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Communist Parties, India

Last modified: 2016-08-19 by ian macdonald
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All India Forward Bloc

[All India Forward Bloc Flag] image by Roman Kogovsek, 8 July 2005 and António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 March 2006

I have seen this flag during a party meeting in Kolkata and also on propaganda material. It is plain red with a yellow-black-striped tiger. Above the tiger’s back is well known communist symbol in white.
Roman Kogovsek, 8 July 2005

The All India Forward Bloc or Forward Bloc (FB), an ally of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the West Bengal government, and with 3 members in the Lok Sabha, uses a red flag with a white hammer and sickle and a leaping tiger. One can see the elements, unfortunately in flash animation and not in flag form, at
this site (the lion on the site is their party symbol as given by the Electoral Commission).  Party posters with versions of the flag can be seen here and here. As one will notice the party is based on the political heritage of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who split from Congess and founded the FB in 1939. After WWII the party split, and the present FB is the left wing, the FB (Marxist). The right wing, FB (Ruiker) is said to have used an Indian tricolour with a leaping tiger on the white stripe, and gained 0.13% of the vote for the 1951 Lok Sabha. Given that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose commanded the "Indian National Army" the connection between these two flags is clear, if not clearly understood.
"Knut A. Berg", 20 October 2004

Trade Union Coordination Committee - India

[Trade Union Coordination Committee Flag] image by  J.A. Sommansson

TUCC is the central trade union attached to the All India Forward Bloc. The flag is identical in textile use. It is identical to the party flag, except for the letters "TUCC" added.
J.A. Sommansson, 24 January 2005


Communist Party of India

From the party's constitution:

Art. III - The flag of the party shall be a red flag of which the length shall be one-and-a-half times its width. At the centre of the flag there shall be a crossed hammer and sickle in white. Source: http://www.cpofindia.org/cp2.htm
Joe McMillan, 18 August 2003

[Communist Party of India] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 16 July 2016

The Constitution of CPI does not specify the details of the flag design, so the size and shape of hammer and sickle may vary depending on the manufacturer [1, 2, 3]. The color may vary between R and R+, but the latter of these seems to prevail. However, flags with the hammer and sickle set close to the hoist, or in the canton, also may appear [4], but rarely and they seem to be home-made.

In order to distinguish its flag from those of other Communist parties, whether allies or rivals, the Communist Party of India often uses various unofficial flags. These are usually derived from the official flag by addition of the party name initials in white. The letters are usually inscribed vertically, along the hoist edge; the typeface may vary, and the letters may be either aligned to the left or centered [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Less frequently, the abbreviation is inscribed beneath hammer and sickle [11, 12], sometimes in other scripts than Latin as well [12]. This usually appears on small vertical flags used in decorative flag rows [13, 14, 15]. There are also vertical flags with the width greater than the length, with hammer and sickle at the top and large letters CPI inscribed vertically in center and fly [15, 16]. It shall be noted that, although these flags are meant to be used instead of the official flag, they did not replace it completely and there are also the examples of their joint use with the official flag [7, 15, 16].

[Communist Party of India] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 16 July 2016

Another type of unofficial flags replaces the hammer and sickle with the CPI election symbol - "ears of corn and sickle", as it is officially called by the Election Commission of India [17]. It is depicted in white on red field, shade of red varying between R and R+, the latter seems to prevail again [18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. The shape of symbol also varies, as does the ratio, which goes between 2:3 [18, 19, 20] and 1:1 [21, 22]. The flag may also have the letters CPI inscribed vertically along the hoist [21, 22].

