Historical Fragment: Gopal Mukund Hudder

I was recently reading about the Saint Patrick’s Battalion (a historical fragment about them is forthcoming) and it reminded me of Comrade Gopal Mukund Hudder, the only Indian to have ever fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigades, and wanted to share with you the only mention of him that I have ever found. For myself Com G.M Hudder is a representative of a true form of proletarian internationalism that does not simply limit itself to cheering/criticizing from the sidelines, but rather decisively chooses to actively side with the anti-fascist movement and demonstrates a revolutionary fidelity. This is from an interview with communist leader Promode Sengupta published in “Naxalbari and Indian Revolution”:

Promode Sengupta: One other thing, I must mention about this period, about our [Progressive Writers’ Association] activities in London and Europe. It was in 1935, just one year before the Spanish Civil War started, four Indian students, including Dr. Z. A. Ahmed and I, decided to visit Spain and study Spanish, which was coming to the forefront in the anti-fascist struggle. We took a circular trip of forty-five days and made a trip of the whole country from north to south and from east to west. We had a very first-hand experience of the country. Of course, in 1935, we could not see that the Civil War would start so soon. As soon as the Civil War started and when the International Brigade movement started in London, we Indian students, also decided to send an Indian contingent with that International Brigade. We made up a list and one of us, Gopal Mukund Hudder by name, a Maharashtrian, did succeed in going to Spain with the International Brigade in one of the first batches. But, later on, we found that the rest of us could not go to Spain on the ground that none of us had military training. The Spanish government told us, that in Spain, they had millions of people, who also required training, and after giving them military training, they could send them to the fighting line. But foreigners, without military training, would have immense difficulties and, therefore, it was better for us not to join the International Brigade movement. This is how our plain to join the International Brigade fell through. Anyway, it is worth-while mentioning  because many people probably don’t know that an Indian had actually taken part in the fighting in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the progressive forces there.

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