Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gandhi and SC Bose

After Bhagat Singh, propagandists make use of the name of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose more than anyone else.They often quote Gandhi’s words “Pattabhi’s defeat is my own defeat” to weave stories not backed by any historical basis but by their own thoughts.S.C.Bose died early fighting for freedom but Gandhi lived long till independence. What else is required for anti-Gandhi brigade to portray a picture of rivalry between the two to vilify Gandhi?What they don’t understand is that Gandhi was the leader of national movement commanding respect from all quarters long before SC Bose raised his profile in Congress. SC Bose had great respect for Gandhi and he was aware of his importance in national movement.He once said If I give a call than 20 lakh people would come, but if Gandhiji gives a call than 20 crore would come’.

How many from the current generation know that it was SC Bose who referred to Gandhi as ‘Father of Indian nation’ for the first time?On 6th July,1944 ,Bose in a broadcast from Rangoon addressed to Gandhi on Azad Hind Radio said:

‘India’s last war of independence has begun… Father of our nation,In this holy war of India’s liberation, we ask for your blessings and good wishes’.

Quoting Madhu Dandwate(former Railway minister in Janata govt) from his lecture "Gandhi's Human Touch":

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on the day of the formation of the Azad Hind Government, addressing Gandhi on the Azad Hind Ratio, said: "Bapuji, you might not be believing in violence and we have taken to arms. But basically we are on the same wave-length. You are motivated by the urge for freedom, we too are motivated by the same urge. The struggle that was started after your arrest on 9th August1942 did not remain locked up only in India. That started the freedom struggle far and wide. It touched the hearts and minds of my army men and though they think, I am their leader, in fact you are our leader."

SC Bose even named one battalion of INA after Gandhi.Their differences were more ideological. SC Bose had only one thing in mind,he wanted to take advantage of British position in war to gain independence for India.But Gandhi was against the idea of taking advantage of enemy’s position and moreover Congress party was not inclined to do anything that would help the fascist forces in the War.SC Bose reportedly said 'it will be tragic for me if I succeeded in winning the confidence of other people but failed to win the confidence of India's greatest man’

With the failure of Cripp’s mission and non-assurance of British govt for complete independence after war,Gandhi himself drafted the Quit India resolution on Aug 8,1942.

For more on Gandhi and Bose go through this link



Coming back to the issue of SC Bose’s exit from Congress in 1939.

SC Bose was elected as the party president in Haripura session of congress in 1938.He and Nehru were part of the leftist pressure group within Congress,and they advocated Soviet model of industrialisation,planning and other things.Their ideas were not well received by the right wing leaders.It was not Gandhi but the majority of the Congress working committee that constituted the right wing of congress,which opposed SC Bose's candidature for the presidentship in 1939.

When Bose announced his decision to contest for second term,the right wing set up Pattabhi sitaramyya with the blessings of Gandhi.A heated debate went on prior to the election in the press between Bose and right wing leaders like Sardar patel.There is nothing like personal clash here.The entire congress was divided in to leftist and rightist camps.Bose won the election with a majority of over 200 votes.Sitaramayya was no match to Bose in popularity among the lower rung congress leaders.During the contest Gandhi remained silent and after the election he acknowledged sitaramayya's defeat as his own defeat.This incident is twisted by conspiracy theorists.

What followed next is this.Most of the members of the CWC dominated by right wing leaders resigned enbloc.Gandhi was in the princely state of Rajkot in support of ongoing political movement against the ruler.At the Tripuri session of Congress,a resolution was passed according to which, it was imperative that the congress executive should command Gandhi's implicit confidence and therefore it enjoined on the president "to nominate the working committee in accordance with the wishes of Gandhi".Thus,the congress right wing made vote of confidence in Gandhi.Bose carried correspondence with Gandhi and these letters are available in collected works of Gandhi.It was Bose's view that the working committee should be composite representing all views in the light of the resolution passed by the Tripuri session.Gandhi was of the view that working committee should be homogeneous in character.He advised SC Bose to go ahead and form the Working committee according to his choice.But in the face of resolution passed by the top leadership he couldn't do so.No agreement was possible even after talks with various leaders.It was then,he offered his resignation as party president.In doing so he said to the AICC session ' ..I would only repeat my request that Gandhiji should kindly shoulder the responsibility vested in him by the Tripuri congress and nominate the working committee..Unfortunately for us Gandhiji felt unable to nominate the working committee..after mature deliberation,therefore, and in entirely helpful spirit I am placing my resignation in your hands".

