The Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence, also referred to as the Southeast Asian Youth Conference, was an international youth and students event held in Calcutta, India on February 19–23, 1948.It was co-organized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the International Union of Students. It has often been claimed that the conference was the starting point for a series of armed communist rebellions in different Asian countries.
India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) is an international youth organization, recognized by the United Nations as an international youth non-governmental organization, and has historically characterized itself as anti-imperialist and left-wing. WFDY was founded in London in 1945 as a broad international youth movement, organized in the context of the end of World War II with the aim of uniting youth from the Allies behind an anti-fascist platform that was broadly pro-peace, anti-nuclear war, expressing friendship between youth of the capitalist and socialist nations. The WFDY Headquarters are in Budapest, Hungary. The main event of WFDY is the World Festival of Youth and Students. The last festival was held in Sochi, Russia, in October 2017. It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The International Union of Students (IUS) is a worldwide nonpartisan association of university student organizations.
In 1947, a four-member delegation of WFDY travelled through different Asian countries. The delegation consisted of Olga Chechetkina (Soviet Union, journalist specialized in Southeast Asian affairs), Jean Lautissier, Rajko Tomović (Yugoslavia) and M. O. Oleson (Denmark). The purpose of the fact-finding tour was to survey the colonial situation and establish links with Asian youth movements.The mission had initially been scheduled for 1946, but delayed due to the conflict in Vietnam and the refusal of French authorities to issue permits for the delegation to enter Vietnam.
Yugoslavia was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918 under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs with the Kingdom of Serbia, and constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state, following centuries in which the region had been part of the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary. Peter I of Serbia was its first sovereign. The kingdom gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. The official name of the state was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929.
Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.
Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. With an estimated 94.6 million inhabitants as of 2016, it is the 15th most populous country in the world. Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, part of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, while its most populous city is Ho Chi Minh City.
The delegation arrived in India in February 1947. They made contacts with different delegations that attended the Inter-Asian Relations Conference in Delhi. In Delhi, they discussed with Indonesian representatives the possibility of holding a pan-Asian youth conference in Indonesia in November 1947. In May, the WFDY team visited Indonesia and met with several high-ranking leaders (such as Sukarno, Hatta, etc.). In June 1947 the WFDY executive decided to go ahead with the plans, but limit the scope of the conference to Southeastern Asia. The Indonesians began preparations to host the conference in Madiun. However, in July 1947 (following the World Festival of Youth and Students), the WFDY executive decided to move the conference to Calcutta and postpone it to February 1948, as Indonesia was considered unsafe after Dutch attacks. The decision greatly disappointed the prospective Indonesian hosts.
Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi's city proper population was over 11 million, the second-highest in India after Mumbai, while the whole NCT's population was about 16.8 million. Delhi's urban area is now considered to extend beyond the NCT boundaries and include the neighboring satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida in an area now called Central National Capital Region (CNCR) and had an estimated 2016 population of over 26 million people, making it the world's second-largest urban area according to United Nations. As of 2016, recent estimates of the metro economy of its urban area have ranked Delhi either the most or second-most productive metro area of India. Delhi is the second-wealthiest city in India after Mumbai, with a total private wealth of $450 billion and is home to 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires.
Sukarno was the first President of Indonesia, serving from 1945 to 1967.
Mohammad Hatta was Indonesia's first vice president, later also serving as the country's prime minister. Known as "The Proclamator", he and a number of Indonesians, including the first president of Indonesia, Sukarno, fought for the independence of Indonesia from the Dutch. Hatta was born in Fort De Kock, West Sumatra, Dutch East Indies. After his early education, he studied in Dutch schools in the Dutch East Indies and studied in the Netherlands from 1921 until 1932.
The conference was attended by delegations from Burma, China, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, Malaya, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Soviet Union and Vietnam.Indian organizations present included the All India Trade Union Congress, the All India Students Federation, the All India Kisan Sabha, the Socialist Unity Centre of India, the Andhra Youth Federation and a sector of the All India Students Congress.
China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, contains more than half of the country's population.
The Malayan Union was a union of the Malay states and the Straits Settlements of Penang and Malacca. It was the successor to British Malaya and was conceived to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government to simplify administration. Following opposition by the ethnic Malays, the union was reorganized as the Federation of Malaya in 1948.
