder that American imperialist aggression, preemptive strikes against countries for bringing about ‘regime changes’ suited to imperialist interests, local and regional wars have accounted for nearly 23 million deaths mostly in the developing world since the end of World War II.

3.8 The quest for oil has already provoked invasion and war by US imperialism and its leading EU partners, as witnessed in the oil rich Middle East.  Such possibilities can recur as long as imperialism exists.

Globalisation unmasked is nothing more than imperialism working in the interest of international finance capital and the multinational corporations. It is imperialist globalization. It is a US led process of compelling the developing world into accepting what is dictated by US and EU countries. The aim is to turn the entire Third World into a huge open market, a free trade zone, dominating their industries and buying up their resources for their exploitation, forcing them to face the most unequal competition.

3.9. The Indian bourgeoisie and its government is trying to show a brave face in the midst of the capitalist crisis pretending that its ‘fundamentals are strong’ and that it is doing ‘business as usual’. Its response to the present situation is to persist with more ‘economic reforms’, that is to proceed further with the policies of liberalization, privatization, and globalization. Of course one should not underestimate the resilience, the capacity to maneuver and to find ways out of accumulated economic difficulties which capitalism as a system still possesses both on world scale and in India, by means of various devices. These are however shrinking by the day. The solution of the basic problem facing the economy lies only along the socialist path. But in the immediate context i.e. ‘here and now’, the CPI and the Left in general have to struggle for an alternative economic path which can help overcome the present economic difficulties, encourage normal development and growth. Such an alternative calls for;-

-Expanding the domestic market through radical land reforms and consistent policy of agrarian reform.

-Instead of copying the western model of industrialization, concentrate on a labour-oriented policy of developing infrastructures, education and healthcare system.

–Undertake employment-oriented schemes and boost Self-employment through credit and marketing facilities.

–Fight price rise and introduce universal public distribution system.

— Develop the productive forces more speedily by removing the shackles which restrict their growth.

— Restructure and democratize the public sector, making it cost effective, competitive and accountable, while being socially committed, oppose disinvestment and dilution of state equity.

— Cut down imports which cater for elitist consumption.

— Crack down on corruption through an effective Lokpal; break the nexus of the corporates, bureaucrats and venal politicians responsible for scams and scandals.

— Restructure the tax structure so that the burden falls on the corporate houses, big business and affluent section of the country. Mobilize internal resources for development.

— Activate the bureau of industrial cost and pricing for investigating the cost of production and essential industrial goods so as to curb monopoly pricing and super profit.

— Allow foreign investment in industries where high-tech is essential and urgently required for development, in the interest of overall economic growth.

— Unearth black money, bring back and confiscate black money stashed away in foreign banks.

— Provide easy credit and market support to tiny, small and cottage industry and cooperatives.

— Protect the interests of the non-monopoly section against the threats of Indian and foreign monopolies.

3.10 Along with these steps the country has to develop close economic, social and cultural relations and scientific cooperation, in particularly with the SAARC, ASEAN, and BASIC  countries, etc. The economies of these countries have been complimentary and closely related for centuries. Imperialism has been keeping them at loggerheads striking deals with each on its own terms. Struggle for a new international economic order and equitable terms of trade and investment by developing regional cooperation.

  1. India in the Contemporary World

4.1         The latest deep and continuing crisis originated with the financial crisis in the USA, – the Eldorado of capitalism, leading to the collapse of more than a hundred banks and financial institutions, which by their very gigantic size and scale of operations were supposed to be incapable of collapsing.  This was soon followed by an economic meltdown, that spread to all countries of the capitalist world.

4.2         As is usual with capitalism, the entire burden of the crisis was shoved on to the shoulders of the working class and the common people, who were faced with closures, retrenchments, loss of jobs, cut in wages, pensions and other benefits earned through tremendous struggles and sacrifices, in every country.

4.3         The shockwave of the crisis could not but affect many other countries, which had only five or six decades back broken out of their colonial chains, but had adopted the capitalist path of building their economy and were in many respects bound to the economy of their old masters.

4.4         Countries which had moved away from capitalism and were engaged in building economy according to their own conditions, such as China had managed to avoid this crisis.  But they could not altogether escape the effect of the international links of trade and finance, which they had with the capitalist world.

4.5         India, a developing country following the capitalist path of development, and even adopting the neo-liberal prescriptions dictated by the IMF, World Bank and the Transnational Corporations, inevitably suffered from this crisis of world capitalism.  But it was saved from its rigours and intensity due to the fact that its financial sector till then mostly in the public sector, and so were many of its strategic industrial and commercial undertakings.  They could not indulge in the speculative financial maneuverings and skullduggery which the private players in the Developed West had been indulging in.

Neo-liberalism did contribute to a fast economic growth in India for some period measured in terms of GDP, but it led to tremendous economic disparities with dizzy heights of affluence at one end and depth of poverty at the other, together with disastrous consequences for the environment.

A section of middle class and intelligentsia, which has benefited from the economic growth and is dazzled by ‘Shining India’, is also influenced by such talk of ‘Reform’, ignoring the actual consequences.  Actually this serves to camouflage the ideological, political and economic designs of American imperialism and International Finance Capital.

4.6         In the name of combating the economic crisis bourgeois governments in most countries doled out huge funds to the corporate firms.  The bailout packages ran into billions and even to trillions of dollars in the US, U.K, France, Germany and Japan etc., in the name of stimulating the economy and reviving it. Corresponding deep cuts were made in the funds meant for the common people.

4.7         India too followed suit by doling out huge packages to the crisis hit corporate entities.  That could not mitigate the widespread closures and the resultant unemployment in a number of industries in the country.

4.8         Even after the passage of few years the US economy,- the largest in the world, is still not in the way of recovering from the depression.  So also several countries of the developed West, – the European Union in particular.  The crisis has lengthened into a more or less permanent one.  There is the Sovereign Debt Crisis.  The US which is the most indebted  country of the world, living like a parasite at the cost of others, finds it difficult to repay its loans.    The dollar has lost some of its sheen.  Though there have been talks of finding an alternative international currency, the very weight of its prestige and acceptability backed by US economic and military might has prevented any such cataclysmic move so far. It continues in its position by default.

4.9         National currencies, including the Indian Rupee are under tremendous pressure, and there is financial instability all round.  Situation in the Eurozone is very serious.  Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy have to face the ignominy of inability to repay their loan commitments.  Led by Germany and France the European Union imposed harsh austerity measurers on Greece to bail it out of its predicament.  This is meeting with the stiffest resistance ever, bringing Greece to the brink of a revolutionary outburst. Other countries cut their welfare budgets meant for the working people.

The working class and also many sections of the middle class are not taking this attack on their living standards lying down.  Everywhere they are fighting back determinedly with massive militant actions directing their indignation against corporate greed and its quest for maximizing profits at the expense of the common people.  It took the form mass upsurge in many capitalist countries with people voicing their demand for an alternative to capitalism.

4.10       In the US and UK, the very citadels of capitalism, people in their thousands have come out on the streets against unemployment and economic inequality.  The so-called London riots which took place not only in London but also in several other cities, and the “Occupy Wall Street” call which saw huge turn-outs in all cities of America for several weeks flaunting placards, and slogans against capitalism showed that mass indignation against capitalism was no longer confined to the peripheries of the capitalist world.  The Metropolis too is now under attack!

Capitalism has long passed its peak and is now on the decline.  No longer we hear the triumphalistic cry that there is no alternative to capitalism.

The era of capitalist domination all over the world first ended after the October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917.  World War-II saw the rout of fascism, the most reactionary and most imperialist element of finance capital.  Hundreds of countries broke their chains of colonial slavery and achieved their National Independence.  Some countries in Europe and Asia broke away from capitalism and took the path of socialism.

4.11       However the Soviet Union and some East European socialist countries collapsed towards the end of the 20thcentury. They are now engaged in restoring capitalism in their countries. This has given a new breath to capitalism, whose propagandists even gloated about the ‘end of history’.  But this is now proving short-lived. China, Vietnam, Cuba have been building socialism according to their specific conditions and characteristics. China and Vietnam have adopted the course towards “Socialism through a market economy”.  This is an original way to build a dynamic economy as a first step in their path to socialism.  It remains to be seen what are the immediate consequences, but note must be taken that their sight is firmly focused on the goal of socialism.

China today has become the second largest economy after the USA.  There is speculation about its economy overcoming the USA in the not so distant future.

4.12       A wind of change has swept across the Latin American continent.  The Cuban Revolution in 1959 has withstood like a rock all the attempts of the US to suppress it and is marching ahead towards the socialist goal.  Venezuela, Equador, Brazil, Argentine, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, have all broken away from US domination and emerged from what was earlier known as the “U.S Backyard”.  After pursuing armed guerilla struggle for many years they have changed tactics and won a majority in their parliaments and in presidential elections.

For more than a century most of these countries were under the iron heels of brutal dictatorships propped up by the US.  Some had come to be called ‘Banana Republics’ serving the interests of American Transnational Corporations. Now profound political changes are taking place in each of them towards democratization.  Economic changes for radically improving the conditions of life of the poor and indigenous people have been carried out.  The countries of Latin America have also initiated several regional agreements for joint development including a bank of their own.  US over lordship in the Organisation of Latin American States is no longer there.

The Latin American developments undoubtedly exercise tremendous impact on the world situation.  They have made a difference in the balance of forces.  So have certain  developments in the African continent.

4.13       Unprecedented massive and militant mass uprisings have rocked the northern states of the African continent.  Millions of people occupied the main squares and streets of the capital and all major cities for several weeks at a stretch demanding the ouster of autocratic dictators and hereditary rulers in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and several countries of the Arab world.  For several decades these rulers were acting as reliable allies of America, and supporting Israel against the Palestinian people’s struggle for statehood. At the same time they subjected the people to harsh repression. The people displayed exemplary courage in facing severe repression and fought back with fierce determination.  Their demand was for an end to autocracy, for democratization and for a better equitable economic order.  They succeeded in driving out  the dictatorship in Egypt and Tunisia, though the final battle has not yet been won, mainly due to the motley combination of forces leading the movement, and the intervention of the military and imperialism from behind the scene.  The most reactionary and autocratic country in the Arab World, Saudi Arabia, the reliable bastion of America sent its army to neighbouring Bahrain to crush the people’s uprising and prevent the contagion of revolt from spreading. However, success cannot be measured only by the immediate gains, but by the people’s mass awakening, which once roused cannot be thwarted or held back for long.

In Libya, the imperialist powers acting through the NATO have militarily intervened so as to thwart the people’s movement, install a toady regime and grab the rich resources of Libyan oil.  The same forces are trying to take over Syria by instigating and extending   military aid to counter-revolutionary armed elements.

Africa, – the Arab World in particular, is in turmoil.  The move is unmistakably for democratisation, and against autocracy having links with imperialism.  But in the absence of strong and powerful democratic and progressive parties leading the revolts in these Arab countries, the relatively strong Muslim Brotherhood patronized by Imperialism and the Saudii ruling circles are taking over.  It emphasizes the importance of who leads the people’s revolt and with what aim.

4.14       In working out and evolving the national strategy for social transformation, it has become increasingly necessary to take into account the global context and the global solidarity for achieving success.

4.15       The world today is divided into several groups of countries.  Developments that are taking place in these countries illustrate the diverse possibilities and ways of building a new society in each of them in the course of advancing towards the common goal of socio-economic transformations.  There may be many ups and downs, many twists and turns, and even temporary or long setbacks, but the inevitable course of historical developments is towards overcoming imperialism and capitalism and advancing towards social progress and change.   This is a historical truth which has to be taken into account in carrying on revolutionary activities today.

4.16       Even though capitalism is on the decline and is facing serious problems this does not mean that it will come to an end on its own before long.  World capitalism has tremendous reserves.  It has unbounded capacity to use the Scientific and Technological Revolution and the Revolution in IT and Communication  as well as its hold over the corporate media to prolong its life.  It can only be overthrown by a combination of revolutionary classes and forces and led by a revolutionary party when the political situation matures in each country.

4.17       Though imperialism, and in particular US imperialism is in the midst of a serious crisis and is finding it difficult to emerge from it, this cannot be construed to  mean that the danger and offensive of  imperialism has diminished.  Indeed US imperialism is taking recourse to more and more militarism and unilateralism in its relation with other countries.  Its military expenditure is more than the combined defence expenditures of the rest of the world, and its strategic moves are for ‘regime changes’, sanctions and military interventions against countries that dare to stand up to it, and assert their determination to decide their own destiny.

U.S imperialism puts its national interests above the interests of World Peace and orderly international relations.  It pursues a strategy of preemptive attack against other countries in disregard of the United Nations.  It is today the greatest threat to World Peace and Security, and to the sovereign rights of nations. The struggle for peace and opposition to imperialism is therefore a priority task on the agenda of all those who are fighting for democracy, progress and socialism.

5. India’s Foreign Policy

5.1         The foreign policy of a country is generally influenced by and often times even determined by the internal economic policies pursued by the country.

In the immediate aftermath of independence India’s foreign policy suffered from the imprint of British pressures, its membership of the Commonwealth and so on.  But soon it underwent a significant change.  It faced disillusionment with the indifference and even opposition from Anglo-American imperialist powers towards its desire to overcome its colonial backwardness and strive for independent economic development, though within the framework of the capitalist system.  Such was the approach of Britain and the US towards the other South-East Asian Countries which had similar aims.  On the other hand India saw that the Soviet Union was willing to extend a helping hand both for setting up large-scale strategic industries in the core sector and also to share technological know-how, while also shoring up its defence needs.

5.2         In the international field, in addition to the erstwhile colonies of imperialism that had achieved national independence, two powerful blocs had developed, – one led by the US imperialist and the other by the Soviet Union, including other socialist-oriented countries.

5.3         India opted for a foreign policy of peace, non-alignment, solidarity with the newly liberated countries and anti-imperialism.  Though there were several lapses and compromises in its execution, this policy conformed at the time to the class interests of the national bourgeoisie, met the needs of India’s independent economic development and was in tune with the anti-imperialist traditions of India’s freedom struggle.  It also reflected the interests of the newly liberated countries and all those who were still struggling for their independence from colonial powers.  It had the support from the Soviet Union which needed peace to reconstruct its economy, which had been totally devastated by the anti-fascist war.

5.4         In pursuance of this policy of peace and non-alignment, India and China signed in 1954 the famous ‘Panchsheela’ i.e. the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence governing relations between states.

This was followed by the Ten Principles set forth in the Declaration adopted at the Afro-Asian Conference held in Bandung (Indonesia) in 1955.

5.5         As one of the leading initiators of both the Panchsheela and the Bandung Declaration India’s prestige went up high among all countries of the new Third World that had come into existence.

5.6         Guided by such a policy India played an important role against imperialist wars of intervention first in Korea and then in heroic Vietnam.  It stood with Cuba where the US imperialists suffered a humiliating defeat in its Bay of Pigs adventure and in all subsequent manoeuvers to blockade Cuba.  India expressed full solidarity with the long struggle of the people of South Africa led by the ANC against apartheid, of the people of Angola and Namibia for their freedom.

India all along stood with the people of Palestine for their independent statehood.

5.7         The solidarity which India displayed towards countries struggling for their freedom was fully reciprocated by them when Indian people liberated Pondicherry and Goa from centuries old imperialist occupation.  The Anglo-American imperialists disapproved of the minor military action which India took on the issue, while the Soviet Union supported it. This was so also when India fought Pakistan leading to the liberation at Bangladesh.

Inside the country there were sections who opposed the non-aligned foreign policy.  The monopoly capitalists who had strong links with multinationals together with some bourgeois ruling groups and right-wing parties opposed the policy of non-alignment and anti-imperialism under the specious plea of ‘genuine non-alignment’ and ‘correcting the tilt’.  This led to vacillations and lapses which were not in conformity with the general foreign policy.  The policy of non-alignment, peace and anti-colonialism strengthened India’s political independence and also enabled her to obtain resources and aid from friendly countries particularly Soviet Union and socialist countries.  After the demise of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the socialist bloc US imperialist thought of itself as the only super power and the arbiter of the destiny of the world.  It resorted to unilateral action and started ignoring the realities of the world situation.  US transnational corporations and international financial and trade organisations which the US dominate began to dictate economic policies and impose a world order quite contrary to the ‘New International Economic Order’ (NIEO) proposed by the United Nations.  India adopted the policy of Neo-liberalism, which implied liberalization, privatization and globalisation and a free market economy, under pressure from the US.

5.8         India entered into a series of agreements with the US such as ‘New Framework For India-US Defence Relations’, ‘US-India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative’, ‘Agreement To Setup the Global Democracy Initiative’, ‘US-India Financial and Economic Forum, India-US C.E.O Forum and US-India Defence Policy Group’.  It could not sign the dangerous ‘Logistic Agreement’ after negotiating it because of vigorous Left objection. The Nuclear Cooperation Deal which India entered into with the US was a continuation of all these agreements.  In this way India was steadily moving away from pursuing an independent foreign policy and moving towards a strategic alliance with the US. The Indian bourgeoisie expressed its eagerness to align with the US in its pursuit for further integration into the global economy.  It regarded this as the way for India to emerge as an economic power and eventually as a political power.  It terms this as Economic reform.

The economic policy of neo-liberalism had a corresponding effect on India’s foreign policy.

5.9         India of course has no interest in hostility towards the US.  It should be for friendship and good relations with the US, but not subservience to it.

5.10       Non-alignment has been given up as being irrelevant in today’s world.  In fact its anti-imperialist content and its solidarity with countries fighting for their independence and social progress has been diluted or eschewed in the name of “enlightened self interest” ‘pragmatism’ and so forth.  This even allows the ruling class to tie up with Israel, and turn a blind eye to the military junta rule in Myanmar and Sri Lanka’s oppression against the Tamils.

5.11       India however is too big and  important a country and the democratic consciousness of its people is quite alert not to let its foreign policy be subservient to the US.  It is the second biggest country in the world.  It has friendly relations with most countries of the world and commands respect in the third world.  It has a long tradition of anti-imperialism and its geo-political status is acknowledged by all.  All these factors impel India to pull its weight for peace and disarmament in the Asia-Pacific region and the world however wary it is not to offend the US.  It has raised its voice for reorganizing the United Nations according to present day realities, which also takes into account India’s rise. It has joined up with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and forged alliances with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Within this group is a sub-group called the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa). It has raised its voice for statehood to Palestine, for lifting the embargo and blockade against Cuba, and so on.

5.12       No issue affecting world peace and international relation in general can be solved today without the active involvement of India and China.  An important task in the field is to work for further democratizing and strengthening the UN and for structural changes in its setup, freeing it from imperialist pressure (overt and covert) and expanding its peace keeping role. The goal of a world without weapon and war also requires that the UN be strengthen ensuring equal status for all countries in it and for their democratic participation through giving the General Assembly decisions and resolutions due respect. The aim is  to make India a country which stands for peace and disarmament, a country fighting for a nuclear-weapon-free world, a country fighting for a new international economic order, a country which has a powerful voice in resolving the regional conflicts based on justice.

The Security Council’s role has to be reviewed so that a coterie of “Big Powers” is not allowed to take decision on crucial issue of peace and security, ignoring the General Assembly.

India’s foreign policy is thus subject to many complex and contradictory factors.  The task of the progressive and democratic movement in the country is to ensure that India’s foreign policy retains its independent and anti-imperailist character and stands in solidarity with all countries fighting for independence, democracy, social progress and socialism.

  1. Changes in Agrarian Relations Since Independence

6.1         Bitter and many times violent struggles by farmers resisting the forcible acquisition of land by the state and the corporate entities with the active help of the state have been taking place in many parts of the country. We have seen standoffs between the state power and the peasantry in NOIDA and other districts in UP, long drawn out anti-POSCO struggle in Jagatsingpur (Orissa), movement against the nuclear plant in Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and so forth.  Many lives have been lost in the course of these struggles.

In trying to grab the farmers’ land, the Government has used the Land Acquisition Act of colonial era and justified indiscriminate use of force against peasantry by insisting that it is a necessary step for development. In the process, several lakh acres of land have been acquired and millions of peasants and other dependent on land have been evicted and deprived of their livelihood.  This is a crude and brutal offensive of the bourgeois state led by the corporate houses and big business.

6.2         The development of capitalism in Indian agriculture is based on a compromise with feudal remnants on the one-hand, and collusion with foreign capital on the other.  While semi-feudal production relations still dominate many parts in rural India, the door has been opened for the multinational corporations to enter the field and assume cardinal positions in certain areas.  IMF, World Bank and the WTO have played an active role in this respect. The government has signed Indo-US Agricultural Initiative where representatives of Monsanto, Cargill and other multinational companies participate in joint committees to take important decisions on research and new initiatives in Indian Agriculture.

6.3         It is important to see the tremendous changes which have taken place in the agrarian sector since independence. These changes have been speeded up under neo-liberalism i.e. in the last three decades.

Before Independence two popular slogans of peasant movement were, “Abolish the Zamindary System” and “Land to the Tillers”. The formation of the All India Kisan Sabha in 1936 added militancy and urgency to these slogans, underlined the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist character of the movement and made it an integral part of national liberation struggle.  With Congress party coming to power, land reform legislations putting an end to the Zamindary, Jagirdary and all forms of intermediaries were enacted in all the state assemblies. The occupancy tenants got direct control over land that they tilled. The rulers of princely states and the feudal landlords had constituted the crucial social and political base of colonial power. It was, therefore, expected that in independent India no place will be given to them in political and economic spheres. This did not happen. Congress party  continued its alliance with the landlords as well as the dislodged rulers of princely states. The peasants paid Rs. 600 crores to the erstwhile Zamindars for getting control over their land. The landlords were also given an opportunity to become capitalist (farmer) landlords and evict thousands of “tenants-at-will” in the name of resuming self-cultivation. The capitalist landlords and the new stratum of rich peasants formed the  political base of the new ruling class in countryside.

6.4         Along with abolition of intermediaries the land reform legislations also included provisions for imposing ceiling on land holdings and protecting  tenant farmers from exploitative land leasing practices. But the implementation record of land redistribution and tenancy reforms has been very poor in every state except west Bengal, Kerala and Jammu Kashmir.

After the state governments had enacted first round of ceiling laws, the Mahalanobis Committee estimated that there was 63 million acres of ceiling surplus land in the country. In 2004 the Union Govt. informed Parliament that the land declared surplus in the country was 7.3 million acres, land acquired by state governments was 6.5 million acres and the land actually distributed was only 5.3 million acres (most of this was done in the states of West Bengal and Kerala).  The marginal and small holdings are 62% of the total holdings, but the area cultivated by them is only 19%.

6.5         The expectation of landless peasantry was belied and in 60s and 70s land struggles took place in many parts. The Communist Party of India headed by C. Rajeshwar Rao carried out several militant land struggles for breaking up large estates under the occupation of big landlords. Several thousand acres of land was captured and distributed among landless peasants and agricultural labour. In many cases the farmers or their children are still cultivating the land, which they had taken possession of in 60s and 70s. They cultivate the land although legal entitlement has been given to only a few households.

6.6         The Naxalbari Movement also rose in 1967 calling for land redistribution. Although it did not come up on the centre stage, it played an important role in persuading West Bengal government to redistribute surplus land and carry out meaningful tenancy reforms. The impetus land struggle in 60s and 70s petered out with time.

6.7         The Green Revolution was introduced in mid-sixties in the northern states. The government invested a great deal of resources in HYV programme. The necessary physical and market infrastructure was provided on subsidised rates to the well endowed farmers of Punjab, Haryana and western U.P. Productivity increased manifold and the class of resource-rich capitalist farmer was consolidated. At the same time a large number of small and marginal farmers moved out of agriculture in these states. The Green Revolution increased disparities both between regions and within regions. It needs to be noted that notwithstanding the emergence of a powerful capitalist farmers lobby, the semi-feudal production relations survived the entire period of the green revolution prosperity.

6.8         The Structural Adjustment Programme, which heralded the offensive of liberalization, privatization and globalization, brought with it a new crisis in rural livelihoods.

The inclusion of agriculture in the Urguay Round  of negotiations and the so-called Free Trade Agreements with some countries under the new regime of WTO have  adversely affected our agriculture. All restrictions on external and internal trade of agricultural commodities were removed and the agrarian sector was exposed to unfair and unequal international competition.

The domestic and foreign multinational companies rapidly made deep inroads in input and output markets. The supply of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides is now largely controlled by  MNCs The recent mode of attack on Indian peasantry is through forcibly providing genetically modified seeds by the seed MNC’s in collaboration with government. This is creating havoc and instability in agricultural production. The government intends to pass a ‘Seed Bill’ which will give a legal basis to this attack on agriculture.

6.9         Starting from year 2000,a new offensive was launched on the farm sector by corporate and industrial units, building and land mafia, real estate developers and the government in the name of SEZ and other developmental projects. The state governments invoked antiquated Land Acquisition Act of 1894 to evict peasants from their land  and hand over the land to private companies. Under the neo-liberal frame, the state governments reversed the clock of land reform. The corporate sector has been allotted vast tracts of forest land and the so called waste land. It has also got indirect control over farm land through the provision of contract farming.

Apart from  forcible land grab and  introduction of contract farming by corporate houses, the farmers are also subjected to an iniquitous credit system. Nationalised banks giving loans for agriculture and small industries as a priority sector are neglecting this task. Once again the peasants are being thrown to the tender mercies of the money lenders or so-called ‘loan providers’. It is estimated that while the banking system as a whole financed 35.6% of the loans, private money lenders accounted for 25.7% of the loans advanced to farmers. A much-trumpeted ‘loan waiver’ gave relief only to a small section of the peasantry just on the eve of the 2009 general election. This provides no solution to the credit needs of agriculture, which requires an easy access to credit at no more than four percent rate of interest.

6.10       As to irrigation, only around 41% of net sown area is irrigated during Kharif and 65% during Rabi seasons. Availability of water varies across the states. Public investment in irrigation is negligible. The transition from surface water to ground water actually implies the privatization of irrigation infrastructure. The ownership of ground water assets naturally belongs to rich peasants and affluent landowners.

A  corollary has been the emergence of internal ground water markets and pump-rental markets. To secure access to ground water the rest of the peasantry including the small and marginal farmers have to pay a heavy amount as rental for this facility.

6.11       Following the repeated hikes in the prices of fuel, so essential to the farmers, there are moves to increase the prices of fertilizers too. Market forces unleashed by a government wedded to neo-liberalism are squeezing the farmers dry. The neo liberal policy frame affected all sections of the peasantry adversely.

The big farmer’ lobby took an ambiguous stance towards the new regime. Initially, they perceived trade liberalisation and entry of agribusiness as programmes advantageous to them. However, the deflationary trend in world market prices in latter half of 90s and unequal bargaining power vis-a-vis the corporate lobby made them uncomfortable. The big farmer lobby now opposes free trade and demands protection of its economic space through state intervention.

The medium and small farmers generally follow the lead provided by the big farmers in switching over to new technology, new cropping pattern and new production arrangements. Sometimes they do it willingly in the hope that the returns will be high. More often it is done under compulsion because earlier infrastructure has been dismantled. In 1980s and 90s the medium and semi-medium farmers shifted to new cropping pattern and new technology. This shift required increased resources and entailed greater risk. The consequent indebtedness and the spate of farmers suicides has become a matter of great concern.

6.12       As for the small and marginal farmers, they have increasingly got dispossessed of their land and other resource base. In 2004-05, around 43 per cent of rural households had no land to cultivate. In addition, 22 per cent households cultivated less than 1 acre of land, which is insufficient to meet basic needs. The dispossessed marginal farmers and landless agricultural labourers rarely commit suicides. Instead, the men migrate out in search of jobs, leaving behind the non-viable pieces of land for the women to cultivate. The number of male cultivators declined by 4.24 million between 1991 and 2001, while the number of women cultivators increased by 5.71 million during the same period.

6.13        The beginning of the 21st century has been greeted by a pervasive and intractable agrarian crisis in Indian economy. More than two lakh farmers have committed suicides. The number increases every day. Agricultural growth has stagnated. The share of agriculture in National Income has come down to 12%, whereas its share in workforce still remains as high as 58 percent.  The cumulative effect of neo-liberal measures is that the goal of real food security i.e. “Food for All” is receding howsoever much the government claims to legislate a Food Security Act. Per capita food grain availability in the country has declined in past decade. A big country like ours with a huge population has to defend its food sovereignty.  It cannot afford to depend on food imports to feed its people.  Food export is a political weapon of imperialist countries and the major food exporting countries like US extract a heavy price.

6.14       With the intensification of the agrarian crisis, features like usury, bondage and caste violence have resurfaced aggressively. Absentee landlords continue to exist extensively in Bihar and in some other parts, especially in the Hindi belt. The Bihar Land Reform Commission constituted in 2006 prepared a list of big landlords clandestinely holding thousands of acres of land and running a shadow Zamindary system.  Hathua Raj in Gopalgunge, Bettiah Raj and Sikarpure Estate in Bettiah, Kausalaraj in Katihar are a few such names. They are in addition to the religious trusts and maths who hold thousands of acres of land.

Due to the crisis in agriculture, uncertainty caused by floods and droughts in certain regions, the growing burden of indebtedness and the lack of employment there is large-scale migration from the rural to the urban centers in search of work and better opportunities of livelihood.  This has led to rapid increase in urbanization and certain cities have expanded into huge mega cities with slums, inadequate infrastructure and rise in general social problems.

6.15       Arable land is shrinking. With the real estate boom, the land market has become very active in rural India. It is calculated that between 1992-93 and 2002-03, as much as 18 million hectares of arable land has got transferred to non agricultural uses. Beside forcible acquisition and consequent eviction of peasantry by the state, a great deal of land has also slipped out of agriculture through the operation of local land markets. The markets have created a huge demand for non-agricultural use of land on the one hand, and have made farm operations non-viable for a large section of peasantry on the other. During the decade between 1991 and 2001, over 7 million people i.e. nearly 2000 people a day, for whom cultivation was the main source of livelihood, quit farming.  That underlines the depth of the crisis in agriculture.  Where do they go?  They migrate to the cities in search of work, often wandering from one place to another.  This is the route of rapid urbanization which is taking place in the country, and the source of the exploited mass of unorganized contract and casual labour.  They swell the ranks of the reserve army of the unemplyeds.

Forcible acquisition and eviction have provoked violent struggles in different parts of the country in the last few years. A section of the peasantry, especially the well-off section is willing to part with some land by demanding an ‘appropriate price’ for their land. At the same time the tribals who are the most hit by forcible acquisition and eviction, as well as a section of small peasantry are unwilling to part with their land altogether. They reflect the different positions of the different layers within the peasantry.  The small and marginal peasant clings on to his miserable plot of land as the only source of livelihood and his place in rural society, even though it is not sufficient to meet his basic needs.

6.16       While tribals constitute 8.08% of the entire population, there are 40% of tribals among the displaced and affected persons. Official figures claim that 28% of the displaced tribals have been rehabilitated. What has happened to the remaining 72% who number nearly 1.5 crores? They are truly the victims of such ‘development’.

Agriculture in India is being drawn into the world commodity market, subjecting land, water, resources and other agricultural inputs and outputs to  inexorable market forces. This signals the growth and development of capitalism and capitalist relations of production in agriculture. The growth of capitalism in agriculture is sharpensing all the social contradictions. Superimposed on the ruins of earlier modes, it accounts for the specific nature of the crisis in agriculture, the widening disparities and the misery of the lower strata of the working peasantry. A most heart-breaking suspect of the crisis is the suicide of more than two and a half lakh kisans in 8 years.

Though capitalist development has proceeded apace there is a mixture and co-existence of several earlier social formations – feudal, semi-feudal, tribal scattered across a vast territory of the country.

6.17       Land, water, jobs, food have become the focus of the ongoing and impending struggles and peoples’ movement. The land problem cannot be resolved without severe class struggle in the countryside. Some of the important issues raised by these struggles can be enumerated. Land is the key issue in this struggle for carrying forward the new democratic revolution.  Demands that have to be fought for are:

i). Abolition of feudal and semi-feudal remnants, for the strict implementation of ceiling and tenancy laws and also for the cancellation of all benami transactions of land.

  1. ii) Repeal of the colonial era Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Its replacement by a new law which is pro-farmer and provides for rehabilitation and resettlement in case any agricultural land is diverted for non-agricultural use. Fertile multi-crop land to be exempted from any such acquisition, whether for public, private or public-private partnership projects.

iii) SEZ is neither inevitable nor necessary for industrialization. A halt to further inroads of SEZs. Land already acquired in excess should be returned to the farmers.

  1. iv) All moves to repeal the ceiling laws on rural (and urban) land to facilitate the drive of business houses and the builder and land mafias to acquire land for speculative gains should be banned.
  2. v) Oppose all attempts of introducing corporate and contract farming. Opposition to opening up of the agricultural sector to the entry of multi-national corporations and to the free market forces as suggested by the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO regime.
  3. vi) Provide easy access to institutional loans at 4% rate of interest. Small and marginal farmers to be given protection and preferential treatment in such matters as credit, supply of plants, seed, fertilizers, access to markets etc. so as to make farming productive, efficient and viable.

vii) Remunerative prices for agricultural produce and for maintaining parity in terms of trade between industry and agriculture, and against loot by monopolies and multinationals. Agriculture to be made profitable, a paying and respectable profession. Capital  accumulation should be through surplus earnings not through intensified exploitation of farmers.

viii) Giving emphasis to the growth of dry land agriculture. Massive public investment for the growth of infrastructure facilities like irrigation, rural electrification, market development, network of village roads. Proper implementation of NAREGA, with social audit.

  1. ix) Ensuring flood control and prevention of water logging. Large scale tree plantation to maintain the ecological balance.
  2. x) Agriculture should be diversified and agricultural income increased by encouraging supplementary occupations like dairy and poultry farming, sheep rearing, horticulture and fisheries, echo-culture and sericulture, social forestry etc.
  3. xi) Encourage small scale, tiny and cottage industries especially agro-industries so as to draw a significant part of the work force dependent on agriculture into the non-agricultural sector.

xii) All anti-poverty and rural development programmes as well as employment generation programmes should be integrated with agriculture development through the Panchayat–raj institutions. Leakage of these funds should be arrested through social audits involving the panchayats. MNREGA work should be used mainly for building assets for agricultural growth.

xiii) Steps be taken to develop better indigenous bio-technical and genetic engineering. India being the country with the largest livestock, emphasis should  be given on organic farming.

xiv) Struggle against price rise, and for a food security act based on a universal public distribution system, which will ensure food for all.

