Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

download Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

of 20

Transcript of Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    1/20

    Communism and Regional Politics in East PakistanAuthor(s): Marcus F. FrandaReviewed work(s):Source: Asian Survey, Vol. 10, No. 7 (Jul., 1970), pp. 588-606Published by: University of California PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2642957 .

    Accessed: 26/11/2011 07:30

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

    JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of

    content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms

    of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected].

    University of California Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access toAsian

    Survey.

    http://www.jstor.org

    http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucalhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/2642957?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/stable/2642957?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucal
  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    2/20

    COMMUNISMANDREGIONAL OLITICSIN EAST PAKISTAN I Marcus . Franda

    When India became ndependentn 1947 one ofthestrongestases oftheCommunistartyofIndia (CPI) was theProvince fBengal.'Whiletheboundaries fBengalhad undergone number fshifts rior o 1947the Bengali-speakersn British ndia had remained ubjectto a commonprovincial dministrationorall butsix of thealmost 00 yearsofBritishrule.2 ecause ofthepartition f 1947,however,hemajor (predominantlyMuslim) portion fBengal ametobe includedn EastPakistan,while heremaining predominantly indu) portionremainedwithin he IndianUnion. Each of the members f the Communistarty of India whohadworked n the unitedProvinceof Bengal thenhad to make a choicebe-tween itizenshipnPakistan r in India.Membershipigures vailablefrom ommunisteaders n both ndiaandPakistan ndicate hat he majority f the BengaliCommunistsptedforPakistan ather han ndia in 1947. Accordingo Muzaffar hmad, ne ofthefounder-membersf the Communist ovementnBengal, he CPI hada membershipf almost 0,000 n Bengal n 1947,the majority f whichwent verto East Bengal n Pakistan fter artitions ut despite ts rela-tivemembershipdvantage t thetime f partition,heCommunist ove-ment n East Pakistanhas never eceived he sameattentionrom cholarsthathas been given o the party n WestBengal. ndeed,one searches nvainfor ven n introductoryrticle n thenature f theCommunist ove-ment n Pakistan.The absence fany discussion fthe PakistanCommunist ovementnthe iteraturean be tracedto two principal ources.First, he Pakistan

    'Gene D. Overstreet nd Marshall Windmiller,Communism n India, (Berkeley:UniversityfCalifornia ress, 1959), pp. 356 ff.2Fora discussionof boundary hifts n Bengal since the advent of Britishrule seeMarcus F. Franda, WestBengal and the Federalizing Process in India, (Princeton:Princeton niversity ress, 1968), pp. 8-12.'Related in an interviewwiththe author n Calcutta in March 1969. These figureswere corroboratedy othermembers f theCommunistmovementn West Bengal andby members f thePakistan Communist arty duringa visitto East Pakistan in Sep-tember-October,969.

    588

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    3/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 589Party PCP) has been subject o intense overnmentalepressionincethefounding f Pakistan. n thewordsof a WestBengalscholar:

    . .. theCommunistartywasvirtuallynder bansince hebirthfPakistan. undreds f ts workers ere n detentionr were ervingprison erms. anywent ndergrounds therewerewarrantsf rrestpending gainst hem. he Party, o doubt, ookpart ntheelections[of 1954] but t had no funds or ould t do any lectioneerings itsmeetings erebanned.4The principal easonsforthe ban on the PCP stemfrom he subversiveactivities f PakistanCommunistsn East Bengal n theperiod1947-1952.Duringthisfive-yeareriod hePCP followed heZhdanov ine of the n-ternational ommunist ovementnd attemptedo foment evolutionaryarmeduprisingsn severalpartsof East Pakistan.The mostactiveCom-munist nitswere hose ed byMoni Singh nMymensinghistrict,la Mitrain thedistrict f Rajashahi, nd by a collectiveeadership enteredn thetown f Barisal. n addition o thesemovements,hich ought he supportoftribal,agriculturalaborers ndpeasants,heCommunists ere lso re-ported o have been active n a plot to use thearmyto overthrowhePakistan overnment.n theRawalpindi onspiracy ase in January 953,GeneralAkbarKhan and a number f other fficersn the Pakistan rmy,alongwith number f Communistivilians,were onvicted f treason ndsentenced to long prison terms.5The repression fCommunist ctivities n Pakistansince 1947 has severelyhampered the abilityofparty eaders to organize a large following, nd hasmade it extremelydifficult o gain a sense of what has happened to thePakistan Communistmovement.Many ofthe mosthighly-skilledeaders oftheparty (including Moni Singh) have been in jail duringthe last twentyyears, while others (such as Ila Mitra) have taken shelterin India. Incontrast o theparty n WestBengal, the membersof whichhave been im-prisoned on occasion but have remained relatively reeto organizeforelec-toral purposes, the party in East Pakistan has been unable to publishnewspapers, ournals, and pamphlets,or to organize meetingsand demon-strations.This has severelyrestricted CP contactswith Communistpartieselsewhereand has necessitated the formationof small conspirationalunitswhich are extremely autious in theirdealings withnon-Communists.WhileCommunists nd fellow-travellersn India have maintained some channelsof communicationto East Pakistan, -thewritingsof Indian intellectualson

    'JyotiSen Gupta, Eclipse of East Pakistan, (Calcutta: Renco Publishers,1963), p.169. For similarstatements y a Pakistani author see KamruddinAhmad, The SocialHistory f East Pakistan, (Dacca: Pioneer Press,1967), pp. 117-118, 59.'The subversive ctivitiesof Pakistani Communists fter 1947 is discussed in Rus-sell Brines,The Indo-Pakistani onflict London: Pall Mall Press, 1968), pp. 123-124.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    4/20

    590 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANthis opic re so emotionalndbiased as to be of ittle alue nassessingheCommunist ovementn Pakistan.6A secondfactor hathas played a role in diminishinghe interest fscholarsn the PCP is thewidespread eeling hatCommunismas littlepotentialppeal forPakistanis. halidB. Sayeed, hemostprominenttu-dent fPakistan olitics, evotes essthan a paragraph o the CommunistParty f Pakistann a majorworkonthe Pakistani olitical ystem,incein his words regionalmovementsoth n India and Pakistan eemto bestrongerndmorepopular hanCommunistartyorganizations."7Otherscholars rgue hatslam s generallyncompatible ith ommunistegimes,and especiallyn an environmentikethatof Pakistan,where he nationwas born in response to a religious separatistmovement.8

