Marxist Cultural Movement in India: 1936-1947

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Marxist Cultural Movement in India: 1936-1947

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MARXS I T CULTURAL MOVEMEN ; IN INDIA CHRONICLES AND DOCUMENTS

(1936-47)

i

Compiled and Edited by

SUDHI PRADHAN

J

MARXIST CULTURAL MOVEMENT IN INDIA

CHRONICLES AND D O C U M E N T S ( 1936-1947 )

Compiled and Edited by SUDHI PRADHAN

Distributors:

NATIONAL BOOK A G E N C Y PVT. LTD. 12. BANKIM CHATTERJEE STREET, CALCUTTA-700073

Copyright © July 1979 by Mrs. Santi Pradiian

Published

by :

Mrs. Santi Pradhan P738A Blocic P New Alipur Calcutta-700053

Printed

by :

Sanjoy Bhattacliarya Roopa Mudrah 153/3J, Acliarya P. C. Road, Calcutta-700 006

Cover

designed

by :

Khaled Chowdliury on tha basis of a drawing by Chittaprasad

Price : Rs. 45.00 (Hard Cover) Rs. 35 00 (Paper bacl hich helps them both to improve their work and keep abreast of the movement according to the needs of the t me. Apart from these meetings we have also been boding larger maetings where the general public is invited to -irend. These maetings have been mainly of two kinds—eithe- the 306

PWA celebration of anniversary of important literary personages, like Tagore Day, Premchand Day, Iqbal Day, Gorki Day etc., or meetings for expressing the attitude of progressive writers towards some burning problems o f the day like the Bengal famine, arrest of progressve writers in Travancore, HinduMuslim riots, issues involving infringement of civil liberties, -authors' rights. "We have passed resolution, condemning the action of the Hyderabad Government in arresting and prosecuting the famous Urdu poet, Member of our All-India Executive Committee, Makhdoom Mohiudin ; we have passed resolution against the tyrannical action of the Travancore Government in arresting and issuing warrants for the prosecution of several young writers of Travancore. Several branches have passed resolutions in sympathy with "Railway and postal workers' demands. -An Outstanding

Feature

One of the most outstanding features in the growth of pur movement in recent years has been the growth of folk songs and other forms of folk literature. Most of the poets who have written folk poetry are either themselves kisans or persons connected with the Kisan niovement of our country. Quite naturally, in this sphere the work of the Progressive Writers has overlapped with the folk-song and dance groups of our allied association, the Indian People's Theatre Asso­ ciation. The ballad-forms of our various peoples—the burrakatfia of Andhra, the Pawada of Maharashtra, the Kabigan of Bengal, the Allia, of U P , has been used by our kisan poets to carry the message of unity, freedom and revolution to the countryside. \n Utdu the masnavi form (fong poem used by classical writers for heroic or romantic n?rraiion) has been used by some of our revolutionary poets. These poems are very popular among the Hindustani speaking working-class' of North India, Calcutta and Bombay, The PWA branches have also undertaken the publication ijf books, pamphlets and literary magazines and collections. The Bengal P.W.A. is in the forefront in this respect. Several 307

FWA regular literary magazines and collections are coming out directly controlled by the progressive writers. Parichaya

in Bengali, Naya Sahitya

Urdu, Sanskar

in Hindi, Naya

in Gujerati and At^hudaya

Thus, th* Adab

in

in Telugu are publi­

cations which refiect the,latest growth and tendencies

of

progressive writing in our various languages. The

Bengal and the Andhra associations each also-

maintain in their offices, a modest library of progressive literature. Two statements one on the impending famine and the other on communal strife has been signed by large number of progressive writers and issued to the press.

(Statement

on the communal situation included in the appendix). The Main

Shortcomings

What have been the main shortcomings in the working of the P.W.A. during the last three years ? First and foremost, A.I.P.W.A.

the central organisation of

has not functioned

properly.

the

While several,

provinces have been able to establish and develop a centraIiied and properly functioning office for the guidance of their local units, it has not been possible to do the same on the al.-lndia scale.

The result has been that so far we have not

been able to issue an all-India bulletin of the P.W.A., which would give information about the activities of the varioue branches;

which

would

give direction on an all-India

scale to the entire organisation ; which would evaluate the development, and the shortcomings of the movements anj

formulate (asks keeping in view the changing conditions^

in the country. Secondly, the All-India Executive P.W.A. elected at the last

Conference

Committee of the (1943)

has not

functioned—with the result that we have not been able to evaluate our work and plan our activities.

