Following up on our earlier item about the great Paul Robeson, longtime reader Ruchira Paul writes:
India had a pretty robust communist culture dating back to the time of India's independence in 1947. But it did not blossom into the kind of widespread political movement as the non-violent freedom struggle that Gandhi-Nehru espoused. Off and on there have been regional governments headed by the communist parties especially in West Bengal in the east and Kerala in the southwest. Paul Robeson was embraced as an icon of people's struggle by Indian communists very early on. And even now, workers' rights and student movements use his Ol' Man River as an anthem. The song has been translated into several Indian languages and the Mississippi is replaced by the Ganges in Indian languages.
Following are two renditions - the first chorus is in Nepalese the second is in Bengali.
She added, however, "that except for the current government of Kerala and isolated tribal uprisings that embrace the communist ideology, communism and even the milder Nehruvian socialism have mostly disappeared from the Indian political scene. Most of India now espouses right wing free market capitalism."