    But despite ts relative neffectivenessnd the lack of publicity bout thePCP, there s still considerable discussion about the possibilityof a Com-munistmovementdevelopingin Pakistan. Recent articlesin the East Pak-istan press have spoken of pro-Moscow and pro-Peking factions withinPakistani parties and have even mentionedthe existence of small politicalgroupsthat have been daring enough to chant slogans in supportof IndianCommunists t public meetings.9East Pakistani college studentsare nowavid readers of Moscow and Peking publications,which have become avail-able since the introductionof friendlyrelationsbetweenPakistan and itsCommunistneighbors0 While the Communistparty itself s still bannedand much of its leadership is still in prison, those CommunistPartymem-bers thatremain outside of the jails are reportedto have become increas-ingly ctive n recentyears.All of thesefactorshave in turn ed to a reneweddiscussion-particularlyamongstudents nd intellectualsnEast Pakistan-about thefuturerole of Communism n Pakistan.In this atmospherethe presentarticle can do little more than providean introduction o some of the major problemsand activitiesof the PCP,by focussingboth on the statements f Communistpartymembers and onthe attitudes and activities of fellow-travellersnd potential supporters.Moreover,by placing the PCP in the perspectiveof otherCommunistmove-6See, forexample,Sakuntal Sen, Inside Pakistan (Calcutta: Compass Publications,1964) and JayantaKumarRay,Democracy nd Nationalismon Trial: A Studyof EastPakistan (Simla: Indian Institute fAdvancedStudy,1968). See also New Age (organofthe CPI), June , 1967,p. 13 andSeptember , 1967.'Khalid B. Sayeed, The Political System of Pakistan (Boston: HoughtonMifflinCompany, 967), p. 186.8Two engthy tatements n the ncompatibilityf Islam and Communismppear inHamid Dalwai, MuslimPolitics in India (Bombay: NachiketaPublications,1968), pp.

    79-85; and MuhammadQutb, Islam: The MisunderstoodReligion (Delhi: Board ofIslamic Publications,1968), pp. 325-343.See also Aziz Ahmad, slamic Modernism nIndia and Pakistan,1857-1964 London: OxfordUniversity ress, 1967), pp. 195-207.9MorningNews (Dacca), October6, 1969,p. 1."'For a short ummary f the Indo-Pakistanconflict f 1965 and the changing for-eignpolicypositions fPakistan,China and theUSSR see WilliamGriffith,ino-SovietRelations,1964-65 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1967), pp. 114-118.For a more detailedaccount eeBrines, p. cit.,pp. 131-190.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    5/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 591mentsnother arts fAsia, t s atleastpossible o draw ogethernforma-tion hathas a direct earing na number f mportantesearchuestions.Whatwas thesocial background f themore than10,000BengaliCom-munistshatoptedforPakistan fter hepartitionf 1947,andwhathasbecome fthemn the asttwentyears?What re theprincipal oalsandstrategiesfthoseCommunistartymembers till ctive n Pakistan, ndhowdo theyrelate o the nternationalommunistmovement? ow arerelationshipsefined yCommunistartymembers n theonehand,andstudent roups, olitical arties, nd intellectualsn theother? t shouldbe emphasizedt theoutsethat hepresentrticlemerelyeeks oprovidetentativenswers o suchquestions ycollectingogetherata drawn roma variety f sources.

    TheCommunist ovementntheunited rovince fBengalwas foundedby a smallnumber fMuslim olitical ctivistslusteredround he eader-shipofMuzaffarhmad nCalcuttanthe1920's.WorkingncollaborationwithM.N. Royandother engaliHinduemigresnEuropeand theSovietUnion,Muzaffar hmad stablished orkingelationshipsith heComin-tern s early s 1921.11During hese arlyyears heCPI in Bengalmadeattemptsoorganize radeunions ndpeasant rganizations,nd to estab-lishfacilities orpublicationfpartyiterature,utthegrowthfthepartyas a significantactornProvincial olitics atesfrom he1930's.'2Becauseof a successfulecruitmentrive nthe ails during he1930'stheCPI wasable toabsorbor convert largenumber fthenationalisterroristshatkadbeenactive nBengal ince hebeginningftheTwentiethentury,ndthese ecruits ere ateroined ntheparty yBengali ntellectualseturningfrom ngland, ygraduates fthecolleges nduniversitiesfBengaldur-ingthe1940's,andeventuallyya largesection ftheurbanmiddle-classlivingn and around heCalcuttandustrial elt.For a variety freasons heCPI in Bengalcameto be dominated yHindupoliticianshortlyftertbegan oexpand othe ate1930's.By1947lessthan % ofthemembershipftheCPI inBengalwasMuslim,ndonlya handful fMuslim oliticaleaderswereprominentn state ndnationalpartyommittees.13he vastmajority fthoseCPI members hoopted orPakistan fter 947were hereforerawnfrom ssentiallyhesame socialbackgroundss thosemembers ftheCPI whochoseto remain n India,with laceofresidence eing hemainfactor ntheir ecision. hosemem-

    "1Themostauthoritativeccountofthebeginnings ftheCPI in Bengal is MuzaffarAhmad,Myself nd The Communist artyofIndia (Calcutta: National Book Agency,1970). For the role of M. N. Roy in establishing elationsbetweenCalcutta and theCominternee OverstreetndWindmiller, p. cit.,pp. 19-148."2For an analysis of the growthof the Communistmovementn Bengal, see thefirst hapterofmyforthcomingolumeon The PhenomenonofLeftism n WestBen-gal (Cambridge:MIT Press,forthcoming970)."Related in interviews ithparty eaders in bothEast Pakistan and West Bengal in1969.See also OverstreetndWindmiller,p. cit.,pp. 357-358.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    6/20

    592 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANbers of the partywho had homesand families and a politicalbase) inEast Bengal chose to remain n East Pakistan,whilethose who wereal-readyestablishedn West Bengal chose to remain n India.

    On both ides of the nternationalordermostCommunistartymem-bersweredrawn rom hepredominantlyindubhadralok, n eliteuniquetotheBengali-speakingrea. Neither singleclass nora single aste, hebhadralokliterallyrespectable eople," r"gentlemen"; ometimesalledjust "borolok" r "bigpeople") are a privilegedminority:mostfrequentlydrawnfrom he threehighestHindu castes (Brahmins,Kayasthas, ndVaidyas); usually anded or employedn professionalr clericaloccupa-tions; extremelyealous of their ocial positions whichtheyhave main-tainedby caste and ritualproscriptionsnd by theavoidanceof manuallabor); verywell-educated,ery roudof theiranguage, heir iterateul-ture, nd their istory; nd highly killed nmaintainingheir ommunalIntegrationhrough fairly omplex nstitutionaltructurehathas provedremarkablyapable ofadaptation.'4Duringthe 19thcentury he Bengali bhadralok xperienced culturalrenaissancehatBengali cholars requentlyiken o the talianRenaissanceofthe 13th and 14thcenturies, flurry f activities n literary,rtistic,political, nd cultural ursuits hat laced Bengalfirmlyntheforefrontfalmost ll Indian associational ife n the 19th entury.y theend of thatcenturyalcuttawas secondonly o London among hegreat itiesoftheBritishmpire, engalipoetsand writers eredistinguisheds leading n-ternationaliterary igures Tagore won the Nobel prize in 1914), andBengaliswereprominentmong he ndianprofessionallasses nd ingov-ernmentircles n regions s distant s Sindh n theNorthwestnd Burmato the East. In the 20thcentury,owever, hiselitewitnessed series ofdislocations hat erved o restricthe nfluencef itsmembers utside ftheProvinceof Bengal, while fundamentalleavagesdevelopedbetweenvarious ocial groupswithin he elite tself.As a result f thesedevelop-ments considerable ortion f thebhadralok doptedMarxism s a politi-cal creed nthe1930's.Marxism ppealedto bhadralok oliticians or severalreasons: it re-jectedelectoral olitical ystems,inwhich n elitewas likely o be out-numbered; t denigrated rthodoxHindu ideas and behavior t a timewhenBengaliswerebecoming isenchanted ith heHindurevivalismftheBrahmanic eartlandf ndia; itpromisedheoverthrowftheBritishandthe nglicized uling ndcommercialroups hatwereguidedbytheirideas (andwho ontrolledalcutta); itpromised modernocietyn whichthe ntellectual ould have a moreprominentosition; t legitimizedheterroristnd conspirationalctivitiesn which hebhadralokhad staked

