In Spite of Modi’s Drama, History Will Not Forgive Hindutva’s Betrayal of Netaji: Mayukh Biswas
Narendra Modi used the 75th anniversary of the proclamation of the Azad Hind government to appropriate a patriotic movement that the INA was and an unparalleled heroic personality called Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose. However, as this brilliantly lucid article by Mayukh Biwas shows no amount of theatrics can hide the hypocrisy of Hindutva and its tales of Betrayal of Netaji and the Azad Hind Fauz. Mayukh Biswas is the All India Joint Secretary of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI).
In our school days, there was often this debate in the history class of Saugata Babu- ‘Who is the best- Gandhiji or Netaji?’ It was quite natural for any romantic child that Subhash and his Azad Hind Fauz, which fought against the British had a big presence in our consciousness. As children, it was easy to get swayed by Subhash Bose’s politics. It felt very good to see that in spite of the political conflicts Netaji kept the name of three brigades of his Azad Hind Fauz on Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. It was an example of respect to other views also. In spite of having a different path, Netaji showed respect to their fight against the British.
One also got thrilled to hear about the role that Subhash played in inspiring the younger generation. We find one such instance in the memoir of Jyoti Basu where comrade Basu recalled how he met Subhash Chandra Bose in Britain while he was studying there. Subhash encouraged the Indian students ( to participate in National Movement) and also gave words of caution that “Politics is not a bed of roses”. These small incidents inspired me a lot.
Let’s now take a little bit of modern history. Inside the Congress party, both Netaji and Nehru saw Soviet Russia in positive sense. They were inspired by it’s successes. Even though Netaji had earlier criticized Indian Communists for the supposed rift brought by them in Indian National movement; however, later on he became very enthusiastic towards the ‘United People’s Front’ and later the ‘National Front’ line of the Communists. Subhash Chandra Bose became very close with the communists of Bengal when he became the President of the Congress party particularly during Haripura Congress. And, it is quite well known that the action plan proposed by communists in the Tripuri Congress, subsequently played a major role in the formulation of the programme of Subhash Chandra’s Forward Block. As a result of all this, Communists and Subhash Babu became very close since 1938. He revered with respect for the communists and the Communist Party, when he said ,” I’ve always maintained and believed that the Communists who believe the ideals and policies of Marx and Lenin, and the internationalism that they practice is sympathetic towards the national liberation struggle”.
Note that, the right wing of the Congress including leaders like Rajendra Prasad and Sardar Patel put pressure on Gandhi so that he could not be nominated for the post of President in the Tripuri (Madhya Pradesh) congress. This was done as an alarming response to Subhash’s leftist activists such as the formation of Planning Commission, sending medical mission to China etc. While there was flurry and confusion with the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) on the question of supporting Subhash; the Communist Party not only supported him wholeheartedly, but also thwarted the no confidence motion against him. Somnath Lahiri, Bankim Mukherjee, Gopal Halder and other communist leaders had been supporting Subhash ever since the Haripur session of the Congress party. It was Comrade Bhagatram Talwar who accompanied Subhash when he had to leave the country by crossing the Afghanistan border. The person named Ashraf, in whose house he took shelter in Kabul was also a secret member of the Party. Netaji was also the chairperson of the Left Consolidation Commitee comprising the undivided Communist Party, RSP (then known as Anushilan Marxists), Forward Bloc, Congress Socialists and followers of MN Roy and Swami Sahajanand Saraswati. It was the first initiative for Left unity in our country.
On the other hand, Subhash Bose strongly criticized those who tried to bring divisions within the National movement and in the Indian society. After becoming Congress President he said clearly that members of Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League who inside Congress should be thrown out. After creating Forward Block, he further criticized Hindu Mahasabha by saying that “they are corrupting religion by using religion”. He went a step further and called Mahasabha “the broker of British Imperialism”. This was later vindicated by the turns of history. In one of his speeches, Netaji said, “If we do not stand up to challenge the Hindu Mahasabha, then they would be successful in changing the attitude of the people. Our Socialists and Communists have really made it clear that who are our enemies. Enemies are not only the foreigners- they are the British Imperialism and its Indian allies. How far the foreign allies can go without the Indian allies? When we have to struggle, we must remember that our enemy is British imperialism and those who support this imperialism are enemies of our nation and the enemy of India’s nationality. Today, Hindu Mahasabha, inspired by their Muslim hatred, have no problem in aligning with the British. I don’t understand their attitude when they say- Muslims are our enemies, British are our ally!”
Hindu Mahasabha’s father figure Shyam Prasad Mukherjee was so alarmed by the stubborn attitude of Subhash Chandra Bose towards them that he wrote in his diary,”he (Subhas Bose) would see to it, by force if need be, that it (Hindu Mahasabha) was broken before it was really born!”
RSS never lost any chance of betrayal. While the spineless Savarkar wrote petitions to the British in 1941 during the World War II and he urged Hindus to come in large numbers to fight for the British. He played proactive rule in recruiting Hindus in all the divisions of British army. He became so frustrated with Netaji’s heroic Azad Hind Fauz that he starting recruiting Hindus in North-East India to stop the advancing patriotic Azad Hind Fauz. Savarkar’s treachery resulted in hundreds of fighters of Azad Hind Fauz being jailed or killed brutally.
On the other hand, the Azad Hind Fauz, founded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, was the builder of National Unity, bridging the rift of caste and religion. Today, when women are being attacked by the predecessors of this Manuvaadi Savarkar; in Netaji’s army , decades ago women fighters and lady officers fought in the ‘ Jhansi Rani Battalion’ under the command of Comrade Laxmi Sehgal. It was the promise of uniting the men and women of this country of Preetilata-Matangini. Subsequently, INA created a mass awakening in our country. Nehru, Kailasnath Katju and Tej Bahadur Sapru went to fight legal battle in the Red Fort to liberate the soldiers of this brave Azad Hind Fauz. On the other hand, the massacre of freedom fighters created huge anger in the streets and Communists led a massive protest in the streets of Bombay, Calcutta.
Students’ Federation observed Rashid Ali Day on the day of the trial of Rashid Ali in the Red Fort (Remember Utpal Dutt’s drama ‘Kallol’). Comrade Rameshwar became a martyr. Soon after that the naval soldiers in the Royal Indian Navy started mutiny in 1946 in places like Bombay, Karachi, Calcutta. They also got inspiration from the INA . This revolt shook the very foundation of the British Raj. They had hoisted three flags atop their ships.Yes, Red flag was there. The treacherous RSS was not there, nor was their flag as there was no place for the traitors!
No matter how much drama Modi does , history will not forget the betrayal that his forefathers did to the Azad Hind Fauz.