M N Roy was one of the original thinker and revolutionary India had produced in the last century. His life was extraordinary; in a sense of his revolutionary ideas, his success and in the end transformation from Radical Communism to Radical Humanism. When Nehru; himself an author of more than hundred books met him very first time in 1930 in Bombay after his escape from the Soviet Union he was impressed with him, he writes “I was attracted to him by his remarkable intellectual capacity.”

M N Roy with Lenin and other politburo members.

He was a revolutionary, to procure arms to start an arm revolution in India in 1918 he landed in Mexico and formed ‘Communist International’. Later he was invited to Russian, in 1920 he reached Russia. Being a communist revolutionary he was given a copy of Lenin’s ‘Preliminary Draft Theses on the National & Colonial Questions’. Roy critically reviewed Lenin’s work and wrote his own supplementary to Lenin’s thesis. Which was adopted by the Comintern alongwith Lenin’s theses. He was the first and the only Indian to be the member of Communist Politburo. Being well aware of Muslim and Islam and very close to Lenin he was given responsibility to spread communism among Muslim dominated Central Asian countries and in China. Which he failed to deliver though. Roy established Indian Communist Party in Tashkent, present day in Uzbekistan, and formed an Indian military academy to train Indians-in-exile in communist ideology and military tactics. He tried to invade India (British rule) with the help of soviet army through Afghanistan.

M N Roy standing in the centre with other international communist members.

After the death of Lenin, Stalin grabbed the power and he started transforming international Communist revolution in to a pure Russian one. Including Roy, he kicked out many opponent from the Comintern; a central decision making soviet committee. MN Roy felt the heat, out of fear to become a target of Stalins’ secret police initially he fled to Germany from Soviet Union. Later he arrived in India, where he was considered a soviet spy by the British and sent to the prison. Later he formulated his famous book on Islam, ‘The Historical Role of Islam’. The book gives an idea of his knowledge and understanding of the political Islam. The book is historical and worth reading, being a revolutionary he touched the revolutionary aspect of Islam. He dedicated a chapter on ‘Islam in India’.

The photograph of Roy’s book.

Our thought evolves according to our experience of life. So the ideology of MN Roy evolved, he moved from Communism to Humanism and died as a humanist. Just to let readers know, he was the person who influenced famous Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz to become a force of communism. Faiz Ahmed Faiz was also not immune to the evolution of thought. In the last decade of his life, once he was asked by a reporter ‘if he regret anything?’ Genius of Urdu poetry of his time replied ‘he regret not memorising full Quran’.

With Permission from History of Indian Subcontinent