H C Singh

His Majesty’s Opponent- Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle against Empire by Sugata Bose – Brief Book Review.

Netaji Bose’s fight and suffering for India’s independence, if not more, was no less than that of Mahatma Gandhi or any other leader who gave his everything, including life, for India’s Freedom from British rule. The Book under review gives minute details from his childhood, studies in Cambridge University, selection in ICS, the most coveted service in early 20th century, his resignation at the age of 24 only on and joining of independence movement his election as President of Indian National Congress and his resignation manipulated and forced by Mahatma Gandhi when he got elected second time in 1939 his imprisonment in India, his going abroad to Germany and then to Japan, to fight against British Empire for freedom of India through INA in Singapore and ultimate hidden cause of his demise and his rehabilitation.

India’s greatest freedom fighter – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose never supported the British whether in India, in Cambridge and London or in any other European country that he visited a number of times and delivered fiery speeches against British imperialism and British atrocities in India. Subhas was unlike Gandhi who had supported British till the end of 1st World War and even recruited soldiers for British imperialist and was called by Annie Besant, a true freedom fighter first in Britain then in India as British sergeant though for the sake of Indian’s independence she joined Independence movement led by the Mahatma Gandhi’s non violence struggle for independence of India. She was and remained true soldier of India’s Freedom struggle till 1939.

When Subhas Bose was elected president of Indian National Congress in 1938. His inaugural address was in the words of learned author of the Book, most important, “most detailed political speech that he would ever deliver in India”. In this speech Subhas Bose challenged the British imperialists to transfer­­­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ their Empire into “federation of nation” and that policy of divide and rule was by no means blessing for the ruling power.” ­­­­­Bose further mentioned about evil intentions of British that they would seek some other constitutional device for partitioning India and there by neutralising the transfer of power to Indian people” Subhas Bose’s inaugural address was supported by all Indians including Gandhiji, Nehru and Sardar Patel, the most prominent leaders of Indian independence struggle in 1938.

Subhas Bose’s reelection as Congress President in 1939 defeating Gandhiji’s choice Sitaramya was considered by Gandhi as his personal defeat and Sadar Patel responded saying that Subhas “reelection is held to be harmful to country’s cause” but that great poet Tagore hereafter supported Bose, the “rebel” president of Congress. “In the words of learned author of the Book” for the next year and half Tagore would continue to be a rock of support during his travel” Subhas Bose who had resigned as Congress President in view of Gandhi – Patel and other Congressmen’s opposition so as to keep the congress independence movement under4 Gandhiji, in the words of author “enjoyed the brief respite from Congress politics in the idyllic setting of Tagore’s university” Tagore gave Subhas the title of “Deshnayak” leader of the country.

Subhas Bose resisted being expelled from Congress that he had served since 1921. Regarding disciplinary action against him by Congress High Commission Bose wrote on August 19, 1934 as a true congressman and freedom fighter that “shall cling to congress even with greater devotion than before and shall go on serving the congress and the country as a servant of the nation”. The learned author’s remark on this historic event is noteworthy though disciplinary action had been taken against him just over a month before. Subhas Chandra Bose was specially invited to attend congress working committee meeting at Wardha. He urged the Congress to launch a mass movement to wrest India’s freedom from Britain. But the congress leadership was not ready to do this” Such vast differences led Subhas Chandra Bose to fight foe Independence with help of Germany and Japan, then enemies of Britain. So Subhas Bose or Netaji went to Japan to fight for India’s independence with the ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­armed struggle through Indian National Army INA. It must go to the credit of Subhas Bose that he forged absolute unity between Hindu Muslim and Sikh in his INA. With the defeat of Axis power – Germany and Japan in 1945, INA, too, got defeated and Subhas Bose, too. But while the Muslim soldier of INA who came to Pakistan were included in Pakistan army while Indian were made prisoners till India’s independence but were not included in the Indian Army as Nehru was “under the influence of Lord and Lady Mountbatten”.

It is said that had Subhas Bose been leader of India after independence there would not have been partition riots in which more than a million innocent Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims perished. Habibur Rahman who was Netaji’s companion in final plane journey from Taipei to Tokyo carrying Netaji’s ashes wrote in 1946, “How much we wish that he had come alive, in that case it is more than certain that he would have occupied a dominant position in India politics” and relation between India and Pakistan would have been “cordial rather than embittered”. ­ ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

October 1, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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