Social Scientist. v 25, no. 292-293 (Sep-Oct 1997) p. 1.


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Editorial Note

What strikes one overwhelmingly upon reading the articles on the different streams going into the freedom struggle, gathered together in the current issue of Social Scientist, is the manner in which these streams dovetailed into one another. The "moderates" who scarcely went beyond "petition polities'* and even talked of "our beloved Lord Ripon", did the yeoman's job nevertheless of laying the intellectual foundation of Indian nationalism, which provided the basis for all subsequent praxis. The "extremists", and the*early nationalist revolutionary movement inspired by them, played a bridging role between this theoretical endeavour and the emergence of mass actions from the twenties onwards, by creating the consciousness, especially among the middle-class youth, of freedom as a realisable goal. The Gandhian period, while it led to the unprecedented mass mobilisation that was responsible, in the post-war context for the eventual achievement of Independence, nonetheless kept this mobilisation truncated just short of a mass peasant upsurge which could have been the precursor of an agrarian revolution. This last task which still remains unfulfilled devolves on the revolutionary left which had already begun to play an important role in the National Movement from the mid-twenties, and for which the later nationalist revolutionaries of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army, and the Indian Republican Army (Chittagong Branch) constituted an important tributary stream.

To talk of the different streams feeding into one another to constitute one gigantic totality of movement is not to romanticize the issue, or to lose sight of the class perspective. On the contrary it is to point towards the necessity to "read" the different phases of the freedom struggle in the manner that Lenin read "the three generations, the three classes, that were active in the Russian Revolution" in commemorating Herzen. Lenin saw each generation, each phase, contributing to the next and leading on to the "storm" which is "the movement of the masses themselves". The necessity of reading the totality of this movement in our context is obvious. The papers we publish in this num ber are aids to that reading.

Lenin however was writing in 1912, and could say: "The first onslaught of this storm took place in 1905. The next is beginning to develop under our very eyes". In our case the next onslaught of the storm is not visible yet. Indeed a superficial glance might give cause for despondency, with a communal-fascist party, which had nothing to do with the freedom struggle, occupying the offices of the government and surrendering the country bit by bit to a re-imposition of imperialist hegemony. There is even a retreat today from the goal of realising the Karachi Resolution of the Congress passed in 1931 and



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