Home English Articles CPI founder SA Dange pleaded mercy from the British reveals 1924 letter

CPI founder SA Dange pleaded mercy from the British reveals 1924 letter


In the letter, the Communist leader SA Dange vouches for his subservience and loyalty towards the British crown in exchange for his release from imprisonment.

Communist Party of India (CPI) founder SA Dange’s mercy petitions to the British in 1924 reveals the Communists subservience to the British from their early days. The CPI was founded in 1920 and even during their first steps into the polity of the country, the panicky leadership of the CPI had written apology letters to the British district administration and the governor general over their involvement in the Bolshevik Conspiracy case in Cawnpore (Kanpur).

In the letter addressed to the The District Magistrate of Cawnpore, Shripad Dange and Nalini Das Gupta (co-founder of CPI) agree to give an undertaking to Government not to commit any more offences, for which they were convicted. They then grovellingly request the government to release them as soon as possible as they are ‘undergoing suffering which they cannot sustain’. “We shall be personally thankful to you if you will arrange with Government for our petition being granted”, pleads their letter. 

Communist leaders SA Dange and Nalini Gupta’s letter of undertaking to Cawnpore District Magistrate

It is ideal to remember that it is the present day CPI(M) which foul-mouths Veer Savarkar who suffered untold miseries in the Cellular Jail in Andaman for decades. The Communist leaders were jailed in a regular jail for their involvement in the Bolshevik revolution in India which was triggered in Russia. He and others were charged with seeking “to deprive the King Emperor of his sovereignty of British India”.

In another letter addressed to the Governor General of India SA Dange, prays for the remission of his sentences in the Bolshevik Conspiracy case. He tries to make a case for pardon by using a side talk he had with a counsel who had told him that the administration did not have much proof of the Bolshevik Conspiracy in India. He then goes on to question his relationship with another top communist leader MN Roy.

He then writes, “If your Excellency is pleased to think that I should use that position (as influential Communist leader) for the good of Your Excellencies Government and the country, I should be glad to do so, if I am given the opportunity by Your Excellency granting my prayer for release.” He then submits that the imprisonment has brought a ‘salutory (sic) change in his attitude towards the King Emperor’s sovereignty in India’. “I beg to inform Your Excellency that those years are unnecessary as I have never been positively disloyal towards His Majesty in my writing or speeches nor do I intend to be so in future.”, pleads SA Dange in the same letter which he signs off as ‘Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant’.

Copy of SA Dange letter to British Governor General pleading for his subservience and release from imprisonment

These letters were first made public by The Current, a Bombay magazine which published these letters in 1964. The expose had the Communists grapple among themselves which resulted in a power struggle. Dange who was the supreme leader of the CPI, used his influence as Chairman of the party to denounce the letters as a forgery through the Secretariat. But the other Communist leaders and cadre did not buy this move and this started a power struggle which resulted in the splitting of the party. Dange’s opponents exploited the letters and called for his removal from the leadership and also to investigate his submission of co-operating with the British.



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