M N Roy 1923

Letter to the Hindustan Press, Bombay

Copy of a letter dated 7.5.23 from. M.N. Roy to the Manager Hindustan Press, Fort, Bombay, containing a letter for S.A. Dange which follows below.

Taken from Communism in India – Unpublished Documents, edited by the late Subodh Roy. National Archives of India F261 K.W.I/P103. The following letter found in the Security Service files was obviously intercepted by the security services, copied and then perhaps sent on. – Note by transcriber Ted Crawford.

Yours of 6.4.23 received, together with circular. The latter is a good idea and worth helping. We have not received, however, your paper for two months. Only the first issue as a monthly came, two copies, one to Leipzig, the other here. Have you sent anything also to Leipzig? Don’t do so henceforth. The address you have for letters is good, and literature can be sent to Pall. You can also write private affairs to the address A. L Brandsteder Ruyschstraat 10 Amsterdam, Holland, inside envelope M.N. Roy. This will reach us. We shall be glad to have a series of addresses from you for the same purpose. Also as mentioned previously, the name of some responsible party who will receive and hand over subscriptions.

We have received a project for the organisation of a legal mass party from M. Singaravelu, and it appears some progress has been made in the right direction. This manifesto must have been published by this time but we have not as yet received it. Judging from the outlines sent by letter it seems to be quite good. He wrote that in accordance with our suggestions, he insisted several comrades including yourself to come together in a preliminary conference is order to discuss the projected Manifesto and begin the organisation of a party, but complained that nobody turned up. He has reason to be distressed. But he is a fine old man and is going ahead alone. But is terribly handicapped for lack of good writers, of whom as you know there are very few in India till now. It is therefore all the more urgent that the few good comrades we have should get together and work in coordination.

I think you know my views on the necessity of organising a mass party, and yourself understand the necessity of it. You write that you have paralysed the Congress organisation in the District and expect to capture it. That is good, but your efforts should not be confined to one district alone. We must organise on a country-wide basis, with our own party and programme, though functioning in the Congress like the rest. The programme is already formulated; it may be necessary to modify it in some details, but the general outlines are there. Much propaganda has to be made on the same lines. As far as my information goes, there are good elements scattered all over the country, and these should be gathered together into our Central Organising Committee. To this end, I request you very urgently to get in touch with Singaravelu without delay and try to convene the preliminary conference to which, beside our own comrades such men as Sampurnananda of Benares, Manilal of Gaya, the Editor of Vartaman of Cawnpur, etc. can be invited. I would also suggest Upendra Nath Banerji of the Patrika. Of course before calling the conference formally, yourself, Hussain and Singaravelu should meet together and plan out the whole question as it should be brought before the conference. We must insist upon our minimum programme as drafted for the Gaya Congress be adopted by the new party with the least possible modification. The idea is to have the political control of the legal party in the hands of the Communist Party. As far as possible, the office bearers and leaders of the legal party should be members of the C.P.

A few remarks about Singaravelu. I was convinced he was the best man available to be the figurehead of the legal party. He is very energetic and possesses a very splendid spirit which more than makes up for his possible shortcomings in the way of theoretical understanding. He provides us with an access into the ranks of the congress which is very valuable. Through him we can lay our hands on the Labour Sub-Committee, which otherwise will soon die off and Chamanlal will make off with the 40,000. Therefore it is very urgent that you come in close touch with Singaravelu and work together for the organisation of the legal party. By associating with him inside an organisation you will be able to control his ideological weaknesses.

Other efforts are being made to organise a Workers’ and Peasants’ party. If we do not hurry up, we will be faced with an accomplished fact, in the shape of a so-called workers’ party under very questionable leadership. For example, several rivals of Chamanlal are busy in this direction. Our policy should be to discover the good elements and absorb them within our group. I am sure there are good people among them. For instance, Manilal is connected with such an attempt made by a spurious group which has lately issued a manifesto over the signature of “The Textile Workers of India and the Kishans of Northern India.” There is no such organisation in existence as far as I know, but it represents the efforts of a few careerists trying to carve out a way for themselves. A copy of the manifesto has been received here, and it is a piece of plagiarism. The name, constitution and social clauses are taken from the plan of Singaravelu, and the programme is taken bodily from our provisional programme issued in 1920 and from the draft sent to the Gaya Congress. The remaining parts of the Manifesto are full of stupid schemes and mean slanders. Abani Mukherji, who formerly worked with us is the moving spirit behind this spurious group. I have already warned you against him. He has been expelled from the International as well as from our Party. He is a questionable and dangerous character.

Our party press must be organised. This question should, also be discussed jointly. I will wait for a report on this question after it has been discussed by at least 3 of you together, Hussain, Singarvelu and yourself. It is very hard for us to do anything in a centralised manner from here, if small presses are isolated in different provinces working independently of one another. Our means are also limited. We can accomplish more in every way by centralisation of efforts. Then with one or two printing presses, at least one English Weekly and one Hindustani monthly can be published and gradually a Bengali Weekly can be added. Unless the three or you act as an Organising Committee which can be collectively responsible for our entire activities, nothing big will come out of our work. You are at liberty to secure the collaboration of other Comrades known to you, but the pioneers must be our men and party members working according to a centralised plan which embraces the whole of India, though each may work in his own province.

To do this our connections must be improved. You can safely write to us by the several addresses I have given. We would like to have regular reports about your work and organisation of the party, as well as about the Congress. We learn from a Comrade in Bengal that you turned all his letters over to the Police. Of course, it is difficult to discriminate between spies and our own men, but we should make sure before acting so drastically. We requested him to communicate with you at Gaya. All that is necessary is to make such persons produce identification, in the shape of a mandate or letter from me. We must learn to build both a legal and illegal apparatus at the same time.

Hoping to hear from you soon, with the information and addresses requested.