Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose : A Neglected Hero #Blogaberry Dazzle 2021

My fourth blog post as part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawlaand happily SPONSORED BY RRE Studios and SHOWCASE Events. More posts may be found here.

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I was getting ready to write my last piece on farmer agitation at Delhi border, when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birthday came on 23rd Jan, 2021. Netaji’s memory was relegated to one day in a year, that too a muted celebration, when I was growing up. Other than the contribution of non violent movement, India was ashamed, it seems, to recognise contribution of her sons and daughters who made supreme sacrifice for the motherland. Of late, we hear more about Netaji Bose and it appears both central and state governments fighting to claim Netaji’s legacy. One calls Netaji’s birthday to be Parakram Diwas, another calls it Deshnayak Diwas. Never mind, I am happy, Netaji is coming back from pages of history books to limelight. I thought of sharing some of my understanding of Netaji’s goal, his choice of means to achieve his goals, and his power to persuade and motivate people to make supreme sacrifice towards his goal, that is freedom of motherland.

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Who was responsible for freedom of India? Was it non-cooperation movement of Indian National Congress or armed struggle of Indian National Army? Our history books certainly tell us supremacy of nonviolent noncooperation movement over armed struggle. Contribution of many architects of armed movement in Indian freedom struggle, including that of Subhash Chandra Bose, has been systematically downplayed. Many articles and opinion pieces have appeared in reputed news papers and news magazines discrediting Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and his efforts. To quote a few :

  1. Prof. Mridula Mukherjee of Jawaharlal Nehru University published an opinion piece in India Today of April, 20, 2015, where she labelled Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as a misguided patriot;
  2. Mr. Aakar Patel wrote a sarcastic piece in the Times of India blog titles, “Is our revered Netaji the same person who was enamoured by Hitler?” Mr. Patel even ridiculed Netaji’s leadership, lack of military training, and how poorly trained INA was. According to Aakar Patel, most of the INA was relieved to be captured by the British army.

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Intention of this article is not to question wisdom celebrated writers and their view points. I just want to put forward my understanding of Netaji Bose. First and foremost thing that Netaji wanted was freedom of India from the British rule. He had realised that his ideology of armed struggle was unlikely to gel with the ideology of nonviolence of congress party lead by Gandhi ji. So Netaji Bose decided to leave India, declare independence from a foreign soil and raise Indian National Army. Who could have Netaji sought help from? At the time, the British Empire was ruling almost half the world. It was said that “the sun never set on the British Empire!” Countries like Australia, Canada among other owed their allegiance to the British royal family. Most of the countries in the Europe – France, Italy, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Germany etc, had their colonies in Africa, South America, and Asia including India. So Netaji followed the dictum, “my enemies enemy is my best friend,” and sought help from Germany and Japan. Infact, he had initially asked help from Russia. After being declined, Netaji went to Germany.

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It is true, Germany and Japan had commited horrible atrocities on their own citizens as well as in the territories they occupied. Germany sent Jews to concentration camps. Japan had treated people of China, Korea and in occupied countries of South East Asia in an abominable manner. But were others any different? What about treatment of aboriginal people in the US, Canada, and Australia? Many were killed mercilessly and later relegated to reserves. Americans routinely engaged in slave trade whereby blacks were bought as slaves to work on cotton plantation; and blacks did not have voting right till 1950s. Russia, under Josef Stalin, had sent a millions of its own citizens, many were jews, to Gulag in Siberia. As many as a million had perished. But US and the Britain had no compunction making an alliance with Russia to fight Germany! Was status of natives much better in European colonies? Did British treat us Indians in a very civilised manner?

For Netaji  there was nothing more pressing interest than independence of India. As a result he did what he had to do. For Netaji, atrocities committed by Axis powers were professional hazards that he had to endure. Netaji was clear that he was taking help of Japan only for liberation of India. If Japan decided to stay back, India would fight Japan also. Should Netaji had waited for the world to become a better place for India to have gained independence or should he have dirtied his hand knowing what he was getting into?

Those who criticise Netaji for his choice of friends must realise that world politics does not run on morality but on cold calculation of self interest. How else can one explain the following:

  1. Indian alliance with USSR, knowing what it had done to her dissidents!
  2. Neither US, nor Britain or France severed ties with China despite purging one million of its own citizens, occupying Tibet and putting one million muslims in concentration camps!
  3. US and the west routinely supporting dictators torturing their own citizens but opposing communism!

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Netaji had understood that ideologically he would never gel with the leadership of Congress party under Gandhi ji. Even after defeating Pattavi Sitaramayya in the election for congress president in Haripura Congress, Subhash Bose could not accept the position in 1939 because Gandhi ji threatened to resign proclaiming “Sitaramayya’s defeat is my defeat”. Winning an election against candidate backed by Gandhi ji, showed persuasive power of Subhash Chandra Bose. In later years, Neta ji had shown his similar power of persuation when he formed Indian National Army. Without offering any inducement, Netaji Bose could recruit soldiers and motivate them for the supreme sacrifice for the mother land. Many Indians from different religious persuations – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Christians, answered his call of “Give me blood, I shall give you freedom,” without hesitation and fought for the freedom of motherland. If Netaji was as ordinary as it is made out to be, why did prisnors of war in South East Asia and many common Indians in the region trusted him? This may speak a lot about leadership of the man.