Nor has it been

ensured that the office-holders of the association should iunction efficiently and properly. 308

PWA Unless we overcome these shortcomings immediately it would not be possible for us to go ahead ; in fact, disruption -and disintegration might set in.

Reactionary forces are ever

ready to attack us both from within and without. It is therefore essential that the bulletin now at last being issued should be continued and come out at regular intervals.

Secondly, not later than March next^ a meeting

of the All-India Executive Committee of the P.W A. should be called, either at Bombay or Calcutta which should dis­ cuss the question of (a) setting up a properly functioning Central Office4mmediately ; (b) take decisions in regard to holding the next (fifth) all-India Conference of the P.W.A. as soon as possible and immediately start making prepara­ tions about it.

To this meeting might also be invited, for

consultation a few other prominent members of the P.W.A. The Branches, specially the provincial centres, are requ­ ested to S3nd in their suggestions in this respect immediately to the-General Secretary. S. S. ZAHEER, General

Secretary,

A.I.P.W.A.

BENGAL PROGRESSIVE WRITERS & ARTISTS ASSOCIATION Since its last conference in March,

1945 the Bengal

tP.W.A.A. has developed both organisationally as also from the point of view of the nature of work it is doing. The membership in its rolls when all its district or local branches are considered, is well over 1,000—the Calcutta P.W.A.A., of course, leading with a membership of just over 500, There are in all 14 branches in the districts—some of which as in Dacca, Chittagong, Murshidabad or Howrah being fairly developed.

The Provincial Executive is headed by

5ailajananda Mukherjee, the well-known novelist and injiludes among others Tara Sankar Banerjee, Manik Banerjee 309

PWA (Jt. Secretary), Bishnu De, Gopal Haider, Swarna KamaF Bhattacharjee (Jt. .Secretary) and Hiren Mukherjee. TheThe Calcutta Branch formed late in 1945 has as its President Dr. Dhiren Sen and includes well-known literateurs like Narayan Ganguly, Parimal Goswami, Vivekananda Mukherjee, Nanda Gopal Sen Gupta, Bimal Ghose and others. The P.W.A.A. holds a weekly 'Amader Lekha' or 'Our Writing' sitting where eminent of Bengali literateurs like Manik Bannerji or Narayan Ganguly as well as young writers read out or recite their new stories or poems. Sometimes Jyotirindra sings his songs which he has jnst composed or Bijan Bhattacharya reads out his latest play. A discussion^ follows in which all participate. Alongside these sittings the P.W.A. also arranges "Purano Lekha'' or 'Old Writings' sittings once a month or so where passages from old masters like Dinabandhu or Nabin or Bankin are read out and interpreted by well-known critics like Profs. Niren Roy, Gopal Haldar, Sukumar Sen or.Hiran Sanyal. The idea is to familiarise the younger members of the Associatjon with the works of the old masters to equi|> them with the correct perspective. Apart from these we have of course the discussion meetirigs, where knotty problems like "The Cause of Abstruseness of Modern Poetry" or "The Message of Poetry" are discussed. Sometimes talks are given by celebrities like Jamini Roy, Prof. Needham. Dr. Saha or E.M. Forster, All maetings are usually very well-attended. For the coming Provincial Conference our idea is ta divide the work of the conference into two parts. We shall have, of course, a delegates' conference where district delegates as also the Provincial Executive will submit their reports, compare nofes and take decisions for the coming year. But alongside this we also intend to have a series of sessions like 'Poetry Session', 'Short stories session', 'drama session', 'Novel Session', etc. For these interested members of the Association are already working in: 310

PWA eorresponding groups on the annual output of poetry, and taking notes on them. In these sessions the groups submit their drafts surveying the poetry, novels, piays of the year. Wa shall, of course, see that the poets novelists etc, attend these sessions as also the readers. Anyway discussions will take place in the light of which the original draft will be recast. We can then publish these surveys in the form of pamphlets like 'Bengali Poetry, 1946', 'Bengali Novels, 1946', etc. and put them together in one volume which may be entitled "Bengali Literature—1946.'' From these surveys we also intend to prepare in English another all-in survey of Bengali literature which will, of course, leave out all details and concentrate only on the broad trends. This we mean to aubmit before the All-India session where we expect such surveys will also be submitted on behalf of other branches. These then may again be put together in one volume called "The Literatures of India— 1946". If such volumes are published year after year on our behalf the P.W.A. may then really claim to have done a pioneer work. Also it is only on the basis of such surveys— of productions in different art-forms in case of each lan­ guage and of provincial literatures as such at the centre that any real lead may be attempted by the P.W.A. The Bengal P.W.A. is also working on different aspects of "Bengal Renaissance.'' Enthusiastic members are studying some individuals like Bankim or Dinabandhu—or an institu­ tion like "Tattobodhini Sabha-' or "Hindu l\/lela"-ors movement like "The Young Bengal Movement'- or "the Indigo Movement"-or a specific question like "How far did the Muslims participate in the Swadeshi Movement?'Arrangements have beer^ made to colate the work of the people doing this work. From this too, we can bring out important publication on behalf of P.W.A. All these activities have as their centre the library which we established jointly with the Bengal F.S.U. in memory of the martyred Somen Chanda. Here progressive books and 311

