Remembering Subhash Chandra Bose
By I. Ramamohan Rao
New Delhi [India], Jan. 25 (ANI): Should we remember Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as the first Prime Minister of India, who wanted to use violent means and consequent social upheaval for freeing India from the tight clutches of British imperialism?
The answer to the question is sought to be provided by U. V. Singh the author of the book "Subhash Bose-India's First Prime Minister".
He recalls that Subhash Chandra Bose, a brilliant young man, who had passed the Indian Civil Service Examination, decided to join the freedom struggle, but was frustrated with the way the movement was conducted by the Indian National Congress.
Evading frequent arrests, he decided to smuggle himself out into the embrace of European fascism, and tried to get the support of Germany and Italy to throw the British out of India.
Later, during World War II, Subhash Chandra Bose was enthused by prospects of working with the Japanese as they were winning all over East and South East Asia and could at any moment foray into India.
He took over the command of surrendered Indian soldiers, formed the Indian National Army in 1944 and led its march across South East Asia and crossed into India from Burma.
The Japanese Army and the INA attempted to march to Delhi through Burma, Manipur, the Naga Hills and Assam and fought bitter battles with the Allied Forces in Imphal and Kohima. He established himself as a leader and assumed the role of the India's first Prime Minister, leading a 43,000 strong Indian National Army.
What would have happened if Subhash Bose had surrendered to the Allied Forces, instead of trying to go back to Japan and consequently die in an air crash?
The author feels that if Subhash Bose had surrendered with his INA soldiers, he would have emerged as a leader in independent India. He missed the 'golden opportunity of witnessing his own glory sky rocketing on the Independent India's newly emerging horizon. Nothing could have stopped him from rising to claim the top job when India attained independence.
He made the mistake of proceeding to Japan, and the aircraft carrying him crashed off Taipei in Taiwan, on August 18, 1945. Various commissions were appointed in independent India to confirm his death in the air crash. The author points out that the Taiwanese Government on being queried by the British Consul General in Taiwan on 15 May 1956, sent a detailed police report along with the text of an interview with Tan Ti=Ti, who had conducted the last rites of the Indian leader. According to the report Bose seems to have been cremated at Ichiro Okura.
The image of Subhash Bose was so strong that when Col. Habibur Rahman, who accompanied him from Saigon, was released from prison , he visited Mahatma Gandhi in the Bhangi Colony in Delhi, and spoke to Gandhiji about the air crash at Taikhou Airport on August 18, 1945. Gandhiji is said to have remarked "Habib is carrying out his leader's orders. I do not believe that Subhash died in any air crash"
It is widely accepted, as the author has pointed out, that although Bose was widely believed to have died two years before India's independence, his political and military activities had wholly unnerved the British. They lost faith in their ability to hold on to India as they had grown unsure of the loyalty of the Indian soldiers in their service – resulting in a crisis of confidence concerning India's struggle for freedom""
Subhash Chandra Bose's associates, Colonel Prem Sahgal, Col Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and Maj Gen. Shahnawaz Khan were tried at the Red Fort.
The author dismisses the stories that Subhash Chandra Bose made his way back to India and settled as "Gumnami Baba "at Faizabad. He said that it was unlike the character of Subhash Bose, a passionate man, to have settled himself down as a hermit. The matter was investigated by the Justice Mukherjee Commission who had rubbished the theory that the said Baba was Subhash Bose.
However, the name of Subhash Chandra Bose has been used by political parties by declassifying the 'records', first during the last West Bengal elections.
The records with the Government of India are also being declassified. The author says: "Let the Modi government gather or grab all the relevant files from Moscow, London and Tokyo, and make them public. It would be the true service to the memory of the great revolutionary of India."
A useful publication, the book helps clear a lot of doubts about the role of Subhash Chandra Bose, the revolutionary leader of India's Independence movement.
Book Review: Subhash Bose , India's First Prime Minister, by U. V. Singh, Pentagon Publishers, Pages 153, Price Rs. 595
Mr. I. Rammohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer to the Government of India. He can be reached on his e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (ANI)