Manipur's 1950 Revolution Revisited
- Part 2 -

By Professor Naorem Sanajaoba *

Till the CPSU clandestinely mandated CPI through top secret channels to abandon BT.Randive line( read CPSU line ) of armed struggle for India in mid-1950, which afoji Hari could not receive through CPI Assam unit while in Burma, the RGC did the armed struggle in Manipur valley in 1950-1951.

Former comrade Satindra Singh had noted the critical 1950 in this way:
" Although Ranadive had been replaced by Rajeswara Rao, the communists were unable to formulate a tactical political line on their own. They continued to grope for light until Stalin (sic.CPSU boss) summoned S.A. Dange, Ajoy Ghosh,Rajeswar Raoand Basayapunnaiah to Moscow. From their hideouts, they traveled in cognito to Moscow. According to well-informed sources, Stalin patiently listened to them, then ordered a map of India and asked them to show him the exact location of Telengana. When it was done, he angrily remarked: " How could you think of organizing a guerilla revolt in an area which does not have a common frontier with any Socialist country ?".Stalin then laid down the lines." (The Illustrated weekly of India, January 9, 1977, p 15)

The CPSU, on the contrary, recommended that armed struggle would continue in other parts of Asia, including Burma that remained under sway of both the Soviet party and the CPC. This period has remained a puzzle to the rebels in Indo-Myanmar area of that period. A couple of works like-Charles B. McLane's 'Soviet Strategies in South East Asia', Geoffrey Fairbairn's Revolutionary Warfare and Communist Strategy'(1968),Jay Taylor's ' China and South East Asia-Peking's relations with Revolutionary Movements'(1976),C.P. Fitzgerald 's ' China and SouthEast Asia since 1945'(1975), Uma Shankar Singh's 'Burma and India'(1979) along with V.B. Sinha's 'The Red Rebel in India'(1968), Biplab Dasgupta's 'The Naxalite Movement'(1974),and M.N. Roy's' India in Transition'(1971), among others, would possibly remove the confusion a little bit.

Confusion arose in the Manipur rebels about the two-pronged CPSU tactical line and even the Assam unit with its envoy to Manipur DOC – Uma Sarma and Basna was not fully informed, because the route from Stalin to party chief, Dange to party leader, then to Assam unit and further down to the remote foreign DOC hideouts in that period happened to be an unending political circumnavigation.

Besides, the 1950 armed struggle had not been supported by three top leaders viz., Ajoy Ghosh, S.A. Dange and S.V. Ghate for the simple reason that outside Telengana, Manipur, Assam and Tripura etc., Krishak sabhas or peasant organizations virtually did not exist in India and a civil war could not be triggered. B.T.Ranadive had to be ousted by Rao in the same way as Ranadive had ousted P.C. Joshi.

Heads roll ed on and out in the CPI hierarchy, before parliamentarymeasures had been opted for in lieu of the revolutionary struggle that had been abandoned forever. Even violent Marxian class struggle or, Leninist anti-imperialism struggles have been literally cast out in the revisionist process; the house had been abandoned barring the imposing banner while rushing to the outhouse and mouth-watering slogans. The MCP had to rush in the queue.

The CPI had difficult times during Quit India movement while defending their pro-British political stand vis-a'-vis Gandhi-led independence movement. Tons of literature are available in defence of both sides. However, the CPI like the BCP ( both white and red flags) and smaller ones considered Indian independence as sham, and it had to take up armed struggle largely, for the independence of India, immediately after Indian independence.

In similar vein, the BCP et al did not consider Burmese independence from Japan in 1943 as proclaimed by Japan and the subsequent independence from the British in 1948 as the real independence. As soon as the party aborted their armed struggle, MCP too followed suit. The afoji did not quit the party, nor did he constitute another anti-CPI party to advance the supposedly Manipur nationalist cause that he did not address. However, his stature as the MCP party supremo that commanded the RGC is worthy of an historical space.

At the time when the afoji left for Burma by default in 1951, the Burmese communist insurgency was at logger heads and more complicated, because, in 1946, Trotskyte Thakin Soe split pro- Maoist ,Stalinist, all Burman BCP and formed the Red flag while, Thakin Than Tun and Ba Thienof BCP attended 1948 Calcutta conference. In March, 1948, BCP had started the armed uprising by way of implementing the thesis of H.N. Ghosal, CPI's delegate in Burma. Ghosal who in Burma had enunciated Zhadanov line in his pamphlet-'On the present political situations in Burma and Our times' was eliminated by Thakin Tan Tun a decade later , who in turn had also been liquidated, due to ideological reasons probably after some years-Ghoshal's support to general Ne Win, known for his Burmese way to Socialism.

In early 1950, BCP deputed two central committee members to Peking that militarily helped BCP and stood for liberation of Burma. In 1951, Burmese army cleared the BCP from fertile lands; BCP was prepared for negotiated settlement. India, on the contrary militarily and financially helped the Burmese government, which would enter into Indo-Burma agreements subsequently thereafter. In the most perplexed situation of Burmese insurgency politics, the afoji had no alternative than leaving Burma at the earliest without defining the next perspective in clear terms and 26 September, 1951 concluded the mission.

The rosy pictures painted by some writers about his Burma visit may not be fully true after considering the intra-insurgency feuds, interventions from China, USSR, and India, among others. The Manipuri afoji was small enough to bring to terms the irreconciliable forces, at a time when the BCP (white flag) Thakin Than Tun strictly followed the Cominform line- the Zhadnov approach, re-enunciated by Ghoshal.