Sources:
[1] Wikimedia Commons - Photo of the CPI flags, Kerala, 2006: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tvpm-cpiconf133.jpg
[2] Wikimedia Commons - Photo of the CPI flags, Kerala, 2006: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tvpm-cpiconf145.jpg
[3] Flickr - Photo from the XX Congress of the CPI, March 2008: https://www.flickr.com/photos/solidnet/2484801734/
[4] Wikimedia Commons - Photo of the erroneous CPI flags, Kerala, 2006: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tvpm-cpiconf128.jpg
[5] People's Democracy magazine website - issue of 2007-08-05: http://archives.peoplesdemocracy.in/2007/0805/08052007_mudigona%20police%20firing.htm
[6] Flickr - Photo of the unofficial CPI flag, Hyderabad, 2008-04-03: https://www.flickr.com/photos/abhic/2385080547/
[7] TamilNet website - news report of 2008-11-25: http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=27577
[8] Flickr - Photo of the unofficial CPI flag, Pondicherry, 2014-02-08: https://www.flickr.com/photos/piaser/15764805848/
[9] Wikimedia Commons - Photo of the unofficial CPI flag, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, July 2013: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rappakal_Samaram_25.JPG
[10] Wikimedia Commons - Photo of the unofficial CPI flag: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_Communist_Party_of_India.jpg
[11] Wikimedia Commons - Photo of the unofficial CPI flag, Orissa, 2006: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orissa081.jpg
[12] Flickr - Photo of the unofficial CPI flags, Delhi, 2006-02-22: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kontent/108694042/
[13] Flickr - Photo of the unofficial CPI flags, Kerala, 2012-03-05: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dcml/8884606480/
[14] Flickr - Photo of the unofficial CPI flags, Kerala, 2012-01-08: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alfonso_va/6874253880/
[15] Flickr - Photo of the unofficial CPI flags, Kerala, 2012-01-08: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alfonso_va/6874255086/
[16] Wikimedia Commons - Photo of the unofficial CPI flags, Kolkata, 2015-02-07: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CPI_Demonstration_-_Sealdah_-_Kolkata_2015-02-07_2105.JPG
[17] Election Commission of India website - List of political parties and election symbols as of 2001-04-03, pp. 25, 71 (actual pp. 27, 73 of the PDF document): http://eci.nic.in/eci_main/ElectoralLaws/OrdersNotifications/Parties_Symbols_Conditions.pdf
[18] The Hindu newspaper website - photo of political flags from Tamil Nadu: http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/00497/Nagercoil_1_States__497094f.jpg
[19] Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazagham website - Photo gallery of 2009-05-13: http://mdmk.org.in/article/may09/election-photos (image: http://mdmk.org.in/sites/default/files/imagecache/articlefull/article/2009-05/2469/photos/election%20photos-1510.jpg)
[20] Tamil Maanila Congress at Facebook - photo of unofficial CPI flag: https://www.facebook.com/TMCTN/photos/a.750182625056679.1073741829.738527772888831/1028083160599956/?type=3&theater
[21] Odisha TV website: http://odishatv.in/odisha/reddy-yechury-slam-anti-people-policies-of-centre-bjd-132744/
[22] Flickr - CPI activities photo album by Dr D Sudhakar: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26067078@N03/albums/72157638404940033

Regarding the official flag design, the image which is currently used to represent Communist Party of India (Marxist), may be used for the Communist Party of India as well, for the photos from sources [1] and [2], especially the latter of those, display flags very similar to the said image.
Tomislav Todorovic, 16 July 2016


Communist Party of India (Marxist)

[Communist Party of India (marxist)] image by Roman Kogovsek, 8 July 2005

From the party's constitution (http://www.cpim.org/documents/constitution.htm):

ARTICLE III
FLAG
The flag of the Party shall be a red flag of which the length shall be one-and-a-half times its width. At the centre of the flag there shall be a crossed hammer and sickle in white.
Nitesh Dave, 19 Feb 2000

The Indian Communist Party - Marxist has a seven pointed white star in the canton and the hammer and sickle is a bit different. In the logo, the hammer and sickle is golden bordered white with a black shadow over a red background, and the star (five-pointed is touching the upper part of the hammer. But sometimes the star in the flag is missing or is fivepointed. The flag posted seems to be the flag of the Indian Communist Party (pro-Soviet) or at least the design is very close.
Jaume Ollé
, 27 Feb 2000

I noticed this report I sent in 2000 seemed to be out of line. The flag with seven pointed star was published in Flaggenmitteilung. I also saw a photo with a five pointed star and without star. I wrote to the party and I received an answer several months ago. A correction was issued in Flag Report 25:

"The executive board of the Communist Party of Marxist India, having received a copy of FR #21, makes it known that the organization's official flag does not contain the star in the canton as shown in the image of FR #21, having just the white hammer-and-sickle in the centre. The star appeared in a photo of the flag taken in a demonstration, a flag that obviously was not of the official model".

This can be because several communist parties have very similar flags and people use an electoral emblem to differentiate themselves, or due to a poor identification, or even because of regional variants. Later I collected more photos that confirm the red flag with hammer and sickle, without star.
Jaume Ollé, 18 August 2003

See also:

All India Kisan Sabha

[All India Kisan Sabha Flag] image by Tomislav Todorović, 19 June 2016

All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) is the peasant wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). It was founded in 1964, following the split in the Communist Party of India which resulted in founding of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), as the result of the split in the same-named peasant wing of the Communist Party of India. In order to distinguish it from its older namesake, this organization is sometimes referred to as the All India Kisan Sabha (Ashoka Road) [1]. Its flag is red, charged with large hammer and sickle in centre and the initials AIKS inscribed vertically along the hoist. The shape of hammer and sickle may vary, as well as the typeface, and so does the shade of red color which, typically for Indian Communist flags, varies between R and R+ [2, 3, 4].