    "4J.H. Broomfield, lite Conflict n a Plural Society: Twentieth-Centuryengal(Berkeley:University fCaliforniaPress, 1968), pp. 5-6. For an East Pakistani viewofhistoricalbhadralokdominance see Muin-ud-dinAhmad Khan, Muslim StruggleforFreedom nBengal (Dacca: Governmentf East Pakistan,1960) especiallypp. 1-48.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    7/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 593their eputationsince the 19thcentury; nd it deniedtheusefulnessfbanyas traders) and merchants,hosecastegroups hatwerebeginningto rise n status n thetwentiethentury,nd who n Bengal were lmostall abhadra non-respectable). t the ame time,Marxism ad little ppealforMuslim olitical eaders nBengal,who tood ogain n electoral oliticsbecauseof thepreponderancef Muslims n the Province. n thedecadepreceding hepartition f1947 thebulkof theMuslimpoliticaleadershipinBengalpreferredo align tselfwith heBritishn order ogaincontrolof theprovincialgovernment,hereby reating he explosivecommunalsituationhat esulted rom Muslim-Britishoalitionwith usiness nterestsagainst n increasinglyeftist-orientedindu eadershp.'5This snot oargue hat heCommunist ovementn Bengalwas nspiredbycommunalnterests.ndeed, heCPI in Bengal, s in other arts f ndia,hasattemptedo appeal tobothHindus ndMuslims nd has generallyeenmore uccessfuln recruiting uslims hanhaveother eftist arties. venbefore artition he CPI preferredo deal with he ssue of Pakistan s a"nationalityuestion" ather han become nvolved n religious nd com-munaldisputes. hus thehistoric eptember 942 resolution f theCPICentral ommittee,hichaid down policy nthe"nationalityuestion"for hefirst ime,was stated s follows:

    Every ection fthe ndianpeoplewhich as a contiguouserritoryas itshomeland,ommonistoricalradition,ommonanguage,ul-ture, sychologicalake-up,nd commonconomicifewould erec-ognizeds a distinctationalityithhe ightoexist s anautonomousstatewithinhe ree ndianUnion rfederationndwillhave he ightto secede romt f tmay odesire .. free ndiaoftomorrowouldbea federationrunion f utonomoustates fthevarious ationali-ties suchas thePathans,Westernunjabis dominantly uslims),Sikhs, indhis, industanis, ajasthanis, ujeratis, engalis,Assa-mese, eharies, riyas, ndhras,amils, arnatikas, aharashtrians,Keralas, tc.16In theCPI electionmanifestof 1946theparty gainadvocatedhatpowerbe transferredo seventeen ifferentsovereignnational constituents-semblies"rather hanto India and Pakistan, he seventeen ewnationscorrespondingothe "nationalities"s defined ythepartyn 1942, withthe ddition ftheBaluchis.'7Even as late as 1962the eadingCommunisthistory fthe freedomtrugglen India arguedthat he Congresswas at

    "The Hindu-Muslim onflicturroundingartition n Bengal is traced out in Broom-field, p. cit., ee especiallypp. 308-315.16People's War (organ oftheCPI), October , 1942,p. 10.17P. C. Joshi,For the Final Bid forPower! (Bombay: People's PublishingHouse,1946), pp.32-34.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    8/20

    594 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANfault ecause "unfortunatelythe Congress ccepted artition] ot on thebasis ofnationalities ut of religion."18Thisview, hat ndia shouldhave been partitionedn thebasis of "na-tionalities" ather han eligion, as nowheremorepopular han n Bengal.Perhapsmost engalis,ncluding heCommunists.erehopefuln theyearspreceding artitionhat omething ouldcome of the chemes et forth ySarat Bose and H. S. Suhrawardy or a "unitedBengal," ndependentfboth ndia and Pakistan.BothGandhi nd Jinnahwere t timesreportedtohaveagreed n principal o such a proposal,19ndthe Communistsndothereftist arties n bothEast and WestBengalhave since charged hatpartition as "foisted ponBengal"by a coalition f British nd Indianbusinessnterests.n thewords f one East PakistaniCommunisteader n1969:We werenotopposedto thepartitioningf ndia in 1947-we wouldhave iked t fthewholeof ndia werepartitioned-hutwewere againstthepartition fBengal alone, or the partition fonly Bengal and Pun-jab. This has helped othersto exploit Bengal-as we predicted n1947.20It was sentimentsuch as these,whencoupledwith the attachmentsfBengaliCommunistso their and, families, nd other nterestsn EastBengal, hatmade it possibleforthem o optforEast Pakistan mmedi-ately fterndependence.Within fewyearsfrom hetimeofpartition,owever,heposition fBengaliCommunistsn EastPakistan egantochangedrastically. ost ofthem ecame nvolved n insurrectionistctivities ollowingheadoptionoftheZhdanovine n1948,with he esult hat n estimated,000memberswere mprisoned uring hefirst iveyearsof Independence.2'hosethatwerenot mprisonedound hemselves ithouthesame ob opportunitiesand perquisiteso which heyhad becomeaccustomed,n large partbe-causeoftheir elative isadvantagencompeting ith ther spiring roupsand individuals n thechangedconditions f independentakistan.Notonlywerethemajority f theEast PakistanCommunists embersftheHinducommunity,nd thereforeubjectto the same discriminations

