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Pakistan today stands at a critical juncture in its short history of existence While much has been written about Pakistan little is known about Communism or left leaning politics in the country post Partition which played a key role in shaping Pakistani politics today Kamran Asdar Ali here presents the first extensive look at Pakistan’s communist and working class movement The author critically engages with the history of Pakistan’s early years while paying special attention to the rise and fall of the Communist Party of Pakistan CPP from Partition in 1947 to the aftermath of Bangladeshi independence in 1971

10 thoughts on “Communism in Pakistan

  1. says:

    کون بچاۓ گا پاکستان طلباء، مزور اور کسان روٹی،، کپڑا، اور دوا، گھر رہنےکوچھوٹا سامفت مجھے تعلیم دلا میں بھی مسلمان ہوں واللہ پاکستان کا مطلب کیا، لا الہ الا اللہحبیب جالبCommunism is such a taboo topic in Pakistan to talk about that even after the fall of the Soviet Union nobody is willing to discuss it Thanks to the official patronage by the state to crush the ideology in any form throughout its history To borrow the words of Dr Taimur Rehman”The main reason for the weakness of the political left read progressive left is the Thought suppression against the left along with the Political suppression The direct political suppression doesn’t have that much impact eg arresting putting in jail etc but the thought suppression has a very strong impact and it has been practiced a lot in Pakistan” The current political scenario in Pakistan is dominated by religious extremism terrorism and military constant intervention in politics This book tries to challenge the current dominant narrative that history of Pakistan doesn’t constitute the aforementioned issues it consist than that In this process it tells us about the genesis of Communist Party Pakistan and the role it played in the early political history of the nascent state This is a well researched academic work because it took around 15 years for the author to muster this piece The raison d’etre for this work according to author that there was hardly any authentic book about this topic Communist Politics in Pakistan The work covers the time between the 1947 to labor movement in Karachi 1972 Special attention has been paid to the partition and the absurdity surrounding it and how the people reacted to it For analyzing this response the author constantly resorts to the work of Manto The creation of Bangladesh is discussed in detail and the author asserts that how some portions of the history are erased from our collective memory and how some sections are constantly reiterated Separate chapters are dedicated to Rawalpindi Conspiracy case Hassan Nasir and the literary discussion between Progressive writers and their rivals The chapter about the literary discussions really intrigued my interest All Pakistan Progressive Writers Association was closely associated with Communist Party Pakistan while their rival consisted of range of freethinkers modernist poets and independent minded intellectuals The former group was organized while the latter was not The PWA consisted of Sajjad Zaheer Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi Sibte Hassan and Ali Sardar Jafri On the contrary the other group was comprised of Manto NM Rashid Hasan Askrai MD Taseer and MeerajiOne of the interesting thing that came out of this reading is that the Progressives also accuse the Manto of Obscenity and writer with no morals Ironically the incumbent extremist elements in the society accuses him of the same thing Obscenity and corrupting the minds of people One thing I didn’t know before reading this book was the Labor Movement of early 1970’s A whole section is dedicated to this issue how it started and finished and the major characters of the movement are discussed with length On the concluding note the major reason for the failure or fall of Communist Party Pakistan was that it didn’t assess the ground realities correctly and blindly followed the radical line of Communist Party India and the majority of the CPP leadership migrated from India there was hardly any indigenous leaders in the party

  2. says:

    This book does a great job at extensively detailing the formation political trajectory and debates surrounding the Communist Party of Pakistan CPP as it emerged from the Communist Party of India CPI after Partition It also uncovers the different perspectives on identity and political struggle that were hotly contested among progressive circles discussing the relationships between Urdu literary figures and progressive activists as Sajjad Zaheer Manto Faiz Hassan Askari etc which were emblematic of the questions that needed to be addressed for the nascent state and how they impacted Left politics The book details working class movements upto the early Bhutto era and presents a compelling case for addressing the lack of academic scholarship on alternative histories of Pakistan The book is thoroughly researched and I actually loved reading the Notes which had valuable secondary sources even though it can be irritating going back and forth when reading

  3. says:

    Fantastic book on a very underlooked and ignored aspect of Pakistani history starts of by a history and analysis of the formation of the Communist party the very few years it was allowed to operate the immense divisions and the dedications of its leaders the progressive writers movement and manto It analyzes pre and post partition literature and than heads onto the extreme years of 70's with immense labor strikes violence against laborers and their reactionsSmall insights are frequently commented on by the author Overall this is perhaps the only book properly analyzing a section of left politics in Pakistan