The previous articles to the series “How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists?” are as follows –

Part 1 – How the Indian Communists embraced Islamists?

Part 2 – How the Indian Communists embraced Islamists? Part 2

Part 3 – How the Indian Communists embraced Islamists? Part 3

Part 4 – How the Indian Communists embraced Islamists? Part 4

Part 5 – How the Indian Communists embraced Islamists? Part 5

Part 6 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 6

Part 7 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 7

Part 8 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 8

Part 9 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 9

Part 10 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 10

Part 11 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 11

Part 12 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 12

Part 13 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 13


Islamic Communism

The Indian National Congress (INC), founded in 1885, represented upper-class interests; it didn’t oppose British rule and had no mass base. But the Hindu nationalist quarters widely perceived the government’s decision to partition Bengal in 1905 as a blow aimed at Bengali, national and inter-communal unity. The outrage triggered a mass movement extending beyond the province. According to Satyabrata Rai Chowduri, it swelled into a “mighty torrent of nationalism” and laid the groundwork for the “Indian revolution.” (1)

This “mighty torrent” was inundated with the ‘spirit’ of Vande Mataram, of religious devotion to the motherland. Deeply couched in Hindu idioms, the surge in nationalist sentiment was religiously political. Dietrich Reetz records: “It was the system of intellectual and social norms within a particular religion rather than the belief in God that became the bedrock of infant nationalism.” (2)  The protagonists were Hindus motivated by a mixture of Bengali nationalist feelings and apprehensions about losing part of ‘their’ Bengal to Muslims, who formed the majority in the eastern region. The movement’s vociferous proponents were Aurobindo Ghosh (1872–1950) and Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856–1920). The latter would attain a place of honour in communist historiography as the first Indian to mention Marx. (3)

The first Partition of Bengal in 1905 (second in 1947) was a territorial reorganisation of the Bengal Presidency implemented by the British Raj. The reorganisation separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from the predominantly Hindu western sites. Announced on July 19,1905, by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, and implemented on October 16, 1905, it was undone six years later.

The first Hindu revolt against the British in India was the Sanyasi rebellion (The monks’ rebellion) of 1760-1802, in the western districts of Bengal. It denotes the activities of sanyasis (and fakirs) in Bengal, around the Murshidabad and Baikunthpur forests of Jalpaiguri. It was an early war for India’s independence from foreign rule since the right to collect tax had been given to the British East India Company by the Mughals after the Battle of Buxar in 1764. Some of the revolts followed the depopulation of the province in the Bengal famine of 1770. (4)

A group of ascetics who led the revolt

The Naga monks of Dasnami akharas played a key role in the rebellion. When the eighth-century philosopher Adi Shankaracharya (788–820 CE) founded the Dasnami Sampradaya, he divided the ascetics into two categories: Shastradhari (intelligentsia) and Astradhari (weapon-bearers) warriors. The term akhara means the circle or the spiritual core, congregation or league; it is similar to the Greek academy and the English word school. Dasnami tradition has ten akharas, six of which are ancient akharas. Ancient use of the word can be found in the Mahabharata epic, which mentions Jarasandha’s akhara at Rajgir, Bihar. Legendary figures like Parashurama and Agastya are credited as the founders of the early martial akhara in some areas of India.

In 1398 CE, Timur massacred thousands of Hindu monks of various Akharas and Hindus at Haridwar mela after sacking Delhi to punish the Tughlaq Dynasty’s Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq’s perceived lack of brutality towards Hindus. In 1664 CE, Dasnami Akhara possibly battled Aurangzeb.

When the rebellion started, British rule had not yet been adequately established. The East India Company was still a trading licensee of the Mughal emperor in Delhi. The Naga monks were also traders based mainly in Varanasi. Many of them had travelled through Bihar and settled in North Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district bordering Nepal. The Nagas used to trade with Nepal; North Bengal served as a trade corridor. Over time, the Naga population also spread to South Bengal. They were resourceful and influential and kept on purchasing land. They also imposed levies on ordinary people and carried arms with them while travelling.