6.18        The struggles undertaken by peasantry and other marginalised sections of society have a sharp anti-capitalist character, in particular against the domestic and foreign corporate entities. The collective political struggles of the marginalised peasantry can be further strengthened by persuading the resource poor peasants to form  a collective economic base.

6.19        The next step forward is to see that farmers, in particular small and marginal farmers are encouraged to form cooperatives strictly on a voluntary basis in different spheres of agricultural operation and economic life. Such cooperatives will demand help and facilities from the state for their effective functioning. Cooperatives are not just economic units. They have a political, social and cultural role to play in bringing about systemic changes.

6.20      The Issue of Food Security: Despite the vast agricultural potential of India, agriculture is in a state of crisis.  In particular the production of certain items which are the main source of nutrition for the common people are declining.  India is today a net importer of foodgrains.  The per capita availability of foodgrains, pulses, edible oils coupled with their high prices is jeopardizing the food security of our people.  The low-figure of per capita availability hides the gross inequality in the actual consumption of food.  The poor have far less access to food than better offs, and are thus condemned to chronic malnutrition, hunger and occasional starvation deaths.  Externally the developed countries with their high consumption pattern absorb a much larger share of available food.  While internally the top 10% also absorb more than the average owing to their growing demand for animal product.  Fifty per cent of the world’s hungry live in India.  Within the country estimates have varied as to who are the poor and how many are below the poverty line.

6.21      The demand for the Right to Food, for ensuring ‘Food for All’ has therefore been central to the struggle against poverty. The paradox of the situation is that a large section of the food producers themselves, viz; the agri-labour and the marginal farmers are among the most vulnerable in the matter of food.  To ensure the common people’s access to food it is essential to fight against price rise and inflation in food items and also to fight for sufficient and easy availability of food.  This is only possible in our specific conditions through a highly subsidized Universal Public Distribution System (PDS).

6.22      The entry of corporate entities including multinational companies like Reliance, Cargill and others into the food market has aggravated the problem on both counts, price as well as availability.  The bourgeoisie has paved the way by allowing  forward trading in foodgrains and making the Essential Commodities Act totally ineffective.  This has opened the door to hoarding, speculative rise in food prices and deliberate disruption in supply.

6.23      The bourgeois government’s approach to food security is to have a targeted Public Distribution System  in place of universal PDS.  It seeks to justify this by displaying special concern for the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and certain vulnerable categories.  It has arbitrarily divided the population into 3 or 4 categories, and capped the coverage in the rural and urban areas in an arbitrary manner.  The amount of foodgrains to be supplied per month as well as the prices varies with each category.  A huge number of households, about 40 to 50 per cent of the population are thus excluded from the purview of this Food Security Law.  The entire approach of the bourgeois government is to minimize its own obligations by restricting the number of eligible households, as well as their entitlements to subsidized food.

6.24      A system of cash transfer instead of providing subsidized food items, actually.  means making a mockery of the Public Distribution System.  Since cash transfers can lead to gross misuse and even resulting in raising prices if the distribution of subsidized food is discontinued, it has to be firmly opposed.

The issues of state procurements, stocking of foodgrains through a decentralized system, of ensuring that the quality of the stocks is preserved, its proper distribution and a social audit of the entire mechanism has to be addressed. Chain of cold storage for vegetables and other perishable items has to be built.  The Party has to fight for a pro-people Food Security Law.

  1. The State in India

7.1         The state in India in the organ of the class rule of the bourgeoisie headed by corporate big business and monopolies.  This class rule has strong links with the semi-feudal and capitalist landlords.  This determines the economic and political policy of the government.  It directs the capitalist development in agriculture.  Operating within the World Capitalist System it develops links with international finance capital led by US and international financial institution like the World Bank and IMF.  In the matter of international trade it works with the WTO regime, though national interests have driven it in many cases to develop bi-lateral and regional trade agreements.

7.2         The Constitution of the Republic of India adopted in 1950 provides for a parliamentary democracy based on universal adult franchise.  The Constitution provides for certain Fundamental Rights for the people and Directive Principles for the state.  However to subserve the interests of the bourgeoisie  and other exploiting classes many of these rights are often misinterpreted, distorted and even violated by the authorities of the state.  Even with these limitations the existence of these rights in the Constitution can be made the platform and instrument for the struggle of the peoples as is often done for defending their democratic and civil rights.  India’s present parliamentary democracy has enabled the people to a certain extent to fight the distortion and autocratic nature of the bourgeois class rule.  There is however always pressure from the main anti-democratic and exploiting class forces in the country to curb the democratic and civil rights of the people, and to limit parliament functioning and powers.

7.3         Despite the attacks and discriminatory practices against the Left Democratic and Progressive forces, the emergence of non-congress governments in the states and in particular, Left Democratic and Left Front Governments shows the possibilities that are inherent in the Constitution itself and in the Parliamentary democratic system.  Under such conditions there is the constant need for extra-parliamentary struggles to defend democracy, and Parliament itself.

7.4         The path of capitalist development pursued has more and more strengthened the top monopoly groups some of whom have now grown into corporate houses with their specific brands.  These sections and the big bourgeoisie as a whole wield power even over the budget and in deciding other economic measures.  Laws and policies are shaped in their particular group interest.  A nexus has developed between them, the higher echelons of the bureaucracy and sections of the ruling class.  Crony capitalism has grown out of this nexus. The influence of foreign monopoly interest is also felt in this development.  They support and demand measures that facilitate the entry of foreign capital in the country.  The corporate-driven neo-liberal economic policies are expressed in the form of a drive for liberalization, privatization and globalisation.

The growing control of corporate houses and big business over the media enables them to conduct virulent campaign against the progressive democratic and socialist forces both at home and abroad, and to propagate the virtues of liberalization, privatization and globalisation, and the inevitability of capitalism. It propagates about the ‘TINA’ factor, (That There Is No Alternative), though life every day proves the contrary.

7.5         Elections in India take place on the basis of universal adult franchise. There is the Election Commission charged with the responsibility of holding free and fair election.  But elections under the capitalist regime, howsoever free they may be, are intrinsically loaded against the toiling masses, firstly because, the press and other means of   propaganda are controlled by Big Money and, secondly because “money power” and “muscle power” are being unreservedly used. The Election Commission of India is a powerful statutory institution and has been doing everything in its power to ensure a free and fair election. But under the prevailing system it is helpless against the power of Big Money.

The latest case of the 2009 election to the 15th Lok Sabha is illustrative of this.  Out of the 543 members elected to the Lok Sabha, as many as 306 are “crorepatis”.  Of these 141 belong to the Congress and 58 to the BJP showing that both the mainstream bourgeois parties have the same composition.  As a result the UPA-II Cabinet has 64 Ministers accounting for total personal assets of Rs.500 crore.  With each passing day, these assets continue to grow and multiply. One can hardly expect such a Legislative body and Executive to be in resonance with the needs and aspirations of the working people.  With each day elections at every level are becoming prohibitively expensive, quite apart from other handicaps and prohibitions from which the poor suffer.  The working people and political parties who are based on them find it increasingly difficult to contest elections. What is needed is radical electoral reforms which can serve to counter the influence of money power and muscle power.

If nevertheless some legislations and decisions which are of some benefit to the common people do take place it is to be attributed to the mass struggles of different sections, and the compulsion on the part of the bourgeois government to yield to and contain the growing popular discontent, in the overall interests of the bourgeoisie.

7.6         A major problem which India had to face on attaining national independence was the refashioning of the state structure in a manner which would ensure better opportunities for economic and political participation of the people in the administration of the different states.  Under British Rule the erstwhile provinces joined together  many regions whose population  spoke different languages and had different cultures. They were products of the conquest by the British Rulers as it went on subjugating the whole country.  It was also a part of the deliberate policy of the colonial power to keep the people in the provinces divided and alienated from the administration.  Further, the imperialist rulers had divided India into princely states and arbitrarily carved out portions in order to prevent India growing into a united and democratic republic.

Actually, there were large units distinguished by their well-defined territories, developed languages, history and cultural features.  Thus arose the demand for reorganizing the states on a linguistic basis.  This was a democratic demand and the Communist Party played a significant role in the struggle for reorganizing the state on the basis of languages.  This helped to bring the state administration closer to the common people, who could access it in their own language.

Unfortunately due to uneven development under the capitalist system and the different histories of some regions which had come together in the same state, problems remained about emotional integration and uniform and just treatment to all the regions on issues of employment opportunities and common development in all spheres.  These unsolved problems in course of time have led to tensions within the states and became the genesis of splitting the linguistically united states though the different regions speak the same language.

7.7         Although the state structure in India is a federal one with each state having its own elected assembly, government etc. and there are specific central and state lists, together with a concurrent list for exercising jurisdiction and power, real power and authority is increasingly concentrated in the Central government. The constituent states  of the Indian Union enjoy limited autonomy and power which has been greatly eroded over the years, mainly because financial resources  are mostly in the hands of the Centre.  The states though responsible for development activities have meager resources, which restricts their rapid economic and cultural growth.  Under the cover of concurrent list the Centre adopts many laws and decisions which have an overall jurisdiction over the state laws.  Law and Order is a state subject.  However on the ground of combating internal disturbances the Centre takes a number of decisions and legislative measures which in effect undermines the authority of the states. Bourgeois parties ruling at the Centre discriminate against the governments run by other parties. In such a situation contradictions and conflicts between the Central government and the states get accentuated.  The big bourgeoisie in its narrow class interest aspires for a unitary state undermining the federal character of the Indian Union. Reactionary circles rather than seeking a democratic solution generally tend to aggravate the central-states conflicts.

7.8         This development has given rise to big sections of the regional bourgeoisie and landlord elements in some states, to capitalize on real and imaginary grievances about neglect and discrimination.  Certain reactionary and anti-people sections try to utilize this for  fomenting regionalism and regional animosity. But democratic forces have to take note of regional demands and adopt a sober and positive approach for solving them, while rebuffing the reactionary sections.

7.9          One of the biggest danger to the country’s unity and integrity is the growth of communalism. Communalism has social, political and economic dimensions but it is the outcome of communal ideology and practice of communal politics for   serving political ends.  It is fuelled by religious fundamentalism, which gives many issues a communal colour.  Communalism is the handmaid of reaction and tears the secular fabric of the country’s polity.  There is a link between communalism and reactionary political, economic and social policy.  Gujarat genocide in 2002 against the Muslim minority exposed the ugly face of communal agenda practiced by the Sangh Parivar.  It creates a deep rift between the Hindu majority and the Musilim and Christian minorities in the country.  Sometimes they keep it muted for tactical reasons. The call for a Hindu Rashtra is the  ideological offensive of Hindu communalism.  Hinduism and the Hindutva are two entirely different concepts.  Hinduism is a religion which the vast majority of our people follow-while Hindutva is politics in the name of religion. It is the politics of a group, a party.  The rise of Hindu communalism in certain sections has given rise to Muslim fundamentalism in some sections.  The one fuels the   other and both tear the fabric of secularism in the country.  Both have to be countered and secular democratic polity has to be defended so as to protect India’s unity and national integrity.  The overwhelming majority of our people are however secular-minded.  That is the biggest guarantee of India’s unity.  A political, ideological, cultural and social battle has to be conducted by the Party against all forms of communalism.

The use of religion to fan communalism by reactionary forces is highly disruptive of national unity and integrity. The need for communal harmony is a prime necessity.  Secularism is thus born out of India’s specific need.  It is not an expedient to be used only on certain occasions.  Consistent secularism implies the separation of religion from politics, and from the state.  The CPI has to propagate this.

7.10    Another problem that severely strains national unity and integrity is the uneven development and real neglect of a number of states, especially in the north east of the country.  They have their special problems too.  This has given vise to the demand for ‘special status’ to some of these states.  This demand needs to be considered in the interest of strengthening national unity and integrity.

A major source of terrorism in India is religious fundamentalism spreading communal hatred and fomenting the desire of some groups   to take revenge against the other. It would be wrong to ascribe terrorism to any one community alone, as recent events have shown.  The so-called war on global terrorism led by the US and the talk of a ‘clash of  civilization’ has only led to the spread of  “Islamophobia” in some countries.  Instead of ending terrorism it has only fanned further communal violence and terrorism. They have to be firmly combated.

7.11    An administrative system based on a highly centralized bureaucracy contributes to concentration of power  at the top and its exercise through privileged bureaucrats who are divorced from the masses and generally serve the interests of the exploiting classes.  The introduction of the Panchayati Raj  system in the country has helped to some extent to counter this bureaucratic centralization and also helped  the masses including women and the deprived sections for limited self-rule in local affairs.  These local organs of self-government are a step towards taking democratic consciousness to the grassroot level.  They can become arenas of struggle between the vested interests in the countryside and the exploited rural masses.  The Left and democratic forces have to utilize them to the utmost to spread

consciousness among peasants, agricultural labour, dalits, adivasis, backward sections and women.

7.12       The social reality In India is the existence of both, classes and castes.  Even the unity of the working class and the toiling peasantry is difficult to sustain by ignoring their caste differences. Caste has always been a powerful potential and actual weapon in keeping the people divided and weak in face of any challenge. The economically exploited classes in town and countryside are generally at the same time the most socially oppressed and politically discriminated castes.  The most heinous is the practice of untouchability against the dalits which though banned still exists in large areas. The exploiting classes try to exploit these caste differences in order to break the unity of the exploited whenever the class struggle gets intensified.

7.13       Such is the pernicious effect of caste divisions and caste  hierarchy in Hindu society that they have affected even the Muslims and Christians.  It has to be remembered that a good number among them are converts from the lower castes in Hindu society.  So also are the neo-Buddhists.  Therefore in the course of forging the class unity of the toiling masses and developing the class-struggle against the exploiters it is necessary to firmly oppose all forms of caste discrimination and hostility, to fight against any and every manifestation of atrocity and injustice perpetrated against the Dalits and other backward castes.

7.14       The Party must not and cannot afford to ignore the caste question while fighting for democracy and socialism.  It is necessary to carry on a consistent ideological, political, socio-economic and practical struggle against castes and casteism.   They have to be combined, together with affirmative actions to bring up from the lower depths the hitherto oppressed, deprived and backward sections on par with the rest of society. There is a dialectical connection between such struggles and the struggle for the eventual annihilation of castes and the elimination of the caste system.  So deep-rooted is the system of castes and the hierarchy of castes in people’s minds, that it will necessarily be a long struggle. Reservation in education and jobs is needed for this purpose.  Reservation must not be confined to dalits only among Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, but must be given to dalits among Muslims and Christians.  Otherwise it will be discrimination on the basis of religion. It has also to be extended to the economically backward sections among the so-called forward castes.  Reservation must also cover the private sector especially when public sector undertakings are getting increasingly privatized. All this is necessary for ensuring a sense of social justice among people.

7.15      India is a multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country.  Because of these complexities, the Indian people have multiple identities.  Some NGOs and parties exaggerate these identities, and play ‘identity politics’, so as to undermine class divisions and the importance of class struggles.  It has to be stressed that while class struggle, the struggle between the exploited classes and the classes of exploiters is the main driving force in social revolution, the caste, ethnic, linguistic and other identities have also to be suitably factored in for bringing about real social transformation.  They cannot be ignored.

The Party stands for a classless and casteless society which only a mature and advanced socialist society can ensure.  It has  to struggle and fight for such a revolutionary transformation.

8. Classes and Other Sections: Their Role

8.1         With the changes that are  taking place the hitherto existing classes are undergoing changes in their composition, in the relative strength of sections within them, in their equations and mutual relations.  The co-relation of forces  is changing.

8.2         The relentless pursuit of neo-liberal economic reforms has brought up a strata of powerful corporates within the bourgeois class.  The bourgeois state pursues policies of pampering this section.  The corporate houses have accumulated unprecedented wealth and come to wield tremendous economic power.  They are emerging as private monopolies in several vital sectors, such as oil, power, mines, telecommunications and pose serious challenge to the public sector in these spheres.  This section of the bourgeoisie in its ruthless quest for super-profits aims to spread its tentacles to other spheres of the economy and also extend operations abroad.

8.3         The policy of liberalization and globalisation has provided facilities for the multinational corporations to set up bases in India.  Indian corporate houses are entering into a number of partnerships with these MNCs. Some corporates have acquired the strength to buy up a few foreign businesses and are going for mergers and acquisitions.  With their economic and financial clout they are able to influence government policies not only in the economic but also in the political and other spheres.

8.4         Corporate capitalism in league with the MNCs has created conditions for large-scale corruption and the play of money power in national life.  The corporates pirate experienced executives, talented experts in various fields and experienced officials from the public sector with fabulous salaries, allowances, perks, share options and so forth, there by putting the public sector undertakings in difficulties.

8.5         Through advertisements in media and their financial hold over the media as a whole, the corporates and the MNCs have choked the voice of criticism, and fostered a consumer culture which has lured the elites and sections of the middle class.  In turn this has built up a huge consumer market for domestic and foreign business houses.  Consumerism is not denoted by expanding consumption of the necessities of life and culture with better incomes, but with the growing desire to acquire luxury goods, luxury brands flowing from the urge for a ‘good life’.

8.6         Bourgeois sections engaged in small-scale industries find it hard to withstand the offensive and competition from the big bourgeoisie.  The small-scale industries play an important role in our economy.   They contribute 40% of industrial output and have about 35% share in exports.  With the clout that the big industrialists wield over the economy, the small-scale sector finds it difficult to hold on to its own.  This is the source of the contradiction between the different sections of the bourgeoisie.  In the prevailing economic atmosphere, banks also discriminate against the small-scale sector.  The share of credit flow to small-scale industries from public sector banks has been steadily declining. With nearly 40% of the industrial output their share in bank credit is a mere 6 to 7%.

8.7         While the main contradiction is between the bourgeoisie led by the big bourgeoisie, the corporate houses and the MNCs with whom they collaborate on the one hand and the working class on the other, several contradictions raise their heads between different sections.  In the course of struggle for the democratic revolution the working class and its allies have to take into account all the contradictions and decide their tactics accordingly.

8.8         Following independence bourgeois class rule had led to the adoption of the capitalist path of development which has resulted in gross economic inequalities, and backwardness and the total neglect of vast sections of people and regions.  Neo-liberalism pursued since the beginning of the nineties further aggravated the problems of poverty, unemployment and disparities.  The much-hyped fast economic growth has not solved or even mitigated these basic problems.  Rather it has aggravated them further.  Never has there been such shocking disparity between the rich and the poor, between one region and another.  The increasing exploitation of labour is shown by the fact that while during the 1991 to 2002 two decades profits surged by over 13 times, the wage bill rose by only 2.24 times.  An ILO report shows that between 1990 and 2002 labour productivity went up by 84%, but real wages in the manufacturing sector declined by 22%.  The rate of unemployment has also gone up.

The total number of people in India belonging to the poor and vulnerable group having a per capita consumption of less than Rs. 20 in 2004-2005 is 8.36 million; constituting about 78% of our population. About 88% of India’s SCs/STs belong to this group of poor and vulnerable.  Similarly about 85% of all Muslims and 80% of all OBCs (except Muslims) are poor and vulnerable.

The World Bank in its latest country overview on India has this observation to make: “disparities in income and human development are on the rise.  A large section of the population – especially the poor, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women – lack access to the resources and opportunities needed to reap the benefits of economic growth”.

8.9         The bourgeoisie has all along been engaged in strengthening its class position at the expense of the people. It has been engaged in bargaining with the trans- national corporations and international financial and trade agencies dominated by imperialism.

Even when the economic base of a moribund social system is no longer there, its ideological and cultural legacy continues to influence the social system that follows.   The ideological and social mores of feudalism continue to influence the minds of large sections of the people.  It is reflected in the conservative, obscurantist thinking and behaviour of large sections especially in relation to women and family.  This is mixed up with the consumer and cosmopolitan culture that is preached by neo-liberal socio-economic way of thinking.  The present Indian Society is a peculiar mixture of caste, communal, semi-feudal, patriarchal and tribal institutions which act as a drag on its democratic social progress.

8.10       And yet, India has a tremendous potential for forging ahead with all-round development.  It has vast agricultural cultivable land, and a variety of climatic zones, water resources for irrigation and power generation and abundant variety of crops.  It is richly endowed with forest and mineral wealth.  Above all it has a talented mass of people, and a reservoir of skilled scientific and technical personnel second to none. It has a great legacy of art and culture which is the envy of the world.  Such a country is destined to rise to the top of the comity of nations.  But the big bourgeoisie whose narrow class interest guides it towards corporate greed is incapable of leading this country to its full potential.  What is called for is a new class combination which can truly emancipate this country and lead it towards full democracy, progress and social justice.

8.11       Arrayed against the exploiting classes are the working masses of the country, first and foremost the working class.  Enemies of social transformation are engaged in the propaganda that the working class is “declining”.  The truth is that ever-new forces are joining the ranks of those who are engaged in wage labour.  There is a most unwarranted assumption that only industrial workers,  belong to the working class proper.  The assumption itself is totally wrong.  The changing composition of the working class under the impact of the technological revolution has brought to the fore, engineers, scientists and technicians with high qualifications and skill.  They directly participate in the production process, while at the same time some of them perform certain supervisory and even managerial functions.  From the ranks of the workers at shop-floor level, there have come up highly skilled functionaries and operators, – ‘a special kind of wage labour’ who are elements of the rising working class technical intelligentsia.  The gulf dividing the engineers and technicians from the workers proper is becoming narrow, and increasingly they are adopting forms of organisation and struggles which are peculiar to the working class movement.  There are of course opposing pulls and tendencies in the social psychology of the engineering strata.  But in the mass they are driven to the path of struggle against the capitalist management and state.  Lenin had referred to them as the ‘engineering proletariat’.  That way even the working class is ‘divided into more developed and less developed strata’, and under conditions of capitalism, it is “surrounded by a large number of exceedingly motley types”.  This is quite true of India.

Under the impact of globalisation and liberalisation changes are taking place in the employment profile in the country.  Outsourcing, downsizing, contracting-out, home-working, casualisation etc. have seriously cut into regular employment at work places.  In addition there are the workers and employees in the unorganised sector, and informal workers within the organised sector.  The present policies are only adding to the latter number.  Even with growing industrialization regular wage employment is not increasing. This is an indication of ‘jobless growth’ and also ‘profit without production’ which are aspects of neo- liberalism.  This has only sharpened the edge of struggle by these sections against the big bourgeoisie and corporate houses who are pursuing these policies.

8.12       The STR and the growth in service and communication industries and commerce has also thrown up a mass of so-called ‘white collar employees’ as against the blue collar workers’.  In our own Indian experience any barrier between them was demolished long back, thanks to the powerful organisational  and movement of bank and insurance employees, central and state government employees, commercial employees etc. the newly inducted huge mass of female employees such as anganwadi, asha, mid-day meal scheme workers, whom the state had conspired to brand as less than government employees, have by their militant actions, strikes, demonstrations and so on have already ‘declared’ as it were that they are a part of the working class.

In brief, although the working class composition has changed in several respects, its essence has not, nor has it declined. Leading this mass are the organised industrial workers.

8.13.   The Scientific and Technological Revolution (STR) has been making great strides all over the world, and in India too. STR should cater to the needs of our people and to the betterment of their lives and environment.

The capitalist path of development has however meant Science and Technology being basically put to the aim of maximizing profits and to the selective task of space programme, Information Technology and Communication, Defence Production and in certain limited sectors.  The competence of STR personnel remains unutilized for the benefits of entire people. Its impact on raising the general agricultural and industrial productivity remains low.  STR generally is labour saving and capital intensive.  It is necessary to safeguard employment and not allow such technology which makes workers redundant and unemployed. Introduction of up-to-date technology into sectors of our national economy should take into account the need and priority for the  same, and the issue of job displacement that this may involve.  It has to happen in a planned and phased manner so as to ensure that we are not dependent for imported technology for a long time, nor depend on repetitive technology.  In order to avoid this, a base has to be created for absorption of imported technology and for developing our own within a specified time frame.

While making use of advanced technology from abroad, the country has tol firmly strive for strengthening the self-reliant basis of its economy

Development of our own science and technology infrastructure is a must for advance of our country.  For this, and for accomplishing the massive task of rebuilding and utilizing our national resources on the basis of self-reliance, the Party will fight for allocation of adequate funds for research and development.

8.14    STR has brought about changes in the composition of the working class.  There is a relative rise in the workers in service and communication industries as compared to those directly engaged in material production.  The increase in the number of white collar workers, technicians, engineers, scientists and specialists indicate their direct participation in the sphere of material production.  On the other side is the increase of unskilled workers performing the most routine and monotonous jobs.  This calls for suitable trade union approach and tactics so as to draw all of them into a common movement of the class.

8.15       The working class and its organisations are the most consistent social force playing a major role in the struggle for social progress and social transformation.  This derives from the place they occupy in social production and socio-economic life, their organised numbers and strength, their consciousness and activity, which gives it great political and moral prestige in society.

Events have proved the dictum that ‘Unity is infinitely precious, and infinitely important for the working class.  Disunited, the workers are nothing.  United, they are everything’. (Lenin)

Along with its allies from the mass of the working people, the working class would surely be able to assert its leading and revolutionary role in the coming days.  Assertions that with new development and advances, the complexities of economic life and administration now call for the leadership of an ‘elite corps’, of ‘technocrats’ are not correct.

The upsurge in mass struggles by different sections of workers, peasants and working people as a whole, is creating a real basis for forging the worker – peasant alliance, with other sections rallying round them.  The ranks of the workers’ allies are growing, the vista of struggle is expanding, and the task of winning over and consolidating new sections of fighting people, of evolving suitable approach and tactics oriented towards them is assuming great importance. With the intensification of the crisis and the decline of capitalism huge sections of the unorganized workers who were lying dormant for decades are now rallying behind the organised workers and taking to the path of organisation and militant action themselves, overcoming diversities and divisive factors like caste, region, language, gender and so on.

8.16       The agricultural proletariat, the mass of landless labour is the natural ally of the working class.  The advance of capitalism in agriculture is driving more and more peasant mass towards landlessness.  The small and marginal farmer has also to rely on labour himself for his livelihood.  The crisis in agriculture is making life difficult for the several types of artisans and handicrafts men who depend on agriculture and the farmers for their livelihood.

These sections together with the mass of self-employeds constitute what can be termed as the rural poor. They are all fighting against government policies which are leading to high prices and deprivation.

8.17       The rural bourgeoisie, the capitalist landlords, the rich peasants do not join the landless labour in their struggle for land reforms and distribution of land.  But in certain other aspects e.g. the struggle against high cost of inputs, infrastructural facilities, remunerative prices and measures to make agriculture viable, and on the question of opposing all attempts by the state to forcibly acquire and grab agricultural land one can expect all of them to join together.

8.18       The fast economic growth brought about by the neo-liberal economic policies is responsible for a huge expansion of the middle classes in society.  They have sprung up in every field.  The expansion of IT and communication, the growth of the service sector, the fattening of the administrative apparatus have each contributed to an exponential growth of people manning these sectors.  This is in addition to the old sections of the middle class who consisted of government, public and private sector employees, persons engaged in trade and commercial activities, in the health and educational spheres and so on.  Their numbers too have multiplied considerably.  All of them constitute what has come to be termed as the Great Indian Middle Class.  They cannot be ignored in carrying out transformative and revolutionary politics.

8.19       The middle class is not a homogeneous mass.  The top layers are upwardly mobile, hoping to join the ranks of the affluent and the entrepreneurs.  Most of them have come to earn big salaries which puts them apart from the sections at the lower levels.  The rest of the middle class is however affected the same way by policies of liberalization, privatization and globalisation as the working people.  They are affected by price rise, unemployment and unfulfilled aspirations which are the byproduct of neo-liberal policies.  The large-scale dimensions of corruption and harassment in everyday life fuels their sensitivities and eggs them on to express indignant discontent.  They find themselves associated with the working class and other sections of working people.  In their fight against such conditions they borrow and adopt tactics of organisation and struggle from the working people.

This section of the middle class comes from employees of government, semi- government, public and private sector, from the financial sector, from teachers and professionals.  Among them are writers, poets, artistes, journalists.  The sensitive among them are affected by the sight of grinding poverty and deprivation.  They respond to the fight and the resistance of different sections and communities against their miserable conditions, against exploitation and oppression.  Most of them play a progressive, democratic and secular role and have high expectations from the political Left.  In general they constitute vital components of the left and democratic movement.  Some among them who get disoriented and alienated from the exploited and oppressed mass are capable of joining the ranks of the reactionary, communal and divisive elements.  There is thus a social and ideological battle within the ranks of the middle class.  This is all the more important because the middle-class is a great moulder of public opinion which affects those below them.

It is necessary to interact with the sections of the middle class, and develop organisations of employees, professionals and the self-employeds.  Cultural, social  and literary organisations have an important role to play in winning them over to left positions and rallying them in the struggle against reactionary, communal and divisive forces at home and against the machination of imperialism and globalisation.

8.20       In India, student youths have played a glorious role in the Freedom struggle.  That tradition continues in the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-monopolist struggle in the course of the democratic revolution.  They are the purveyors of progressive, democratic and modern scientific ideas among the people.  That is why deliberate attempts are being made to poison their minds by planting among them communal, chauvinist ideas and diverting their energies towards careerism, consumerism and so forth. The Party and the Left have to pay special attention to win them over for the cause of democracy progress and socialism.  The students and youth constitute a big reserve in the struggle for revolutionary transformation.

8.21       Tribal People: The tribal people constitute a substantial part of our population, (over 8 per cent).  They are among the most poor and neglected sections, and one that is most affected by bourgeois development-oriented policies.  Most mega-projects have led to large-scale displacement of tribals without any hope foradequate or proper rehabilitation.  They inhabit territories which are richly endowed with minerals and forest resources.  But this bounty from Nature instead of being a boon has become the cause of their misery. Big Business have a greedy eye over these resources.

8.22       No justice can be done to the tribal people, no proper appreciation can be made of their role in shaping India’s destiny, without recalling the fact that the tribals were amongst the earliest contingents in the struggle against alien rulers and had made some of the greatest scarifies.   Actually, tribal uprisings can be traced from as early as the starting point of British rule in India, and continued throughout the subsequent centuries.  Whenever the foreigners (Dikku) tried to enter their habitat, and this included the British and in their train the landgrabbers, the mahajans, the sahukars, the forest officials etc.  they had to meet fierce resistance from the tribal people, which could be put down only by armed forces and leonine repression. They are displaced from the native habitat of their forefathers, deprived of their land, water and other natural resources, and chased out of their forest dwellings.  The so-called high growth economy has totally excluded them.  The ruling class has adopted the sinister design of making adivasis fight, which has the support of both parties of the bourgeoisie.  The notorious ‘Salwa Judum’ was the weapon. Even   military camps and so-called training centres in jungle warfare are being set up in the most affected area (viz, the Bastar region of Chattisgarh).

8.23       The tribals are today one of the most inflammable material in Indian politics.  They have tremendous revolutionary potentialities.

Among nearly 2 crore people displaced from land, 40 per cent are tribals. This is upsetting the tribal community life, besides depriving them of their sources of livelihood.

8.24.     Tribals have a distinct culture and way of life.  This is being destroyed so that they are losing the old world without finding a new.  Reactionary communal Hindutva forces are seeking to assimilate them though most of them have  a faith of their own.  The bourgeois leadership from the time of the national movement has ignored and even denied their separate identity and distinctive culture and even held that the adivasi languages are nothing more than local dialectics and are in any case dying out, dissolving into the languages of their surrounding environment.  It will be wrong however to think that the various tribal languages are dying out, even though they do not have a script of their own.  The biggest difficulty in the way of spreading education among tribal sections is that the children have to learn everything in a language which is not their mother tongue.  In recent times with growing awareness some big adivasi sections have struggled for a script in which their language could be written.  Such is the case for instance with the Olchiki script for the Santhali language.  Elsewhere the Devnagri or Roman script has been introduced.

8.25.     The tribal question must not be identified with the Maoist question.  The two are different.

8.26.     The Party opposes the forcible assimilation of tribals and subsuming their tribal culture into the prevailing dominant culture.  While helping them to adapt to modern life and to raise their living conditions, the party will fight for their Constitutional safeguards and special provisions of the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.  Their right to forests, forest produce, water resources and land under cultivation must be assured.

8.27.     ‘Jal, Jangal, Jamin’ is their battle cry.  They are organizing themselves everywhere.  The Party must fight along with them.

9. Transition Period

9.1     Life has shown that capitalism is incapable of solving the problems of poverty, unemployment and deprivation.  Its rule has only led to wide economic inequalities among people.  With the bourgeois ruling clique’s  compromise with feudal and semi-feudal elements and its growing collaboration with imperialist powers it is incapable of carrying out the tasks for taking ahead the democratic revolution.  There has to be a different class combination to lead the country towards completing the democratic revolution and preparing the transition to socialism.  This democratic revolution has to be anti-feudal, anti-imperialist and anti-monopolist.  The classes and sections of people that are in action for carrying out these tasks of the democratic revolution whether spontaneously or consciously are the working class, the rural proletariat, the working peasantry, the progressive democratic and secular intelligentsia and the revolutionary sections of the middle class.  Rallying around a firm worker-peasant alliance, they can lead the country during the period of advancing the democratic revolution by replacing the big bourgeoisie from the leadership.  It will be a type of new democratic revolution, not the old type of bourgeois democratic revolution.

9.2         By fighting imperialist machinations and attempts at imposing neo-colonial dictates through international financial and trade agencies dominated by U.S. imperialism, it will complete the national democratic tasks.  Likewise, by fighting and eliminating the monopolist big bourgeoisie, it goes through the people’s democratic tasks of the revolution.

9.3         Capitalism with its contradictions, crisis and its incompetence to solve the basic problems of the common people, whether globally or in India is not permanent, stable, and the ‘end of history’, but only one phase in the history of humanity.  Like its predecessor the colonial-feudal phase, it will be superceded by another kind of society viz. the socialist phase.  This is the march of progress.

The completion of the tasks of the democratic revolution in India will not be a permanent halting stage. Between this and the advance towards socialism will be the period of the revolutionary transformation from the one to the other.  How long this period will be cannot be predicted or envisaged now.  There is nothing like a manual of strategic and tactical decisions that will determine this. It is only political actions and mass movements based on the situation inside various regions and in the country, that will decide what is necessary and possible at any time. Politics has to be subordinated to the historical development, viz; the growing mass actions against bourgeoisie policies. It is not as if we have to ‘introduce’ socialism, as a sort of utopia but to coordinate the growing spontaneous as well as organised mass movements and lead them towards a mass upsurge in the country. In this the global context will be an important factor to be taken into account. This is possible only when led by the Party and similar other forces who move into action with the revolutionary ideology of scientific socialism as their goal.  Broad Political action and democratic mass movements are the keys.  It has been seen that real politics begins when millions are on the streets.  This has been amply and forcefully demonstrated in recent days in various countries, as well as in India.

