Traveler on the Road : Mohit Sen's Memoirs
Although there are volumes of leftist literature produced in India, the material about the founders and other leading lights of the communist movement is hard to get. Communists typically in India at least have not written memoirs or auto biographies – not that many biographies are available either – though Jyoti Basu inspired a few hagiographies during his long reign. In the 1920s and 30s, a long who is who of Indian aristocratic families sent their sons to study in the UK – in their prestigious universities like Cambridge and Oxford. The list is indeed long – Rajni Palme Dutt, M.N.Roy, Bhupesh Gupta, Indrajit Gupta, Jyoti Basu, Jyotirmoy Basu, S.A.Dange, P.C.Joshi and all of them during their studies there were influenced by communist ideals and became communists and more importantly stayed life long communists. Except for Jyoti Basu, most are now dead and have not left any first hand account of their struggles, the drive that encouraged them to give their lives to an ideology and for which they struggled practically all their lives.
It was this aristocratic group of people who gave birth to a party for the betterment of the working classes and gave their very lives for it. In these days, when politicians shift ideologies lie sand, it would have been instructive if more of the early communist leaders had left behind personal, factual accounts. It is in that backdrop that Mohit Sen’s work needs to be evaluated. This work is a stirring account of the life and work of veteran Communist Mohit Sen during the last six decades of the twentieth century. Through his experience and reading, He endeavors to work out the theory and practice of those he calls the new thinking communists. This biography, says Sen, is a part of this continuing effort. While fondly recalling his childhood; student days and fascination for the Communist movement; the Cambridge days; his association with the CPI and his gradual departure from that party, Mohit Sen leads you through the history and politics of contemporary India as well as that of the Indian Communist movement. The de-Stalinization drive, the Chinese aggression of 1962, the split of the communist Party in 1969, liberation of Bangladesh, the Emergency –one passes many a milestone of Indian history through this absorbing narrative. It is necessary to try and understand why the Communist Movement succeeded, as it is to analyze why in the end it did not win. In India, the Communist Movement advanced, but did not triumph; it passed through serous setbacks, but was not defeated. Sen’s support to the emergency, his consequent departure from the CPI, his continuing association with the Congress leadership as well as his distinct political insight provide a fresh perspective to Indian politics.
Tags: M N Roy , Mohit Sen , Bhupesh Gupta , Indrajit Gupta
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