The fakirs were from Persia; they settled in Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh in the 17th century. They later spread to Bihar and Bangladesh, part of undivided Bengal then. Belonging to the Madariya sect that believed in the Sufi philosophy, the fakirs did not follow sharia. They were influential and engaged in money-lending. After he became Governor-General in 1772, Warren Hastings challenged levies by the sanyasis and fakirs.

Since the East India Company had received the Diwani or right to collect tax, many of the tax demands increased, and the local landlords and headmen were unable to pay both the ascetics and the English. Crop failures and famine, which killed ten million people or an estimated one-third of the population of Bengal, compounded the problems since much of the arable land lay fallow.

The earliest records of action by sanyasis are found in the writings of Watt & Howitt, revenue surveyors of the EIC. They reported attacks by Maratha forces accompanied by the sanyasis on the treasuries of Kishenghur (Kishangarh) and Burdwan. They said concerted attacks on convoys of the Company, preventing them from collecting taxes from farmers and punitive raids on camps of John Company. Another record (1763) written by Warren Hastings, then Resident of Murshidabad, capital of Bengal, speaks of bands of sanyasis travelling through the countryside in Backergunge (Barrakgunj) and capturing Hastings’ tax collector Kelly.

The same year, the infamous siege of EIC’s Dhaka Factory happened. According to The Dacca District Gazetteer, the factory acted as headquarters for the EIC and stored its treasures in its godowns. Following the attack on the convoy of Kelly, the sanyasis moved towards Dhaka and laid siege on the factory. The manager, Ralph Leycester, tried to fight but seeing the imminent danger of being overrun by the sanyasi led revolutionaries, he decided to abandon the factory. He tried to take with him the treasure and left the sepoys without orders. The sepoys abandoned the factory, and soon, it was taken over by the sanyasis. The sanyasis allowed the surrendering sepoys to return home. The retreating manager left the wounded along the way as he needed soldiers to carry the treasure.

In 1766, a Company officer Captain Mackenzie exploited the weak zamindars and the public in general. He would force the Hindu zamindars and landed farmers to take loans at exorbitant rates and then move them to pay back by imprisoning, torturing and looting the victims. The sanyasis took up arms against him, forcing him to return to Calcutta. Following this, Barwell, the company Resident at Malda, sent his officer Martyel to the region to buy fir trees at accessible rates. The sanyasis killed Martyel. In retaliation, the British sent an expeditionary force under the command of Captain Mackenzie. The sanyasis retreated into the forests of Jalpaiguri, where they took refuge in an old mud fort. In 1769, Lieutenant Keith got information about the presence of sanyasis in the woods of Morung. He led his forces into the forest where a fierce battle, Keith along with his men, was defeated and killed. This defeat shook the British to the core, and the Company supervisors of Dinajpur, Rangpur, and Purania panicked and retreated to their forts. From there, they sent out frantic messages to Calcutta for reinforcements.

It was now 1770, and the great famine spread fast on the once fertile plains. As deprivation took hold, the atrocities by the British also increased. A force of 500 sanyasis came out of their jungle abodes and laid siege on the Kandua ghat on Kosi river in Purania. The district Supervisor, G. G. Ducarel, sent out his forces under the command of Lieutenant Sinclair against the sanyasis. After a brief fight, the sanyasis surrendered. They were taken to the Purania fort. Once inside the fort, the sanyasis claimed to be innocent pilgrims. As their interrogation was going on, about 5000 sanyasis attacked the fort. Under attack from inside and outside, the British were defeated, and the fort was taken over by the sanyasis.

In 1771, 150 monks were put to death, apparently for no reason. This was one of the reasons that caused distress leading to violence, especially in Natore in Rangpur, now in modern Bangladesh. The British, as usual, have termed these ascetics as looters in their records. The British aim was to stop them from ‘collecting money that belonged to the Company’ and possibly block them from entering the province. It was felt that a large body of people on the move was a possible threat.

