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India: Judd Pamphlet a Reading MUST

(December 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 50, 14 December 1942, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

INDIA IN REVOLT, by Henry Judd,
with an Introduction by Max Shachtman.
Published by the Workers Party of America, New York 1942; 101 pages, 25 cents.

Here at last is a book which tells the story of India without the usual apologetics for the aspirations of the Indian people and without appealing to them to lay aside their desire for national independence until the “Four Freedoms” are conceded by the United Nations. India in Revolt is written from the standpoint of the interests of the international working class, English and American as well as Indian.

In a style that is at once ardent in its devotion to the cause of Indian liberation and coldly objective in its analysis of the tasks confronting the colonial peoples, Henry Judd supplies the historical background of the present revolt and explains its relationship to the Second World War.

In the opening chapters Judd explains the development of India from its history and mode of life before the British conquest through two and a half centuries of British rule. The old communal system was ruthlessly and treacherously destroyed by the white sahib until the English today control every decisive and important factor of India’s life.

Today India is a land of contrasts – not, as Judd tells us, in the technicolor of a movie travelogue, but in the juxtaposition of the world’s worst slums and huge manorial estates; the contrast of the “kisan” working the soil as he did sixty centuries ago and the Indian proletariat working in the up-to-date factory in Cawnpore; the contrasts of extreme poverty side by side with the fabulous wealth of the British and feudal princes. “These are social. and political contrasts that explain the causes and source of the revolutionary upheaval that rocks, the Indian sub-continent,’’ says the author.

Arising out of the almost unbearable conditions of life, the nationalist movement has peculiarly Indian features, though basically it has the same characteristics common to all colonial movements. The conquest by the British overthrew the old class relationships but created new classes, and the struggle between these classes goes on unabated. Each social grouping behaves according to the dictates of its class interests. The writer clearly explains the aims and wishes of each class in India – the feudal princes, the native bourgeoisie, the peasantry and the proletariat – showing how their conduct flows from these aims.

Of all the classes, only two, the peasantry and proletariat, must have national independence, in order to achieve what they want – land and freedom from taxation for the one; and economic security and freedom from exploitation for the other. The national bourgeoisie can always compromise with imperialism – and always does. Therein lies the explanation of the conduct of the National Congress. An examination of the existing political parties shows that only one has an uncompromising program – the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India – -because it is the party of socialism.

One of the most interesting sections of the book answers, a number of frequently asked questions about India, regarding the religious differences, language differences, national minorities, etc,; Finally, to the question as to whether India, for the sake of her own defense, ought not to wait until Japan is licked before demanding freedom from England, Judd replies: the Indian people can defend themselves against Japan only if they are free, only if they have something worth defending, their national independence, which they have desired for 250 years!

In a closing letter, Judd, speaking for the oppressed and gagged workers of India, tells the American and British workers why they must assist in the struggle for Indian independence and how the Indian Revolution is bound up with battles of the American workers.

At the end of the book there is a section called Facts on India which speak as eloquently as statistics can about conditions in that country.

The Indian people are on the march – their revolution has just begun. In the course of time, the Indian workers will create the necessary organizations and leadership for victory. The American workers must assist them. But first, we must understand what is happening in India – and why. For this, Henry Judd’s book is invaluable and is a must for every worker.

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