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Mainstream, Vol. XLIX No 6 , January 29, 2011

Netaji’s Unforgettable Words

Monday 31 January 2011


On January 23 this year falls Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s one hundred and fourteenth birth anniversary. On this occasion we are carrying the following excerpts from Netaji’s writings and speeches for the benefi of our readers.

Every great movement starts from small beginnings, and so it will be in India. Our first task will be to gather together a group of men and women who are prepared to undergo the maximum sacrifice and suffering which will be necessary if we are to attain success in our mission. They must be whole-time workers—‘Freedom-intoxicated’ missionaries—who will not be discouraged by failure or deterred by difficulty of any kind and who will vow to work and strive in the service of the great cause till the last day of their lives.

When these ‘morally prepared’ men and women are available they must be given the requisite intellectual training so that they may be able to realise the magnitude of their task. They will have to make a scientific and critical study of the freedom movements in other lands, so that they may understand how similar problems have been solved in other countries, in spite of similar difficulties. Side by side with this they must also make a scientific and critical study of the rise and fall of empires in other ages and climes. Armed with this knowledge, they should proceed to make a scientific examination of the strong and weak points of the British Government in India in relation to the Indian people and a similar scientific examination of the strong and weak points of the Indian people in relation to the British Government.

When this intellectual training is completed we shall have a clear notion of the plan of action that will be necessary for the conquest of power and also of the programme that should be put into operation when the new state is brought into existence after the seizure of power. It is thus evident that we want a party of determined men and women who have consecrated their life to the great cause, who have had the necessary intellectual training and who have formed a clear conception of the work they will have to do before the conquest of power and thereafter.

It will be the task of this party to deliver India from foreign yoke. It will be the task of this party to create a new, Independent and sovereign state in India. It will be the task of this party to execute the entire programme of post-war socio-economic reconstruction. It will be the task of this party to create a new generation of men and women in India fully trained and equipped for the battle of life. Last, but not least, it will be the task of this party to lead India on to her honoured place among the free nations of the world.

[From Presidential Address at the Third Indian Political Conference, London, June 10, 1933, delivered in absentia]

THE Indian movement can be analysed under two aspects: 1) the aspect of national liberation—this aspiration is understood by freedom lovers all over the world; 2) the endeavour to create a new social order on the basis of social justice.

It is difficult to see the form the new social order will take. We who are fighting for national freedom are not out to hand over our country to a small group of landowners. We are not fighting to substitute a brown bureaucracy for a white bureaucracy. We want to inaugurate a new social order where men will be free; caste, sex and wealth distinction must be abolished.

If it is difficult to free India from imperialism, it is also difficult to create a new social order there. Socialism has been understood in different ways in different countries. We want a new society in which man-made divisions will disappear. If India’s case can be presented in the proper way to humanity, we should undoubtedly receive much sympathy.

There is another aspect of the Indian question. Many are concerned at the rapid expansion of Japanese imperialism in Asia. It is necessary for us to think of the means of preventing the growth of Japanese imperialism in Asia. If tomorrow China could be strong and unified, if towmorrow India could be free, I am sure it would influence the balance of power in Asia and serve to check the spread of Japanese imperialism. It is therefore our duty to support the anti-imperialist movements in Asia, China and India. To check Japan will strengthen the anti-imperialist movements all over the world.

A few words about the future of our movement in India. There is a belief abroad that the influence of Gandhi has died down. If I were to interpret the modern situation in an objective manner I should say that M. Gandhi has not lost his influence.

Within the Nationalist Party there is criticism of his tactics, but this does not mean that he has lost his popularity. The private life of Gandhi has enhanced his reputation. I have referred to some of the criticisms made within the Nationalist Party of Gandhi’s political mistakes. The feeling is growing that the Nationalist Party should make its position clear with regard to the social question. Our movement aims not only at national liberation, but also at social freedom. It is now felt more than before that our country is faced with the issues of the landlords and the peasants and capital and labour. The feeling is growing that the Indian National Congress should declare itself more explicitly on the side of the masses. The net result so far, of this criticism, has been that within the Nationalist Party people are beginning to think more on the social question—we are moving in the direction of socialism.

[Address in Paris, March 17, 1936]

WHATEVER be our solution of any particular Indian problem, there are certain ideas which should be common ground between ourselves in the first place. We should all realise that the world today is a unified whole and the fate of India is linked up with that of the rest of the modern world. The strategy and tactic of the Indian movement should, therefore, be determined after a full comprehension of the world situation of today and tomorrow. Secondly, Imperialism, in whichever form it may appear, is a measure to the liberty of other people and to the peace of the modern world. It may appear in the cloak of democracy as in Western Europe or in the garb of Fascist dictatorship as in Central Europe. But as lovers of freedom and peace, we have to resolutely set our face against it.

Thirdly, as against the outside world, India is one unit and the different provinces and different communities of India should line up under one banner and one policy, if we are to bring about the speedy emancipation of our people. Fissiparous tendencies, whether of a provincial or of a communal character should be regarded as the greatest curse for a subject race and all lovers of freedom should take their stand on a broad socio-economic programme for the emancipation of the masses, which will cut across provincial and communal divisions.

Fourthly, our strategy should be directed towards laying down and strengthening the basis of a broad anti-impeialist front of workers, peasants and middle class. A united front of all anti-imperialist forces in the country under the aegis of the Indian National Congress for effecting the political and economic libeation of our hungry and enslaved millions is the supreme need of the hour. Last but not least, the method of our struggle should be confined in the limits of non-violent non-cooperation.

[Address at a public reception in Calcutta, April 6, 1937—published in The Calcutta Municipal Gazette]

STANDINGG at one of the cross-roads of world history, I solemnly declare on behalf of all freedom-loving Indians in India and abroad that we shall continue to fight British Imperailsim till India is once again the mistress of her own destiny… I am confident that in this sacred struggle, the vast majority of the Indian people will be with us. No manoeuvre, intrigue or conspiracy on the part of the agents of Anglo-American Imperialism, however prominent they may be and to whichever nationally they may belong, can throw dust in the eyes of the Indian people or swerve them from the path of patriotic duty. The hour of India’s salvation is at hand. India will now rise and break the chains of servitude that have bound her so long. Through India’s liberation will Asia and the world move forward towards the larger goal of human emancipation.

[From first broadcast to the world over Azad Hind Radio on Februray 19, 1942]

INDIA has had experience of several Empires in the past and this experience will furnish the background on which we shall have to build in future…

The state will guarantee complete religious and cultural freedom for individuals and groups and there will be no state-religion. In the matter of political and economic rights there will be perfect equality among the whole population. When every individual has employment, food and education and has freedom in religious and cultural matters, there will be no more any minorities problem in India…

British propaganda has deliberately created the impression that the Indian Mohammedans and against the Independence movement. But this is altogether false. The fact is that in the nationalist movement, there is a large percentage of Mohammedans. The President of the Indian National Congress today is Azad—a Mohammedan. The vast majority of the Indian Mohammedans are anti-British and want to see India free. There are no doubt pro-British parties among both Mohammedans and Hindus which are organised as religious parties. But they should not be regarded as representing the people.

[From the article “Free India and her Problems”, first published in the German periodical, Willee and Macht (August 1942), and reprinted in Azad Hind, the official publication of Berlin’s Free India Centre]

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