On the Materials on the Situation in the Communist Party of India

(3rd February 1951)


Prior to the meetings of the CPI and the CPSU (b) in 1951 the Soviet party translated into Russian the principal documents of the main groups within the CPI, namely those headed by P.C. Joshi, B.T. Ranadive, Rajeshwara Rao and Dange, Ajoy Ghosh and Ghate. The document below not only summarises the views of the different groups it evaluates the limitations and strengths of each of the groups from the understanding of the Soviet leadership. This document was sent to J.V. Stalin and the Political Bureau of the CPSU(b) by V. Grigoryan, Chairman of the Foreign Political Commission of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b).

Vijay Singh

The Communist Party of India was established in 1933. Its First Congress was held in May 1943 and represented 16 thousand members of the party. The Congress approved the constitution and elected the Central Committee. Joshi was elected the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party.

The Second Congress of the Party took place from 28 February to 16 March 1948 at Calcutta. 800 delegates represented 90000 members of the party. The Second Congress approved the new constitution of the party and elected a Central Committee with General Secretary Ranadive at the helm.

Almost for the whole period of its existence, the Communist Party of India has been illegal. In July 1942 the English authorities formally removed the ban on the party, but practically did not end repression against the communists. The Nehru government established in 1946 even increased the repression of the communist party. Today more than 25000 communists are languishing in the jails and concentration camps in India.

The most influential and largest trade union of workers – The All India Congress of Trade Unions – is under the leadership of the Communist Party of India. According to the May 1949 session of the Congress, there are more than 800,000 members in the All India Congress of Trade Unions. Dange, member of the Politbureau of CC of the Communist Party of India, presently in jail, has been elected as the General Secretary of the All India Congress of Trade Unions.

The All India Peasants Union was created in 1936, on the initiative and direct participation of the Communist Party of India– the Kisan Sabha – which is carrying out an active struggle against the English imperialists in India and the Indian landlords. Before the mass repressions by the government against democratic forces in 1938, the All India Peasants Union had in its rank more than 1,200 thousand members. Bankim Mukherjee, member of the CC of the Communist Party of India, was the chairman of the peasants union. As a rule communists were elected to the leadership positions of the provincial organisations of the peasants union.

After the partition of the country in 1947 and the creation of two states – India and Pakistan– the Communist Party explains to the masses that the English imperialists having handed over the power to the elite of the Indian and Pakistani bourgeoisie, continue to maintain their domination over India and Pakistan and are striving to include these countries in military pacts created by the Anglo-American bloc against the Soviet Union and the countries of Peoples Democracy. The Communist Party points out that the position of the English monopolies in India remains almost unshaken as the leading branches of the economy continue, as earlier, in the hands of the English colonialists. The Communist Party considers India’s “independence” as a new form of domination of the English imperialists in India and moves the masses to continue the struggle for genuine independence.

The Second Congress of the Communist Party of India decided to establish an All-India Democratic Front whose programme includes the following demands: a genuine independence, complete break with the English Empire and the Anglo-American bloc, close ties with the Soviet Union and the countries of People’s Democracy, nationalisation of the main branches of the economy, confiscation of all foreign and above all of English businesses, liquidation of the landlords’ estates without compensation and with transfer of the lands to those who work on it, liquidation of the feudal princely states, and the transformation of India into a union of people’s democratic republics on the basis of national self determination.

In the decisions of the Second Congress of the Party the false promises of the Indian National Congress1 were exposed, that having come to power, have not fulfilled not even a single promise given to people of India; also stand exposed are the declarations of the Nehru government about the independent foreign policy and convincing evidence of the fact that the India government is building increasingly closer ties with the Anglo- American bloc and is opening its doors increasingly wider for American capital.