PWA periodicals are kept

regularly and at the

scholars study and take down notes.

reading room

In the Wall News­

paper we notice the latest arrivals in the library and draw attention to significant articles or poems or stories in the periodicals which are kept at the reading room. Chinmohan Sehanobis, Secretary.

Bengal

P.W.A.A.

ANDHRA PROGRESSIVE WRITERS ASSOCIATION The third annual Conference of tha. Andhra P.W.A. was held at Rajahmundry in the last week December, 1945. Devulapalli

Krishna Sastri, the

foremost of the modern

Andhra poets, presided over the Conference. Srinivasa Rao, a revolutionary

Sri

Sri Srirangam

poet of Andhra, was

the

opener of the Conference. A special feature of the Conference was an Arts' Exhibi­ tion, where about fifty pieces of art drawn by young artists, were exhibited.'

Sri Dameria Venkata Rao, Lecturer, Presi­

dency College, Madras opened the Arts' Exhibition. The session was held for three days, attended by about eighty writers. A Goshthi (forum) was arranged on "Literature ; Why and for whom" "Among those that took part were Sri I, Hanumachchastri, Publishers

Telugu

Pandit,

"Nava-Rachana

M . Visweswara Rao,

Mandali," J . Rukmini Natha

Sastri, a popular parodist, novelist and Story-writer (Joint Secretary,

P.W.A.), Bala Gangadhara Tilak, poet, Pilaka

Ganapati Sastri, Editor "Silpi", and A. Somayayulu Narasimha Sarma, Lecturer, M, R. College, Vizianagaram. A 'Kavi-Sammelan' was

also. held.

Special articles

pn "short story" and "Drama" were also read. "Prarabdham," a one-Act

play

written

by

Sri N.

Venkateshwara Rao, Editor, "Andhra-Prabha'' (Telugu daily) .and a well-known one-act play-wright was put on stage.. 312

PWA -"Burra-Katha" depicting "Veereselingam's life" (The father of Modern Andhra), composed by the poet of folk-lore Sri Sunkara Satyanarayana, was sung. The membership of the Andhra P.W.A. is well over 900 —with 16 branches spread over all the important towns in Andhra including Hyderabad, Secunderabad, (Telingana .Area of the Nizams) and Madras. " Well-organised branches are those of Vizianagaram, Guntur, Bezwada, Madras and Masulipatam. Almost all the branches are bringing out Manuscript magazines regu­ larly. Meetings in connection with the Anniversaries of pioneers of Andhra Renaissance like Veereselingam Pantulu, Gidugu Ramamurthi, Gurabada Appa Rao, Dharmavarapu Krishnamacharyulu, Komarraju Lakshmana Rao, Desoddharaka Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu and Dameria Rama Rao (well-known artist) have been held in all branches and in a number of other places. These meetings stimulated to a great degree interest in literature and fine arts. All these activities have been conducted with the co-operation of several local literary Associations The Provincial executive includes Sri D. Krishna Sastri, foremost of the Modern Andhra poets, K. Kutumba Rao, famous short-story writer, J . Rukmini Natha Sastri (Joint Secretary), Muddu Krishna, well-known play-wright, author of "Ashoka Vanam", "Anarkali", and compiler of a complete Anthology of Modern poetry, T. Venkataratnam, Head of the Department of Oriental Languages, A. C, College, Guntur and Editor "Pratibha", Srirangam Srinivasa Rao and I. Hanumachchastri, with Sri Chadalavada Pitchayya as the General Secretary. The Andhra P.W.A. maintains a Library at its Head Office at Bezwada. The Library has a very good collection of both English and Telugu classics. Monthly magazines in English and Telugu are also kept regularly. Monthly recurring expenditure of over Rs. 125 is being met solely from public donations. Individual writers as well as local branches are 313

