Bolshevik–Leninist Party of India, Ceylon and Burma
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The BLPI was formed in 1942 as a unification of two Indian groups (the Bolshevik Leninist Party of the United Provinces and Bihar and the Bolshevik Mazdoor Party of India), with the Lanka Sama Samaja Party of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). It was recognized as the Indian section of the Fourth International.
The BLPI remained a very small party during world War II, far from the expectations of a massive united revolutionary party for the entire Subcontinent. Most probably no branch ever existed in Burma, the inclusion of Burma in the party name was more of an expression of an intention to expand there.
In Sri Lanka, LSSP had been very active before the war, but the suppression of the party by the colonial authorities and the exile of various leaders to India weakened it severely. Also, the decision to merge LSSP with BLPI was not well established with the primary leaders of the party, who were in British jails. In India, BLPI had activities in a few areas. Many of the activists were exiled LSSPers who were concentrated in Bombay.
The BLPI took part vigorously in the Quit India movement. It brought out leaflets and posters giving unconditional support to the movement. It went even further, calling for the troops to revolt. In Bombay the party recruited student activists and organised strikes, as well as influencing Congress propaganda.
In Calcutta the BLPI joined a United Front with the Congress Socialist Party, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Block. The front distributed leaflets and carried out sabotage. In South India, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar the BLPI distributed leaflets and led demonstrations.
In 1946, ratings in the Royal Indian Navy in Bombay mutinied. The only political party to give unconditional support to the revolt was the BLPI. As soon as it got news of the revolt it came out with a call for a Hartal in support of the mutineers. BLPI members Prabhakar More and Lakshman Jadhav led the textile workers out on strike. Barricades were set up and held for three days. However, attempts to contact the mutineers were foiled by British troops.
Post-war Sri Lanka
After the war, when the Lankans returned home, they came back to a divided movement. Two of the main leaders of LSSP, N.M. Perera and Philip Gunawardena, had been released from jail. They now reconstructed LSSP as an independent party, the core being the 'Workers' Opposition' faction, which held the trade unions. Effectively there were two parallel LSSPs, one led by Perera and Gunawardena and the BLPI-section led by Colvin R de Silva, Leslie Goonawardena and Edmund Samarakkoddy, which had been formed around the Bolshevik-Leninist Faction of Doric de Souza. The English language organ of the BLPI-section was Fight. There was a brief reconciliation between the two factions in 1946.
The BLPI section contested the 1947 election, in which it gained 5 seats in Parliament, compared to the LSSP's 10. The Ceylon section of BLPI was converted into the Bolshevik Samasamaja Party, the Ceylon section of the Fourth International.
The remainder of the BLPI in India was concentrated in Calcutta, Madras and Madurai, where the party was active in trade union work. In 1946 SCC Anthonypillai, one of the Sri Lankans, was elected President of the Madras Labour Union (India's oldest union) and the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Workers' Union.
- Ervin, W E, Tomorrow is Ours: The Trotskyist Movement in India and Ceylon, 1935-48, Colombo, Social Scientists Association, 2006.
Leaders and important members
- Leslie Goonewardena
- Vivienne Goonewardena
- Dr Colvin R. de Silva
- Edmund Samarakkody
- S. C. C. Anthonypillai
- Kamalesh Bannerji
- Onkarnath Shastri
- Doric de Souza
- Philip Gunawardena
- Dr N. M. Perera
- Chandravadan Shukla
- Raj Narayan Arya
- Kusuma Gunawardena
- Bernard Soyza
- Hector Abhayavardhana
- Vinayak Purohit
- Raghuvir Kodial