People ask what did Subhas Bose achieve, he had only formed a ragtag army that was more than happy to surrender to the British? One needs to ask back the question what did the Indians give to Subhash Bose? He took risk, he showed initiative, he persuaded people to join his army. People trusted  Netaji with their life and savings. Netaji did not betray that dream. He formed an army with the people that he had. Remember, these were the same people fighting for the British. 

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To me, Netaji had a clarity of vision, fixity of purpose and a determined action plan to execute his vision.  Given the power of British empire, given the attitude of of British towards India’s freedom, what other options did Subhash Chandra Bose have? A person who had sacrificed everything, put his life at stake, challenged mighty Britain, all for  independence of India, it is certainly appropriate to call him misguided! What an irony, indeed!. Someone had better prepared a manual detailing guiding principle for Indian freedom fighters.

I end this post sharing a link of Azad Hind Fauj’s theme song – “Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja….”

51 thoughts on “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose : A Neglected Hero #Blogaberry Dazzle 2021

Add yours

  1. Netaji was definitely a neglected hero. His depth of thoughts and purpose behind actions was never understood.
    ‘Tum much khan do, main tumble azadi dung”-it was limited to this only. Thanks to you for talking ao deeply about Netaji.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Netaji is still in our hearts, not only us Bengalis he loved everyone. He loved India, he gave up everything for India’s freedom. I often wonder if we will ever get to know what happened to him in real!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading. We may never know the truth of his death. But almost 125 years after he was born, it may be only a matter of academic interest.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am really impressed with your takeaway points and understanding with Netaji’s journey as freedom fighter. indeed, he was a great but somewhat neglected hero of our country. I had learnt a lot about his principles through your post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sir this is such an interesting and highly intriguing post. I watched forgotten army a web series few months back and realised what he has done for the freedom of India was never highlighted or appreciated or acknowledged. Thanks a lot for writing this and making all of us aware about certain fact which was never focused upon. Your post comes right from your heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading. History is written by the victors point of view. Yes there was extreme atrocity on Jews in Germany. Same also happened in Russia. But it is fine to seek support of Russia not Germany. Even to this day people question Netaji going to Germany. Who else could he have gone to?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Netaji it seems is forgotten by many of us. I feel it wasnot one person due to which India got independence. Everyone contributed towards it. no matter how small the contribution.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved your article on our forgotten hero. His contribution for our freedom is tremendous. His slogan “tum muje khoon do mai tumhe azaadi dunga” is even today an inspiration for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Every freedom fighter is to be celebrated as they fought for the country and its people. Yes, ideologies could have been different. But Netaji is not forgotten – many even today go by his ideologies and celebrate them.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post-Abhijit Ji, so many details and you have put forward some valid questions. Netaji is indeed a forgotten hero, I am glad you chose to write about him on his day, I don’t why but I feel the same for Shashtri ji, I am not sure if you have watched Tashkent Files, it will provoke you to question so many facts..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading. I did not watch Tashkent files. I felt Shastri ji is not as criticised as Neta Ji Bose. Some call him Nazi supporter. While we forget that others are not washed in milk and honey. It is easy to critique, difficult to do.

      Like

  9. The title is so apt. Netaji is indeed a forgotten hero. In a rush to prove that it is the non-violence that got us the freedom, men and women from the “garam dal” have been sidelined. We did not get “azaadi bina khadak bina dhaal”.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Me and my family are great admirer of neta ji. May be it’s time to revise Indian history lesson. Let the world and new generations know the the truth about Gandhi, Nehru and others. Neta ji and many other freedom fighters were real gems.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Much like everything else Congress is trying to paint Gandhi on every page for our kids. The real stories of heroes like Bhagat Singh , Subhash Chandra Bose are not even given their hard earned and deserved respect and acknowledgement. Hoping for a better awareness and spread of consciousness in the coming generations

    Liked by 1 person

  12. In-depth post-Abhijit Ji, recall all my memories when My dad used to tell us about the great forgotten hero Subhash Chandra Bose’s efforts to get independence from the cruel clutch of Britishers. Sometimes I really feel that Netaji has been betrayed by our own nation. Honestly, I wasn’t aware of the Central and State government’s claim regarding Netaji’s Legacy on naming his Birthday Parakram Diwas or Deshnayak Diwas. Indeed a late move, but yes, much is required; at least the coming generation should have the right knowledge of Netaji’s contribution to the nation. I am surely going to make my 11 YO son read this interesting piece of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Wow, what a post Abhijit!

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to read about Netaji in your blogpost. My grandpa was in military and have heard so much about Netaji from you. Reading this reminded me of my childhood memories with him. Coming to the post, I can’t tell you how agitated am I that he was never given the reverence as much as he deserved. He was a hero, deliberately made to neglect by some of the powerful people in India. Nevertheless, I am happy that he is been recognized now and youngsters are gradually getting to know him now.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I loved your post, regarding freedom fighter about whom we know very little. Infact I didn’t know about his role played apart from his Army and his given slogan. Thanks for sharing all the facts about him.

    Liked by 3 people

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