On Nehru, Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, M. N. Roy, and Bhagat Singh in the Struggle for the Independence of India

(June 2, 1931)

League Against Imperialism

This extract from a political resolution of the Executive Committee of the League Against Imperialism held in Berlin dated June 2nd 1931 which deals with India is of considerable interest. First, it touches upon the expulsion of Nehru from the League Against Imperialism on the grounds of his accepting Dominion Status and failing to stand by the demand for the full independence of India. This question was generally passed over in silence by those who, in the spirit of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, wished to exaggerate the elements of progressive thought in the politics of Nehru. A prime example of this evaluation internationally has been the Soviet theoretician R. Ulyanovsky.1 The GDR historian Horst Kruger did refer to the reasons for the expulsion of Nehru from the League Against Imperialism: because of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact of 5th April 1931 by which the Indian National Conference promised participation in the Second Round Table Conference and breaking off the civil disobedience campaign.2 Kruger did not fail to describe the course of the League against Imperialism as being ‘sectarian’.3

Second, the resolution evaluates the views of Subhas Chandra Bose in not fundamentally dissimilar terms to those of Nehru. The contrast between this characterisation and the contemporary sympathetic understanding of the CPI and the CPI M to Subhas Chandra Bose, despite his collaboration with Hitler and Tojo, is pronounced.

Third, this resolution is of particular interest as it came out just over two months after the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. The League Against Imperialism honoured ‘the memory of the heroic Indian revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh and his comrades who have been murdered by British imperialism whilst fighting for the independence of India’ and emphasised that this struggle could not be victorious through individual acts of heroism but only through the ‘conscious mass action of the workers and peasants, and the revolutionary youth. ’ High praise for the martyrs was combined with a political evaluation of the need for mass action.

Vijay Singh


1. ‘Jawaharlal Nehru’, in Rostislav Ulanovsky, ‘National Liberation, Essays on Theory and Practice’, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1978, p. 253.

2. Horst Kruger, ‘Jawaharlal Nehru and the League Against Imperialism’, NMML, New Delhi, 1975, pp. 25-27.

3. Loc.cit. p. 24.

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