Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BOSE-THE FORGOTTEN HERO!

If they ever tell my story let them say that I walked with giants. Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, but these names will never die. Let them say I lived in the time of Bhagat Singh. Let them say I lived in the time of NETAJI BOSE.
.....(edited dialogues of TROY-the movie)


‘..It is our duty to pay for our liberty with our own blood. The freedom that we shall win through our sacrifice and exertions, we shall be able to preserve with our own strength.... Freedom is not given, it is taken.. One individual may die for an idea; but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives. That is how the wheel of evolution moves on and the ideas and dreams of one nation are bequeathed to the next......' Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose'

'..We should have but one desire today- the desire to die so that India may live - the desire to face a martyr's death, so that the path to freedom may be paved with the martyr's blood. Friend's! my comrades in the War of Liberation! Today I demand of you one thing, above all. I demand of you blood. It is blood alone that can avenge the blood that the enemy has spilt. It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom.' Give me blood! I promise you freedom!!

“'Blood is calling to blood. Arise! We have no time to loose. Take up your arms. There infront of you is the road our pioneers have built. We shall march along that road. We shall carve our way through the enemy's ranks, or, if God wills, we shall die a martyr's death. And in our last sleep we shall kiss the road which will bring our army to Delhi. The road to Delhi is the road to freedom. Chalo Delhi”
(No need to say these words are of Subhas Chandra Bose)


The story of Indian independence is well known. Even its heroes are firmly established – Mohandas Gandhi, the saintly demagogue, and Jawaharlal Nehru, his rationalist, Fabian acolyte. A national-liberation movement that relied not on guns and bullets but on non-violent love and inner strength; a method used to such effect that even as the conqueror struggled against it he came to admire it.
Lately, too, another hero has emerged to make the legend complete: Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, Admiral of the Fleet, Earl of Burma. He arrives in India as Viceroy in March 1947; he produces a plan for partition of India that politicians who have spent their lives opposing the very idea instantly accept. By August 1947 India is free; and when, two weeks after Independence Day, Nehru and Patel urgently summon him with the confession that they don't know enough about administration, he goes on to save the newly independent country.

In the face of such compelling myths, history must come a poor, unwanted second. Yet the history of India's struggle for freedom was not quite that simple. A frail old vegetarian, a Fabian socialist and a dashing young royal did not between themselves produce the India that emerged on 15 August 1947. The story is altogether more complicated, and even more romantic. There were other men and women, as well as deeper interactions of political, social and economic movements. Prominent among these men was one who opposed Gandhi, was a bitter rival of Nehru and waged war against Mountbatten. This is his story, and that of the alternative, violent, revolutionary struggle for Indian independence – one that often paralleled the non-violent one and occasionally threatened to overwhelm it.
The man, of course, was Subhas Chandra Bose. Today in India he is deified. His name is given to parks, roads, buildings, sports stadiums, artificial lakes; his statues stand in place of those of discarded British heroes and his photograph adorns thousands of calendars and millions of pan (betel-nut) shops. It is always the same picture – Bose in military uniform exhorting his countrymen forward to one last glorious struggle: the final answer to the British calumny that Indians could not fight.
I am not focussing upon what bose had achieved and what not? But what would have been INDIA’s fate if Bose wouldn’t have died or disappeared.

