Overview for In Freedom's Quest: A Study of the Life and Works of M.N. Roy (Volume III, Part I)
In the already published first two volumes (1998 ; 2002) of this masterly and authoritative biography Professor Ray had traced in great detail. M.N. Roy's extraordinary career from his early life as a revolutionary nationalist to his middle period when he founded the Communist Parties of Mexico and of India (in exile) and rose to be the most outstanding non-Caucasian leader of the Communist International. The second volume closed with an in-depth study of Roy's role as the head of the Comintern's Delegation to China in 1927. The present work which forms part I of the projected third and final volume of this biography is devoted to the years 1927 to 1939 nearly half of which were spent by Roy in various Indian jails. Drawing upon unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, diaries, recollections and "note books" as well as recorded interviews with persons who had worked with Roy during this period, Professor Ray throws here much new light on events and developments, both public and private, in Roy's life both inside prisons and outside. He traces in detail the conspiracy of the Comintern apparatchiki led by Piatnitsky against Roy and the curious proceedings of the 9 plenum and the sixth Congress; explains the causes of Roy's break with the Comintern and the historic importance of his writings in the German Communist opposition journals; indicates for the first time the bearing of the Frankfurt institute and the cultural ambience of the Weimar Republic on Roy's intellectual development; and makes illuminating use of the unpublished correspondence of Louise Geissler, Ellen Gottaschalk and Evelyn Trent and the unpublished "Recollections" of Ellen Roy written after Roy's death. A highly informative account is provided of Roy's clandestine despatches from various jails to his followers in India. This is complemented by a critical introduction to the nine large volumes of Roy's "Prison Manuscripts". As in the earlier volumes, here too equal stress is given to both the national and international contexts of Roy's thinking and activities during this period. What again comes out clearly in this volume is Roy's Promethean spirit which committed him to the unending quest for freedom from his early years and the light of which was never dimmed despite the persistent calumnies spread by the CPGB and the CPI, the life of privation and hazard in Germany, the long and lonely years in jail, the hostility of the entrenched right wing leadership of the Congress and the tragic vacillations of the Indian intelligentsia and the middle classes.
Sibnarayan Ray (Author)
Professor Sibnarayan Ray was a close associate of M. N. Roy during the last eight years of the latter's life. He was Chairman of the Department of Indian Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia, for nearly twenty years. Also Professor at the Universities of Bombay and California (Santa Barbara): Director of Rabindra Bhavana, Visva Bharati University; Research Fellow at the Universities of London and Chicago; and visiting lecturer at Oxford, Cambridge, Heidelberg, and various other Universities in Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia. He gave the main address at the Third World Congress of Humanists at the University of Oslo, Norway, and was a member of the Executive and Board of Directors of International Humanist and Ethical Union, Holland; Chaired the First International Congress on Modernisatior. In Asia at the Korea University, Seoul; was Director of the international Seminar on EI Papel de la Inteligencia eu las Sociedades Asiatican Contempraneas at the University of Mexico. Author of about forty books in English and Bengali; be has been editing a Bengali quarterly of ideas and unquiry (Jijnasa) for the last eighteen years. He has been recently honoured with an Emeritus Fellowship in Literature. Besides writing a number of books in English and Bengali, he is engaged in editing the Selected Works of M. N. Roy, four volumes of which have already been published.