The Second Congress of the Communist Party subjected to severe criticism the serious political mistakes committed in the working of the party. Part of the members of the CC of the party with Joshi, the General Secretary of the CC propagated the reformist theory of the automatic collapse of capitalism in the wake of the defeat of fascism in the second world war. Justifying on the pretext of undesirability of undermining military efforts of the Allied forces, the old CC of the Communist Party of India factually did not carry out any struggle against the English imperialists and its supporters in India: the feudal princes and the landlords.

The old leadership of the Communist Party could not understand the collaborationist tactics of the Indian big bourgeoisie, could not understand the defeatist intentions of the leadership of the Indian National Congress with Gandhi and Nehru at its head and factually plodded behind the tail of the leadership of the Indian National Congress.

The Second Congress of the Party severely criticised the reformist line carried out by Joshi and did not elect him to the CC even though Joshi, at the Congress, criticised his own errors and accepted the new line of the party approved at the Congress.

However in the decisions of the party, as it was later recognised by the Politbureau of the CC of the Communist Party of India, in the final edition of the same, some theses were formulated that later served as the basis for left wing sectarian errors that were made by the Politbureau on the main questions of policy and tactics of the party and became the cause for serious differences in the party.

The Views of the Party Committee of the Province of Andhra

The party committee from the province of Andhra in its draft resolution states that the most serious differences emerged in connection with defining the present stage of the revolutionary development in India, the strategic and tactical tasks of the party and also on the question of who are allies of the workers. In the draft resolution it is pointed out that in the question of defining the stage of revolutionary development India much confusion has been infused by the fact that many leaders of the Communist Party of India, including the Andhra Provincial Committee, compare the present conditions in India with the conditions prevailing in Russia on the eve of February or October 1917, and depending on this mechanically transfer into Indian conditions the strategic and tactical tasks of the first or the second stages of the Russian revolution.

The Andhra Provincial Committee, while underlining the difference between Russia and colonial India points out the erroneousness of mechanically imitating the experience of the Russian revolution. At the same time the Andhra Committee observes many common features in the present stage of development of India and China, and calls for an in depth study of the experience of the national-liberation struggle of the Chinese people, of the works of Com. Mao Tse Tung and for a wider use of the Chinese experience in the national-liberation struggle in India.

In the draft resolution of the Andhra Provincial Committee points out that the coming revolution in India will be a bourgeois-democratic revolution under the leadership of the workers. This revolution will be a new-democratic one rather than a socialist one, and therefore, the task before it is not the liquidation of capitalism as it were, but only liquidation of monopoly capitalism, of the domination of the imperialists and the landlords and the task is one of establishing the democratic dictatorship of a number of classes under the hegemony of the workers.

The Andhra Party Committee declared that not the whole Indian bourgeoisie but only the big bourgeoisie has collaborated with imperialism and that the kulaks in the countryside, having no ties with feudalism, are interested in removal of landlords’ estates and for clearing of the path for capitalist development in Indian agriculture.

It must be noted that in the draft resolution of the Andhra Provincial Party Committee there are also contradictory formulations of the question of the relation towards the bourgeoisie and also on the question of the role of the peasantry. In particular the resolution contains the assertion that the peasantry is the main revolutionary force.

On the Report of Ranadive, “Strategy and Tactics for the Struggle of the People’s Democratic Revolution in India”.

<>The appearance of the draft resolution of the Party Committee of Andhra elicited a harsh reaction from the Politbureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India. In November-December of 1948 the Politbureau discussed and approved the speech of the party’s general secretary Ranadive “Strategy and Tactics for Struggle in the People’s Democratic Revolution in India”, in which the views of the Andhra Party bureau was subjected to criticism and characterised as rightist opportunism2.

At the same time the Politbureau discussed the criticism and statements of Com. Mao Tse tung on New Democracy, and characterised it as opportunistic.

The Politbureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India defined the present stage of revolution in India as the stage of people’s democratic revolution. The main task was to eliminate the domination of the bourgeoisie. The whole Indian bourgeoisie was called a traitor. The kulaks of villages were named as one of the enemies. The main attack was directed against the bourgeoisie of the cities and the villages. Struggle against feudal elements as an independent task was ignored. The task against the imperialist domination not defined clearly, struggle against the imperialism in general was mentioned but not against British imperialism. Factually in his speech Ranadive raised the issue of proletarian revolution but the term used was people’s-democratic revolution.

The decision adopted in November-December 1948 was not satisfactory and led to the strengthening of differences. In many party organisations members did not agree with the decision of the Politbureau. Underground functioning and severe government repression against the Communist Party did not allow wide discussions of the contested questions.

It gave rise to vacillation among the less committed elements. There were incidents of people leaving the party, desertions and betrayals, exclusion from the party due to violation of discipline and party ethics and also political differences. On charges of anti party activities, factional struggle against the leadership of the party, violation of conspiracy, deception of the party, as mentioned in the decision of 1948, the former general secretary of the Communist Party of India P.C. Joshi was expelled from the party3.

Joshi’s Speech Against the Leadership of the Communist Party of India

Joshi has severely criticised the leadership of the Communist Party of India. In a letter “To foreign comrades” dated 13 January 19504 sent to Com. Thorez, and even later in his letters and notes he states that the leadership of the party destroyed the mass based workers and peasant organizations and the Communist Party itself ceased to exist. (This statement is contradicted by the communication of Com. Yerzin, the Secretary of the Embassy of the USSR in India who pointed out that despite the serious differences in the communist party, the activities of the party organizations never stopped).

Joshi alleges that the leadership used dictatorial methods in dealing with the party members and party organizations. He says that the leadership of the party is following in the footsteps of Tito and resorts to his method of demagogy, destroying the party organizations and maligning the leaders of other fraternal parties. He characterises the leadership of the party thus “Part of the leadership is morally paralysed, and the other–the active leadership core has turned into a gang of terrorists misleading the party cadres by citing the words of the teachers.”

Joshi in the manner of an ultimatum demands from the Politbureau all the documents which served as the basis for his exclusion from the party and demands that all his letters be sent to all the party committees. He gave one month’s time for fulfilling his demands and declares “Don’t forget about the month’s time or you will regret it.”

The Politbureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India in a special note5 on Joshi points out that even though he accepted in Second Congress of the party his right-wing opportunistic mistakes and declared that he agrees fully with the party line, but in reality he continued his struggle against the party and got together his faction, got in touch with other persons excluded from the party for corruption and capitulation before the government, maligned the party, came out with statements in which he accused the party leadership of terrorist activities. This statement by Joshi of 13 January 1950 was published by many bourgeois newspapers in India.

Acceptance of the Mistakes of the Political Bureau

After the publication of article in the newspaper “For a Lasting Peace, for People’s Democracy “on 23 th January 1950, the Politbureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India began a radical reassessment of its formulations. Addressing the members of the party it put forward two drafts of the resolution, in which it draws severe criticism of its mistakes and declared in its struggle against rightist opportunism, the Politbureau made mistakes of a dogmatic and left sectarian nature, did not understand that the struggle in India is mainly anti imperialist, national emancipatory and anti-feudal in nature. The Politbureau accepted that it erroneously viewed the national bourgeoisie as the vanguard in India, thereby ignored the colonial character of the present India, and mistook the whole of Indian bourgeoisie to be counter revolutionary.

The Politbureau criticised itself for the serious mistakes on the agrarian question and stressed that it did not properly define that task of agrarian revolution in India, by foregrounding the struggle against the kulaks while forgetting that the feudal remnants are fully intact in India and did not understand that the peasants are interested in the struggle against the imperialist and feudal exploitation and that the slogan of nationalisation of land was not given promptly.

The Politbureau declares that in the general struggle for freedom and national independence of the motherland against Anglo-American imperialists and its supporters consisting of the reactionary bourgeoisie and feudal elements, it is necessary to unite all the classes, parties, groups and organisations for national independence.

