M. N. (Manabendra Nath) Roy.

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THE FUTURE
OF INDIAN
POLITICS

By M. N.,ROY



PubHihed by R. Bishop
7 Blomfield Crescent
London W. 2



THE FUTURE OF
INDIAN POLITICS



THE FUTURE
OF INDIAN
POLITICS

By M. N. ROY



V'






Jl^



Published by R. Bishop
7 Blomfield Crescent
London W. 2



Other Works by M. N. Roy:



d.



An Open Letter to the Rt. Hon. J. R.

MacDoNALD TO

One Year of Non-Co-operation i o

The Aftermath of Non-Co-operation ... i 6

Other Works referring to India:

Empire Socialism. R. Palme Dutt ... 02
A Manifesto to the All-India National
Congress, 1926. Communist Party of
India ... ... ... ... ... 02

Modern India. R. Palme Dutt. (Appear-
ing shortly) 26

All the above are obtainable from 16 King Street,

Covent Garden, London, W.C.2.

{Please send postage with all mail orders.)



•v^n^T O



Hgv^



CONTENTS

PART I. THE ECONOMICS OF COMPROMISE

Chapter Page

I. The Social Basis of Imperialism 9

II. Dividing the Spoils 14

III. The New Economic Policy of Imperialism 19

IV. India Adopts Protection 27

V. The Cotton Excise and Foreign Trade ... 36

PART II. THE POLITICS OF COMPROMISE

VI. The Rise of the Swaraj Party 45

VII. The Fiasco of the National Demand ... 54

VIII. C. R. Das Climbs Down 58

IX. The Faridpur Speech 67

X. The Evolution of the Swaraj Party 73

XI. The Cawnpur Congress and After 83

PART III. A REAL NATIONALIST MOVEMENT

XII. The New Basis of the National Struggle ... 90

XIII. The Labour Party 100

XIV. Conditions for a Labour Party 107

XV. The People's Party and the Proletariat ... 114



855



Uniform with this volume:

Imperiausm. N. Lenin j 5

o ^ Cloth bound ^ o

State and Revolution. N. Lenin i 5
Theory and Practice of Leninism

J. btalm J ^

Bolshevism : Some Questions Answered

J. Stalin

Lenin as A Marxist. N. Bukharin
Building Up Socialism. N. Bukharin .."

All the above are obtainable from 16 King Street

Covent Garden^ London, W.C.2.

(Please send postage with all mail orders.)



I o
I o
I o



PREFACE

IN this book the historic necessity for a People's
Party in India is dealt with. The question of
the party of the proletariat is purposely left
out. The role of the proletariat in the struggle
for national freedom and democratisation of the
country is defined only in broad outlines. Political
organisation of the proletariat, its structure and
programme, do not enter into the purview of the
book. The proletariat is considered as a component
part of the Nationalist forces. By the omission of
the question, the importance of the party of the
proletariat is not in the least minimised. Neither
is the People's Party meant to be a substitute for
the party of the proletariat. The object of this
book is to show a way to the revolutionary
Nationalist forces ; to point out the causes of the
decline of bourgeois Nationalism ; to expose the
tendency of compromise underneath the verbal
radicalism of the upper middle class ; to indicate
the historic necessity for the fight for freedom ;
and to enunciate in general the programme and
organisational form the fight is bound to assume
in its coming phases. Although the proletariat is
destined to act as the lever of the struggle for
national liberation, there are other social classes
immensely more numerous than the proletariat
whose importance in the fight for democratic
national freedom cannot be minimised. The future
of Indian politics will still be dominated by the
interests of these classes — intellectuals, artisans,
small traders and peasantry. How to organise
these forces of national revolution in a democratic



PKEFACE



party is the immediate problem before the Indian
revolutionaries. The proletariat being the revolu-
tionary vanguard must help to solve this problem,
ihe hegemony of the proletariat in the strugHe
tor national freedom should be so exercised as not
to circumscribe, but to intensify the fullest display
of the energy of the forces of national revolution,
ihis will be done through the People's Party as
demonstrated in the following pages.

THE AUTHOR.



