Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India, Ceylon and Burma
Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India, Ceylon and Burma (BLPI) was a revolutionary Trotskyist party which campaigned for independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 and socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...



The BLPI was formed in 1942 as a unification of two India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n groups (the Bolshevik Leninist Party of the United Provinces and Bihar and the Bolshevik Mazdoor Party of India), with the Lanka Sama Samaja Party
Lanka Sama Samaja Party
The Lanka Sama Samaja Party is a Trotskyist political party in Sri Lanka....

 of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. It was recognized as the Indian section of the Fourth International
Fourth International
The Fourth International is the communist international organisation consisting of followers of Leon Trotsky , with the declared dedicated goal of helping the working class bring about socialism...


The BLPI remained a very small party during world War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, far from the expectations of a massive united revolutionary party for the entire Subcontinent
A subcontinent is a large, relatively self-contained landmass forming a subdivision of a continent. By dictionary entries, the term subcontinent signifies "having a certain geographical or political independence" from the rest of the continent, or "a vast and more or less self-contained subdivision...

. 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.

Quit India

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
United front
The united front is a form of struggle that may be pursued by revolutionaries. The basic theory of the united front tactic was first developed by the Comintern, an international communist organisation created by revolutionaries in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.According to the theses of...

 with the Congress Socialist Party
Congress Socialist Party
The Congress Socialist Party was founded in 1934 as a socialist caucus within the Indian National Congress. Its members rejected what they saw as the anti-rational mysticism of Mohandas Gandhi as well as the sectarian attitude of the Communist Party of India towards the Congress Party...

, the Revolutionary Socialist Party
Revolutionary Socialist Party (India)
Revolutionary Socialist Party is a Marxist-Leninist political party in India. The party was founded on March 19, 1940 and has its roots in the Bengali liberation movement Anushilan Samiti and the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army. The party got around 0,4% of the votes and three seats in the Lok...

 and the Forward Block. The front distributed leaflets and carried out sabotage. In South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

 and Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

 the BLPI distributed leaflets and led demonstrations.

Bombay Mutiny

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
Hartal is a term in many Indian languages for strike action, used often during the Indian Independence Movement. It is mass protest often involving a total shutdown of workplaces, offices, shops, courts of law as a form of civil disobedience...

 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. The main leaders of LSSP, N.M. Perera and Philip Gunawardena
Philip Gunawardena
Don Philip Rupasinghe Gunawardena introduced Trotskyism to Sri Lanka, where he is a national hero, known as 'the Father of Socialism' and as 'the Lion of Boralugoda'.-Early life & education:...

, 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
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 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
Bolshevik Samasamaja Party
The Bolshevik Samasamaja Party was the Ceylon section Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India, Ceylon and Burma after 1945 and of the Fourth International in 1948-1950, after the dissolution of the BLPI....

, the Ceylon section of the Fourth International.

Post-war India

The remainder of the BLPI in India was concentrated in Calcutta, Madras and Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

, where the party was active in trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 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
Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway
The Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway was a railway company that operated in southern India. It was founded on January 1, 1908, by merging the Madras Railway and the Southern Mahratta Railway. Initially, its headquarters was at Royapuram in Madras but later shifted to a newly constructed...

 Workers' Union.

In 1948, the Fourth International asked the party to enter the Socialist Party of India and practice entryism
Entryism is a political tactic by which an organisation or state encourages its members or agents to infiltrate another organisation in an attempt to gain recruits, or take over entirely...


Leaders and important members

  • Philip Gunawardena
    Philip Gunawardena
    Don Philip Rupasinghe Gunawardena introduced Trotskyism to Sri Lanka, where he is a national hero, known as 'the Father of Socialism' and as 'the Lion of Boralugoda'.-Early life & education:...

  • Dr N. M. Perera
    N. M. Perera
    Nanayakkarapathirage Martin Perera, better known as Dr. N. M. Perera, was one of the leaders of the Sri Lankan Trotskyist Lanka Sama Samaja Party...

  • Dr Colvin R. de Silva
    Colvin R. de Silva
    Colvin R. de Silva was a former Cabinet Minister of Plantation Industries and Constitutional Affairs, prominent member of parliament, Trotskyist leader and lawyer in Sri Lanka. He was one of the founders of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party – the first Marxist party in Sri Lanka.-Personal...

  • S. C. C. Anthonypillai
  • Kamalesh Bannerji
  • Onkarnath Shastri
  • Chandravadan Shukla
  • Raj Narayan Arya
  • Leslie Goonewardena
  • Vivienne Goonewardena
    Vivienne Goonewardena
    Violet Vivienne Goonewardena was a Sri Lankan pioneer socialist and feminist. Her life and politics were shaped by the most interesting times of the Sri Lankan Left and she was in turn one of its more colourful personalities.-Political beginnings:Goonewardena was drawn into politics while still...

  • Kusuma Gunawardena
  • Edmund Samarakkody
    Edmund Samarakkody
    Edmund Samarakkody was a leading Trotskyist in Sri Lanka and at one time a member of that country's parliament. He was a leader of the Fourth International's section, the LSSP, and a supporter of the establishment of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International in 1963...

  • Bernard Soyza
  • Hector Abhayavardhana
    Hector Abhayavardhana
    Hector Abhayavardhana is a Sri Lankan Trotskyist theoretician, a long-standing member of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and a founder-member of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India, Ceylon and Burma.-Early life:...

  • Vinayak Purohit
  • Raghuvir Kodial

External links

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