An anti-fascist people's war line was adopted after much debate by the Communist Party of India by the end of 1941. This left the British Government with no option but to lift the ban on the party in 1942; although police vigilance and harassment continued, the opportunity of working in the open helped it grow. The CPI's non-participation in the August movement of 1942 gave it further breathing space.
The success of the Communist Party in rallying middle-class intellectuals around it can be gauged from the success of organizations like the Friends of the Soviet Union and the Antifascist Writers and Artists Association in Bengal. Most of the well-known intellectuals and writers of the time took a more or less active role in these organizations and their influence on the urban middle class helped to strengthen the anti-fascist nationalist line.
In Bengal, before IPTA was formed, Benoy Roy, singer and organizer, took a leading role in utilizing the influence of Communist Party in peasant and working-class areas to recruit local talent and form cultural squads. Benoy Roy had already toured 13 centres in ten districts and taught people's war songs to about 90 activists. Squads had been formed in places. At the provincial conference of the Communist Party, the district committees sent one squad from each front.
Around the same time, in the Surma valley in Assam, talented singers from Sylhet like Nirmalendu Choudhuri, Gopal Nandi, Prasun Roy, and Khaled Choudhury were going around in the district towns and villages singing songs about the anti-fascist war, about anti-colonialism, and about the Bengal famine. IPTA, as an organization, was not formally founded in the Indian state of Assam until 1947; but from the touring squad in Sylhet the Surma Valley Cultural Squad was born in 1945 and it went on a tour of Barak valley and Brahmaputra Valley in June-July 1946, again preparing the ground for the organization.
It would not perhaps be always correct to say that the formation of local squads reflected the organizational effect of the tours. It is likely that in many areas even after the tours no new cultural activities were visible. Sometimes, the purpose of the touring squad was to perform rather than prepare the soil for more performances. Sometimes, short-lived local groups may have been formed.
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