The confusion about afoji acting under MCP directive or, his choosing a personal anti-CPI Irabot line did not arise at all, as the supremo had been deputed by the MCP at the eleventh hour, when Ng. Muhindro and Th.Boro, who had been deputed officially for Burma access had been arrested by police, and by default, the supremo had replaced the two. In a sense, the afoji left for Myanmar absolutely by default. One of the leading informants revealed to me that the arrest of the two had been pre-arranged, however, multi-source confirmation is yet to be made.

After the bitter, possibly enforced self-criticism of October 10, 1949, Irabot would have never gone against the party directive. Ng.Muhindra defended the said self-criticism as the routine socialist political culture; but unfortunately, the CPI in the entirety dared not take up a routine self –criticism repeat after they denounced armed struggle forever. The most misconstrued access of the supremo to Burma had actually been firstly to gain arms aid from Burmese insurgents, secondly, to move easily in liberated zone in Burma, as the party so directed.

The RGC striking force had 32 trained red guards, supported by about 500 village guards. Some writers had confused the 500 village guards as the graduated red guards. The red guards had struck upon the Manipur police, Manipur rifles and 4th Assam rifles. (see the author's article Hundred Guns Guerrilla war in 1949-1951 , The Freedom daily, 30.9.1996 & 1.10.1996 for details of the revolution) .

In 1950, the inaugural armed struggle was considered to be an unprecedented event. Even today the CPI/CPM of India had to fight out the Communist Party Maoists that sustain armed struggle in 15 more Indian states outside the NE region. The latter unwittingly snubs the anti-revolutionary CPI-CPM as opportunistic, reactionary , social imperialists comparable to their counterpart – the American imperialism.

In West Bengal, the Congress and the CPM in their own turn, in greatest show of anti-revolutionarism, had successfully exterminated several thousands of communist revolutionaries after 1971, mostly the brilliant students of the Presidency College. It could be recalled that Peoples' Daily of China, May 19, 1967 and June 27, 1967 had cited revolutionary struggles in India like those of Naga, Mizo and peasants revolutions in Darjeeling, among others.

Police commissioner Ranjit Gupta had recollected the 1970s: "When the CPI-M proposed that (sic. Ajoy Mukharji government) they would deal with the Naxalites politically, they meant violence and liquidation". (The Illustrated Weekly of India,April 21,1985,p.41) .The divide continues, possibly deeper. The author is yet to be educated if the present crop of CPI/CPM and their present day red- guards or, booth-capturing cadets of Nandigram style of to-day exactly implements what N.Lenin wrote, "Without a revolutionary theory, there cannot be a revolutionary movement." They are left to introspect themselves. From committed anti-revolutionism to silent no-revolutionism could have been the long march of the official communist parties of the day.

We are afraid if the afoji had been alive to-day like his Tripuri corevolutionary Ughor Debabarma, he might have faced the same ideological fury of the communist extremists. He had seminal national aspirations within his bosom not outside, but that remained implicit in both letter and spirit.

Legends are born out of forelorn graveyards in distant lands. We hope some of their learned members might have read their literature as much as I do. The MCP or, CPI later on, had never denounced Indian annexation of sovereign Manipur nor, did it oppose the humiliating, servile D.O.C.(district status) of MCP under Assam unit of colonial CPI., unlike the socialist party or young socialist league or one of the two Congress factions in Manipur that strongly challenged the so called disputed merger of the country by a foreign power.

That is why late MP Ng. Muhindra always like any other CPI members and the young ones too, who applauded one hundred national liberation armed movements elsewhere (see all party records without a blink) looked upon the national liberation organizations in Manipur as secessionist or terrorist outfits, unlike the CPSU veterans. Duplicity had been bequeathed to the successors to reprimand and frown upon liberation movements in the best political tradition of social imperialism, very particularly in Manipur and the NE region as a perturbation to what guru Gowalkar in his imagined nationalism, calls akhandabharat.

The revisionist leaders had misread Manipur history for their postfacto political gains. They had no mistake in singing his master's tune in total disregard for CPSU's unrelenting, uncompromising struggle against colonialism and imperialism of all forms till 1991. For want of space, the morphology and anatomy of the RGC (estd. 3 March, 1950) revolution in 1950-1951 are not described herein. One had to admit that in that age that was a big event which no one could overlook even today.

Revolutionary Dynamics

Inspite of their inaugural adventurism that usually smacks of indiscipline, gross abuse of individual discretion in difficult times, the Red guards religiously complied with the script and manual , unlike the present day, mushrooming, de-humanised human clusters assuming revolutionary garbs ,in pursuit of their ambiguous or, rather counter-revolutionary man slaughters, here and elsewhere.

It may be stated that the hundred of thousands of Maoists in China worked under the gospel of the Red book; even the Sicilian Mafias had their own manuals (text not flashed herein for want of space). Indian army is governed by Army Act, elaborate rules and above all, the 'Ten commandments' issued since 1993 (text with the author) to soldiers operating in the region.

It might be recalled that the hero of French revolution- Robespierre had been guillotined by the French revolutionaries for committing excesses. Manipuri Red guards in 1950 did not literally step outside the script, notwithstanding the terror they let loose against class enemies.

Note: This article was written as part of a Souvenir released on Irabot Day Observation, Delhi on September 30 2010. You can read the entire Sourvenir here (PDF - 132 KB).

Source: Sent by the Authour via internet from his e-mail on Saturday, September 20, 2008, at 7:56 AM.

This article was widely published in several online journals and print journals.

To be continued ....

* * The Irabot Day Observation Committee Delhi sent this article/souvenir to . The sender can be contacted at mningthouja(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on December 14, 2010.

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