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India Status Haunts MP’s

(May 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 18, 5 May 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Reaction dies hard; especially in British Tory circles!

The question of India arose again to haunt the imperialist members of Britain’s Parliament at last week’s session. Churchill and his supporters took the opportunity to reaffirm once more their intention of continuing their current policy toward India – with not the slightest change being indicated. Government spokesmen in both Houses stated unequivocally that India’s status quo must remain for the duration.

What brought the Indian question before Parliament last week? There are three reasons:

  1. The success of the Nazi Balkan campaign, coupled with the drive on Suez, raises once more the distinct danger of a totalitarian attack upon India. To this must be added the dangerous implications of the Soviet-Japanese Pact.
  2. The continuation and broadening of the Gandhi limited-resistance campaign which has already resulted in the arrest of 15,000 Indian Nationalists.
  3. The spread throughout India of a wave of Hindu-Moslem rioting – the sure sign of tremendous unrest and mass discontent.

Through the strict censorship we have already learned of serious Hindu-Moslem clashes in such distant sections of India as Bombay Presidency (west coast), Dacca (eastern area) and Lahore (northern section). Apparently these struggles ore spreading on a nation-wide scale.

It is impossible to state what portion of these “riots” are, in reality, clashes between imperialist police forces and the peasant-work ing class masses. And; it is also certain (from previous history) that many a Hindu-Moslem riot is deliberately instigated by the British in the traditional divide-and-rule method.

Two additional facts are certain. First, Churchill and his Tory government are totally incapable of handling the tense situation in India except by resorting to police measures. Second, the mass opposition of India’s 400,000,000 workers and peasants to the war – which dates from September 1, 1939 – is growing and gathering in mighty momentum. Here is one section of the anti-war camp that shows no signs of lying down on the job.

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