The CPI was born out of the fusion of militant anti-imperialist patriotism and internationalism, of the struggle for national liberation and the class struggle for socialism.
Land to the tiller! Nationalisation of foreign imperialist capitalist! Adult suffrage! The nation’s wealth in the nation’s hands! 8-hour working day! Democratic rights of organization, meeting, demonstration and strike! Social equality for women! Social justice for the untouchables! – these and other demands which were destined to become national demands, first resounded after 1925 from the ranks of the CPI.
Communists took initiative to set up and build the class and mass organisations of different sections of our people.
The AITUC which had been set up in 1920 grew into the premier and united mass organization of the Indian working class – a position that it held till 1947, despite occasional divergences and splits which were however soon overcome.
In 1936 along with many revolutionary-democratic personalities the All India Kisan Sabha was set up, under whose banner in the years to come, mighty anti-feudal peasant actions demanding an end to the zamindari system, for security of tenancy rights and for land to those who till it, were fought.
The same year, i.e. in 1936 the All India Student’s Federation was founded, which emerged as the foremost champion and leader of the student movement throughout the country. Several generations of its leading cadres joined the CPI.
1936 too saw the founding of the Progressive Writers’ Association in which communist writers played a prominent part. Another big step forward was taken in 1943, with the formation of the Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA). It was a landmark in the development of our great national culture. Revolutionary songs, plays, ballets, street plays, revival of folk forms of art and culture, have helped to bring the people to culture and culture to the people.
From the outset the CPI targeted the native rulers and the feudal lords who were the support base of the British imperialists in India. Along with other anti-feudal and democratic sections, communists launched and built the Praja-mandal and states peoples’ movement in the native states, which the Congress largely neglected.
FINAL PHASE OF THE FREEDOM STRUGGLE
Telegana armed struggle symbolises one of the most heroic of such struggles led by the Communist Party of India. It was first and foremost a struggle to throw off the Nizam’s yoke on the people of the then Hyderabad state, to integrate the state in India and to bring to an end the autocratic oppression of the people. It developed into a struggle for expropriating the land of the feudal lords and distributing it to the landless. The Bhoodan Movement was a sequel to the Telengana struggle.
Earlier, in October 1946, people in Alleppy (Travancore State) waged a death-defying battle, and people from the two villages of Punnappra-Vayalar wrote in blood their immortal struggle against the rule of the Maharaja’s Diwan Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer who dreamt of a separate state on the American model, and against the cruel exploitation by landlords and capitalists.
The victory over Hitler fascism, saw the outbreak of mighty mass upsurge. It was India’s final bid for freedom. The movement against the trial of officers of the Indian National Army had roused all section of the people. The anti-imperialist tidal wave had its impact on the armed forces resulting in the historic uprising of the men and Indian officers of the Royal Indian Navy in 1946. The armed forces of British imperialism began to turn against the foreign oppressors of our people in a manner unparalleled since the great revolt – the first independence war of 1857. The post-war upsurge saw numerous militant actions by workers, peasants and students. The CPI had committed a tactical error in the initial stages, but it recovered from the setback suffered, by plunging into these mass actions.
The courageous battles fought under the party’s leadership, its role in the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles and struggles on people’s issues over more than two decades, found reflection in the seats that it won in the country’s first parliamentary election, and in subsequent elections.
The question that faced India soon after Independence was how precisely to end the crazy, reactionary pattern of the old British Indian Provinces with which had been integrated the native states in haphazard fashion, and to redraw the political map of India. The CPI advocated and fought for their reorganisation on the principled basis of common language, culture and contiguity, which would bring state administration closer to the masses and enable their linguistic and cultural development. This was a democratic demand which took account of the specific ethnic and cultural identity of each linguistic community.
There are some unsolved problems even today, mainly as a result of uneven development and long-suffering neglect of some regions and more particularly of regions where the tribal people are in a majority, or were in a majority till recent times. The CPI is carrying on the struggle either for separate statehood or regional autonomy for such regions inhabited by tribal and ethnic groups, keeping in view the overall interests of national integrity and balanced development of these regions themselves. The CPI is also fighting along with other left and democratic parties and forces for rolling back the erosion that has been caused to the rights of the states within a federal set-up and therefore for restructuring centre-state relations.
Marxism demands that the specific character of social oppression should be seen and atrocities should be fought whenever and in whatever form it occurs. The struggle for social equality and social justice has to be fought in a concrete context.
The CPI has supported reservation for the backwards, in addition to reservation for scheduled castes and tribes. The problem today has gone beyond the dimensions of providing reservations in jobs or higher educational institutions. There is today an upsurge among dalits, tribals, OBCs and women for empowerment, for a rightful share in political power and administration.
The CPI has a positive attitude towards this justified aspiration of those sections who were deprived of any role for centuries. At the same time the CPI opposes casteism which is in fact a weapon used by the vested interests in each caste to further their own political and other interests. Our vision for the future is a classless and casteless society , free from exploitation and oppression.
So as to organise the mass of women to fight for women’s rights, for equality in all spheres of life and against rape and all forms of atrocities perpetrated on women, communist women took the initiative to organise them. The NFIW has been especially active in the campaign against the dowry system and dowry deaths, against rape and all forms of atrocities against women, for 33% reservation and so forth.
The crisis of bourgeois rule in India, has from time to time made a few bourgeois politicians put forward proposals for replacing India’s parliamentary system by some sort of presidential system, or a hotch-potch of both.
The CPI has strongly opposed all these proposals and has firmly defended the parliamentary system as being eminently suited to India’s specific conditions, characterised by wide diversity and pluralism.
At the same time, to ensure that parliament truly reflects the people’s will, the party has been campaigning for electoral reforms, for ridding elections of the influence of money and muscle power.
ic conditions and struggling for our socialist future, we pay close attention to the rich exchange of experiences from all countries and all parties.
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