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Socialism in India is a political movement founded early in the 20th century, as a part of the broader Indian independence movement against the colonial British Raj. Socialism shaped the principal economic and social policies of the Indian government after independence until the early 1990s, when India moved towards a more market-based economy.
The socialist movement began to develop in India with the Russian Revolution. However, in 1871 a group in Calcutta had contacted Karl Marx with the purpose of organizing an Indian section of the First International.The first article in an Indian publication (in English) that mentions the names of Marx & Engels printed in the Modern Review in March 1912. The short biographical article titled Karl Marx – a modern Rishi was written by the German-based Indian revolutionary Lala Har Dayal. The first biography of Karl Marx in an Indian language was written by R. Rama Krishna Pillai in 1914.
Marxism made a major impact in Indian media at the time of the Russian Revolution.[ citation needed ] Of particular interest to many Indian papers and magazines was the Bolshevik policy of right to self-determination of all nations. Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak were amongst the prominent Indians who expressed their admiration of Lenin and the new rulers in Russia. Abdul Sattar Khairi and Abdul Zabbar Khairi went to Moscow, immediately on hearing about the revolution. In Moscow, they met Lenin and conveyed their greetings to him. The Russian Revolution also affected émigré Indian revolutionaries, such as the Ghadar Party in North America.
The Khilafat movement contributed to the emergence of early Indian communism. Many Indian Muslims left India to join the defence of the Caliphate. Several of them became communists whilst visiting Soviet territory. Some Hindus also joined the Muslim muhajirs in the travels to the Soviet areas.
The colonial authorities were clearly disturbed by the growing influence of Bolshevik sympathies in India. A first counter-move was the issuing of a fatwa, urging Muslims to reject communism. The Home Department established a special branch to monitor the communist influence. Customs were ordered to check the imports of Marxist literature to India. A great number of anti-communist propaganda publications were published.
The First World War was accompanied with a rapid increase of industries in India, resulting in a growth of an industrial proletariat. At the same time prices of essential commodities increased. These were factors that contributed to the buildup of the Indian trade union movement. Unions were formed in the urban centres across India, and strikes were organised. In 1920, the All India Trade Union Congress was founded.
One Indian impressed with developments in Russia was S. A. Dange in Bombay. In 1921, he published a pamphlet titled Gandhi Vs. Lenin, a comparative study of the approaches of both the leaders with Lenin coming out as better of the two. Together with Ranchoddas Bhavan Lotvala, a local mill-owner, a library of Marxist Literature was set up and publishing of translations of Marxist classics began.In 1922, with Lotvala's help, Dange launched the English weekly, Socialist, the first Indian Marxist journal.
Regarding the political situation in the colonised world, the 1920 second congress of the Communist International insisted that a united front should be formed between the proletariat, peasantry and national bourgeoisie in the colonised countries. Among the twenty-one conditions drafted by Lenin ahead of the congress was the 11th thesis, which stipulated that all communist parties must support the bourgeois-democratic liberation movements in the colonies. Some of the delegates opposed the idea of alliance with the bourgeoisie, and preferred support to communist movements of these countries instead. Their criticism was shared by the Indian revolutionary M.N. Roy, who attended as a delegate of the Communist Party of Mexico. The congress removed the term 'bourgeois-democratic' in what became the 8th condition.
The Communist Party of India was founded in Tashkent on 17 October 1920, soon after the Second Congress of the Communist International. The founding members of the party were M.N. Roy, Evelina Trench Roy (Roy’s wife), Abani Mukherji, Rosa Fitingof (Abani’s wife), Mohammad Ali (Ahmed Hasan), Mohammad Shafiq Siddiqui and M.P.B.T. Acharya.
The CPI began efforts to build a party organisation inside India. Roy made contacts with Anushilan and Jugantar groups in Bengal. Small communist groups were formed in Bengal (led by Muzaffar Ahmed), Bombay (led by S.A. Dange), Madras (led by Singaravelu Chettiar), United Provinces (led by Shaukat Usmani) and Punjab (led by Ghulam Hussain). However, only Usmani became a CPI party member.
On 1 May 1923 the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan was founded in Madras, by Singaravelu Chettiar. The LKPH organised the first May Day celebration in India, and this was also the first time the red flag was used in India.
On 25 December 1925, a communist conference was organised in Kanpur. Colonial authorities estimated that 500 persons took part in the conference. The conference was convened by a man called Satyabhakta, of whom little is known. Satyabhakta is said to have argued for a ‘national communism’ and against subordination under Comintern. Being outvoted by the other delegates, Satyabhakta left both the conference venue in protest.The conference adopted the name ‘Communist Party of India’. Groups such as LKPH dissolved into the unified CPI. The émigré CPI, which probably had little organic character anyway, was effectively substituted by the organisation now operating inside India.
Currently, Marxism is especially prevalent in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. The two largest Communist parties in Indian politics are the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India. The RSP and Forward Block support them in some states. These four parties constitute the Left Democratic Front.
At the 1931 Karachi session of the Indian National Congress, socialist pattern of development was set as the goal for India. Through the 1955 Avadi Resolution of the Indian National Congress, a socialistic pattern of development was presented as the goal of the party. A year later, the Indian parliament adopted 'socialistic pattern of development' as official policy, a policy that came to include land reforms and regulations of industries.The word socialist was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd amendment act of 1976, during the Emergency. It implies social and economic equality. Social equality in this context means the absence of discrimination on the grounds only of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language. Under social equality, everyone has equal status and opportunities. Economic equality in this context means that the government will endeavour to make the distribution of wealth more equal and provide a decent standard of living for all.