Most of the clashes were recorded in the years following the famine but they continued, albeit with a lesser frequency, up until 1802. Even with superior training and forces, the Company could not suppress sporadic clashes with migrating ascetics. The control of the Company’s troops in the far-removed hilly and jungle-covered districts like Birbhum and Midnapore on local events was weak. (5)

The Sanyasi rebellion was the first series of revolts and uprisings in the province’s Western districts, including the Chuar Revolt of 1799 and the Santhal Revolt of 1855–56. The Chuar revolution was a series of peasant rebellions between 1771 and 1809 by the countryside inhabitants surrounding the West Bengali settlements of Midnapore, Bankura and Manbhum against the rule of the East India Company. The rebels rose in revolt due to the exploitative land revenue policies of the EIC, which threatened their economic livelihoods. The Santhal rebellion was a rebellion in present-day Jharkhand, Eastern India, against both the British East India Company and the zamindari system by the Santhal. It started on June 30, 1855, and on November 10, 1855, martial law was proclaimed by the East India Company, which lasted until January 3, 1856, when martial law was suspended. The rebellion was eventually suppressed by the Presidency armies. The uprising was led by the four Murmu Brothers – Sidhu, Kanhu, Chand and Bhairav.

Perhaps, the best reminder of the Sanyasi Rebellion is in literature, in the Bengali novel Anandamath, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. Vande Mataram, which was written in 1876, was used in that novel in 1882. Vande Mataram was later declared to be National Song.

Warren Hastings

But in 1905, the Hindus of West Bengal complained that the Partition would make them a minority in a province that would incorporate the regions of Bihar and Orissa. (6) Hindus were outraged at what they saw as a “divide and rule” policy, even though Curzon stressed it would produce administrative efficiency. The Partition animated the Muslims to form their own national organisation along communal lines. To appease Bengali sentiment, Bengal was reunited by Lord Hardinge in 1911 in response to the Swadeshi movement’s riots in protest against the policy.

The Bengal Presidency encompassed Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and Assam. With a population of 78.5 million, British India’s largest province.  For decades British officials had maintained that the vast size created difficulties for effective management and had caused neglect of the poorer eastern region.  Curzon planned to split Orissa and Bihar and join fifteen eastern districts of Bengal with Assam. The east province held a population of 31 million, most of whom was Muslim, with Dhaka.  Once the Partition was completed, Curzon pointed out that he thought of the new province as Muslim. (7) The Western districts formed the other province with Orissa and Bihar. The union of western Bengal with Orissa and Bihar reduced the speakers of the Bengali language to a minority.  Muslims led by the Nawab Sallimullah of Dhaka supported the Partition, and Hindus opposed it.

In the six months before the Partition was to be effected, the Congress arranged meetings where petitions against the Partition were collected and given to impassive authorities. The moderate leader Surendranath Banerjee suggested that the non-Bengali states of Orissa and Bihar be separated from Bengal rather than dividing two parts of the Bengali-speaking community. Government schools were spurned, and on October 16, 1905, the day of Partition, schools and shops were blockaded. This was followed by violent confrontations, due to which the older leadership in the Congress became anxious and convinced the younger Congress members to stop boycotting the schools. The president of the Congress, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Banerji and Pheroze Shah Mehta and others, stopped supporting the boycott when they found that John Morley had been appointed as Secretary of State for India. (8)

Hindu nationalists all over India supported the Bengali cause. The protests spread to Bombay, Poona, and Punjab. In 1906, Gokhale again went to London to talk with Morley about the potential constitutional reforms. While the anticipation of the liberal nationalists increased in 1906, so did tensions in India. The moderates were challenged by the Congress meeting in Calcutta, which was the middle of the radicalised Bengal. The moderates countered the problem by bringing Dadabhai Naoroji to the forum. The 1907 Congress was to be held at Nagpur. The moderates were worried that the extremists would dominate the Nagpur session, and the venue was shifted to Surat. There was an uproar, and both factions held separate meetings. The extremists had Aurobindo and Tilak as leaders. The 1908 Congress Constitution formed the All-India Congress Committee, made up of elected members, to avoid the extremists.

