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In Freedom's Quest: A Study of the Life and Works of M.N. Roy (Volume II)

Sibnarayan Ray (Author)
Synopsis An outstanding international personality of the modern age, M.N. Roy (1887-1954) had a leading role in revolutionary movements in India, Mexico, the middle east, the Soviet Union, Indonesia and China. Like Marx he was both an activist and a philosopher; in fact, according to Tan Ping-Shan, Lenin called him "the Oriental Marx". He tried to organise an armed insurrection in India in 1915; founded the Communist Party of Mexico (1919) and the emigre Communist Party of India in Tashkent (1920); rose to occupy the highest offices of the Communist International and led the Comintern’s delegation to China (1927). At the same time he authored such Marxist classics as India in transition (1922), The future of Indian Politics (1926) and revolution and counter-revolution in China (1930); and founded the organ of the emigre Communist Party of India, The Vanguard (and later The Masses) and edited it for seven years (1922-28). He broke with the Communist International in 1929 having publicly opposed the extreme left sectarian policy adopted at its Sixth Congress. Returning to India he spent six years in various prisons during which he wrote a 3000 page draft manuscript provisionally titled "The Philosophical Consequence of Modern Science". On his release he campaigned against every variety of authoritarianism, supported the antifascist war, drew up a Draft Constitution for free India and the outlines of a decentralist people’s plan for economic development. Disillusioned with both bourgeois democracy and communism, he devoted the last years of his life to the formulation of an alternative philosophy which he called radical humanism and of which he wrote a detailed exposition in his last magnum opus, reason, romanticism and revolution. The first volume of the present authoritative biography, published in 1998, traced Roy's career to 1922. The present volume, based on more than two decades of sustained research, is devoted entirely to his spectacular Comintern years. It draws upon an extensive body of contemporary source material stored in various archives from New Delhi to Stanford, Amsterdam to London, Moscow to Beijing, and makes exemplary use of the first hand knowledge and recollections of persons who knew Roy intimately or worked with him during his Comintern period. It shows Roy working unremittingly to lay the foundations of a Communist Party within India against endless obstacles; to re-orient radically the narrow Euro-centric outlook of the Comintern leaders and to persuade them to recognise that a socialist revolution in the west was conditional upon a revolution in Asia and the colonies. It stresses what was constantly at the heart of his vision-the theory and praxis of a 'revolution from below' which would actively involve both workers and peasants-in contradistinction to the Bolshevik method of a 'revolution from above'. It weaves into a fascinating tapestry many threads of his personal and private life-his repeated expulsion from one West European country after another under pressure of the British Government, his relation with the Bolshevik Old Guard, the hostility of the apparatchiki and the intrigues of his rivals, the break-up of his relation with his first wife Evelyn Trent, his sustained effort to combine India's struggle for independence with a programme of social and economic revolution, his involvement in the revolutionary movement in Indonesia, his tragic failure to persuade the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and their mentor, Mikhail Borodin, to adopt his proposed programme of an agrarian revolution in China.
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About the author

Sibnarayan Ray

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.

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Bibliographic information

Title In Freedom's Quest: A Study of the Life and Works of M.N. Roy (Volume II)
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 817715009X
length ix+365p., Notes and References; Bibliography; Index; 22cm.
Subjects History