He was convinced of India's political need of an organized and disciplined left bloc in congress.He organised Forward bloc soon after his resignation.Forward Bloc under his leadership went on offensive with demonstrations demanding democratic right to criticise and publicly discuss policies followed by congress ministries in provinces and by the high command.The new president of congress Dr.Rajendra Prasad asked Bose not to proceed with the demonstrations.Many events followed this.A left coordination committee was formed with Forward bloc,Congress socialist party,Radical democratic party with SC Bose as the Chairman to balance the right wing domination in Congress.However differences within the left cordination committee made it a non-starter.When the WW2 broke out Forward bloc went ahead with its own programme.

For more read "Netaji Subash Chandra Bose",a biography written by his own nephew and founder of Netaji's Bureau,Sisir kumar Bose.


justlikethat said...

What is your point? Are you trying to say that Gandhiji was much greater than Bose and that Bose was no match for Gandhi by his own admission?

Chaitanya said...

No,I was answering to the propaganda of those who take the name of Gandhi & Bose without even knowing about their relationship or ideals.You don't expect me to quote them to start posting here.

We created this blog after frustrating experience of arguing with few members on Orkut communities.We wanted to prepare answers for their identical repetitive arguments.We are yet to start propagating this blog and you are the first visitor.

Arani said...

Well, I really do not agree with what you are saying. THE fact that remains that Gandhi did not allow Bose to remain the Congress president although Bose had won the elections comfortably. Bose has clearly said in his book that Gandhi would only allow him to work if he had agreed to be a "puppet president".

Chaitanya said...

Which book?Can you quote him?

I have quoted few words from SC Bose's address to AICC at the time of his resignation(source: his biography by Sisir Kumar Bose).His correspondence with Gandhi is available online.The fact remains that SC Bose's candidature for the second time was opposed by all members of Congress Working Committee except his own brother.

Do you think all those who have served as congress presidents from the 1920s till independence were puppets of Gandhi?I think we need to understand that Gandhi was not a politician.

justlikethat said...

May I request that you study Indian history without bias? If Gandhi was not a politician, what was he doing in Congress for all those years? He should have been happy to be restricted to his Ashram activities. Not only was he a politician, he was one of the best brains amongst all politicians. Some evil people might call that 'cunning,' but I say 'clever'.

Regarding Subhas' own views about Gandhi, please read Indian Struggle. Sisir Bose is not an authority on Subhas. I guess the biography you are referring to is 'A Beacon Across Asia' - by no means a standard biography. Moreover, he had his own axe to grind. NRB is not really known to say anything that might anger the Congress establishment. But that's irrelevant here.

In one way you are right that Subhas' battle with Gandhi was on an ideological plane and he never brought it down to a personal level. That's his greatness. On the same issue, the 'Saint' was not so saintly.

Chaitanya said...

Before terming anything as biased let me make one more point clear here.Gandhi used Congress as a platform in his initial years.He was instrumental in changing its constitution to make it a mass based organization.Earlier it was an organisation of lawyers and babus without any mass contact.The methods adopted by it to fight the British were effectively 'prayer and petition'.What I want to say is that it was Congress which needed Gandhi but not otherwise.Gandhi withdrew from active politics more than once to involve himself in his constructive programme.Everytime he made a comeback to organise a mass movement and congress leaders just wanted that.