The emergence of the ‘extremist’ faction in Congress became the final motive for separatist Muslim politics. In 1909, separate elections were established for Muslims and Hindus. Muslims dominated the Bengal legislature due to roughly 22-28 million overall numerical strength. Muslims began to demand the creation of independent states for Muslims.

Along with other nationalists such as Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal, Tilak initiated a vigorous anti-British campaign manifesting itself in rallies and propaganda for a boycott of British in favour native products. The movement’s bedrock consisted of Hinduism, symbolised in [Tilak’s] defence of child marriage and the protection of the cow. (9) Tilak also championed the revival of Hindu festivities such as the Shivaji and Ganapati festivals. The former, in particular, had distinctly anti-Muslim overtones. Bankim Chandra Chatterji, who wrote Bande Mataram, taught that working for the public good was an essential part of the true faith and thus sacralised political and social action; Swami Vivekananda preached a spirit of sacrifice based on the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedanta. He said:

The first glow of the dawn of this new power has already begun slowly to break upon the western world. Socialism and other sects are the vanguards of the social revolution that is to follow. (10)

All this struck a chord with the masses. Tilak’s conviction for sedition in 1908 initiated a renewed upsurge of protest. It included a political strike by Bombay workers venerating him as “Tilak Maharaj,” in the course of which around 200 of them were killed—a manifestation acknowledged by Lenin as “conscious political mass struggle.”

Lenin wrote on the imprisonment of Tilak, in an article titled Inflammable Material in World Politics, in the bolshevik journal Proletary, on August 5, 1908: (11)

India is beginning to stand up in defence of its writers and political leaders. The infamous sentence pronounced by the British jackals against the Indian democrat Tilak…this reprisal against a democrat by the lackeys of the moneybags-evoked street demonstrations and a strike in Bombay. In India too, the proletariat has already developed to conscious political mass struggle and, that being the case, the Russian- style British regime is doomed!… The class aware European worker already has comrades in Asia, and their number will grow with every passing day and hour.

Although the bulk of the population—the swadeshi movement’s influence on the later nationalist movement was tremendous. (12)

Thus a Hindu, non-socialist movement predating the activity of the Communist Party (CPI) by one-and-a-half decades existed in India. It formed the communist link to nationalist politics.

The first known reference to Marx in India was made by Tilak in an article in The Mahratta on May 1, 1881. He wrote: (13)

What is it that makes upper and lower classes in modern society? Is it not wealth? What is wealth, scientifically defined, is concentrated, accumulated, crystallised as Marx has it-Labour.

A full-fledged article on Marx by an Indian was by Lala Hardayal, titled, Karl Marx: A Modern Rishi, in Modern Review of March 1912, published from Calcutta, by Ramanand Chatterjee. It was plagiarised in August, four months later, by Swdesabhimani Ramakrishna Pillai in Malayalam. Hardayal’s biography of Marx had portrayed him as a modern-day rishi, a religious scholar or wise man. Fittingly, the book opened with a citation from the gospel of Matthew.

Aurobindo was the first Indian to use the word proletariat. In an article, New Lamps for the Old, on November 13,1893, he wrote: (14)

The entire nation’s future will depend on the propensity to lean towards human democracy and socialism based on the power and civilisation of the lower classes.

Bipin Chandra Pal, addressing a Vaishnavite rally in Sylhet in 1920 September, emphasised that universal brotherhood and self-sacrifice were the unifying traits of Vaishnavism and Bolshevism. Annie Besant, whose Home Rule League had been a nationalist nucleus in the 1910s, held that a socialist spirit had been ingrained in India’s culture since ancient times. It had to be resuscitated by harking back to traditional values and returning to the system of quasi-independent village republics. (Reports of the Director, Central Intelligence April 5, 1920, Home/Poll/1920 Nr. 103 April, 6–7; Fortnightly Reports, Home/Poll/1920 Nr. 84 December, 20. Communist Srinivas Ganesh Sardesai referred to this episode to prove Bolshevism’s formative influence on Tilak: S. G. Sardesai, India and the Russian Revolution (Delhi: Sinha 1967). On Annie Besant, see Sinha, The Left-Wing, 27)

