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dated January 29, 1954: M.N. Roy Dead

On the 25th, the death occurred of Radical Democrat leader Mr. M. N. Roy, at his Dehra Dun home following cerebral thrombosis. Mr. Roy, 61, had been seriously ill for three months. His real name was Narendranath Bhattacharya. M.N. Roy joined the revolutionary movement in India in 1903. He was prosecuted for political dacoity in 1906. He figured in the Howrah Conspiracy Case in 1908, and in the Garden Reach Dacoity case in 1914.

When World War broke out in 1914, he went to China and America and then to Mexico where he established the Communist Party. Called to Russia by Lenin himself, Roy became a prominent member of the Communist International (Comintern) and was appointed head of its Eastern Department. Along with Lenin and Trotsky, M.N. Roy served as a member of the Comintern's Presidium for eight years. In 1927, he went as Plenipotentiary to China. Later, he strongly opposed a resolution on colonial policy adopted at the Sixth World Congress of the Comintern. This led to his leaving the Comintern. Roy was Editor of Vanguard, and Masses in 1922 and 1928. He founded in 1927 the Eastern University in Moscow, and was its first head. While in Russia, Roy was associated with an attempt to engineer a people's revolution in Afghanistan.

M.N. Roy arrived secretly in India in 1930. Scenting his presence, the police arrested him in 1931 in a Bombay chawl, in connection with the Meerut Conspiracy case of 1924. Jailed for six years, he came out on November 22, 1937. He joined the Congress and was tipped to be its Organising Secretary, but refused the post. He was a candidate for Congress Presidency at the Ramgarh session, but Maulana Azad won. Roy left the Congress in 1940, and organised the Radical Democratic Party and the Indian Federation of Labour, both of which co-operated with the Government of India during World War II, on the ground that, if the Fascists won, democracy would be destroyed everywhere. Roy showed foresight in drawing up a plan for India's development. He called it the People's Plan. He dissolved his Party in 1947, proclaiming that his political views were different from, and beyond, Marx. Roy became ill after an accident in 1952.

He knew as many as 17 languages, and wrote in German, French, and Russian, besides English. He was founder-director of the Indian Renaissance Institute, and edited the Radical Humanist, a political weekly, and the The Humanist Way, a quarterly.

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