PWA taking advantage of the central Librsry. W'oik at the Headoffice is being attended to by the General Secretary and Sri P. Kodanda Rama Sastri (Member; Provincial Execu­ tive). The Provincial Executive met twice during the year 1946. As a result of the work carried on by the Andhra P.W.A.ever since 1943, all sections of the Andhra intelligentsia have: been attracted to our movement. A great need was being felt for starting a "pathasala" in order to impart knowledge concerning Andhra Culture, ancient as well as Modern, to the newly-developed writers and artists. Consequently "The Andhra Sahitya Pathasala" was run by our Association for one full month from 11th May to 10th June, 1946, in Pedapudi, Guntur disttict. which is the birth-place cf ouf General Secretary, Ch. Pitchayya. The well-known research scholar in Indian History of the Andhra University,Sri M . Somasekhara Sarma, acted as; the principal of our institute. In all 57 writers, artists and students took instruction. The opening address was deli­ vered by the well-known Artist and Sculptor, Sri D. P. Roy Chouwdary, Principal, Government School of Arts, Madras. The subjects dealt with, along with the lecturers, are • given below :— (1) History of the Andhras : The Principal. (2)

History of the Andhra Literature and Prakrits ;— Sri P. Adinarayana Sastri (scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu and critic) Lecturer. K. R, College, Berhampore.

(3) History of the Andhra ancient Kavyas. Sri N. Venkata Rao, Research Department in Telugu Madras University. (4) Andhra Philology. Sri K. Ramakrishnayya, Reader in Telugu. Madras. University. 314

PWA (5) (a) The out-look of ancient Andhra Grammarians :'

(b) History of the Modern Andhra Literature:— (c) Telugu idioms and proverbs :— Dr. Ch Nara^n Rao, Retired Professor of Oriental Languages, C. D. College, Anantapur.

(6) New trends and Modern Andhra Poetry : — Sri D, Krishna Sastri. • (7)

(a) One-act plays in Telugu. (b) Staging and Technique of Drama. Sri S. Gopalakrishna Murthi, Profesor of Presidency College, Madras.

(8) (a) Rasa and Bhavukatva : (b) Rupakas: (c) Ancient Rhetorics . A. Narasimha Sarma, Lecturer, Vigianagaram.

M. R.

Physics,

College.

(9) Short story and Novel. Sri K. Kutumba Rao, (10)

(a) Criticism of Kavyas. (b) Progressive trends in Modern Poetry. Sri Srirangam Srinivasa Rao.

(11)

Chitra-Kala. M . Gopalakrishna Gokhale, "Praja-Sakti" Artist.

(12)

Darma : Sri K. Gopala Rama Sarma, Play-wright.

(13)

Ancient Literature and Rhetorics : Sri J . Madhava Rama Sarma, Lecturer, A. C. Callege, Guntur.

(14) New Trends in Andhra Literature : Sri M . Chandrasekhara Rao, Editor, "Praja Sakti". The total expenses incurred by P.W.A. are Rs. 45,000 but of which a sum of Rs. 750 was contributed by the students the rest being collected by donations from tha public. 315

PWA The lecturers acclaimed the experiment as unique and successful. This was described as a miniature People's University. A standing Committee includingPMessrs. M . Someskhara Sarma, Dr. Ch. Narayaha Rao, K. Ramakrishnayya, N. Venkata Rao, D. Krishna Sastri, M . Chandrasekhara Rao, K. Kutumba Rao, with Ch. Pitchayya as its Secretary, was formed to make the "Sahitya Pathasala," as a permanent annual feature. Till now a magazine of a private individual ("Telugu Talli") was being brought out from Hyderabad (Deccan) under the auspices of A.P.W.A. But to reflect the growing literary activities of the A.P.W.A., it was found necessary to have our own organ published from Bezwada. Due to the incessant propaganda and agitation of all^ sections of intelli­ gentsia of Universities and Colleges and other prominent people connected with literature and education, the P.W.A. was successful in getting a declaration within a month for "Abhyudaya" (monthly) with our General Secretary as its Editor and Publisher. The first issue is being brought out on November 1, 1946, it being the "special Sahitya Pathasala issue." Already 35 agencies have applied with the required deposits. 250 subscribers have been enrolled. The Provincial executive has taken upon itself the task of collecting a reserve fund of Rs. 3,500 for "Abhyudaya" by the end of the year. As for our publications, two books have been published on behalf of P.W.A. one being "Telugu Poolu" a Sataka Kavya by Sri N. Chiranjivi (Student, Andhra Sahitya Pathasala) and the other being a collection of seven one-Act plays by the Honourable Justic P. V. Rajamannar of the Madras High Court. Mr. Rajamannar is a linguist and a scholar. He is a Progressive one-act play-wright. He has studied various trends in Modern literature. He has written in the spoken 316

PWA language of Andhra. Some of his dramas, though in manuscript form, dealing with social themes with a p gressive outlook, have been very popular on the Telug stage. It has been decided to hold the 4th Provincial Confe­ rence of the A. P.W.A. at Madras in the first week of January, 1947.

