From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 2, 13 January 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
British imperialism has just added another name to its lengthy list of victims. Labor Action has received word of the death, while imprisoned in a Calcutta cell, of Swami Sahajanandu, one of the finest and most militant leaders ever to spring from the great peasant masses of India.
Comrade Sahajanandu, the recognized and feared leader of the All-India Kisan Sablia (peasants’ union) was a young man, in the prime of life. His everyday actions – organizing the peasant unions, leading huge marches and demonstrations, conducting hunger strikes in his frequent sojourns in British jails, etc. – expressed the deepest strivings of the peasants and agrarian laborers of Bengal, Orissa and Bihar Provinces. He was their leader against British and feudal tyranny, in every sense.
Sahajananda, who began as an orthodox follower of Gandhi, rapidly progressed beyond that stage. By turn he became a member of the moderate Congress Socialist Party, and then came under Stalinist influence. But his disillusionment with the conservatism of the Socialists of India and with the treachery of the Stalinists did not destroy his faith in revolutionary Marxism. Shortly after breaking with the Indian Communist Party as a result of the Hitler-Stalin alliance, he was sentenced to a long jail term for his anti-war speeches. It was in these circumstances – undoubtedly due to harsh prison conditions – that he died. But he had met new friends and had expressed great sympathy with their ideas. These friends were members of the Indian section of the Fourth International.
India has lost a splendid leader and comrade; a man who could have played a great part in its approaching revolution. He shall be remembered; likewise those who murdered him.
Last updated: 21.11.2012