Sources:
[1] All India Kisan Sabha at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_India_Kisan_Sabha_(Ashoka_Road)
[2] India Times - The Economic Times website: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-08-30/news/66032972_1_deceased-farmers-aiks-india-kisan-sabha (Photo: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/photo/48729810.cms)
[3] NewKerala website: http://www.newkerala.com/news/2016/fullnews-8022.html (Photo: http://www.newkerala.com/news/2016/pics/r/Left-Front-1452963728.jpg)
[4] Photo from AIKS protests in Delhi on 2011-30-10: http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-india-delhi-20110310-demo-der-aiks-all-india-kisan-sabha-aiawu-all-36016551.html (Photo: http://c7.alamy.com/comp/C2GKDB/india-delhi-20110310-demo-der-aiks-all-india-kisan-sabha-aiawu-all-C2GKDB.jpg)

Tomislav Todorović, 19 June 2016


Himachal Kisan Sabha

[Himachal Kisan Sabha Flag] image by Tomislav Todorović, 19 June 2016

Himachal Kisan Sabha is the branch of [CPI(M)-afiliated] All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) in the state of Himachal Pradesh [1]. Its flag is derived from that of the AIKS by replacing the abbreviation AIKS with HKS [2, 3, 4].

[1] Himachal Kisan Sabha at Facebook - Presentation: https://www.facebook.com/HKS-Himachal-Kisan-Sabha-1534929213449489/info/?entry_point=about_section_header&tab=overview
[2] Himachal Kisan Sabha at Facebook - Photo of the flag at the photo gallery: https://www.facebook.com/1534929213449489/photos/a.1538005819808495.1073741829.1534929213449489/1620077038268039/?type=3&theater
[3] The Tribune website: http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/protest-against-apple-farmers-eviction/231714.html (Photo: http://images.tribuneindia.com/cms/gall_content/2016/5/2016_5$largeimg04_Wednesday_2016_005517634.jpg
[4] Himachal Watcher website: https://himachalwatcher.com/2016/05/04/himachals-small-farmers-reach-secretariat-to-stage-24-hour-protest-to-stop-eviction-claim-community-forest-rights-pics/

Tomislav Todorović, 19 June 2016


Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)

From the party's constitution:

Art. 2 - The flag of the Party is the red flag of rectangular size, the ratio of length and breadth being 3:2, with hammer and sickle in white inscribed in it in the middle. Source: http://cpiml.org/pgs/partyconst/const.htm
Joe McMillan, 18 August 2003


Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) New Democracy

From the party's constitution:

Art. II - The flag of the Party is the red flag with a white hammer and sickle. The ratio of length and breadth will be 3:2. Source: http://geocities.com/cpimlnd/constitution.htm
Joe McMillan, 18 August 2003


Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Flag

From the party's constitution:

Art. II - The Flag of the Party shall be red flag with white hammer and sickle in the centre of one-fourth portion on top left hand corner. The ratio of length and breadth of the flag shall be 3:2. Source: http://www.cpimlredflag.org/doc3.htm
Joe McMillan, 18 August 2003

Of all these communist parties, only the last would seem to be significantly different from any of the others, unless there are variations in the drawing of the hamer and sickle. There are also a Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People's War and an Indian Communist Party. I found no information on their flags; the first seems to be an underground Maoist group.
Joe McMillan, 18 August 2003


Democratic Youth Federation of India

[Democratic Youth Federation of India Flag] by  J.A. Sommansson

Democratic Youth Federation of India, the youth wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist). DYFI is probably the largest political youth organization in any multiparty state in the world. DYFI was founded in 1980.
J.A. Sommansson, 25 January 2005


Ganamukti Parishad

[Ganamukti Parishad Flag] by Ivan Sache, 26 January 2005

The flag of Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (Tripura State Tribal Popular Liberation Council, generally just called Ganamukti Parishad). The movement was led an armed insurgency against the monarchy in Tripura 1949-1951. Today the organization is the tribal mass front of Communist Party of India (Marxist) in the state.
J.A. Sommansson, 24 January 2005


Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy, Kerala

[Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra Flag] image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 March 2006

JSS is a political party in Kerala (currently sitting in the state government), formed through a split in CPI(M).
J.A. Sommansson, 25 January 2005

Red flag with stylized white earth globe with black meridians and parallels charged with a red 5-pointed star on the upper hoist.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 March 2006


People's War Group and Maoist Communist Centre

[Peoples War Group Flag] image by Eugene Ipavec, March 2009

PW had been struggling against Indian government since its foundation as People’s War Group (PWG) in 1967. The organization has a strong portion of Adivasins and has its roots also in the Naxalites movement. Their name is derived from the small village of Naxalbari, where a resurrection of Indian peasants, organized by Communist party of India (CPI-M), was driven down by the police. The origin of PW was in the states of the later Chhattisgarh, later Jharkand, Orissa and West Bengal. Everywhere it was banned immediately by Prevention of Unlawful Activies Act on 30 December 1967, surprisingly except West Bengal. It later spread out over Andhra Pradesh and also Maharashtra, where it was banned by Prevention of Terrorism Act on 28 March 2002. The organization cadre strength was in 2004 estimated 9300 fighters, most of them in WB(5000); Chhattisgarh(2500) and AP(1300). The organization renamed itself PW in 1991.

