I graduated from the Arts Faculty with Honours from the Presidency College in 1935. It had already been decided that I would go to the U.K. and return as a barrister. I did not oppose the idea either. Father suggested that since I was going to the U.K. then I might as well appear for the ICS also. I set out for the U.K. after my graduation results were out in 1935; I reached the shores for the Kingdom by the end of the year. Little did I realize that something great was going to happen to me; a realization which went far beyond studying law.
I reached London. I was all set to become a barrister. Following father’s advice, I appeared for the ICS examination the next year but could not make it. My law studies continued.
I was initiated to international politics in London. Entire Europe was restive; Fascist Mussolini had wrested power in Italy. In 1922, within a year of my reaching London, he was in control of Abyssinnia too. In Germany, Hitler, after going control of power, was casting lustful eyes at the entire world. On the other hand, the Socialist Soviet Russia had been trying to align its economic policies with Fascism. Japan had already attacked China.
Politics was a hot topic of discussion at all the Universities in England. Professor Harold Laski was drawing huge crowds with his anti-Fascist lectures. I had also become one with the progressive forces. I was reading a lot on Fascism. We Indian students were at the some time trying to generate public opinion on the movement back home. Krishna Menon was the leader of India League. In later Independent India, was a minister in Nehru’s cabinet for a long time. It was under his leadership that we took to our movement to London. Later my personal relationship with him deepened. All the Indian students co-operated with him without reservations.
In 1936, Bhupesh Gupta came to study in London. With he was lodged in Behrampur Jail, he had graduated in arts; he was that intelligent. He also arrived in London to study law.
It was at a house in London that I met Bhupesh, his enthusiasm was contagious. Bhupesh had brought along with him a letter written to the Great Britain Communist Party leadership. Snehangshu Acharya was also present in London at that time. We met Britain’s top Communist leaders Harry Polit, Rajani Palme Dutt, Ben Bradley and others. The British Communist leadership actively helped the India League and the Indian Students.
I would like to mention here the role of two leaders of the British Communist Party; Bradley and Michele Karrit Bradley had even come to India to help the Communist movement here. He had a significant involvement in the Labour Movement too. Though he was an Englishman, he had to spend some time in India jails for his involvement in the Meerut conspiracy case. We can never forget or ignore the role of this Englishman in India’s Freedom struggle and the spread of socialism here. Karrit, on the other hand, was a top Imperial Civil Service Officer. He was even secretary to the Governor of undivided Bengal for sometimes. Once his political inclinations became public, he resigned. Some idea about his contribution to the Indian Communist Movement can be gauged from his book, ‘ Mole in the Crown’. We received all out support from leaders like these.
Hiren Mukherjee, Sajjab Zahir, Dr. Z.A. Ahmed and Niharendu Dutta Majumdar had left Britain for India in the meantime. Their absence was felt by us dearly; in fact, our enthusiasm had ebbed somewhat. We realized with the void had to be filled. Indian students at London, Cambridge and Oxford formed their own Communist groups. The British leadership advised us not to hold public meetings because the British Raj in India had already banned the Communist Party. We started attending Marxist Study circles. Our teachers were Harry Pollit, Rajani Palma Dutt, Clemens Dutt and Bradley. The entire world was by then in a tizzy. There was a civil war in Spain; all progressive forces were coming together against the dictatorial rule of Franco. An International Brigade had been set up to fight this Fascist attitude. Ralph Fox, Chirstopher Codwell and other eminent communist intellectuals had started going to Spain. Incidentally ‘For whom The Bell Toll’s by Ernest Hemingway was based on this struggle. I was getting more and more involved; deep inside; I would realize everything changing. Marxist literature and the contemporay political happenings of the world were fast pulling me into the mainstream of politics.