M.N. Roy

M.N. Roy

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Item Code: IDK763
Author: V.B. Karnik
Publisher: National Book Trust, India
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8123720432
Pages: 110
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.6" X 5.6"
M.N. Roy was a unique personality. He had to this credit active participation in the armed struggles rhat took place in the country in the first two decades of this century. He had also to this credit active participantion in the revolutionary struggles that took place in maxico and china in the years that followed. He had the rare distinction of having worked with world revolutionary figures like Lenin. Trotsky and stalin. World revolutionary figures like Lelin Trotsky and stalin. None of his contemporaries in the national field had any such dazzling record. All of them, except mahatma Gandhi , had worked only on India. None of them except Nehru had any international contects; and even Nehru lacked the exprinece that Roy possessed of the revolutionary movements in other lands.

And yet when Roy began to work openly in the national movements from December1936 onwards, he did not get the recognition and success that the deserved. Nor was the able to leave on it any permanent impress of his personality. In less than four years he had to leave the Indian national Congress, the main organ of the national movement, and begin to build up a new organization to give expression to the demands and aspiration of the large masses and fight for them. This happened after the outbreak of World war II when Roy stood boldly and firmly for an unconditional support to the war. While the congress vacillated and ultimately ended with resistance to the war in the form of the 'quit Indian' movement. The congress policy was popular as it gave expression to the anti-British sentiment of the people. But Roy had a much clearer vision and he could see how the victory of Hitler and his allies would enslave the people of the world, while the victory of Great Britain and other anti-fascist powers would lead to the disintegration of empires and the liberation of Indian and other colonies. His prophecy came true, but he remained an unhonoured prophet !

Roy's differences with the congress and particularly with its Gandhian leadership did not begin with world war II. They were far older. Beginning with the non-co-operation movement of 1920 and the time that Roy started his arduous work of developing a communist party in Indian. Roy had a high regard for Gandhi as a mobiliser of the masses ,but in his opinion the Gandhian programme was negative and harmless and his social outlook reactionary. With such a programme and outlook, the Gandhian leadership , he was convinced, would never be able to lead the people towards national revolution, which included political independence as well as social and economic liberation. Roy's constant effort, therefore, was, both when he was abroad and when he joined the congress in 1936 after his release from jail, to replace that leadership by a new leadership with a clear-cut programme of an all-round political, social, economic and philosophical revolution. He placed himself in direct opposition to Gandhi. As such, he was bound to fail, which he did in spite of his vast intellectual powers, his organizational skill and his readiness to suffer and sacrifice.

Roy opposed Gandhi not as an individual, but as the representative of a school of thought and way of life which appeared to him opposed to the real interests of people Roy's approach was thoroughly modern, rational and scientific, while Gandhi appeared to him as an upholder of a mediaeval spiritual outlook, opponent of modern civilisation and defender of vested interests. Roy was always up in arms against popular prejudices and harmful social customs; he was apposed to the intrusion of religion into politics and social affairs; he was an ardent advocate of a philosophical revolution; he desired to change the thinking of the people in order that they may be more critical and self-reliant; he aphored hero-worship. All these did not make him popular with the people and the followers of Gandhi, and severely limited the chances of his success as a political leader. In later life when he became a radical humanist, some points of similarity emerged between his thinking and Gandhian thinking; but by that time Gandhiji was dead and Roy had retired from day-to-day politics.

Roy began his political life as a militant nationalist, believing in the cult of the bomb and the pistol and the necessity of an armed insurrection. Futility of that path made him a socialist and then a communist movement. The position yielded substantial power and prestige. That would have tempted anybody to hold on to them. No such temptation deterred Roy when he found the communist International, which directed communist movements all over the world. Was set on a wrong course. He stood in opposition to the International and its leader, stalin. He was thrown out of the organization and all weapons of propaganda were directed against him to destroy him politically. He was branded a 'renegade' a 'counterrevolutionary' a 'lackey of imperialism' and what not. The malicious propaganda pursued him wherever he went until his death.

Roy returned to Indian towards the edn of 1930 after an absence of over fifteen years. He was alone except for a few devoted co-workers, and ranged against him was the might of British imperialism. In a few months he was in jail paying the penalty for his efforts to develop a communist movement as part and parcel of the national movement. He jumped into the national movement as soon as he was free. But his path in the movement was not smooth; he faced opposition from the right as well as from the left. And then world war Intervened which brought about dramatic changes in national and international politics and also in the world of thought.

The happenings during the war and the post-war years revealed to Roy the inadequacies of communism and Marxism and persuaded him to transcend them. He became a radical Humanist. Completing his journey from nationalism to communism and from communism to radical humanism. It was a journey undertaken in 'quest of freedom' which appealed to him when he was a student and dragged into the revolutionary movement. The quest took him all over the world, to china, Japan, the Mexico, Russia and other countries of Europe and again to china and back to India. In the course of these wanderings he met many prominent persons and studied various school of thought as also the modern sciences of physics and chemistry and sociology and psychology. After studying all those. He ended with a philosophy of his own. The philosophy of radical humanism.

It is rare for a political activist to be a scholar and a thinker. Roy was both. The many books that has left behind bear eloquent testimony to that fact. The books cover a wide variety of subjects. They range from politics and economics to philosophy and natural sciences.

The life-story of such a unique personality is bound to be fascinating. The following. The following pages seek to throw some light on it.

back of book

This biography of M.N. Roy, the illustrious founder of the political movement known as 'Radical Humanism' provides a concise picture of Roy's life and times. A great revolutionary and a political activist, Roy had participated in the armed struggle in Indian against the British Empire during the first two decades of the 20th century and also in the revolutionary activities in maxico and china. He came in personal contact and worked with revolutionary figures like Lenin, Trotsky and stalin. Though much revered and already part of a myth, his contribution to Indian national movement remains to be adequately assessed and appreciated.

V.B. karnik (1903-1985) began his political career by joining the non-cooperation movements in 1921 while in college. He came in contact with M.N. Roy when he returned to Indian in 1930. Thereafter he was closely associated with Roy in all his activities. He was the first general secretary of the Radical Democratic party founded by Roy. Among his publications are: Indian Trade Union-A Survey, Indian Labour – Problems and prospects, strikes in Indian and M.N. Roy- A Political Biography.


IMilitant nationalist1
IIIn search Arms 13
IIIUSA and mexico 18
IVWith the comintern 28
Vcommunism of India 35
VImission to china 43
VIIdifferences with comintern 51
VIIIBack to India and jail 59
IXIn and out of congress68
XWar and revolution 79
XITowards radical Humanism 85
Important Books99

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