Honourable Justice Rajamannar of the Madrass High

Court has agreed to preside over the coming Conference. Decision has been taken to invite Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, for opening the Conference and Sri Amrit Roy, Editor, "'Hansa" as the Chief speaker. C. PITCHAYYA Secretary.

Bezwada,

Andhra Provincial Progressive

24-1-1946.

Writers' Association, Bezwada.

BOMBAY P. W. A. in some ways the Bombay branch of the Writers' Association is unique. litterateurs who write' in Hindi, Kannada and in English.

Progressive

Among its members Urdu,

are

Gujerati, Marathi,

The well-known playwright Mama

Warerkar and the proletarian poet Anna Bhau Sathe of Marathi; Bakoolesh Swapnath, Bhogilal Gandhi of Gujerati; Narendra Sharma, Upendra Nath Ashk, Amritlal Nagar, Dr, S. C. Jain, Dr. Joshi, Bahaduur Singh, Rajeeva Saxena, Nemichand Jain, Balraj Sahni, Prem Dhawan of Hindi; Josh Malihabadi, Saghar Nizami, Krishna Chandra, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Sajjad Zaheer, Sahir, Ali Sardar Jafri, Kaifi, Adil, Quddoos etc. of Urdu, Dr. Mulk Raj Anand, Anil De Silva of English—to give only a few names—are all members of the 'Bombay Progressive Writers' Association. They all meet together in joint meetings and functions and also in separate language groups such as the Gujerati group and Urdu group.

317

PWA Secondly, Bombay has the advantage of receiving distinguished visitors, writers and artists from all parts of the country. The P.W.A. has often succeeded in utilising their visits by inviting them to its meetings. Mainly speaking, the activities of the Bombay P.W .A. can be divided into four categories : 1 . Regular Meetings : In which stories, poems, plays, reviews, parts of novels, etc., written by the members are read and discussed. The barrier of language is overcome by giving a brief resume or translation in English or Hindustani of the various writings for the benefit of those vvho do not understand the original. The Bombay P.W.A. has held nearly forty such meetings during the last two years under review. 2. Special functions are organised to celebrate impor­ tant days and anniversaries etc. We have observed Prem­ chand Day, Tagore Day, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee Day, Narmad Day, Gorki Day, Prussian Revolution Day, by our­ selves, and Iqbal, Ghalib and Shibli Days jointly with some local organisations, with which we have fraternal relations. We organised a Romain Holland evening and participated in the Nanalal Day when this great poet of Gujerat passed away last year. On Premchand, Tagore, Sarat and Gorki Days, speakers from various languages—specially Gujerati, Marathi, Hindi ahd Urdu, pointed out the influence each one of these great writers had on their respective languages. Very interesting and instructive discussion followed the speeches. 3. Welcoming visitors: Receptions to distinguished writers and artists coming to Bombay, whether frorti other provinces or from abroad, have been organised by us. During the last two years the Bombay P.W.A. has had the good fortune to receive in its midst Mahakavi Vallathoi of Malabar, M aha Dandit Rahul Sankrityayan, Moulvi Abdul Huq, Syt, Uday Shankar and his troupe, Prof. Hiren MukerjeSi, 318

PWA Syt. Suinitranandan Pant, Dr. Amiya Chal weekly journal—the best literary-weekly in Urdu. * (b) Regular weekly meetings for the last three and ' alf months—average attendance 25—mostly writers. Most of the above mentioned things were read and discussed in " these meetings. Practically all the Progressive Urdu writersof Bombay attend these meetings, A new feature has been introduced by Hamid Akhtar, the Secretary—the publication of the detailed proceedings of these meetings every week in "Nizam". These reports are read all over India with great interest and give impetusto the movement. 10. Poets like Josh, Saghar, Sahir, Kaifi, Majrooh, Jafri, Adil, Safdar, Nishat Qudoos Sehbai—writers like Kishan Chandar, Ahmed Abbas, Sajjad Zaheer, Upendra Nath Ashk, Madhoo Sodhan, etc. attend these meetings and read their latest works. 11. In these meetings are invited writers from other languages also. Prof. Hiren Mukherji on Bengali writings— 326

PWA Mulk Raj Anand introduced Ceylon's greatest painter George Keyt. Naya Adab, Urdu progressive writers' bi-monthly book will appear as a monthly from April 1947.