Those who call him cunning or otherwise must have never read him.To understand Gandhi one has to shed the normal way of thinking.He was beyond petty politics.He was always in search of truth and self improvement.Truth according to him was god.He strived to be perfect and wanted to apply his idealism to the movement.It was his idealism that brought everyone closer to him.He wanted much more than political independence.

I was referring to Sisir Bose's book published by NBT.

Arani said...

Chaitanya, I was referring to "The Indian Struggle". The part relevant to this discussion has been uploaded here by some ppl. interested in history: http://www.missionnetaji.org/newsite/page/Bose_Gandhi.html

I am afraid I do not agree with Sisir Bose at all. And if Gandhi was not a politician, then perhaps SC Bose would not have been treated so shabbily by the Congress.

It is true that Bose respected Gandhi, but he had always called Gandhi a dictator and a shrewd politician.

Arani said...

By the way, in the last post, the link did not come properly. Here it is again:


Another thing I wanted to ask you about is the correspondence between Netaji and Gandhi. Where is it available? Could you please give me the link?

Chaitanya said...

If you are not inclined to agree with Sisir Bose who had worked with SC Bose and who was instrumental in setting up Netaji Research Bureau to bring out his collected works in print,I am not inclined to agree with conspiracy theories,selective extracts and interpretations of Mission Netaji.

Anyway you are missing a larger point here.Gandhian wing was not Mahatma Gandhi alone.Thats nothing but the right wing of Congress consisting of Sardar Patel,Rajaji,Rajendra prasad and majority working committee members.They were opposed to SC Bose's leftist ideology.Their differences grew during the first term of SC Bose.

When you look it from SC Bose's side it appears that he was shabbily treated.

As for SC Bose's correspondence with Gandhi,you can find many letters in Gandhi's collected works,the link to which was provided in the blog.Of our interest is the correspondence between the two before his resignation as Congress president.Find it in the selected letters section here


justlikethat said...

No one can deny the role of Gandhi in revolutionising Congress as an organisation and bringing a new phase in Indian politics. But that was politics and he was a poltician. I can never understand the unnecessary emotion charged attempts to lift him to the state of a saint.

The point is however that Gandhian politics and Gandhi himself became redundant towards the end of 1930s. He was required by the coterie called Gandhian group only in order to keep power in their hands. This was not apparent in the late 1930s, but amply clear and explicit after the WW2 was over and negotiations started between British and Congress.

It is not a selective extract or interpretation of Mission Netaji. There are many many examples that can be presented to show that when it came to Bose and other revolutionaries, Gandhi forgot the saintly part of his dual identity and became a total politician keen to have his hold on power.

As far as Sisir Bose is concerned (again it is irrelevant), he was neither a freedom fighter, nor a historian. His only role was in driving the car by which Subhas left home. Regarding NRB, there were far more renowned people who were instrumental in establishing it and collecting documents, films and photographs from across the world. This list starts with Sarat Bose and contains names like R C Majumdar, Satya Bakshi, Amiya Bose etc. This is not to take away the credit from what he has done, but just to point out that NRB is not synonymous with Sisir Bose.

Chaitanya said...

People belonging to his own generation lifted him to the status of a saint and venerated him.How can anyone expect to understand their emotions now?My grandfather was in high school when Gandhi was assassinated.His family was poor and his parents were uneducated.They had little idea about politics.But he was aware of Gandhi and followed thousands of others to take a bath in river Godavari which was miles away.Almost every household has some similar story to tell.People saw a messiah in him as he dressed like them,spoke their language and touched upon the issues affecting their life.Not just masses,whole generation of Indian leadership (with few exceptions) admired and followed him.Even opposition party leaders in the first Lok sabha from SP,KMPP parties were his followers.JP Narayan,the leader of Janata movement against Indira Congress was a staunch Gandhian.So whats so difficult in accepting his greatness?.Even if you don't consider him a saint,it doesn't matter.He never asked for 'Mahatmaship'

I created this blog with a purpose of countering the false propaganda against Gandhi.We later thought that we should also include positive aspects of Gandhi's life.It may take 1-2 years for the blog to take some shape.I don't want to continue with these endless arguments.