There were extremely powerful and unprecedented mass upsurge against autocracy and oppressive dictatorial regimes in Arab countries which brought determined millions on the streets. They showed great promise and won success at the first stage.  But they could not succeed in taking the country towards democracy and social progress in the absence of a leading centre having a definite programme of social transformation with the result that they were ultimately taken over by all brands of fundamentalist forces. However once the people have realized the force of their mass action they cannot be kept down for long.

The ‘Occupy Wall Street Movement with avowed and strident ‘anti-capitalism’ slogans mobilized thousands of youths in the very citadels of finance capital for several weeks. It is a fight of the 99% vs. the 1%, as claimed by the participants. But the Movement has been more or less stagnating for the reason that there is no clear idea what alternate system to fight for. However the movement has withstood repression and all hostile propaganda and divisive tactics to defame and destroy it. The genie is out of the bottle.  It cannot be forced back.

The policy represented by Dalal Street (the headquarter of India’s finance capital and Stock Exchange in Mumbai), is identical to the policies followed at the Wall Street in New York.  Bank employees in India are planning to launch a similar movement here.

The capitalist path of development has reached a dead end.  There is no future for India along this path. The only other path open to it is the path of workers’ and peoples’ struggles for progress and social justice. The path of workers’ and peoples’ struggles, the path of the socialism.  All sections of working people, working class, the peasantry, the rural proletariat, urban middle class, the women’s movement,  the youth and student movement have all to be drawn into the fighting alliance.  The ideological struggle is of vital importance against all opportunist and sectarian dogmatic trends and all anti-scientific theories.  For this the broadest possible democratic unity needs to be built.

9.4         At this stage it is necessary also to guard against petty bourgeois revolutionsim hijacking the mass actions and distracting them from their main objective.  So-called Left-wing extremism is also an expression of the petty bourgeoisie and the lumpen elements in society. It only leads to anarchy, needless loss of militant cadres and death of innocents as collateral damages. On the other hand the repeated statements by spokesmen of the ruling circles that Left wing extremism is the greatest threat to India provides a cover for stepping up fascistic repressive measures, including the use of the armed police and the Army for exterminating the militant Left from Indian politics.

9.5         The Party will strive to utilize parliamentary democracy to bring about the required changes in order to carry forward and complete the tasks of the democratic revolution, and move forward for its revolutionary transformation to the next stage.  By developing a powerful mass revolutionary movement and broadening unity of all left and democratic forces, and by winning a stable majority in Parliament backed by such mass movements, the working class and its allies will strive their utmost to overcome the resistance of the forces of reaction and transform the parliament into a genuine instrument of the people’s will for effecting fundamental transformations in society.

9.6         The limitations of parliamentary democracy that exist today arise from the class rule of the bourgeoisie. Parliament today has become a ‘crorepati’s club’.  More than 60% of the members are crorepatis and with capitalist development this number will go up further.  The use of money power and muscle power has become so common that it is extremely difficult for the real representatives of the common people, the poor, to get elected.   Hence the need for basic electoral reforms which will change the composition and the character of Parliament.  The Party advocates the system of proportional representation to replace the ‘First Past The Post’ system which prevails today, where money power and muscle power rule the roost, and parties with minority of votes manage to get majority of seats and win power.  The provisions for reservations along with right to recall will have to be incorporated within the proportional representation system.

9.7         It is the right reactionary and monopoly bourgeois sections who when faced with fierce mass movements are attacking the existing democratic liberties and undermining parliamentary democracy both from within and without. They look at  parliament as an instrument to advance their narrow class interests.  The Party on the contrary defends the parliamentary and democratic institutions and strives to develop them further to make democracy full and real for all.

In the struggle for completing the tasks of the democratic revolution and advancing democracy it will be necessary to fight the steel frame of the bureaucracy bequeathed by the British and further developed manifold by the governments since independence.  It acts as a big break on the initiative of the democratic masses, their self rule and actual participation in administration, with its omnipresent authority, its red-tape, its interference at every step and so forth.  For real democracy to be strengthened and to flourish, popular initiative has to be unleashed.  Bureaucratic delay only causes harassment and frustration among common people and breeds corruption.  The struggle against corruption and for a Citizen’s Charter, and an effective Grievances Redressal machinery is a must.

Given united working class and popular front or other workable forms of agreement and political cooperation between the different parties and public organisations there exists the opportunity to win a majority in Parliament and undertake radical legislations and ensure the transfer of the basic means of production to the hands of the people.  The working class and its allies together can defeat the reactionary anti-people forces, and through its majority in parliament transform parliament from an instrument of serving the class interests of the bourgeoisie into an instrument serving the working people, coupled with launching an extra-parliamentary mass struggles.

9.8         The transition period from the democratic to the socialist stage may take time.  During this period India may have to go through a number of political formations and combinations in course of which forces of reaction will be marginalized and the forces of democracy and socialism, the left and democratic forces will emerge more and more powerful.  It will ultimately result in the leadership of the bourgeoisie getting replaced by the leadership of the working class and its broad democratic allies. This is not an evolutionary process but of revolutionary transformation through sustained mass struggles and political actions.

9.9         Parties and Politics:  The two main bourgeois parties are the Congress and the BJP.  They differ in certain matters, the one with its allies is in the seat of power, while the other with its allies sits in the opposition. However on basic economic, political, foreign and internal policies both reflect the interests of the big bourgeoisie and monopolist sections.  Their attempt is to impose a two party system in the country.  This is a typical bourgeois method of channelising   popular discontent and keeping it trapped within the confines of the bourgeois system.  However this is difficult in India because of its diversities and pluralities, and the ripeness of the situation for change.

At the present time a party that claims to have no specific ideology and is not burdened with any, is actually a purveyor of bourgeois ideology.  It is necessary however for the Party to look not into the words and declarations but into their actual deeds and their response to any situation.

9.10       Some of the other parties are caste or region based, built around individual and leading groups, but with significant mass followings in certain regions.  Not having clear cut ideology and programme of their own, they generally share a bourgeois or petty bourgeois outlook.

9.11       Attempts are also being made by the ruling class to divert the people’s movement and mass discontent into so-called non-political channels or even reactionary channels through some NGOs financed from abroad by pro-imperialist sources.  There are of course some other NGOs which boldly dare to join and help the people’s movements on some specific issues. Not having a definite political outlook, these regional parties are willing to join hands with the communists if the situation so demands.  Most of them cannot be branded as reactionary or communal except that for sharing power some of them may opportunistically align with either of the two main bourgeois parties, from time to time.

9.12       Regional Parties have acquired an important role in India’s political scenario.  They represent and voice the urges and demands of vital sections of the people in the particular state/region.  They also articulate the urge for empowerment of the people of that region.  Their rise has partly to be attributed to the failure of the main national parties in voicing and fulfilling the legitimate urges and demands of various sections of the people and regions.

The CPI should closely watch the developments among these regional parties and have a positive attitude towards those who are breaking away from the two main bourgeois parties. It should also watch and influence their approach towards economic policies.

With the large mass of OBCs, dalits and tribals being drawn into politics, and into the vortex of the political struggle for empowerment, regional parties basing themselves on large regional caste groupings have also come up.  These parties have one or two numerically powerful castes at the core, and are able to rally round them other scattered castes.  The minorities in some states who have felt neglected and only used so far by the major bourgeois parties, have also rallied behind them in some states and regions.

The CPI should reach out to the sections behind them, and eventually draw them towards Left Democratic Front.    This does not preclude criticism of any specific failure or misdeed wherever these caste-based parties are in power.  The masses behind the regional parties can be drawn towards the Party through class and mass struggles, along with struggle for social justice and upliftment.  We should at the same time take precaution to see that our ranks and cadres are not infected by caste-based policies of these parties.  For this the class consciousness and ideological level of our ranks have to be raised.

Association with the Communists and the Left Parties in Joint Actions and struggles on people’s issues will bring about changes in the thinking and outlook of these regional and broadly secular parties and groups, strengthening their progressive and democratic outlook, making them partners in fulfilling the tasks of the new democratic revolution and the subsequent transition period.  This calls for constant interaction with them and sharing the generalized experience of each phase of the movement.  Those who fail to do so will drop by the wayside.

Apart from all these parties are the Communist and ‘Left parties who are based on the working people in town and countryside and stand for a socialist future.

They have to act as the motivators of a broad democratic and progressive alliance, as their strategic outlook is long-term, for completing the democratic revolution and advancing towards the socialist revolution.

9.13       Political Parties represent and voice the interests of different classes, and different communities and groups of people.  In the course of completing the tasks of the new democratic revolution and its subsequent transition to the socialist stage it is unlikely that they will disappear from the political scene.  They will continue to act and react competing for people’s support.  Therefore during this entire period there will have to be a system of Multi-Party Democracy. The Party has a positive approach towards this.

9.14       The Party will strive for a peaceful path of revolutionary transformation.  It will explore all the possibilities of such a path. This also depends on the ruling bourgeois circles which increasingly tend to use more and more repressive measures, including use of force and violence to put down the actions and struggles of the people and hold on to power.  Therefore it is necessary for the revolutionary forces to so orient themselves and their work that they can face up to all contingencies, to any twists and turns in the political life of the country, and be able to counter all the moves of the bourgeois ruling circles.

In the event of the exploiting classes resorting to force and violence against the people, the other possibility has to be borne in mind.  The actual possibility of the one or the other way of transition to socialism depends on the concrete historical conditions.

Old dogmatic ideas will not help in the given situation today.  The concrete conditions existing at the time will have to be taken into account for assessing the actual possibility and deciding the course of action.

  1. Electoral Reforms

10.1       If the Parliament is to truly reflect the verdict of the people there is urgent need to reform India’s electoral system.  The present electoral system apart from other shortcoming is vitiated and distorted by money power and muscle power.  It has kept the door open for criminals to enter into Parliament.  All this inhibits the parliament in responding to people’s demands and be sensitive to the changes that are taking place. All this suits the exercise of power by the monopoly bourgeoisie.

10.2       Several attempts have been made to bring about electoral reforms. But they have not touched the basic system of election in the country.  The Election Commission on its part has made several sincere attempts to curb money power and muscle power.  But their efforts have not met with success due to the limitations of the prevailing system.

10.3       Steps have to be taken to debar criminals from contesting and entering parliament, while ensuring that this does not affect genuine fighters for the people’s cause who are usually charged by a repressive government to put down the people’s struggles.  What is essential is to replace the present ‘First Past the Post’ system which allows individual money bags to use unlimited money and muscle power to win anyhow.  As facts show this has allowed candidates with even less that 10 to 15 per cent votes to win in a given constituency.

10.4        For instance in the 2009 general election to the Indian Parliament 145 out of 543 elected members won with less than 20 per cent votes.  This enables parties or coalitions to rule with a minority of votes but a majority of seats.  Due to the presence of money power a majority of members of parliament, specially from the main bourgeois parties are ‘crorepatis’ turning the parliament into a ‘crorepatis’ club’.

10.5        The present electoral system has therefore to be radically changed.  It has to replace by a system of Proportional Representation.  Such a system more correctly reflects the relative strength of political parties and enables representation to minorities.  In such a system money and muscle power have far less scope for influencing and distorting the people’s verdict.  Variations of this system exist in a majority of democracies in the world.  The exact variant that will suit the specific Indian conditions needs to be worked out.

11. Federal Structure and Panchayat Raj

11.1        Considering the size and the diversity in its demography the political structure of India has naturally to be a federal one. The Constitution provides for states with their own elected assemblies and the union of India with its elected Parliament.  The list of subjects on which each has jurisdiction has been demarcated as state list, central list and concurrent list.  However within the bourgeois rule the trend has continuously been for the centre to transgress on the powers of the states.  Laws, rules, taxation systems executive directives, are adopted and issued without reference and consultation with the states.  In financial matters the Centre is increasingly appropriating funds and resources while starving the states.  Constitutional provisions have been grossly misused to dismiss state governments, to threaten and intimidate them and to hold them in leash.  Agencies like the CBI, CVC under central control are also used for similar purposes.  All these are at the root of centre-state relations leading to tensions particularly when different political parties are at the helm at the centre and in states.  The federal structure is thus being eroded.

11.2       The Party will consistently fight against all such attempts and defend the federal structure of the country’s polity for redefining centre-state relations, and for adequate financial resources which will enable the states to undertake genuine development.

11.3        The introduction of the Panchayati Raj has been intended as a measure of democratic decentralisation.  Provision of women’s reservation in addition to those for SCs/STs and OBCs (including the category of most backward) was meant to empower the basic masses at the grassroot level.  But this has been mostly thwarted by the refusal to give adequate financial resources and throwing open the departments which have to be administered at that level.  In most states with a few hounorable exceptions, the ruling groups have been reluctant to part with powers to the panchayats at the lower levels.  The bourgeois ruling class at the Centre has been complicit in circumventing the powers of the panchayats.  The omnipresent bureaucracy throughout the country prevents the people’s initiatives for enlightened self-rule.

Even so the Panchayati Raj has drawn millions of men and women and fired them with the urge for self-rule.  The Party and the broad democratic forces have to reckon with this and help it to grow by fighting for more funds andpower at the grassroot, and against all attempts to curb and limit this through bureaucratic control and intervention. The utmost importance has to be given to this question as it has the potential to broaden the democratic base of the people’s movements.

  1. Education and Culture

12.1    One of the essential conditions for national advance and for social transformation is mass literacy and ever-rising level of popular education, scientific knowledge and culture.  This demands an end to the present national education policy oriented to meet the interests of the upper classes.  Promotion of elitist education at the cost of mass education has to be reversed and an alternative popular education policy worked out and implemented.  Primary education mist be decentralized.  Non-formal education has to be strengthened and so organised as to enable the working people to be educated.  The syllabus must be related to the requirements of national development and the practical needs of the masses while at the same time creating interest in the humanities and sciences. Education has to be liberated from private business houses and mafia-control.  The Party will work towards a common school system and for a system of neighbourhood schools.

12.2        Democratisation, enlivening and enrichment of our creative cultural life is also called for.  This needs a new national cultural policy which synthesizes our precious cultural heritage and the entire wealth of culture created by human civilization and also the multi-faceted cultures of our linguistic and ethnic groups.  India’s progressive heritage and composite culture have to be defended against reactionary and decadent cultural aggression.

12.3        This task has now become more urgent because of the mounting invasion of our mass media by the imperialist-controlled and corporate-controlled media organisations which distort reality.  These seek to colonise minds and alienate us from our own cultural roots.  A new massive cultural movement of people utilizing new organisational forms and carrying forward our traditions of patriotism, national unity and communal amity, international solidarity, rational thinking and the passionate urge for social changes and social justice must be built.  Fidelity to truth, to life and the masses must be its hallmark.

12.4        The launching of the Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA) and the Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) during the freedom movement made a great contribution in these spheres.  They gave depth and content to our struggle for independence.  They are of even greater significance in fulfilling the tasks of completing the New Democratic Revolution and during the transition period to socialism.  They are an integral part of the ideological, cultural battle against the forces of neo-colonialism, obscurantism, orthodoxy, chauvinism, and unscientific thoughts propagated by the reactionary forces.  They have to be strengthened, and spread throughout the country.

  1. Left Unity, Left Democratic Unity

13.1       The worker peasant alliance is the basis and core of the broad alliance that has to be forged for carrying out the tasks of the new democratic revolution and undertaking the revolutionary transition to the socialist stage.  Such a broad alliance is to be built through mass struggles on people’s issues and actions on the economic, political, social and ideological planes.  Only thus will a basic change in the correlation of forces that is needed will be brought about in favour of the Left and democratic forces, expose and isolate the reactionary, pro-monopolist and communal divisive forces.  Only thus will it be possible to overcome caste divisions, opportunism and vacillations among some, greatly strengthen the Left and rally all the broad secular democratic forces, with ever increasing cooperation, coordination and unity in action among them.

13.2       The unity of the Left and democratic forces is not merely a tactical necessity for carrying out the immediate tasks but also a strategic slogan for a longer period of transforming Indian society.  It will be valid and necessary throughout the period of democratic revolution and its transition to socialism.  The Party has to play its role by generalizing the experiences gained during each phase of the people’s movement, make it a part of not only its own understanding but also of the other left and democratic forces and groups, achieve consensus on the next phase of the movement and thus pave the way forward.  Left unity in the present situation in our country, is a broader concept that the unity of communists.  It is a fact of life and can be further consolidated and strengthened.

13.3       The unity of the communist parties and groups will facilitate in bringing about left and democratic unity. Communist unity based on common programmatic, organisational and tactical understanding is essential in the present situation. It will effectively fill the vacuum arising out of the failures and bankruptcy of the bourgeois parties.  People are looking forward to it. The ground for this has been prepared through joint action of the two major communist parties on national and international issues, sharing common political and economic perceptions over a period of several years. Whatever differences exist can be and have to be sorted out through frank discussions based on mutual respect. Only strong Communist Party is capable of developing mass movements, coordinating and further strengthening spontaneous and organised movements of different sections of the people, and utilizing correct and appropriate United Front tactics to achieve the strategic objective.

13.4       Efforts at joint actions and subsequent unification of class and mass organisations is a crucial task which will enhance immensely the role in society of workers, peasants, intellectuals, youth and students, women and other sections.  Social reform organisations and social action groups that stand for social justice and democratic progress have also to be mobilized for the upcoming movements.

  1. India’s Socialist Future

14.1       The course of social development in India following the completion of the democratic revolution is to advance towards its socialist future.  Elements of this will grow within the womb of the democratic revolution itself especially during its later phase.  The CPI is firmly wedded to the goal of a just socialist society which will clear the way for ending all forms of exploitation and social oppression arising from class, caste and gender differences, a society in which the exploitation of man by man will come to an end. Repudiating all dogmatic and doctrinaire thinking and revisionist trends, the Party will apply. The science of Marxism-Leninism to the specific conditions of India for charting the path to such a new socialist society.  This path will be determined by the specific historical conditions obtaining, as well as the particular characteristics and features of our own country, its history, tradition, culture, social composition and level of development.

The path as well as the features of socialism in Indian conditions in the historical period can only be defined as the situation develops.  However certain broad features and some of the key elements of the socialist transformation that is to follow can be outlined.

The key element is socialization of the main means of production.

In India some of the basic industrial and commercial undertakings and certain key sectors of the economy are already in the public sector.  Under neo-liberalism the bourgeois governments have made several attempts to reduce public equity and eventually privatize them.  However for the most part they have not been able to do so due to the resistance  of the working class and opposition from the left parties and democratic forces.  This form of state capitalism makes the task of socialization of the means of production easier.  Socialising of the means of production will be the driving force for the Indian economy, rather than the capitalist quest for super profits.  It will help the development of the material and spiritual life of our people, making it possible to use planned management of the economy to ward off repeated economic recession. It will help to effectively regulate and check further environmental destruction and the widening social and economic gap.

Obviously socialist advance will be based not on the negation but the  further development of all the valuable gains of the previous capitalist era.

While in the industrial field, social ownership of the main means of production will play a leading role, private sector, joint sector, cooperative sector, small-scale sector etc. in specific spheres will co-exist and interact in the over-all economy.

In the agricultural sector, based on radical agrarian reforms and ceiling on landholdings, peasant proprietorship shall have all facilities to flourish.  Reducing the cost of inputs, using methods to increase productivity and production, providing remunerative prices for the produce, access to cheap and easy credit and market shall be ensured.  Agriculture shall be made viable.

Socialisation of the means of production can take on a variety of forms of ownership, control and management according to the situation and condition that will suit our country.  This includes advancing towards socialism through a market economy, combining it with elements of planned economy.  The road to socialism in India will be a process of new challenges, giving rise to new problems.  They will be solved by the collective wisdom and creativeness of our talented people. The party will give keen attention to this.

To ensure harmony and unity among our multi-crore people the socialist society will guarantee freedom of religion to all sections.  At the same time it will curb religious fundamentalism.  Religions minorities shall be given protection and any discrimination against them will be forbidden.  Secularism implies the separation of religion from the state and from politics.

A number of committees have pointed to the deprivation suffered by SCs, STs, Other Backward Classes and Minorities.  They have recommended several measures to overcome this.  Abolition of social oppression and discriminations in any form shall be enacted by law.

The Party shall always keep vigil and prevent the destruction of democracy and violation of peoples’ basic rights.

15.The Communist Party of India places this programme before the people and sets forth the principal urgent tasks of the day in order that our people have clear picture of the objective they are fighting for as well as the course of social development in our country.

The Party calls upon the toiling millions, the working class, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, middle-classes, men and  women, students and youth as well as all those sections of our  people who are interested in a truly democratic development of the country and its advance towards a socialist society, to work for the attainment of these objectives.

The Communist Party of India based on democratic centralism, i.e. centralism based on vibrant inner party democracy, its units at different levels, its rank and file members and activists closely linked with the masses and carrying forward the revolutionary fighting tradition of our people shall stand with the people for the attainment of these objectives.

23rd April 2012


This is a draft of the Party Programme.

The Draft was introduced at the 21st Party Congress at Patna. It was agreed that it should be widely circulated for discussion among Party members and within Party units, as well as for open discussion in public.Times have changed and so have the situation in which we are working

today. The old programmes, and the last ‘Programmatic Document’ are no longer valid. The Draft attempts to analyse the present situation both in India and the contemporary world. It tries to summarise the changes that have taken place within the world capitalist system and the developments that have taken place within the path of capitalist development in India,

particularly after the adoption of neo-libaralism.The Draft seeks to understand the changes that have taken place within the various classes in Indian society as well as the changes that have

occurred within the various groups and identities during this period.Since the task is not merely to analyse and understand these changes but to radically transform the socio-political conditions in India, the Draft has indicated the path for the completion of the Democratic Revolution and the subsequent advance towards socialism in India. As the Draft states: Repudiating all dogmatic and doctrinaire thinking and revisionist trends, the Party will apply the science of Marxism-Leninism to the specific conditions of India for charting the path to such a new socialist society.This path will be determined by the specific historical conditions obtaining,as well as the particular characteristics and features of our own country, its history, tradition, culture, social composition and level of development. It is not based on any model. It will be unique and specially Indian path to socialism in this 21st Century. We invite suggestions, amendments, deletions and additions from all quarters which will help improve the Draft.We request that while doing so it will be helpful if the relevant section and para is indicated. They have been numbered in the Draft. This of course does not apply to general criticisms and suggestions, which too we will welcome.The Party leadership intends to convene a Special Plenum or Conference sometime by the end of this year or the beginning of the next year to adopt the Programme after taking into account all the suggestions and views arising from the discussions. Meanwhile, a Committee is being constituted

to process all suggestions, views, criticism and amendments.

A.B. Bardhan

CPI Headquarters, Central Office,

Ajoy Bhavan, 15 Com. Indrajit Gupta Marg,

New Delhi-110 002.

Phone: 23232801, 23235546,

Fax. 23235543,

Email: cpiofindia@gmail.com,




(As amended by the 21st Party Congress held at Patna in March 2012)


The Communist Party of India is the political party of the Indian working class. It is a voluntary organisation of workers, peasants, toiling people in general, intelligentsia and others devoted to the cause of socialism and communism.

The Communist Party of India remains firmly wedded to the goal of a just socialist society in which equal opportunities for all and guarantee of democratic rights will clear the way for ending all forms of exploitation, including caste, class and gender, and exploitation of man by man, a society in which the wealth produced by the toiling millions will not be appropriated by a few. The science of Marxism-Leninism is indispensable for charting the path to such a new socialist system. Of course, this path will be determined by the specific historical conditions obtaining, as well as the particular characteristics and features of our own country, its history, tradition, culture, social composition and level of development. This goal cannot be achieved without hard struggle and a firm commitment to democratic norms and values.

For building of socialism, the achievement of power by the working people, based on socialist democracy, is essential. With unflinching loyalty to the working people and their historic mission, the Communist Party of India will work for the realisation of this mission and go forward to its ultimate goal of establishing a communist society in India.

The socialist society and socialist state of India shall fully safeguard the right of individual liberty, freedom of speech, press, association, conscience and religious belief. It shall also guarantee the right to form opposition parties provided they are committed to abide by the Constitution. The socialist constitution shall always keep vigil and prevent the destruction of democracy and violation of people’s basic rights. The perspective and political policies of the party will be decided on the basis of objective reality. The accumulated experience of our party and the world revolutionary movements shall assist the party in the process. Life has shown that this task cannot be fulfilled by pursuing the capitalist path and as long as the bourgeois class is in control of state power.

The Communist Party of India organises itself and its work on the basis of democratic centralism and on full inner party democracy. The party also firmly believes that unity in action is indispensable. The decisions of the Party Congress and the National Council shall be binding on all party units and party members. Minority opinions on substantial political issues shall be made known to all party units and party members. Formation of factions and groups on the basis of political, organisational or opportunist reasons shall not be permissible. The party believes in free and frank debates. The party shall respect dissenting opinions.

Imbued with lofty ideas of patriotism, the Communist Party of India upholds the independence and sovereignty of India, fights for national unity and national integration, firmly opposes all disruptionist and obscurantist conceptions, communalism, revivalism, untouchability, casteism, religious intolerance and discrimination against and denial of equal rights to women and fights against chauvinism and bourgeois nationalism. The Communist Party of India also firmly upholds the right of all sections of our society to profess the faith of their choice and practice, but it shall not permit preaching of hatred against any religion.

The Communist Party of India shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy, and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.

The Communist Party of India shall strongly fight for the cause of social justice. The age-old outlook and practices of social inequality are very strong in our society. Social and economic inequality has become a most formidable block to the advance of our society. The fight against caste thinking and caste practices is essential for the unity of our people. Noble traditions, historical experience, rich cultural heritage and valuable teachings of great social reformers and thinkers of our country will help the party to cultivate scientific temper and socialist ideals.

Fight for peace and against neo-colonialism along with fight for a just society is common ground for all progressive forces of the world. Adhering to the principle of independence, equality and non-interference, the Communist Party of India shall make every effort to build friendship with other parties of the working people and the forces fighting against imperialism and for social progress. The Communist Party of India firmly believes that real and basic interests of the people of the world are the same and hence we stand for proletarian internationalism. Solidarity with just and progressive causes in other parts of the world will help our own struggle.



The name of the party shall be the Communist Party of India.



The emblem of the party shall be a crossed Hammer and Sickle in white against a red background with a circular inscription in white: Communist Party of India



The flag of the party shall be a Red Flag of which the length shall be one-and-a-half times its width. At the centre of the flag there shall be a crossed hammer and sickle in white.



  1. Any Indian citizen, eighteen years of age or above, who accepts the programme and constitution of the party, agrees to work in one of the party organisations, to pay regularly the party membership fee and levy and to carry out decisions of the party shall be eligible for membership.
  2. New members are admitted to the party on individual application and through a party branch on the recommendation of two members. Party councils at all levels also have the power to admit new members to the party. Party members who recommend an applicant must furnish the party branch or council concerned truthful information about the applicant from personal knowledge and with due sense of responsibility. All applications for membership must be placed before the appropriate council within a month of their presentation and recommendation.
  3. The general body meeting of the party branch shall decide on the question of admission and, if the applicant is admitted to the party, he or she shall be regarded as candidate member for a period of six months commencing from the date of such admission.
  4. If a leading member from another political party — local, district or state level — comes over to the party, in addition to the sanction of the local party unit of district or state council, it is necessary to have the sanction of the next higher unit of the party before he or she is admitted to membership of the party.
  5. Members once expelled from the party can be readmitted only by the decision of the unit which confirmed their expulsion or by a higher unit, after considering the views of the unit from which he or she was expelled.
  6. Candidate members have the same duties and rights as full members except that they have the right to elect or be elected or to vote on any motion.
  7. The party branch or unit admitting candidate members shall arrange for their elementary education on the programme, constitution and the current policies of the party and observe their development through providing their functioning as members of a branch or unit.
  8. By the end of the period of candidature, the party branch or unit concerned shall discuss whether the candidate member is qualified to be admitted to full membership. The branch or the unit concerned may admit candidates to full membership or prolong the period of candidature for another term not exceeding six months. If a candidate member is found unfit, the branch or unit may cancel his or her candidate membership. A report of recruitment of candidates and of recommendations for admission to full membership shall be regularly forwarded by the branch or unit concerned to the next higher party unit.
  9. The higher unit may, on scrutiny of the report, alter or modify any such decision after consultation with the branch or unit which has submitted the report. The district and state councils will exercise supervisory powers over the recruitment of candidates and over admissions to full membership and have the right to modify or reject the decision of the lower units in this respect. Such supervisory powers shall be especially exercised where the membership of a unit is highly disproportionate to the influence of the party and the strength of the mass organisations and movement or where there is sudden and excessive fall or rise in party membership as compared to the previous year.
  10. If no decision to extend or cancel candidate membership is taken or no report prepared by the concerned branch even after a month following the completion of the period of candidature the candidate member will become a full member.
  11. A member may transfer his or her membership from one unit to another with the approval of the unit from which transfer is sought and by presenting a letter of introduction from the same to the new unit he or she wishes to join. In case of transfer outside the district or state, approval by the district or the state council concerned shall be necessary.


Party Pledge

All candidates as well as full members shall sign the party pledge. This pledge shall be:

“I accept the aims and objectives of the party and agree to abide by its constitution and loyally to carry out decisions of the party.

“I shall strive to live up to the ideals of communism and shall selflessly serve and fight for the working class and the toiling masses and the country, always placing the interests of the party and people above personal interests.”


Party Membership Cards

  1. On admission to membership, every party member shall be issued a membership card.
  2. Party cards shall be uniform throughout the country and shall be issued by the state councils. Their form and contents shall be decided upon by the National Executive.


Renewal of Membership

  1. There shall be an annual renewal of party membership. Renewal shall be made on the basis of a check up by the party organisation to which the member belongs under the direction and supervision of the state council. Party membership will not be renewed in the case of any member who for a continuous period of more than six months and without proper reason has failed to take part in party life and activity or to pay membership fee and levy.
  2. Renewal of party membership shall be on the basis of a checkup at a meeting of party members of a branch or unit and in the case of refusal of renewal the reason thereof shall be communicated to the member concerned who shall have the right of appeal to the next higher unit.
  3. A report on such renewal of party membership or unit concerned shall be sent to the next higher unit for confirmation and registration.
  4. The state council and the district council shall have the right to scrutinise the list of party members.


Resignation from Party Membership

  1. A member wishing to resign from the party shall submit his or her resignation to the party branch concerned, which by a decision of its general body meeting may accept the same and decide to strike off his or her name from the rolls and report the matter to the next higher unit.
  2. The party branch or unit concerned may, if it thinks necessary, try to persuade such a member to revoke his or her wish to resign.
  3. In the case where a member wishing to resign from the party is liable to be charged with serious violation of discipline which may warrant his or her suspension or expulsion and where such a charge is substantial, the resignation may be given effect to as expulsion from the party.
  4. All such cases of resignations given effect to as expulsions shall be immediately reported to the next higher party unit and be subject to the latter’s confirmation.


Membership Fee

All members, full as well as candidate, shall pay a party membership fee of Rs 5 (five rupees) per year. This annual party fee shall be paid at the time of admission into the party or at the time of the renewal of the party membership.


Distribution of Party Fee

Party fee collected from members by branches or units shall be distributed as follows:

20 per cent for the national council;

40 per cent for the state council; and

The remaining 40 per cent shall be divided among the district council, the branch and the local unit where it exists, in such proportion as decided by the state executive concerned.


Party Levy

The state executive and the national executive shall fix levies on members in accordance with the guiding rules approved by the national council.


Duties of Party Members

The duties of members are as follows:

(a) To regularly participate in the activity of the party organisation to which they belong, to faithfully carry out the policy, decisions and the directives of the party, and to pay regularly the levy fixed by the party.

(b) To fight for the interests of the working people against all forms of exploitation and oppression of the masses, to devotedly serve the masses and consistently strengthen their bonds with them, to learn from the masses and report their opinions and demands to the party, to work in a mass organisation, unless exempted, under the guidance of the party.

(c) To study the science of Marxism-Leninism and endeavour to raise their level of understanding.

(d) To read, support and popularise party journals and publications.

(e) To observe the party constitution and party discipline and behave in the spirit of proletarian internationalism and in accordance with the noble ideals of communism.

(f) To place the interests of the people and the party above personal interests.

(g) To fight consistently against all oppression or discrimination based on religion, caste or sex and firmly oppose such fissiparous tendencies as communalism and casteism and national and regional chauvinism.

(h) To cultivate comradely relations towards one another and constantly develop a fraternal spirit within the party.

(i) To practise criticism and self-criticism with a view to helping each other and improving individual and collective work.

(j) To be frank, honest and truthful to the party and not to betray the confidence of the party.

(k) To safeguard the unity and solidarity of the party and to be vigilant against the enemies of the party, the working class and the country.

(l) To defend the party and uphold its cause against the onslaught of the enemies of the party, the working class and the country.

(m) To deepen their understanding of the noble traditions, history and cultural heritage of the Indian people.

  1. Every party organisation, every member and every candidate member shall protect the party against anti-party influences and against factionalism and shall work for the unity and purity of the party on the foundations of Marxism-Leninism. Party members shall have the duty to remain vigilant in order to prevent enemies of the working class from destroying the unity of the party through the formation of splinter groups or other forms of disruptive activity.
  2. It shall be the task of party organisation to ensure the fulfillment of the above duties by members and help them in every possible way in the discharge of these duties.


Rights of Party Members

  1. Rights of the party members are as follows:

(a) To elect, party organs and committees and be elected to them.

(b) To participate freely in discussions in order to contribute to the formulation of party policy and decisions of the party.

(c) To make proposals regarding their own work in the party, to get work assigned to themselves in accordance with their ability and situation in life.

(d) To make criticism about party units and functionaries at appropriate party forums. Such criticism shall be sent to the comrade or unit criticised and the reply reported to the unit concerned within a reasonable time.

(e) To demand to be heard in person when any party unit or organisation discusses disciplinary action against any member or evaluates his or her personal behaviour or work in connection with serious mistakes which he or she is alleged to have committed.

(f) When any member disagrees with any decision of a party unit or organisation, he or she has a right to submit his or her opinion to the higher committee, including and up to the national council and the Party Congress. In all such cases the members shall, of course, carry out the party decisions and the differences shall be sought to be resolved through the test of practice and through comradely discussions.

