Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The ideological development that Netaji sought has never materialised...

Like Turkey's Kemal Ataturk - a man he admired - Bose might well have produced a nation at once new, yet full of old virtues. This is best illustrated in his approach to women: he was not one for making strident feminist statements but, even on that submarine bringing him from Germany to Japan, he was busily telling Abid Hasan of the need to get Indian women to join the I.N.A., and how they would have to abandon their beloved sarees in order to do so. In south Asia he did get many immigrant women to join the I.N.A. - demonstrating that Indian feminism could be happily blended with the exigency of war.
The ideological development that Bose sought has never materialised. Like all national-liberation movements, the independent Congress was a coalition: of business seeking to oust British capital, of rural kulaks confident that native rulers would do more for them than alien ones, of various interest groups and of socialists aware that the Congress was the only party capable of furthering their ideas. Gandhi did suggest that the Congress should disband after independence, but this was clearly impossible: self-interest, if nothing else, ruled it out. Today almost all the major political groups in India- communists, socialists, free-enterprise capitalists, Gandhian socialists - trace their ancestry to the Congress: only the right-wing Hindu Jan Sangh can claim a different parentage.
Though he bravely maintained his independence from both the Germans and the Japanese - no mean feat - he deliberately avoided the wider implications of their awful philosophies. However, his argument that foreign help was required in order to drive the British out was justified by the events of 1945-6, and has been the bedrock of nearly all successful national-liberation movements since the. In this, at least, Bose was probably far ahead of his time. In our age, when a national-liberation movement's accepting foreign help from all and sundry is a common fact of life, the idea may seem of no great significance. In the early forties, for a subject non-white race even to think of any such thing was revolutionary indeed.
....'It is our duty,' Bose told his I.N.A., 'to pay for our liberty with our own blood. The freedom that we shall win through our sacrifice and exertions, we shall be able to preserve with our own strength.' ....."

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