Lal Salam (transl. "Red Salute") is a salute, greeting, or code word used by communists in South Asia. The word lal means "red"; salam is an Arabic loanword for a greeting.

In some cases the equivalent phrase Surkh Salam (Urdu: سرخ سلام‎) is used interchangeably.[citation needed]

The tribute arranged by comrades after the death of a Naxalite is also called a Lal Salam.[1]

'Lal Salaam' meaning red salute in Hindi, Urdu is a greeting, salute, and code word used by communists throughout South Asia. ‘Lal’ meaning red in Hindi/Urdu may be interchanged with the word ‘surkh’ which also means red. This greeting is now commonly used by guerrillas who now take part in armed warfare against the state in India particularly in the 'Red Corridor' which is the title of the eastern, central and southern parts of India which have seen countless Naxalite/Maoist insurgencies. This corridor namely includes the states of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana.

The movement to which this salute is attached to is the Communist Party of India (CPI) that was founded on October 17, 1920, at Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. Although conflicting reports state that the party was established in 1925, there is no conflict on the location. The seven founding members were M. N. Roy, Evelyn Roy-Trent, Abani Mukherjee, Rosa Fitingov, Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Shafiq, and Acharya. Mohammad Shafiq was selected as secretary of the party, while M. N. Roy was chosen as the secretary Bureau and Acharya the Chairman. M. N. Roy being the principal organizer was successful in recruiting young ex-Muhajir students from India who were losing faith in Pan-Islam and enthusiastically joined the CPI. The formation of the Party was later followed by the establishment of the Indian Military training school in Tashkent. Even though the emerging communists faced persecution after returning home from the East Toilers University in Moscow their activities abroad boosted the emergence of the communist movement in India.[2]

In popular cultureEdit

  • The 1990 Malayalam feature film called Lal Salam deals with the growth and deterioration of the Communist government of the state of Kerala, India.
  • Lal Salaam is also the name of a film based in 1990 India in the Malayalam language. It is based on the lives of three actual communists in Kerala, South India: Mohanlal as Varghese Vaidyan, Murali as T. V. Thomas, and Smt K. R. Gowri.


  1. ^ "Anti-naxal operations streamlined". The Hindu. 22 November 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Formation of the Communist Party of India at Tashkent (1920)". Communist Party of India (Marxist). 3 February 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2019.

Further readingEdit

  • 'Surkh Salam': Communist Politics and Class Activism in Pakistan by Kamran Asdar Ali traces the early history of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) and its politics in Pakistan.[1]
  • ^ Hussain, Salman (23 November 2016). "Kamran Asdar Ali, Surkh Salam: Communist Politics and Class Activism in Pakistan 1947-1972". South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal. ISSN 1960-6060.