Whether Gandhian politics became redundant towards the end of 1930s or not can be dealt separately.As for sisir Bose,he was in his 20s that time.For driving SC Bose's car he was imprisoned in various jails between 1942-45.He devoted his whole life for studies on Netaji.

justlikethat said...

Well, as I wrote in my last post, all credit goes to Gandhi for bringing the Congress politics to the masses .... mass mobilisation is something that he showed for the first time in Indian politics ... but the messianic cult has carried on since then ... same thing happened with Nehru, Indira, Rajiv and now Sonia. That's Congress.

My purpose is not to belittle Gandhi. I am no one to do that. But I have a problem in creating a saint out of a brilliant politician who understood India like very few did.

It is sad that his works have been hijacked by so-called Gandhians. As a result his legacy is lost. His biggest contribution, in my opinion, was to work for creating a republic of villages. Had that been followed. India would have been in a much better position today.

I like to see Gandhi as a great man, with all his greatness as well as his drawbacks. Not as a saint above human weaknesses.

Best wishes for your work.

Chaitanya said...

Thank you.

Arani said...

Chaitanya, the matter does not depend on whom we believe or do not believe in. It depends on the evidences that are available with us. True, Sisir Bose had significant contribution in bringing out the Netaji Research Bureau, but he was only one among innumerable ppl including his own brother Amiya Bose. Hence considering Sisir Bose as the only biographer or a spokesperson of Netaji's view-point is wrong.

As for the swipe at Mission Netaji, although I am not a part of their organization, I have good relations with some of their members. It is not Mission Netaji's intention "to selectively quote writings" as you said. Rather we wish to publish all of Netaji's writings in future but are unable to do so due to lack of resources and problems on copyright issues.

Arani said...

Sisir Bose did not "devote" his own life for Netaji, as you said. He was a doctor himself, and also became the health minister of Bengal when the COngress was in power. The Netaji Research Bureau was developed initially by his father Sarat Bose, who interestingly had left the Congress to protest against its highhandedness.

In recent years, serious allegations have been raised against Sisir Bose and his family. Sisir Bose seems to have earned a handsome reward from the Government of India for his views. In fact, the bulk of Netaji's family is now strongly against the Netaji Research Bureau and want the government to take it over into its own hands.

Chaitanya said...

Sisir Kr Bose was a pediatrician.I don't know when he was made health minister of Bengal and when he had earned handsome rewards.Such theories can sell well with Mission Netaji people.I don't know whats their actual 'mission'.My swipe at them is not without a reason.

I am sorry to say that I can't continue with this.

justlikethat said...

There are many ways of getting rid of ignorance. Attacking Mission Netaji is certainly not one of them.

Mr.Ambivalent said...

well when u have doubts abt Mission Netaji's mission,i have a simple question for u.do u believe that Netaji did not die in the so called plane crash in 1945 and the govt has been covering up the truth forever?my claims r based on facts and we r no conspiracy theorists.just get out of ur mental block and read Back from Dead by Anuj Dhar(mind it,it has all relevant references!)do u believe that Indian military was so inspired by the RIN revolts and INA activities of Netaji,that it was the defining thing for our freedom?this has been ackowledged by Clement Atlee himself in 1948ish.
yes Gandhi was an honest politician,but definitely not a saint.

Chaitanya said...

There are lot many people (some related to SC Bose's family) who don't believe in Mission Netaji's claims.Anuj Dhar himself was never consistent.First he associated a Baba in UP with Netaji.You have enough space available online to propagate your views.Don't try to force on others what you perceive as truth.

I haven't seen anyone speaking ill of SC Bose.But there are many misguided youth with little or no historical sense who attribute their own (or borrowed) thoughts to Gandhi by taking the name of SC Bose.I don't know how well they know about the ideals of SC Bose.I made this blog post to answer their common claims.I am not trying to prove that Gandhi was a saint.I don't understand the need for anyone to come here and assert that Gandhi was not a saint.I am only talking of facts.Its up to any individual to call him a mahatma or not.I believe that not all who had referred to him as Mahatma in his life time were out of mind.