To Ganghadar Moreshwar Adhikari (1898–1981), Communist party theoretician, Tilak’s “valuable ideas” had drawn the “ordinary class” into a mass movement whose outlook seemed of little interest to him. He revered Tilak “as a fighter and a saviour.” (15) Adhikari’s cousin and CPI extremist B T Ranadive (1904–90) was similarly enthusiastic, and S A Dange took a directly apologetic stance: “Naturally in those days […] there was no question of being an atheist or anything.” Even E M S Namboodiripad’s criticism of Hinduism as a factor detrimental to political consciousness came to a favourable verdict on the movement. (16)

The politicisation of several CPI pioneers took place in this environment. Tirumal Acharya, Abani Mukherjee, and Narendra Nath Bhattacharya alias Manabendra Nath (M. N.) Roy. (17) Born into a Brahmin family in the Bengal district of 24 Parganas, Roy graduated from the Bengal Technical Institute in 1907 and plunged into political action right away. (18)  As mass politics was less attractive to his revolutionary impatience than underground terrorism, he joined the revolutionary Anushilan Samiti terrorist group formed as part of a radically Hindu national awakening.

This political vision was steeped in Hindu mythology to a far greater degree than in the swadeshi campaign. It pronounced disdain for Muslims. Roy’s biographer Sibnarayan Ray describes him as “a brahmachari whose devotion as a sakta to the mother goddess had been reinforced and politicised by his […] devotion to the motherland.” (19)  Roy was chosen to procure arms and money from imperial Germany in Southeast Asia in 1915. With plans failing and the British secret service on his heels, he escaped to the USA and, after a rape allegation to Mexico, he took part in the formation of the Mexican Communist Party. (20)

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

But his political and personal views underwent considerable change. Roy himself spoke of a transition “from puritanism to liberation”  (21)  and professed having “lived through a couple of centuries of cultural history” during his stay in America.  (22) His first wife Evelyn Trent testified to the non-linear trajectory of the process of outgrowing traditional modes of thought by commenting diplomatically that “he had to pass through many evolutionary phases in his own development.” (23)  Political journalist Carleton Beals indicated as much in a retrospective appraisal of Roy: “Except for desiring Indian independence, he was in no sense a radical, for he believed firmly in child marriage, the caste system, and most of the traditional evils.” (24)

Roy’s outlook still embraced the supremacy of Hindu culture. In the vein of Vivekananda, he counted the concepts of cosmic unity and of the identity of the individual with the universe’s existence among “India’s contribution to the progress of humanity” in his 1918 pamphlet India: Her Past, Present and Future. (25)  This included distaste for the political self-assertion of India’s Muslims, allegedly the culprits of the increasing intercommunal rift: since the Partition of Bengal, “many thoughtless Moslems, inspired by the government, have committed crimes against the peace-loving Hindus.”  (26)

After arriving in Mexico, Roy studied Hegel and Marx and turned towards socialism. His articles in the Mexican Socialist Party’s paper attracted the attention of the Bolsheviks. The discussions with Mikhail Borodin, a Comintern emissary, accelerated Roy’s drift towards the left. Both had a part in the conversion of the Mexican Socialist Party into the Mexican Communist Party, which eventually nominated Roy as a delegate to the II Comintern congress in Moscow in 1920. (27)

Roy’s case is a paradigmatic example of the emergence of subcontinental communism from a religious-nationalist thought. Although he gradually discarded the religious components of his outlook, they remained acceptable ‘entry points’ into communism. This facilitated the integration of other actors into the fold of communism: radical Muslims leaving the subcontinent to fight for the Ottoman caliphate on the one hand, and nationalist Sikh revolutionaries from North America based Ghadar party on the other.