THE FUTURE

OF

INDIAN POLITICS



PART I
THE ECONOMICS OF COMPROMISE

Chapter I. The Social Basis of Imperialism

Bourgeois Nationalism in India has ended in
a complete compromise with imperialism, as was
predicted years ago by those who judged the situa-
tion with Marxian realism. Side by side with
■national antagonism, class antagonism developed
-during the post-war period of the Indian Nationalist
movement. Gradually the latter antagonism be-
came predominant over the former. The process
of class differentiation inside the Nationalist ranks
caused constant political regrouping. The pre-



lo THE FUTURE OF

dominating tendency was toward the formation of
a bourgeois bloc of constitutional opposition. Im-
perialism helped this tendency very cleverly and
successfully with the policy of " Economic Conces-
sion and Political Repression'' — economic conces-
sion to Indian capitalism to draw the Nationalist
bourgeoisie closer to the British Government, thus
isolating the middle class Nationalists, whose com-
paratively radical political activities were dealt with
by the firm hand of repressive laws. The move to
the Right — towards compromise with imperialism —
was marked b}^ two very distinct stages : first, di-
vorce of the bourgeois Nationalist movement from
the most revolutionary social forces — workers and
peasants ; second, the schism between the big bour-
geoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. The first was
accomplished in 1923 when the revolutionary^ pro-
gramme of mass passive resistance to imperialist
autocracy was abandoned in favour of constitutional
parliamentary obstruction. The organisation of the
Swaraj Party marked the separation of the Nation-
alist movement from revolutionary mass action.

By the end of 1925 the schism between the big
bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie became wide
enough to split the Swaraj Party, which for two
years had served the purpose of a bridge between
the constitutionalism of the big bourgeoisie and the
revolutionary inclinations of the petty bourgeoisie.*

The split in the Swaraj Party means the burning
of that bridge. The big bourgeoisie have decided

* Since this was written, the defection of the Mahratta
Responsivists has culminated in a complete split of the Swaraj
Party on the lines of class interests of the big bourgeoisie and
of the lower middle class.



INDIAN POLITICS ii



to shake off the encumbrance of the petty bour-
geois political vagaries, notwithstanding the fact
that the latter have served their purpose. The split
in the Swaraj Party removes the last obstacle to a
happy compromise between the Indian bourgeoisie
and British imperialism, of course under the
hegemony of the latter.

The desire for this compromise is not one-sided.
British imperialism is very desirous of stabilising
the economical and political situation in India. It
has long been recognised by far-seeing imperialist
statesmen that a country like India cannot be kept
long in subjugation without the active and willing
support of an influential section of the native popu-
lation. In other words, imperialism must have a
social basis in India. Until the earlier years of the
twentieth century, British imperialism in India re-
lied upon two native factors : one positive, the other
negative. The first was the loyalty of the reaction-
ary landed aristocracy which had been partly
created and partly bolstered up by the British con-
querors. The second was the passivity of the
masses. Relying on these two factors, British
imperialism could afford to ignore the feeble de-
mands of the rising bourgeoisie and the revolution-
ary dissatisfaction growing among the petty
intellectuals. Besides, until the World \\^ar, the
economics of imperialism demanded that India (as
well as other colonial countries) should be held in
a state of industrial backwardness in order to sup-
ply a market and raw materials for the metropolitan
industries. Consequently the relation between
imperialism and the colonial bourgeoisie was that
of antagonism. This antagonism found its ex-



12 THE FUTURE OF

pression in the Nationalist movement. But there
was another economic consideration which made the
Nationalism of the Indian bourgeoisie weak and
compromising even in those days. Owing to the
forced industrial backwardness of the country, the
Indian bourgeoisie were mostly engaged in distri-
buting trade which was dependent on British im-
perialism both politically and economically.
Politically, because security and expansion of trade
required a stable government and order in the
country, conditions which had been fulfilled by the
British. Economically, because both the export
and import trade being practically a British
monopoly, the Indians engaged in it were economic
vassals of imperialism. The Nationalist move-
ment inspired and headed b\ such a weak social
class did not disturb imperialism. The terrorist
secret societies, through which the growing dis-
content of the unemployed and unemployable petty
intellectuals was spasmodically expressed, could be
dealt with successfully by brutal repression.

The situation remained more or less like this till
the eve of the World War. Soon after the out-
break of the world conflagration, it became evident
that British domination in India could no longer
be maintained on the old narrow social basis. The
social basis of British rule could be widened and
deepened only by drawing at least the upper strata
of the Nationalist bourgeoisie within the economic
orbit of imperialism. This necessitated a change
in the economic policy of imperialism. Still an-
other factor contributed to that change, and pre-
cipitated it. The exigencies of war obliged Britain
to relax her grip on the economic life of India.