Its natural to make heroes out of those who died fighting for freedom.There is no need to vilify others for the purpose.We all are fascinated by guns and battles.But the fact remains that INA fought with none other than British 'Indian' army and they had to retreat once the fortunes of WW2 turned against Japan.This is not to belittle the contribution of INA.I don't see any need to make comparison of contributions made by individuals or groups.For many Indian independence means the moment of British packing up and leaving India.Not all see it that way as India as a nation never existed in historical period.Indian nation was made possible by awakened masses.

Chaitanya said...

No more talks on Mission Netaji please.

And I am not available to respond to anything till 7th dec.

Mr.Ambivalent said...

ok.see Anuj Dhar's association with the Baba of Faizabad is purely based on facts that he stumbled upon.he has been very consistent with what he claims.can u point out one thing which he has denied having said,to explain the inconsistencey charge?u r perhaps aware that Netaji's handwriting samples matched with that of the baba.(accoring to India's top handwriting expert Dr.B.Lal).so no one is making unverified claims.even Justice Mukherjee did not completely rule out the possibility in his enquiry.anyway thats beyond the point now.the first thing is for the government to accept that there was no plane crash in 18/8/1945,involving Netaji.this fact has been verified by the Taiwanese government(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4236189.stm),the Americans and also the british expressed their doubts in their classified reports.there is a CIA declassified document which claims to have tracked Bose till 1964.so instead of shunning these things,plz have an open mind and look into these.
I agree with what u say that its independence which is more important than a comparative study of contributions.but then revisionist historians have completely eroded the name of Netaji from the face of the freedom movement.why did it take 30 yrs for the govt to put up a portrait of Netaji in parliament?yes i do believe in Gandhi's ideas of non violence as a means of mass movement.but then,its not absolute.i thik i did draw ur attention to Clement Atlee's statement in my last post.if u say that there is no need to compare with the freedom movement,why then only Gandhi's name and Nehru'sname is heard and not the others.is it not making unequal praise?its a great idea u put forward by saying lets not compare withing groups,but Gandhi sychophants have been comparing and belittling Netaji all along!once u say,freedom was mainly won by non-violence,automatically u put the INA and RIN revolt on the background.but according to Clemnt Atlee,it was not the case.so.plz be consistent.feel free to post back whenever.

Mr.Ambivalent said...

sorry i forgot to add this.how many members of the Bose family r u aware of who dont believe MN's claims? only Sisir Bose and his family.perhaps u r not aware of the fact that Netaji were 9 brothers and 7 sisters and all of these family and their relatives do believe in MN's claims.
lastly,i find it a little confusing abt ur hate mindset towards Mission Netaji.u have been posting ur suspicious attitude towards them rather frequently.how unbecoming of a DEMOCRATIC GANDHIAN!

Arani said...

Very well said, Mr. ambivalent. Since Chaitanya could not give any reason for his hatred towards Mission Netaji, we are forced to believe that it is based on nothing but prejudice.

As for Dr. Sisir Bose, it is common knowledge that the government granted a sum of Rs. 3 crore in 1997. But till date no one knows what research on Netaji is actually occuring there. Only sometimes a few ppl. such as Leonard Gordon, and Krishna Bose give lectures. THey do not even maintain a good library!

As far as I know, Dr. Bose had become the health minister of West Bengal under Chief Minister Siddharta Ray in 1972.

Arani said...

And another thing that I forgot to mention. Chaitanya, your last two comments are contradictory. In the former, you have said that Gandhi did not want anything from anyone and that truth to him was like God. But in the very next comment, you have said that you do not claim that Gandhi is a saint.

As for your repugnance to "endless arguments", I hardly understand your point. I believe arguments are desirable, because in that way we get to learn each other's point of view and the facts which are in the opponent's favour. Apparently, you do not have the facts in your favour, and so you are trying to steer clear of arguments.

