Putting up a granite statue in place of where George V once stood (unbelievably till 1968) is a considerable step in recognition of the role of Netaji Subash Bose in the fight for freedom of India. Thank you, Modiji.
Naming an airport after him, naming an island after him, and ensuring that Republic Day celebrations now start from his birthday are all fitting tributes to the memory of the man who made ‘Jai Hind’ popular and used the call to ‘Chalo Delhi’. The tricolor on Lal Quila is a culmination of his vision.
Next Step: His image on currency notes.
Last year a mention by PM Modi finally acknowledging him in parliament as the first PM of India of Azad Hind Government had not gone unnoticed, but we await a formal recognition.
The British Empire was a coercive commercial enterprise for wealth extraction. ‘The greatest tyranny that was ever exercised.’[i]
‘Like Rome’s empire, Britain’s Raj was based on the force of arms. As Lord Bryce said, its administration bore a ‘permanent military character.’ Its atmosphere was permeated by gunpowder. The tiny white community was a garrison, all too aware that what had been won by the sword might be lost by the sword.’[ii]
INA did liberate parts of India from the British. They were in Assam and used Tezpur as a base. Much before 1947, or shall we say 1950, as till 1950 India had a British Governor-General as head of Government.
Netaji scared the British more than congress. The correspondence of British Governors and Viceroy is a testimony to that. An oppressive state cannot be run without an army, which had rebelled post-INA prosecution. A naval Revolt, an imminent Police strike, and a postal strike gave the British nightmares. They had no choice but to run.
Let us not forget that while fighting a war, Netaji created a Cabinet, An Army, A bank, Own Currency notes, Postage stamps, A flag, and a national anthem, amongst other things. But unfortunately, his unique vision has never received its fair share in Independent India.
His Government did not owe its allegiance to a foreign King. It was not given Oath by a representative of the Crown. It was a genuine Indian, nationalist Government for the Indian people, by the Indian people, and of the Indian people.
To the apologists, let me add two things. First, the Azad Hind Fauz represented all communities from Parsee to Muslims.
Second to those critical of his association and taking help from Hitler, let me remind you of the old adage ‘ Enemy of my Enemy is my friend.’ If USSR and USA, with two diverse ideologies as different as chalk and cheese, could combine against Germany and Japan, so could Netaji seek help from Germany and Japan.
Will wait for the day when the true history of Indian Independence is widely recognized with him as first Prime Minister, and his face appears on currency notes, his statue in every city.
[i] Page 12 Piers Brandon, The decline and fall of the British [email protected] by Alfred a Knopf
[ii] Page 32 IBID