Previous articles of this series –

Part 1 – How The Indian Communists Embraced Islamists? – Part 1

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


Islamic Communism

The British police carried out raids throughout India on March 20, 1929, rounded up 33 CPI members and trade unionists on charges of conspiring to violently overthrow British rule, and brought them to court in Meerut. The Party went through a virtual eclipse during the proceedings, which lasted until 1934. But the effect remained temporal. Extensive media coverage of the trial popularised the accused. They in turn, used the trial as a stage to popularise their ideas. A new generation of communist activists—B T Ranadive, S. V. Deshpande, and R. D. Bharadwaj—appeared on the scene to fill the gap. The accused were sentenced to various terms of transportation, which were substantially reduced on appeal. Muzafar Ahmad received the highest term—three years—along with Dange and Shoukat Usmani remaining imprisoned, but all other accused were free by early 1934. (1)

Langford James, the first chief prosecutor, attacked communism for its anti-religiousness: Not only had the Bolsheviks no god; their propaganda aimed at the destruction of the belief in God, and they were calling for the murder of priests and the desecration of churches: “You are anti-country, you are anti-God, you are antifamily.” (2)

For the communists, separation of state and religion and a “campaign of enlightenment” for emancipation from religious prejudices solved the religious question. The Statement of the accused even felt compelled to reemphasise that “we shall not persecute religious beliefs.” (3)  Out of the Statement’s total of 425 pages, four-and-a-half, or slightly more than one per cent, were dedicated to it.

Although the Party could finally constitute itself properly, replete with a general secretary, G Adhikari, replaced by P. C. Joshi in 1936, a Politburo, consisting of Joshi, Ajoy Kumar Ghosh, and R. D. Bhardwaj, a Central Committee, and with clear affiliation to the Comintern, was banned in May 1934. (4)

Portrait of 25 Meerut prisoners

Consisting of left nationalists and worker and peasant activists dissatisfied with Gandhi’s handling of civil disobedience in the early 1930s, the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) was founded at Patna in 1934. Although critical of Gandhi, it also rejected the CPI’s sectarian stance. Former executive board member Madhu Limaye even argued that the CSP would probably never have come into existence had the communists “adopted a friendly attitude towards nationalism and had taken part in the struggle for independence.” (5)

However, once the Comintern discarded left-wing radicalism, the CSP functioned as the umbrella under which communists worked inside the Congress. A long-time left activist, early correspondent of Roy, and a key figure in the young CSP, Dr Sampurnanand published Samajvada (Socialism) in 1936. The book sought to reconcile a Marxist analysis apparatus with the homage to the Absolute (God) and establish socialism based on the Vedas. To Sampurnanand, there was no essential difference between Marxist and Vedantic socialism, as the “practical programmes were very much the same.” Sampurnanand saw “no need for Indian revolutionaries to take up cudgels against religion.” (6). While the Marxian dialectics operated in the material world, the Upanishad Brahma was the ultimate reality. (7)

Babu Sampurnanan was a teacher of Usmani. He had also been implicated in the investigations leading up to the Kanpur Conspiracy Case. Sampurnanand (1891 – 1969), born to a Kayastha family of Varanasi, later served as the second Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 1954 to 1960. A scholar of Sanskrit and Hindi, he succeeded Govind Ballabh Pant. He was asked to resign as Chief Minister following a political crisis in UP initiated by Kamlapati Tripathi and Chandra Bhanu Gupta.

Sampurnanand participated in the Non-cooperation Movement; edited Maryada, a Hindi monthly staffed by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in Banaras, contributed frequently to the National Herald and the Congress Socialist; was elected to the All-India Congress Committee in 1922, became provincial Minister for Education in UP, federal Minister from 1946 to 1951 and from 1951 to 1954, holding portfolios such as education, finance, and labour; and, became Governor of Rajasthan during 1962-1967. The appointment of Sampurnanand as governor heralded a new beginning in Indian politics when spent forces in politics were sent to hold gubernatorial positions.