    "8HirenMukerjee, India's Strugglefor Freedom (Calcutta: National Book Agency,ThirdRevisedEdition,1962), p. 285."'The schemesfor "UnitedBengal" are spelledout n Sarat ChandraBose, I warnedmycountrymenCalcutta: Netaji Research Bureau, 1968), pp. 183-194. ncluded inthisvolume re letters rom othGandhiand Jinnah ntertaininghe Bose proposalfora unitedBengal, see pp. 254,348-352.For thepositionofvarious ectionsof theMuslimcommunityegarding he question of a unitedBengal see Hassan Suhrawardy, TheIndian Crisis: MuslimViewpoints," n S. L. Chopra (ed.) Hindustan orPakistan (La-hore: Ilami Markaz, 1944), pp. 6-25; and KamruddinAhmad, op. cit., especiallypp.81-88."0Quoted romn interviewonducted nOctober1969."1Based n estimates fparty eaders in bothEast Pakistan and WestBengal in Sep-tember-October,969.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    9/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 595otherHindus nEastPakistan,most fthemwere lsofrom elatively ell-establishedamilieswhowerenow accusedofpracticingenturiesf op-pressionagainstMuslims.22 In addition to being identifiedwiththelandedclasses ndtheHindureligion,he oyaltyfCommunistso thenewnation-statewasseriouslyuestioned, ith heresult hat CP members ere asytargets or ngrymobsandcommunalxtremists.The turning-pointorthePakistanCommunistartywas thewave ofcommunaliotinghat ookplace nbothEast and WestBengal n theearlymonthsf 1950.Priorto 1950there adbeena considerablemovementfpeoplesbetweenWestBengal,Assam, nd East Pakistan, ut totalmigra-tionfigures uring heyears1947-50were small n comparisono thosefor heyears ollowinghe1950riots.23hemost uthoritativetudies vail-able indicate hatWhile herewere ess thanone millionmigrantsn bothEastandWestBengalprior othe1950disturbances. ore hana millionmigrantsamefrom astPakistan oWestBengal lone ntheyear1950.24Since1950theWestBengalgovernmentstimateshatmore hanfourmil-lionHindurefugees avecometosettle n India from astPakistan,whiletheEastPakistangovernmentstimateshatmorethana millionMuslimshavemigrated rom henortheasternortions f India to East Bengal.25Despitethefactthatmovementcrosstheborderhas nowbeenseverelyrestrictedyboth ides, xchange fpopulationsanstill each onsiderableproportions heneverheres an outbreak fcommunal iolence nd ten-sion.26Themigrationfa largenumberfCommunistartymembersrom astPakistan oWestBengal n 1950wasrecognizedytheCPI in Indiawhenitdecided nFebruary 951toestablish Council fEastBengalRefugeeswhich ouldactas a front roup oorganize efugeeppositiongainst heIndianandWestBengalgovernments.27utwhile efugeesrom ast Pak-istanhavesincehelped o increase heeffectivenessftheCommunistnd

    22Thefeelings fHindus regarding iscriminationn East Pakistanhave been tracedout in detail by a Hindu refugeewho is now activein leftist olitics n Calcutta; seeSamar Guha,Non-Muslims ehind theCurtainofEast Pakistan (Calcutta: GobardhanPress,1951), especiallypp. 67-83.For a morethoughtfulnalysisofcommunalviolenceand it's sourcessee thewritings fthelate HumayunKabir, a prominent engali Mus-limwho chose to remain n India; see especiallyhis Minorities n a Democracy (Cal-cutta:FirmaK. L. Mukhopadhyay,968), pp. 39-70.23For n analysisofthe1950riots ee RichardD. Lambert, Religion,Economics andViolence nBengal,"MiddleEast Journal July1950), pp. 307-328.24Census fIndia, 1961,Vol. XVI "WestBengal and Sikkim,"Part 1-AGeneralRe-port, p. 368-371. ee also TheStatesman Calcutta), July ,1950.2"Indianstudies of the migration re summarizedn Influx: InfiltrationromEastPakistan (Delhi: Ministry fExternalAffairs, 963). For a comparablePakistan sum-marysee Mushtaq Ahmad,Governmentnd Politics in Pakistan (Karachi: PakistanPublishingHouse,2ndedition, 963), pp.226-230.2"InJanuary 964,forexample, hemostseverecommunal iots ince 1950 tookplacein both East and West Bengal, witha resulting xchange of at least a halfmillionpeople. See the reviewarticleby Kedar Ghosh in The Statesman (Calcutta), March14,1964.27The tatesman Calcutta), February ,1951andFebruary 9,1951.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    10/20

    596 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANMarxist-leftpposition o the Congress arty n WestBengal,28hemove-ment n East Pakistanhas sufferedroportionally.ast Pakistan Com-munists ow estimate hatmore thantwo-thirdsf the PCP wentover toIndia in theearly1950's, with heresult hat he strengthf the PakistanCommunist ovements now estimatedt approximately,000 members.29Moreover,t s also generallygreed hat hemosthighly-skilledrganizersofthePakistanmovementre eithern ail or have goneover o WestBen-gal, with correspondingecline n the effectivenessf the diminishedranksof the PCP.

    Unlike heirCommunistolleagues n WestBengal,most of whom isttheir ccupationss "politicalworkers,"hemajority f the eadersof thePCP are clerks r arein theprofessions.30 ince Communistarty ctivityis bannedn East Pakistanthasbeen mpossibleor hePCP to raisefundsin sufficientuantitieso support full-timeadre ofpartyworkers,ndthose ndividualswhohaveattemptedo be whole-timersor heparty aveusually ndedup in jail. Thus,formostpartymembersn Pakistan, m-ployments a clerk r in a professionas served o legitimizeitizenshipandto provide coverforparty ctivities.In choosingheprofessionsnwhich heywant owork,most fthePak-istaniCommunistsave optedfor eaching nd education t theprimary,secondary,ndcollege evels.Teaching otonly ccordswith he raditionalstatus fHindus n East Pakistan andmost ommunistsrestillHindus) 3it also s an occupationwhichs highly aluedby thePakistan overnment.Moreover, eaching rovidesCommunistmembersn East Pakistanwitheasier access to books, iterature,nd the kind of intellectualtmospherenecessaryomaintaindeological nformedness,hile simultaneouslyur-nishing pportunitieso propogatedeas among he students. he result sa Communist ovementhat s confinedlmost ntirelyo the petty-bour-geoisieor owermiddle-classes,nd tostudents. hose peoplewho considerthemselvesartymemberso littlemorefor heparty hanpay token ues,

    28For n analysis of the votingpatternsof East Pakistan refugees n Calcutta seeMyronWeiner,PartyBuildingin a New Nation: The Indian National Congress (Chi-cago: UniversityfChicagoPress,1967), pp.360 if.29This s the figurementioned ybothCommunistsnd non-Communistsn East Pak-istan,and by leaders of the Communist arties in India. See also RobertScalapino,"CommunismnAsia: Toward a ComparativeAnalysis,"RobertScalapino (ed.), in theCommunist evolution n Asia: Tactics,Goals, and AchievementsEnglewood Cliffs:Prentice-Hall, 965), p. 32. Scalapino estimatesPCP membership t 3,000 (2,500 inEast Pakistanand500or ess inWestPakistan).30The ccupationsofmembers f theCommunistmovementn West Bengal are dis-cussed in MyonWeiner,"Political Leadership in West Bengal, in Political Change inSouthAsia (Calcutta: FirmaK. L. Mukhopadhyay,963), pp. 189-194. ince compara-ble data is not available formembers f the Communistmovement n East Pakistan,the generalizationsmade above are drawnfromthe impressionsof members of theCommunist ovementn East andWestBengal.81The raditional ominanceof Hindus in the educationalsystemof Bengal is elab-oratelydocumented n Anil Seal, The Emergence of Indian Nationalism(Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityress,1968), pp. 59-64.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    11/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 597keep themselvesnformed f events n the nternationalommunist ove-ment, nd occasionally old small nformal iscussionsmong hemselves.The "party,"f onecan call it that,has not attemptedohold national rregionalmeetingsince 1953, nor has its eadershipnvestedmuch ime ncoordinating he activities f its memberswithinPakistan.Because of theweakorganizationalase of theCommunist ovementnPakistan, artymembers ave made onlyminimal ffortso influencehemaj r parties n either he East or WestWing,placing heirhopes for afuture evolutionither n the hands of the SovietUnion,China, or theIndian Communists,r perhaps n theactivities f a newgeneration fBengaliyouth. n thewords f an oldermember f theparty, hohad beenactive n theCommunistmovementn pre-partitionengal:

