The Demands for Independence made by CPI during 1921-25

The Demands for Independence made by CPI during 1921-25

The Demands for Independence made by CPI during 1921-25 From the very beginning of the formation of the party, the CPI raised the demand of complete independence, before any of the main political parties in India, including the Indian National Congress. At the 1921 session (36th) of the Indian National Congress held at Ahmedabad, the party made its presence known among the delegates through the distribution of a manifesto. The manifesto, signed by M. N. Roy and Abani Mukherjee, demanded complete independence from British rule and asked the INC to sever all connections with the British Empire and offer full support to the struggles of the working class and peasantry. The manifesto was mailed to other parts of the country also. The influence that the manifesto exerted on the delegates and participants could be seen from the fact that a radical Congressman, Maulana Hazrat Mohani, moved a resolution in favour of complete Independence. Although rejected by a majority of delegates, led by Gandhi, the very fact that the resolution was moved was an indication that communist positions had started affecting the anti-imperialist movement. The returning Muhajirs-turned-communists from the Soviet Union were put on trial through a series of ‘conspiracy cases’ at Peshawar. Between 1922-24, the imperialist government convicted and sentenced them to various terms of rigorous imprisonment for subscribing to the principle of complete liberation from colonialism. The fourth Congress of the Comintern in 1922 reiterated this position adopted by the communists from India. The communists again raised their voices for the demand of complete independence in the annual session of the INC session at Gaya in December 1922. Both Singaravelu Chettier and S. A. Dange were present. The Comintern in its message of greetings to the Gaya Congress, signed by the Comintern secretary Humbert Droz, declared: ‘We are chiefly interested in the struggle of the Indian people to free themselves from British domination. British rule in India was established by force. Therefore it can and will be overthrown only by a violent revolution.’ At Gaya, a programme for India’s liberation from colonial rule was also distributed in the name of the CPI and signed by Roy and Mukherji. The full text, published in The Advance Guard, edited by Roy on 1 December 1922 declared the first objective of the national liberation movement to be ‘Complete national independence, separated from all imperial connection and free from all foreign supervision.’ Though the Gaya Congress did not accept this suggestion, it was the first formal programme of the CPI placed before the struggle for national liberation in India. The Kanpur Conspiracy Case (1923-24) that followed and saw the convictions of Dange, Muzaffar Ahmad, Shaukat Usmani and Nalini Gupta, demonstrated the extent to which communist militancy, in words even if not in deeds, had disturbed the British colonial government. In December 1925, an all-India communist network was launched with the formal consolidation of all the communist groups working in different parts of the country at the Kanpur Communist Conference. The formal name of the organisation was ‘Communist Party of India’. The party dedicated itself to the overthrow of colonialism and class rule, the formation of a workers and peasants republic in India and total exclusion of persons belonging to communal organizations.