M.N. Roy: Manufacturing Evidence (31 May 1923)


M.N. Roy

Manufacturing Evidence

(31 May 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 40 [22], 31 May 1923, pp. 375–376.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2021). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

It appears that Lord Curzon is going seriously to work at his new adventure of setting the world on fire and, perchance, of dealing a mortal blow to his already shaken Empire. He has thrown the dice, and for the time being his stars are in the ascendency. The resignation of Bonar Law means the purging of the element of vacillation and weakness from the British Government, in order to make it the citadel of pure “die-hardism”! The note to Russia was the climax of a premeditated plan to sweep the entire world by a gigantic avalanche of rank reaction. For the realization of this plan, all the available machineries are set in motion, Marshall Foch is looking over the ground and counting his men and guns. Mr. Baldwin’s plants have begun manufacturing munitions.

There is another side of this drama which passes unnoticed, but whose importance is by no means insignificant. The question of propaganda is the crux of the Curzon Note. The souls of the “murdered” priests are now allowed to rest in peace. The reasonable attitude of the Soviet Government on the question of the captured trawlers and of the so-called Weinstein Notes takes the fire out of Lord Curzon’s gun, as far as these issues are concerned. So there remains only the question of propaganda. If the British Government is determined to break off relations with Russia, the break must take place on this issue. When “unconditional satisfaction” is demanded, it is this bugbear of propaganda against the Empire that the British Government has in view.

When the question of propaganda plays such an important rule in the whole crisis, it is necessary to watch what preparations are being made to give it the most formidable appearance. It seems that Curzonian politics have gone mad; but there is method in this madness. Manufacturing evidence to prove that the Soviet Government has been persistently carrying on propaganda, has been going on methodically. These evidence-factories are situated in Northern India. Till the publication of the Curzon Note they worked busily but secretly. They burst out with sudden discoveries in the days immediately following the publication of the Note. As soon as Lord Curzon pointed his accusing fingers towards Soviet Russia, evidence began to pour in to snow now true the noble Lord’s assertions were. As if by magic, “Bolshevik agents” were arrested in India.

On May 11, Reuter telegraphed from Allahahad the arrest of one Saukat Usmani in Cawnpore, on a charge of possessing seditious literature. It was by no means an unprecedented incident in India. Arrest on such a charge is very familiar there. But the arrest of Saukat Usmani was telegraphed out to England and The Times published it in big headlines very prominently: “Soviet Plot discovered – Bolshevik Agent arrested”. For several days the English press was regularly supplied from various points of Northern India with sensational news about the “Red Propaganda”. The detection of “propaganda centres in done connection with Moscow” was ominously proclaimed. Even Nationalist leaders without the slightest blemish of Bolshevism, and the eminently respectable Trade Union Congress, which maintains closer connection with the Fabian imperialists of Eccleston Square than with the Indian toilers, were accused of receiving money from Moscow.

The manufacture of evidence thus begun with the telegram about the arrest of Saukat Usmani has now assumed quite definite shape. According to the Morning Post despatch, the number of Bolshevik agents arrested in India is seventy. Now, there to a little discrepancy in this figure. All these accused persons are supposed to be members of the “Red Propaganda Host” trained in Moscow and smuggled into India evidently

through some etherial or subterranean channel But the original accusation in the Note, to substantiate which this evidence is manufactured, does not mention more than seven. May we ask: whence did the other sixty-three come? Lord Curzon needs strong evidence; but the excessive zeal of the Indian police gives away the game ...

We can explain how seventy Boshevik agents were arrested in India in order to prove the existence oi the seven alleged by Lord Curzon. It is so. Out of the 30,000 Indian Moslems, who emigrated on account of the Khilafat propaganda in 1920, three hundred-odd reached Turkestan on their way to Angora: These men had undergone terrible hardship in Afghanistan. They arrived at Bokhara almost starved and in rags, having been held several weeks in captivity by the Fergana rebels, from whom they were rescued by the Red Army. Out of mere feelings of humanity the Revolutionary Government of Bukhara as well as of Turkestan offered these emigrants their hospitality. In order to have a rest and to prepare for their journey to Angora, the emigrants accepted this hospitality and passed several months in Tashkend. This stay of a band of fanatic religious emigrants in Turkestan gave origin to the stories of propaganda and military schools where thousands of Indian revolutionaries were trained. Finding it impossible to proceed farther, the emigrants returned homewards. Upon their arrival on the Indian borders they were promptly arrested. As very few of these emigrants were revolutionaries, it required very little persuasion and lucre to buy off their services in return for their release from jail. With this material, the so-called “Bolshevik Investigation Department” was organized as an adjunct to the infamous Criminal Investigation Department. It is this Bolshevik Investigation Department which supplies Lord Curzon with the material for his Notes, and which has of late been very busy manufacturing evidence to bear out the case nude by his lordship. The additional sixty-three “arrested Bolshevik agents” are recruited evidently from the army of these returned emigrants retained at same cost by the Bolshevik Investigation Department at Peshawar.

Saukut Usmani and the “others arrested after him”, whose names, however, are kept hidden in mystery, are reported to have been sent to Peshawar, where their trial will take place. This trial is staged to bring to light volumes of evidence as to how me Soviet Government has persistently violated the Trade Agreement since it was signed. A large number of Indians, alleged to have been trained in the propaganda schools at Tashkend, will make detailed statements containing a detailed account of the activities of the Bolsheviks. Thus is laid the ground for crucifying the Soviet Government on the question of propaganda.

So much for the anti-Russian conspiracy of Curzonian die-hardism. Now a few words about Saukat Usmani and those who are supposed to be arrested with him. The crime of these men is that they had been in Russia, that they were engaged in communist propaganda, and that some communist literature has been found in their possession. Supposing that all these charges are true, is the guilt of the Soviet Government established? If to have been in Russia is a crime, why is Mr. George Lansbury a member of the British Parliament and Saukat Usmani a prisoner? Why is Mrs. Snowden a respectable British subject and an Indian youth considered to be an enemy of the Empire? There is more than one Communist in Great Britain; why is it such a dreadful thing for an Indian to be a communist? Communist literature is legally published in England, why are a few leaflets exhorting the Indian workers and peasants to organize in the defence of their interests enough to convict a number of individuals as “rebels against the king”? These are some very pertinent questions which the British proletariat should be called upon to face if the situation created by the Curzon Note is to be met in its truly comprehensive character and solved properly.

We put these questions to the British Labor Party because the above mentioned evidences are manufactured for their satisfaction. The support of the Labor Party has to be secured for the war that Curzon is planning. Part of the price for this support will be the prosecution of youthful leaders of the Indian proletariat, and the brutal suppression of the nascent Communist Party of India. The monstrosity of this persecution can be imagined from the fact the attempts to organize a workers’ and peasants’ party within the limits of the pseudo-constitution have been branded as “Bolshevik”. We will not be surprised if the sixty-three “Bolshevik agents” manufactured in the Factory of Peshawar give evidence to the effect that the men engaged in the organization of this legal party are paid from Moscow.

The entire world is threatened by the blackest reaction. The advanced section of the proletariat under the leadership of the Communist International is alone capable of meeting the situation, of taking up the challenge and giving Lord Curzon the only answer he deserves.

Where does the British Labor Party stand in this crisis?

Last updated on 16 October 2021