    Wecannot reamf uchmovementsas aretaking lace n ndia].Politics nPakistans at a lowebb. Firstwemust reate ome on-sciousnessmonghepeople,henwecanthink f he utureourse . .when hat aycomeswemay indhat he actics fLeninwillserveusbest, rthe actics fMao,orthe actics fJyotiasu [a prominentIndianCommunist],utthose re not mmediateuestions. ow wecan onlyprepare heway for hosewho come fter s.32From the point-of-viewf the international ommunistmovement,heactivities fCommunistartymembers ithin akistanwouldalso appearto count or ittle tthispointntime. oth he ovietUnion ndChinahavepursuedan activist oreign olicytowardPakistanduring he last twodecades,but n neitherase doesthe domestic ommunst ovementeemtofiguren foreign olicy onsiderations.s is the casewith hemembersoftheCommunistartywithin akistan,heposition fthe woCommunistgiantswould ppear obe oneof"preparingheway"for futureevolu-tionwhile djusting otherealities fPakistani olitics or hepresent.Itmaybe that he SovietUnion, ike the Czarist egimesn Russia,willhavea long-termnterestngaining ccess oKarachi ndotherwarmwaterportsofthe ndianOcean, n order o facilitate ommunications ith heoilrich reas oftheMiddleEast.This wascertainly factor hat nfluencedBritish olicydecisions n theNorthwesternerritoriesf theRaj, andtheAmerican olicy fextendingheBaghdadPact to Pakistanhas frequentlybeen ustified s a merecontinuationf the British olicyaimed at pre-venting ussan expansion.33uring he ast two decades,however, ovietpolicy owards akistan as beenmoredefensiven nature,t first irectedagainst he UnitedStates and lateragainst he Chinese.Throughout he1950's theSovietUnionadopted hostile tance owards akistan, etoingseveral ecurity ouncilresolutionsesigned o settle heKashmirdisputethrough lebisciterbilateral egotiations,n an effortopenalizePakistan

    82Based on an interview onductedn East Pakistan n October1969.83Sayeed, p. cit.,p. 281.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    12/20

    598 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANfor llying tselfwith heUnited tates. n the1960's,however, ussiahasincreasinglydopted a moreneutral ttitude owardthe Indo-Pakistanconflicts Pakistani elations ith heUnited tateshave cooledandSino-Pak relations ave become morecordial.ProfessorGriffith'sescriptionof Soviet nterestsuring heIndo-Pakistanonflict.f 1965 mightwellserve s a descriptionf Russianpolicygoals in the ate 1960's.

    Moscow'sminimalbjectivewas thecontainmentf bothPekingandWashington;tsmaximumimwastodetach ndiafromWashing-ton nd Pakistan rom ekingwhilemovingoth loser oMoscow,andfinally,o improve elationsetween he ndians ndPakistanisso that ogetherheymight evoteheir nergiesocontaininghinaratherhan ofightingachother.34Theimportancef the Chinese n thedeterminationfSovietpolicy anbe seen from he fact hatpolicies nMoscowhavebeen evolved n directresponseo changes nChinese iplomaticelations ith akistan. hrough-outthe 1950's Communist hina pursuedrelationswithPakistanwhichwere"diplomaticallyorrect" utcool,with he Chinesebeingmuch esshostile owardsPakistan thanthe Soviets n theircondemnation f theBaghdadPact; withPekingrefusingo come out n favor fIndia on theKashmir uestion; and withChouEn-lai evenattemptingomediatedis-putesbetween ndia,Pakistan, nd the SovietUnion at theBandungCon-ference n April, 1955.35 In the 1960's theserelationshave become increas-inglyfriendly,with Pakistan voting to seat CommunistChina in the UnitedNations in 1961, a Sino-Pakistanborderagreementbeing reached in 1963,air servicesbeing initiatedbetweenCanton, Shanghai, Dacca and Karachiin 1964, and expressions of Chinese support for Pakistan being issued ona number of occasions duringthe 1965 Indo-Pakistan conflict.36China's policy in South Asia stems froma numberof complex sources,but in the short run it is probably designed to increase instabilityon thesubcontinent nd to involve both New Delhi and Rawalpindi in an arma-ments ace thatwould detractfrom conomicdevelopment n both nations.37Since Chinese attempts o preventboth America and the Soviet Union frompromoting heirobjectives in South Asia have thus far failed,the Chinesehave foundit necessaryto maintaintheir hostile stance toward the presentIndian regime.On theone hand thishas involved a continuing onfrontationoftroops on theSino-Indian border,while on the other China is supportingand training rebels in the Naga Hills and in other parts of India where3"Griffith,p. cit.,p. 117.3"Sayeed, p. cit.,p. 274."Cordial relationsbetweenChina and Pakistanhave continued o growsince 1965 astradeagreementsnd culturalexchangehas takenplace. See thereport fLieutenant-GeneralHamid Khan, who led the Pakistan delegationto the 20th anniversary ele-brations fthePeople's RepublicofChina,Dawn (Karachi), October6, 1969.7China'sforeign olicy n SouthAsia is tracedoutin Brines,op. cit.,pp. 160-213.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    13/20

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    14/20

    600 COM M U N SM I N EAST PAKISTANcontinueheir rganizational orkonly o the extent hattheyhavebeenable todivest hemselvesf their eputationss leftists,omeof them vengoing o the xtent forganizinglongcommunal ather han lass ines.43Such activitiesavenotonlyweakenedheorganizationalase of theparty,buthavealso intensifiedhefactional ispute mongPakistani eftistsndforcedmore nd moreofthe eftisteadership o searchfora theoreticalpositionwhichwould ustify commitmento Communism.