Had Bose returned to India after the war he might well have prevented the tragedy. He was not a tired politician ready to accept office under any terms. Although his uncompromising hostility to Jinnah and Pakistan might have led to a civil war, the cost of that could not have been greater than the senseless waste of partition.
Certainly Bose's often repeated warning that the Congress would pay dearly for the acceptance of 'office mentality' was historically acute. It came when in the late thirties the Congress was struggling to cope with the consequences of the 1935 Government of India Act, and the blandishments it offered. In the 1936 elections, the Congress reaped the rewards of nearly two decades of unceasing mass struggle against the British and totally vanquished the Muslim League.
But by 1945, after a decade of negotiations and some power-sharing with the British, the Congress was reduced to the level of the Muslim League; just another group, albeit powerful, seeking the rewards of office. And by placing such faith in the negotiating chamber the Congress had played into the hands of Jinnah, the master lawyer and negotiator. As Bose had foreseen, the Congress had thrown away the trump card of its power - mass struggle - for the dubious delights of the round table.
But could Indians have lived with Bose? An extreme man, he produced extreme reactions: total adulation or permanent rejection. Certainly the India of Bose would have been very different from the India of Nehru. Bose had often said that India needed at least twenty years of iron dictatorial rule, and he would most certainly have rejected the type of parliamentary democracy that has developed. This opens up the whole question of whether it is better for people to have food or to have freedom to change their political rulers every five years. The argument can never be resolved - though, given the recent adulation of the West for China, some of the oldest democracies in the world seem to think food is more important.
Surely Bose's rule would have degenerated into autocracy, like that of Mrs Gandhi between 1975 and 1977? Though the analogy.is not quite accurate (Mrs Gandhi's rule degenerated long before the events of June 1975), for conclusive evidence Bose's critics point to his behaviour in Germany and with the Japanese during the war. In a climate that brooked no dissent and where the leader was always right, he too came to believe that he could do no wrong.
Part of the possible reason for this change of personality - if there was a change - may lie in the fact that at that stage, particularly in south-east Asia, he found himself a king without any worthwhile courtiers. The people who surrounded him there were political innocents, thrust into the wider world by events beyond their control: they could only applaud, never interject. Bose was, as the official Japanese history puts it, 'a bright morning star amidst them'. There is also evidence to suggest that Subhas Bose was not quite the dictator a simple reading of his speeches makes him out to be.
No doubt there was an authoritarian streak in him, but his actions often belied his dictatorial postures. in 1939, as Congress president, he behaved - against Gandhi's wishes - less like an autocrat and more like a negotiator who had won one round and expected to reap some benefit from it. Throughout his political career he was always loyal to colleagues even at the risk of damaging his own chances: hardly the mark of a man of iron.
Almost alone among Indian leaders, Bose offered solutions that were both visionary and practical. Nehru's socialism may have been more rounded; rigorously logical and free of Bose's celebrated eclecticism. But its strain of romanticism divorced it from the realities of India, and the Nehru years resulted, almost inevitably, in a country with the most progressive socialist legislation outside the Soviet bloc which happily allowed the most unbridled capitalism to grow and flourish on a feudal structure that had changed little, if at all, since the British days. The cynicism this produced has bitten so deep that every government since has had to struggle against it and no combination in Indian politics looks likely to counteract the years of wasted opportunities and lost hopes.
Bose had the capacity to inspire total love and dedication, and produce gold from dross. He was hated by many, but those he 'touched' loved him with an almost overpowering sense of completeness. And this, combined with his rigorous, matter-of-fact manner and an instinctive feel for ancient Indian loyalties, might well have produced the revolution that India needed - and still lacks.

Unfortunately Bose died in 1945(was he?).But only after living a life of warrior, a fighter.

It is 23 January 1981, and crowds all over India are celebrating the birthday of Subhas Bose. Politicians who have never known him, and many who fought him when he was alive, garland his statues, invoke his name and urge their audiences to follow his example. More than thirty years after his death Bose has become a myth: the alternative hero of the Indian struggle for freedom. And the banners at these meetings tell their own story. 'Subhas Bose 1897-1981'. Subhas Bose is not dead. One day he will return and rescue India.
The legends and the myths have been a long time in the making, and they express a deeper Indian unease: had he lived and returned to India after the war, he would have shaped a country far more successful than the one wrought by his rivals and successors: an India united, strong and fearless. Bose became a legend in his own lifetime, but his transformation into a myth fit to rank with ancient Hindu classics came after his death, through forces he had himself tried to harness for his cause


There are people who thought at one time that the Empire on which the sun did not set was an everlasting empire. No such thought ever troubled me. History had taught me that every empire has its inevitable decline and collapse. Moreover I had seen with my own eyes, cities and fortresses that were once the bulwarks but which became the graveyards of by-gone empires. Standing today on the graveyard of the British empire, even a child is convinced that the all mighty British empire is already a thing of the past.

I have said that today is the proudest day of my life. For an enslaved people, there can be no greater pride, no higher honour, than to be the first soldier in the army of liberation. But this honour carries with it a corresponding responsibility and I am deeply conscious of it. I assure you that I shall be with you in darkness and in sunshine, in sorrow and in joy, in suffering and in victory. For the present, I can offer you nothing except hunger, thirst, privation, forced marches and death. But if you follow me in life and in death, as I am confident you will, I shall lead you to victory and freedom. It does not matter who among us will live to see India free. It is enough that India shall be free and that we shall give our all to make her free. May God now bless our Army and grant us victory in the coming fight ! Inquilab Zindabad ! Azad Hind Zindabad !
(Words of NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE)