OF THE BRADFORD CONFERNCE TO COMMERATE THE SEVENTY FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
FOUNDATION OF PROGRESSIVE WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION
It is precisely seventy five years ago in
London, in 1935, a number of leading Indian writers and political activists
founded the Progressive Writers’ Association. The Association was launched in
India in 1936 and eventually became known as All India Progressive Writers’
The PWA, since its inception, became a major
vehicle for national liberation, anti-imperialist and anti-fascist struggle in
India. It also provided an important cultural platform for social
transformation and against backward reactionary and feudal values. The PWA
reflected the aspiration of Indian masses through the medium of culture. The
movement attracted numerous artists across India and the PWA became one of the
most powerful cultural movements in the world.
This powerful movement confronted
communalism, caste exploitation and sexism, racial and religious antagonism. It
openly espoused the cause of equality, social justice and socialism. It
maintained that anti-imperialist struggle cannot succeed without supporting the
establishment of a democratic and socialist system in India.
The movement attracted the support of giants
of Indian literature, such as, Rabandra Nath Tagore, Munshi Prem Chand and
Moulana Hasart Mohani. The PWA dominated the literary and cultural landscape for
almost four decades. The literature produced in this period is unparallel in
terms of its impact on Indian masses and became an integral part of the arsenal
of our struggle against imperialism and colonialism.
Most of the major jewels of Indian literature
in all the Indian languages belong to this movement. Cultural workers such as
Syed Sajjad Zaheer, Mulk Raj Anand, Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Josh Malhiabadi, Faiz
Ahmad Faiz, Ali Ahmed, RK Narayan,Rashid Jehan, Mahmuduz Zafar, Dr M. D.
Taseer, Vijaydan Detha, Khagendra Thakur, Bhisham Sahni, Prof Ahmed Ali, Dr
Nusrat Jehan, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Ahmed Faraz, Habib Jalib, Gul Khan Nasir,
Kaifi Azmi, Krishan Chander, Durga khote, Khawaja Ahmad Abbas, Mohit Sen, Kaifi
Azmi, Assandas Jethanand Uttaramchandani, Miral Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Sampooran
Singh Gulzar, Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao, Ismat Chughtai, Rajinder Singh Bedi,
Ali Sardar Jafri, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Ghulam Rabbani Tabban,
Majnun Gorakhpuri, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Amrita Pritam, Majaz Lucknawi, Sahir
Ludhianvi and hundreds of others played an active role in ensuring the issues
focused by the movement to become central to the political agenda for the
transformation of India into a modern egalitarian democratic country. These
writers still invoke the spirit of resistance and rebellion in all the lands
which were once part of the united India.
In addition to endemic poverty of our people,
ever increasing economic gulf between rich and poor, basic lack of access to
education, health and justice – hallmarks of neo-colonialism – the South Asian
countries are faced with heightening fundamentalism and foreign intervention.
The 1935 Manifesto of the PWA stated that: ‘The spirit of reaction, however,
though moribund and doomed to ultimate decay, is still operative and is making
desperate efforts to prolong it’. Our present-day cultural activists have
similar challenges to overcome.
The Bradford Conference declares that the
participants will continue to:
1. Support the struggle against Imperialist cultural domination
and fight against neo-colonialism and for social justice and democracy in South
2. Support the struggles against economic and political
subjugation of our people;
3. 3. Mobilise people to oppose religious and fascist
tendencies among the perpetrators of
injustice, inequality and exploitation.
4. Strive hard to eradicate the prevailing social and
religious discrimination in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
5. Building pressure to reduce the power and influence of
feudal lords in South Asia, specifically in Pakistan, leading to the
legislation and implementation of landslide land reforms so that the landless
tillers may own subsistent landholdings.
The Bradford Conference believes that all the
cultural activists in Britain should unite and work together in achieving these
aims and objectives.
Bradford Declaration is produced by the South Asian Peoples Forum UK to
commemorate the 75th. Anniversary of the foundation of the Progressive Writers’
Association, 31st July 2010.
Equality, Fraternity, Social Justice
South Asian Peoples