Like Sampurnanand, Bhagwan Das, a theosophist and senior CSP activist, also conceptualised a variety of spiritual socialism, “ancient scientific socialism.” Manu’s postulates and the ancient Hindu ideas provided the central virtues of a socialist society. As much a Hindu activist as a socialist reformer, he held that Hinduism’s errors and injustices had accrued to it over time—and not been at the core of Manu’s rigid and un-egalitarian laws. On the contrary, applying original Hinduism’s “eternal principles” would give rise to a just society conforming to subcontinental humanity. (8)

Bhagwan Das (1869 – 1958), born in Varanasi in an Agarwal family, had served in the Central Legislative Assembly of British India. Das joined the Theosophical Society in 1894, inspired by a speech by Annie Besant. After the 1895 split, he was an opponent of Jiddu Krishnamurti. His bond with Besant led to the founding of the Central Hindu College, which became Central Hindu School. Das would later found the Kashi Vidyapeeth, a national university where he served as headmaster. A scholar of Sanskrit, Pranava-Vada of Gargyayana, compiled by him, was published in three volumes during 1910-1913 by the Theosophical Society, Adyar with notes by Besant. Das claimed that the work was a summarised translation of an otherwise unknown ancient text by a sage called Gargyayana. He also claimed that the text was dictated to him from memory by Pandit Dhanaraja Mishra, who was blind. Das was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour, in 1955.

But the communists failed to imbibe the Indianness. Only when another sea-change occurred at the VII Comintern congress in 1935, the political condition for a broad-based work was created. Comintern General Secretary Georgi Dimitrov propounded “United Fronts” with a minimum program to achieve temporary goals.

Sampurnanand with Nehru

In India, where there was no threat of a fascist take-over, this meant forming broad coalitions in the struggle for independence. The pamphlet, The Anti Imperialist People’s Front in India, cast the new line. It was drafted by CPGB leaders Bradley and Rajani Palme Dutt in consultation with Nehru in Europe. Both became convinced that the involvement of communists in the INC would meet with sympathy on its left wing. Therefore, they re-recognised Congress as the most crucial agency to seek national liberation. (9)

Through the CSP, the CPI began to operate under the umbrella of the INC. Its broad involvement transformed it into a serious political force, notably after its quasi-legalisation in the provinces where Congress ministries took over after the 1937 elections. In Bombay, where the local INC unit came under communist influence, all communist candidates won by large margins in the 1938 municipal elections. (10)

The disunited sections in Bengal, Madras, Bombay, and Punjab assumed a more uniform appearance, and the CPI began to function as a proper party. Many imprisoned terrorists, notably from Bengal, had already joined the Party in the first half of the 1930s. They further spread their ideas among jailed activists of the civil disobedience movement. The Cannanore prison was a hub of exchange. (11)

The CSP contributed to the broadening of the communist base. Communist strength manifested in the election of four communists into the CSP executive in 1937, Sajjad Zaheer from UP and EMS Namboodiripad from Kerala. Two entire CSP provincial units, Andhra and Malabar, were communist, which became apparent when both broke away upon the expulsion of the communists from the CSP in 1940.

By the end of the 1930s, communists fiercely debated the status of Muslims in the Indian polity. The 1935 Government of India Act provided an extension of the franchise and envisioned limited provincial self-government in British India. (12) The deliberations resulted in the promulgation of the Communal Award. Heeding the demands of communal representatives, its core feature consisted of introducing separate electorates for a multitude of groups and communities, among them workers, women, Europeans, Muslims, Sikhs, and many more. (13)  Gandhi’s desperate attempt to ward off separate representation for the “depressed classes,” the untouchables through a fast to death, led to the hasty conclusion of the Poona Pact with the Depressed Classes Association under Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. It arranged for the reservation of scheduled caste seats within the Hindu contingent.

