MANIFESTO OF THE HINDUSTAN SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ASSOCIATION*
[ Prepared by B.C. Vohra, it was widely distributed at the time of the Lahore Session of the Congress in 1929.]
“The food on which the tender plant of liberty thrives
is the blood of the martyr.”
FOR DECADES THIS LIFE BLOOD TO THE PLANT OF India’s liberty is being supplied by revolutionaries. There are few to question the magnanimity of the noble ideals they cherish and the grand sacrifices they have offered, but their normal activities being mostly secret the country is in dark as to their present policy and intentions. This has necessitated the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association to issue this manifesto.
This association stands for revolution in India in order to liberate her from foreign domination by means of organised armed rebellion. Open rebellion by a subject people must always in the nature of things be preceded by secret propaganda and secret propaganda and secret preparations. Open rebellion by a subject people must always in the nature of things be preceded by secret propaganda and secret preparations. Once a country enters that phase the task of an alien government becomes impossible. It might linger on for a number of years but its fate is sealed. Human nature, with all its prejudices and conservatism, has a sort of instinctive dread for revolution. Upheavals have always been a terror to holders of power and privilege. Revolution is a phenomenon which nature loves and without which there can be no progress either in nature or in human affairs. Revolution is a phenomenon which nature loves and without which there can be no progress either in nature or in human affairs. Revolution is certainly not unthinking, brutal campaign of murder and incendiarism; it is not a few bombs thrown here and a few shots fired there; neither it is a movement to destroy all ramnants of civilisation and blow to pieces time honoured principles of justice and equity. Revolution is not a philosophy of despair or a creed of desperadoes. Revolution may be anti-God but is certainly not anti-Man. It is a vital, living force which is indicative of eternal conflict between the old and the new, between life and living death, between life and living death, between light and darkness. There is no concord, no symphony, no rhythm without revolution. ‘The music of the spheres’ of which poets have sung, would remain an unreality if a ceaseless revolution were to be eliminated from the space. Revolution is Law, Revolution is Order and Revolution is the Truth.
The youths of our nation have realised this truth. They have learnt painfully the lesson that without revolution there is no possibility of enthroning order, law and love in place of chaos and legal vandalism and hatred which are reigning supreme today. Let no one, in this blessed land of ours, run with the idea that the youths are irresponsible. They know where they stand. None knows better than their own selves, that their path is not strewn with roses. Form time to time they have paid a fairly decent price for their ideals. It does not, therefore, lie in the mouth of anybody to say that youthful impetuosity has feasted upon platitudes. It is no good to hurl denunciatory epithets at our ideology. It is enough to know that our ideas are sufficiently active and powerful to drive us on aye even to gallows.
It has become a fashion these days to indulge in wild and meaningless talk of non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi is great and we mean no disrespect to him if we express our emphatic disapproval of the methods advocated by him for our country’s emancipation. We would be ungrateful to him if we do not salute him for the immense awakening that has been brought about be his non-cooperation movement in the country. But to us the Mahatma is an impossible visionary. Non-violence may be a noble ideal, but is a thing of the morrow. We can, situated as we are, never hope to win our freedom by mere nonviolence. The world is armed to the very teeth. And the world is too much with us. All talk of peace may be sincere, but such false ideology. What logic, we ask, is there in asking the country to traverse a non-violent path when the world atmosphere is surcharged with violence and exploitation of the weak? We declare with all the emphasis we can command that the youths of the nation cannot be lured by such midsummer night’s dreams.
We believe in violence, not as an end itself but as a means to a noble end. And the votaries of non-violence, as also the advocates of caution and circumspection, will readily grant this much at least that we know how to suffer for and to act upto our convictions. Shall we here recount all those sacrifices which our comrades have offered at the altar of our common Mother? Many a heart-rending and soul-stirring scene has been enacted inside the four walls of His Majesty’s prison. We have been taken to task for our terroristic policy. Our answer is that terrorism is never the object of revolutionaries, nor do they believe that terrorism alone can bring independence. No doubt the revolutionaries think, and rightly, that it is only by resorting to terrorism alone that they can find a most effective means of retaliation. The British government exists, because the Britishers have been successful in terrorising the whole of India. How are we to meet this official terrorism? Only counter-terrorism on the part of revolutionaries can checkmate effectively this bureaucratic bullying. A feeling of utter helplessness pervades society. How can we overcome this fatal despondency? It is only by infusing a real spirit of sacrifice that lost self-confidence can be restored. Terrorism has its international aspect also. England’s enemies, which are many, are drawn towards us by effective demonstration of our strength. That in itself is a great advantage.
Indian is writhing under the yoke of imperialism. Her teeming millions are today a helpless prey to poverty and ignorance. Foreign domination and economic exploitation have unmanned the vast majority of the people who constitute the workers and peasants of India. The position of the Indian proletariat is, today, extremely critical. It has a double danger to face. It has to bear to onslaught of foreign capital on the other. The latter is showing a progressive tendency to joint forces with the former. The leaning of certain politicians in favour of dominion status shows clearly which way the wind blows. Indian capital is preparing to betray the masses into the hands of foreign capitalism and receive as a price of this betrayal, a little share in the government of the country. The hope of the proletariat is, therefore, now centred on socialism which alone can lead to the establishment of complete independence and the removal of all social distinction and privileges.
The future of India rests with the youths. They are the salt of the earth. Their promptness to suffer, their daring courage and their radiant sacrifice prove that India’s future in their hands is perfectly safe. In a moment of realisation the late Deshbandhu Dass said: “The youths are at once the hope and glory of the Motherland. Theirs is the inspiration behind the movement. Theirs is the sacrifice. Theirs is the victory. They are torch-bearers on the road to freedom. They are the pilgrims on the road to liberty.”
Youths, ye soldiers of the Indians Republic, fall in: do not stand easy, do not let your knees tremble. Shake off the paralysing effects of long lethargy. Yours is a noble mission. Go out into every nook and corner of the country and prepare the ground for future revolution which is sure to come. Respond to the clarion call of duty. Do not vegetable. Grow! Every minute of your life you must think of devising means of that this your ancient land may arise with flaming eyes and fierce yawn. Sow the seeds of disgust and hatred agains British imperialism in the fertile minds of your fellow youths. And the seeds shall sprout and there shall grow a jungle of sturdy trees, because you shall water the seeds with your warm blood. Then a grim and terrible earthquake having a universally destructive potentiality shall inevitably come along with portentous rumblings, and this edifice of imperialism will crash and crumble to dust, and great shall be the fall therefore. And then, and not till then, a new Indian nation shall arise and surprise humanity with the splendour and glory, all its own. The wise and the mighty shall be bewildered by the simple and the weak.
Individual liberty shall be safe. The sovereignty of the proletariat shall be recognised. We court the advent of such revolution. Long Live Revolution!