Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Fundamental conflicts in Indian nationhood: Gandhi Vs Revolutionaries

 

A Quest for Principled Nationhood

 

The history of freedom movement in India, as described in standard text books, can be summarized in one pithy sentence: "Mahatma Gandhi gave us freedom through non-violence." This narrative has been entrenched deep into our consciousness by every dignitary during her customary tribute to Rajghat. It has therefore been but expected that one of the most popular prime ministers India has ever seen, PM Narendra Modi, would motivate his flagship Swachh  Bharat program with the punch line - "Gandhi ji has given us freedom, what have we given him in return?" Yet, an  age old wisdom tells us that a nation is enslaved for extended durations when the contemporary leaders fail her and masses exhibit innate weaknesses of character. Freedom is therefore rarely given, it is taken – taken by repaying the debt of failure through blood and tears of future generations. Does the jewel in the crown of the empire where the sun never set then remain an eminent exception which was awarded freedom gratis?

History perhaps tells us otherwise. The best and the bravest men and women of an enslaved nation hastened the demise of the mighty British empire by resisting them tooth and nail in the trenches of Bengal, UP, Bihar, Punjab, Odisha and Maharashtra, and moving beyond the borders of India, from England, USA and South East Asia. Crushed by the Raj,  they didn’t live to tell their story. Yet, we must, narrate their tales, again and again. For a nation that does not know its history, does not make one. It is also in the history of Indian freedom fight, or rather in the denial of the heroic revolutionaries their due, that the seeds of left movements in India would be sown. But, above and beyond, the history of freedom struggle in India is of greater import for the foundational conflicts it revealed between different understandings of India’s nationhood than the outcome itself, and the attribution of due credits per se.

A.1 Polar opposite concepts of nationhood

 

A closer examination would reveal that the revolutionaries’ comprehension of Indian nationhood was in stark contrast to that of M K Gandhi’s. The conflict in the two understandings was not a consequence, but the principal motivation, for the divergence in the paths the two pursued for the common goal of freedom from foreign occupation – a goal that M K Gandhi accepted as late as in 1930 as a fait accompli under intense pressure from nationalist factions comprising of younger leaders like Subhas Bose and a large section of Congress cadres - a goal that nationalist factions and revolutionaries articulated about thirty years before. Quoting Aurobindo Ghosh,

 "Political freedom is the life-breath of a nation. To attempt social reform, educational reform, industrial expansion, the moral improvement of the race without aiming first and foremost at political freedom, is the very height of ignorance and futility. The primary requisite for national progress, national reform, is the habit of free and healthy national thought and action which is impossible in a state of servitude".

This delay is confounding because M K Gandhi, if not his progenies like Nehru, was fully aware that India existed as one nation from times immemorial. In his own words,

"The English have taught us that we were not a nation before and it will require centuries before we became one nation. This is without foundation. We were one nation before they came to India. One thought inspired us. Our mode of life was the same. It was because we were one nation that they were able to establish one kingdom."[16], Chapter 9, p. 56, [13].

"Our leading men traveled throughout India either on foot or in bullock-carts what do you think could have been the intention of those farseeing ancestors of ours who established Setuabandh (Rameshwar) in the south, Jagannath in the East and Hardwar in the North as places of pilgrimage? You will admit they were no fools. They knew that worship of God could have been performed just as well at home. They taught us that those whose hearts were aglow with righteousness had the Ganga in their own homes. But they saw that India was one undivided land so made by nature. They, therefore, argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people with idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the world" [16], Chapter 9, p. 56, [13].

Thus, despite  the cognizance of existence of India as a nation, the procrastination in the proclamation of her  natural rights, reveals a lack of clarity in identifying the invaders and awareness of natural rights itself on the part of  M K Gandhi,  which is why it is imperative to examine how Gandhi relates to concepts of Indian nationhood itself.

We also observe that Gandhi advocates, nay insists, that India cannot and should not attain independence by deviating from the path of non-violence. In his quest for freedom, rather moral perfection, he advocated persevering with non-violence even when his people were threatened with mass extermination – the consistency of his perception of ethics with civilizational ethos anywhere in the world including India must therefore be critically examined:

"There is nothing brave about dying while killing. It is an illusion of bravery. The true martyr is one who lays down his life without killing. You may turn around and ask whether all Hindus and Sikhs should die. Yes, I would say. Such martyrdom will not be in vain. You may compliment me or curse me for talking in this manner; but I shall only say what I feel in my heart. pp. 54-58,[2].

"Hindus should not harbor anger in their hearts against Muslims even if the latter wanted to destroy them. Even if the Muslims want to kill us all we should face death bravely. If they established their rule after killing Hindus we would be ushering in a new world by sacrificing our lives. None should fear death. Birth and death are inevitable for every human being. Why should we then rejoice or grieve? If we die with a smile we shall enter into a new life, we shall be ushering in a new India [6].

"If all the Punjab were to die to the last man without killing, the Punjab would become immortal. It is more valiant to get killed than to kill. Of course my condition is that even if we are facing death we must not take up arms against them. But you take up arms and when you are defeated you come to me. Of what help can I be to you in these circumstances? If you cared to listen to me, I could restore calm in the Punjab even from here. One thousand lost their lives of course, but not like brave men. I would have liked the sixteen who escaped by hiding to come into the open and courted death. More is the pity. What a difference it would have made if they had bravely offered themselves as a nonviolent, willing sacrifice! Oppose with ahimsa if you can, but go down fighting by all means if you have not the nonviolence of the brave. Do not turn cowards." pp. 200-201, [3].

