Manabendra Nath Roy, born as Narendra Nath Bhattacharya, was an Indian revolutionary, radical activist and political theorist, as well as a noted philosopher of the 20th century. He was famous as the Father of Indian communism.
Roy was a founder of the Mexican Communist Party and the Communist Party of India. He was also a delegate to congress of the Communist International and Russia’s aide to China.
Narendra Nath was born on 21 March 1887 at Arbelia, West Bengal. He studied Engineering and Chemistry at Bengal Technical Institute (present Jadavpur University).
At 14, Roy joined the underground revolutionary organisation Anushilan Samiti. After it was banned, he helped to organise the Jugantar Group under the leadership of Jatin Mukherjee.
He began his career as a militant political activist and left India in 1915 in search of arms for organizing an insurrection against British rule in India. However, Roy’s attempts to secure arms ended in a failure, and finally in June 1916, he landed in San Francisco, California.
It was there that Roy, who was then known as Narendra Nath Bhattacharya, changed his name to Manbendra Nath Roy.
He began a systematic study of socialism, originally with the intention of combating it, but he soon discovered that he had himself become a socialist! He met Lenin in Moscow in 1920, and went on to become an international ranking communist leader.
He was the founding member of the Communist Party of India, he also established the Communist Party in 1917 in Mexico.
Roy blowout the communist ideology among people through communist newspaper, “Vanguard”.
He wanted to make the communist party of India as a legal and national political party like the Congress and Swaraj parties.
He returned to India in December 1930 and was sentenced to six years imprisonment for his role in the Kanpur Communist Conspiracy Case.
During his prison years which he decided to use for writing a systematic study of ‘the philosophical consequences of modern science’. The reflections, which Roy wrote in jail over a period of five years, grew into nine rigorous volumes. The ‘Prison Manuscripts’ have not yet been published in their totality, and are currently preserved in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Archives in New Delhi.
In the aftermath of World War II Roy moved away from Marxism to espouse the philosophy of radical humanism, attempting to chart a third course between liberalism and communism.
In his philosophical works, Roy has made a clear distinction between philosophy and religion.
After his release in 1936, Roy joined the Indian National Congress. He left the party later in 1940 as a result of Congress’ unwillingness to aid the British in World War II.
Roy died of a heart attack on 25 January 1954.