A communist pamphlet, The Joint Platform, endorsed communal compartmentalisation and demanded the application of the right to self-determination to all “national minorities.” Besides calling for unspecified “abolition of all inequalities imposed by the old social-religious system,” the pamphlet explicitly demanded the expropriation of, among others, “churches.” (14)  The Platform didn’t order the confiscation of lands of temples, mosques, or any ‘indigenous’ religious organisation, although their holdings far exceeded those of Churches. Similarly, the pamphlet singled out Christian missionaries as personae non-gratae, condemning them as “direct agents of imperialism.” (15)      The less domesticated approach of the CPI’s Calcutta unit, whose 1933 pamphlet The Indian Revolution and Our Task had called for the expropriation of temples and mosques as well, did not resonate in the Party’s strategy. (16)

The Comintern was similarly mindful of the need to proceed cautiously in cultural matters. A K Gopalan, the moderate Kerala communist, emphasised this point:

 Just as Bharatheeyan’s ashes, sandalwood-paste and chanting of the Geetha have helped the growth of the peasant movement, a comrade who argued against God’s existence in the peasant committee was able to wreck the local committee [….] Especially while working among the middle classes, one had to be very careful. We had to convince our audiences that we shared the same ideals [!] and aspirations as they. (17)

In furtherance of Bolshevik tradition, Indian communist reservations against even remotely anti-imperialist and non-bourgeois assertions of Islam had ever been minor. It was international communist organs that conserved the CPI’s claim to the appropriation of committedly Muslim political subjectivity when the Party itself was defunct.

Thus, extremist nationalist-turned-communist émigré Virendranath Chattopadhyaya wrote a series of reports in Inprecor on the 1930 tribal revolt in the NWFP. The NWFP was a much-neglected backwater of British India without any appreciable infrastructure or avenues for political participation. What little education work had been done had been mainly taken up by religious dignitaries of Maulana Obeidullah Sindhi, whose influence emphasised Islam’s anti-British and anti-Western thrust. Accordingly, the formation of political will among the NWFP Pathans was firmly rooted in fundamentalist religious sentiments and aspirations from an early stage. (18)

The Afridi Redshirt Rebellion was a military campaign conducted by British and Indian armies against Afridi tribesmen in the North-West Frontier region of the Indian Empire, now in Pakistan, in 1930–1931. The Afridi is a Karlani Pashtun tribe who inhabit the border area of Pakistan, notably in the Spin Ghar mountain range to the west of Peshawar and the Maidan Valley in Tirah.

Bhagwan Das

The Afridis often clashed with the British and Indian Armies during India’s expansion towards the Afghan border, notably during the Anglo-Afghan Wars. In 1930, a rebellion by dissident Afridi tribesmen, known as Redshirts, broke out. As this threatened the security of Peshawar, two Brigade Groups were sent to occupy the Khajuri Plain, west of Peshawar and south of the Khyber Pass. Their role was to open up the area by constructing roads and strong points. This would help prevent any future tribal infiltration towards Peshawar and be a punitive measure since the Afridis had been accustomed to pasturing their flocks on this low ground during the winter months.

On October 17, 1930, the British-led force crossed into the Tirah Valley at Bara, six miles from Peshawar, and advanced seven miles to Miri Khel. Here a fortified camp was constructed from which operations against the Afridis were conducted. On January 16, 1931, the force was withdrawn, having accomplished its objective.  (19)

This happened during the first civil disobedience movement in 1930, as a wave of non-violent mass protest under the guidance of the “Frontier Gandhi,” Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, in Pathan areas. (20)  Members of their organisation, the “Red Shirts,” called themselves “‘Servants of God’. Recruits are sworn in on the Quran to follow the teachings of Islam, to live a pure and righteous life.” It seemed a concrete example of an alternative to Gandhian civil disobedience more amenable to communist tastes in the Comintern’s sectarian “third period.” Little did it matter that the central ideological theme of the Red Shirts consisted in a “revival of the Muslim Pathan identity.” (21)  Decades later, EMS Namboodiripad nostalgically harked back to the virtues of “an entire people [the Pathans] rising against imperialism.”  (22)