Originally a more modest party, the involvement of Lala Har Dayal (1884–1939) led to its radicalisation and rebranding under an unequivocal label, Ghadar (“revolt”). Through its eponymous paper, Ghadar published poems glorifying the subcontinent’s martial past. The Ghadarites made quick organisational advances and by 1914 had established branches in several countries outside North America. (28)  Clause 10 of the party constitution declared religion the “individual concern of each member.” Caste distinctions were to be abolished, and inter- dining was customary in the party ashram. (29)  However, the party consisted overwhelmingly of Sikhs. Ghadar propaganda often picked up religious themes, such as accusing the British of destroying not only the subcontinent’s temples but also its religions. (30)

                    Lala Hardayal

Thus, Ghadar would woo the “Warrior Sikhs, Mussalmans and lion-hearted Rajputs”. while Lala Har Dayal called on the “Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs [to] be brave sons of Mother India,” and tried to rouse them into action because,

Your temples and mosques are being pulled down. Your religion is not safe. You are forbidden to eat beef and pork by faith, but white people eat both daily. […] From the mosques and temples, they have driven out good people. There remain […] titled gentry [who] are traitors to the country.  (31)

The Ghadarites also undertook to rouse Muslim sentiments on the khilafat issue. (23)  Although religious revivalism was ultimately extrinsic to their vision, religious festivals were their first and foremost venues of mobilisation when Hindu and Sikh soldiers returned to India after the World war. (32)

Ultimately, a gradual approximation to the Comintern and the involvement of Ghadarites in the CPI took place. Several activists, among them Santokh Singh, set up a communist organisation in rural Punjab—the Kirti-Kisan Party (KKP)—and would maintain their own, to an extent ‘Sikh-ized .’ variety of peasant communism in an uneasy partnership with the local CPI unit.

The movement for inner-Islamic reform and strong attachment to British rule led by Syed Ahmad Khan in the second half of the 19th century had never been the uncontested representative of Muslim opinion. An anti-colonial strand had lingered on, represented by the inheritors of 19th century Wahhabism such as the Deoband school and the proponents of pan-Islamic sentiment. The latter had gained ground after Jamal-ud-Din al-Afghani’s visit to the subcontinent in the 1880s. (33)  Also, resentment against the colonial rulers increased with the Ottoman Empire’s fall. The cession of Egypt, and notably the 1912 Balkan wars, increasingly painted the British as Islam’s main enemy.

In India, the Muslim League was formed in 1906 and influential Muslim leaders had drifted towards it. The revocation of the Bengal partition in 1911, the denial of university status to the Muslim college in Aligarh in 1912, and the demolition of a mosque in Kanpur for road construction in 1913 took a heavy toll on the British reputation among Muslims. These events confirmed a sense of marginalisation and deprivation among a community wary of Hindu revivalism. In response, religious identitarianism gained ground to such a degree that the community’s relative outward calm was highly deceptive.  (34)

A broad movement led by the Ali brothers emerged in 1919 and swelled into the most significant widespread Muslim upheaval against British rule since 1857. While this khilafat movement resulted from many different factors and motivations, it cast the multifarious discontent in an unambiguously religious mould. (35)

Mohamed Ali had declared the Ottoman state’s existence a “vital matter of faith”essential to any Muslim’s “eternal salvation.” (36) Other demands made by him and his brother Shaukat involved opposition to any restriction of the Ottoman Empire’s power status; called for the restoration of Muslim holy sites, as well as territory lost in the past (namely Egypt, Tripoli, and possessions in the Balkans), to its tutelage; and claimed to respect the allegiance of Muslims to the caliph.  (37)

If the demands were not met, the question arose whether “we and other Indian Mussulmans can any longer remain under British subjection.” (38)  The need for conservation of the caliphate pointed to the feasibility of infidel rule in India. This connection yielded two possibilities. First, allying with the emerging Congress-led noncooperation movement against British rule, an opportunity eagerly seized upon by Gandhi. Second, to escape illegitimate British rule through a large-scale emigration movement, the hijrat.  (39)

