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the huge ledgers in the Sanitary Office

No one had seen him steal out of the home of Harish, he was sure. The gentle little clerk was trusted by the Raj, for no one who marked him puttering over the huge ledgers in the Sanitary Office could dream of the fiery visions of freedom which burned behind those placid eyes...

ex “Champak — A Story of India,” by Irwin Granich and Manabendra Nath Roy, in The Liberator 3:2 (February 1920) : 8-11 (8) : link (pdf)

note :
Champak is an evergreen tree “known for fragrance of its flowers, and its timber used in woodworking” ( wikipedia ), and the name of the young prostitute in whose (chaste) company Nanda (“the gentle little clerk”) takes refuge from a spy, while transporting guns to a group of revolutionaries.

  1. Irwin Granich (1894-1967), Jewish-American Communist writer, editor; also known as Mike Gold
    wikipedia : link
    author of a notable pan of Gertrude Stein...
  2. Manabendra Nath Roy (1887-1954), Indian revolutionary, philosopher, Marxist and later “radical humanist,” “founder of the Mexican Communist Party and the Communist Party of India;” amazing peripatetic career (brings Tan Malaka to mind)
    wikipedia : link

    and then there was his wife (until 1927)...

  3. Evelyn Trent (1892-1970)

    This is not the place, nor am I the writer, to tell her story; but she was a fascinating figure. Daughter of a mining engineer, stand-out student at Stanford, romantic and talented, practical individual, writer, editor — whose partnership/collaboration with M. N. Roy spanned the years 1916-1925 and the U.S., Mexico, France, Germany, Moscow...

    See Samaren Roy, The Twice-Born Heretic : M. N. Roy and the Comintern (Calcutta, 1986), his chapter 14 devoted to Evelyn Trent : 191-235 : link

    MN Roy: brief outline of life-events and thoughts, Part 17
    Western Women in leftist and national movements (3)
    Evelyn Leonora Trent (1892-1970) : link

    Who is Evelyn Trent? part 1
    scientific humanism blog of “innaiah” (October 12, 2013) : link

    Evelyn Trent-Roy Archive, at the Marxists Internet Archive : link
    in particular, her Letter to Henk Sneevliet (13 March 1927) : link

I wonder if the end of Roy’s relationship with Evelyn Trent (who would be the target of scurrilous, unfounded charges of spying) might have been presaged by this passage from “Champak — A Story of India” —
      Sonagachi, which means the Golden Tree in Hindustani, was the segregated quarter of Calcutta, where the clerks and government employees and other native elements above the peasant class went for their “bit of love.” The word gave Nanda an immediate inspiration. If he went there, and spent the night in one of the houses, the spy would be sure to go away. Even the spies knew that every revolutionist had sworn an oath never to know or love or have contact with women until the day India was free. It was a sacred oath; and the organization disgraced and punished any of its members who broke it. If Nanda went into one of the houses, he reasoned, the spy would feel sure that this was no revolutionist, and would give up the chase. He decided to do this. (p9)

The same number of The Liberator contains poetry by several writers, including Claude McKay (“To Ethiopia,” p7; “Home Thoughts,” p 19) and Hortense Flexner (“Return from Captivity,” p18, that would appear in her first collection Clouds and Cobblestones : link).

Might Evelyn Trent have encountered journalist (and author of Just Half A World Away : My Search for the New India (1954; 1955)) Jean Lyon (1902-60) at any time or place : 319a ?

7 January 2024