INDIAN POLITICS 13

Thus began the new era when imperialist interests
were so changed as to render an agreement with
the Indian bourgeoisie desirable and profitable.



M THE FUTURE OF

Chapter IL Dividing the Spoils
All along the grievance of the Indian bourgeoisie
had been that the British Government impeded th'
industrial deve bpment of India Th^ t
planks of the Nationalist pi^n wl'/fiS aT

lor nscal autonomy grew energetic in proportion *n

he accumulation of capital in the hands of the

BrS ^r^^'°'-i\ ^^"^ phenomenal growth of

o1S^rarThtdia^ - =^^

Sowtrorindl'% '''^ '°"T"^ ^^"^ «l^°- the
growth of India s foreign trade in the 40 years nre-

cedmg the World War which caused a revoluUon

in Britain's economic relations with India

Foreign Trade

(In millions of rupees.)



quinqdennial
Average

1874-79 .

1879-84 .

1884-80 .

1889-94 •

1894-99 •

1899-04 .,
1904-09 ..

Annual
1909-10 ..
1910-II ..
1911-12 ..,
1912-13 ..,

T913-14 ...



Export

630

790

880

1,040

1,070

1,220

1,440

1,880
2,090
2,280
2,460
2,490



Import
380

610
710

740

850

1,030

1,220
1,330
1,440
1,660
1,910



Excess
Export

250
200
270
330

330
370
410

660
760
840
800
580



INDIAN POLITICS 15

It will be noticed that the characteristic of this
large volume of trade has always been a consider-
able excess of export over import. In countries
in a normal economic (capitalist) condition, such
a continual favourable balance of trade indicates
a state of ''national prosperity." But in India it was
not the case. " National wealth" does not belong
to the nation. It is the property of that social
class which controls the economic life of the nation.
The economic life of India not being controlled by
the native bourgeoisie, the accumulated wealth pro-
duced b}^ the people (workers and peasants) did not
contribute to the capitalist development of the
country.

The portion of the commodities exported, that
was not covered by imports, did not go to create
credit in favour of India. The surplus Indian
export represented mostly the tribute to imperial-
ism ; nevertheless a part was appropriated by the
native trading bourgeoisie in a manner to be ex-
plained presently.

Even now nearly 70 per cent, of India's exports
are raw materials and foodstuff. During the period
covered by the above table the proportion was still
greater. By far the largest portion of the raw
materials exported were produced by the small peas-
antry, there being very little large-scale farming
in India, except the tea plantations. The unpaid
excess export, therefore, indicated a terrible ex-
ploitation of the peasantry. Imports were and still
are mostly manufactured goods. The comparative
smallness of their volume shows the corresponding
limitedness of the buying capacity of the Indian
masses. The latter produced and were obliged
to give up much more than they could get in return.
The proceeds of the exploitation of the Indian



i6



THE FUTURE OF



ports was paid up by the import of gold and sil-.'

Ihe following table shows how the value of evr^ce
export was divided up till the war '"'

Division of Excess Export Value.