Already in 1915, a party of Muslim students had left Lahore in order to foment a revolution among the tribes in Afghanistan and the NWFP. Several of them joined Obeidullah Sindhi’s “army of god.” It was to fight for the subcontinent’s liberation under pan-Islamist auspices. These first muhajirs built a network of contacts throughout Central Asia with other revolutionaries such as Mahendra Pratap, Mohammed Barakatullah, and Abdur Rab Barq, as well as the Bolsheviks. Vigorous revolutionary traffic took place between Kabul and Soviet Turkestan. The connections upon which the next generation of muhajirs would draw had been established.  (40)

In 1920 July, the first caravan of determined young men set out towards Soviet Turkestan, arriving in Tashkent in October.  (41) Despite endeavours to win the emigrants over, the Bolsheviks did not “put any pressure upon these pro-Khilafat people” and readily brought the most fervent ones to the Turkish border. (42)  In Tashkent, the muhajirs hoped to receive military training and assistance for their cause. Instead, M N Roy, the new Comintern in charge of revolution on the subcontinent, went about organising them according to the approach he had developed at the 2nd World Congress of the Comintern a few months before. The Communist Party of India (CPI) would ultimately result from his efforts.

References –

1. Satyabrata Rai Chowduri, Leftism in India, 1917–1947 (Basingstoke: Macmillan 2007), Bipan Chandra, History of Modern India, 3rd ed. (Delhi: Orient Blackswan 2010), 242–8; Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments (Princeton: Princeton University Press 1993), 32–45

2. Dietrich Reetz, “Religion and Group Identity: Comparing Three Regional Movements in Colonial India,” in Essays on South Asian Society, Culture and Politics, ed. Annemarie Hafner (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch 1995), 74

3. Chowduri, Leftism in India, 3, Sumit Sarkar, Modern India 1885–1947 (Delhi: Macmillan 1983), 114– 15. Chandra, History of Modern India, 248–50. Ray, Freedom’s Quest, vol.1, 1887–1922, 7–11.

4. Lorenzen, D.N. (1978). “Warrior Ascetics in Indian History”. Journal of the American Oriental Society.98 (1): 617–75

5. Georges Lieten, Colonialism, Class and Nation: The Confrontation in Bombay around 1930 (Calcutta: Bagchi 1984), 68–9

6. Marshall, P.J. (1987). Bengal: The British Bridgehead. The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 96

7. Bipan Chandra (2009). History of Modern India. p 248-9

8. Hermann Kulke; Dietmar Rothermund. A History of India, (4th ed.). Routledge. p 280

9. Burton Stein (2010). A History of India (2nd ed.). Wiley Blackwell. p 280

10. Works, vol IV, p 180

11. L P Sinha. The Left in India (1919-1947). New Publishers, Muzzafarpur. p 13

12. Lenin, “Inflammable Material in World Politics,” in LW 15:178–9. E. M. S. Namboodiripad, A History of Indian Freedom Struggle, 2nd ed. (Thiruvananthapuram: Social Scientist Press 1993), 215.

13. J V Naik, Lokamanya Tilak on Marx and Class Conflict, Economic and Political Weekly, May 1, 1999

14. Cited in Chinmohan Sehnabis, Rusi Biplab O Prabasa Bharathiya Biplabi. Manisha, Calcutta. 1973. p 18-19

15. Ganghadar Moheshwar Adhikari (interviewee), recorded by Hari Dev Sharma (interviewer), 1 March 1977, NMML-OHP, AccNo 378, 8–9

16. Sripad Amrit Dange (interviewee), recorded by Hari Dev Sharma (interviewer), 21 June 1981, NMMLOHP, AccNo 823, 5, 22 (quote); “An Interview with B. T. Ranadive,” in Essays on Indian Nationalism, ed. Bipan Chandra, 2nd rev. ed. (Delhi: Har-Anand Publ. 1999), 207; Namboodiripad, A History of Indian, 98–114.

17. Reports of the Director, Central Intelligence, 19 July 1920, Home/Poll/1920 Nr. 104 July, 15. In the early 1920s, he fell out with Roy and had to part ways with South Asian communism. Employed in academic professions, he lived in the Soviet Union, where he (along with other subcontinental revolutionaries such as G. A. K. Luhani, Khushi Mohammad, and Virendranath Chattopadhyaya) eventually fell victim to the great purges in 1937; see Gupta, Comintern and the Destiny, 271, 274.