Aside from the Congress and the Left Front, there are other socialist parties active in India, notably the Samajwadi Party, which emerged from the Janata Dal, formed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Union Defence Minister and now led by his son Akhilesh Yadav, also a former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. It has 5 seats in the 16th Lok Sabha.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the oldest communist political party in India, and one of the eight national parties in the country. There are different views on exactly when it was founded. The date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), also a national party, which had separated from the CPI in 1964 following an ideological rift between China and the Soviet Union, continues to claim having been founded in 1920.
All India Forward Bloc (Ruikar) was a political party in India, emerging out of split from the All India Forward Bloc.
The People's United Socialist Front was an electoral alliance in West Bengal, India, formed ahead of the 1952 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election. The front was composed of the Socialist Party, the Forward Bloc (Ruikar) and the Revolutionary Communist Party of India (Tagore).
The United Democratic People's Front was an electoral alliance in West Bengal, India, formed ahead of the 1957 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election. The front was composed of the Jana Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Revolutionary Communist Party of India (Tagore) and a section of independent Congress dissidents.
The United Left Front was an electoral alliance in West Bengal, India, formed ahead of the 1957 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election. The front comprised the Socialist Unity Centre of India, the Bolshevik Party of India, the Democratic Vanguard and the Republican Party.
The United Left Election Committee was an electoral alliance in West Bengal, India, formed ahead of the 1957 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election. The Committee consisted of the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Praja Socialist Party, the All India Forward Bloc and the Marxist Forward Bloc. The formation of the electoral alliance was announced at a mass meeting at Shahid Minar in January 1957.
The Price Increase and Famine Resistance Committee was a mass movement in West Bengal, India, formed in late 1958 by the Communist Party of India and other left groups, in response to the ongoing food crisis. The PIFRC led one of the most massive and militant political campaigns in the history of West Bengal. The PIFRC demanded total price controls, immediate redistribution of state lands and confiscations without compensation of excessive private lands owned by landlords. The tactics of PIFRC included scouting for hidden rice storages and forced sales of confiscated rice.
The United Left Front was an electoral alliance in West Bengal, India, formed ahead of the 1962 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election. A key issue that provoked various left parties to join hands was the prevailing food crisis in the state. The front comprised the Communist Party of India, the All India Forward Bloc, the Marxist Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Communist Party of India, the Bolshevik Party of India and the Revolutionary Socialist Party. The front won 74 seats out of 252.
The United Left Front was an electoral alliance in West Bengal, India, formed in December 1966, ahead of the 1967 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election. The front comprised the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Samyukta Socialist Party, the Socialist Unity Centre of India, the Marxist Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Communist Party of India, the Workers Party of India and the Revolutionary Socialist Party. The front won 63 seats out of 280. After the election ULF merged with the People's United Left Front, forming the United Front. The UF formed a state government, dislodging the Indian National Congress for the first time in the state.
The People's United Left Front was an electoral alliance in West Bengal, India, formed in December 1966, ahead of the 1967 West Bengal Legislative Assembly election. The front comprised the Communist Party of India, the Bangla Congress, the All India Forward Bloc and the Bolshevik Party of India. The front won 63 seats out of 280. After the election PULF merged with the United Left Front, forming the United Front. The UF formed a state government, dislodging the Indian National Congress for the first time in the state.
Indian National Democratic Front was a political party in West Bengal, India, led by former Congress minister Ashu Ghosh. Ghosh had taken part in the maneuvers to bring down the United Front cabinet in 1967. However, as he did not become a minister in the P.C. Ghosh-led cabinet that replaced the UF, he revolted and formed the INDF. The INDF had the support of 18 members in the legislative assembly. The INDF pledged support from the governor to form a government in the state. After the INDF split, P.C. Ghosh no longer had a majority in the assembly, and on February 28, 1968, President's Rule was declared.
The West Bengal State Assembly Election of 1952 was a part of the series of Legislative Assembly elections in 1952.
The West Bengal state assembly election of 1957 were part of a series of state assembly elections in 1957.
Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan was a political party in India. The party was founded by Singaravelu Chettiar on 1 May 1923 in Madras. This was the first May Day celebration in India. This was also the first time the red flag was used in India.
The Workers and Peasants Party (WPP) was a political party in India, which worked inside the Indian National Congress in 1925–1929. It became an important front organisation for the Communist Party of India and an influential force in the Bombay labour movement. The party was able to muster some success in making alliances with other left elements inside the Congress Party, amongst them Jawaharlal Nehru. However, as the Communist International entered its 'Third Period' phase, the communists deserted the WPP project. The WPP was wound up, as its leadership was arrested by the British authorities in March 1929.
Abaninath Mukherji was an Indian revolutionary and émigré based in the Soviet Union who co-founded the Communist Party of India. His name was often spelt Abani Mukherjee.
Communism in India has existed as a political movement since at least as early as the 1920s. In its early years, the ideology was harshly suppressed through legal prohibitions and criminal prosecutions. Eventually, the movement became ensconced in national party politics, sprouting several political offshoots.
Legislative Assembly elections was held in the Indian state of West Bengal in 1962.
The West Bengal Legislative Assembly election, 1967 was held in Indian state of West Bengal in 1967 to elect 280 members to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly. United Front led by Ajoy Mukherjee won majority of seats in the election, and formed first non-Congress government of the state.
Legislative Assembly elections were held in the Indian state of West Bengal in 1971. The assembly election was held alongside the 1971 Indian general election.