HINDI SECTION OF t H E U.P. PROGRESSIVE WRITERS' ASSOCIATION In U.P., apart from the old five branches of the P.W.A., functioning at Agra, Allahabad, Benares, Cawnpore and Lucknow, now a new branch has been started at Aligarh. The distinguishing feature of this branch is that in it we have got several eminent folk-poets of Aligarh, like Khem Singh Nagar, Kishanlal Bharadwaj, Moorhji and Saheb Singh Mehra. Besides being poets they are well-known kisan leaders of the district. They have written about the struggles of the kisans, and have already published two or three collections of their verses : "Lai Teer" (The Red Arrow), "Lai Tarang" (The Red Wave), etc. The Cawnpore branch had to struggle against heavy odds. The formation of the P.W.A. was unfortunately opposed by a section of the older writers and the Press they controlled. But the good work of the organisers, specially Sheeiji, Krishna Kumar Trivedi and Lalit Mohan Awasthi, and their strong links with the younger and promising writers and the local workers helped them to win over many opponents and silence the others. Besides usual meetings the local P.W.A. organised big Kavi Sammelans (Poetical recitations) which were attended by 15 to 20 thousand workers. It raised funds for Bengal relief and carried on a very successful campaign against burning of huge quantities of food and other materials by some reactionary Hindu Mahasabhites in the name of "Satkundi Yagna" for peace I Through an AllIndia Kavi Sammelan, presided over by the well-known Buddhist scholar, Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan, they collected Rs. 1,000 for "Sahityakar Sansad", an organisation started 327

PWA by the topmost Hindi writers lil

Shamsher

PWA 'Gujrati (33) Sjt. Gunwant Rai Acharya (Noveilst), Baitoolesh (Short Story Writer), (35)

(34) Sjt.

Sjt. Prahlad Parelch

(Poet), (36) Sjt. Bhogilal Gandhi (Poet), (37) Sjt. Swapnastha. £nglisii

(38) Mulk Raj Anand. [The last three pages of the booklet Contain the Mani­ festo and the constitution.

The Manifesto is already printed

in page 20 and the first part of the Constitution is to be found in Page 22.,S.P.] 5.

All-India Committee: (i)

The work of the Association shall be carried on bv an All-India Committee consisting of five represer tatives of each linguistic or regional branch.

(ii)

The All-India Committee shall

have powers to

co-opt members provided that the total membership of the Committee shall not exceed 100. (iii)

The All-India Committee shall be responsible for the policy and proper functioning of the Associa­ tion and shall supervise

the

linguistic and the

regional branches. (iv)

The All-India Committee shall meet at least once every year.

Provided that a meeting of the Commi­

ttee shall be convened if one-third of its members send in a written requisition. (v)

The quorum of the All-India Committee shall be one-third of the total membership and the notice of the meetings shall be sent at -least fifteen days before the date fixed.

(vi)

The All-India Committee shall appoint a Geners! Secretary and Executive Committee consisting of not more than fifteen members. 341

PWA 6.

Executive Committee : (i)

Tlie Executive Committee shall be responsible for the working of the Association according to the policy laid down by the All-India Committee.

(ii) . The Executive Committee shall meet at least once every three months. Provided that a meeting of the Executive Committee shall be convened if onethird of its members send in a written requisition. (iii)

7.

8.

The quorum of the Executive Committee shall be one-third of its total membership and the notice for the meetings shall be sent at least seven days before the date fixed. Provided that emergency meetings may be called at shorter notice.

General Secretary ; (i)

The General Secretary shall.carry on the day-to-day work of the Association and shall be responsible to the Executive Committee.

(ii)

The General Secretary shall be the convenor of the All-India Committee and the Executive Committee.

(iii)

The General Secretary shall have the charge of alt the papers and the funds of the Association and shall present a general report and an account of the funds at the annual meetings of the All-India Committee.

(iv)

The General Secretary shall be an Ex-officio mem­ ber of ail the sub-committees appointed by the All-India Committee or the Executive Committee.

Branches: (i)

Tha linguistic and the regional branches shall be responsible for the work of the Association within their areas and shall submit a quarterly report to the General Secretary to be put before the All-India Executive, and an annual report to be incorporated in the annual general report. 342

PWA

9.

(ii)

Tlie linguistic and the regional branches shall have the power to institute local or district branches within their areas, and to frame regulations for themselves and their branches in consonance with this constitution.

(iii)

Every linguistic or regional branch shall pay onefourth of its total income accruing from any source to the Central Office.

(iv)

The linguistic and regional branches shall receive one-fourth of the total income of the local or district branches.

