Some conclusions by All-India Congress Committee

The committee is of the opinion that Britain is incapable of defending India. It is natural that whatever she does is for her own defense. There is the eternal conflict between Indian and British interest. It follows that their notions of defense would also differ. The British Government has no trust in India’s political parties. The Indian Army has been maintained up till now mainly to hold India in subjugation. It has been completely segregated from the general pollution, who can in no sense regard it as their own. This policy of mistrust still continues, and is the reason why national defense is not entrusted to India’s elected representatives. Japan’s quarrel is not with India. She is warring against the British Empire. India’s participation in the war has not been with the consent of the representatives of the Indian people. It was purely a British act. If India were freed, her first step would probably be to negotiate with Japan.

The Congress is of the opinion that if the British withdrew form India, India would be able to defend herself in the event of the Japanese, or any aggressor, attacking India.

The committee is, therefore, of the opinion that the British should withdraw from India. The plea that they should remain in India for the protection of the Indian princes is wholly untenable. It is an additional proof of their determination to maintain their hold over India. The princes need have no fear from an unarmed India. The question of majority and minority is the creation of the British Government, and would disappear on their withdrawal. For all these reasons, the committee appeals to Britain, for the sake of her own safety, for the sake of India’s safety and for the cause of would peace, to let go her on India, even if she does not give up all her Asiatic and African possessions.

This committee desires to assure the Japanese Government and people that India bears no enmity, either toward Japan or toward any other nation. India only desires freedom from all alien domination.

XV(V). Subhash Chandra Bose, INA and Naval Revolt

Subhash Chandra Bose (also spelled as Subhas) was born in Cuttak in 1897 and is presumed to have died in August, 1945. He has been acclaimed as one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian National Movement and in fact, has been a legendary figure in India. He was addressed as Netaji (the Leader) for the first time in Germany and thereafter is popularly called Netaji.

The ideology of Subhash Chandra Bose centred around building a socialist authoritarianism on the lines of Turkey’s Kemal Ataturk for atleast two decades following India’s independence. In his temperament, Bose was a secular. His love for India and her people had no parallel.

After having passed his graduation, he qualified the civil services examination, but, being a revolutionary in nature, Bose resigned the appointment, saying that ‘the best way to end a government is to withdraw from it.’ Returning to India from England, Bose plunged into Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement and became a Congressman with C.R. Dass as his mentor. He used to write for Swaraj and remained editor of the newspaper Forward, founded by C.R. Dass. In 1924, he was elected the Mayor of Calcutta. In a roundup of nationalists in 1925 , Bose was arrested and sent to Mandalay. In 1927, he became general secretary of the Congress Party and worked with Jawaharlal Nehru in the movement; in 1938 and 1939, he came the President of the Indian National Congress.

He founded, after resigning from the Congress, the Forward Bloc in 1940. He left India in a guise of a Pathan, reached Kabul and thereafter went to Russia, Italy, Germany and Japan during the World War II to seek armed help for liberating India from the British yoke. He contributed in reorganizing the Indian National Army in South East Asia, especially in Singapore. With the help of Japan, he was able to defeat the Britishers and took over a couple of areas in north-east India (Kohima and Imphal) and established a provisional government for India in exile. Bose did what no other Indian could do for India and that too, on and from a foreign land.

Subhash Chandra Bose was a strong champion of unqualified Swaraj which was nothing short of complete independence. In his view, he was opposed to Gandhi’s political ideas and the Gandhian techniques of non-violence. For him, Gandhi committed blunders (Bose felt Gandhi did nothing to save Bhagat Singh) in withdrawing his movements, especially the non-cooperation and the civil disobedience movement. He rose to the high office of the President of the Congress despite the support of Gandhi. And yet Bose’s respect for Gandhi was no less. It was Bose who addressed Gandhi (in a speech broadcast by the Azad Hind Radio from Singapore on July 6, 1944) as “Father of the Nation” and sought his blessings for fighting the war against the Britishers.

Bose’s leadership of the Indian National Army (INA) with around 85 thousand regular troops with separate groups of women’s brigades was undoubtedly remarkable. The Gandhi and the Nehru brigades of the INA were Bose’s popular operational groups. His slogans “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”, ‘Delhi Chalo’ and “Jai Hind” touched the heart of every Indian. After the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II, the INA officers, especially (Shahnawaz Khan, PM Sehgal, and G.S. Dhillon) were tried at Red Fort and were ably defended by Bhulabhi Desai.

The INA trial aroused the nationalistic sentiments and patriotic farvour. Such a kind of sympathies and support given to the INA men, exhibiting the Hindu-Muslim unity, shattered the British rulers in India. The Government had to submit and it did submit to the people’s love for the INA and for Bose’s chivalrous exploits, making him among the front-ranking leaders of the world.

During the winter of 1945-46, disaffection spread among the military services which dealt a serious blow to the British prestige. Strangely enough, the troubles began in the R.A.F., and spread around Calcutta and other stations in India and the Middle East. These were followed by hunger strikers in Royal Indian Air Force and minor cases of indiscipline in the Royal Indian Army. The explosion occurred on 18th  February, 1946 in the form of a mutiny of naval ratings at Bombay. For the next five days, the leading base of the R.I.N. and the city itself presented the appearance of a minor battlefield. These disturbances not only gave a rude shock to the British prestige but also convinced the alien masters that it was now difficult for them to keep India in bondage for long. Consequently, an announcement about the British Cabinet Mission was made on 19th  February, 1946, one day after the outbreak of the mutiny.

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