Friday, 22 January 2021

Why is Netaji's contribution to India's freedom ignored? A brief note on his final days.

Netaji Bose Jayanthi. wishesandquotes.com

Birth anniversary of Netaji Bose. newsgram.com

 When I was a high school  student in the late 1950s in the delta district of Tamil  Nadu, S. India I do not remember having read anything about  Netaji -  neither his  activities in the freedom struggle as a Congress man nor his  daring escape from India and other exploits. It is also true of  school students after 1968 who just had a brush with the role played by the freedom fighters like Rajaji, Pasumpon Thevar, V. O.  Chidambaranar,  Kamarajar and   others.  I  heard about the  leaders including Netaji and Chitharanjan Das (Netaji's political mentor), Tilak, Gokhale  and others and their role in freedom struggle  through my

Netaji and Nehru. .quora.com

dad and  uncles.  After 1967 until a few years go, the Tamil Nadu  high school history text books  covered certain leaders  whose contribution to India and to Tamil Nadu was just zilch. The general consensus of the people in Tamil Nadu as well as other states is  the history taught in  schools  should not be tampered with and must include only those  honest, inspiring  and dedicated  leaders who  made sold contribution to nation building and uphold the legacy of the state  as well as  its welfare. 

Among the  past national leaders and  active freedom fighters, the most neglected person is Subbash Chandra Bose.    Right from his early college days in Calcutta (Kolkata) till his tragic death in Manchuria (Taiwan) in 1945, his obsession for India's freedom has no parallel. A stickler for discipline  with flair for organization,  he wanted India to be free from the oppressive rule   sooner than later.  His aim was Azad Hind.  Roughly75 years have gone by since his disappearance in a plane accident  on  18, August  1945,  apparently he was on his way to Japan from Saigon (now in Vietnam) soon after the surrender of his INA and the fall of Singapore to the British, his disappearance remains a riddle  as of today It is reminiscent of  the  sudden disappearance of  Glen Miller,  popular American Jazz band leader and player and American Air force pilot. He took  off the coast of Britain (Bedford)  for Paris (15 December 1944). What had happened to this wonderful jazz player? The puzzle remains unsolved.  

That why  vast contribution  toward India's freedom  made by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose  has long been "neglected" is a moot question being asked by so many Bengali and other leaders on the eve of his birth anniversary  every year and after that they forget about this dynamic man. West Bengal CM  Ms. Mamata Banerjee's crisp remark  "I can see that there is this growing trend of manipulating history according to one's whims... Those who were part of the country's freedom struggle are being ignored'' carries the emotional outburst of many tens of thousands of old timers. Ms. Mamata further stated, We do not know how he died. We know nothing about the final day of his life. He (Netaji) is still being neglected,"  An acceptable answer is not available. 

The following  are the logical facts why Netaji was ignored by other Congress  leaders in the past during the tumultuous  period of freedom movement:  

... Much attention was not paid to Netaji  Chandra Bose because, he happened to be a Charismatic leader, besides being a good and convincing speaker who could  make  the audience  sway his way. 

... Some politicians in his time might have thought that if Netaji was to rise in stature, they would be sidelined and given less attention. 

... The Indian National Congress (INC) was founded with an express purpose  to  fight  for India's freedom  from the British. When it grew to be a powerful party across India, there were divisions among the senor  as well as junior leaders to aspire for powerful posts. 

... There were allegations that certain senior congressmen were selfish enough to ignore Netaji and his contribution to freedom movement.  The reason is obvious: If  Nataji had become a powerful leader, they would be relegated to the back bench and be in the shadow. Now,  the limelight would focus on Netaji;  that meant, he would grow more powerful than ever before and the entire world would listen to him. The senior leaders won't get the credit.  His added advantage was his aura about him.   . 

... When Netaji was reelected for the post of Congress President in 1939 - Congress session at Warda ( now in Maharashtra),  his opponent was Pattabhi Sitaramaiah, a competent leader  backed by Gandhiji and others. Netaji's move was  against the wish of Gandhiji and others and soon after  Netaji's reelection  as the President, the entire working committee members resigned in dejection.   Gandhiji  went to the extent of saying,  ''the defeat of Sitaramaiyah is my own defeat''. Consequently, Nataji's relationship with other top leaders became soured and later hit the rock bottom. Netaji did not do any thing wrong, he was against the concept of ''federation'' and expressed his opposition to other strategies being followed by  senior leaders. 

... When  Netaji  crossed swords with Gandhiji over non- cooperation method to  get freedom, etc.,  the  top leaders  considered him a menace and  he was against Gandhiji. 

... It is true many followed  Gabdhiji and others  blindly, in spite of severe reservations about the impact of their strategies.

... Not withstanding the fact that  Netaji got the support from leaders in the middle order and at the bottom,  top leaders, on purpose, ignored him blinded by greed for power and publicity bonanza. However, they could not push him out of Congress. because of his hold on the  young members.  Their wrong  move  would invite trouble for them.  