(In millions of rupees )
Quinquennial - -r •/

Average

1874-79

1879-84

1884-89

1889-94

1894-99

1899-04
1904-09

Annual
1909-10
1910-II
I911-12
1912-13

1913-14



EXCESL

Export

250

200

270

330

330

370
410

660

760
840
800
580



Treasure
Imported*

100

120

130

140

So
140
220

310
320
490
510
370



To LlQUIDATB

Obligations t
150
80
140
190
250
230
190



350
440
350
290
210






INDIAN POLITICS 17

Thus the portion of the surplus value extracted
from the Indian masses only through the unj)aid
amount of raw produce exported, during the period
1874-1914, in terms of money amounted to 14,440
million rupees, of which 6,650 million fell to the
share of the Indian bourgeoisie. This wealth could
not be converted into capital sufficiently profitabl}^
by investment in land and trade — two main avenues
of exploitation open to the Indian bourgeoisie. The
search for a more lucrative industrial outlet became
ever more persistent and crystallised in the Nation-
alist demand for protection to native industry and
fiscal autonomy. Nationalist economists complained
bitterh' against the "drain" of wealth from India,
because the major portion of the surplus value pro-
duced by the masses of the population was misappro-
priated by foreign capitalists. According to the
theory of bourgeois economics, the entire booty be-
longed legitimately to the native possessing classes.
In that case, it w^ould represent "national wealth"
indicating prosperity of the nation, although its
source just the same would be the exploitation of
the producing classes. The complaint was not
against the system that took away from the peasan-
try and other producing classes 1,444 crores of
rupees in 40 years without giving anything in re-
turn. The complaint was that the entire or major
part of the sum did not go into the pockets of the
native bourgeoisie, and that what did fall to the
share of the native bourgeoisie might be more profit-
ably invested. Development of Indian capitalism
was obstructed in the interest of British imperial-
ism.

The programme of Nationalism as expressed by
the National Congress was not based upon the irre-
concilable antagonism between the foreign exploiter

B



i8 THE FUTURE OF

and the robbed Indian masses. It represented a
feeble protest against the "unfair" distribution of
the booty. It is remarkable — and therein lay the
germ of subsequent compromise with imperialism —
that the political plank of the Nationalist platform
was not half as strong as the economic one of fiscal
autonomy.

What is meant by fiscal autonom3^ ? It means
that India should be autonomous (of Britain) in
her financial and trade operations. It is evident
that the autonomy in financial and commercial
spheres cannot be effective without a simultaneous
political autonomy. So long as Britain remains
the dominating political force — the State power —
in India, she will not permit the Indian bourgeoisie
to readjust the financial and trade relations in a
way harmful to British interest. But significantly
enough, the Nationalism of the Indian bourgeoisie
never demanded political freedom — it does not do so
even now.

By fiscal autonomy the Indian bourgeoisie meant
a wider latitude to exploit Indian labour by con-
verting their accumulated wealth into industrial
capital. However, in course of time, they realised
the impossibility of winning even that much econo-
mic freedom without some political power. In
1926, as condition for India's full support to Brit-
ain in carrying on the war to victory, the National-
ist bourgeoisie demanded self-government (within
the Empire) and an immediate grant of fiscal auto-
nomy. Imperialism could no longer remain indiffer-
ent to that demand made in a very critical moment.
The first step towards agreement was taken, to be
followed by others in quick succession.



INDIAN ; POLITICS 19



Chapter III. The New Economic Policy of
Imperialism

The demands of the Indian bourgeoisie coincided
and even had been preceded by additional and un-
expected events giving rise among the imperialist
statesmen to a tendency towards an agreement with
the Indian bourgeoisie even before the latter defin-
itely formulated their attitude in 191 6. The then
Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, in a despatch to the Sec-
retary of State for India, in the latter part of 1915,
had recommended the policy of fostering the indus-
trial growth of India. He said :

" It is becoming increasingly clear that a
definite and self-conscious policy of improv-
ing the industrial capabilities of India will
have to be pursued after the war, unless
she is to become more and more a dumping
ground for the manufactures of other
nations. . . The attitude of the Indian public
towards this important question is unanim-
ous, and cannot be left out of account. . . .
After the war, India will consider herself
entitled to demand the utmost help which her
government can afford to enable her to take
her place, so far as circumstances permit, as
a manufacturing country." (Lord Har-
dinge' s despatch to the Secretary for India,
in 1915.)
Acting on this recommendation of the Viceroy
and in order to meet the demands of the Nationalist
bourgeoisie, the British Government set up the In-
dian Industrial Commission " to examine and report



20 THE FUTURE OF ^

upon the possibilities of further industrial develop-
ment in India." A Nationalist leader and three
foremost Indian capitalists sat on the Commission
with representatives of imperialism. After twoj
years of exhaustive investigation into the sources!
of capital, ravv^ material, market and labour, the!
Commission recommended among other subsidiary!
things : ■

1. That in future the Government must play an;,
active part in the industrial development of^
the country.

2. That India produces all the raw materials!
necessary for the requirements of a modern ;
community, but is unable to manufacture many j
of the articles and materials essential alike in!
times of peace and war. Therefore, it is vital ;
for the Government to ensure the establshment ";
in India of those industries whose absence ex-;
poses us to grave danger in the event of war.;

3. That modern methods should be introduced i
in agriculture so that labour now wastefuUy;
employed would be set free for industries. j

4. That the policy of " laissez faire" in industrial]
affairs, to which the Government clung so long, j
should be abandoned. :

5. That the establishment of Industrial Banks;
should be encouraged by means of Govern-!
ment financing, if necessary. ;

6. That the necessity for securing the economic ]
safety of the country, and the inability of the ;
people to secure it without the co-operation of;
the Government, are apparent. Therefore,!
the Government must adopt a policy of ener-]
getic intervention in industrial affairs.