The Politbureau gives a new assessment of the role of the bourgeoisie and of the new definition of the task of national-liberation struggle in India. No single section of the bourgeoisie or the petty bourgeoisie can be the leader of the national-liberation movement. The middle bourgeoisie must be viewed as the vacillating ally of the democratic front; the working class, peasants and petty bourgeoisie must constitute the Democratic Front under the leadership of working class. The main struggle will be directed against imperialism, feudalism and the big bourgeoisie.

The Politbureau also stresses in its documents that the Communist Party must expand the struggle for peace, against the Anglo-American war mongers by putting forward the demand of exiting from the Commonwealth of Nations, unity of the democratic forces of India and Pakistan; support for the people of Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma and Philippine in their struggle for independence.

Regarding the criticism of comrade Mao in the speech of Ranadive published consequently in the journal “Communist”, the Politbureau prepared the special resolution6 criticising the General Secretary and members of the Politbureau for their erroneous, unjustified and wrong criticism of Comrade Mao. The Politbureau authorised the General Secretary to convey this resolution of the Communist Party to the Informbureau of the Communist Parties, and also to the Communist Party of China with a letter addressed to Com. Mao Tse Tung apologising for the wrong criticisms and allegations. The Politbureau addresses to the all members of communist party to study the Chinese experience and the teachings of Com. Mao and learn to use them in the conditions and for the tasks of the national liberation struggle in India.

The Politbureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India in its decision accepting the mistakes frequently cite the works of Com. Stalin about the national-liberation movement in China and India, in particular the nature of the Chinese revolution, role of the Indian bourgeoisie and considers them to be important lessons for the Indian communists. These views provide the leadership of the Communist Party of India full possibility of correctly defining the tasks of the party at the present stage. The Politbureau decided to publish all the works of Com. Stalin on the Chinese revolution.

Plenum of the CC of the CPI (May, 1950)

In May 1950 in the Plenum of the CC in which the “Report on the Left-wing Deviation in the Communist Party of India” by the members of the CC from the Province of Andhra was discussed and approved. The report criticises in detail the documents of the Politbureau such as “People’s Democracy”, “The Agrarian Question”, “The Party Line” etc.

In the “Report on the Left-wing Deviation in the Communist Party of India” a detailed analysis is carried out of the situation in the party after the Second Congress, of the economic and the political situation in India and also of what constitutes the leftwing deviation in the Communist Party of India; the tactics and the strategy of People’s Democracy, the Agrarian and National Question in India, the balance of class forces, relations towards the bourgeoisie, in particular towards the kulaks and the role of the middle peasantry are also examined. The plenum stressed that the Chinese path is the main and leading path for organisation of the people’s liberation struggle in India.

“The task, it is mentioned in the report is to steadily bring the party on the path of armed struggle in the countryside and restructure the movement in the towns and centres of the working class on the basis of our new line and new tactics.”

It was observed at the plenum that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India under the General Secretary Ranadive carried out an “irrational policy of dogmatism and adventurism.”

The Central Committee was dissolved and Ranadive was removed from the post of the General Secretary for his mistakes.

The plenum accepted that having a CC consisting of 31 members under when functioning underground is inconvenient and decided that there be only 11 members in the CC. The new CC elected Rajeshwara Rao as the General Secretary of the CC, who earlier was a member of the Politbureau from Andhra. In December 1950 the plenum approved the Politbureau

consisting of Rao, Yusuf, Pandya, Dange and Ghosh.

The plenum decided to restore fraternal ties with the other communist parties, requests the Informbureau to critically examine the political and organizational decisions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India, ask the other communist parties their views on the same and above all the AUCP (b) and the Chinese Communist Party.

The Central Committee sent out orders to provinces not to accept as guiding document any documents or circulars issued by the old Politbureau or the departments of the CC.