Malaya was represented by Lee Song.The Indonesian delegation consisted of two persons, Francisca C. Fanggidaej and Supeno. From Pakistan the Pakistan Federation of Democratic Youth was represented, amongst others. The Soviet delegation consisted of Central Asians, amongst whom there were no high-ranking officials. Jean Lautissier was the main WFDY representative at the Conference.
Supeno is the Minister of Development/Youth at First Hatta Cabinet. He died while still serving in the department as a result of the Dutch Military Aggression II. Supeno is now regarded as a National Hero of Indonesia.
Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".
Most of the participating delegates at the Conference were non-communists.From India there was a delegation of the youth of the Indian National Congress, and from Burma a delegation from the AFPFL youth. Both of these delegations reacted sharply to statements condemning 'sham independence' in India and Burma, and left the Conference in protest. Pro-Congress elements attacked a house where a reception was held for the Soviet delegation to the Conference. Two Indian youth leaders, Sushil Mukhopadhyay and Bhabamadhav Ghosh, were killed in the attack.
The Indian National Congress(
A mass rally, with around 30,000 participants, was held in connection with the Conference. In the rally a Chinese delegate carried aloft a blood-stained shirt, from a Chinese communist fighter who had been killed in battle.
The conference was held in the same month as the second congress of the Communist Party of India, which also took place in Calcutta. ... After Words, Deeds. The plan worked out at Calcutta called for simultaneous revolts in Burma and Malaya. Three months after the outbreak of the Malayan revolt, Indonesia's Communists were to strike. As coordination center for the drive a 26-man Soviet Legation, largest in Southeast Asia, was set up in Bangkok."Some historians argue that these two events were utilized by the Cominform (then a newly founded body) to organize a large-scale armed communist rebellion across Asia. Sir Francis Low writes (in Struggle for Asia) that "[t]he signal for action was given by the so-called South-East Asian Youth Conference which met in Calcutta in 1948 and was in reality a gathering of international Communist agents. There issued from the meeting a programme for insurrection and civil war which was carried, with dire results, to all the countries of South-East Asia." Time magazine wrote in October 1948 that "[t]he new plan was devised last March. Communist delegates attended a "Southeast Asia Youth Conference" in Calcutta. A planeload of experts from Moscow came to give them their orders.
However, Bertil Lintner argues that there is no proof of any direct linkage between the Conference as such and the initiations of armed insurgencies in different Asian countries.Ruth McVey states that whilst the Conference was the first public meeting of Southeast Asian communists after the Soviet declaration of the two-camp theory (that the world was divided into two camps, imperialism and socialism, and that confrontation between the two was unevitable), Asian communist were already aware of the new line prior to the Calcutta meeting. The Communist Party of India had adopted the new line of confrontation in December 1947. Mari Olsen claims that it is unclear if the Calcutta conference would have been used to convey Soviet directives to Asian communists, as there were no senior Soviet representatives present.
The domino theory was a theory prominent from the 1950s to the 1980s that posited that if one country in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world.
The South Seas Communist Party, also called the Nanyang Communist Party, was a communist party in Southeast Asia established in 1925 when the Communist Party of China separated its exile branches in the region to make way for local communist parties. SSCP succeeded earlier efforts by the Indonesian communist Tan Malaka to build communist parties in the region.
All India Youth Federation is the youth wing of Communist Party of India.
Padayatt Kesavapillai Vasudevan Nair, popularly known as PKV, was the 9th Chief Minister of Kerala and a senior leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI). He became Chief Minister on 20 October 1978, following A. K. Antony's resignation as Chief Minister to protest against the Indian National Congress choice of Indira Gandhi as a candidate in the Chikmagalur Lok Sabha byelection. He gave up the coveted post on 7 October 1979, to facilitate the coming together of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and CPI and pave the way for the formation of the Left Democratic Front. He was the founder-president of the Travancore Students Union, All India Students Federation(AISF) and All India Youth Federation (AIYF). He remained with the CPI after the split in the Communist movement in 1964 and was elected the party's State secretary in 1982. He was elected to the Lok Sabha four times, in 1957, 1962, 1967 and 2004, and to the Kerala Legislative Assembly twice, in 1977 and 1980.
