Whatever the reasons, however, in 1947 Jagan entered a political arena in which Indian middle class communal leaders were already demanding, and looking forward to, universal suffrage and greater political responsibility; were already, that is, seeing the prospect of using real political strength as the key to deliverance from minority status and lack of recognition.
The early P.P.P. with Jagan as its chief spokesman, placed these aspirations on a different level entirely – the level of a national advance (including both Indians and Africans) toward independence and social reform. The level could not be sustained and under external pressures and internal friction the alliance collapsed. Why? An examination of Jagan the man can help us to answer this question.
To say that the ’53 P.P.P. split resulted from a struggle for power is to beg the question – politics always involves a struggle for power. It may be more relevant to ask why the party which was led by Jagan and Burnham could not contain these inevitable struggles for power.
It would be truer to say that the leadership of the national movement failed to create a political programme and structure capable of simultaneously containing and transforming internal racial group frictions. It is not that they were ‘bad’ politicians; history confronted them with situations to which, at THAT time, there were at least, only partial answers.
Although the Marxism of the leadership added a new dimension to the troubles of the time it was far from being the only problem; it may not even have been internally decisive. Take the crucial debate over the P.P.P’s. attitude to federation in 1954-56. The debate took place entirely in ‘Marxist’ terminology, which perhaps only served to obscure the deeper problems, and emotions, involved.