Maoist Communist Centre (MCC)
The organization was established probably in 1972 and had most fighters in Bihar (700) but also in Jharkhand. From the very first moment it was subject of ban by Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act.

Source:
Outlook , 20 October 2003, Indian weekly in English Language, p. 42-43

PW and MCC merged in 2004, forming the Communist Party of India – Maoists (CPI-Maoists), which is said to have close relationships with Nepal Maoists. The reasons were better coordination of “military actions” and the creation of a dense “red corridor” from AP to WB. The target however is “liberation through revolution” and finally “hoisting the red flag upon the Red Fort” (of Delhi). The group is said to have nowadays 15,000 fighters and more than 40,000 non-fighting activists and numerous supporters.

Source: Lectures: “Actual social and political conflicts in India and Tibet”; Prof. Dr. Joachim BETZ; WS2008/2009; University of Hamburg; Hamburg 12 December 2008

Flag of People’s War:
It is a red flag nearly square with white hammer and sickle.
Source: Outlook , 20 October 2003, Indian weekly in English Language, p.43

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 March 2009


Raitu Coolie Sangam (Andhra Pradesh)

[Trade Union Coordination Committee Flag] by  J.A. Sommansson

RCS(A.P.) is the peasants organization politically attached Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (the one led by Kanu Sanyal) in Andhra Pradesh. The flag is red, with white print. It carries a hammer & sickle on the left side and the letters Rai Koo San in Telugu (రై కూ సం) on the right side.
J.A. Sommansson, 24 January 2005


Revolutionary Socialist Party

[Revolutionary Socialist Party Flag] image by Tomislav Todorović, 18 June 2016

A red flag with a white disk in the upper hoist bearing a hammer and sickle.
J.A. Sommansson, 24 January 2005

The flag may have the party name initials RSP arranged vertically along the fly, as visible here: http://rspwomen.blogspot.rs/2012/07/rsp-revolutionary-socialist-party-flag_2366.html (photo: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LVqr_rT2EfM/UAAUB95dB7I/AAAAAAAADx0/FsLjnRz5MO8/s1600/RSP+Alipurduar+19th+National+Conference+Photos+%28147%29.JPG)

and here:
http://rspwomen.blogspot.rs/2012/07/rsp-revolutionary-socialist-party-flag_13.html (photo: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ttNks_D39rE/UAARPFTztpI/AAAAAAAADxg/3PfpXsUhLUM/s1600/RSP+Alipurduar+19th+National+Conference+Photos+%28146%29.JPG).
Tomislav Todorović, 18 June 2016


Revolutionary Youth Front

[Revolutionary Youth Front Flag] image by Tomislav Todorović, 18 June 2016

The Revolutionary Youth Front is the youth wing of the Revolutionary Socialist Party. Its flag is derived from that of the party by replacing the hammer and sickle with a red star. It is depicted in the official letter-head of the organization: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ryfcal.jpg.

The initials RYF may be inscribed vertically along the fly, as visible here: http://rspyouthfront.blogspot.rs/2012/07/rsp-revolutionary-socialist-party-from.html (photo: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-W96v6U6g0GQ/UAAJHZWf-vI/AAAAAAAADwk/_Jl7jhQ3u_s/s1600/RSP+Alipurduar+19th+National+Conference+Photos+%28142%29.JPG)

and here:
http://rspyouthfront.blogspot.rs/2012/07/rsp-revolutionary-socialist-party-youth.html (photo: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-4iZfdjsxYPM/UAALFiuNmQI/AAAAAAAADww/wSCCLs2U-Tw/s1600/RSP+Alipurduar+19th+National+Conference+Photos+%28143%29.JPG)
Tomislav Todorović, 18 June 2016


Why so many communist parties?

 There was indeed a single Communist Party of India about the time of Indian independence. When the two large Communist regimes in the USSR and China ended their alliance in the late 50s, this split, the pro-Chinese group becoming the CPI (Marxist). Since then each major change in policy, either in Russia or in China resulted in the formation of another party in India. In addition some splits were the result of strictly local disputes. I stopped trying to follow them when there were 7 of them, and indeed one or two of the groups actually died out, partly because the multiplication ceased to making much sense, partly because, as the semi-monopoly of Indian politics by the Congress party faded, the number of Indian parties got to be harder to follow.
Norman Martin, 23 November 2010