Neta Ji and the Propaganda of the Sangh

  • Saurabh Bajpayee The Indian history is sailing through a period of usurpation, of which, the heroes are being victims. The history of BJP-RSS is niggardly. The RSS did not participate in the freedom struggle which turns out to be its Achilles’ heel. That is why it is busy usurping the heroes of the Congress. In this sequence, a controversy arose recently regarding Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Efforts were made to emulate Netaji (like Gandhi-Nehru) by getting his statue erected at India Gate, but the ways of history are dastardly. The more lies the RSS is spreading, the more the people want to know the truth.

In this sequence, first of all we should talk about the relationship between Neta Ji and Gandhi Ji. Ideological differences between any two leaders were common during the freedom struggle. Be it Neta Ji and Gandhi Ji or Nehru Ji and Gandhi Ji- everyone had serious differences, but none of them ever allowed these differences to become personal.

Neta Ji and Gandhi Ji set excellent examples in this context. Neta Ji had resigned from the post of Congress President on April 29, 1939, with complete dignity. Subhash Babu believed that if he could not gain the trust of the supreme leader of this country i.e. Gandhi Ji, then his victory was meaningless. Even after this, both the superheroes remained respectful and affectionate of each other. Gandhi Ji had said in a letter to him (Neta Ji) on November 23, 1939 You are my lost sheep. If my love is pure and path true then one day, I will see you back at your home. On January 9, 1940, in his newspaper ‘Harijan’, Gandhi Ji compared Subhash Babu with Kasturba and his eldest son. Also, he wrote I have always treated Subhash as my son. On the other hand, on July 6, 1944, Neta Ji addressed Gandhi Ji from Rangoon, as the ‘Father of the Nation’. No one had honoured Gandhi Ji with this title before. He said- “You are the father of the present awakening in India Father of the Nation! In this holy war of India’s independence, we seek your blessings and best wishes.”

It is important to understand that Neta Ji was not obliged to say so. He could not have named Gandhi Ji if he wanted to, but calling him with such respect has deep implications. The leaders of the freedom struggle knew how to put aside their ideological differences. At personal levels, they considered one another as companions of a great struggle. That is why, when Neta Ji reorganized the Azad Hind Fauj, Gandhi Brigade and Nehru Brigade were formed in it.

Nehru Ji always had a soft corner towards Neta Ji. When the soldiers of the Azad Hind Fauj were tried in Delhi, Nehru Ji played an important role in the formation of the INA Defense Committee and the INA Relief Committee. Under the leadership of Nehru Ji, the All-India Congress Committee made the release of INA prisoners of war as its priority, through a resolution in its Bombay session. A Defense Committee had been formed for the release of these prisoners. On behalf of the arrested soldiers, Nehru Ji along with all the other lawyers, had himself come wearing a black robe to fight the case after decades.

Apart from this, the INA Relief and Inquiry Committee was formed on the initiative of the Congress under the leadership of Nehru Ji, which tried to mobilize financial help for the prisoners of war. During the 1946 elections, the Congress made the release of the INA prisoners of war the central issue of its campaign, and at times it was difficult to distinguish whether that was a Congress campaign meeting or a meeting for the release of INA prisoners.

Those who want to usurp Neta Ji today should be shown a mirror. The communal organizations continually operated as a pawn in the hands of the same politics, the same communal conspiracies of the “Divide and Rule” of the British, which Neta ji fought against throughout his life. Neta Ji used to say clearly: “The British promote these organizations (Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha) because these organizations in their policies are in favor of the British Raj and against the Indian National Congress...” Neta Ji had delivered a speech in Jhargram in Bengal on May 12, 1940, which was published in Anand Bazar Patrika on May 14. He said- “The Hindu Mahasabha has mobilized Trishul-dhari (ones carrying tridents) sannyasis and sannyasins to seek votes. Hindus bow their heads in reverence at the sight of the trishul (trident) and the bhagwa (saffron cloak). Taking advantage of religion, Hindu Mahasabha has entered politics by polluting it. It is the duty of all Hindus to condemn this act. Throw such traitors out of national life. Do not give ear to their words.”

It should also be seen what Neta Ji thought about his contemporary communal organizations and leaders? He expresses a lot of disappointment in his autobiography about his meeting with Savarkar. Neta Ji sees Jinnah and Savarkar almost in the same light. He wrote for Savarkar, the so-called megastar of the RSS-BJP thus, - “He is oblivious to the international situation and is only wondering about how the Hindus can get military training by entering the British Indian Army.” Neta Ji was deeply concerned about the growing power of the Hindu Mahasabha in Bengal. He used to be deeply upset with the communal politics of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. During the 1940 Calcutta municipal elections, his supporters had reached to disrupt a meeting of the Hindu Mahasabha. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was himself about to address this meeting, but Neta Ji’s supporters caused great disruption in the meeting.

This is the 125th Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. This is an opportunity to understand the contribution of Neta Ji in the Indian freedom struggle. At the same time, it is also to convince the common people that if they want to pay tribute to Neta Ji in the true sense, then they should abstain from communal politics. Believing in the principle of national unity is the primary condition for inheriting Neta Ji’s legacy.

(The author is the convener of ‘RashtriyaAndolan Front’, a voluntary organization dedicated to the values of the freedom struggle and an Assistant Professor in Deshbandhu College, University of Delhi)