Denying National Roots

Author: Dr. Rahul A. Shastri                             

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This study examines the early evolution of the attitude of communism towards nationalism in
general and towards Indian nationalism in particular. It also looks at how the ideas of
communism were received early but were refracted through the typical Indian genius, into the
overarching compass of spirituality. It then moves on to examine the confrontation of world
communism with Indian nationalism, the attempts of Comintern to yoke Indian nationalists to
their war chariot, and how Indian nationalism escaped its bear-hug.
The study also examines the parallel but interacting emergence of a CPI of Comintern in
Tashkent and Moscow and of unaffiliated communist organisations and functionaries in India
during 1920-30. This decade also saw a short-lived bid of Indian communism to seek a national
political life – a bid that was crushed by hostile takeovers, disciplinary actions and establishment
of the ideological and organisational stranglehold of Comintern over Indian functionaries.
This period ended in 1930 with the formal affiliation of the CPI of India to the Comintern . Ever
since and increasingly, this party became merely a wing of world communism – presenting a
national visage primarily to enhance recruitment, extend its organisational and ideological
footprint, and to advance and enhance the objectives of global communism.

Since any prospect of communism of a specifically Indian variety – of an ‘Indian communism’ as
it were, ended with the affiliation of the CPI to the Comintern and its conversion into a contingent
of world communism in 1930, this study of the early period of Communism in India, ends with
that year.

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