Before the rise of the Muslim League, the Ahrar movement provided the best link for rooting communist themes in the Muslim sphere. The Majlis-i-Ahrar-i-Islam (League of Freedom-Loving Muslims) had been founded on December 29, 1929, at Lahore, by Muslim nationalists from Punjab. Religious leaders from all sects, Sunni Barelvi, Deobandi, and Ahle Hadith, were the members of Majlis-e-Ahrar. Chaudhry Afzal Haq, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi, Mazhar Ali Azhar, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Dawood Ghaznavi were the founders of the party. The Ahrar was composed of Indian Muslims disillusioned by the Khilafat Movement, which cleaved closer to the Congress Party. The Party, being a member of the All India Azad Muslim Conference, was associated with opposition to Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the establishment of an independent Pakistan. After 1947, it separated into the Majlis-E-Ahrar Islam Hind, based in Ludhiana and led by descendants of Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi and the Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, based in Lahore and led by descendants of Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari.

The Ahrars’ aims were to liberate India from British domination while avoiding a “Hindu raj.” They envisioned an “Islamic system” for Muslims and demanded their material uplift. The Ahrar agenda also called for equal distribution of wealth, the abolition of untouchability, universal respect for religion, and freedom for practising sharia law. The Ahrar leaders “concentrated their political energies on the defence of Islam.” (23)

Ajoy Ghosh

The Ahrar campaigns exhibited a clear religious list. They participated in the “Muslim Bazaar Campaign,” which called for villagers to supply themselves at Muslim shops only and mobilised Muslims against the Hindu village elite. They also staged campaigns against social evils such as dowry and untouchability, both of which they associated with Hindu culture. “In their doctrinal training, the MAI [Majli-i-Ahrar-i-Islam] […] strictly followed Shariat.” Their stance towards deviations from Sunni Islam was harsh: Shias, Ahmadis, and more liberal and inclusive Muslims such as Jinnah were victims of Ahrar ostracism. (24)

However, the Ahrars had something to offer to the communists. Their flag was red with a white crescent and star upon it, similar to the CPI’s own red-white hammer-and-sickle banner. Hierarchy in the MAI was strict and centralised. Another area of agreement between Ahrar Islam and communism was egalitarianism. Since many MAI leaders came from lower social strata, socialist ideas held a considerable attraction for them. According to Awan, the Ahrars even “had a vague idea of class struggle and the orthodox Marxist ideology.” (25)

As the Majlis-i-Ahrar received communist blessings, it garnered communist sympathy beyond what had been allotted to Muslim organisations. In Punjab, CPI and Ahrars joined in an alliance with the INC and the CSP to contest the 1937 elections. The Ahrars’ call to Muslim workers at Kanpur to support the 1937 and 1938 general strikes elevated them to communist circles. A leading Kanpur trade union activist and CPI member Maulana Yusuf commended the Ahrars as a “Left Muslim organisation” with a positive influence on the workforce. (26) National Front, the CPI’s organ in the late 1930s, included them among “progressive Muslim political organisations” seeking to integrate Muslims into the national movement. After the outbreak of the war, CPI publications praised them for their anti-enlistment campaigns among Muslims. In 1937, Ahrars and communists had cooperated to the same effect in the League against Fascism and War. (27)

Thus an emerging alternative on Muslim communal assertions gradually manifested itself in communist diction. The attribute “Muslim” came to be used more frequently in a neutral sense. (28)

The communists avidly supported Congress’s “Muslim Mass Contact Campaign” in 1937/38. It had been devised by Nehru and INC strategist K. M. Ashraf in the wake of the 1937 provincial elections, where the Congress had emerged victorious, winning 711 out of a total of 1585 assembly seats and an absolute majority in five provinces out of eleven. Even if the results in Muslim constituencies were meagre—it had managed to win only 26—the Muslim League had tallied only 109 of the 482 reserved for Muslims and was a far cry from being the representative of Muslim opinion it aspired to be. (29)

