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Lok Sabha TV Insights – Legacy of Netaji

LSTV Insights – Legacy of Netaji

Subhash Chandra Bose, born in 1897 at Cuttack in Orissa, later became a revolutionary and visionary leader of International stature. He was one of the few leaders who had comprehensively envisioned free India and approach to issues like education, defence, international relations, industrial planning etc. He had a strong left leaning and believed authoritative socialism. Unfortunately, he is often portrayed by some intellectuals in bad taste for he sought help from Nazis and Fascists, which was only an Instrument towards Independence of India, which every Indian carved for. He had strong faith in Geeta and teachings of Swami Vivekananda.

He mysteriously disappeared in 1945, but in short span of 48 years he set many examples which became motivation for millions of Indians. He quitted his protestant school at primary level saying he doesn’t want to study British history and legacy as his own country is rich in these things. He cleared prestigious ICS exam in London just for sake of clearing it, but never joined services, instead he joined Non- Cooperation movement.

It is widely believed that Indian independence was only due to Non Violent movement lead by Indian National Congress. But in reality, there were many separate developments, movements and factors which culminated in Indian independence. World War 2 had broken British’s back, India was not as remunerative as before, there were non-cooperation and civil disobedience movements, but boiling point came when british read the signals from imperial Indian army, which was heavily influenced by sacrifice of Bose’s ‘Indian National Army’. In addition, it was time when lakhs of Indian soldiers were returning from victorious world war which they fought for British. On return, they were perhaps embarrassed by Tragedy of INA.

The first of these was the joint trial of Shah Nawaz KhanPrem Sahgal and Gurubaksh Singh Dhillon, followed by the trials of Abdul Rashid, Shinghara Singh, Fateh Khan and Captain Malik Munawar Khan Awan. First trial, being of three persons from different religion, resulted in united uprising all over India which was not seen from long time and neither was it expected in highly polarized environment.

In fact, it was later confessed by PM Eltee that before INA trials and accompanying uprising, they had no intention to leave India. Any possible rebellion in Imperial army, navy or Air force, will be hard to cope with and decision to quit India was to exit with dignity and a face saving one.

This misconception that nonviolence solely led to Independence had significant costs for India. It made Nehru believe that, armed might is not necessary for India. He sought to rely on United Nations for India’s defence, but luckily immediate action in Hyderabad, attack by Pakistan over Kashmir, latter capture of Goa – halted him going far on this mentality. After 1962 China War, it became amply clear that strong defence force can’t be compromised with. By same analogy Gandhi ji’s vision for village economy is non workable. Whatever the results are, in order to maintain integrity and sovereignty of the country, there must be strong defence. I order to have this we need a strong Industrial Base and economic depth.

Another portrayal of Netaji is that he was always at odds with Gandhi ji and Nehru, but in reality he held them both with highest honor. Two brigades of Indian National Army were named – Gandhi and Nehru Brigade respectively. It was Netaji who first called Gandhi ji, father of the nation.

His inspirational imprints on current army can be realized from the fact that ‘Jai hind’ was first used by Indian National Army. Army song ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja’ also came from INA.

In late 1920’s Netaji was appointed chairman/chief of Congress Volunteer Force. He disciplined this force, got a uniform designed for the force, he alos introduced military like marches and practices for this force. Once Gandhi ji visited this place and he disapproved this method. This was the time when ideological wedge started to develop between them. For next whole decade he tried to win trust of Gandhi ji. Later NetaJi became President of Congress in 1938 and again in 1939, despite of opposition from Gandhi Ji he won election and defeated Pattabhi Sitaramahia. Gandhi ji went as far as to say this defeat is his own defeat. Netaji after this resigned.

Today our focus has again turned to Indian diaspora , for they have immense capacity to contribute India economy and diplomacy. But Netaji realized importance Indian diaspora at that time. In South east he mobilized and inspired Indian people, who joined INA in large numbers. That time India needed there contribution in war, not their investments. Here Netaji gave slogan of ‘tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi dunga’. Almost 50% of troops perished. Causalities amounted to 26000. Sadly, we have war memorial for soldier who died for British cause in World War 2, but not for these martyrs.

In fact, Indian army, navy and Airforce, post-independence, were extended under the British concepts and name. It would have been much better if ‘Indian national Army’ which was the first nationalist army was adopted for post-independence time. In china, ‘People’s Liberation Army’ retains a strong symbolic value. Along with this, Netaji Subhash Chander Bose should be designated first commander in chief of Indian National Army. This view is professed by many armed forces chiefs and officials.

India army with help of Japanese, were able to liberate Andaman and Nicobar. But this is still officially called invasion by Japanese. Netaji renamed these islands as Shaheed and Swaraj, but this to was undone by Indian government. Many admirers of NetaJi complain that he and his efforts as freedom fighter have been undermined by political establishment. There is urgent need to rectify biases in history curriculum of schools. Center for Netaji Studies should be established. Story of Netaji, is perhaps most inspiring and full of courage. He is like shining sun of Indian freedom struggle, shrouded in mystery, which gave light to others and burned itself.