    In the earchfortheoreticalupport f a Communistdeology,hefac-tions hat have risen n East Pakistan re roughly imilar o thosethatexistn ndia. Onegroup f heoreticiansdentifies ith he urrent oscowlineofcollaborating ith hebourgeoisien a "top alliance," xpectinghatthrough ersonalnfluenceandwith he upport f Sovietforeign olicy)theruling roups nPakistan ould be expected o complete hefirst-stage(anti-imperialistnd anti-feudal) ourgeois-democraticevolution,aterto be followed y a socialistrevolution.44his is essentially hestrategyoftheCPI in India.45 A secondgroupoftheoreticianss muchclosertotheCommunist artyof India-MarxistCPM), arguingfor a "modifiedRight"or "neo-Maoist" trategy, hich s similar n mostrespects o theRight trategyescribed bove butwith nesignificantifference.iketheclassicalRightstrategy he "modifiedRight"or "neo-Maoist" trategycallsfor two-stageevolutionnd a "top-alliance" ith ourgeois orces,but t nsistsn themaintenancef power aseseparate rom hebourgeoisparties n order to facilitate ressure frombelow." The "neo-Maoist"strategys frequentlyalled a "unitedfront rom elow"as opposedto a"united ront rom bove."In the Pakistancontext oththe classicalRight nd "modified ight"strategies ave had little ppeal forCommunistsnd theirpotentialup-portersincetheCommunistso nothave thekindofinfluencen institu-tional ifewhichs necessaryocreate n effectivetopalliance."Some oftheCommunistsre presentlyttemptingo gain suchinfluencey pene-tratingnto he NationalAwamiParty NAP) ofMaulanaBhashani, op-ingeventuallyocapture shareofpolitical ower n EastPakistan nd to

    "3Hinduaborers n East Pakistan,regardless f theirorigins, re frequentlyeferredto as "Biharis," as opposed to Muslim"Bengalis" in the labor force.For a descriptionofcommunal rganizationswithin he tradeunionmovementn East Bengal, describedin theseterms, ee A. F. A. Husain and A. Farouk, Social Integrationof IndustrialWorkersn Khulna, (Dacca: UniversityfDacca, 1963), pp. 46-50,58-63,77."For an analysisof Communist trategies n South Asia, which is still relevanttoboth ndia and Pakistan, see JohnH. Kautsky,Moscow and the Communist arty ofIndia, (Cambridge:MIT Press, 1956), pp. 8-14. A morerecentanalysisofCommuniststrategieswhich s based on Kautsky'swork, s Donald S. Zagoria,"Communist olicyand theStruggle orDevelopingCountries,"n Proceedings of theAcademyofPoliticalScience,XXVIII (April1965), pp. 69-73."A recenthistoricalaccount of the evolutionof CP1 strategyn India appears inVictorM. Fic, Peaceful Transition o Communismn India, (Bombay: NichiketaPub..lications, 969).

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    15/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 601use this power base for the promotionf a first-stageevolution.46utalliance withBhashani'sNAP, or with nyof the Pakistan'sother egalparties, reates number fproblems orBengaliCommnmists.ot onlydoesa strategyfalliancewithNAP assume n exteremelyong-rangeos-sibility fcoming opower,t also carrieswitht theprobabilityhatCom-munistswillbe used by NAP and otherpartiesfor theirownpurposes,without ny benefit o theCommunist ovementn Pakistan.Most mpor-tant, t does not providemuchof an opportunityor thecreation f anindependentase forthe Communistsnd it makes heCommunist ove-ment ependentnthewhims fnon-Communisteaders or heforeseeablefuture.For thesereasons hemoremilitant ommunisttrategistsn East Pak-istannowarguethat nly leftCommunisttrategyan succeed n build-inga viable Communist ovement.iketheNaxalities n WestBengal heproponents f a left trategyn East Pakistan advocate an organizationbasedon student ctivists, ithdirect ppeals to workers, oorpeasants,andthe argenumber fa clerks ndother etty ourgeoisiehathave be-comemore ndmoredisenchantedn recent ears.7 Only hrough iolentdenunciationsf the op eadersof all other olitical arties nd of the m-perialistnations, he Naxalites argue,can the designsof the "vested n-terests" nd "imperialists" e exposedand supportwon for the eventualrevolution.ccording othis trategyheCommunistartymust ooperatewithothers o organize evolutionarynd protestmovements esigned oexpose he imperialist nited tates," he social mperialistovietUnion,"'and the "reactionary,eudal, nd bourgeois" lementsn Pakistan tself.While heNaxalites iew rmed truggles an eventual ecessity,hepresenttaskof thePCP (in their iew),is to raise the evelof political onscious-nessamong he masses n preparation or an armed truggle.48

    46MaulanaAbdulHamid Khan Bhasani,the85-year-oldeader ofNAP, has describedtheprogram fhis party s an attempt to establish ocialism whichdoes notinterferewithreligionbut stops exploitation f religion."At the presenttime NAP is amongthemostactivepoliticalpartiesdemanding n electoralframework ithinwhichpartyprograms an be pursued. See Morning News (Dacca), October6, 1969, p. 1. For adiscussionofNAP's internalfactionalism nd its relationshipswith themorepopularAwamiLeague in East Pakistan see Holiday (Dacca), October5, 1969,pp. 1, 8. Seealso Tapan Das, PakistanPolitics, (Delhi: People's PublishingHouse, 1969), pp. 48-52.47The ermNaxaliteshas itsorigin n the Naxalbari peasant agitationof1967,whichwas led by a youthful ontingent f the Communistmovementn West Bengal. Thosewho organizedpeasants againstthe Communist-led nitedFrontgovernmentn WestBengal in thevillageofNaxalbari in 1967have since formed thirdCommunist artyin India, the Communist artyof India, Marxist-LeninistCPML). The goal of theNaxalites is to resist Communistparticipation n electoralpolitics and to initiate aguerilla movementmodelled afterMao's long march. For a detailed analysis of themovementn West Bengal see Marcus F. Franda, "India's Third Communist arty,"Asian Survey X:11 (November1969), pp. 797-817.48Published tatements fNaxalite strategistsn East Pakistan are notavailable,buttheWest Bengal press is saturatedwithNaxalite literature. or a recentstatement fNaxalite goals in India by the leading West Bengal Naxalite theoretician,ee CharuMajumdar,"Develop RevolutionaryWar to EliminateWar of Aggression"Liberation,11:12 (October1969), pp. 5-9.Liberation s thesemiofficialournal of theCPML, pub-lished from alcutta.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    16/20

    602 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANWhile alk ofrevolutionarynd protestmovementsn East Pakistan sfrequentlyismissed s theidle gossip of incurable omanticsnd naiveyouth, he nfluence f suchmovementsn the East Winghas in thepast

    hada considerablempact n thepolitics fPakistan. tudentsndprotestgroups nitiatedhemovementgainst hegovernmentftheMuslim eague(theparty hatformulatednd realized hedemandforPakistan) in theearly1950's,and these ame groups rovided hebulkof theworkers orthe pposition artieshat efeated heMuslim eague n the1954elections.During the AyubKhan regime,whenopposition oliticalpartieswererendered neffectivey severegovernmentalepression, rotestgroups(again ed by students) rganizedmassive oliticalmovementsn 1963-64,campaignedctively orMiss FatimaJinnah n thepresidentiallection fJanuary 965, and eventually alliedopposition oliticians, issatisfiedmiddle-classroups, overnmentallerks, nd labor unions ehind seriesofwidespread rotest emonstrationshat asted fromNovember 968 toMarch 969andeventuallyoppled the yubKhangovernment.49ertainlytheCommunistsid notplay a large part n any of thesedemonstrations,but tudents ith leftist rientationid,and Pakistani Naxalites" implyargue hat theossibility f protestmovementseingwon over o a revolu-tionary ommunisttrategys much ess remote han thepossibility fCommunistsainingnfluencehrough topalliancewith vestednterests"and "imperialists."Fromthepoint-of-viewf the Naxalites n East Pakistan here s con-siderable iscontent hichs deeply-rootedntherealities f Pakistaniife,andwhich ouldconceivablybeorganized ya Naxalite-typeartyn thefuture.ince:Independenceakistan as beendominatedythebureaucracyand themilitary,oth ofwhichhave n turn een dominated ynon-Ben-galis.50Moreover,astPakistanis aveeffectivelyharged n a number foccasions hatthey are beingexploited conomically y WestPakistan,while eingdiscriminatedgainstn terms feducational enefits,anguage