The INC’s left-wing had been on the ascent since the mid-1930s, borne out by the left candidates Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose as INC presidents in 1936 and 1938 1939, respectively. Encouraged by the success of a leftist program in the general constituencies, many in Congress sensed the opportunity to finally rally the Muslims to the national mainstream. Accordingly, Congress refused to form coalition governments with the landlord backed ML. They initiated a broad campaign to win over Muslim peasants, workers, and petit-bourgeois, whom the League regarded as its own constituency. Sympathising with it, the CPI supported Muslim Mass Contact. Yet, it resulted in failure for two main reasons: Not only did the League respond with an assertive, identity, and populist Muslim image, but also did Congress ministries everywhere fail to deliver on the promised reforms in the agrarian and labour sectors.

Sajjad Zaheer

The CPI’s identification of political ‘backwardness’ among Muslims had ever hinged primarily not on a lack of unity with Hindus or the mainstream national movement but on the perceived absence of a solid anti-imperialist current among the Muslim organisations. Therefore, the CPI would eventually be prepared to campaign in unilateral support of emphatically Muslim anti-imperialism.

Amid the Sino-Japanese war in 1938, CPI organ New Age published an article praising “the Chinese Muslims” as a bulwark against Japanese expansionism. It emphasised their Muslimness and raved that they had “been living a life very much unto themselves, preserving intact their customs, traditions and rituals which their ancestors brought with them from the Near East 1,300 years ago.” The New Age was delirious by the fact that one of Chiang Kai-Shek’s generals was a “staunch Mohammedan.” (30). Of course, Kai-Shek had a Muslim General called Ma Liang who had 2000 Chinese Muslim troops. Kai-Shek offered him the post of Commander-in-chief of the 103rd Route of the Kuomintang army.

In 1937, M. N. Roy published The Historical Role of Islam. The treatise considered Muslims an integral part of the “Indian nation” and Islam itself of “immense revolutionary significance” with “great cultural consequences.” His attacks on “disgusting” Hinduism coupled with praise of Islam’s tolerance and Muslims’ noble demeanour in conquest went down well with Muslim intellectuals about to politically assert their religious identity. (31) Following the treatise and his break with the INC in 1939, Roy’s prestige among Muslim intellectuals grew. This materialised in regular invitations to lecture at conferences of Muslim organisations to “inspire the Muslims […] with your inspiring ideas, ideas and personality […] in the interest of and [sic!] Islam.” (32)  He compensated by terming the League “not a communal but a genuine anti-imperialist organisation.” (33)  To the contemporary communist press, Roy’s appraisals were a testimony to his ongoing betrayal of the revolution. (34)

The rise of the Muslim League, the related shift in the communist perception of communalism, the ML’s adaptation of a nationalist agenda, and the sea-change in the CPI’s stance towards the war after Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 would converge in the ‘nationality period’ of the 1940s.

Ghaffar Khan with Gandhi

The 1938 Patna session of ML committed it to independence. It introduced a new pitch of far-reaching communal demands coupled with scathing attacks on the Congress, culminating in the call of “Islam in danger.” Soon, Jinnah’s public appearances drew more people than even the khilafat campaign at its height, with a procession of four kilometres greeting his arrival at the 1938 ML regional session in Sindh. (35)

This development attracted the communists’ keen interest because of the new dimension of the mass politicisation of Muslims. The increasing support of the “downtrodden masses” signified that the ML’s agenda met their needs. Now the INC was criticised for not doing enough to remove Muslim anxieties. Just one week later, after the breakdown of INC-ML talks, Ajoy Ghosh, who had become a PB member in 1936, and now editing the Party’s mouthpiece, National Front, pushed the evaluative change further by demanding “a bold declaration by the Congress […] to concede to the Muslims their communal demands.” A united front with the League could be a “weapon for checking communal disorders and for immediately drawing even those Muslim masses which were still under the communal influence into active political struggle.” (36)