... Netaji wanted Purna Swarai (absolute freedom) with no strings based on mass movement  and was against the  offer of Federal setup by the British.  

... He was against autocratic leadership  within the party and preferred  open and fair discussion  on freedom struggle. He opted  for  a sort of military action, just opposite of the stance taken by Gandhiji and others. Nataji's perception was being shrewd and business like, the British could not be cowed down by threats of civil disobedience, etc. They were well armed to deal such  docile protests. 

... At one stage Netaji  broke up with the Congress and  to to gain freedom, being a maverick, he trod a different path which others would be afraid to follow. Surprisingly, with Japanese help,  he reorganized the INA - Indian National Army (first founded by  Mohan Singh Deb) with a base in Burma. In Oct. 1943, with Japanese force INA entered into Assam. Subsequently, the British recaptured Singapore from the Japanese and it was a set- back for Netaji. To avoid arrest, he few to Japan, but on the way over Taiwan, his plane  had some kind of problem and crashed.  Bose also headed the Provisional Government of Free India, a government-in-exile based in Singapore. It controlled no Indian territory and was used only to raise troops for Japan.

Tit-bits:

Netaji's final days August 1945: 

Neataji in his last hours, August 17, 1945. thewire.in

 Japanese Bomber  ki-21. thewire.in

In August 1945, WWII came to an end with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities of Japan (August 6 and 9 1945; nuclear bombs) by the American Air Force. To Netaji, his mission to accomplish Purna Swarai was not yet over  and it  had to be accomplished at any cost. 

American bomber "Enola Gay" with the crew, 1945.wikipedia.  

With the total surrender of the Japanese between August 13 and 14  at Singapore and elsewhere, Netaji and his co-army men in INA made a decision. Netaji had to leave that place to resume his vision of free India. INA operations had to go on in Singapore and other places secretly as before. Netaji went to Bangkok on 16th August and met with volunteers of Azad Hind Govt. As instructed, the INA treasures etc.,  were kept secretly in sealed boxes -  around 17 and  guarded  by security. On 16 and 17th. he had meeting with some of his trusted men like  Babibur Rehman, Gulzara Singh, Abid, S.A. Aiyar, Pritham and Debnath. As planed after convincing the Japanese army, Netaji and his team  split into two and took off to  Saigon (Ho-chi -Minh city, Vietnam) Because of strict restrictions imposed by the Allied forces, one plane  was available to Tokyo  with just only one seat at the airport.   There were  11 Japanese aboard  the plane. With disappointment and hesitation,  Nataji sat in the plane with permission to check in two  treasure boxes  (that had arrived in the second car) leaving behind the other team members and other treasure boxes. 

Netaji's death Aug. 1945, flight path. thewire.in

The two-engine army plane that could carry one ton bomb left Saigon in the evening on the 17th August. 5.20 pm The plane after a couple of halts finally left Taipei on August 18 for Dairen (Manchuria). The plane  landed in Mukden (Shenyang), and  later took off around 2.30 pm. The plan was just air-borne   several meters above the ground a  sudden explosion made the plane crash on the ground. Though many passengers survived with various degrees of injuries, Netaji was severely burnt. At the local hospital, hough the medical team  tried hard  to save him, he  died. Photo credit: The Wire.in 

Thus this great freedom fighter met with a tragic death in a different country. Hailing from a rich family with ICS qualification (he gained in England), Chandra Bose could have led a cozy and comfortable life, if he had wished.  It was not to be. He wanted to do something extraordinary to his mother land. Right from his early college days in Calcutta, till his end in Manchuria, his only preoccupation was fto get the British out of India. They had exploited the land, its resources and insulted the people more than the limit. His entire life, voluntarily chosen by him  was one of perpetual struggle and hard work.  This  is the reason why Netaji stands apart from other leaders of his era. But the contemporary leaders of his time never gave a chance to lead the nation. Instead, Netaji was sidelined by them. As for the public, in deed,  it was a heroic life for a gritty man with lofty ideals. He is more etched in the mind of   Indians than other senior congress leaders of past era.  

As for Netaji's treasure boxes: ''Classified papers obtained by India Today reveal that the Nehru government ignored repeated warnings from three mission heads in Tokyo between 1947 and 1953. These explosive revelations are contained in 37-odd files which the PMO has refused to declassify for over a decade''   ....  ( https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/india/north/story/20150525-netaji-subash-chandra-bose-wealth-lost-819650-2015-05-14)

https://thewire.in/history/netaji-subhas-chandra-bose-japan-plane-crash

https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2020/11/26/cal21-wb-mamata-netaji.html

https://www.businessinsider.in/thelife/personalities/news/subhash-chandra-bose-and-the-mystery-of-his-death-lives-even-after-75-years/articleshow/73520038.cms

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/congress-indulging-in-petty-politics-ignored-netaji-subhas-chandra-boses-contribution-bjp/articleshow/50699836.cms


1 comments so far

Thanks for this useful blog, I found it informative and hope for more blogs in future from you like this.
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