(g) To address any statement, appeal or complaint to any higher party organisation up to and including the national council and the party congress and to receive the answer to the appeal or redressal of one’s complaint within a reasonable time.

  1. It shall be the duty of party organisations and functionaries to see that these rights are respected.


Principles of Democratic Centralism

1) The Communist Party of India organises itself and its work on the basis of democratic centralism and on full inner-party democracy.

In the sphere of the party structure, the guiding principles of democratic centralism are:

(a) All leading organisations of the party from top to bottom shall be elected by secret ballot, the principle of maintaining continuity as well as ensuring promotion of new cadres into leadership shall be continuously applied throughout the party.

(b) The minority shall carry out the decisions of the majority, the lower organisations shall carry out the decisions and directives of the higher organs or units, the individual shall carry out the will of the collective. All organisations shall carry out the decisions and directives of the Party Congress and of the national council.

(c) All party units shall periodically report on their work to organisations immediately below and all lower units shall likewise report to their immediate higher units.

(d) All party units, particularly the leading units, shall pay constant heed to the opinions and criticisms of the lower organisations and the rank-and-file party members and shall pay due consideration to the issues raised by them and send suitable reply at the earliest.

(e) All party units shall function strictly on the principles of collective decisions and checkup combined with individual responsibility.

(f) All questions of international affairs, questions of all-India character, or questions concerning more than one state or questions requiring uniform decisions for the whole country, shall be decided upon by the all-India party organisation. All questions of a state or district character shall be ordinarily decided upon by the corresponding party organisation. But in no case shall such decisions run counter to the decisions of a higher party organisation. When the central party leadership has to take a decision on any issue of major state importance, it shall do so after consultation, with the state organisation concerned. The state organisation shall do likewise in relation to districts.

(g) On issues which affect the policy of the party on all-India scale, but on which the party’s standpoint is to be expressed for the first time, only the central 1eadership is entitled to make a policy statement. The lower units and individual members can and should send their opinions and suggestions in time for consideration by the central leadership.

  1. Basing itself upon the experience of the entire membership and of the popular movement, in the sphere of the internal life of the party the following guiding principles of democratic centralism are applied:

(a) Free and frank discussion within the party unit on all questions affecting the party, its policy and work.

(b) Sustained efforts to activise the members in popularising and implementing party policies, to raise their ideological-political level and improve their general education so that they can effectively participate in the life and work of the party.

(c) When serious differences arise in a party unit every effort should be made to arrive at an agreement; failing this, the decision should be taken by a majority vote.

(d) However, if the issue is not of immediate import and action, it is not necessary to close the discussion.

(e) Minority opinions on substantial political issues shall be made known to all party units and party members.

(f) Encouragement of criticism and self-criticism at all levels from top to bottom, especially criticism from below.

(g) Consistent struggle against bureaucratic tendencies at all levels. All members of leading units have a special responsibility for democratic and collective functioning of the units.

(h) Impermissibility of factionalism and factional groupings inside the party in any form.

(i) Strengthening of the party spirit by developing fraternal relations and mutual help, correcting mistakes by treating comrades sympathetically, judging them and their work not on the basis of isolated mistakes or incidents, but by taking into account their whole record of service to the party.


All India Party Congress

  1. The supreme organ of the party for the whole country shall be the all-India Party Congress.

(a) The regular Party Congress shall be convened by the national council ordinarily every three years. In case of any delay due to any unavoidable reason, the national council shall submit a report to the Congress explaining the same.

(b) An extraordinary Party Congress shall be called by the national council at its own discretion, or when it is demanded by the state party organisations representing not less than one-third of the total membership.

(c) The date and venue of the Party Congress or of the extraordinary Party Congress shall be decided by the national council.

(d) A regular Party Congress shall be composed of delegates elected by the state conferences as well as by conferences of party units directly under the all India party centre.

(e) The basis of representation to a party congress shall be decided by the national council.

(f) The basis of representation and the method of selection of delegates to the extraordinary Party Congress shall be decided by the national council.

(g) The members of the national executive and of the central control commission shall have the right to participate as full delegate in the Party Congress, whether, regular or extraordinary. Other members of the national council shall be entitled to attend the Party Congress as delegates without vote unless elected.

(h) The membership from any state for which the quota of membership fee due to the national council has been fully paid and accepted by the national council shall be taken as the basis for calculating the number of delegates from the state to the Party Congress.

  1. Functions and powers of the regular Party Congress are as follows:

(a) To discuss and act on the political and organisational reports of the national council.

(b) To revise and change the party programme and the party constitution.

(c) To determine the tactical line and the policy of the party on the current situation.

(d) To elect the central control commission by secret ballot.

(e) To elect the national council by secret ballot.

(f) To hear and decide on the report of the central control commission as well as on appeals.

(g) To hear and decide on the report of the audit commission.

  1. The Congress shall elect a presidium for the conduct of its business.


National Council

  1. The national council, which shall be elected by the Party Congress, shall consist of not more than 125 members, the exact number being determined by the Party Congress. It will also consist of candidate members, their number not exceeding 10 per cent of the number of full members of the national council. The candidate members have a right to attend the sessions of the national council and participate in the discussions but no right to vote.

(a) The outgoing national council shall propose to the Congress a panel of candidates.

(b) The panel of candidates shall be prepared with a view to create a broad-based, capable leadership, closely linked with the masses, firm in the revolutionary outlook of the working class and educated in Marxism-Leninism. The panel shall bring together the best talent and experience from all states, from mass fronts and other fields of party activity and include at least one representative from every state.

Special attention must be paid to give fully adequate representation on the panel to women and to working class, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backwards.

(c) At least one-fifth of the panel of candidates shall be persons who were not members of the outgoing national council.

(d) Any delegate can raise objection with regard to any name in the panel proposed as well as propose any new name or names.

(e) Anyone whose name has been proposed shall have the right to withdraw.

(f) The panel finally, proposed together with the additional nomination by the delegates, if any, shall be voted upon by secret ballot, and by the method of single distributive vote.

  1. The national council shall have the power to co-opt members to fill any vacancies subject to the condition that such co-option does not exceed more than 10 per cent of the membership of the council and shall be valid only if two-thirds of the members of the council attending its meeting vote for the proposal.

Vacancies in the national council shall ordinarily be filled from among candidate members.

The national council shall also have the power to co-opt candidate members to fill any vacancies that may occur among the candidate members subject to the condition that such cooption shall be valid only if two-thirds of the members of the national council attending its meeting vote for the proposal.


Functions of National Council

  1. The national council shall be the highest authority of the party between two all-India Party Congresses.
  2. It is responsible for enforcing the party constitution and for carrying out the political line and decisions adopted by the Party Congress.
  3. The national council shall represent the party as a whole and be responsible for directing the entire work of the party. The national council shall have the right to take decisions with full authority on any question facing the party.
  4. The national council shall elect from among its members a national executive of not more than 31 members to carry on the work of the national council between its two sessions. It shall also elect from among the members of the national executive the general secretary and secretaries and if deemed necessary one of the secretaries as deputy general secretary. These together shall constitute a national secretariat of not more than nine members. The panel for the national executive shall be proposed by the outgoing national executive. The panel for the national secretariat including the general secretary and deputy general secretary, if any shall be proposed by the new national executive.
  5. The panel may be the exact number to be elected or more as it thinks fit. With more names added from the floor, if any, the list will be voted upon. In such cases the names finally proposed will be in the alphabetical order. This applies to lower levels also.
  6. The national council shall elect a treasurer. It may also elect an assistant treasurer. It shall also elect an audit commission to audit the accounts and report on the same to the national council annually.
  7. The national council shall have the right to fill up vacancies in and remove any member from the national executive and reconstitute the same.
  8. The national council shall fill up any vacancy that may occur in the central control commission.
  9. The national council shall meet at least once in every six months or whenever one-third of its total members make a requisition.
  10. The national council shall discuss and decide on the political and organisational reports and other matters placed before it by the national executive. The national council may decide to take up any other proposal or question.
  11. The national council shall submit its political and organisational report and the report of the audit commission before the Party Congress, whenever it is convened.


National Executive

  1. The national executive shall direct the work of the party during the period between two sessions of the national council. It shall be responsible for the implementation of the decisions and directives of the national council. It shall decide on any political or organisational question as well as on the problems of mass movement and shall guide the state councils. It shall submit a report on its work and discussions to the next meeting of the national council.
  2. Carrying out its responsibilities on behalf of the national council, the national executive shall perform the following tasks:

(a) Convene regular sessions of the national council and prepare reports and resolutions for the same and circulate them to its members at least one week before the date of the national council meeting.

(b) Guide and assist state councils.

(c) Guide the party press and publications.

(d) Direct the work of the CPI group in Parliament.

(e) Direct the party’s work in all mass fronts.

(f) Organise party education.

(h) Maintain relations with fraternal parties.

  1. The function of the general secretary, deputy general secretary, if any, and the national secretariat is to direct and carry out the current work on behalf of the national executive.

The national executive will meet at least once in every two months.

The national executive shall set up departments and committees for discharging specific tasks on its behalf. The departments shall work according to the guidelines laid down by the national executive.


State Party Organs

  1. The highest organ in the state shall be the state conference.
  2. The regular state conference shall be convened by the state council once in every three years.
  3. An extraordinary state conference shall be called by the state council at its own discretion, or when this is demanded by party units which represent not less than one third of the membership. Such an extraordinary state conference, called on demand of one-third of the membership, may be convened after consulting the national executive.
  4. A regular state conference shall be composed of delegates elected by district conferences and by the conferences of party units, if any, directly under the state executive.
  5. The basis of representation at state conference shall be determined by the state council.
  6. The basis of representation and the method of election of delegates to the extraordinary state conference shall be decided by the state council.
  7. Members of the state executive and of the state control commission shall have the right to participate as full delegates in the state conference, whether regular or extraordinary. Members of the state council shall attend the state conference as delegates without vote unless elected.
  8. The membership from any district for which the quota of party membership fee due to the state council has been fully paid and accepted by the state council shall be taken as the basis for calculating the number of delegates from the district to the state conference.
  9. Functions and powers of a regular state conference are:

(a) To discuss and act on the political and organisational reports of the state council.

(b) To determine the line of the party and mass work in the state in accordance with general policies and approach of the party and their own experience and to suggest changes in the all India policies and the general line of the party.

(c) To elect delegates to the all India Party Congress.

(d) To elect the state control commission.

(e) To elect the state council.

(f) To hear and decide on the report of the state audit commission.

(g) To hear and decide on the report of the state control commission.

(h) The state conference shall elect a presidium for the conduct of its business.


State Council

  1. The state council which should be elected by the party conference shall consist of not more than 125 members. The exact number shall be determined by the conference. It will also consist of candidate members, their number not exceeding 10 per cent of the number of full members of the state council. The candidate members have a right to attend the sessions of the state council and participate in its discussions but have no right to vote.
  2. The outgoing state council shall propose a panel of candidates.
  3. The list of candidates shall be prepared with a view to constitute a leadership to meet the needs of the growing mass movement and party activity in the state but bearing in mind the general considerations under section (b) in article XVI.
  4. The selection of the state council at the conference shall be governed by the same rules and principles as laid down in sections (c) to (f) in article XVI.
  5. The state council shall be the highest authority of the state party organisation between two party conferences.
  6. The state council shall represent the state party organisation as a whole and shall be responsible for directing its work between two conferences. The council shall have the right to take decisions with full authority on questions of state nature but in conformity with the policies laid down by the Party Congress and the national council.
  7. The state council shall elect a state executive of not more than 31 members to carry on the work of the state council between its two sessions: It shall also elect from among the members of the state executive a secretary. It may also elect one or two assistant secretaries. The panel for the state executive shall be proposed by the outgoing state executive. The state council may decide, wherever necessary, to elect a secretariat of not more than nine members, including the secretary and assistant secretaries, if any. The panel for the secretary and assistant secretaries and the secretariat if any shall be proposed by the new state executive.
  8. The state council shall have the right to fill up vacancies in or remove any member from the state executive or reconstitute the same.
  9. The state council shall fill up any vacancy that may occur in the state control commission.
  10. The state council shall meet at least once in four months or earlier if one-third of its members make a requisition.
  11. The state council shall discuss and act on the political and organizational report and other matters placed before it by the state executive. The council may take up any other matter.
  12. The state council shall elect a treasurer. It shall also elect an audit commission to audit the accounts and to report on the same to the state council annually and to the conference.
  13. The state council shall have the power to co-opt members to fill any vacancies subject to the conditions that such co-option does not exceed more than 10 per cent of the membership of the council and shall be valid only if two-thirds of the members attending its meeting vote for the proposal.
  14. The state council shall have the power to co-opt candidate members to fill any vacancies that may occur among the candidate members subject to the condition that such co-option shall be valid only if two-thirds of the members of the council attending its meeting vote for the proposal.


State Executive

  1. The state executive shal1 direct the work of the state party organs during the period between two sessions of the state council. It shall be responsible for the implementation of the decisions and the directives of the state council and higher bodies. It shall decide on any political and organisational questions as well as on the problems of mass movement and shall report on the same to the state council.
  2. To carry out these responsibilities on behalf of the state council the state executive shall perform the following tasks:

(a) Convene regular meetings of the state council and prepare reports and resolutions for the same.

(b) Guide and assist the district councils.

(c) Guide the state party press and publications.

(d) Direct the work of the party members in the state legislatures, regional councils, municipalities and other local bodies.

(e) Direct the party’s work in the mass organisations.

(f) Organise party finances.

  1. The state executive shall meet at least once in two months.
  2. The function of the secretary and assistant secretaries and secretariat, if any, are to direct and carry out the current work on behalf of the state executive. To handle the work of the state executive, the state executive shall set up departments and committees to carry out specific tasks on its behalf. These bodies shall function under the guidance of the executive.
  3. In case there is no state secretariat, the state executive shall elect a finance sub-committee of five members including state secretary, assistant secretaries, if any, and the treasurer to look after financial matters on its behalf.


District Party Organs

  1. The highest organ in a district shall be the district party conference.
  2. A district conference shall be convened by the district council once in every three years.
  3. An extraordinary district conference shall be called by the district council at its own discretion, or when demanded by party units which represent not less than one-third of the total membership, subject to the approval of the state executive.
  4. A regular district conference shall be composed of delegates elected by branch conferences or by conferences of the local intermediary units where such units exist.
  5. The basis of representation at the district conference shall be determined by the district council.
  6. The basis of representation and method of electing delegates to the extraordinary district conference shall be decided by the district council.
  7. Members of the district secretariat or of the district executive, as the case may be, shall have the right to participate as full delegates in the district conference, both regular as well as extraordinary. Members of the district council shall attend the conference as delegates without vote unless elected.
  8. The membership from any branch or local organisation for which the quota of party membership fee due to the district council has been fully paid and accepted by the district council shall be taken as the basis for calculating the number of delegates from the branch or the local unit for the district conference.
  9. Functions and powers of a regular district conference are:

(a) To discuss and act on the political and organisational reports of the district council.

(b) To determine the line of the party and mass work in the district in conformity with the decisions of the higher party organs.

(c) To elect a district council.

(d) To elect delegates to the state conference.

(e) To hear and decide on the report of the district audit commission.

(f) The district conference shall elect a presidium for the conduct of its business.

  1. The district council shall be elected by the district conference. The exact number of members shall be decided by the district conference. The district conference shall elect a number of candidate members of the district council not exceeding 10 per cent of the full members of the council.
  2. The election to the district council shall be governed by the same rules as laid down in section (c) to (f) of Article XVI.


District Council

  1. The district council shall be the highest authority in the district between two district conferences.
  2. The district council shall represent the district organisation as a whole and direct the entire work of the party between two district conferences.
  3. The district council shall have the full right to take decisions concerning the work of the district party organisation but in conformity with the line of the party and decisions of the higher organs.
  4. The district council shall elect a district secretariat or district executive including a secretary from amongst its members to carry on the work of the party between two sessions of the district council. It may also elect one or two assistant secretaries. The number of the members of the district secretariat or district executive is to be decided by the district council. The panels for the district council and executive or secretariat shall be proposed by the outgoing district council, executive or secretariat respectively.

(a) In the case of a district with large membership or a district with a distinct feature, the state council may allow the district council to elect both the district executive and district secretariat.

  1. The district council shall have the right to fill up vacancies in and remove any member from the district secretariat or district executive and to reconstitute the same.
  2. The district council shall meet at least once in two months and earlier if one-third of its members make a requisition.
  3. The district council shall discuss and act on the political and organisational reports and other matters placed before it by the district secretariat or district executive. The council may take up any other matter.
  4. The district council shall elect a treasurer. It shall elect an audit commission to audit the accounts and to report on the same to the district council annually and to the conference.
  5. The district council shall have the power to co-opt members to fill any vacancies subject to the conditions that such co-option does not exceed more than 10 per cent of the membership of the council and shall be valid only if two-thirds of the members of the council attending its meeting vote for the proposal.


District Secretariat or Executive

  1. The district secretariat or district executive shall direct the work of the district party organisation during the period between two sessions of the district council. It shall be responsible for the implementation of the decisions and directives of the district council and higher organs.
  2. It shall decide on political and organisational questions affecting its work within the district and shall guide the lower bodies. The responsibilities of the district secretariat or district executive shall be discharged in conformity, with the decisions of the district council and higher organs.
  3. The responsibilities of the district secretariat or district executive shall include:

(a) Convening regular meetings of the district council and prepare reports and resolutions for the same.

(b) Checking up the work of the lower units.

(c) Guiding and giving practical assistance to the mass organisations.

(d) Circulation of party journals and literature.

(e) Direction of party members’ work in the municipalities and local bodies.

(f) Controlling district finances.

(g) Organisation of district party school and party education.


Intermediate Party Organs

  1. Between the branch and district council there may be formed one or more intermediary local party organ such as taluq, sub-division, tehsil, block, mauza, mandalam or town council and area council (in the town), when the state council so decides.
  2. The highest organ of such a local unit or local organ shall be the local conference consisting of the delegates elected by the conferences of the branches in the area. The members of the local council shall have the right to participate as full delegates in the conference.
  3. The local and branch conferences will be held annually or bi-annually according to the schedule decided by the respective state council and generally they will be held after the membership renewal campaign.
  4. The conference of the local units in the taluq, sub-division, tehsil, block, mauza, mandalam or town shall elect a local council and delegates to the district conference.
  5. The local council will be responsible for the conduct of the work in the area concerned and for the coordination of the work of the party branches directly under it.
  6. The local council shall elect its own secretary, and may also elect an assistant secretary, and where necessary, subject to the decision of the state executive, an executive or secretariat to carry on the current work.
  7. The local council will report on its work to the district secretariat or district executive once in every month.
  8. The local council will meet at least once a month.
  9. The local council shall work under the direction of the district secretariat or district executive.


Party Veterans

Any comrade who has put in a long period of service for the party and the working people and has been member of any party council and whose contribution in the deliberations of the council, is considered useful and beneficial but who is now unable, for .reasons of old age or sickness, to carry on active day-to-day work, may be made permanent invitee to the meetings of the party council concerned with a view to giving the party the benefit of his experience and advice


Primary Unit

  1. The primary unit of the party shall be the branch.
  2. The highest organ of the primary unit shall be the general body meeting of the branch.
  3. The branch shall be responsible for maintaining direct day-to-day contact with the masses and for organising party activity in its sphere.
  4. The branch shall discuss all questions regarding its work and mass activity and take necessary practical decisions.
  5. The membership of a branch may be divided into groups of convenient size. Each group shall have its own convener.
  6. The function of the group shall be to distribute and check up the work of individuals. Where necessary for facilitating political discussion in the branch, preliminary discussions may be organised in the groups.
  7. The branch is organised on the basis of the village, panchayat, municipal ward, street, mohalla, industry, individual factory, occupation and institution. The maximum membership of the branch shall be fixed by the state executive.
  8. Functions of the branch are:

(a) To carry out the directions of the higher committees.

(b) To win the masses in its locality or sphere of activity for party’s political and organisational decisions.

(c) To build up and participate in mass organisations in its locality or sphere of activity.

(d) Sale of party journals and publications.

(e) Collection of membership fee and levy and party finances.

(f) To draw sympathisers and militants into the party, educate them and to help the illiterate to become literate.

(g) To help higher committees in day-to-day organisational and agitational work.

  1. The branch at a general body meeting shall elect a secretary and an assistant secretary to conduct its current work and, where membership of the branch exceeds 25 persons, it shall elect a branch committee including its secretary and assistant secretary.
  2. The general body of the branch shall meet at least once a month at which the branch committee or the branch secretary shall submit a report of the work done and its proposals.
  3. The general body of the branch shall elect delegates to the conference of the party organ immediately above.
  4. The secretary of the branch committee shall submit to the next higher committee and to the district council every two months a report on the new candidates and full members enrolled by it.
  5. Where necessary a member, besides being a member of a branch in his own place of work or residence, may also be attached as an associate member to the unit of his place of work or residence, as the case may be, without the right to vote.


Central Control Commission

  1. There shall be a central control commission elected by the Party Congress consisting of not more than 11 members.
  2. The national council shall propose a panel of names for the central control commission to the Party Congress. In proposing the names for nomination, standing of the candidates in the party, which shall not be less than 10 years, and experience in party organisation and personal integrity shall be taken into account.
  3. The procedure of election shall be the same as in the case of the national council. But the election of the central control commission shall be held before the election of the national council.
  4. The central control commission (CCC) shall elect its own chairman who shall have the right to attend all the meetings of the national executive with the right to vote except in cases of disciplinary actions. All members of the central control commission shall have the right to attend and vote in the meetings of the national council.
  5. The central control commission shall take up:

(a) Cases referred to it by the national councilor the national executive.

(b) Cases where disciplinary action has been taken by the state executive or state council.

(c) Cases against which appeal has been made to the state control commission (SCC) and rejected and the comrade concerned has, made an appeal to the central control commission.

(d) Cases alleging corruption, serious irregularities by any member against a member of a state council or national council including the respective executive and secretariat members. The CCC may dispose off the case itself, in the case of an allegation against a state council member or refer it to the SCC for disposal. The CCC shall make every possible effort to decide all cases/appeals within a period of six months from the date of receipt.

  1. The central control commission shall draw the attention of the national executive, national council, state and district councils to any case of breach of the constitution or any injustice or infringement of rights of party members which may come to its notice.
  2. The decision of the central control commission shall be final. It should be implemented at the earliest. The national executive may by two-thirds majority stay the implementation of a decision of the central control commission, and shall refer it at the first available opportunity to the national council for final decision.
  3. In all cases there shall, however, be the right to appeal to the Party Congress.
  4. The CCC may, either when asked by the national council or the national executive or on its own, undertake scrutiny of party membership of any unit.
  5. The CCC may organise a conference of members of CCC and chairmen of the state control commissions with a view to exchange experiences and to consider common problems and take decisions on important general issues concerning its sphere of work, once in three years.


State Control Commission

  1. There shall be a state control commission elected by the state conference consisting of not more than nine members.
  2. The guiding principles of proposing candidates shall be the same as in the case of the central control commission.
  3. The state control commission shall elect its own chairman who shall have the right to attend and vote in the meetings of the state executive except that he or she shall not have the right to vote in cases of disciplinary action. All members of the state control commission shall have the right to attend and vote in the meetings of the state council.
  4. The state control commission shall take up:

(a) Cases referred to it by the state councilor state executive.

(b) Cases where disciplinary action has been taken by the district councilor district secretariat or district executive and in which appeal has been made by the comrade concerned.

(c) Cases against which an appeal has been made to district council or district secretariat or district executive and rejected.

(d) Cases alleging corruption, serious irregularities by any member against a member of a district council or state council.

(e) Cases referred to the SCC by the CCC under Article XXVIII. The SCC shall make every possible effort to decide all cases/appeals within a period of six months from the date of receipt.

  1. The state control commission shall draw the attention of the state and district councils to any case of breach of the constitution or any injustice done to a party member or infringement of the rights of a party member that may come to its notice.
  2. The decisions of the state control commission shall be ordinarily final. The state executive may by two-third majority stay the implementation of the decision of the state control commission and shall refer it immediately to the central control commission or to the state council.
  3. The SCC may undertake scrutiny of party membership of any unit either when asked by the councilor state executive or on its own.
  4. The SCC may have its own rules of functioning.


Party Discipline

  1. Discipline is indispensable for preserving and strengthening the unity of the party, for enhancing its strength, its fighting ability and its prestige, and for enforcing the principles of democratic centralism. Without strict adherence to discipline, the party cannot lead the masses in struggle and action, nor discharge its responsibility towards them.
  2. Discipline is based on conscious acceptance of the aims, the programme and the policies of the party. All members are equally bound by party discipline irrespective of their status in the party organisation or in public life.
  3. Violation of party constitution and decisions of the party as well as any other action and behaviour unworthy of a member of the communist party shall constitute a breach of party discipline and liable to disciplinary actions.
  4. The disciplinary actions.

(a) Warning.

(b) Censure.

(c) Public censure.

(d) Removal from the post held in the party.

(e) Suspension from full membership for any period but not exceeding one year.

(f) Expulsion.

  1. Disciplinary action shall normally be taken where other methods, including methods of persuasion, have failed to correct the comrade concerned. But even where disciplinary measures have been taken, efforts to help the comrade to correct himself or herself shall continue. In cases where the breach of discipline is such that it warrants an immediate disciplinary measure to protect the interests of the party or its prestige, the disciplinary action shall be taken promptly.
  2. Members found to be strike-breakers, habitual drunkards, moral degenerates, betrayers of party confidence, guilty of financial irregularities, or members whose actions are detrimental to the working class and to the party, shall be dealt with properly by the party unit to which they belong or by a higher unit.
  3. Disciplinary action may be taken against any member either by the unit of which he or she is a member, or by any higher unit. In case he or she belongs to more than one unit, disciplinary action as under clauses (e) and (f) of section 4 may be taken only by the highest unit to which he or she belongs either on its own initiative or on recommendations of the lower unit. All other disciplinary actions may be taken by any unit of which he or she is a member.
  4. Expulsion from the party is the severest of all disciplinary measures and this shall be applied with utmost caution, deliberation and judgement.
  5. A disciplinary measure involving suspension or expulsion of a member shall not come into effect without confirmation from a higher committee. Such a decision shall be immediately conveyed for confirmation to the next higher party unit which shall give its decision within three months or its meeting held after receipt of the information if such a meeting is not held within three months. During the period between the decision of expulsion or suspension and confirmation by the higher committee, the comrade involved will stay removed from the post he or she holds.
  6. The comrade against whom a disciplinary measure is proposed shall be fully informed of the allegations charges and other relevant facts against him or her. He or she shall have the right to be heard in person by the party unit in which his or her case is discussed.
  7. There shall be right of appeal in all cases of disciplinary action.
  8. The national council or a state council shall have the right to dissolve or take disciplinary action against a lower committee in cases where a persistent defiance of party decision and policy, serious factionalism or a breach of party discipline are involved or where the lower committee suffers from persistent inactivity and fails to implement party decisions despite repeated urgings, after giving the committee concerned reasonable chance of explaining its position.


Party Members in Elected Public Bodies

  1. Party members elected to Parliament, the state legislatures or administrative council shall constitute themselves into a group and function under the appropriate party committee in strict conformity with the line of the party its policies and directives.
  2. Communist legislators shall unswervingly defend the interests of the people. Their work in the legislature shall reflect the mass movement and they shall uphold and popularise the policies of the party .The legislative work of the communist legislators shall be closely combined with the activity of the party outside and mass movements and it shall be the duty of all communist legislators to help build the party and mass organisations.
  3. Communist legislators shall maintain the closest possible contact with their electors and masses keeping them duly informed of their legislative work and constantly seeking their suggestions and advice.
  4. Communist legislators shall maintain a high standard of personal integrity, lead an unostentatious life and display humility in all their dealings and contacts with the people and place the party above self.
  5. Communist legislators and those on elected public bodies drawing salary or allowances shall pay regularly and without default a levy on their earnings fixed by the appropriate party committee. These party levies shall be the first charge on their earnings.
  6. Party members elected to corporations, municipalities, local bodies and gram-panchayats shall function under the appropriate party committee or branch. They shall maintain close day-to-day contact with their electors and the masses and defend their interests in such elected bodies. They shall make regular reports on their work to the electors and the people and seek their suggestions and advice. The work in such local bodies shall be combined with intense mass activity outside.
  7. All nominations of party candidates for election to Parliament shall be subject to approval by the national executive.

Nomination of party candidates to the state legislatures or the councils of centrally-administered areas shall be finalised and announced by the state executive committee concerned.

Rules, governing the nomination of party candidates for corporations, municipalities, district boards, local boards and panchayats, shall be drawn up by the state council or in their absence by the state executive.


Tenure of the Office-Bearers

The tenure of the general secretary and deputy general secretary, if any, and state secretaries is limited to two consecu1ive terms — a term being of not less than three years. In exceptional cases, the unit concerned may decide by three-fourth majority through secret ballot to allow two more terms. In case such a motion is adopted that comrade also can contest in the election along with other candidates. At the state level, if the state council resolves by three-fourth majority through secret ballot to give an additional term over and above the fourth term, the same needs to be endorsed by the national council. As regards the tenure of .the office-bearers at district and lower levels, the state councils will frame rules where necessary.


Mode of Election

All elections to Party Organs at various levels as also election of delegates to Party Congress and conferences will be by secret ballot, if necessary. In case of plural constituencies, the election will be on the basis of single distributive vote. Every candidate outside the panel shall have to be proposed by another comrade. Every comrade whose name is proposed either in the panel or by an individual has the right to withdraw his name.

A comrade whose name is proposed to be added to the official panel at an election in his or her absence will be required to have given his prior written consent before such a proposal is accepted. In such cases the proposer can also be authorised in writing by the candidate to withdraw his or her name on his or her behalf, if needed.


Inner Party Discussions

  1. To unify the party and for evolving its mass line inner-party discussion shall be a regular feature of party life. Such discussion shall be organised on an all-India scale or at different levels of the organisation depending on the nature of the issue.
  2. Inner-party discussion shall be organised:

(a) On important questions of all-India or state importance, where immediate decision is not necessary, by the central or the state organs of the party as the case may be before the decision is taken.

(b) Wherever an important question of policy, there is not sufficient firm majority inside the national councilor in the state council.

(c) When an inner-party discussion on an all-India scale is demanded by a number of state organisations representing one-third in the total membership or at the state level by district organisations representing the same proportion of the total membership of the state.

  1. Inner-party discussion shall be conducted under the guidance of the national or the state council which shall formulate the issues under discussion. The party council which guides the discussion shall lay down the manner in which the discussion shall be conducted.


Discussion Preparatory to

Party Congresses and Conferences

At least two months before the Party Congress, the national council will release the draft resolutions for discussion by all units of the party. Amendments to the resolutions will be sent directly to the national executive to be sorted and placed before the Party Congress. The draft political and organisational resolutions shall contain a brief review of the past period, summing up the conclusions and lessons so that party units can also opine on that. All draft resolutions and documents will be circulated to the state councils.


Party Members Working in Mass Organisations

Party members working in mass organisations and their executives shall work in an organised manner under the guidance of the appropriate party committee. They must always strive to strengthen the unity, mass basis and fighting capacity of the mass organisations concerned.



The national council may frame rules under the party constitution and in conformity with it. Rules under the party constitution and in conformity with it may also be framed by the state councils subject to confirmation by the national council.



The party constitution shall be amended only by the Party Congress or in cases of emergency by the national council by a two-thirds majority. In either cases, the notice or proposals for amending the constitution shall be given two months before the Party Congress or national council meets provided that in cases of emergency and for reasons to be placed by the national council before the Party Congress notice may be waived by a two-thirds majority.


  1. Under Article IV: In the case referred to in section 4.

The higher unit concerned may decide to admit such members as candidates or full members, depending on the merit of each case.

A party member, other than a whole-timer, moving of one locality to another should inform his or her unit and get a letter of transfer of membership from his or her unit countersigned by the secretary of the appropriate party committee. If he is moving from one taluq to another within the same district, or from one district to another within the same state, the district council or executive is the appropriate authority. A party branch is not to accept any member from another unit without suitable notification of transfer being received through the appropriate party council.

No whole-timer of the party will move from one locality to another without the prior permission of the party unit or council to which he belongs.

  1. Under Article V: New entrants into the party have to take the pledge in general body meetings, besides signing it along with their membership forms. The pledge will be administered to the new entrants by the chairman of the meeting.
  2. Under Articles VI and VII: A candidate member will also be given a membership card, but with a distinctive mark indicating that he or she is a candidate. Issuing of party cards should be regularised and full and proper entries be made in the cards. Every card must bear the signature of the state secretary or its facsimile and the signature of the district secretary.
  3. Under Article VI: If a party member whose membership has not been renewed for inactivity but against whom there was nothing else seeks readmission and fulfills all conditions of membership, he or she may be readmitted as a full member subject to confirmation by the higher committee.
  4. Under Article VII: A party member, whose membership has not been renewed within the period fixed by the national council because of the failure of the party unit to which he or she belongs will have the right to get his or her membership renewed even after the stipulate period, provided he or she applies directly to the next higher committee for the renewal of his or her membership by the end of February (that is, within four weeks of the last date for renewal of membership) and pays his or her membership fee and levy due against him or her to the committee to which he or she has made the application for renewal.

In such cases, the applicant must state in his or her application what efforts he or she has made in his or her own unit in order to get his membership renewed. The committee which receives such an application for renewal will examine the grounds for appeal and take appropriate decision on the application. .

  1. Under Article XI: Party levy will be fixed on a monthly basis for those earning wages, salaries or similar income but it will be fixed on an yearly basis for those having a seasonal income.

A party member who fails to pay his or her party levy for four months after it is due will be given a warning by his or her unit. If a member has not paid his or her levy by the time of the annual renewal of party membership; his or her membership will not be renewed. If within three months of the above decision, the member pays up all arrears and applies for readmission, he or she may be readmitted and granted continuity of membership.

A member may be exempted from payment of party levy in special cases of hardship —unemployment, continuous illness; crop failure, etc — by the unit of which he or she is a member, subject to confirmation by the higher unit. All party cards will contain regular entries regarding payment of membership fees and party levy.