    49Foran excellentanalysis of Pakistani studentpolitics,based on a questionnairereturned y 563 students n both Wings, see Talukder Manirazzaman,"Perspectivesand PoliticalOrientations fUniversity tudents n Pakistan,"unpublishedmanuscriptavailable from he author,Head of the Political Science Department,Rajshahi Uni-versity, ajshahi,East Pakistan.50Thedominanceof themilitary nd bureaucracyn Pakistani politics s tracedoutin M. Rashiduzzaman, akistan: A Study of Governmentnd Politics, (Dacca: IdealLibrary, 967), see especiallypp. 261 ff.The extent o whichthemilitary nd bureau-cracyhave been dominatedby non-Bengalis s indicated in D. Lambert,"Factors inBengaliRegionalism n Pakistan,"Far EasternSurvey,XXVIII:4 (April 1959), p. 54,whichshowed that only 132 of the 2,816 civilian officials nd military fficers erefromEast Pakistan.While therehave been some attempts o correctthis disparitysince 1955-56, ecentavailable figureswould indicate that the gap is still as wide in1969 as it was in the mid-fifties.n late 1969, for example,East Pakistan had onemajor-generaln thearmy nd no representativesmongthe ten eading figures n thepost-AyubMartial Law Administration; ee Mohammed Ayoob, "Hopes Belied inPakistan,"The Citizen nd WeekendReview (New Delhi), April 12, 1969,pp. 32-33.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    17/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 603policy,and a host of othersignificantmatters.51While themajor politicalparties in East Pakistan have now gained enormous supportfor theirde-mands thatdisparitiesbetweenthetwowings be redressedthroughthere-installationof electoraldemocracy (the Bengalis constitute 4% ofthetotalpopulation ofPakistan) most observersagree thata parliamentary ystem,if t worksat all in Pakistan, is not likelyto correctthedisparitiesbetweentheregionsfora long timeto come.In this atmosphereNaxalite theoreticians rgue thatthe demands of theAwamiLeague (AL) and NAP foran electoralsystemwhichwould enableBengalis to outvoteWest Pakistan will eventuallyresult n the disenchant-mentofEast Pakistanis withelectoralsystems.Moreover,the argumentsoftheclassical Right and "modifiedRight" Communiststrategists,hat sup-portfor electoraldemands is merelya temporary actical device designedto build bases forfuturerevolutionary hange, is viewed by the Naxalitesas mererhetoric nd revolutionaryargon. Because oftheirextremedisgustwiththeresultsof parliamentarydemocracytheNaxalites have refusedtoeven temporarily upportthedemand for an electoralsystem,but have in-stead sought to conceptualize a non-electoral trategy hat could promoterevolution n the Eastern Wing.The attemptto devise a non-electoralstrategy n Pakistan brings theNaxalites face to face withthe twin dilemmas thathave confronted outhAsian Communists ince theybegan organizingin the 1920's. The first fthesedilemmasrelatesto the questionofthestabilityof India and Pakistanas nation-states nd the second is related to the possibilities for guerillawarfareor insurrectionisttrategies.At some points in the past the Com-munistshave decided thatneither ndia nor Pakistanwereviable as nationalentities,withtheresultthatregional separatistmovementswere supportedby Communistson the basis of the "nationalitythesis."52But supportforregionalmovementshas always hinderedthe Communistmovement n itsattempts o influencenational policy-making,withtheresult that the "na-tionality hesis" has been increasinglyunderplayedor omittedfrompartyconsiderations ince theearly 1950's. The second dilemmahas arisen when-evertheCommunistmovement as viewedthe ndian and Pakistaninationalgovernments s being essentiallyunstable,for in each case thishas raisedthe question ofhow best to take advantage of instability.There are a num-ber of compellingreasons for adopting a guerilla strategy n certainpartsof thesubcontinent-and thecase is probablystrongest orsuch a strategy

    "1For n analysis of the economic, ultural,and social grievancesof East Bengalissee Lambert,"Factors in Bengali Regionalism,"op. cit. A more recentstatementsMira Deb, "NeglectedGrievances,"The Citizen and WeekendReview (New Delhi),May10,1969,pp.28-29.5"The history f the Indian Communist xperiencewiththe "nationality hesis" istraced out in Selig S. Harrison,"Communism n India: The Dilemma of the CPI,"Problemsof Communism, III (March-April1959), pp. 27-35.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    18/20

    604 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANin Bengal 53 but each attempt o initiateguerrillaor other nsurrectionistactivitieshas resulted n ignominious failure.The tragedy of theBengali-speakingpeople in this century s intimatelyrelated o thesetwindilemmas.The Bengalis are the seventh argest anguagegroup n theworld,andyettheyhave been unable totranslate heirnumbersintopolitical power. At thetime ofpartition heywereunable tobring abouta unitedBengal,despitethedesire and the willingness f the mostprominentHindu and Muslim Bengali leaders to do so, and since partitiontheprin-cipal political dynamic in both West Bengal and East Pakistan has beenthefeeling hatBengalis are beingexploited bynon-Bengalis.Many Bengalileftists-on both sides of theborder-now argue that the only solution tothe "Bengal problem" lies in the creation of a united Bengal,54broughtabout by guerilla warfare and supportedby the Chinese. But neither theIndian or Pakistani strategistswho advocate this solution have yet deviseda means forinitiating a guerillamovement, nd Chinese support s by nomeansassured.Moreover,there re considerablefactionaldifferencesmongCommunist and Marxist-left trategistson the question of linking a leftCommunist trategywiththedemand for a unitedBengal, since the two neednotnecessarilybe linked together.Barringconsiderable change in the position of Bengalis relativeto non-Bengalis,however,supportfor millenarianmovements s likelyto growonbothsides of the international order that now separatesWest Bengal fromEast Pakistan. To many observers,and to many politicians in both Indiaand Pakistan, the Naxalites are therefore onsideredto be a forcewhich

