The Congress Socialist Party (CSP) was founded in 1934 as a socialist caucus within the Indian National Congress [INC].

The Congress Socialist Party was founded by radical and young congressmen who during their long terms of imprisonment in the Civil Disobedience Movement came into contact with Marxist ideas.

The Congress Socialists belonged to the westernized middle class.

They practiced Marxian Socialism, Congress Nationalism and liberal democracy of the West.

J.P Narayan and Minoo Masani were released from jail in April 1934.

J. P Narayan convened a meeting in Patna on 17 May 1934, which founded the Bihar Congress Socialist Party.

J. P Narayan became general secretary of the party and Acharya Narendra Deva became president.

The Patna meeting gave a call for a socialist conference which would be held in connection to the Congress Annual Conference.

At this conference, held in Bombay October 22-23 October 1934, they formed a new All India party, the Congress Socialist Party.

J. P Narayan became the general secretary of the party and Masani joint secretary.

In the new party, the greeting ‘comrade‘ was used.

Minoo Masani mobilized the party in Bombay, whereas Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya and Puroshottam Trikamdas organized the party in other parts of Maharashtra.

The constitution of the CSP defined that the members of CSP were the members of the Provisional Congress Socialist Parties and that they were all required to be members of the Indian National Congress.

In 1936 the Communists joined CSP, as part of the Popular Front strategy of the Comintern.

In some states, like Kerala and Orissa, communists came to dominate CSP.

In fact, communists dominated the entire Congress in Kerala through its hold of CSP at one point.

The CSP had adopted Marxism in 1936.

The Congress Socialist Party wanted to change the society only gradually and by way of introducing social reforms.

They were more under the influence of Western liberalism rather than Marxian Communism.

They did not agree with Marx that reforms and changes can come only by violent means. However, they continued to link their philosophy with Indian nationalism.

They did not support the ideas of Congress to extend conditional support to the British Government during the Second World War.

They started mass revolutionary activities and it considerably increased during the Quit India Movement.

The Congress Socialist Party served as a rallying point for all the radical elements and at the same time it organized the peasant’s movement and brought about a union between various trade unions.

Of course, the Socialists in India did not pursue one common ideology because it consisted of Marxists like J.P. Narayan and Narendra Dev, Socialist Democrats like M.R. Masani, Gandhian like Patwardhan and Populist like Dr. Ram Monohar Lohia.


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