Romain Rollands writing is said to have suffered because of divided attention, since he gave so much of his time to supporting various Leftist causes during the thirties of the last century. He may not have agreed with this opinion. After all, with the Fascist wave turning into a black storm, literature did not, even otherwise, have a chance of survival. As to Rolland himself, once he had written Jean-Christophe, he did not really need to write anything more. Fascism was explicitly barbarian. But even the Soviet Union did not produce any good work of literature. As to its painting, the less said of it the better. Perhaps the literature can breathe only in freedom, even in bourgeois freedom, or rather in bourgeois freedom particularly. Most of the best literature we have today came after the fifteenth century. The reason is that the capital realises itself in an anarchic market. And who can leave the individual in greater freedom than anarchy, specially an individual who exists to keep the bourgeois amused? Makhdoom Mohiuddin, the revolutionary poet of Deccan, does not seem to have felt a contradiction between his art and his struggle for a socialist revolution. During the peasant revolt in Telingana in the late nineteen forties, he was, both, organising urban support for the revolutionaries and writing good poetry. While he wrote: Vaqt hai aao, do aalam ko digar goon kar dein, Qalb-e-gaiti mein tabahi kay shararay bhar dein, he also wrote: Nazar mein guftugu hoti thhi dam ulfat ka bhartay thhay, Khuda bhi muskura daita thha jab ham piyar kartay thhay. Makhdoom belongs to the tradition of Nazeer, Anees, Iqbal and Josh, for whom art not only reflected the society but also moved it, guided it to new heights. He belonged to a religious family but became a communist in his youth, rising later to the membership of the central committee. That influenced his poetry though it never became slogan-mongering. It can be said that, after Faiz, Makhdoom was the greatest poet produced by the Progressive writing movement. Faiz too wrote of social change but never compromised his art. In fact, he did not join the communist party for fear that it may attempt to influence his poetic expression. He wrote: Haan jaan kay ziyan ki hum ko bhi tashweesh hai laikin kiya keejay, Jo rah bhi udhar ko jaati hai maqtal say guzar kar jaati hai. And he also wrote: Tujh pay utthi hain vo khoee hui saahir aankhain, Tujh ko maloom hai kiyoon umr ganvaan dee hum nai. The Wests development has been different from ours. So has been its artistic development, even its Leftism. But we can still follow the train of their thought and of their anguish. For example, this from Louis Aragon: Pour ne pas lire aux levres qui parlaient, A quelle nuit vos yeux se condamnerent, Quand les martyres criaient par chaque plaie, La violon terrible de leurs nerfs. (So as not to read the lips which spoke, to which night had your eyes condemned themselves, when the martyrs were screaming from each wound, the terrible violin of their nerves.) Written in 1945, does it not voice the reproach of a liberated but deeply wounded France to those who sat out in safety the countrys occupation by the Nazis? Actually this division of literature between propagandist and genuine is a product of the Cold War, when any mention of the social problems, indeed, any voice from the Left, was rejected as propagandist. But let us go back a little. Was Scarlet and Black propagandist because it expressed sympathy with Bonapartism or Les Miserables communist? The fact is that literature rejected in the heat of a struggle becomes respectable when the hottest controversies pass into history. But I still doubt if most of the literature produced under Stalinism would last, except of those writers who were killed by the state. Who would now remember Ehrenburg? Even Sholokhov will live only through his first novel The Quiet Don. But Babel, who died in some concentration camp, will always be kept alive by his Red Cavalry. The writer is a former ambassador.