Ghosh had swallowed his earlier anti-League tirades. In September 1938, he had problematised the ML’s “reactionary” character as an ally of imperialism. Ghosh considered not the INC’s subservience to capitalist interests, but its “communal outlook” the chief obstacle to a rapprochement with Muslims. This outlook manifested in ostensibly degrading practices such as the address “Shri” for Muslims. He called for “purging the Congress completely of Hindu atmosphere” and “going more than halfway to meet the communal demands of the Muslims.” (37)

Thus the League lost their pariah status in communist circles. Hasrat Mohani, expelled from the CPI in 1927 because of his ML membership, was elected to the Kanpur Mazdoor Sabha’s general council on a communist ticket in 1938—while heading of the local League. In the same year, the CPI endorsed Mohani’s candidature for the Congress Working Committee and refuted the CSP’s allegations of a “communist-communalist alliance”. (38)

The National Front went ahead with a caricature showing British imperialism setting its Muslim League dog on the Congress cat. A few issues later, the paper apologised for having hurt Muslim religious sentiments by casting “their” political organisation into an avatar considered unclean in Islam: “We sincerely regret the pain we may have caused to some of our readers through our ignorance.” (39)

In his 1939 pamphlet Communal Unity, Ghosh averred the need for an extensive catering to what he viewed as Muslim interests:

It must never be forgotten that Congress has to go out of its way to win the confidence of Muslims. Special efforts must be made to enable the Muslims to grow [!] their cultural and general backwardness. Muslim grievances regarding cow slaughter, music before mosques, etc., wherever they exist should be immediately remedied. (40)

The sustained discovery of Muslim politics also eroded the classical dichotomy between the League leadership and the Muslim masses. Even while the former was under the sway of groups, “afraid of democracy, afraid of mass organisation, afraid of mass struggle,” guest contributor S. Mahmudazaffar urged in National Front that it was high time the communists took the League seriously:

As a matter of fact, it is patently wrong to characterise the League today as a reactionary organisation. And the more we do so, the more we shall drive the Muslim masses away from the anti-imperialist struggle. The Muslim League is today a genuine mass organisation. The Muslim groups believe that they have to win their independence from British Imperialism and Hindu capitalism. Our job is to draw them into our struggle and clarify their political formulation. This cannot be done if we continue to insult the Muslim masses by calling them reactionaries, […] if we continue to deny them the right to organise if we continue to neglect their livelihood, languages, education, and culture. (41)

Mahmudazaffar had been a founding member of the Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA), set up in 1936 as a literary organisation of writers and poets with socialist and communist leanings. Many of its members were sympathetic towards or active in the CPI, most prominently Sajjad Zaheer (1905–1973), who rose to prominent positions in both bodies. Like Zaheer, Mahmudazzafar hailed from the upper strata of Lucknow’s respectable ashraf community. (42)

Syed Sajjad Zaheer was the fourth son of Syed Wazir Hasan, a judge at the AllahabadHigh Court of Judicature at Allahabad. In his final year at Oxford, he contracted tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium in Switzerland. On returning to England, he was influenced by the communist leader Shapurji Saklatvala and joined the Oxford Majlis. He attended the Second Congress of the League against Imperialism held in Frankfurt, where he met influential leaders like Viren Chattopadhyay, Saumyendranath Tagore, N. M. Jaisoorya and Mahendra Pratap.

In December 1932, Zaheer and a group of friends published his first book Angarey, which was banned by the government. Following the uproar, he was sent to London by his father in March 1933 to study law at Lincoln’s Inn. He became Uttar Pradesh state secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and a member of the working committee of the Congress in 1936. He was nominated in charge of the Delhi branch of the CPI in 1939.

After partition, Sajjad Zaheer, along with Sibte Hasan and Mian Iftekhar-ud-Din, started the Communist Party of Pakistan and was appointed Secretary-General of the Party there.

