Communist Parties and the Naxalbari Movement in India
Communist Party of India
The party was founded in the 1920s inspired by the October Revolution in Russia. During India’s struggle for independence, the CPI joined the left wing of the Indian Congress Party known as Congress Socialist Party (CSP). After India’s independence the party constituted the principal opposition in parliament raising important demands such as social equality for women, land reforms, nationalization of privately owned enterprises etc. The strongholds of the Indian Communists have always been the South and the East of the country.
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The Communist Party of India/Marxist (CPI/M) was founded in 1964 by a fraction that had separated from the Communist Party of India (CPI). The main reason for the split was the perception of CPI having become too sectarian and revisionist in approach and supporting the issues and policies of the Indian National Congress. The CPI/M follows a Communist political ideology deeply influenced by the writings of Marx and Lenin. In the state of West Bengal the party constitutes the most dominant force of the Indian Left Front that governed from 1977-2011. The Southern state of Kerala also had several CPI/M-led governments since independence.
Inspired by the ideal of the peasant revolution in China, the Naxalbari Uprising was an armed peasant revolt in 1967. The uprising was mainly led by people from indigenous communities and communist leaders that in due course developed into the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).
Their aim to launch a protracted people’s war in India following the Chinese Revolution got them support by communist Nepal and China but caused their expulsion from the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The Naxalbari Movement inspired multifaceted creativity from propagandist poetry, novels and prose narratives to revelatory plays and films. The uprising was a landmark of Indian polity leading to movements like the Naxalite-Maoist insurgency which continues till date. A short historical overview gives the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.