In this article we will discus about the Role of Leftism in India’s Struggle for Independence.
The Leftists played their own part in freedom struggle of the country, along with the Rightists, who of course dominated the show with the result that the contribution of the Leftists was not much appreciated.
The rightists on the whole believe that existing system is not very unsatisfactory and that it can be reformed with the help of introduction of reforms. Thus, they do not feel the need and necessity of taking radical measures for changing it.
They favour status quo and are opposed to total transformation of the system particularly by violent means. Because of their these views they are called conservative and reactionary. Those who are opposed to these views are non status quoists or are not opposed to bringing changes even by violent means are called Leftists.
They also favour more participation of the people in governmental activities. They do not favour piece meal reforms but are of the view that far-reaching changes should be introduced in the existing system in one go.
On the other hand the Rightists wish to preserve what Leftists wish to change. The extreme rightists are opposed to every change and wish to preserve the existing system at all costs, whereas extreme Leftists are revolutionary and radical in their approach.
In so far as India’s freedom struggle is concerned leftism means those persons who had anti-imperialist approach and had definite feelings for welfare of the weaker and oppressed sections of society.
They wanted that India should not struggle for Dominion Status but for full freedom of the country. Subhash Chandra Bose who represented the leftists in the Congress party said in 1940 that, “Our main task at this stage is to end imperialism and to win national independence for the Indian people. When freedom comes of age national reconstruction will commence and that will be the socialist phase of our movement.”
About solving India’s socio-economic and other problems he said, “I have no doubt in my mind that our chief national problems relating to eradication of poverty, illiteracy and disease and to scientific production and distribution can be effectively tackled only along socialist lines.”
The Leftists on the whole are opposed to existing state system, prevailing socio-economic order and they do not make, any difference between state and party. They wish replacement of existing order by a new order and stand for revolution. They favour drastic changes in existing property laws and for ending exploitation of peasants.
They plead abolition of zamindari system. Similarly to end exploitation of industrial workers they stand for industrialisation of industries. In national freedom struggle they have militant and revolutionary approach and believe that it is not only a political but also socio-economic struggle.
They also are of the opinion that such a struggle is always fought on class basis. They encourage agitations, strikes and demonstrations and strongly plead that Leftists should have close link with international socialist movements.
In India the Leftists particularly wanted to capture the leadership of Indian National Congress. While living in the Congress they wanted to change its character. They did not challenge ideology of Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi and liked labour movement as it was developing in England and Russia.
They were particularly influenced by the revolutionaries of Russia who successfully brought a revolution in their own country. Nehru very eagerly wanted that Congress party should go near the masses so that they understand and appreciate the meaning and objectives of country’s freedom struggle. They tried to mix political objectives with socio-economic objectives of our freedom struggle.