The Central Committee called on the members to help them in the working out of the new strategy and tactics of the party, fight against both left-wing and right-wing deviations, restructure the party on the principle of democratic centralism and be wary of spies and provocateurs, re-establish mass movements in the towns and the countryside and put the movement in the countryside on the path of armed struggle, start the movement for peace as a part of the national struggle.

The plenum called on the members of the party to establish contacts with the ordinary members of left parties, mass organisations, groups and individuals with the objective of organising joint activities and the creation of a Democratic Front.

On 16 September 1950 the party sent a circular regarding “The Third Congress of the Communist Party of India.”7 The circular contains in brief the decisions taken by the new Central Committee, Communist Party of India (reorganized in May 1950); it is pointed out that the party is facing a crisis that is political, organisational and financial.”

In connection with the difficult situation created in the party the Politbureau calls for convening of the Third Party Congress. Detailed directives are given regarding conducting local, district and provincial conferences based on wide intra-party discussions and elections to new party organs.

On 1 November 1950 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India accepted “The Draft of the Declaration of the Politbureau of the CC Communist Party of India on the Policies of the Party.”

In the document attention is focused mainly on the problems of the Indian people’s democratic revolution and the tasks of the Communist Party of India. The statement explains in detail the international situation, the post war situation in India, the manoeuvres of the imperialists against the liberation movement, the Nehru government and its policies are severely criticised, the national liberation movement in India is extensively explained and the left-wing adventurist mistakes made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party are analysed and criticised.

In the section “The Armed Struggle as the Main Form of the Struggle” it is pointed out that “we should first liberate the rural areas of the country, and only then turn to liberating the towns”.

In the section “The Statements of the Polibureau” it is noted that from the reports received from the provinces it is not possible to estimate the exact membership of the party. But the number of party members is approximately 20-25 thousand.

On the letter from Dange, Ghosh and Ghate

At the end of September 1950, comrades Dange, Ghosh and Ghate sent a letter to the CC Communist Party on the situation in the party with a request to distribute it among the common members of the party. In the letter mention is made of the difficult situation in the Communist Party of India at present. Dange,Ghosh and Ghate are of the opinion that all the political and organisational decisions taken in May by the old CC and further implemented by the new CC proceed from the same old sectarian line. The new CC is criticised for its sectarian policies, for undermining the role of the workers, for a wrong orientation of the party members for armed struggle, for its line of blind adventurism and an unwillingness to learn from mistakes of the old Central Committee of the Party; outlined in the letter are also concrete tasks for the Communist Party for the present moment

In the letter it is pointed out that “we have fundamental differences with the present line of the CC ...We think that the new line is not very different from the old line that was pursued for two and a half years ago and has led to complete disorder in the party. This line is the line toward liquidation of the party. The new leadership is following, as before, on the same old course”.

On the political line of the CC it is said “this is a line of mechanically drawing parallels with China, and is not one that is constructed on the grounds of a concrete analysis of the situation” of India; the old leadership talked about the “Russian path”, the new one talks about the “Chinese path”...Neither the former nor the latter don’t even take the trouble to understand and analyse the situation in our own country.

Dange, Ghosh and Ghate criticise the report of the Andhra Secretariat and note that in this document, along with many correct formulations, there are also a number of formulations and directives of an exclusively adventurous and terrorist nature.”

Dange,Ghosh and Ghate in their letter state “ours is a people’s- democratic revolution in a colonial country, its aim is to liquidate the imperialist-feudal formation and establishment of a peoples’ democratic state, that can only be led by the workers and its party and that the revolution must proceed on the path of a long armed struggle, accompanied by democratic reforms of the agrarian relations accomplished as a result of actions of the peasant masses”.

Our criticism of the line of the CC, as explained in our letter to the party members, should not be understood as if we are saying that all the formulations of the CC are erroneous or that all the documents of the CC constitute left-wing sectarianism or adventurism. The report on left-wing sectarianism has valuable and on the whole correct criticism of the theoretical formulations of the old CC.