18. Sourendra Mohan Ganguly, Leftism in India: M. N. Roy and Indian Politics 1920–1948 (Calcutta: Minerva 1984), 1; Ray, M. N. Roy: Philosopher-Revolutionary: A Symposium (Calcutta: Renaissance Publishers 1959), 65.

19. Ray, In Freedom’s Quest 1:21.

20. Cecil Kaye, Communism in India: With Unpublished Documents from National Archives of India (1919–1924), reprint, ed. Roy Subodh (Calcutta: Eds. Indian 1971), 3

21. Leonard Gordon, “Portrait of a Bengal Revolutionary,” Journal of Asian Studies 27 (1967–8): 214.

22. Roy, Memoirs, 225.

23. Roy, Letter to Richard Park, 8 June 1956, quoted in Innaiah, Evelyn Trent, 72

24. Carleton Beals, Glass Houses (Philadelphia: Lippincott 1938), 44.

25. Selected Works of M. N. Roy, ed. Sibnarayan Ray, vol. 1, 1917–1922 (Delhi: Oxford University Press 1987), 92.

26. ibid.,150.

27. Ganguly, Leftism in India, 4–8

28. Political Reports, Home/Poll/1914 No. 42-43(a) January

29. Sohan Singh Josh, Hindustan Gadar Party: A Short History, vol. 1 (Delhi: People’s Publishing House 1977), 160

30. Ghadar Party’s Lahore, 68, 74, 80. On internecine struggles in the Ghadar Party, see Ray, In Freedom’s Quest 1:48

31. Ghadar, 14 July 1914, quoted in ibid.,192–3.

32. Ghadar Party’s Lahore, 78, 84

33. Javed, Left Politics in Punjab, 62.

34. Nikki Keddie, Sayyid Jamal adDin “al-Afghani”: A Political Biography (Berkeley: University of California Press 1972), esp. 143–81.

35. Khizar Ansari, “Pan-Islam and the Making of the Early Indian Muslim Socialists,” Modern Asian Studies 20 (1986): 510–15, and M. Naeem Qureshi, “The Ulama of British India and the Hijrat of 1920,” Modern Asian Studies 13 (1979): 41–4. The Kanpur mosque incident is discussed in Saad Khairi, Jinnah Reinterpreted: The Journey from Indian Nationalism to Muslim Statehood (Karachi: Oxford University Press 1995), 83–4; on the Aligarh issue, see Ayesha Jalal, Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam since 1850 (London: Routledge 2000), 197

36. Gail Minault, The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India (New York: Columbia University Press 1982). Ayesha Jalal, Self and Sovereignty, 191–200. n Saad Khairi, Jinnah Reinterpreted, 171

37. Letter from Mohamed Ali and Shaukat Ali to the Viceroy,” 24 April 1919, in Unpublished Letters of the Ali Brothers, ed. Shan Muhammad (Delhi: Idarah-i-Adabiyat-i-Delli 1979), 155

38. Ibid., 155–62

39. “Letter from Mohamed Ali and Shaukat Ali to the Viceroy,” 24 April 1919, in ibid., 155.

31. Dietrich Reetz, Hijrat: The Flight of the Faithful; A British File on the Exodus of Muslim Peasants from North India to Afghanistan in 1920 (Berlin: Das Arabische Buch 1995).

40. G. L. Dmitriev, Indian Revolutionaries in Central Asia (Gurgaon: Hope India Publ. 2002), chapter 1. Ansari, “Pan-Islam and the Making,” 530

41. Ahmad, Myself and the Communist Party, 161–6. n Shaukat Usmani, Historic Trips of a Revolutionary: Sojourn in the Soviet Union (Delhi: Sterling Publishers 1977), 3–44

42. Usmani, Historic Trips, 43. Persits, Revolutionaries of India, 79

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