Elections:

Elections to the All-India Committee, the All-India Executive, the Provincial Committees and the Branch Commi­ ttees shall be held annually. 10. Changes in the Constitution : (i)

The All-India Committee shall have the power to amend this constitution.

Printed by G.G. Pathare at Popular Printing Press, 103, Tardeo Road, Bombay and Published by S. S. Zaheer, General Secretary of the IPWA, Raj Bhavan, Sandhurst Road, Bombay-4. 343

ADDENDA

Hallet Circular File No. 7l9l36~HomelPolitical.

1936

Subject: Warning conveyed to Local Governments Regarding the Indian Progressive Writers' Association. From : the Secretary to the Government of India, Home Dept. to All Local Governments. I am desired to address you in connection with an organisation Known as the Progressive Writers' Association. This Association held its first conference at Lucknow simul­ taneously vvith the annual session of the Indian National Congress in April, 1936. Since then S. S. Zaheer and other members of the Executive Committee have been active in forming Local Branches of the Association and such branches are known to exist in Aligarh, Allahabad, Andhra, Calcutta, Delhi, Gujarat, Hyderabad (Deccan), Poona and the Punjab. The Association also has contacts in a numbeir of other educational centres. 2. This Association owes its origin to an Association of the same name formed in London about a year ago. The London Association is closely connected with and to a great extent controlled by the British Section of the International Union of Revolutionary writers. S. S. Zaheer, the Secretary of the Association in India, was one of the signatories to the original manifesto defining the aims of the Association when it was first started in London. 3. The proclaimed aims of tha Association are compa­ ratively innocuous and suggest that it concerns itself solely with the organisation of journalists and writers and the 344

PWA promotion of interest in literature of a progressive nature. The inspiration, however, comes from and it has c l o s e contacts with organisations and individuals who are in some cases avowed and active communists and i n others a r e advocating of policies akin to those of the communists. There is reason to believe that the Association has already attracted interest and some support from persons of an intel­ lectual type who are unlikely to have any s y m p a t h y with communism or other revolutionary theories. The Association is, however, a typical example of the methods, n o w being persued b y communists in all countries—in accordance with the current policy of the Communist I n t e r n a t i o n a l . This method is for a few convinced and trained C o m m u n i s t s to establish contacts with all sorts of organisations and societies having interest in intellectuals, cultural and social subjects with the object of spreading Communistic ideas and gaining converts. Though it is not suggested that the Indian Progressive Writers' Association as a body is necessarily a subversive or revolutionary organisation, it is desirable for the reasons given that its development should be watched with some suspicion and that it should be approached with caution by individuals who do not wish t o be involved in extremist left wing politics. I am desired to suggest, there­ fore, that suitable opportunities may be taken to convey, preferably in conversation friendly warnings about this Association to journalists, educationists and others who might be attracted b y its ostensible programme. Yours sincerely, Sd/- M. G. Hallet Home Secretary, Government o f India.

345

Cultural Crusade Against Fascism Andhra Progressive Writers' Confernce Rouses Mass Entiiusiasm Among People By E. Esawara

Progressive

tendencies

in

Rao

Telugu

literature can be

distinctly traced from the last two decades of the 19th TCentury. The outstanding figure of modern Telugu Literature Veeresalingam

made

use of literature for exposing and

eradicating the social evils prevalent in his day.

Soon after

him, Gurajada Apparao dominated Andhra writers and readers, made it plain beyond ail doubt that literature divorced from realism was of no avail.

Simultaneously, Gidugu Rama-

murty, the champion of spoken Telugu in writing, as against the traditional modes of expression, has been chiefly res­ ponsible for the quick and large increase in the numberof readers and writers in Andhra.

It can be said without fear

of contradiction that literature, once the hobby of a few intellectuals and of the aristocracy, became

through his

efforts predominantly a middle-class affair. But, unfortunately, the ideals of these pioneers, though formally accepted by many "Modern writers" who in fact claim themselves to be the successors of the Gurajada and Gidugu Schools of thought, have abandoned by degrees, realism and simplicity for which their great preceptors so boldly stood out. Pessimism, pedantry, pornography and all the evils of the old literature have again crept into much modern Telugu writing. This state of affairs is a great hindrance in the progress of Andhra literature. However, the growth of political consciousness in the country, the influence of radical foreign literature and thedevelopment of the popular movements based on socialism have been factors which helped the revival of progressive 346

PWA literature in Andhra as elsewhere in India. There have arisen among Telugu writers certain progressive groups who have made a break with escapist literature and have introduced realism in their writings. They believe that litera­ ture must deal with the problems which face millions of our countrymen,^nd it must also be a weapon in the struggle of these millions for political and social emancipation. Recently these writers of Andhra have succeeded in forming a Progressive Writers' Association covering all Andhra ; and in some places, district committees have also been set up which are functioning already. They have decided to publish a magazine as an organ of the Andhra Progressive Writers' Association. Likewise each district committee hopes to run a manuscript magazine of its own. Writers'

Conference

• The first Andhra

Progressive

Writers'Conference which met at Tenali on 13th and 14th of February was great success.