Mr.Ambivalent said...

haha,well sai Arani.

Chaitanya said...

Propagate the MN theories by patting each other somewhere else.I guess MN has a better propaganda network.Also stop harping on P.B.Chakravarthy's letter to the publisher of 'History of Bengal'.I heard it many times on orkut communities.If you care so much for Atlee's words as told by a third person,the following was the reply of Atlee to Winston Churchill during the debate on Indian Independence Bill in the British Parliament.

Churchill: We built the glory of the British Empire for 150 years and you surrendered to Gandhi, who has no arms, no bullets, no guns and no ammunition.

Atlee : Mr. Churchill, it is true that we quit India but we quit with grace. Are you under the impression that our Empire survived in India for 150 years on the strength of Indian people? We were there on the strength of the Navy and the army.The Royal Indian Navy's revolt in 1946 and the and the formation of the INA under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, through not blessed by Gandhi, were the consequences of the patriotic mass awakening that Gandhi had created. It was thus clear that we could no more rely on the army and the navy to sustain our empire in India. When that became a reality, it was better to quit with grace.

Lastly,stop parroting the false claims(arguments in your terms) about any individual or Netaji Research Bureau without verifying them.I don't know where do you get such facts of 'common' knowledge.For further arguments join some relevant forum.

Indu said...

Hi Chaitanya,

I have read several of your comments on the blog and it shows your keen interest in projecting Mahatma Gandhi and I truly appreciate in this day and age one is showing interest and keenness to Gandhian thought. I am just putting forward few of my thoughts though I’m slightly deviating from your core theme.

Personally, I respect Mahatma Gandhi immensely but Subash Chandra Bose was and will remain my all time hero. To me, Subash Chandra Bose represented a resurgent and positive individual. I always thought that we would have been a great and progressive nation under Subash Bose than under Jawaharlal Nehru. Jawaharlal Nehru like his mentor Mahatma Gandhi, faltered many a times following Mahatma Gandhi’s idealistic policies on world forums and suffered from inculcating new and emerging ideas. Subash Chandra Bose always represented a dynamic personality, who would have seamlessly integrated with any emerging trends. Nations for their resurgence and growth need daring, dynamic, positive, assertative and practical persons and not idealistic persons who live in realms far distant from reality.

To me, Mahatma Gandhi represents an idealistic person and not a practical person. Modern world with all its inherent deficiencies of human thought expects practical solutions and not idealistic solutions. Mahatma Gandhi failed to destroy the “caste” evil of Indian society, when his fame was at its zenith. He could have easily destroyed this social evil and truly made Indian society a Utopian society, instead now our society is sharply demarcated on caste/regional lines which severely undermine our unity and progress. I know he contributed for the upliftment of the depressed classes and coined few terms to include the depressed classes, but his failure to totally erase this social evil from our society to me is his biggest failure.

Mahatma Gandhi, has abandoned many a movements to quote few like Non-Cooperation movement in 1922, Civil Disobedience movement etc., mid-way, when they were peaking and were about to give some substantial fruits. Valuable lives were lost during these with apparently no fruitful results and this severely dented the goal of such movements. Also, to me British being very prudent, were aware of this and utilized it on various occasions, so such movements were stopped mid-way. Please make a note, I do consider some efforts like the Champaran/ Bardoli Satyagraha movements of Gandhian type yielded results but Gandhian methods do not seem to me yield any direct results of Indian Independence. I firmly believe it was due to the World War II which chiefly caused the British to abandon our country and grant independence. I think, if Britain's economic power had not subsided during/after World War II and if other major actors such as USA and USSR did not emerge so powerfully on world stage, India would have continued for some more time under British Empire till it fully exploited all of the country’s natural wealth to the tilt.

Please, note as I said before and would like to reiterate again, I do not have an iota of doubt that Mahatma Gandhi was an apostle of peace and a great individual but I see India would have been a great nation under Subash Chandra Bose.