The article outlines some serious questionable actions of the C.P.I. before independence.
1. CPI and Nazis
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was signed on 23 August 1939. Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union on 22 June, 1941. Between this period, CPI denounced the war as imperialist war and actually sided with the Nazis.
When the invasion of the Soviet Union did take place, the CPI quickly changed its position from Imperial War to People’s War. They became vocal enemies of Nazis and cooperated with the British. Even the British lifted ban from the CPI later on.
2. CPI and the British
After 1941, they became active collaborators with the British. In historian RC Majumdar’s words, “… the CPI functioned as a legal party and enjoyed the favours of the Government of India. Persons kept in detention on account of Communist activities were employed in high offices, both civil and military, and the Communists were used by the Government as a counterpoise to the Congress… During the great national upsurge of 1942, the Communists acted as stooges and spies of the British Government, and helped them against their own countrymen fighting for freedom…”
Allegations of being spies and stooges of the British has loomed large over the communists with prominent historians such as Vikram Sampath have pointed out the declassified British intelligence letters which show that some prominent communists were actually spies of the British.
The CPI even supported the British at the time of the Bengal Famine. D N Gupta wrote in the year 2008,
“the Communists not only decided to extend their unstinted support to the government in its efforts to solve the food crisis but also took a soft line towards the lapses of the government and its bureaucracy on this issue.”
3. CPI and Netaji Subhash Ch. Bose
It is well known that CPI used to call Netaji ‘Tojo’ dog’. Respected historian Sita Ram Goel in his book Netaji and the CPI pointed out how the CPI treated Bose. In the fourth chapter, he has reproduced several cartoons from People’s Daily (CPI’s mouthpiece) ridiculing Bose.
Above is just one of the several cartoons. Further, Mihir Bose’s book ‘Silver’ shows how a CPI agent not only double-crossed Bose by spying for the British and the Russians but was also depicted to be a great freedom fighter belonging to CPI. To quote Mihir, “The CPI decided to use Silver to show (that portraying) the party as helping the British was not accurate as through Silver they had helped the man who left India to organise an army to free the country. Silver’s book was presented as a truthful memoir of a great patriot, when in fact it was a propaganda tool meant to improve the image of the Indian communists.”
The CPI had to apologise later on. It is however ironic that splinter groups of the CPI blame Savarkar for (according to the whims and fancies of their imagination) saying things about Netaji. They do not provide any source.
4. CPI and Pakistan
This article, published previously on OpIndia, clearly shows how Muslim League received active support from CPI. Communists did not recognise Indian Independence for four years. They even toyed about the idea of diving India into 17 parts.
The sad part is that this information is not in the open. Communist historians in their books have failed to cover this. Even when covered by others, the stronghold of the Communists over the universities doesn’t let them enter into the reading list. Therefore, it is our responsibility to disseminate this information to the future generations.