The Veteran journalist and

critic Sri Thapi Dharmarao, President of the Conference, declared that literature should play its part in moulding the destinies of the society it serves.

It exho/ted the writers

belonging to the "Old Schools" to support this movement vvhich endeavours to struggle against the forces of reaction. Sri Madhavaraya Sarrna, Principal of a Sanskrit college and a well-known scholar of sanskrit and Telugu, and Sri Venkatanarasayya who holds the title 'Krshaka Kavi' (peasant poet) both of whom belonged to the old school of appreciated the progressive

thought,

ideals of the Association and

advised the progressive writers to carry an their work with unflinching zeal. Tha most interesting

item of the Conference was the

recital of poems and songs.

I felt envious, when I read

sometime agao in'People's War' an account of the poets' Conference held in Bombay and doubted if we Andhras could ever dream of such a thing—but

I felt proud of the

Andhra People's patriotic talent when for two whole evening at Tenali listened to their fervent poems and songs. A young 347

PWA boy in liis teens, a muslim writer who recited an inspiring poem in urdu, a poem about the famous fight of IVIunagala peasants for their rights. All drew a chorus of applause from the audience numbering about 1500 of ail classes of peoples. These poets unlike their predecessors, did not lose touch with realities. They did not ignore the problems that face them. They condemned the fascists, the destroyers of cultufa and progress with all the strength they could command. They impressed upon their listeners ,the fact that humanity could be saved from the impending catastrophe by India's active and willing participation in the war which is only possible when its leaders are released and a national govern­ ment established. People sat spellbound listening to these young posts whose sincerefy and intensity of feeling was apparent. Andhra has never known a Writers' Conference to arouse so much enthusiasm. Never before have the common folk been attracted to such extent by a literary conference. Ho wonder that the progressive writers of Andhra claim that they write for the masses—(People's War—March 28,1943).

Manifesto of the Progressive Writers' Association (Adopted at the Fourth All-India Conference held in Bombay in May 1943) In this period of grave peril, it is the supreme ta?!c of Indian progressive writers to spiritually sustain the nation ; it is their duty to fortify the will and the morale of our people so that the day of our freedom shall be hastened, sd that Our culture and civilisation may be preserved and developed and so that we may emerge out of this epoch of storm and stress, united, strong and free. The progressive writers have always stood for the freedom of India, an equitable and just social and economic 348

PWA order; they have also fought all forms of social reaction and obscurantist tendencies in thought. They have conceived of Indian freedom as an integral part of world freedom ; and while proclaiming the inalienable right of our people to be free from all forms of imperialist domination, have taken their stand against Fascism—which is nothing but the most violent phase of the imperialist system. Wheri the old familiar world is crashing down around us and values so long cherished need to be reoriented, the writer, if he is to be true to his vocation, must align himself with the people. This is not to deny that writing is a craft with a long and unique tradition ; this is not to harbour the illusion that new cultures spring full-bodied into existence at the word of command. But when society is in travail, the writer in his own interest must come out of his ivory tower. If we think of the few elect as the guardians of our cultural heritage, they will be surely bludgeoned into uneasy sub­ mission to the powers of evil, as has happend under fascism to countries that have got its cruel taint. Soviet example tells us how revolution gives men the chance of bringing dignity and civilisation into the common possession. Our country is in the grip o f one of the greatest crises of its history. On the one hand an alien imperialist bureau­ cracy, brutal and inefficient, refuses to part with power, on tha other hand, rapacious and blood-thirsty Japanese Fascism knocks at our eastern frontiers. Thousands of Indian patriots languish in imperialist prisons, while fascist bombs rain in Assam and Bengal. Food and cloth become more and more scarce. Acute shortage of paper and other reqisites needed for printing books and periodicals has created a situation very alarming to the normal development of our cultural activities. .Production is getting disorganised. The entire economic structure of our society is threatened with disin­ tegration, Inheritors traditions

of

of

the

great

humanist and liberty-loving

Rabindranath Tagore and Iqbal, the Indian 349

PWA progressive writers tal