While the Commission was still carrying on its!
investigation, practical effect was given to the re-:



INDIAN POLITICS 21

commendations that it made subsequently. In 191 7
the Indian Munitions Board was created " to develop
Indian resources to meet the necessities of war and
the situation created b}^ the war." The (English)
chairman of the Industrial Commission, who had al-
ways been an advocate of the point of view that
industrial development of India would strengthen
the basis of imperialism, became the head of that
newly created State organ which gave a tremendous
impetus to Indian industry. The Munitions Board
worked on the following lines :

1. Direct purchase in India of articles and
materials of all kinds needed for the arm3^, the
civil departments and railways.

2. The diversion of all orders for articles and
materials from the United Kingdom and else-
where to the mianufacturers in India.

3. The giving of assistance to individuals and
firms in order to stabilise new industries or
develop old ones.

The result was reflected in the increased share
of manufactured articles in export trade from 24
per cent, to 31 per cent., reached in two years.
Moreover, orders for large transport and military
supplies were placed with Indian manufacturers
who were given State aid to fulfil the orders. The
growth of the Tata Iron and Steel Company is in-
dicative of the situation in general.

The Tata Iron and Steel Production
{In tons.)

Year Pig Iron Steel Steel Rails

1915 ... 154,509 66,603 45,639

1917 ... 167,870 114,027 72,670

1918 ... 198,064 130,043 7T,096

1919 ... 232,^68 134,061 70,969



22 THE FUTURE OF

The net profit was as follows :

1915 ... 2,805,000 rupees.

1916 ... 5,103,000

1917 ... 7,927,500 ,,

1918 ... 7,900,000 ,,

The next step towards agreement was the scheme
of constitutional reforms prepared jointly by the
Secretary of State for India, Montague, and the
Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford. They proposed to give
the Indian bourgeoisie and higher professional
classes a share in the legislative and administrative
authority of the countr^^ The main features of
the Reforms were : (i) modification of the control
of the Indian Government by the British Parlia-
ment ; (2) creation of central and provincial legis-
latures with an elected majority; (3) extension of
the franchise to include the entire bourgeoisie and
the upper strata of the petty bourgeoisie ; (4) in-
crease of the number of Indian members of the
Viceroy's Executive Council (and appointment of
Indian Ministers to the Provincial Governors in
addition to Executive Councillors, both English and
Indian) ; (5) transfer of local self-government to
the Indians ; (6) opening of the higher positions in
civil services to Indians, etc., etc.

These political reforms (essentially very inade-
quate) , together with the recognition of the right
of Indian capital, fully satisfied the upper strata
of the Indian bourgeoisie. Three years after the
demand for full self-government (within the Em-
pire) had been put forward b3^ the united National-
ist Movement, the Moderate Party, representing the
big industrialist and commercial classes, accepted
in 1919 the very inadequate measure of self-govern-
ment Q:ranted bv the Government of India Act.



INDIAN POLITICS 23

Economic concessions made under the pressure of
war exigencies satisfied them. The recommenda-
tions of the Industrial Commission and the steps
taken for their fulfilment meant to the big bour-
geoisie, represented by the Moderate Party, more
than the reforms granted b}^ the Government of
India Act. The upper strata of the bourgeoisie not
only broke away from the National Congress, but
fully co-operated with the Government to suppress
the post-war revolutionary m.ovement.

On the economic aspect, the Montagu-Chelmsford
Scheme of Constitutional Reform expressed the
following opinion :

" As the desirability of industrial expan-
sion became clearer, the Government of India
fully shared the desire of the Indian leaders
to secure the economic advantages that would
follow the local manufacture of raw products.
English theories as to the appropriate limits
of the State's activity are inapplicable to In-
dia. We believe that this is true in case of
industries, and that if the resources of the
country are to be developed, the Government
must take action."

It is to be noted that the concessions made were
not forced by the demand of the Indian bourgeoisie
alone. Two other factors of very great importance
asserted themselves on the situation. They were
(i) exigencies of the war, and (2) necessity of


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