In this article we will discus about the Role of M N Roy in India’s Struggle for Independence
Though M.N. Roy has played no less significant role in the national movement of the country as champion of left wing ideology, yet his role and view point has not drawn much attention of the people. To begin with he was strong supporter of Marxism and Marxian philosophy.
In his ‘India in Transition’ he went to the extent of saying that Marxism could only provide solution to India’s constitutional problems. He believed that India’s freedom struggle should be fought on class lines.
He very clearly pointed out shortcomings of his political ideology. He pointed out that Gandhian programme of action lacks economic programme which could win the support of masses. Then he pointed out that he wanted to do an impossible task of uniting the peasants and landlords and also employers and workers. He also criticised Gandhiji’s economics of Charkhra.
But at the same time, he appreciated Gandhiji’s role for the use of mass for national struggle, consolidation of Indian National Congress and adoption of techniques of non-co-operation, non-payment of taxes and civil disobedience.
He felt that basic weakness of Indian National Congress was that it had practically no theoretical foundations and followed irrational religious notions. He favoured bringing radical changes in the Indian National Congress.
In 1922, he prepared a detailed programme for the consideration of Indian National Congress. In this he proposed nationalisation of railways, mines, water ways and suggested that the aim of the Congress party should be complete national independence from British domination.
Instead of standing armies there should be national malitia and each labourer should get certain minimum wages. He also favoured 8 hour day for workers. All public utilities should be nationalised and election of National Assembly should be held on adult franchise basis.
In his scheme he also provided establishment of Federal Republic of India in which religion and politics should not be mixed but kept separate. Provision should be made for free compulsory education. He stood for abolition of landlordism and distribution of land, thus, available should be distributed among the peasants.
The workers should be given in all industries a share in the profit and in all industrial Workers’ Councils should be set up. Roy also wanted that workers’ right to go on strike should be recognised. They should also have legal right to form trade unions. The cultivators should be given cheap credit through State Agriculture Co-operative Banks which should be set up by the government. Agriculture should be modernised.
Roy suggested that in order to achieve these objectives country wide disobedience movements should be started and organisation of national volunteers should be set up. He suggested that the Congress party should support all strikes both financially and politically. Mass demonstrations should also be organised. But his programme did not receive much attention of the Congress.
But even then he favoured Congress programme of boycotting Simon Commission and appreciated Lahore Congress resolution of full freedom for India. After coming out from jail in 1936, he decided to infiltrate in the Congress and capture its leadership.
He believed that, “The left wing radicals should make a determined effort to forge themselves into a party with a scientific programme of national revolution. The formation of a Congress left wing into a well disciplined and functioning party is correct approach to Congress rank and file by the cadre of convinced Marxists.”
He criticised Gandhian philosophy of Ahimsa and Satyagrah and instead in 1939 he organised the League of Radical Congressmen. In order to capture the leadership of Indian National Congress in 1940, he contested for the Presidentship of the party but was defeated. Thereafter he formed a separate party called Radical Democratic Party.
In 1941 he organised Indian Federation of Labour. While pointing out the need and necessity of forming a separate party he said that it was impossible for revolutionary forces to organise themselves into a political party inside the Congress.
During World War II he pleaded that Allied forces should be helped because these were fighting against the Fascists. He appealed to the people of India to come forward to whole-heartedly support British government in its war efforts.
He was opposed to Quit India movement of the Congress party. He was happy with the winning of 1945 election in England by Labour party. He condemned both Cabinet Mission proposals and Mountbatten plan.
Because of his not strictly adhering to any political line of thinking Roy and his followers could not show their impact on country ‘s freedom struggle. They could not prepare a scheme which could appeal the masses and as such they could not get any following.
Roy was disowned both by the Marxists and the Congressmen. His denouncing Gandhian approach and philosophy took him away from Gandhians and that gave great set back to his ideology.
But he received great set back when during second world war much against the mood of the people of India he appealed to them to whole-heartedly support British government in its war efforts. He lost their appreciation and was pushed in the background.