“But we should not forget that there were many correct theses in the documents of the old Politbureau. It also declared the necessity of creating popular unity, creating the unity of the workers and creating mass organisations (“On Strategy and Tactics”, “On Fractions in the Trade Unions”). However, all these remained only on paper. Why?

Because the basis for correct tactics is in correctly assessing the stage at which the movement is, the correct analysis of the situation, and correct assessment of the class forces. If the analysis is incorrect, then certain tasks, even if they are mentioned will not be singled out and attempts will be made to accomplish them through improper means”.


Materials on the Situation in the Communist Party of India show serious shortcomings in the functioning of the party: extremely low theoretical level of the majority of the members of the party, including many in the leadership, presence of casual, inadequately committed and at times suspicious elements, which creates the possibility of infiltration into the party’s leading organisational bodies of direct agents of the police and the secret services of England and the USA.

In an atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty some anti party currents and groups have come alive, whose activities weaken the party, undermines its authority among the popular masses.

The Indian government is trying to use the differences in the communist party to exacerbate these and, overall, for smashing the party. The police was given directive not to pursue for communist activities those members of the party that oppose the leadership of the party. Also release such persons from jails. By suppressing the communist party and by uniting the breakaway elements from among those who have been thrown out or deserted the party, the Indian government aims to create a “communist party” that would function within the framework of the constitution.

The same aim is being pursued by the well known Indian agent of the monopolists within the ranks of the workers’ movement, leader of the Socialist Party – Jai Prakash Narain who has proposed the creation of a united left front including the Communist Party on condition that it reorganises itself.

The English and American secret services make use of various means to infiltrate their agents into the Communist Party. For this purpose they make use of the traitorous Tito’s clique, that sent its agents to the Second Congress of the CPI and is trying to strengthen the established ties. The agents of Tito are on the lookout for Indians in London so as to send their propaganda material through them to India. For the purpose of splitting the Congress of Trade Unions that is under the ideological and organisational influence of the Communist Party, the American secret service has sent Irving Brown. The secret services of the imperialists are helping to organise provocations through various groups and parties and the leaflets distributed by the “group of 42” dated 9 March 1950 in Bombay and also the statement by the Workers’ and Peasants’ Party of Maharashtra about recognising the principles of the Informbureau with the intention of opposing the Communist Party of India.

Latest decisions of the Politbureau of the Communist Party of India show that the leadership of the newly constituted CC is trying to take the right course and correct the mistakes, is turning to the collective experience of the mass membership by putting before the party members the draft of their new decisions regarding the most important questions of party policies for discussions. All of this is evidence of the intentions of the leadership of the Communist Party of India overcome the mistake made by them.


1. The most influential party in India representing the interests of the big bourgeoisie, presently the ruling party. Chairman of the Congress – Patthabhi Sitaramayyah.

2. Materials on “The Situation in the Communist Party of India”, pg. 6-81 (1st  Edition).

3. Materials on “The Situation in the Communist Party of India”, pg. 81-85 (1st Edition).

4. Materials on the Situation in the Communist Party of India.” pg. 156-158, 1st edition.

5. Materials on the Situation in the Communist Party of India.” pg. 93-94, 1st edition.

6. Materials on “The Situation in the Communist Party of India”, pg. 106-118 (1st Edition).

7. Materials on the Situation in the Communist Party of India, Edition. 2, pg. 189.

Source: RGANI, F. 81. Op. 1 D. 295. R 295-302, L.L. 1-15.

Translated from the Russian by Tahir Asghar.

Nota Bene:

In the previous issue of this journal (Vol. XX, No. 2, pp. 170-179) the source of the article by P. C. Joshi entitled ‘Advice to the Communist Party of India from a Fraternal Communist Party, (3rd May 1951), was not given. It is: RGASPI, F. 82. Op. 2. D. 1204. L.L. 84-90. Translation from the Russian was by Tahir Asghar.

Click here to return to the April 2016 index.