  1. Guidelines will regularly be issued well before the Party Congress by the party centre and state conferences by the state centre. These will include, among other things, concrete direction to ensure greater representation to women and to the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and to the backwards in the leading bodies at different levels. There will be a report back and constant check up and review of the implementation of the urgent need to radically improve the social composition of the leading bodies along with checkup of the other guidelines.
  2. (a) Under Article XVI and XX: “The national council or the state council as the case may be if it thinks necessary and urgent invite members not exceeding 10 or 10 per cent of the council membership, whichever is less, to be permanent invitees in respective councils, without the right to vote. Generally this will be for giving adequate representation to sections and movements.
  3. Under Article XVIII: For zonal coordination in certain spheres of work, the national executive may call occasional meetings of representatives of the state councils concerned or set up a zonal coordination committee, where found useful and necessary.
  4. Under Article XIX — Section 9 (c): In case a state is unable to hold a regular conference, the mode of electing delegates for the Party Congress from the state concerned will be decided by the national council or the national executive, similarly, in case of a district, the decision will be taken by the state council or the state executive.

A comrade cannot be elected a delegate to a party conference from a unit of which he is not a member.

Party conferences are empowered to elect alternate delegates in order of preference, their number not exceeding one-tenth of the delegates. Alternate delegates are entitled to attend and participate in the Party Congress, as well as party conferences at different levels, but without vote except in cases where the alternate delegate has become a full delegate in place of an absent delegate from the state concerned. This applies to lower levels also.

  1. Under Article XXV: The general body or a party branch is empowered to take decisions on all matter within its jurisdiction. But area general body meetings held for purposes of reporting on party decisions or in connection with some mass campaign will confine themselves to the issues concerned and any decision taken by them will be of a recommendatory nature, the party committee of that level having the right to take a final decision.
  2. Under Article XXVII: The state control commission shall prepare an annual report of its work and functioning during the year and send it to the central control commission and a copy to the state council. The central control commission shall review and send its suggestions, if any, to the state control commission concerned.
  3. Under Article XXXI — Section 5: The rule framed above with regard to action in cases of non-payment of party levy will be applicable to members of legislatures and MPs also, but with the provision that the decision regarding non-renewal of party membership will be taken by the state council or executive in the case of state legislators and by the national council or the national executive in the case of members of Parliament.
  4. Conducting of Meetings and Functioning of Committee: The normal meeting of a council at the national, state or’ district level requires at least two weeks’ notice and of an executive one week’s notice. The agenda should normally be circulated with the notice of the meeting. Emergent meetings may be called at short notice.

The Quorum: For a regular meeting of the national council and state council and an emergent meeting of the executive will be one-half; for a normal meeting of the national or state executive two-thirds; for party councils at district and intermediate level, two-fifths and for party branches one-third of the total membership of the unit concerned. If the quorum is lacking, the meeting may collect reports or hold some informal discussions or consultations. But its decisions will have the authority of unit decisions only when the required quorum is there.

Any member of a party body who wants any item to be included in the agenda must give notice of the same to the secretary of the unit concerned, which is fully empowered to take any decision about inclusion or non-inclusion of any item on the agenda.

The first item on the agenda of every meeting of a unit except an emergency meeting called for some special purpose will be checkup on the decisions of the previous meeting. After the meeting has decided on the agenda and the time-table, the detailed procedure and allocation of time, etc, should be left to the president or presidium, as the case may be, on whom the responsibility to conduct the meeting in a business-like manner primarily rests.

State councils should frame rules for proper conduct of meetings and maintenance of party records and minutes, etc, for state level and lower level party bodies so that disputes and quarrels on such issues are minimised. For business-like conduct of party meetings, guidelines should be laid down and enforced so that the available time is properly utilised.

Every party committee must maintain an attendance register for meetings. In cases of absence of members with prior information, their explanation should be called for and recorded. In cases of absence of any member from three consecutive meetings without valid reasons, the party body concerned will remove his name from membership of that body.

CPI- History

It is an undisputable fact that the October socialist revolution in Russia paved the way for the formation of the Communist Party India . Inspired by the revolution so many youngsters in the sub continent through of a revolution which can be capable for over throwing the British imperia him in India. In the early 1920 ‘s Two Hundred mohair “s who inspired by the patriotic atmosphere of the Khilafat movement and non co-operation movements in the early 20”s embarked on a hazardous journey on foot to the land of revolution . They crossed the Afghan –soviet border and Ammo – Darya to enter Soviet Russia . They were led by Shank at –Usmani , Muhammed Akbar , of Haripur, Akbar sha , Akbar Jan etc . A large group of the youth’s wanted to goto Turkey but fell in the hunch of Turkish rebel and they were eventually rescued by the Red Army of the Soviet union . After that the majority to return to India and they were send back, and a minority group accompanied Com.M.N.Roy to Thashkent where Com: Roy was conducting a Communist University for the Toilers of the east

The first batch who returned to India, reached Peshawar on 3rd june 1921 but were caught and interrogated by the British India intelligence officer in charge . Out of the interrogation of returnees the Police come to know about the Muhajir’s who had gone to Thashkent and Moscow . The British police kept a watch for the returnees . After the arrest they were received barberries jail sentences . This is the first ever “Communist Conspiracy “ case. In this case the Crown Vs Mohammed Akbar and two others (Peshawar Conspiracy case – 1922 to 1924) Muhammed Akbar and Bahadur were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a conspiracy to over through the crown, the Government. (The same point was made later in the judgment of Kanpur Bolshevik conspiracy case 1924 and in the Meerat conspiracy case in 1929 to 1933). There had been several peasants uprisings in India in the course of non – co operation movement (1920 to 1922) . This movement was widely spreading all over India and the youth’s , peasants , the workers and all patriots were in an enthusiastic mood in fighting against the British Crown . But the incident on February 1922 at Churi chaura in Ghorakpur District of UP attained a historic celebrity because Gandhiji came to conclusion from his in formations that the non cooperative movement by individual and mass as to be suspended . The congress working committee met at Bardoli on Feb 11 and 12th , 1922 resolved to suspend every other preparatory activity of an abusive nature .

This was a betrayed of the great movement when the tempo was in the accident it created bitter disappointment among the rank and files of the movement and even the intimate collages of Gandhiji . Jawaharlal Nehru repressed his sharp disagreement to Gandhiji from jail . The chauri chura incident was a heroic episode in the first co operation movement it was spontaneous upsurge of the peasants masses. The police implicated more than a thousands persons in the case .The trail began against 225 accused and 172 accused were sentenced to death . Thus 172 brave soldiers of freedom are standing at the foot of gallows, the Indian national Congress called up on the peasantry of India to remain silent and described the Chauri chuara incident and “extreme, barbarians violent ‘” Those who have exhausted there vocabulary in condemning the British Govt and law courts pathetically hopped that an appeal to the High court will saved the life of the 172 pour peasants. But not a finger is raised, not a step taken, to rescue the men from the jaws of death. They are left to the mercy of a merciless enemy. Com:M.N. Roy published a statement regarding the chauri chura incident in the vanguard on March 1923 , an appeal to the working men and working women of India to declare a general strike in India and save the soldiers of freedom . In March 1923 ,the executive committee of the communist international published a statement the “vanguard” on the chauri chura “. In that statement it is pointed out that “the atrocity of this legal murder in unparallel even in the bloody History of the British rule in India and called up on Working men and women and to hold protest meetings and demonstrations condemning the act of imperialist ,butchery and demanding the release of this condemned men”.

Down with imperialism Victory to the workers and peasants of India Long live in international solidarity of the working class. An appeal Was Preferred in the high court .In the appeal in the high court confirmed death sentence on 19 peasants 110 peasants were sentenced to transportation for life.He veteran Indian Socialist leader M.Singaravelu Chettiyar organized two massive meetings in Madras, where the grievances of he workers were this theme of the meetings and where…he announced the establishment of a workers and peasants party. He prepared previously a manifesto in Tamil.The audience was composed of workers and peasants. It was in this meeting the demand for a declaration of the first day of may was made for the first time in India as a proletarian holiday. M.Singaravelu ‘s party was known as “Labour and Kisan Party of Hindustan”.

In 1922 September S. A Dange through “the Socialist” put forward the idea of forming the “Indian Socialist Labour Party”. M.N .Roy also Mooted the idea of Forming a Peoples Party.Another Veteran Socialist leader and poet Gulam Hussain was the editor of “Ïnquilab” from Lahore.Com M.N.Roy asked S.A. Dange to get intouch with Singaravelu of Madras and Gulam Hussain of Lahore and others,and together with them “Prepare for the organization of a new revolutionary mass Party”which entre the struggle with a programe.

Singaravelu and Dange were seriously making an effort to hold a conference in India and to launch an open mass party. Singaravelu invited Dange to come over to Madras in March 1923 to inagruate his party.Singaravelu and his colleagues in madras held the conference at the end of April 1923 and inaugurated the Labour Kissan party of Hindusthan,on the first day of May.The first May Day Celebration ever in India tookplace in India took place In Madras under the labour Kissan Party of M.Singaravellu and the Red Flag was unflured for the first time in India in 1923.A Manifesto to the Labour and kissan Party of Hindussthan for the formation of a political party of their own was also Published.The manifesto attemted to formulate a concrete economic and political ,programe for the national independence or Swaraj movement,Secondly it urged the formation of a legal left wing mass party inside the congress ,thirdly it stressed the necessity of forming a workers and peasants mass organization fighting for the urgent class demands.

The idea of creating a mass forum for the legal political functioning of the communist party evolved through various shapes.At that time four or five communist groups which had arisen in different parts of India ,were functioning in their own way,having no idea of a centre to guide them. But the leaders of the various communist groups were in good contact with each other and had some correspondence too.

The first arrest of the communists began as early as in May 1923 just at the time when peshwar conspiracy case was concluding. These arrests were in fact a continuation of the anti communist repression started by the Peshawar case. The new case is known as the Kanpur Bolshevic conspiracy case in which the charge was “Conspiracy to over throw the king Emperor”.S.A. Dange’s book Gandhi Vs Lenin and on his articles in the socialist were in evidence. At the end the sessions Judge of Canpur sentenced Muzaffir ahammed,Shaukat Urmani,Dange and Natini Guptha to four years rigorous imprisonment each .M. Singaravelu who was arrested in March 1924 and kept in Jail was later released on bail and allowed to remain in house.

At this time the various leaders of the communist groups were thinking of a centre party The first Indian communist conference was held on 26-28 December 1925 at Kanpur in Uttarpradesh . The first conference was held By sathyabhakta , who was not even a member of any of the various recoganised community groups functioning in India . The idea of holding such a conference was first mooted by the leaders of the communist groups particularly by S.A .Dange who was in the jail in connection with the Kanpur Bolschevik conspiracy case . The conference become the instrument of bringing together all the genuine community groups in the country than creating the first central committee of the C.P.I and framing its first constitution.
Chairman of the reception committee for the party formation conference at Kanpur :- Maulana Hasarat mohani.(A poet , AICC member) The first conference was presided over by – M .Singaravelu.(AICC member , Advocate) The first conference held at Kanpur on the 26th day of December 1925 resolved for the establishment and formation of the communist party of India. The resolution says this conference of the Indian communist resolves that a party be formed for the purpose of the emancipation of the workers and peasants of India. This party shall be known as the communist party of India and the ultimate aim of the party shall be the establishment of a republican swaraj of workers and peasants. And the immediate object of party shall be the securing of a living wages to the workers and peasants by means of nationalisation and muncipalisation of public service namely land , mines , factories , houses , telegraphs and telephones and railway and such other public utilities which require public ownership .

Some leaders in the national level, who left the party for various reasons later, said that the CPI was first formed the Thashkent and it was affiliated to the communist international. The central secretariat of the CPI, consisting of com: Ajay ghosh , B T Rendive , P C Joshi , M Basavapunnyaha. Z A. Ahamed , S A.Dango and A K. Gopalan met on 19th –August 1959 clarified the doubt raised by Indonesian communist party and send a letter to them . In the letter it was specifically stated that “ it was in December 1925 that in a meeting of representatives of the various groups of communist in the country held at Kanpur that the communist party of India was formed “ . This letter was signed by V T. Randive .
The conference on 27th of December adopted the constitution of the CPI and elected a 30 member central executive and M .Shingaravelu , the president of the conference to provide on the central executive for the ensuing year . On 28th – December the central executive met in the presidents camp at Kanpur and elected the office bearers .This com : S V . Ghate and J P . Bagerhatta were elected on the general secretaries and Com : Azad sobhani on the vice-president and decided to transfer the central office to Bombay.

In Kerala the party was first formed only in December 1939 . The first meeting was held at a library it Pinarayi in Thalassery Thaluk of Kannur district . The meeting was attended by Com : P . Krishna pillai , E.M.S .Nambuthiripadu , K . Damodharan , P. Narayanan Nair , K.K.warrier , A.K.Gopalan Subramaya sarma , E . P . Gopalan , P.S.Namboothiri , C.H.Kanaran , K.A. Keraleeyan , Thirumumbu , K.P. Gopalan , V.V.Kunjabu Chandrothu kunjiraman nair , M.K.Kelu, Subramanya sinoy , N.E. Belaram Manjuna iha rao , William snelaks , A . V. Kunjambu , K. Kunjiraman ,P.M.Krishnamenon , K. Krishnan nair , Vadauathi Krishnan , Pinarayi Krishnan nair , K.N.Chathukutty , Kongasseri Krishnan etc. The conference was chaired by com : K.P.Gopalan This meeting unanimously resolved to change the congress socialist party as communist party of India ,Kerala fraction . Com P Krishna pillai was elected as the secretary of the Kerala state committee.Com P Krishnapillai had been in close contact with the communist leader of India very earlier to the formation of the party in the state .

Communist Manifesto

Manifesto of the Communist Party

by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels February


Preface to The 1888 English Edition

 The Manifesto was published as the platform of the Communist League, a working men’ s association, first exclusively German, later on international, and under the political conditions of the Continent before 1848, unavoidably a secret society. At a Congress of the League, held in November 1847, Marx and Engels were commissioned to prepare a complete theoretical and practical party programme. Drawn up in German, in January 1848, the manuscript was sent to the printer in London a few weeks before the French Revolution of February 24. A French translation was brought out in Paris shortly before the insurrection of June 1848. The first English translation, by Miss Helen Macfarlane, appeared in George Julian Harney’ s Red Republican, London, 1850. A Danish and a Polish edition had also been published. The defeat of the Parisian insurrection of June 1848 – the first great battle between proletariat and bourgeoisie – drove again into the background, for a time, the social and political aspirations of the European working class. Thenceforth, the struggle for supremacy was, again, as it had been before the Revolution of February, solely between different sections of the propertied class; the working class was reduced to a fight for political elbow-room, and to the position of extreme wing of the middle-class Radicals. Wherever independent proletarian movements continued to show signs of life, they were ruthlessly hunted down. Thus the Prussian police hunted out the Central Board of the Communist League, then located in Cologne. The members were arrested and, after eighteen months’ imprisonment, they were tried in October 1852. This celebrated “Cologne Communist Trial” lasted from October 4 till November 12; seven of the prisoners were sentenced to terms of imprisonment in a fortress, varying from three to six years. Immediately after the sentence, the League was formally dissolved by the remaining members. As to the Manifesto, it seemed henceforth doomed to oblivion. When the European workers had recovered sufficient strength for another attack on the ruling classes, the International Working Men’ s Association sprang up. But this association, formed with the express aim of welding into one body the whole militant proletariat of Europe and America, could not at once proclaim the principles laid down in the Manifesto. The International was bound to have a programme broad enough to be acceptable to the English trade unions, to the followers of Proudhon in France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, and to the Lassalleans in Germany.* Marx, who drew up this programme to the satisfaction of all parties, entirely trusted to the intellectual development of the working class, which was sure to result from combined action and mutual discussion. The very events and vicissitudes in the struggle against capital, the defeats even more than the victories, could not help bringing home to men’ s minds the insufficiency of their various favorite nostrums, and preparing the way for a more complete insight into the true conditions for working-class emancipation. And Marx was right. The International, on its breaking in 1874, left the workers quite different men from what it found them in 1864. Proudhonism in France, Lassalleanism in Germany, were dying out, and even the conservative English trade unions, though most of them had long since severed their connection with the International, were gradually advancing towards that point at which, last year at Swansea, their president [W. Bevan] could say in their name: “Continental socialism has lost its terror for us.” In fact, the principles of the Manifesto had made considerable headway among the working men of all countries.

The Manifesto itself came thus to the front again. Since 1850, the German text had been reprinted several times in Switzerland, England, and America. In 1872, it was translated into English in New York, where the translation was published in Woorhull and Claflin’s Weekly. From this English version, a French one was made in Le Socialiste of New York. Since then, at least two more English translations, more or less mutilated, have been brought out in America, and one of them has been reprinted in England. The first Russian translation, made by Bakunin, was published at Herzen’ s Kolokol office in Geneva, about 1863; a second one, by the heroic Vera Zasulich, also in Geneva, in 1882. A new Danish edition is to be found in Socialdemokratisk Bibliothek, Copenhagen, 1885; a fresh French translation in Le Socialiste, Paris, 1886. From this latter, a Spanish version was prepared and published in Madrid, 1886. The German reprints are not to be counted; there have been twelve altogether at the least. An Armenian translation, which was to be published in Constantinople some months ago, did not see the light, I am told, because the publisher was afraid of bringing out a book with the name of Marx on it, while the translator declined to call it his own production. Of further translations into other languages I have heard but had not seen. Thus the history of the Manifesto reflects the history of the modern workingclass movement; at present, it is doubtless the most wide spread, the most international production of all socialist literature, the common platform acknowledged by millions of working men from Siberia to California. Yet, when it was written, we could not have called it a socialist manifesto. By Socialists, in 1847, were understood, on the one hand the adherents of the various Utopian systems: Owenites in England, Fourierists in France, both of them already reduced to the position of mere sects, and gradually dying out; on the other hand, the most multifarious social quacks who, by all manner of tinkering, professed to redress, without any danger to capital and profit, all sorts of social grievances, in both cases men outside the working-class movement, and looking rather to the “educated” classes for support. Whatever portion of the working class had become convinced of the insufficiency of mere political revolutions, and had proclaimed the necessity of total social change, called itself Communist. It was a crude, rough-hewn, purely instinctive sort of communism; still, it touched the cardinal point and was powerful enough amongst the working class to produce the Utopian communism of Cabet in France, and of Weitling in Germany. Thus, in 1847, socialism was a middle-class movement, communism a working-class movement. Socialism was, on the Continent at least, “respectable”; communism was the very opposite. And as our notion, from the very beginning, was that “the emancipation of the workers must be the act of the working class itself,” there could be no doubt as to which of the two names we must take. Moreover, we have, ever since, been far from repudiating it. The Manifesto being our joint production, I consider myself bound to state that the fundamental proposition which forms the nucleus belongs to Marx. That proposition is: That in every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which it is built up, and from that which alone can be explained the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently the whole history of mankind (since the dissolution of primitive tribal society, holding land in common ownership) has been a history of class struggles, contests between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes; That the history of these class struggles forms a series of evolutions in which, nowadays, a stage has been reached where the exploited and oppressed class – the proletariat – cannot attain its emancipation from the sway of the exploiting and ruling class – the bourgeoisie – without, at the same time, and once and for all, emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinction, and class struggles. This proposition, which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin’ s theory has done for biology, we both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845. How far I had independently progressed towards it is best shown by my “Conditions of the Working Class in England.” But when I again met Marx at Brussels, in spring 1845, he had it 9 Preface to the 1888 English Edition already worked out and put it before me in terms almost as clear as those in which I have stated it here. From our joint preface to the German edition of 1872, I quote the following: “However much that state of things may have altered during the last twenty-five years, the general principles laid down in the Manifesto are, on the whole, as correct today as ever. Here and there, some detail might be improved. The practical application of the principles will depend, as the Manifesto itself states, everywhere and at all times, on the historical conditions for the time being existing, and, for that reason, no special stress is laid on the revolutionary measures proposed at the end of Section II. That passage would, in many respects, be very differently worded today. In view of the gigantic strides of Modern Industry since 1848, and of the accompanying improved and extended organization of the working class, in view of the practical experience gained, first in the February Revolution, and then, still more, in the Paris Commune, where the proletariat for the first time held political power for two whole months, this programme has in some details been antiquated. One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of readymade state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.” (See The Civil War in France: Address of the General Council of the International Working Men’ s Association 1871, where this point is further developed.) Further, it is self-evident that the criticism of socialist literature is deficient in relation to the present time, because it comes down only to 1847; also that the remarks on the relation of the Communists to the various opposition parties (Section IV), although, in principle still correct, yet in practice are antiquated, because the political situation has been entirely changed, and the progress of history has swept from off the Earth the greater portion of the political parties there enumerated. “But then, the Manifesto has become a historical document which we have no longer any right to alter.” The present translation is by Mr Samuel Moore, the translator of the greater portion of Marx’ s “Capital.” We have revised it in common, and I have added a few notes explanatory of historical allusions.

Frederick Engels

 January 30, 1888, London


A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism.
All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to
exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot,
French Radicals and German police-spies.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as Communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact.

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European Powers to be itself a Power.

II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.

To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London, and sketched the following Manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.


The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes, directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.

From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.

The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.

The feudal system of industry, under which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop.

Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacture no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.

Modern industry has established the world-market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its time, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages.

We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.

Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association in the mediaeval commune; here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany), there taxable “third estate” of the monarchy (as in France), afterwards, in the period of manufacture proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, corner-stone of the great monarchies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world-market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors,” and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment.” It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless and indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which Reactionists so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilised nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the productions of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier and one customs-tariff. The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted to it, and by the economical and political sway of the bourgeois class.

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put on its trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the entire bourgeois society. In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity—the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand inforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons—the modern working class—the proletarians.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed—a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of the machinery, etc.

Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the over-looker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour, in other words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labour of men superseded by that of women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.

No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.

The lower strata of the middle class—the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants—all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by the new methods of production. Thus the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population.

The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual labourers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then by the operatives of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour, they smash to pieces machinery, they set factories ablaze, they seek to restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages.

At this stage the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies, this is not yet the consequence of their own active union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order to attain its own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so. At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeoisie. Thus the whole historical movement is concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so obtained is a victory for the bourgeoisie.

But with the development of industry the proletariat not only increases in number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows, and it feels that strength more. The various interests and conditions of life within the ranks of the proletariat are more and more equalised, in proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour, and nearly everywhere reduces wages to the same low level. The growing competition among the bourgeois, and the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of the workers ever more fluctuating. The unceasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing, makes their livelihood more and more precarious; the collisions between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon the workers begin to form combinations (Trades Unions) against the bourgeois; they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to make provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there the contest breaks out into riots.

Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralise the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletarians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years.

This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. Thus the ten-hours’ bill in England was carried.

Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society further, in many ways, the course of development of the proletariat. The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant battle. At first with the aristocracy; later on, with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests have become antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all times, with the bourgeoisie of foreign countries. In all these battles it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for its help, and thus, to drag it into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its own instruments of political and general education, in other words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.

Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling classes are, by the advance of industry, precipitated into the proletariat, or are at least threatened in their conditions of existence. These also supply the proletariat with fresh elements of enlightenment and progress.

Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the process of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole.

Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product. The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance they are revolutionary, they are so only in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat, they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.

The “dangerous class,” the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.

In the conditions of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family-relations; modern industrial labour, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.

All the preceding classes that got the upper hand, sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property.

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.

Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.

In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.

Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern laborer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.

The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.


In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole?

The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties.

They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.

They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.

The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: (1) In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. (2) In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.

The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.

The immediate aim of the Communist is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.

The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of Communism.

All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions.

The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favour of bourgeois property.

The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labour, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of the petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.

Or do you mean modern bourgeois private property?

But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage-labour. Let us examine both sides of this antagonism.

To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status in production. Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion.

Capital is, therefore, not a personal, it is a social power.

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class-character.

Let us now take wage-labour.

The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence, which is absolutely requisite in bare existence as a labourer. What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labour, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and reproduction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labour of others. All that we want to do away with, is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it.

In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the labourer.

In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.

And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.

By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying.

But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other “brave words” of our bourgeoisie about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.

You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.

In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.

From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolised, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say individuality vanishes.

You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.

Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation.

It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.

According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage-labour when there is no longer any capital.

All objections urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating material products, have, in the same way, been urged against the Communistic modes of producing and appropriating intellectual products. Just as, to the bourgeois, the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical with the disappearance of all culture.

That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for the enormous majority, a mere training to act as a machine.

But don’t wrangle with us so long as you apply, to our intended abolition of bourgeois property, the standard of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law, etc. Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will, whose essential character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence of your class.

The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of production and form of property—historical relations that rise and disappear in the progress of production—this misconception you share with every ruling class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the case of ancient property, what you admit in the case of feudal property, you are of course forbidden to admit in the case of your own bourgeois form of property.

Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

But, you will say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention, direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.

The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.

But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the whole bourgeoisie in chorus.

The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion than that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.

He has not even a suspicion that the real point is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production.

For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial.

Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other’s wives.

Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with, is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private.

The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality.

The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.

National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world-market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto.

The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.

In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end.

The charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination.

Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man’s ideas, views and conceptions, in one word, man’s consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life?

What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.

When people speak of ideas that revolutionise society, they do but express the fact, that within the old society, the elements of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old conditions of existence.

When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.

“Undoubtedly,” it will be said, “religious, moral, philosophical and juridical ideas have been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, morality philosophy, political science, and law, constantly survived this change.”

“There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc. that are common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.”

What does this accusation reduce itself to? The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed different forms at different epochs.

But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, viz., the exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within certain common forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.

The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.

But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism.

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling as to win the battle of democracy.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will of course be different in different countries.

Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c.

When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.



A. Feudal Socialism

Owing to their historical position, it became the vocation of the aristocracies of France and England to write pamphlets against modern bourgeois society. In the French revolution of July 1830, and in the English reform agitation, these aristocracies again succumbed to the hateful upstart. Thenceforth, a serious political contest was altogether out of the question. A literary battle alone remained possible. But even in the domain of literature the old cries of the restoration period had become impossible.

In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy were obliged to lose sight, apparently, of their own interests, and to formulate their indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the exploited working class alone. Thus the aristocracy took their revenge by singing lampoons on their new master, and whispering in his ears sinister prophecies of coming catastrophe.

In this way arose Feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half lampoon; half echo of the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart’s core; but always ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of modern history.

The aristocracy, in order to rally the people to them, waved the proletarian alms-bag in front for a banner. But the people, so often as it joined them, saw on their hindquarters the old feudal coats of arms, and deserted with loud and irreverent laughter.

One section of the French Legitimists and “Young England” exhibited this spectacle.

In pointing out that their mode of exploitation was different to that of the bourgeoisie, the feudalists forget that they exploited under circumstances and conditions that were quite different, and that are now antiquated. In showing that, under their rule, the modern proletariat never existed, they forget that the modern bourgeoisie is the necessary offspring of their own form of society.

For the rest, so little do they conceal the reactionary character of their criticism that their chief accusation against the bourgeoisie amounts to this, that under the bourgeois regime a class is being developed, which is destined to cut up root and branch the old order of society.

What they upbraid the bourgeoisie with is not so much that it creates a proletariat, as that it creates a revolutionary proletariat.

In political practice, therefore, they join in all coercive measures against the working class; and in ordinary life, despite their high falutin phrases, they stoop to pick up the golden apples dropped from the tree of industry, and to barter truth, love, and honour for traffic in wool, beetroot-sugar, and potato spirits.

As the parson has ever gone hand in hand with the landlord, so has Clerical Socialism with Feudal Socialism.

Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian Socialism is but the holy, water with which the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat.

B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism

The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that was ruined by the bourgeoisie, not the only class whose conditions of existence pined and perished in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois society. The mediaeval burgesses and the small peasant proprietors were the precursors of the modern bourgeoisie. In those countries which are but little developed, industrially and commercially, these two classes still vegetate side by side with the rising bourgeoisie.

In countries where modern civilisation has become fully developed, a new class of petty bourgeois has been formed, fluctuating between proletariat and bourgeoisie and ever renewing itself as a supplementary part of bourgeois society. The individual members of this class, however, are being constantly hurled down into the proletariat by the action of competition, and, as modern industry develops, they even see the moment approaching when they will completely disappear as an independent section of modern society, to be replaced, in manufactures, agriculture and commerce, by overlookers, bailiffs and shopmen.

In countries like France, where the peasants constitute far more than half of the population, it was natural that writers who sided with the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, should use, in their criticism of the bourgeois regime, the standard of the peasant and petty bourgeois, and from the standpoint of these intermediate classes should take up the cudgels for the working class. Thus arose petty-bourgeois Socialism. Sismondi was the head of this school, not only in France but also in England.

This school of Socialism dissected with great acuteness the contradictions in the conditions of modern production. It laid bare the hypocritical apologies of economists. It proved, incontrovertibly, the disastrous effects of machinery and division of labour; the concentration of capital and land in a few hands; overproduction and crises; it pointed out the inevitable ruin of the petty bourgeois and peasant, the misery of the proletariat, the anarchy in production, the crying inequalities in the distribution of wealth, the industrial war of extermination between nations, the dissolution of old moral bonds, of the old family relations, of the old nationalities.

In its positive aims, however, this form of Socialism aspires either to restoring the old means of production and of exchange, and with them the old property relations, and the old society, or to cramping the modern means of production and of exchange, within the framework of the old property relations that have been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means. In either case, it is both reactionary and Utopian.

Its last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture, patriarchal relations in agriculture.

Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all intoxicating effects of self-deception, this form of Socialism ended in a miserable fit of the blues.

C. German, or “True,” Socialism

The Socialist and Communist literature of France, a literature that originated under the pressure of a bourgeoisie in power, and that was the expression of the struggle against this power, was introduced into Germany at a time when the bourgeoisie, in that country, had just begun its contest with feudal absolutism.

German philosophers, would-be philosophers, and beaux esprits, eagerly seized on this literature, only forgetting, that when these writings immigrated from France into Germany, French social conditions had not immigrated along with them. In contact with German social conditions, this French literature lost all its immediate practical significance, and assumed a purely literary aspect. Thus, to the German philosophers of the eighteenth century, the demands of the first French Revolution were nothing more than the demands of “Practical Reason” in general, and the utterance of the will of the revolutionary French bourgeoisie signified in their eyes the law of pure Will, of Will as it was bound to be, of true human Will generally.

The world of the German literate consisted solely in bringing the new French ideas into harmony with their ancient philosophical conscience, or rather, in annexing the French ideas without deserting their own philosophic point of view.

This annexation took place in the same way in which a foreign language is appropriated, namely, by translation.

It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written. The German literate reversed this process with the profane French literature. They wrote their philosophical nonsense beneath the French original. For instance, beneath the French criticism of the economic functions of money, they wrote “Alienation of Humanity,” and beneath the French criticism of the bourgeois State they wrote “dethronement of the Category of the General,” and so forth.

The introduction of these philosophical phrases at the back of
the French historical criticisms they dubbed “Philosophy of
Action,” “True Socialism,” “German Science of Socialism,”
“Philosophical Foundation of Socialism,” and so on.

The French Socialist and Communist literature was thus completely emasculated. And, since it ceased in the hands of the German to express the struggle of one class with the other, he felt conscious of having overcome “French one-sidedness” and of representing, not true requirements, but the requirements of truth; not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests of Human Nature, of Man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in the misty realm of philosophical fantasy.

This German Socialism, which took its schoolboy task so seriously and solemnly, and extolled its poor stock-in-trade in such mountebank fashion, meanwhile gradually lost its pedantic innocence.

The fight of the German, and especially, of the Prussian bourgeoisie, against feudal aristocracy and absolute monarchy, in other words, the liberal movement, became more earnest.

By this, the long wished-for opportunity was offered to “True” Socialism of confronting the political movement with the Socialist demands, of hurling the traditional anathemas against liberalism, against representative government, against bourgeois competition, bourgeois freedom of the press, bourgeois legislation, bourgeois liberty and equality, and of preaching to the masses that they had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by this bourgeois movement. German Socialism forgot, in the nick of time, that the French criticism, whose silly echo it was, presupposed the existence of modern bourgeois society, with its corresponding economic conditions of existence, and the political constitution adapted thereto, the very things whose attainment was the object of the pending struggle in Germany.

To the absolute governments, with their following of parsons, professors, country squires and officials, it served as a welcome scarecrow against the threatening bourgeoisie.

It was a sweet finish after the bitter pills of floggings and bullets with which these same governments, just at that time, dosed the German working-class risings.

While this “True” Socialism thus served the governments as a weapon for fighting the German bourgeoisie, it, at the same time, directly represented a reactionary interest, the interest of the German Philistines. In Germany the petty-bourgeois class, a relic of the sixteenth century, and since then constantly cropping up again under various forms, is the real social basis of the existing state of things.

To preserve this class is to preserve the existing state of things in Germany. The industrial and political supremacy of the bourgeoisie threatens it with certain destruction; on the one hand, from the concentration of capital; on the other, from the rise of a revolutionary proletariat. “True” Socialism appeared to kill these two birds with one stone. It spread like an epidemic.

The robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric, steeped in the dew of sickly sentiment, this transcendental robe in which the German Socialists wrapped their sorry “eternal truths,” all skin and bone, served to wonderfully increase the sale of their goods amongst such a public. And on its part, German Socialism recognised, more and more, its own calling as the bombastic representative of the petty-bourgeois Philistine.

It proclaimed the German nation to be the model nation, and the German petty Philistine to be the typical man. To every villainous meanness of this model man it gave a hidden, higher, Socialistic interpretation, the exact contrary of its real character. It went to the extreme length of directly opposing the “brutally destructive” tendency of Communism, and of proclaiming its supreme and impartial contempt of all class struggles. With very few exceptions, all the so-called Socialist and Communist publications that now (1847) circulate in Germany belong to the domain of this foul and enervating literature.


A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances, in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.

To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class, organisers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of Socialism has, moreover, been worked out into complete systems.

We may cite Proudhon’s Philosophie de la Misere as an example of this form.

The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby to march straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires in reality, that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.

A second and more practical, but less systematic, form of this Socialism sought to depreciate every revolutionary movement in the eyes of the working class, by showing that no mere political reform, but only a change in the material conditions of existence, in economic relations, could be of any advantage to them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this form of Socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of the bourgeois relations of production, an abolition that can be effected only by a revolution, but administrative reforms, based on the continued existence of these relations; reforms, therefore, that in no respect affect the relations between capital and labour, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and simplify the administrative work, of bourgeois government.

Bourgeois Socialism attains adequate expression, when, and only when, it becomes a mere figure of speech.

Free trade: for the benefit of the working class. Protective duties: for the benefit of the working class. Prison Reform: for the benefit of the working class. This is the last word and the only seriously meant word of bourgeois Socialism.

It is summed up in the phrase: the bourgeois is a bourgeois—for the benefit of the working class.