The first large-scale Asian–African or Afro–Asian Conference—also known as the Bandung Conference —was a meeting of Asian and African states, most of which were newly independent, which took place on 18-24 April 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia. The twenty-nine countries that participated at the Bandung Conference represented nearly one-quarter of the Earth's land surface and a total population of 1.5 billion people, roughly 54% of the Earth's population at the time. The conference was organised by Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), Pakistan, Ceylon, and India and was coordinated by Ruslan Abdulgani, secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
Thakin Soe was a founding member of the Communist Party of Burma, formed in 1939 and one of Burma's most prominent Communist leaders.
The Asian Socialist Conference was an organisation of socialist political parties in Asia, that existed between 1953 and 1960. It had its headquarters in Rangoon, Burma, and the Burmese socialist leader Ba Swe served as the Chairman of the organisation. Two Asian Socialist Conferences were held, in Rangoon in 1953 and Bombay in 1956. As of 1956, the member parties of ASC had a combined membership of about 500,000.
H.N. Goshal (Burmese: သခင်ဘတင်, IPA: [θəkʰɪ̀ɴ ba̰ tɪ̀ɴ]; also known as Thakin Ba Tin, d. 1967) was a communist politician and trade union leader in Burma, of Bengali origin. Goshal was one of the foremost leaders of the Communist Party of Burma and the most prominent theoretician of the party for several years. During the height of the Cultural Revolution Goshal was marginalized and killed in an inner-party purge.
The All Burma Trade Union Congress was a central trade union organisation in Burma. ABTUC was founded on January 30, 1940. ABTUC had its origins in the All Burma Labour Conference, which had been assembled by the Thakins in July 1939. In August 1940 ABTUC publicly stated the goals of the organisation; racial and gender equality, social welfare, minimum wage, standardisation of working hours, better working conditions and establishing a socialist state with socialisation of production, distribution and exchange. Ba Swe was the main figure behind the ABTUC in its early stage.
The Communist Party (Burma), sometimes referred to as the Red Flag Communist Party, was a communist party in Burma. The party was formed after a more radical faction broke away from the Communist Party of Burma in 1946. In the same year, it began a protracted armed insurgency; first against British rule, then against the Burmese government. The party was led by Thakin Soe, a firebrand communist leader. In the mid to late 1970s, the party lost influence and was militarily defeated after the capture of Thakin Soe in 1978.
The Central All-Indonesian Workers Organization was the largest trade union federation in Indonesia. It was closely linked to the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), but was suppressed along with the PKI after the 1965 coup that installed the New Order regime.
Consentrasi Gerakan Mahasiswa Indonesia was an organization of university students in Indonesia, linked to the Communist Party of Indonesia. CGMI was founded in 1956, through the merger of communist-led university student groups in Bogor, Bandung and Yogyakarta. At the time of its founding, CGMI had a membership of around 1,180.
Rajaji Mathew Thomas is a journalist and a Communist Party of India politician from Thrissur and Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ollur to Kerala Legislative Assembly in 2006. Rajaji Mathew Thomas was the leader of All India Youth Federation and selected as national general secretary.
Amar Nag alias Yebaw Tun Maung or U Hla (1917–1968), was one of the founding leaders of the communist movement in Burma. Dr. Nag was active in the struggle for Burmese independence. He was an important leader of the Communist Party of Burma, but was killed in an ambush in 1968.
The Kuomintang in Burma (KMT) were Chinese Nationalist troops that fled to the Burmese border region in 1950 after their defeat to the Communists in the Chinese Civil War. Technically termed the Yunnan Anti-communist National Salvation Army, the KMT was commanded by General Li Mi. It made several unsuccessful invasions into Yunnan Province in the early 1950s, only to be pushed back into Burma each time by forces of the Chinese Communist Party's People's Liberation Army.
The Communist insurgency in Myanmar was led primarily by the Communist Party of Burma (CPB), and the Communist Party (Burma). The conflict ended in 1988, when the armed wing of the CPB disbanded following the Fall of Communism and the ousting of the Burmese socialist dictatorship.
The 2nd Congress of the Communist Party of India was held in Calcutta, West Bengal from February 28 to March 6, 1948. At the Second Party Congress, the party line shifted dramatically under the new General Secretary B.T. Ranadive and subsequently the party engaged in revolutionary insurrections across the country.
Thakin Ba Hein was one of the founding member of the Communist Party of Burma, formed in 1939. He was considered the father of "true communism" in Burma by the Communist Party of Burma (CPB).