    53West engal borders n twoforeign ations East Pakistan and Nepal), twoborderkingdoms Sikkimand Bhutan) that are nominally independent"but tied by treatiesand subsidies to India, and is less than 30 miles fromChinese-controlled ibet. EastPakistan borderson Burma,two Indian states,and the centrally-governedndian ter-ritory f Tripura; it is less than ten miles fromManipur,and less than 50 miles fromNagaland and Tibet. At one pointin Darjeeling district he "Siliguri corridor," nly14 miles wide, connectsthe main portionsof India withits northeastern tates andterritories Assam, NEFA, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura). Much of Bengal con-sists of mountainous nd hilly terrain, overed with jungles and interlacedwith in-numerablerivers,marshesand swamps,an area that becomes particularly ifficultotransverse uringthe monsoons.At least a quarter of the populationof both East andWest Bengal are landless day-laborers nd another arge portion of the population(almost17%o n West Bengal) lives in citiesof 50,000 or more, all ofwhich are over-crowded with international efugees.Consideringthe possibilities for insurrectionistmovementsn this area, leftists n bothsides of the borderare fondof quotingStalin'sstatement o three Bengalis in 1949, to the effect hat "Telengana is far fromthecenterofrevolution," statementwhich the Bengalis at that time interpreted s sup-portive f a Communistnsurrectionist ovement n Bengal."Sentimentsfor a united Bengal are seldom expressed openly by leftists, ince theyso easily lead to conspiracy hargeson both sides of the border. The last Marxist-leftparty n West Bengal to advocate a united Bengal in public was the Forward Bloc(Ruikar or Subhasist faction),which n the 1952 electionscalled for "a Bengali UnionofSocialist Republics . . . a people's state unifying ll shades of differencend auton-omy n a federalgovernment." ee The Statesman Calcutta), September , 1951, p. 7.A recent discussion of the idea of a united Bengal is contained in Debendra NathBanerjee,East Pakistan: A Case Study n Muslim Uolitics, Delhi: Vikas Publications,1969), pp.169-178.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    19/20

    MARCUS F. FRANDA 605willhave to be reckoned ithn thenextdecade.Buttheactivitiesfthosewho advocate guerillamovementnd/or unitedBengalmust e placedin the perspectivef the domestic olitics f both ndia and Pakistan, swellas the ontextf the nternationalnterestsf thosenations oncernedwith engal.A separatist ovementased on thedemand or united om-munist engalwouldrun ounter o the nterestsf mostparty oliticianspresentlyctiven both ndiaand Pakistan, ndwouldcertainlye resistedby boththe ndianand Pakistanimilitary nd bureaucracy.Moreover,tthepresentimet has little ppealfor ny of the hree nternationalowerswith nterestsn the sub-continent,ith the result hat Bengaliguerillabands wouldhave to win overthe populace, ollectweapons, nd secureguerilla xperience, hile t thesame timefightinghe resistancef partypoliticians,wohighly rained ureaucratic nd intelligence etworks,ndtwomobilizedrmieswith uerilla raining,55ll supported y nternationalpowerblocs.In thisatmospherehesignificancef the Naxalitemovement oesnotstem rom he possibilityhat twill achieve ts long-range oals.For theimmediate uture heNaxalites re ofpolitical nterestecauseofthein-fluencewhichthey re likely o have on thecourseof Bengaliregionalpolitics ndthefutureftheCommunist ovementnIndia and Pakistan.During he astfewyearsthe Naxaliteshavebeen successfuln securingthe support f a large portion f thepoliticallyctive student roups nWestBengal,and thesegroupshave had a significantmpacton statepolitics.56While t smuchmoredifficulto udgethe entimentf studentsin East Bengal, incepolitical ctivitys severelyonstrainedy govern-ment, oththerhetoricnd activities fstudentsn East Pakistanbear astrikingesemblanceothose f theNaxalites crosstheborder.57 engalistudentsnboth ndia andPakistan eadthehistory f Bengal'spastgreat-ness, nd yet hevastmajorityf them re nowunableto obtainobs com-mensuratewiththeir tatusand educationbecause of what theyalmost

    "5The ndian armyhas receivedguerillatrainingn actual combatwiththeseparatistNagas and Mizos of the northeasternerritories, hile Pakistani guerilla traininghasyetto be extensivelyested.For a discussionofguerillawarfare n SouthAsia and itsrelationship o possible Chinese interests,written y a leading member of the PrajaSocialistPartyofWestBengal,see Pradip Bose, Sino-PakCollusionand East Pakistan,(Calcutta: Samajwadi Prakashani,1966), pp. 9 ff.; ee also Brines,op. cit.,pp. 415-416,419,427."6Franda,India's ThirdCommunistarty," p. cit.,pp. 810-817."7Inboth West Bengal and East Pakistan the moremilitantstudentgroups havesoughtto 1) paralyzethe educationalsystem n an effort o create greatermilitancyamongBengali students;2) enticethemilitary nd police into open confrontationnan effort o "expose" the repressivenatureof government; ) ally withpeasant andtradeuniongroups on an ad hoc basis in an effort o induce such groupsto resorttoviolence; and 4) introduce evolutionarylogansbased on analogiesto China and Viet-nam. For evidence, ompare heanalysis bid. withthedescriptions ftheEast Pakistanstudent movementn The Pakistan Observer (Dacca), October 1, 1969, pp. 1, 12;Eastern Tribune (Dacca), October3, 1969, pp. 1, 8; and Holiday (Dacca), October12,1969,pp. 1.2,8.

  • 8/3/2019 Communism and Regional Politics in East Pakistan

    20/20

    606 COMMUNISM IN EAST PAKISTANuniversallyelieve o be thediscriminationfthenon-Bengaliortions fIndia and Pakistan gainstBengal.Today'sBengalicollegestudents avenotwitnessedhewidespreadommunal illing hat ookplacebefore ndafter artition,ndthey avebecome ncreasinglyistrustfulftraditionalreligious roups ndtraditionaldeas. On both idesoftheborder tudentsare extremelyctivenpolitics nd attractedo those lderBengali erroristleaderswho in thepast have refused o compromise ith theelectoral,bureaucratic,nd military egimesof thepost-Independenceeriod.Inshort, heBengali tudenttmospheres onethat hrivesn revolutionaryand protesttrategies hich re built roundregionaldemands.For Communist artymemberswithinPakistanthe strategy f theNaxalites s especially ppealing,despite ts millenarianharacter. headoption fsuch a strategyessens hedependence fthe Communistsntheestablished oliticalparties nd the"vested nterests" lliedwith hegovernment,hile t simultaneouslyarrieswith t an appeal to thein-fluentialndpotentiallyevolutionarytudent roups n East Pakistan.Atthe ametime, Naxalite trategyouldalign Communists ith he trongregional eelings nd interestsfBengalis n a mannerwhich oes not runcountero (butdoesnotdepend n) the ttachmento slam. n the hangedconditionsfthe nternationalommunist ovement,nd in lightof theincreasing olitical rustrationsfBengal,t s conceivablehat heNaxaliteCommunist ovementouldgrow n EastPakistann much hesame man-neras it has in WestBengal.Whilemany f ts followers erewaiting orchanges n thedomestic olitics f India and Pakistan o thrustNaxaliteleadershipntopositions fpoliticalnfluence,he eadership fthe move-ment ould be building moresubstantial ommunistollowing. ara-doxically,t s thepresent rganizational eakness f theCommunist ove-mentnPakistan hatmakes leftCommunisttrategymore ppealing odomestic ommunistshan ny oftheir lternatives.

    MARCUSF. FRANDA s a member f the Political cienceDepartmentt ColgateUniversitynd is currentlyn India as a SeniorResearchFellow of theAmerican n-stitute f ndian Studies.