We do not here refer to that literature which, in every great modern revolution, has always given voice to the demands of the proletariat, such as the writings of Babeuf and others.

The first direct attempts of the proletariat to attain its own ends, made in times of universal excitement, when feudal society was being overthrown, these attempts necessarily failed, owing to the then undeveloped state of the proletariat, as well as to the absence of the economic conditions for its emancipation, conditions that had yet to be produced, and could be produced by the impending bourgeois epoch alone. The revolutionary literature that accompanied these first movements of the proletariat had necessarily a reactionary character. It inculcated universal asceticism and social levelling in its crudest form.

The Socialist and Communist systems properly so called, those of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen and others, spring into existence in the early undeveloped period, described above, of the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie (see Section 1. Bourgeois and Proletarians).

The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as well as the action of the decomposing elements, in the prevailing form of society. But the proletariat, as yet in its infancy, offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent political movement.

Since the development of class antagonism keeps even pace with the development of industry, the economic situation, as they find it, does not as yet offer to them the material conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat. They therefore search after a new social science, after new social laws, that are to create these conditions.

Historical action is to yield to their personal inventive action, historically created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones, and the gradual, spontaneous class-organisation of the proletariat to the organisation of society specially contrived by these inventors. Future history resolves itself, in their eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of their social plans.

In the formation of their plans they are conscious of caring chiefly for the interests of the working class, as being the most suffering class. Only from the point of view of being the most suffering class does the proletariat exist for them.

The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, causes Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to improve the condition of every member of society, even that of the most favoured. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at large, without distinction of class; nay, by preference, to the ruling class. For how can people, when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the best possible plan of the best possible state of society?

Hence, they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary, action; they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, and endeavour, by small experiments, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave the way for the new social Gospel.

Such fantastic pictures of future society, painted at a time when the proletariat is still in a very undeveloped state and has but a fantastic conception of its own position correspond with the first instinctive yearnings of that class for a general reconstruction of society.

But these Socialist and Communist publications contain also a critical element. They attack every principle of existing society. Hence they are full of the most valuable materials for the enlightenment of the working class. The practical measures proposed in them—such as the abolition of the distinction between town and country, of the family, of the carrying on of industries for the account of private individuals, and of the wage system, the proclamation of social harmony, the conversion of the functions of the State into a mere superintendence of production, all these proposals, point solely to the disappearance of class antagonisms which were, at that time, only just cropping up, and which, in these publications, are recognised in their earliest, indistinct and undefined forms only. These proposals, therefore, are of a purely Utopian character.

The significance of Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism bears an inverse relation to historical development. In proportion as the modern class struggle develops and takes definite shape, this fantastic standing apart from the contest, these fantastic attacks on it, lose all practical value and all theoretical justification. Therefore, although the originators of these systems were, in many respects, revolutionary, their disciples have, in every case, formed mere reactionary sects. They hold fast by the original views of their masters, in opposition to the progressive historical development of the proletariat. They, therefore, endeavour, and that consistently, to deaden the class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms. They still dream of experimental realisation of their social Utopias, of founding isolated “phalansteres,” of establishing “Home Colonies,” of setting up a “Little Icaria”—duodecimo editions of the New Jerusalem—and to realise all these castles in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the feelings and purses of the bourgeois. By degrees they sink into the category of the reactionary conservative Socialists depicted above, differing from these only by more systematic pedantry, and by their fanatical and superstitious belief in the miraculous effects of their social science.

They, therefore, violently oppose all political action on the part of the working class; such action, according to them, can only result from blind unbelief in the new Gospel.

The Owenites in England, and the Fourierists in France, respectively, oppose the Chartists and the Reformistes.


Section II has made clear the relations of the Communists to the existing working-class parties, such as the Chartists in England and the Agrarian Reformers in America.

The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement. In France the Communists ally themselves with the Social-Democrats, against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right to take up a critical position in regard to phrases and illusions traditionally handed down from the great Revolution.

In Switzerland they support the Radicals, without losing sight of the fact that this party consists of antagonistic elements, partly of Democratic Socialists, in the French sense, partly of radical bourgeois.

In Poland they support the party that insists on an agrarian revolution as the prime condition for national emancipation, that party which fomented the insurrection of Cracow in 1846.

In Germany they fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty bourgeoisie.

But they never cease, for a single instant, to instil into the working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the German workers may straightaway use, as so many weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy, and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany, the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin.

The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because that country is on the eve of a bourgeois revolution that is bound to be carried out under more advanced conditions of European civilisation, and with a much more developed proletariat, than that of England was in the seventeenth, and of France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois revolution in Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately following proletarian revolution.

In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.

In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.

Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.
They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by
the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.
Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution.
The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
They have a world to win.


Origin Of AISF In India


 Short History of All India Students Federation (AISF)

by:  Anil Rajimwale

Background From Nineteenth Century

History of AISF (All India Students Federation) is an inseparable part of the freedom movement of our country.  The student community have added glorious pages and chapters to India’s history through their memorable struggles and contributions. The AISF and other student organisations have made singular contributions both before and after independence.  The AISF has left the deepest and an everlasting impression on the history of this country, particularly on student history.
The beginnings of students’ movements and organisations go way back into the 19th country.  Many people think that the student movement began only in the 20thcentury, but that is not true.  The role and place of the student movement has been under- estimated.  Therefore, we will make a short reference to the student activities of the 19th century.
History finds a mention of a student organisation of 1828 called the Academic Association.  It was founded in Calcutta by Vivian Derozio.  Derozio was a Portuguese youth settled in Calcutta.  He became a lecturer in Hindu College there at a very young age.  In the course of time he gathered together a group of brilliant and leading students around himself, which came to be known as the Academic Association.  The Association used to regularly organise discussions on serious educational, social and political questions.  At the same time, it used to run a regular campaign against social evils, religious obscurantism and superstition and for social reforms. The Academic Association included students of all the religions – Hindu, Muslim, Christians etc, but they were united in the struggle against obscuratism.  They went to the extent of eating beef and other kinds of meat publicly, openly violated religious obscurantist practices, and actively propagated western liberal ideas of progress and modernism.  They spread the anti-feudal modern ideas of French, Italian, English and other revolutions.  Consequently, the Academic Association had to face the ire of the socio-religious obscurantists.
On the basis of the researches done so far, we may state that the Academic Association of 1828 was the first student organisation of India.

Young Bengal Movement

The Academic Association and other organisations helped spread modern ideas not only in Bengal but also in the rest of India. In fact, the activities of the East India Company and direct British rule contributed to certain amount of modern and English education in places like Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, and several others.  This was in accordance with the needs of the British administration.  But the results of the spread of education often went against the expectations of the Britishers.  The modern education brought in with it the ideas of democracy, liberty, freedom, liberalism and even of revolution eg. of the French revolution.  Along with these developments, various industries were also coming up, which spread across in the course of time eg. railway  (1853), jute, textile, mining, processing, (1854 and so on) etc.  They too helped spread modern thoughts and forms of organisation.   In fact, Marx commented that by so doing, the Britishers had, though unintentionally, sowed the seeds of a social revolution in India.
One of the most important movements of the 19th century was the well-known ‘Young Bengal’ movement.  It took place between the 1840s and 1860s and left a deep imprint on Bengal, particularly on its youth, as well as on the rest of the country.  It was an organisation that carried forward the traditions of the Academic Association.  Young Bengal contributed a lot to the renaissance and social reforms, and at the same time helped growth of national and political consciousness.  Madhab Chandra Mullick, Ram Gopal Ghosh, Krishna Mohan Mallick and others were some of the leading figures of this movement.
Some of the other student and academic organisations of the 19th century were – Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge (1838), Students’ Literary and Scientific Society (1848), Students” Association (1876), etc.
The first one of the above-mentioned societies  functioned in Calcutta.  It used to organise debates and discussions and paper-readings on social problems and helped raise the consciousness of the youth.   It functioned in the Hindu College, Sanskrit College and other institutions.  Gradually, the Society began to organise discussions on political questions also, and even participated in political activities, which was a novelty for those days.
The second organisation, that is the Students’ Literary and Scientific Society was established in Bombay  (now Mumbai) in 1848 in the Elphinstone Educational institutions.  It is to be noted that the great economist, public and political figure of India Dadabhai Naoroji took the main initiative to establish this particular Society.  The Society used to organise regular study circles and discussions.  It played an important part in the educational field and established Gujarati and Marathi Gyan Prasarak Mandals.    Also, it published a journal called Gyan Prasarak.
Students’ Literary and Scientific Society made a great contribution to the women’s education.  The Society founded several schools where girls used to be taught.  It was a courageous step for its time because during those days, women’s education was stoutly opposed.
Students Association (1876) was one of the most important student organisations of the 19th century.  It was founded by Anand Mohan Bose and Surendra  Nath Bannerjee in Calcutta.  These leaders used the method of public meetings and mass movements, which was new for those times.  The Students Association made a notable contribution in the foundation of the Indian National Congress (1885).  The Association greatly politicalised the mass of students who took the path of mass struggles under its direction and outside.  For example, the Students Association organised a big movement on the question of the exams of Indian Civil Service (ICS).  The students demanded that the age-bar for the ICS exams be raised.  They also demanded that the exams be held in India alongwith in England for the convenience of the Indian students.  During those days the Indian students had to travel all the way to England to sit in the exams, which was very difficult for most of them.
Besides the above-mentioned organisations, a number of other student and youth bodies also came up in various parts of India eg. South India, Patna, Darbhanga, Assam etc.  The borders of the provinces and states at that time were different, and underwent drastic changes in the course of decades.  The provinces used to be very big and the educational institutions were far in between and few in numbers.  Therefore, it was far more difficult to organise and to spread the message of organisation.    For example, the present-day Bihar (and Jharkhand) was part of a giant Bengal-Assam-Orissa province in the second half of the 19th century.  Bihar became a separate province only in 1912.
There took place some notable movements in the second half of the 19th century.  A strike took place in Patna College in April 1870 protesting against the insulting remarks of the Principal.  It was a successful strike, and all the rusticated students were taken back.  Another strike took place in the same Patna College on 31 August 1875, again on the misbehaviour of the Principal.  A widespread dissatisfaction gripped the students of the hostels of Patna in 1892 against the mismanagement in them.
Several student movements took place in the 80s of the 19th century in Cochin, Trivandrum, Trichnapally, Madras (now Chennai) and other places.
Student movements took place in Assam under the leadership of Anand Ram Phukan and others.  The last decades of the 19th century saw several movements demanding greater importance for the Assamese language, which led to the emergence of several organisations.
Students, youth and educationists opposed the closing down of the Deccan College of Poona.  An organisation known as the Graduates’ Association was very active in the 90s of that century in Bombay.
There was another very important organisation in Bombay called Students, Brotherhood (‘SB’ – 1889).  It was a highly organised and a regularly functioning student organisation, which was active for at least 15-20 years.
A Boys’ Association was founded in Darbhanga (Bihar) in 1898.  It later became a part of the famous Behari Students’ Central Association  (BSCA).
Thus, the facts and the research so far show that the students – youth organisation is not a contribution of the 20th century alone but originated in the 19th century.  It gradually acquired a political character.
Student Movement at the Beginning of the 20th Century
There took place a certain amount of spread of education by the end of the 19thand beginning of the 20th centuries.  By this time, the universities of Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and Allahabad were already established and several independent colleges and schools founded.
By the end of the 19th century, the number of students in British India, in the middle and higher school levels, had crossed two lakhs, and at college level more than 14 thousands.  Education spread further during the 20th century.  Thus, the material conditions of the student movement were being created.
Student Movement (1901-20)
The first decade of the 20th century is full of student movements.  A large number of student and youth organisations were also created in the first two decades of the century.  The partition of Bengal was among the major reasons of the origin of all India student movement in this period.    Various anti-student circulars too contributed to the process.

Dawn Society

The Dawn Society was founded in Bengal in 1902.  It was a powerful student organisation. The reason why it was established in 1902 was the publication that year of the Report of the Indian Universities Commission and the reaction of all the students and the educated people against it.  The public opinion thought that the Report sought to destroy their identity as also the educational system.
Famous educationists and general students participated in the Dawn Society.  They demanded that India’s educational system should be completely changed.  The Dawn Society also laid down the bases of swadeshi educational institutions and shops, which later became an important part of the Swadeshi and anti-Partition(‘Bang –Bhang’) movement.

Anti-Partition Movement and Student Upsurge

Bengal was divided in 1905.  It was in 1874 that Assam had been divided, and consequently the Bengal Presidency consisted of Bengal, Bihar, Chhotanagpur and Orissa, till Bengal was further divided up in 1905 in a rather strange manner.  The division took place on 16 October 1905: its western part consisted of Bihar, West Bengal, Chhotangpur and Orissa, while East Bengal and Assam constituted one province.    Thus two provinces came into existence: Bengal and East Bengal.
The partition of Bengal particularly led to severe reaction among the Bengalis.  The nationalists in general were of the opinion that the step was taken by the British rulers to divide the Bengalis and the national movement.  Not everybody agreed with this view, though, particularly in the western part of Bengal.
Thus, the discontent at the partition of Bengal led to a great upsurge against it.  This came to be known as anti-partition or ‘Bang-Bhang’ (‘division of Bengal’) movement.
The movement became integrated, in the course of events, with the boycott of foreign goods and the use of swadeshi and swadeshi education.
Anti-partition and Swadeshi movement was the first mass student-youth movement in India, with the participation of some other sections.  It left a deep impact on the history of India, particularly the history student-youth movement, and gave rise to several important organisations and movements that were to play an important role in the later years.  The consciousness of the youth was taken to qualitatively new heights.  A national consciousness began to take shape.  The movement spread over into South India also eg.  Madras, Rajahmundhry, Kakinada, Machalipatanam, etc.  Even a national university was established in Madras presidency in 1907.  Bepin Chandra Pal played an active role not only in North India but also in South India in organising the students.
Behari Students’ Central Association (BSCA)
There is a general mistaken impression that regular and strong students’ movement in India took shape only in the 20s and 30s of the 20th century.  But the fact is that there were several well – organised student and youth bodies in India well before the First World War, particularly in Bihar, Assam, Bombay, Madras, etc.
Among the notable organisations was the BSCA or the Behari Students Central Association, founded in 1906.  It was initiated by Rajendra Prasad (later Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President) and his associates during the Durga Puja holidays in Patna College in the first Behari Students Conference.  It was presided over by (later Justice) Sharfuddin.  It is interesting to note that delegates from most of the schools and colleges took part in it.
BSCA established its branches in all the districts and important towns of Bihar.  Branches in Calcutta and Benaras were also founded.  The BSCA war not a short – lived, temporary organisation.  For the first fifteen years of its existence ie.   upto 1921, it convened its annual conferences regularly, and its branches were very active.  It was an unusual student organisation in many senses.  People generally are either unaware of it or know very little.   The BSCA concentrated on educational and social reform aspects in the beginning but gradually shifted to political and nationalist positions.  It is to be especially noted that BSCA greatly contributed to the founding of Congress Party in Bihar (1908).
Another notable organisation was the Students’ Brotherhood  (est. 1889), in Bombay and neighbourhoods, a highly organised and regular body, active in the last decade of the 19th century and first two decades of the 20th century.  It also brought out a serious and in – depth quarterly journal Students’ Brother hood Quarterly  (SBQ).
We will not be able to describe other student organisations for lack of space.
India’s First Student Organisation (1920)
As per the researches conducted so far, the idea of establishing an all – India students’ organisation was being discussed way back in 1906.  Annie Besant used to publish a students’ journal titled the Central Hindu College Magazine  (CHC Magazine) from Benaras in 1908.  It discussed the formation of an India – level body of students on several occasions.  It meant that the educated sections, teachers, students, leaders etc were feeling the need for and possibility of such a step.  This fact is being mentioned for the first time by this writer in his detailed work on the student movement as well as in this booklet on AISF history.
Thus, the attempts to found an all India organisation of students were being made much before the First World War.
But such an organisation could not be formed in those early days.  Among the reasons was the outbreak of the First World War  (1914-18).  The War brought about a qualitative change in the country’s and world situation.  Russian revolution took place in November 1917.  Bourgeois democracies were established in several European countries, Liberation movements gathered speed in Africa, China, Turkey, other countries as well as in India.  Ideas of Marxism and socialism spread all over quickly.  The crisis of British and other imperialisms deepened.  Such were some of the absolutely new factors.
The change in the situation led to a sharpening of the national freedom movement in India.  The influence of the Indian National Congress spread rapidly among the masses.  New types of radical and mass leaders emerged eg. Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sibhash Chandra Bose and others.  The socialist and leftist ideas began to spread more rapidly.  These conditions created favorable situation for the growth of student-youth movement and the emergence of their organisations.  Consequently, several of them came up during this period.
It is well known that the non-cooperation movement began in 1920, led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.   It was in the course of the preparations of the non-cooperation that the country-level organisation of students was born in 1920.
Several student conferences, gatherings and meetings took place in the course of 1919 and 1920 at various places all over the country.  Some of them proved temporary, others permanent.  Student conferences and conventions were organised during 1920 in Bihar, Bombay, Pune, U.P. and several other places.  Several meetings took place in Nagpur in November 1920, wherein it was decided to convene an all India conference of students.  Meetings of similar nature took place in Ahmedabad, Bombay etc.  Ultimately it was agreed that an all India students’ conference would be convened in December 1920 in Nagpur on the occasion of the session of the All India Congress Committee.  Students’ organisations all over the country were accordingly informed of it.
The All India College Students’ Conference (AICSC) began our 25 December 1920 in Nagpur.  It represented only the college students.  Hence the name.  Though cooperating closely with the Congress, it was basically an independent initiative of students and student leaders.
R.J. Gokhale was the Chairman of the Reception Committee, the conference was inaugurated by Lala Lajpat Rai.  The conference decided to take an active part in the non-cooperation movement and to fully support the Swadeshi.  The conference decided to establish All India College Students’ Conference as an All India student organisation (AICSC).
It was the first-ever all India conference of students in this country.  The news of the founding of the AICSC spreadlike wildfire all over country.  It played a crucial and important, in fact a leading, role in activating the student mass and in raising their consciousness.  The AICSC organised at least five all India students’ conferences subsequently.  The organisation was active for several years.
Thus, the AICSC was the first ever all India organisation of students.

Characteristic features of student movement, preparations to form AISF

The period between 1920 and 1935 was very eventful.  We won’t go into too many details of this relatively long period for lack of space, except very few.
The material basis of student movement ie. the educational institutions and the number of students increased rapidly during the first three or four decades of the 20th century.  The number of universities was 8 in 1916-17; it increased to 14 in 1921-22 and 16 in 1936-37.  The number of colleges was 226 in 1921-22, increasing to 340 in 1936-37.  There were 8987 secondary schools in 1921-22 and 14414 in 1936-37.  The number of students doubled between 1901-02 and 1921-22 and increased by three times in 1936-37 as compared with 1901-02.
The number of students in the various educational institutions was 45 lakhs in 1901-02, increasing to 84 lakhs in 1921-22 and to one crore 41 lakhs in 1936-37.  The number of girl students in 1901-02 was 4.5 lakhs, 14 lakhs in 1921-22 and 31 lakhs in 1936-37.
The increasing number of students constituted the growing material basis for the student’s movement in India.  Their educational, political, personal, family, social, economic etc problems as well as activities were on the rise and their impact on the society as well as their social role was increasing.
The students were more and more coming out into struggle on the various demands in the abovementioned fields.  The number and intensity of the student movement was rising.  A large number of student and youth organisations was being born.
An important movement cum campaign of youths and students took place between 1928 and 1930, known as the Youth League (YL) movement.  The Y.L. movement led to the increased radicalization of the student and youth movement.  It led to greater spread of socialist and Marxist and left views among the younger generation.
The youth-students endeavored for new views and paths.  They were getting attracted to the ideas of revolution and of the Soviet Union.  Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Yusuf Meherally, Subhash Chandra Bose and P.C. Joshi were some of important figures of this movement.  The Youth Leagues were established in virtually every nook and corner of the country, in small and big towns, schools and colleges, mohallas, etc. It was a countrywide movement, number of small and big student/youth periodicals and magazines were brought out.  The YL movement laid the foundations for the future emergence of a large number of youth and student organisations.
Some of the important student youth journals brought out during 1920-35 included The Collegian, The Young Liberator, etc.
In the meantime, several student and youth conferences were organised at provincial level An all India socialist youth conference was held in 1928 in Calcutta under the presidentship of Pt. Nehru.  Another gathering was the All India Students’ Convention in Lahore in 1929 under the presidentship of Pt Madan Mohan Malviya.
In Bengal, two important student organisations were constituted at the end of the 1920s-beginning of 1930s eg. ABSA or All Bengal Students’ Association and BPSA or Bengal Provincial Students’ Association.  Student organisations also came up during this period in Punjab, Bihar, Delhi, U.P., Madras, Assam, Orissa, Bombay, CP-Berar province, Sindh, Lahore, etc.  Some of them originated under the name of Students’ Federation (SF) and or later on joined the AISF.  SF or SF – type organisations were being rapidly formed in 1934, 1935 and 1936 in several places indicating that the movement was proceeding towards the formation of an all India student organisation.  Lahore Students Union (LSU), Madras Students Organisation (MSO), UP University Students Federation, CP-Berar Student Organisation, Bombay Students Union (BSU), later All Burma Students Union (ABSU), Assam Students Federation (or Asom Chhatro Sanmilan, formed in 1916), All Utkal Students Federation, Sindh Students Federation and many other student organisations were formed or were in the process of formation.
Thus, there was a spate of activity all round.   Many of them were independent, not connected with any political party.  Some others were related with the parties in one way or the other.  But the notable fact is that most of the student organisations were joint forums of students of various views and political affiliations, as also of the non-political and non-affiliated students.  Political parties like the Indian National Congress and its groups, Congress Socialist Party, Communist Party of India and some others were active among the students.  They had some sort of influence on the student masses.
Let it be emphasized here that the independent, non-affiliated, non-political elements had far greater influence on students than what is realized.
Foundation of the AISF (1936)
In the meantime, an all India students’ conference was convened in Karachi on 26 March 1931 under the presidentship of Pt. Nehru.  It was called to organise All India Students Federation, and was attended by nearly 700 delegates.  But the attempt did not meet with success due to a number of reasons.


The background to the founding of the AISF is quite interesting.  Sir Malcolm Hailey was the governor of the then United Provinces of Agra and Awadh (U.P.).  He was very concerned at the growing movement of the youth and students.  He wanted to pre-empt any attempt to form their organisation.  Therefore, he asked the vice-chancellor of Lucknow University to convene a meeting of the student representatives of all the universities of the province to form a Federation, so that the growing dissatisfaction among the students could be diverted into official channels and away from the effective student movement.  A meeting of the representatives of the universities of Allahabad, Benaras, Aligarh, Lucknow and Agra was convened so as to form province – level and later all India level student organisation to forestall the formation of a real nationalist organisation.
But the move back-fired upon the British and the university authorities.  The nationalist students captured the meeting and its proceedings.  The students did not follow the dictats of the authorities.  Student leaders like M. Badiuddin, P.N. Bhargava, Shafiq Naqvi, Ahmed Jamal Kidwai, Jagdish Rastogi and others put the sychophants of the Britishers on the defensive and harassed them like anything.   The chairman of the meeting brought a condolence resolution on the death of George V.  The above-mentioned student leaders insisted upon a resolution also condoling the death of the famous British Communist and MP,  Shapurji Saklatvala, who also died almost the same time.
But the vice-chancellor objected to the name of Saklatvala in the condolence resolution.   Consequently, there was a Pandemonium in the meeting.    The students were threatened with disciplinary action, and in fact three students were rusticated too.  About 50 students walked out of the meeting.
The students and their leaders decided that if they did not call an all India conference of student and form an organisation immediately, the British authorities would create their own puppet organisation.
Events, then, followed quickly.  Uttar Pradesh Universities Students’ Federation (UPUSF) held its working committee meeting on 23 January 1936 in Lucknow.  It adopted a resolution to the effect that in view of the fast-changing situation in the country, convening of an all India students’ conference had become imperative, and it should be called in August 1936.  The “official” ie. the V.C.- backed organisation also was thinking of convening an all India conference.
The Working Committee under the chairmanship of Prem Narayan Bhargava was first transformed into Management Committee and then into the Reception Committee of the proposed conference.  Committees were constituted in all the important districts of UP, headed by convenors.  The Reception Committee decided to convene the all India students’ conference in Lucknow on 12-13 August 1936.  All the students organisations all over the country were invited to participate.  At the same time leaders of various parties like the Indian National Congress, the Congress Socialist Party, the Communist Party of India etc were also contacted.
The call for the conference invited widespread enthusiasm all over the country.  Preparations began on a big scale.  The students and student organisations in U.P. jumped into active work, fund collection, preparation of staying and other arrangements and so on.  Different categories of entry tickets were introduced for the public participants and observers and visitors.    Political documents, speeches, welcome speech etc. were being prepared.
It has to be especially noted that the membership enrolment of the Reception Committee and election of its office-bearers was done democratically.  Ballot papers were prepared for this purpose and dates of polling were fixed.  Any student could become a delegate to the conference on producing his/her students’ identity card and a payment of Re.  One as delegate fee.

Foundation Conference

The foundation conference of the AISF was held in the Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall of Lucknow.  936 delegates representing 200 local and 11 provincial organisations from all over the country participated in the conference.
The conference received messages of good wishes from Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Srinivas Shastri and many other prominent personalities.
The conference was the biggest gathering of students at all India level till that time.  All the universities were represented.
P.N. Bhargava welcomed the delegates as the Chairman of the Reception Committee.  The conference was inaugurated by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.  While analyzing the Indian and world situation in detail, he called upon the students to keep the flag of the freedom movement high.  In his presidential speech, M.A. Jinnah expressed happiness at the fact that people of different castes and communities had gathered in the conference with one common goal.
The conference passed several resolutions.  They called upon the students to fight actively for independence and to participate in politics.
The conference resolved to establish an All India Students Federation (AISF).  Prem Narayan Bhargava was elected the first general secretary of the AISF.  TheStudents’ Tribue became the first organ of the AISF.
The formation of the AISF was an historic event.  It inspired the whole of student movement to move forward.  It was also a sign of the growing maturity of the student movement.
The second conference of the AISF was held after a short interval of only three months, beginning on 22 November (1936) in Lahore.  It mainly discussed and adopted the constitution of the AISF.  The conference was attended by about 150 delegates under the presidentship of Sarat Chandra Bose, who called upon the students to derive inspiration from the Russian revolution.  The conference was also addressed by Pt Govind Ballabh Pant.   It through a resolution condemned the intervention by Nazi Germany into the affairs of Republican Spain.  The conference decided to affiliate the AISF with the World Students’ Association.
The Lahore AISF conference prepared a Demand Charter of Students as a basis of countrywide mass student movement.
The foundation of AISF filled the students with new enthusiasm and consciousness, and spurred them to big actions.  Student-youth movement spread widely.
A notable incident took place after the Lahore Conference.  Some Muslim student leaders tried to convene an All India Muslim Students’ conference in Lucknow towards the end of 1936.  But the organizers had to face tremendous opposition from Muslin students and the conference had to be dissolved.
The delegates held a mass meeting opposing the very idea of forming a separate organisation of the Muslin students.  Ansar Harvani of Lucknow University was the most vocal supporter of this resolution of the public meeting.  The organizer of the Muslim students’ conference Iftikhar Hasan tried to put across his reasons but nobody was prepared to listen to him.  Barring him, all the delegates came out against forming a student organisation on communal basis.  Ali Sardar Jafri moved a resolution calling upon the Muslim students to join the AISF in large numbers.  Meeting also read out the messages of Maulana Abdul Kalan Azad and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan.  Both of them opposed formation of a separate organisation and asked the Muslim students to join the AISF.

Post Conference upsurge

The last months of 1936 and the whole of 1937 saw unprecedented and active mass movements of students and youth, an upsurge of students, mainly under the leadership of the AISF.  Students in Aligarh, Faizabad, Kanpur and other places were punished for taking part in the political activities.  As a result, there were big protest meetings and students’ strikes.  Students took an active part in the elections of 1937 in support of the Congress, and helped it win the elections.
Students of U.P. went on protest actions in August 1937 against the arrest of student leaders Ramesh Chandra Sinha and J. J. Bhattacharya.  Over 15 thousand students went in protest demonstration in front of the Chief Minister (then called ‘Prime Minister’) of UP Govind Ballabh Pant in support of their 37-point demand charter.
Big movement broke out in Bengal in support of the hunger-striking Andaman prisoners in 1937.  AISF played an important role in it.  There were widespread lathicharges and arrests.  There was a huge demonstration before the Assembly.   Protests against those attacks also took place in the far-away Madras, where protest marches were taken out.  For the first time in India’s history our All India Students’ Day was observed on 20 November 1937.
The SF began to publish Students’ Tribune from November 1936 with twin aim of impacting correct and healthy direction to the student movement.  Students’ Callwas being published from Bombay and Chhatro Abhijan from Calcutta.

International Activities

The Indian students residing in Europe held a conference on 8 January 1937 in London.  It was initiated by the Oxford and Cambridge Majlis.  It was attended by representatives from ten English universities and associations and by the fraternal delegates from Indian Students’ Association.  The conference decided to establish a Federation of Indian Students’ Societies in Great Britain and Ireland (FEDIND), and it established contacts with the AISF.
The AISF was active in support of national liberation, freedom and socialist movements all over the world since its establishment.  The Students’ Tribunepublished materials regularly on world events.  Lahore Students’ Union (LSU) had observed “Spain Day” in May 1936 itself.  A “China Day” was organised all over the country in August 1936.  Processions were brought out in Bombay.  Protesting against Japanese aggression against China.  An anti-war day was organised in Madras in February 1937.  A “Palestine Day” was observed in Jhansi the same year.

Third AISF Conference

The third conference of the AISF was held in Madras from 1 to 3 January 1938.  In the interim period the organisation of the Students’ Federation spread rapidly to new areas, reaching to the far-flung and remote schools in the villages.  Several provincial organisations were constituted.
The Madras AISF conference witnessed some serious internal differences between the various political trends, but they were resolved in time and the AISF began marching ahead again.  It should be noted that the AISF was an organisation/platform of different political trends and views as well as of large sections of non-political and non-affiliated members and supporters.  It was a broad–based mass organisation, and therefore the differences were natural.
The events moved fast at national and international levels. The British government brought forward a proposal for a federal constitution, which was rejected by both the Congress and the AISF.
Subhash Chandra Bose was elected the Congress president with the support of the leftists, the Congress, Socialists and the Communists.  It caused upheavals in the Congress.  At the world levels, groupings among the imperialist countries were coming up and fascism was on a rise, bringing the world to an international war.
The Madras AISF conference elected Ansar Harvani as the general secretary.

Fourth Conference

The AISF was gaining ground rapidly.  It was apparent at Calcutta (Fourth) AISF conference (1-2 January 1939), where more than 800 delegates attended representing over 40 thousand members.  Besides, 1500 student observers also took part.  M.L. Shah was elected the new general secretary of the AISF.
The year 1939 saw several important student movements all over the country.  One notable movement came up in Orissa on the demands of the medical students.  The movement later spread far and wide in the country.  Several student leaders were expelled.  There were widespread strike protests and well-organised satyagrahas over several weeks.  The administration ultimately had to concede the demands.
The Second World War broke out on 1st September 1939.  The danger of Nazism and fascism loomed larger.  The British government, without consulting the Indian leaders and people, announced that India had joined the War on 3 September (1939).  The step was widely opposed all over the country and by all the sections of opinions.  Protests broke out everywhere.  There took place a historic anti-War strike of the industrial workers of Bombay on 2 October (1939).  The students actively supported it.  An anti-imperialist rally and convention took place in Nagpur on 8-9 October (1939).  It was participated in by several political parties and mass organisations; AISF was an active participant.  The rally was presided over by Subhash Chandra Bose and Swami Sahajanand Saraswati.

Student Movement: 1940-47

It was in this background of the Second World War that the Fifth AISFConference was held on 1-2 January 1940 in Delhi.  It was attended by 500 delegates and 200 observers.  The conference strongly condemned the War.  It took a decision to observe 26 January as the Independence Day.  The conference re-elected ML Shah as the general secretary.
The leaders of the Indian national movement demanded establishment of a provisional national government to carry through the War to achieve independence.  But the British government refused to accept it; instead the viceroy presented the so-called “August proposal” or resolution on 8 August 1940.  Earlier in March (1940) the textile workers supported by the students, went on a strike.  AISF actively cooperated.  The Students’ Federation was the first organisation, which protested against the institution of the Defence of India Ordinance in Bengal.  The movement in fact spread to the whole of the country.  Barricades were set up in many places and public meetings organised.  The students came out in large numbers against the imperialist war and supported the call of the national leaders to fight to end the British rule.  The British government banned the AISF booklet titled Role of the Students in the Anti-imperialist struggle. A student movement broke out in Calcutta demanding removal of the holwell Monument in 1940.

Sixth AISF Conference

An important event of this period was the Nagpur (Sixth) conference of the AISF held on 25-26 December 1940.  It turned out to a crucial conference and a milestone in AISF history.  The internal differences in the AISF came out sharply in acrimonious forms in the course of the proceedings of the conference.  As we pointed out earlier, the AISF was a joint forum for the various political and nationalist.  But differences and conflicts were simmering for quite some time.
These conflicts reached a peak during the conference.  The leftist, the rightist, the centrist and several other trends reentered into debate on various political, organisational and international issues.  It was but natural.  Various issues, the aims of the national freedom movement, their methods, timing of the movements, attitude to the War and to the British government in the conduct of War, the world issues, formation of the national government and so on all those issues were under intense debate and discussion in the national movement and in the AISF.  Each of the various trends had its own view and analysis – Gandhism, Marxism, the socialists, the Congress Socialists, liberals, Royists, Trotskyites and many others.  Besides, a big section, even the major section, was not affiliated to any of the trends and ‘isms’ and parties, and was non-political.  They were more concentrated on their educational problems. At the most they were interested in the broader nationalist freedom struggle. Therefore, this section did not take any interest in the details of the debates.
European and world situation was changing rapidly.  War was approaching the Indian borders too.  Therefore, India was being increasingly affected by the world events.

