Author: Ashok S Chousalkar
Publisher: National Book Trust
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788123773612
Shripad Amrut Dange played a significant role in the Indian Communist movement as well as in the Trade Union movement. As a disciple of Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, he took part in the Indian Freedom movement and was imprisoned for 13 years. He was instrumental in making textile mill workers of Bombay the strong arm of working class movement in India.
A keen student of Indian history, culture and literature, he sought to understand early Indian history through the Marxist perspective. He did not favor blind imitation of the Soviet or the Chinese model of development and held that every country should evolve its own model of development with genius of its people.
FROM THE BOOK INTRODUCTION:
In the history of Indian Communist movement, Comrade Shripad Amrut Dange has played an important role. He led the trade union movement for almost 40 years. He was a great freedom fighter who spent 13 long years in the prime of his life in jail during the pre-independence period and another 4 years after independence. He was associated with the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) since its inception on 31 October 1920 and organized the Bombay textile mill workers under the banner of the Girni Kamgar Union. It was under his leadership that the textile workers fought many a memorable battle for various important causes. He was one of the founders of the Communist Party of India and went on to become its Chairman.
He was closely associated with International Trade Union Movement and became the Vice-President of International Trade Union Congress. He was one of the most popular leaders of the CPI (Communist Party of India). He was twice elected to the Lok Sabha and distinguished himself as a great parliamentarian. He was an intellectual who wrote extensively on ancient and modern Indian history, world communist movement, language, literature and culture of Maharashtra and trade union movement. He was a gifted orator and fearless leader who led the workers from the front during the INA (Indian National Army) revolt in 1946.
Shripad Amrut Dange began his political career in 1920 as an ardent follower of Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi. In 1921, he wrote a book called 'Lenin vs. Gandhi' to make a comparative study of the political methods and ideas of the two leaders. Slowly, he came under the influence of the Socialist ideology and formed a group of like-minded friends. Later, he was closely associated with various activities of the CPI and the AITUC. Thus, his life goes parallel with the history of the Communist Party of India. In 1974, he received the prestigious Lenin award at the hands of the Soviet President Podgorny.
Dange had a mind of his own and at many times he stood his ground against his formidable opponents. It was his belief that the Indian Communists should take part in the Indian National Movement because imperialism was the principal enemy of the Indian masses. He understood the importance of Indian National Movement whose leaders like Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru had deep roots in the masses. He maintained that due to weakness of the Indian Communist Movement, emancipation of the masses from capitalism and feudalism could not be achieved. He also pointed out that India could not blindly imitate the Soviet or the Chinese experiment of revolution as every country had to forge its own path of revolution appropriate to the genius of its people.
Dange took part in various peasant movements as well as Goa liberation movement. He was an important leader of Samyukta Maharashtra Movement which was launched to establish unilingual state of Marathi speaking people with Bombay as its Capital. It is his statesmanship, ability to mobilize thousands of textile workers on the streets of Bombay and fearlessness that helped Maharashtra secure Bombay as its capital. He was an exceptionally talented speaker, especially in Marathi language. Due to his colorful personality and many qualities of head and heart, he became a legend in his lifetime and figured as one of the key characters in some Marathi novels.
Dange has made immense intellectual contribution and therefore his name is included as one of the leading intellectuals of modern Maharashtra along with Dr B. R. Ambedkar, Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. In the present volume, an attempt is made to briefly describe the political biography of Comrade Shripad Amrut Dange, story of whose life would give inspiration to coming generations.
1. Childhood and Education
2. Early Political Activities
3. Dange and the Birth of the Communist Party
4. The Kanpur Case and After
5. Dange and the Textile Workers' Movement in Bombay
6. The Meerut Case and Imprisonment
7. Dange and the Communist Movement
8. In Jail Again
9. Ideological Struggle and After
10. The New Beginning
11. Dange in the Parliament
12. The Chinese Invasion and Dange
13. The Split in the Communist Party and After
14. Dange and New Experiment in Politics
15. Emergency and After
16. Social and Political Ideas of Dange