The poet Mohammed Iqbal, as president of the ML’s 1930 session first articulated the idea that the “life of Islam as a cultural force […] largely depends on its centralisation in a specified territory.” (43); however, it was only in the wake of the 1937 provincial elections that Muslim separatism would assume a concrete political shape.

References made – 

1. Ranadive, “The Role Played by Communists,” 52–3; Namboodiripad, A History of Indian, 301– 2.

2. Mitra, Indian Annual Register, vol. 11/1, 1929

3. “General Statement, 494.

4. Mukhopadhyaya, Secret British Documents, 170–1.

5. Madhu Limaye, Evolution of Socialist Policy (Hyderabad: Chetana Prakashan 1952), 2

6. Sampurnanand, Reflections (London: Asia Publishing House 1962), 41, 85

7. Sinha, The Left-Wing, 360-70

8. ibid., 365–7

9. Ben Bradley and Rajani Palme Dutt, “The Anti-Imperialist People’s Front in India,” Labour Monthly 18/March (1936).

10. Conrad Wood, “The Communist Party of India: From Leftism to United Front,” in Britain, Fascism and the Popular Front, ed. Jim Fyrth (London: Lawrence and Wishart 1985), 198

11. Marcus Franda, “Radical Policies in West Bengal,” in Radical Policies in South Asia, eds. Paul Brass and Marcus Franda (Cambridge [MA]: MIT Press 1973), 190–1

12. Sarkar, Modern India, 308–9, 319–20.

13. Chatterji, Bengal Divided, 18–21

14. Joint Platform of Action,” in Documents 3, 78-82

15. Joint Platform of Action,” 82

16. “The Indian Revolution and Our Task,” in Documents 3:111

17. Gopalan, In the Cause, 65–6, 78-9

18. Reetz, “Community Concepts and Community-Building,” 128–9

19. Sym, John. Seaforth Highlanders. p. 229. Gale & Polden. 1962.

20. Reetz, “Religion and Group Identity,” 80–1.

21. Reetz, “Community Concepts and Community-Building,” 129

22. EMS, A History of Indian, 244.

23. Gilmartin, Empire and Islam, 104–5

24. Awan, Political Islam in Colonial, 74

25. Ibid., 73,152.

26. Yusuf, “Cawnpore General Strike. A Landmark,” New Age, Supplement December 1937

27. “Current Notes,” National Front, 10 July 1938

28. T Oommen, State and Society in India. Studies in Nation-Building (Delhi: Sage Publ. 1990), 105

29. Sarkar, Modern India, 345, 349.

30. “Islam Fights For China. Sons Of The Khan,” New Age, May 1938

31. John Haithcox, Communism and Nationalism in India: M. N. Roy and Comintern Policy 1920–1939 (Bombay: Oxford University Press 1971), 255

32. Letter from the Sylhet District Moslem Students’ Federation, 24 November 1940, NMML, M. N. Roy Papers, First Installment, Subject Files, no. 15

33. “Current Notes,” National Front, 27 March 1938.

34. Ibid

35. Ian Talbot, Freedom’s Cry. The Popular Dimension in the Pakistan Movement and Partition Experience in North-West India (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996), 8–11, 23–31

36. A. K. Ghosh, “Negotiations Versus Direct Approach,” National Front, June 19, 1938

37. A. K. Ghosh, “Congress and the Muslims,” National Front, September 18, 1938.

38. P. C. Joshi, “Cawnpore Picks Its Pilots,” National Front, September 4, 1938.

39. National Front, October 9, 1938.

40. A. K. Ghosh, Marxism and Indian Reality. Selected Speeches and Writings (Delhi: Patriot Publishers 1989), 362.

41. S. Mahmudazaffar, “The Communal Boulder,” New Age VI/1, June 1939

42. Priyamvada Gopal, “Literary Radicalism in India: The Meanings of Decolonisation” (Occasional paper 2, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge, 2003), 3–7

43. Jalal, The Sole Spokesman, 12

( Courtesy – Hamlet in Monsoon )

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