Split in AISF

The Nagpur AISF conference took place in these very circumstance.  By December 1940, the AISF got polarized basically into two groups – the core of one group was the nationalists, consisting of several trends.  The communists, who were organizationally and politically clearer and more organised, basically constituted the other group.  But both the groups ultimately adopted extreme positions in the course of debates and organisational matters.  That only harmed the organisation and vitiated the atmosphere, leading ultimately to a split in the AISF.  Both the groups and factions might have been correct on this or that question, with well-argued justifications for their positions.  But they forgot, in the course of their mutual recriminations and groupism, that AISF was a broadbased mass organisation and a platform for various views, and groups, and that all of them must exist together in the interest of the mass of students without harming the unity of the AISF.  But certain people on both the sides forgot this elementary principle, even justifying the formation of separate rival student organisations.  They did not do everything possible to preserve the unity.   Narrow political and group-organisational interests got the better of the broader educational and other interests of the students.
The result of the increasing political-organisational conflict within the AISF before and during the conference led to a split in the AISF at its Nagpur conference (1940).  Consequently, there emerged two organisations with the name of the AISF – one AISF was being led by M. Farooqui as the general secretary, consisting mainly of the communists, and other AISF was being led by M.L. Shah, consisting mainly of the non-communists, mostly the nationalists.  Both held their separate conferences.
Prof. Satish Kalelkar tried to bring the two groups together, but he failed due to hardened positions of some student leaders.  The split in the AISF in 1940 greatly harmed the giant united mass student movement all over the country, and the student in general were greatly disappointed.
Nazi fascist Germany launched a massive attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941.   This brought about a qualitative change in the nature of the Second World War.  Struggle and war against fascism, in particular Hitler fascism, became the main task of the student and general movement.   A crucial problem presented itself before the political organisation and movement in the country.  Great Britain now had joined the Soviet Union and other countries in the struggle and War against Germany, Italy and Japan, so what attitude should be adopted towards it?  The Seventh Conference of the AISF, which began on 31 December 1941, participated in by over 600 delegates, deliberated upon this question.  After sharp debates, a resolution was adopted expressing support for War efforts.
It was a creditable achievement for the AISF that it was the first organisation to discuss and debate openly the qualitatively changed situation in the country and to give a call for People’s War.  The conference pointed out that the Soviet Union was the leader of the anti-fascist forces, and was the main hurdle in the path of fascist advance.  The British government in India was trying to create problems for the AISF and other organisations, which wanted to actively create anti-fascist struggles.  The conference demanded formation of a national government.  Some of the nationalist leaders had panicked and asked the country to surrender to the Japanese troops.  AISF severely criticized it as a suicidal path.
The AISF jumped whole–hog into the countrywide mass anti-fascist movements and preparations to face the fascist advance.  A “Defence Convention” of students was organised in Delhi on 15 May 1942.  Just a few months later the Congress launched Quit India Movement all over the country on 9 August 1942.  This great movement had to face severe and barbarous repression’s reparations at the hands of the British government.  A large number of leaders were put behind the bars.  It was a great anti-imperialist movement all over the country,  in which the students played a crucial part.
The AISF did not agree with the timing of the August movements because a life-and-death War against fascism was going on in Europe, and the Japanese troops were already knocking at India’s doors.  Despite the differences, the AISF launched countrywide movements for the release of the political prisoners.
At the same time the AISF began organising armed and un-armed anti-Jap squads and groups in the border regions of Assam, Bengal, Manipur etc to face the Jap troops and to carry on anti-Japanese political movement and mobilisation.   Thus AISF was parts of the armed preparations to meet any eventualities of Japanese advance into India.

The Great Famine 1943

Large areas of the country were severely affected by the Great Famine of 1943.Bombay, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Madras Bengal etc were very badly affected.  At least one-third of India was affected by the most widespread drought and famine of modern times. Bengal’s condition was particularly grim.   At least 3 (three) million people died in Bengal alone.
Actually, the famine was man-made.  The British government was in league with the traders, black marketeers and hoarders, and they together created an artificial scarcity, and taking advantage of it exploited the masses acutely.  The government simply did nothing to overcome the famine conditions.  The prices rose at least ten times in 1943 over 1939.
The AISF took up the challenge of the Great Famine in a big way, and unleashed a campaign of famine relief and related work all over the country.  It collected money and food on a big scale.  It organised a number of cultural programmes, both to raise funds and create awareness.    The Students’ Federation even opened shops to sell foodgrains at reasonable prices in Bengal, in large numbers.     At the same time it opened several kitchens providing free food for those affected by famine and hunger.  Thousands of affected people used to visit the kitchens.  The Bengal Provincial Students Federation alone conducted about 86 kitchens run by 3000 volunteers, where at least 26 thousand people used to take meals every day.  This was a great struggle against the British-created famine.  At the initiative of the Students’ Federation, a joint Famine Relief Committee under the chairmanship Dr B.C. Roy was organised in September 1943.
Epidemics broke out during the famine on a wide scale.  Education fell into deep crises, and by 1944 the whole education system disintegrated.  Therefore the AISF took up the responsibility of saving at least part of the education system, and began collection of funds to this end.  The government had imposed a ban on the SF in Bihar even when it was busy working for famine relief.
The 8th (eighth) conference of the AISF was held in Calcutta from 28th to 31stDecember 1944.  It was attended by 987 delegates representing 76 thousand members.  Addressing the conference, Dr B.C. Roy and Sarojini Naidu highly praised the relief work done by the AISF.
The conference was followed by a series of mass movements, spontaneous and organised, singly or jointly.  26 January 1945 was organised by various student organisations jointly as the ‘Independence Day’.  The SF organised welcome meetings on the release of Congress leaders in Bombay, Lahore, Lucknow and other places.  About 100 troops attacked the students in Cooch-Behar on 21 August 1945.  In protest against this, there was a big meeting of over 35 thousand students in Calcutta.

Upsurge in Student Movement

The Second World War ended on 9 May 1945 with the defeat of Hitler fascism and victory of Soviet Red Army.  The post-War period saw a huge upsurge of liberation movement in the colonized countries.
Three officers of the Indian National Army (INA) were put on trial by the British government immediately after the War ended – Sehgal, Dhillon and Shahnawaz Khan.  A countrywide movement was unleashed demanding release of these INA officers.  The town of Tamiku observed a general strike at the call of the SF on 31 October (1945) on this question.  It was sought to be broken by the troops with the help of the goons.  Several students were injured in the attacks that followed on them.
More than 5 thousand students brought out a demonstration on 21 November (1945).  The police lathicharged and fired without any warning, 3 (three) persons died and several got injured.  There was complete protest strike in all the schools and colleges the next day.  There was police firing again, in which 11 (eleven) persons died.  It was followed by a massive protest rally on more than 2 (two) lakh people the next day.  Again there were lathicharges and firings.  There were countryside protests all over the country led by the AISF.  30 thousand students went on strike in Bombay.
At the world-level too, the youth were getting organised, in anti-imperialist struggles.  A meeting of youth representatives from 63 countries took place in London in November 1945.  It was at this meeting that the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) was established.  The AISF was represented by Miss K. Boomla who polled highest votes in elections for  the executive.
The ninth AISF conference began Guntur (in present-day Andhra Pradesh) on 20 January 1946, attended by 571 delegates.  It was a unique conference; for the first time, an AISF conference was held in a rural area in a village with a population of only three thousands.  The place of the conference was named after Rameshwar, a student martyr killed in police firing in the movement in support of the INA officers in Calcutta.  The conference also condoled the death of B. Golvala, the manager of AISF journal the student, who was murdered by the goondas of mill owners in Bombay.
The historic naval uprising took place in Bombay in February 1946.  Workers and students also came out in support actively.  AISF played an active part in mobilizing students in support of the Naval Ratings.  The Bombay Students’ Union  (BSU), affiliated to the AISF, brought out a handbill in support of the Naval uprising on 22 February, and called for a general students’ strike.  The students strike, and came out in large numbers, fighting side by side with workers and naval ratings.
There was a people’s upsurge in Calcutta protesting against the arrest and imprisonment of Captain Rashid of the INA.  The people fought bullets and police atrocities for two days.  Bengal Provincial Students Federation (BPSF) along with other organizations, demanded release of Capt. Rashid and other INA officers.  It organised meetings and processions on the question in February 1946.  15 thousand students and youth demonstrated in front of Bengal Assembly on 25 July (1946) demanding release of the political prisoners.  4 million people took part in the general strike in Calcutta is support of the striking postal employees.  One lakh students also went on strike.  The BPSF  took out processions and organised meetings on the occasion of the anniversary of 9 August 1942.    Strikes too were organised in several places.
A three-member Cabinet Mission, appointed by the British government, visited India in March 1946.  The Mission sought to utilize and increase the conflicts between the leaders of the national movement and to force India to accept Dominion Status.  The results of the provincial Assemblies affected the policies of Muslim League and the Congress in different ways.  The Cabinet Mission talks were unsuccessful but the British government announced a plan in May 1946.  It provided Dominion Status for the provinces and princely states.   Divisive plans were made and elections were being thought of on communal basis.   Muslim League at first refused to participate in the Interim government that was being formed after the elections.  Simultaneously, it announced the plans for a separate Pakistan and of open struggle in its support.  At last, in August 1946, an Interim Government could be formed with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister.  Muslim League did join it in September (1946) but continued to boycott the Constituent Assembly.
AISF pointed out that the Cabinet Mission aimed at creating sharp and deep communal divisions, which could be overcome only through mass actions and mass mobilisation.
An international students conference was held starting on 31 August 1946 in  Prague (Czechoslovakia).  It was attended by over 300 delegates from 39 countries of the world.  The AISF was represented by Gautam Chattopadhyaya.  The conference founded the International Union of Students (IUS).
In the meantime, an special conference of AISF was held in Nagpur on 6-9 June 1946.  Its main theme was the democratization of education.  It prepared a detailed document on the subject, which is of great historical importance.

The 1946 Communal Riots

Large-scale communal riots broke out in Bengal and elsewhere in the country in 1946 leading to barbaric and inhuman massacres of innocents of both the communities.  The AISF played a great role in facing and preventing the riots wherever possible.  It undertook relief and rehabilitation of the affected people on a large scale.  The communal riots were planned, engineered and executed all over the country by the British rulers, the Muslim League, RSS, Hindu Mahasabha and other communal organizations.  The Muslin League observed 16 August 1946 as Pakistan Day, which only served to heighten the communal tensions.  Widespread riots broke out in Calcutta, Bombay, Bihar and other places.  Noakhali saw inhuman massacres and on unprecedented scale.  Communists, Congressmen, and other secular forces came out to defend the people.
AISF too undertook active relief work during the riots.  It also cooperated with other student organisations.  It goes to the credit of the AISF that it took out the first Hindu-Muslim unity procession in Delhi in the very midst of the riots.   The AISF initiated the ‘Riot Relief Fund’ in Bengal.  The SF cadres did great work in Bihar and saved the lives of many people even at the cost of their own lives.   The Patna medicos helped the injured.  The student volunteers worked round the clock in the refugee camps.  The organization worked in many places including Kanpur, Agra, Allahabad, Aligarh,  Chittagong, etc.

Vietnam Day

The tenth AISF conference began on 3 January 1947 in Delhi participated in by 1500 delegates and observers.  Immediately after the conference, the AISF observed 21 January 1947 as Vietnam Day.  The two groups of the All India Students Congress (AISC) and the Muslim Students’ League of Calcutta also supported it.
50 thousand students of Calcutta went on strike on that day.  A huge procession was taken out and a big rally organised.  There were unprovoked lathicharges, and the students come out on the streets.  They were fired upon, and two students were killed on the spot.  A protest strike took place the very next day.  The first week of February was full of protest actions.  There were protests all over the country against these firing  – Madras, Lucknow, Lahore, Agra, Guwahati, Kerala, Bangalore and in innumerable other places.
Vietnam Students’ Association passed a resolution in its Hanoi session in memory of the Indian student martyrs in March 1947. They passed solidarity resolutions.  Thousands of people all over Vietnam offered their condolences to the Indian martyrs.  A four-member delegation of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and February 1947.  Its French member was Jean Lataussier.  He was presented with the bullet that killed Dhiraranjan on the Vietnam Day in Calcutta, in a public meeting.  It was French imperialism that was occupying Vietnam at that time.  Lataussier became very sentimental, and amidst huge clippings he declared that the French youth respected the freedom of Vietnam because they also valued their own freedom, that of France.  In the Asian Youth Conference held in Delhi in March 1947, a resolution was passed supporting the Vietnamese struggle for freedom and demanding an end to the French occupation of Vietnam.

India Gains Independence

January to August 1947 was a period of intense political activities crucial for Indian independence.  The British were still trying to nullify the freedom that India was about to achieve.  These conspiracies of the British rulers were exposed in a booklet brought out by the Communist Party.  The booklet was titled “Operation Asylum”. It exposed the real aims of the conspiracies being hatched by the British colonialists in India.  Consequently, the police raided the offices of the CPI, AISF, AIKS and other organisations all over the country.  The government tried to paralyze the AISF.  Its leaders were jailed in large numbers.
It was a period of mass joint actions by the SF and other student organisations.  Some 60,000 students of Bombay went on a strike in support of their demands on 23 July (1947).   The Home Minister of the Province Morarji Desai had imposed a ban on meetings earlier on 22 July.    There were big strikes in Kanpur, Benaras and others places.
At last, the Day of Freedom arrived, which was being eagerly awaited by the people all over the country.  The British Union Jack (British Flag) was brought down from the Red Fort in Delhi on the night of 14-15 August (1947) and the Indian Tricolour was hoisted.  The whole country went wild with joy.  AISF also organised Independence day functions and gatherings all over the country.  The SF and the Students Congress jointly brought out procession in Delhi on the eve of independence.  An effigy of British imperialism was burnt.  A student got up on the statue of Lord Irwin and blackened its face.  Students sang the songs of freedom, liberty and independence.
In the context of the history of the freedom movement, it is necessary to point out that RSS and some other communal student organisations did not actively participate or did not participate at all in the struggle for India’s independence; not only this; they even forcefully opposed any such movement.  There is not a single proof or document to the effect that the RSS, and some other communal organisations too had made any kind of contribution to this great national movement.  On the contrary, RSS, in particular, and later Muslim League and some others acted as the armed communal flanks of British colonial rule in India, sowing seeds of communal hatred, who prepared and perpetrated communal wars and massacres.  Even after independence, they continued to spread communal poison.
Student Movement in Free India
A new situation emerged after India’s independence, and the student movement faced new tasks.  The Indian people wanted their age-old dreams fulfilled.  It was necessary to industrialize India, particularly to create heavy machine –building industry, to provide a firm basis for country’s independence.  Planned development of the economy was a national necessity.  It was essential to do away with the feudal and semifeudal relations in agriculture.  Only a self-reliant economy could destroy the colonial structures.  In the field of education, it was essential to provide cheap education to the millions.  At the same time, it was necessary that the education be related with the needs of development.  The AISF raised the question of the democratization of education repeatedly after independence.
The student movement was expected to contribute in the new situation in form of concrete suggestions regarding the restructuring of the country.   At the same time, it was necessary to struggle for these suggestions.  Anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-monopoly struggle was the need of the hour.  The AISF simultaneously took up the challenge of struggle for students’ educational and other demands.  To this end, the AISF fought against those policies of the government, which were against the people in general and students in particular.  It played a particularly important role in educating the mass of students in democratic and revolutionary ideas and in making them conscious of their place and role.
The question of integrating the princely states with India, their elimination and the political and administrative reorganization of the country were among the major problems faced by us.  Most of the princely states agreed to join India, but some simply refused to do so eg.  Hyderabad, Kashmir, Junagarh etc. The people of Nizam’s Hyderabad were carrying on an armed struggle against the state’s feudal system.  India government entered into an agreement of maintaining status quo with Hyderabad on 26 November 1947.  This guaranteed status quo for one year.  In the meantime kisan and peoples struggle spread to more than 300 villages.
Students were also active in the anti-feudal struggle.  They organised several strikes and meetings on January 1948.  In Aurangabad (the present day Maharashtra), Independence Day was observed through strike on 16 January. Girls participated in the struggles in Hyderabad city in large numbers.
The All Hyderabad Students’ Union led this student struggle.  The students participated actively in the Telangana armed struggle.  The student leadership had to go underground.  They formed scout battalions, sent secret agents to the enemy camps and also worked as messengers and watchmen and guards.  There were about 400 students in the militia by April 1948.  Many of them were leaders of guerilla squads.
With the entry of the Indian troops into Nizam’s Hyderabad in September 1948, it was wrong to have persisted with the armed struggle in Telangana.  It finally merged with India, and the major aim of the movement was thus fulfilled.  Problem of abolition of feudalism also could be tackled without recourse to arms.  Consequently, people lost interest and the movement was isolated.  Besides, it was not possible and practical to fight the Indian troops.  People supported the Indian government.  By wrongly continuing the armed struggle, the AISF and the CPI lost heavily.

Eleventh AISF Conference

The eleventh conference of the AISF was held in Bombay in December 1947.  It was attended by over 1500 delegates representing more than one lakh members.  Morarji Desai, as the chief minister of Bombay, announced a ban on the conference on its very first day ie. on 28 December.  Therefore, it had to be held secretly.  The Working Committee did not get the permission to hold an open rally.  Therefore, it decided to confront the government and defy the ban.   Consequently, there were clashes with the police, leading to  lathicharges and firings.  The police atrocities were opposed by AISF through a Protest Day on 9 January 1948.  Several world organisations opposed the government action against AISF eg. International Union of Students (IUS), World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), All World Students’ Union and others.  It was widely condemned.  There was a wave of protest all over the country.
This conference of the AISF reviewed the four-month period after India’s independence.  It opined that the work of the government was not in accordance with the expectations of the people.  There was no doubt that the situation in the country was very grave.  Communalism was a mortal danger.  There also was no doubt that Nehru government was trying to reconstruct the country’s economy and general structure.   The AISF sharply criticized the right reactionary grouping around Sardar Patel.
The AISF opined that the Model Constitution prepared in July 1947 was better that those prepared by the British.  At the same time, its weaknesses were also pointed out.  The Model Constitution fixed the voting age at 21 years.  The AISF demanded that it be reduced to 18.  It also demanded a provision of job guarantee in the constitution.
The AISF had always been fighting for student unity, even since before independence.  It again put similar unity proposals on 29 July 1947 and on other occasions.   Various problems of students eg. rise in fees, democratization of education anti-imperialist struggle, etc needed to be seriously addressed to after independence, and that needed students’ unity.  The AISF also pointed out the need for united action against communal threat.
The AISF, therefore, took concrete steps in this direction.  Even a united student organisation with All India Students’ Congress and All India Muslim Students Federation was being discussed.  The SF pointed out that all these organisations had fought communalism jointly.  In order to develop a progressive student movement it was essential to unite the student organisation.
12th AISF Conference
The twelfth conference of the AISF was held on 23-27 July 1949 at Calcutta.  It was attended by 340 delegates representing 80 thousand members.  Most unfortunately the AISF had adopted an adventurist sectarian self-destructive line in 1948.  It has abruptly changed its course: from welcoming the freedom, it suddenly declared that India had not really achieved independence.  This was done at a time when the country was trying to chart its path forward in a very difficult situation.  Some of the leaders of the AISF thought it was time to overthrow Nehru government through armed struggle and establish socialism.  The conference declared that the country’s independence was a sham one.
But it was a misplaced and self-destructive course and policy.  It was true that the people were dissatisfied with many of the policies of the government.  But they also welcomed independence.  People and students did struggle for their demands buy they were not ready to overthrow Nehru government and to take up arms.
This self-inflicting line did incalculable harm to the AISF and to the student movement.  The AISF was thoroughly isolated from the students.  This political sectarian and adventurist course is known as the “BTR Line” (after the name of BT Ranadive, who ultimately joined CPI (M) in 1964).
The AISF began to rectify its line and improve its activities.  It started a process of rectification.  It was being felt that the students should be organised around their concrete educational, economic and political problems.  Mass movements began to be organised.  The AISF discussed alternative educational and other polices.   These questions were inseparably linked with alternative path of development for India.  AISF reoriented itself in this direction.

The period 1952-64

A qualitatively new situation arose after independence.  New ways and methods became essential.  The announcement of a new Constitution of India in 1950 and declaration of a Republic created qualitatively different and favorable conditions.  The student movement needed new slogans, forms and methods.  Novel possibilities opened up for the student and youth movement.
In the meantime there were widespread movements for the formation of and elections to the student unions all over the country, in which the AISF played an active role.  By 1952, it had become an important demand of the student movement.  The demand for the formation of the student unions has an interesting background.  An historic mass movement took place in 1937 for the release and return of the Andamans Prisoners.  Simultaneously, there were the movements demanding a ban on the physical tortures of the students in various movements.  A strike took place on these questions.  One of the results was a demand to constitute elected student unions in various colleges.  Bengal saw prolonged strikes and other forms of movements in 1938-40.  The relentless pressure exerted by AISF and other student organisations led to the formation of student unions in various places step by step.
13th AISF conference and mass movement
The 13th conference of the AISF was held in Hyderabad on 1-5 January 1953.  It was attended by about 400 delegates representing a membership of more than one lakh.  It was preceded and followed by countrywide mass movements on the questions of student unions, reduction in fees etc.  A police sub-inspector fired upon and killed Dr. Jagdish Lal in Lucknow on 31 October 1953.  This led to a protest movement all over U.P. A conference of the SF in November 1954 in Allahabad discussed UP University bill, which tried to destroy the sovereignty of the institutions.    Students went on a strike on 5 November 1954 protesting against the Bill.  Students of Lucknow observed strike on 13 December.

Goa Liberation Struggle

The 14th conference of the AISF was held on 5-8 January 1955 in Lucknow.  It paid special attention to organisation.  Beginning with the new educational session the students and other sections all over the country were in the thick of the preparations for struggle and satyagraha for the liberation of the Portuguese colony of Goa.  AISF appealed to the students to participate in the Goa liberation movement on a big scale.  The AISF, Youth Congress and the Samajwadi Yuvak Sabha organised joint programmes in Delhi on 12 July.  9 August (1955) was observed as “Portuguese, Quit India” day.  250 volunteers including 59 communists entered Goa on 3 August (1955).  The Portuguese soldiers opened fire in which many were killed including two Communists – V.K. Thorat and Nityanand Saha.    Demonstrations were held on 5 August, students went on strike on 13 August.  More than 4 lakh students and others came out on the streets and widespread strikes resulted.  Satyagrahis from all over the country entered Goa on 15 August and were fired upon.  23 year old Karnail Singh was killed when he tried to save his leader V.C. Chitale.  The general secretary of the AISF Sukhendu Mazumdar was present with SF leader C.K. Chandrappan on 15 August at the Goa border to help the student satyagrahis.  A massive rally of over 2 lakh people took place in Delhi on 16 August (1955), which was participated in huge numbers by the students.  C.K. Chandrappan was later to become a prominent student and youth leader at all India level, and also a CPI MP.

Patna Firing, 1955

The famous Patna Firings of 1955 and the consequent mass protest movement are among the historic pages of people’s struggle in Bihar as well as all over India.  The movement began with an ordinary incident.  On 12 August (1955) an argument took place between the students of Patna B.N. college and the staff of the state bus transport.  It soon developed into a heated exchange.  The unfortunate part was that the police intervened in it in a senseless and tactless manner, and began to attack the students. They were beaten and then fired upon, and the police repression soon spread over.  A student, Dina Nath Pandey, was killed in the varandah of B.N. College in the police firing.  Students and the police clashed with each other throughout the day, and several students were killed.  More than 30 thousand students gathered in front of Patna Medical College demanding hand over of Dina Nath’s. body. The police repression spread all over the state on 12 and 13 August.  Processions, demonstrations and meetings were held throughout Bihar on 14 August.  There were several strikes.  Firings in several towns killed many. The Tricolour was half-mast on 15 August in memory of the martyrs.  Black flags were hoisted in protest all over the state.  All the official functions in connection with the celebration of Independence Day on 15 August had to be cancelled.  Even the Congress Committees of Patna and Ranchi condemned the police action.  The student movement spread over to the political parties.  The Communist Party of India and many other parties jointly organised protest meetings, demonstrations and strikes.  Student organisations other than the AISF also took part in this historic movement.
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This was the period when non-aligned movement as emerging rapidly, with India playing a leading role.  AISF welcomed it, and decided to create public opinion against atomic bombs.  The AISF worked actively against the conspiracies of U.S. imperialism.
The CPI came out victorious in the elections of 1957 in Kerala, and India’s first Communist ministry was constituted.    It was also a great victory for the progressive forces of the country.  The Congress government in the centre dismissed this government unconstitutionally.  This move was opposed all over the country.  AISF also worked actively in the movement in support of the ministry.

Anti-food crisis movement

Food situation had become serious in West Bengal in 1959, and starvation became widespread.  Consequently, a huge mass movement broke out against the policies of the state government.  The left parties and organisations constituted a “Committee against Price-Rise and Famine”.  It unleashed a big movement.  The committee rejected the appeal of the Chief Minister Dr. B.C. Roy to withdraw the agitation, and began to prepare for agitation beginning with 20 August (1959).  But the police arrested a large number of organizers and leaders on the night of 17thitself.  The committee decided to organise a big rally on 31 August and the trade unions gave a call for a general strike on 3 September.  The government got wild with these decisions.  It brutally attacked the agitators, and the use of lathis, teargas and bullets became a common everyday affair.  But Dr. B.C. Roy lost the first round of battle and the movement continued to gather strength.
More than a lakh people came out on the streets in Calcutta.  Successful student strikes took place in all the important towns and cities of the state.  7 September (1959) was observed as Protest Day.  A student struggle committee was also constituted.
The struggle went on throughout the month of September in the face of brutal police reparations.  The members of the ruling Party refused to mourn the deaths of the martyrs of the movement in the Assembly on 21 September.   This led to a pandemonium.  Thousands of people were simultaneously demonstrating outside the Assembly.  The university was closed down on 22 September.
Students had set up a Martyrs Memorial during the night in the University Maidan.  It was guarded throughout the night by the students under the leadership of the SF general secretary.  Arrests and repressions continued.
This movement is a glorious chapter in the history of the peoples and student’ struggles of Bengal.

Foundation of the AIYF, 1959

Student and youth movements are inseparable from each other, to the extent that sometimes their dividing line becomes blurred.  The AISF and the student movement had considerable role in the emergence of an all India organisation of youth.
The foundation conference of the All India Youth Federation was held in New Delhi from 28 April to 3 May 1959.  It was attended by over 250 delegates and observers from 11 states.  The conference announced the formation of the AIYF. The report of the conference stated that only an organised youth movement could lead the Indian youth.  The conference decided that the AIYF would propagate the ideas of socialism.  It decided to affiliate with the WFDY (World Federation of Democratic Youth).  Famous artist and film personality Balraj Sahani became the first president of AIYF and Sarada Mitra General Secretary.  P.K. Vasudevan Nair was elected the chairman of the executive committee of the AIYF.
The student-youth movement was gathering speed by the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s.  The communists and the Left performed well in the general elections of 1962.  The CPI organised first-ever March to Delhi in September 1963, which was participated in by lakhs of people from all over the country.  Food movement broke out in 1964.  Thus, favorable conditions were being created for the advance of student movement in general and the AISF in particular.

Division in the AISF

The Chinese troops launched a massive attack across the Indian borders in 1962.  The Chinese aggression led to a severe crisis in the Communist, Left and progressive and democratic movement of India.  The AISF, along with other progressive forces, unequivocably condemned the Chinese aggression in clear-cut terms.  The Communist Party of India (CPI) also openly condemned the invasion by China.
At the same time, the Chinese aggression led to widespread misunderstanding about communism and Communist Party among the people.  China was a socialist country ruled by a Communist Party.  Therefore, question marks arose over the socialist ideology itself.  Besides, Chinese leadership and Communist Party of China instigated and organised splits and disruption among the communist movement in general and progressive and democratic movement of India in particular.  The “Left” communists within the CPI increased their splitting activities, ultimately creating their own separate party in 1964, which has come to be known as the CPI-M.  Consequently, the student-youth movement was thrown into severe crises precisely at a time when it was on the rise.
The right reactionary and fascist forces like the RSS and Jan Sangh got a golden opportunity due to the Chinese aggression, which was fully exploited by the U.S. imperialism. Earlier, they were on the defensive and isolated. The regular activities of the AISF received a severe jolt.  The splitters violated all the organisational norms and ideological standards, and began creating parallel bodies within the AISF and other organisations secretly.
They began to split up the AISF and other organisations at all levels and create new units, print their own newspapers and periodicals, and indulge in poisoning the minds of the members and activists.  The AISF suffered heavily all over India, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Kerala.  A large number of members became inactive.  Almost all the states suffered.
The RSS- Jan Sangh took full advantage of the situation to create anti-Communist frenzy in the country.  But the situation was saved by the statement of the AISF and the CPI condemning the Chinese aggression in no uncertain terms.  The progressive forces were also greatly helped, and in fact saved, by the clear statement of the leadership of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and of the that the Communist Party of Soviet Union (CPSU), criticizing the Chinese attack on India.  Pt Nehru, who was the Prime Minister of the country, did not fall a prey to reactionary and imperialist conspiracies to trap him.
The formation of CPI-M after they split off from CPI in 1964, led ultimately to splittism and organisational divisions in the student movement.  The splitters formed SFI or Students’ Federation of India in 1970 after separating out of the AISF.

Reorganization of AISF and Rise in Movement (1964-66)

It was decided to reorganize the AISF in 1964.  SF conferences were held in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Chandigarh, etc.  SF units were constituted in several states and places eg. in Bihar.  Andhra Pradesh unit of AISF held its conference in Guntur on 26-27 January 1964 and decided to propagate the ideas of scientific socialism.  A strike was organised immediately after the conference on the question of “detention system”.  Bihar State Students Federation organised a demonstration in Patna in 1964 before the USIS protesting against the entry of the US Seventh Fleet in the Indian Ocean.
We have described the political and organisational situation in the previous chapter.  In the light of it, a meeting of the secretariat of the AISF was held in Delhi in 1964.  It opined that despite the temporary setback to the student movement due to the Chinese aggression, the movement was regrouping and gathering strength again all over the country.  A student and youth cadre meeting was held in Delhi in 1965.  The meeting noted that student and youth conferences had already been held in Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala, Andhra, Punjab and Delhi.  Youth Federation in Andhra had established 25 units and enrolled about 32 thousand members.  A statewide movement against unemployment was started there.
The student movement had spread far and wide in the country by the middle of the sixties.  India-Pak hostilities broke out in 1965 during the months of September- October.  These created favorable conditions for the chauvinistic and blind nationalistic forces.  Serious attempts were made to drive a wedge in the Indo-Soviet friendship, but the attempts failed.  These chauvinistic and right reactionary forces were angry at the successful conclusion of the Tashkent Agreement between India and Pakistan with the intervention of the Soviet Union. During this very period, attempts were made by divisive forces to fan linguistic conflicts and riots between the supporter and the opponents of Hindi.
The economic situation throughout the country was becoming graver.  The government was introducing  a number and amount of taxes on the common people.  India had reached an agreement with the U.S.  Under the P.L. 480 for import of wheat.  The fourth five year plan was postponed.  The rupee was devalued under World Bank pressure to the extents of 37%, resulting in an increase of foreign debts to the tune of Rs. 1300 crores.  Huge concessions were given to the monopolists, who attacked the masses in various ways with the support of the government.  The commodities of daily use were becoming costlier.  The rising costs made it difficult to continue the studies further.  Fees were rising fast.  Hostel and mess charges were increasing rapidly, making the life of the students difficult.
Public resentment against these policies was growing and students were becoming restive.  Students and youth were more and more coming into protest movement.  These were the mass movements that led ultimately to the defeat of Congress in 9 out of 17 states in the general elections of 1967.  This was the period of some of the most memorable struggles in the history of India.  Some of the movements could be listed as follows.

