Social Scientist. v 6, no. 66-67 (Jan-Feb 1978) p. 114.

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Left Cultural Movement in West Bengal:

An Analysis

EVERY working class party in the world, intending to conduct a proletarian revolution, has had to take extensive care of its work on the cultural front. Cultural activity has played a significant role in organising the masses and has thus found an important position in the revolutionary programmes of the communists. In the wortts^P M^o»Tsc"Tutig, ^We do not favour ovcrstressing the importance of literature and art, but neither do we favomr underestimating their importance. Literature and art are subordinate to politics, ^it m ^Heli^ ^ttrn^eie^t^^great influence on politics. Revolutionary literature and art arfe part of the whole revolutionary cause, they are cogs and wheels in it, and though in comparison; with certain other and 'more important parts they may be less significant and less urge^r and may occupy a secondary position, nevertheless, they are indispensable cogs and wheeN in the whole machine, and an indispensable part of the entire revolutionary cause".1

A close study of the fifty years of communist activity in India shows that compared to the activities of the mass organisations, activity in the cultural sphere has been neglected. It is unfortunate that the communists have failed to develop an organised cultural movement as a formidable challenge to the culture that is fostered by the Indian bourgeois-landlord rulers, which only serves as an opium for the people. Developmets on other mass fronts have somehow failed to accentuate the growth of a revolutionary cultural spirit. If we are to overcome this weakness, it is necessary to identify the maladies and drawbacks of the left cultural movement, and, by removing them, to augment the strength of the revolution in the not so distant future. This case study of the Indian Peoples' Theatre Association (IPTA) would, we believe, suffice to understand the basic weakness in the cultural activity of the working-class parties. Drawbacks in the fields of literature, music, painting and even films can be understood by analysing the errors of the left theatre movement. Moreover, it is theatre and music which are the best instruments of reaching the masses with ease. Literature obviously would fall in a land where over 70 percent of the population is illiterate.

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