Some Memorable Student – Youth Movements

The AISF and the AIYF opposed the arrests of those students – youth leaders who had gone out of the AISF-AIYF.  The protest was organised on 3 January 1965.  SF and the DSO (Democratic Student Organisation) jointly organised a 24-hour hunger strike in Calcutta on 25 February.  The SF and YF units all over the country observed Vietnam Day on 1 July 1965.  Hundreds of students and youths registered their names in the Medical Mission proposed to visit Vietnam.  Medicines and other relief material was collected on a large scale for Vietnam.  Complete strike against tram-fare rise in Calcutta by the British owned tram company took place on 30 July.  Students were in the forefront of this movement.  West Bengal observed a bandh on 5 August (1965), in which the students were an active contingent.
The “August Movement” of 9 August 1965 in Bihar is a memorable and historic one in the annals of the student movement in Bihar and the whole of India.  The movement was led by the AISF.  The government-aided schools in Bihar suddenly announced an increase in their fees.  Hostel charges were also increased.  Bihar State Students’ Federation (BSSF) organised a statewide protest movement against these anti-student measures.  It mobilised students from all over Bihar in the state capital, Patna, who demonstrated before the State Secretariat on 9 August (1965).  This was the first time ever that the students had gathered in such large numbers in Patna. But the police launched an unprovoked attack on the students in the most brutal manner.  The Mounted Police suddenly attacked the students who had gathered near the Secretariat gates.  Many were hit and beaten and chased.  The Mounted Police charge was followed by brutal lathicharge, teargas firing and then firings.  It was all pre-planned.  Several students were killed.  A protest meeting was  in the local Gandhi Maidan, even while all this was going on.  News of firings and deaths reached there.  The movement immediately spread all over the state. The students struggled and fought for many days.  Wide public opinion, cutting across all the political opinions and organisations, severely condemned this brutal police action.  The local English daily the Searchlightsplashed the news on its front page, supporting the students.
This Birla paper termed the assault on the students an “unprovoked”.  Consequently, its editor T.J.S. George was dismissed from his post by the management.  But he did not change his stand nor gave up his fight in favour of students, and wrote a famous booklet on the movement titled The August Revolt.  This English booklet became extremely popular.
Pakistan attacked India in September 1965.  AISF called upon the students of the country on 16 September (1965) to actively participate in the defence of the country.  The AISF collected defence funds, organised donation of blood and took up other relief work.  A mobile exhibition on national defence was organised by the AISF.  The proposed statewide student movement in Bihar was postponed by the SF.  At the same time, it demanded the release of its arrested leaders.  Incidentally, these leaders were arrested precisely from the spot where Students’ National Defence Front (including the BSSF) was holding a public meeting and was collecting funds for national defense.
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The AISF and the AIYF held their national conferences together at Pondicherry from 29 December 1965 to 2 January 1966.  The conferences supported the Tashkant Agreement between India and Pakistan.  The decisive mediating role of the Soviet Union in it was appreciated.
It was in this conference that the AISF decided to affiliate itself to the AIYF for better coordination.
Countrywide mass movements erupted after the devaluation of the rupee in June 1966.  AISF firmly opposed this surrender to the World Bank.  The CPI organised a massive Delhi March in September 1966.  Students participated in it in a big way. There were widespread movements in U.P. and other places in September – October 1966.  Hundreds were injured and dozens died in firings.  More than 6000 were jailed.  The Principal of the P.P.N. College of Kanpur was murdered.  The students were accused of committing the murder, and repressions were stepped up on this pretext.  The SF launched a protest movement.  Firings continued for two days.  A girl was even shot dead in her classroom itself.  The UP governor even stated that if the SF continued its movement, the government would continue the repreessions and firings.  The movement spread to other states.  15 October (1966) was observed as a Protest Day all over the country.  A 48-hour Bandh was organised in West Bengal on 22-23 September (1966) led by United Left Front and the National Struggle Committee. Students took part in a big way.
A broad-based National March Committee was constituted in Delhi on 4 November 1966.  It included various student organisations and unions of colleges and universities.  The committee decided to organise a National Student March to Delhi on 18 November (1966).  The following demands were put forward – Respect for the sovereignty of the educational campus, cheaper education, employment guarantee, protection of the democratic rights of the students, withdrawal of all the cases against the students, judicial enquiry into the police firings, etc.
But the government saw the March of Students as a “threat”.  It took preventive measures.  Student leaders in and around Delhi were arrested.  All the roads leading to the capital were blocked by the police and check posts were set up.  Thousands were arrested even before they reached Delhi.
Serious events gripped Bihar in the latter half of 1966, which increased the gulf between the government and the people even further.  Unprecedented student movements erupted throughout the state between September 1966 and January 1967.  They had to fare severe police repressions, brutal lathicharges, repeated police firings etc, in the course of which several students were killed.  Student revolts broke out repeatedly, which galvanized the mass movements of other sections also.  Imposition of section 144 became a common occurrence.  Most of these movements were initiated and led by Bihar State Students’ Federation.  State wide Joint Students’ Action Committee was also formed, which organised a Demands Day on 8 December (1966).  The severe repressions did not spare even the college lecturers.  There were serious incidents of police atrocities on students in Samastipur and Muzaffarpur.  There were firings and arrests on a wide scale in Patna and other places in the first week of January 1967.
Elections of 1967 and After
Fourth general elections were held all over the country in February 1967.  It was the first time after independence that the Congress had lost in the majority of the states.  The AISF actively participated in the elections.  It worked for the victory of the non-Congress candidates and the defeat of rightwing reactionary ones.  Non-Congress governments assumed office in most of the states after the elections.  Left governments were formed in Bengal and Kerala.  After the elections, the AISF, along with other organisations of progressive type, worked to get the non-Congress governments to  implement their election promises, particularly those concerning the students.  At the same time, the AISF carried on political and ideological campaign to educate the students as to who were their true friends within the non-Congress governments, and who were their false friends.  The AISF warned the students to beware of the rightwing reactionary nature of RSS and Jan Sangh.  With the passing of time and gain of experiences, the character of the various parties and the differences between them became clearer.  Consequently, a polarization between the left, democratic and progressive forces on the one hand and rightwing forces on the other was taking place.
In the meantime, the AISF and the AIYF organised several mass movements.  One of them was the all India March to Delhi on 17 November 1969 on the question of unemployment; it was a joint student-youth march.  Thousands of youth and students took part in it.   At the same time, they collected lakhs of signatures on a student – youth Charter of Demands, which was presented to the Parliament.  It demanded a fundamental restructuring of the fourth five-year plan to solve the problems of youth.  The March to Delhi was the third stage of the anti-unemployment movement.  The first stage was the all India Youth Convention in Delhi in December 1968.  During the second phase, four jathas from Four Corners of the country converged on Delhi spreading their message on unemployment problem.
The 18th AISF conference was held in Ho Chi-Minh Nagar in Delhi on 21-23 December 1969.  It was attended by about 350 delegates.  The conference was inaugurated by Prof. Hiren Mukherjee.  It prepared a demand charter, which included the following points: educational and examination reforms, student unions be made compulsory, students participation in management, job or unemployment allowance, voting rights at 18 years of age, etc. It was decided to organise a countrywide strike in the first half of 1970.
Important events took place in the country in 1969.  V.V. Giri was elected President of India, defeating the official candidate of the Congress.  He was supported by the CPI, the Left and the Indira group of Congress.
The government nationalized 14 major banks and abolished the privy–purses of the princely states.  AISF warmly welcomed these measures.   At the same time, it demanded measures like nationalization against Indian and foreign monopolists.  The AISF planned nation-wide campaign on the basis of these demands.

Discussions on the direction of AISF

Discussions and controversies had been going on for quite sometime around the aims, objects and direction of the AISF and AIYF and of the whole student-youth movement.  The character of the movement was being debated.  The leaders and cadres of these organisations and the movement were facing practical and theoretical problems.

What were the issues?

The students and youth were, by now, taking increasingly active part in politics; they were also getting mobilized behind various political parties.  Lot of changes had taken place after independence.  The students and youth were debated various social, economic, political and theoretical questions on greater scale, trying to find out the reasons and causes of their own and the country’s problems. They increasingly felt that basic socio-economic changes were essential to solve their problems.    The changes in the country and the whole world were forcing them to come to this conclusion.
In such circumstances, it was not possible to remain neutral or non-political.  It was becoming less and less possible to remain aloof from parties.  Affiliation with political parties was becoming necessary.
Political and economic events gathered speed after the division in the Congress, and political polarization and struggles sharpened, leading to several kinds of groupings, factions, parties and organisations among the students.  Larger number of influential individuals also were emerging.  They all had their own political perceptions and views.  Extreme right reactionary and extreme “Left” groupings and the Marxists and others were crystallizing with their own programmes and policies.  They were trying to influence the students and youth.  In these circumstances, question was being posed as to whether the AISF and the AIYF should clearly adopt scientific socialism and national democratic revolution as their aims.
A meeting of student and youth cadres from all over the country was held in Delhi in June 1969.  The meeting especially discussed and deliberated upon the abovementioned questions.  After sharp debates and exchange of views, the meeting unanimously came to the conclusion that the AISF and the AIYF should adopt a clear ideological orientation.  It was found that the different political parties were increasingly influencing the student-youth masses through their ideological-political positions.  Therefore, it was decided that AISF-AIYF should especially educate the student and youth masses in the ideology and thoughts of scientific socialism.  Another cadre meeting of both the organisations was convened in June 1971 to further discuss these problems and the questions of organisational aims and structures.   This meeting opined that the ideas of socialism had become widespread, and almost every party was talking about it.  The Congress was propagating socialism, but it was unclear and consisted of various trends.  Even reactionary parties like RSS- Jan Sangh were trying to attract youth by propagating varieties of modern and ancient humanism, ‘equality’ and attractive aspects of ideas of socialism, eg., ‘universal humanism’, even talking of  ‘Gandhian socialism’,   claiming that many of these ideas are found in the Vedic scriptures!
The split in the Indian Communist movement, emergence of CPI-M, Maoism and naxalism etc led to the proliferation of varieties and trends of socialism, communism and Marxism.  Different types of “Leftism” and neo-left trends spread among the youth.  All this created lot of political and ideological confusion.
The indifference to politics among the students and youth was disappearing and they were rapidly getting politicalised.  The youth stood at crossroads, where they needed clear ideological – political orientation to solve their basic problems.
The split away and formation of the SFI (Students’ Federation of India) from AISF in 1970 created further problems on these questions.
The participants of the above-mentioned cadre meeting were in favour of a clear Marxist-Leninist orientation to student and youth movements.  They also favored adoption of national democratic revolution as the aim.  The student-youth cadre meeting held in Hyderabad on 20-22 May 1972 further clarified the new orientation.
The new orientation was finally adopted in the 19th AISF conference held on 14-17 January 1974 in Cochin. The conference made the necessary changes in the constitution of the AISF.
The periods before and after the Cochin conference were those of great activities and movements.  The AISF along with the AIYF organised countrywide mass movements and other activities all over the country on 25 November 1970 against unemployment and for the democratic rights of the students.  Days were similarly observed on these issues in 1971 and 1972 also.  The AISF supported India government’s policies towards Bangladesh.  Indo-Pak war in 1971 deepened the economic crisis in the country.  Hoarding of the essential commodities was on the rise.  The AISF launched countrywide movement of dehoarding on 24 August 1973.  Earlier, it cooperated with the CPI in another countrywide dehoarding campaign from 1 to 7 August (1973), in the course of which huge amounts of foodgrains were taken control of.  It was at this juncture that Jaiprakash Narain began to build up his ‘JP movement’ of ‘party-less democracy’ and ‘total revolution’.
The ‘JP movement’ began to exploit issues of corruption, unemployment, price-rise etc to mislead the youth and students, who to certain extent came under its influence.  Some opposition parties like Jan Sangh – RSS constituted the main base of the JP movement.   The movement, therefore, had strong fascist tendencies.  The movement also included some left forces including the extreme “left”.
A Convention against the dangers of this movement was held in Patna on 26-27 April 1974 attended by more than 2000 student – youth delegates.  Some Congress youth and student organisations were also invited to the convention.  Lakhs of people participated in a massive rally in Patna on 3 June 1974, with considerable number of students and youth.
It was an anti-JP rally.  An All India Student and Youth conference was convened in Varanasi in October 1974, which decided to demonstrate in front of the Parliament in December 1974.  The AISF exposed the real reactionary nature of the JP movement and provided a correct direction to the students.  Statewide symposium on education were organised in Kerala.  Such symposia were organised in Andhra, Assam, West Bengal and Punjab too.

Imposition of emergency

Unfortunately, Indira Gandhi used the JP movement for her personal political gains and power.  She tried to strengthen her own and family hold and to weaken her personal rivals.   She declared emergency in the country in June 1975.  Though in the beginning it was, to an extent, directed against RSS, Anand Marg, Jan Sangh and such organisations, it soon turned against the progressive and democratic forces and against the mass of the people. The democratic rights of the people were crushed; the left and democratic forces carried on sharp struggles to defend the hard-won rights.
The AISF,  did not give up struggles.  It organised several types movements as far as were possible within the limits of the situation.  But the AISF had made the mistake of thinking that the emergency was all along directed against reaction, and extended its support.  Later the AISF came out against it and criticized it.  It considered that the support to emergency was wrong.
The AISF organised the medical students and the junior doctors, and convened their conference in Amritsar on 26 October 1974, where All India Medicos Federation was formed.
The AISF observed the 40th anniversary of its foundation in 1976.  The celebrations began from Nagpur, culminating in a huge conference in Guwahati in December the same year.  A colourful function was also held in Calcutta.

Elections of 1977: Period 1977-85

The Congress was punished for its emergency rule in the general elections of 1977, and was routed.  It lost its rule in the centre for the first time ever.   Janata Party, a conglomeration of several parties and formations, came to rule the centre.  It included the Jan Sangh, which dissolved itself and became part of the Janata Party. But it kept its organisational structure in tact. It is to be noted that within a short time the Jan Sangh came out of the Janata Party combination, resurrected as Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP.
The Janata combination disappointed the masses in no time, which had lot of hopes in it.  Its real character came out into open very soon.  The designs of RSS-JS became clear.  The problem of unemployment became acute and the prices of the essential commodities crossed all the limits; prices rose as never before in short time.  Not a single step was taken up in the field of education.  Consequently, the students soon began to lose faith in the Janata government.  Later, Charan Singh announced dissolution of 9 (nine) state assemblies.  The very next day, a demonstration was organised in front of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.  An All India Day was observed on 5 May (1977) protesting against the attack on the federal structure of the Constitution and on the democracy itself.  A countrywide campaign was run in June (1977) in five stages.  A huge national-level conference was held in Delhi on 2 August.  It decided to organise a campaign by collecting signatures from the people.  People’s picketing was organised at many state centers on 27-28 October.  More than 10 thousand students and youth courted arrest.
The AISF along with the AIYF, organised many anti-imperialist actions all over the country, and took a leading part in them.  A successful students’ conference was convened in Madras demanding declaration of Indian Ocean as zone of peace.  Another world conference was held in Guntur organised by the AISF.  An Indo-Soviet Youth Festival was also organised.  Festivals were organised all over the country preparatory to the Eleventh World Youth Festival in Cuba.
The 20th AISF Conference was held in Ludhiana  (Punjab) on 7-9 February 1979.
The wrong and anti-people policies of the Janata combination helped the Congress (I) to come back to power within two years, in 1979.  The Congress (I) had promised a strong and stable government.  But in practice, it began to topple many of the non-Congress governments using undemocratic methods.  The authoritarian tendency in the Congress was becoming stronger.   Concessions were given to the monopolies.  Self-reliance was under threat.  At the same time, and taking advantage of the situation, divisive, separatist and communal forces began to grow rapidly.  They wanted to balkanize India.  The RSS, BJP, Jamaat-e-Tulaba and such communal and divisive outfits began to grow rapidly among the youth and students.  The separatist Khalistani movement spread rapidly.
AISF and AIYF took active initiative to organise a Convention on Educational Reforms, Democratic Rights and Against Unemployment on 21-22 July 1979 in Delhi.  AISF-AIYF decided to organise a nationwide campaign in two stages on “Job or Jail”.  The first stage proposed to organise a nationwide campaign on the concerned issues, and it was a grand success.  The second stage saw a 5-day picketing before the Parliament by the students and youths of Delhi and neighboring states.  Main railway stations were also picketed.  This movement was carried on from 24 to 28 November 1980.  Thousands were arrested and jailed for a long time.  There were severe lathicharges in Delhi on the first, second and third days.  There were lathicharges in Quilon (Kerala) also.  30 thousands in Kerala, 25 thousand in Andhra Pradesh and 4 thousand students – youth in Tamilnadu participated in the picketing.  Other states too organised such programs.
The AISF-AIYF laid down a new tradition since 1979.  23 March was the day of martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru.  Since that year, a week or fortnight in the memory of their martyrdom began to be observed/organised every year.
Some other programmes and activities were as follows:
–       All India Conference of  Secular Students in Delhi University in 30 June and 1 July 1979;
–       A joint All India convention by different student-youth organisations on national unity in April 1980;
–       A convention or gathering of sports – lovers on 2 May 1980 in support of Moscow Olympics etc.
A state level picketing in Lucknow was organised in February 1981.  Bihar also organised such picketings.  Thousands of people gheraoed the Punjab Assembly in Chandigarh, leading to lathicharges for three consecutive days.  200 youths and students were sent to jails for 45 days.  There were several strong movements in the different parts of the country.  Kerala saw convergence of youth-student jathas from all over the state in Trivandrum.  A massive rally took place in Patna on 23 September 1981.  Similar programmes were held in Delhi, Orissa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat and Maharashtra.  AISF and AIYF organised a ‘Rasta Roko’ (Block the Road) campaign on 16 December 1982.  It was participated in by more than 50 thousand students and youths.  This movement of ‘Job or Jail’ is one of the milestones in the history of AISF and AIYF.
A conference in Trivandrum was held in August 1981 on the question of declaring Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace.  Similar conference was convened in Delhi in April 1982.  The AISF celebrated its 45th anniversary in August 1981.  The various student-youth organisaitons  jointly organised student strikes during the industrial strike of 23 November 1981.  5 September was being observed as Students, Day since 1979 but in 1982, it was observed on 15 September.  The AISF organised campaigns in solidarity with the PLO, Afghanistan, Cuba, Vietnam etc.  It even sent relief materials to the PLO in form of medicines and money.
The 21st conference of the AISF was held in Trichi (Tamilnadu) on 28-31 January 1983.
The Seventh Non-Aligned Summit was held in Delhi in March 1983.  The AISF organised meetings, seminars, symposia, processions etc in its support.  The same year, Marx centenary was organised all over the country.  A Cycle Rally was taken out from Delhi to Husainiwala (Punjab) on Youth Day.  These rallies were attacked in Punjab under the leadership of the brother of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwallan.  A 21-point demand charter was propagated in the new academic session in July 1983.  A campaign against the two-layered education system was carried on in September 1983; a cycle rally was taken out from Varanasi to Dehradun, covering a distance of 1400 kms.  It was participated in by 50 student activists, who addressed public meetings all along the path of the jatha.  The jatha reached Dehradun 20 days later on 30 September.  They were brutally lathicharged in front of the Doon School by the police.  Many were injured including Atul Kumar Anjan who got head injuries.  The agitators were thrown into jails.
It was also the period of spread of terrorism and separatism, particularly in Punjab.  The activists of the AISF fought them firmly and bravely.  The AISF worked hard for Hindu-Sikh unity, and successfully brought in other organisations for joint actions.  13 September (1983) was observed as Demands Day.
UGC brought out report in the beginning of 1984, related with the central universities.  Its recommendations were anti-democratic.  Therefore, an All India Protest Day was observed on 6 March (1984).  The AISF fully cooperated with the picketing at the Parliament in March-April (1984) conducted by the AIYF.  Protest Day against UGC recommendations was observed on 21 August (’84) .  The same day, an impressive demonstration was held at the UGC office in New Delhi, participapted in by students from Delhi, Haryana, Pujab, Himachal, M.P. etc.  29 August was again observed as a protest day in which the teachers also took part and the colleges were closed.  13 September was observed as a protest day along with the AIYF.  5 thousand student – youths participated from Delhi, U.P. Haryana and M.P.  The day was observed in 14 states.  The AISF actively took part in the AITUC rally in April’84.
A national conference was held on 13 August (1983) to observe National Integration Day jointly by several left and democratic parties, actively supported by AISF.  Among others, it demanded solution to Punjab and Assam problems.  AISF actively opposed the suspension of Andhra and Jammu & Kashmir governments.  The AISF organised an all India day in February 1985 protesting against Bhopal Gas Tragedy, directed at the multinational companies.  The MP unit of AISF organised relief work for the gas victims.
The AISF took part in the 14th Congress of the IUS (International Union of Students) held in Sofia (Bulgaria) in April 1984.  12th World Youth Festival was held in Moscow in 1985.  A National Preparatory Committee was constituted.  Youth festivals were held all over the country.  A demonstration was held at the American Centre in New Delhi on 30 November (1984) in protest against US policies towards Nicaragua.  AISF condemned the repressions on the Iranian revolutionaries.  A protest demonstration was held at Indira Gandhi’s residence on Iran-Iraq war.  The AISF actively protested the visit to India of Pak President Zia-ul Haq.  A protest was organised against US aggression on Grenada.  AISF collected relief material for the drought – affected people of Ethiopia.
The 22nd AISF conference was held in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) from 13 to 16 December 1985.  Soon after the conference, the AISF organised a protest day on 14 February 1986 against the negative aspects of the education document of the central government.  13 September 1986 was observed as a protest day against the new education policy of the government.

AISF: 1986-1990

During this period the obscurantist and fundamentalist, communal, casteist, separatist and terrorist forces gained strength.  The sovereignty, integrity and unity of the country was seriously threatened.  People were suffering from unemployment and price-rise.  It was in such circumstances that the AISF and AIYF organised a Long March from 1 January to 16 March (1986) under the slogan “Save India – Change India”.  Three cycle Marches were taken out: first, on 1 January from Kanyakumari through Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, U.P., covering more than 5000 villages, hundreds of settlements and towns and cities; it covered 6000 kms in 85 days, reaching Delhi on 26 March.
The whole campaign received tremendous mass response.  Students and youths gathered in large number of places to greet the jathas.  “Save India- Change India’ was a landmark event in student-youth movement.  A big rally was held in Ferozeshah Kotla Maidan in Delhi on 26 March.
50th AISF Anniversary
The AISF celebrated its Golden Jubilee in a grand manner in Lucknow from 12 to 14 August 1986.  The first day was marked by a big student’ rally.  The celebrations were attended by over 600 delegates from all the states.  Besides, 27 fraternal delegates from 22 countries also participated.  The celebrations were inaugurated by Baba Prithvi Singh Azad.  The AISF invited a large number of veterans of the student movement.  They included one of the founders of the AISF Harish Tiwari, one time AISF general secretary M.A. Farooqui, another ex-GS Prashanta Sanyal, Bishwanath Mukherjee, Gita Mukherjee, Ramesh Sinha, Sunil Sengupta, A.B. Bardhan, H.K. Vyas, Prof. Santosh Bhattacharya (V-C, Calcutta University), Shafiq Naqvi, Dr. Shambhu Sharan Shrivastava, Atul Kumar Anjan (ex-president), Amarjeet Kaur (Ex-GS), D. Raja, GS, AIYF and several others.  They were all presented with honors.  The delegates from all over the country enthusiastically took part in the gathering.

Mass movements

A national convention of college and university students was held in Hyderabad on 24-25 October 1987.  It was attended by delegates from 40 universities of 12 states.  The convention prepared a demand charter.  It decided to observe 2 February 1988 as the Demands Day all over the country.  Widespread agitations took place, and in many states ‘Rasta Roko’ (Block the Road), gherao, picketing, boycott of campuses etc were organised.  Thousands of students were arrested.  They also faced lathicharges.
A powerful and widespread movement in the country took place in 1988 against new education policy and unemployment.  13 September was observed as Students Demands Day.  Almost every state committee of the AISF organised state-level demonstrations.  A ‘Rail Roko-Rasta Roko’ (stop the railway, block the road) movement was organised on 9 December (1988).  There was a successful state bandh in Manipur.  Trains were stopped at Chandigarh.  Rail and road traffic was brought to a halt in many places in Andhra Pradesh.  Successful agitations took place in M.P., Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Delhi, Assam, Rajasthan and Himachal.
The year 1988 was that of big student-youth upsurge.  The AISF along with AIYF and other left and democratic student-youth organisations organised several state-level programmes.  Big demonstrations in state capitals took place in West Bengal on 5 May, 9 August in Bihar, 30 August in Andhra Pradesh, 2 September in Maharashtra, M.P., U.P., Manipur, Kerala and in Delhi on 10 October.  Processions and demonstrations were also held in Karnataka and Rajasthan. Big state-level conventions were organised in U.P. Haryana, Punjab etc.
On 12 April, the UP Yuva Sangharsh Morcha decided to organise a demonstration of students and youth at the Assembly in Lucknow. The chief minister Veer Bahadur Singh lost his balance completely when he came to know of it.  The jails of Lucknow and nearby areas were vacated.  Thousands of policemen and PAC were deployed to seal the borders of Lucknow.  Warrants were issued against the student and youth leaders, and they had to go underground.  The procesionists were  detained at the station itself, from where they were  sent to the jails.  Despite all these precautions, arrests and barriers, many demonstrators sneaked upto the Assembly area and climbed it walls into the compound.  There was disorder in Lucknow.  The plans to keep the arrested persons for long periods in jail could not materialize.
The situation in Punjab  deteriorated fast.  The Khalistani terrorists were openly carried out their acts.  A large number of persons of democratic, progressive and left movement, who had opposed terrorism, were killed by the bullets of the terrorists.  Punjab Students’ Federation, singly and jointly with others, carried on great struggles for national sovereignty and unity.  12 August 1988 was observed as “Save Punjab-Save India” day all over the country by the AISF.  Kerala state SF observed a Punjab week from 17 to 25 September (1988).  On this occasion, the activists from Punjab visited 13 districts of Kerala.  They were warmly welcomed everywhere.  The state SF committee denoted Rs 11,111 to the Punjab fund.  The funds were also collected in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
The communal forces strengthened their position during this period.   BJP and Sangh Parivar unleashed a series of riots all over the country.  Jamaat –e-Islami and other Muslim fundamentalist organisations also contributed their might.
Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid controversy and communal tension overtook the whole country.  The BJP began its socalled ‘Ratha Yatra’ to communalise and tensionise India as part of its political game.  It was stopped by Bihar government.  The BJP-RSS were enraged by this action and brought down the National Front government.  For the first time after independence, the communal forces had gathered so much strength and were on such powerful offensive that the left forces had to run countrywide and effective campaign.  The AISF ran a nationwide campaign for national integration and unity in cooperation with other secular forces.  UP unit of AISF in particular conducted an effective statewide campaign.
Rajiv Gandhi had come to power with a clean image.  But that was considerably damaged.  His party had got a huge majority in the Parliament but he could not utilize it properly.  The Left organisations undertook a number of campaigns against the anti-people policies of the government.  Bus jathas were brought to Delhi and a historic rally was organised on 9 December 1987 demanding the resignation of Rajiv government.  30 January 1988 was observed as the Day of Pledge. A successful Bharat Bandh was organised on 15 March (1988).  The AISF worked hard to make it a success and organised strikes in the educational institutions all over the country.
A national convention of student and youth organisations was held in Delhi on 11 May 1987, which discussed and outlined the future struggles.  The AISF launched a movement jointly with other organisations demanding reduction in voting age to 18 years.  The government had to concede the demand.  The AISF also actively worked for the Bharat Bhandh of 30 August 1989 organised by various left and democratic parties.
The new, National Front government took a sympathetic attitude to the student-youth demands.  It consulted all the student and youth organisations of the country.  For the first time, the government included right to employment and basic changes in education policies in its programme.
In the meantime, the government announced implementation of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission.  ABVP and NSUI (I) opposed them.  The student and youth movement was diverted into wrong channels.  Many ill-informed, ill-advised students took the path of self-immolation.  The AISF requested the students to keep away from anti-Mandal agitation.
The AISF, along with the AIYF, organised a big rally before the Parliament on 6 September 1990 on the question of right to education and job and in support of Mandal Commission.

Some International Activities

Several international activities were organised during the period under consideration.
An international youth meeting was convened in Bombay, in which 22 organisations took part.  After the meeting, a big procession of over 5 thousand students and youth was taken out.  It demanded that the Indian Ocean be made a zone of peace.
50 student agitators of SF captured the American centre in Delhi protesting against the American attack on Libya.  9 September 1987 was organised as a Anti-Racism day. It was demanded that Nelson Mandela be released.  Solidarity Day in support of South Africa and Namibia was celebrated on 2 October (’87).  That day the British Library was captured.  A meeting of 18 student and youth organisations was held in Delhi on 8 January (1987) in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the African National Congress (ANC).  A demonstration was held in front of the British Library in Delhi on the occasion of the birthday of Nelson Mandela on 18 July 1988.  50 thousand signatures were collected in Kerala in support of the demand of release of Mandela.
The AISF organised several programmes in support of the Palestinian people.  Students staged a protest orally against Indo-Israel Davis cup match in Delhi on 24 July (1987).  It was lathicharged, inuring several people.  A protest demonstration was taken out against American Information Centre in Delhi.  The American Centers were taken control of on 16 May 1988.  A Palestine Week was organised from 8 to 15 December (’88) in Kerala.  Programmes were organised on various problems like Iran-Iraq war, Korean unification, Afghanistan, etc.  A big campaign was run in Kerala in solidarity with Nicaragua.  The ambassador of Nicaragua was presented with thousands of pencils, exercise books and other educational material in a specially organised function in Trivandrum.  The President of the Kerala unit of AISF B.K. Mohan was sent to Nicaragua as part of the “International Coffee Harvest Brigade” along with the funds collected.
13th World Festival was held in Pyongyang, North Korea, on 1-7 July 1987.  It wasthe first time ever that the festival was held in Asia.  Several functions and gathering preparatory to it were held in India.  The North-Eastern festival was held in Manipur.  West Bengal held functions for one week. Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, organised state-level function.  The AISF actively prepared for the celebrations and festivities.  The 15th conference of the IUS was held on 16-20 November 1987 in Havana (Cuba).  A 3-member delegation from India took part.
The AISF condemned the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq.  It simultaneously criticized the role of multinational forces under US leadership and called for a halt to the Gulf War.   The AISF participated in a joint demonstration before the American Embassy along with other left and democratic parties.  The units of the AISF stepped up anti-war activities all over the country.
Chapter 12

The period: 1990 to 2004

We will mention only a few events for lack of space.
Serious developments took place in the Soviet Union and the countries of east Europe in the 1980s.  The socialist system went increasingly into crises.  Situation was becoming serious in the USSR in mid-‘80s.  Economic problems were particularly serious, and other problems began to surface rapidly. As a result, the Soviet Union disintegrated by 1990-91, the Socialist systems of Eastern Europe broke up and the constituent republics of the USSR separated out, overthrowing the Communist Party rule and the socialist structures.
The democratic, progressive, left and Communist movement in India was thrown into shock and confusion on these developments. Sharp debates erupted on the concerned issues.  Marxism, Socialism and revolution began to be discussed anew in the Communist and left movement.  The events particularly emphasized a closer relationship between socialism and democracy and a greater importance of democracy.
India’s left and student-youth movement initially received a setback due to these events.  But a little later, the movement gradually began to adjust itself to the fast – changing world and national situation.  It was being felt that certain changes had become necessary in the concept of socialism.
The Narasimha Rao government announced new economic policies in 1991.  This initiated a phase of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation (LPG), market growth and foreign investment.  Issues of GATT and entry into WTO were being discussed and debated.
The 24th conference of the AISF was held in Hyderabad on 7-9 February 1996.  It opposed the new economic polices; it pointed out that government policies were anti-people.  AISF jointly with SFI, AIPSU, CJD, AISB and other organisations organised two all India students’ Strikes – one on 18 November 1992 and another on 29 November 1995.  At the same time, AISF analyzed the impact of new economic policies on education and conducted ‘Save Education’ movement.
The increasingly difficult conditions for the people were creating favorable situation for the communal forces.
The RSS-BJP-VHP’s aggressive antisocial rowdies demolished the Babri Masjid in a most barbaric manner on 6 December 1992.  It was pre-planned and was done with cold calculation.  It was a culmination of the countrywide communal campaign that was being carried on for the previous several years.
The AISF firmly opposed the Babri Masjid demolition, and it unleashed a countrywide campaign against this act and against attempts to communally poison the society.  The AISF also held the weak-kneed policies of Narasimha Rao responsible for the events.  The AISF participated in the National Campaign committee against communalism.  It started a signature campaign on this question and held a rally in Delhi on 14 April 1993.  The signatures were handed over to the President by a 50-member delegation.
AISF kept a constant campaign against communalism all over the country.
These campaigns culminated in a student-youth rally before the Parliament on 14 December 1995.  It was jointly organised by AISF and AIYF.  It was participated in by people from UP, Bihar, Punjab, M.P., Haryana, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur etc.  Students and young women took part in a big way.  AISF-AIYF delegation met the Speaker.
24th to 26th AISF Conferences
As we have already mentioned, the 24th AISF conference was held in 1996; the 25th conference was held on 18-21 October 2000 in Jalandhar (Punjab).
Many important events took place in between, the details of which we can’t go into here.
The AISF celebrated its 60th anniversary in 1996.  It unleashed a countrywide mass campaign against Private Universities’ Act.  Conventions were held in several places eg.  Darbhanga (Bihar), Bijapur (Karnataka), etc.  The AISF organised a ‘Martyrs’ Memorial function in Ahmedabad on 30 August 1997 on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of India’s independence.
The girl students of Orissa organised dharnas on 10 January 1998.   The girl students all over the country conducted a campaign against the views of the BJP to confine the women to domestic work only,  on 18 November 1998.
An All India Students’ Strike was organised on 11 December 1998 against the policies of the central government.

Anti-BJP government campaign

The AISF conducted a continuous campaign against the policies of the government of BJP and its allies.  It organised protest marches in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, Lucknow and other places on 5 September 1998.  5 thousand people took paprt in Bangalore, and more than 50 thousand signatures were submitted to the Governor.  Dharna was organised in front of the Bihar Assembly in Patna.  Ten thousand students rallied in Hyderabad on 10 September 1998 and more than one lakh signatures were collected.
12 thousand students and youths took part in a rally in Moga (Punjab) on 28 September 1998.  Rallies, processions and meetings were organised in Assam, Bhubaneshwar and many other places in the country.  An effigy of HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi was burnt in Delhi.
An all India convention was organised on communalism and commercialisation of education in Bhubaneshwar on 28-29 December 1998.
The campaigns of AISF against communalism, saffronisation of education, unemployment, sports policy, economic policy, and many other aspects continued through 1999 and 2000.
The year 2000 was an active one for the AISF.  It launched big movements all over the country on various important questions.   Educational Right Day in Tamilnadu (1 December), Assam Assembly March, Movement of Kollam S.N. College (Kerala), Bangalore Fine Arts College Students’ movement in which AISF mobilized arts students from all over the state in the capital, Orissa flood relief work, and other movements were some of the highlights.  State conferences were conducted in Bihar, West Bengal, M.P., Tamilnadu, Rajasthan, etc.
The AISF demonstrated before the UGC in Delhi on 6 July 2001 protesting against inclusion of astrology, “karma-kand” (rituals), and training of purohits in the curriculum.
15th World Student-Youth festival took place in Algiers on 8-16 August 2001, which was actively participated in by AISF.    The AISF completed its 65 years in 2001.On this occasion, a National Students’ Festival was organised in Hyderabad on 14-16 December (2001).  Students from all over the country took part in it.  A student’ meeting on this occasion was addressed, among others, by former prime minister V.P. Singh and CPI national secretariat member D. Raja.
The AISF in Bihar organised a gherao on 1 October 2001 against corruption in Inter-council and Secondary Education Board as also against fees-rise.   A gherao was organised on 7 November 2001 of the HRD ministry in Delhi.  10 lakh (one million) signatures were submitted to the President protesting against unscientific and hypocritical changes in the syllabus and changes in the main posts of the educational institutions.
The Maharashtra unit of AISF gheraoed the state Assembly in October 2002.  It was in support of the demand to allow enrolment of B.com students in B.Ed. courses and for awarding degrees to B.Ed and D.Ed students.  Some students expressed their protest by jumping down from the visitors’ gallery near the Speaker.  They were arrested.  A big statewide student movement erupted on 31 October 2002.  Many student leaders were injured in the lathichrge.  The AISF observed, in cooperation with the AIYF, the birthday of Bhagat Singh on 28 September (2002) as a day for the protection of education jobs and secularism in Bihar, M.P, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, U.P. and other states, and big rallies and other forms of protests were organised.  The next stage of this struggle was a March to Parliament in Delhi on 29 November (2002).  Thousands of youths and students from Assam, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Manipur, M.P., Orissa, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry, Tamilnadu, West Bengal, etc. took part in it.
Kerala AISF gheraoed the state Assembly on 1 July 2003 in protest against anarchy in education, commercialisation of education, increase in fees, unemployment, etc.  Police lathicharged the demonstration.  A large number of them were jailed.  The national council of AISF organised a national girl student’s convention in Hyderabad on 20-21 December 2003 and a national sub-committee was constituted.