"Today a Hindu from Rawalpindi narrated the tragic events that had taken place there. The villages around Rawalpindi have been reduced to ashes The Hindus of the Punjab are seething with anger. The Sikhs say they are followers of Guru Govind Singh who has taught them how to wield the sword. But I would exhort the Hindus and Sikhs again and again not to retaliate. I make bold to say that if Hindus and Sikhs sacrifice their lives at hands of Muslims without rancor or retaliation they will become saviors not only of their own religions but also of Islam and the whole world.pp. 225-226, [4].

"But Jinnah Saheb presides over a great organization. Once he has affixed his signature to the appeal, how can even one Hindu be killed at the hands of the Muslims? I would tell the Hindus to face death cheerfully if the Muslims are out to kill them. I would be a real sinner if after being stabbed I wish in my last moment that my son should seek revenge. I must die without rancor." [5]

The revolutionaries assumed a polar opposite position. M. N Roy, a revolutionary (who later turned communist) wrote:

"British rule in India was established by force and is maintained by force, therefore, it can and will be overthrown only by a violent revolution. We are not in favor of resorting to violence if it can be helped; but for self-defence, the people of India must adopt violent means without which the foreign domination based upon violence cannot be ended."p. 24, [7].

Subhas Bose:

"Freedom is not given, it is taken."  "For an enslaved people, there can be no greater pride, no higher honour, than to be the first soldier in the army of liberation."[8]"No real change in history has ever been achieved by discussions."

The best exposition of how the revolutionaries responded to British invasion was perhaps provided by Madanlal Dhingra. Enraged by the executions of revolutionaries like Khudiram Bose, Kanai lal Dutta, Satinder Pal, Pandit Kanshi Ram. Madanlal Dhingra exacted revenge upon the British by assassinating Curzon Wylie on July 1, 1909.  In his trial, he said: 

"And I maintain that if it is patriotic in an Englishman to fight against the Germans if they were to occupy this country, it is much more justifiable and patriotic in my case to fight against the English.I hold the English people responsible for the murder of 80 millions of Indian people in the last fifty years, and they are also responsible for taking away ₤100,000,000 every year from India to this country. I also hold them responsible for the hanging and deportation of my patriotic countrymen, who did just the same as the English people here are advising their countrymen to do. And the Englishman who goes out to India and gets, say, ₤100 a month, that simply means that he passes a sentence of death on a thousand of my poor countrymen, because these thousand people could easily live on this ₤100, which the Englishman spends mostly on his frivolities and pleasures. Just as the Germans have no right to occupy this country, so the English people have no right to occupy India, and it is perfectly justifiable on our part to kill the Englishman who is polluting our sacred land. I am surprised at the terrible hypocrisy, the farce, and the mockery of the English people. They pose as the champions of oppressed humanity—the peoples of the Congo and the people of Russia—when there is terrible oppression and horrible atrocities committed in India; for example, the killing of two millions of people every year and the outraging of our women. In case this country is occupied by Germans, and the Englishman, not bearing to see the Germans walking with the insolence of conquerors in the streets of London, goes and kills one or two Germans, and that Englishman is held as a patriot by the people of this country, then certainly I am prepared to work for the emancipation of my Motherland. Whatever else I have to say is in the paper before the Court I make this statement, not because I wish to plead for mercy or anything of that kind. I wish that English people should sentence me to death, for in that case the vengeance of my countrymen will be all the more keen. I put forward this statement to show the justice of my cause to the outside world, and especially to our sympathizers in America and Germany." [ 9]

From the gallows, he said that:

"I believe that a nation held down by foreign bayonets is in a perpetual state of war. Since open battle is rendered impossible to a disarmed race, I attacked by surprise. Since guns were denied to me I drew forth my pistol and fired. Poor in wealth and intellect, a son like myself has nothing else to offer to the mother but his own blood. And so I have sacrificed the same on her altar. The only lesson required in India at present is to learn how to die, and the only way to teach it is by dying ourselves. My only prayer to God is that I may be re-born of the same mother and I may re-die in the same sacred cause till the cause is successful. Vande Mataram!"[10]

All the above revolutionaries were therefore articulating what a nation’s response ought to be in a state of war, a state which every subjugated nation is in. An even cursory study of world history suggests that their response has not merely been honorable, but also natural and organic. We will quote the oath that Mazzini, held in the highest veneration all over the world, administered to the members of his secret league: "I swear to devote myself entirely and always to the common object of creating one free, independent and republican Italy by every means within my power. ‘’ p. 230, [10]. It is worthwhile mentioning that "Lloyd George expressed to Winston Churchill his highest admiration of Dhingra’s attitude as a patriot. Churchill shared the same views and quoted with admiration Dhingra’s last words as the finest ever made in the name of patriotism. They compared Dhingra with Plutarch’s immortal heroes. Huge placards from Irish papers paid glowing tributes to Dhingra: Ireland honors Madanlal Dhingra who was proud to lay down his life for the sake of his country. ‘’p. 230, [10]. In stark contrast to those whose authority over India Dhingra challenged, his illustrious compatriot Gandhi had only words of condemnation for Dhingra as for every other revolutionary he came across. 

The question then that remains to be answered is if the insistence on passive submission to violent intrusion was somehow intrinsic to Indian ethos, or is it that the revolutionaries internalized the essence of Indian nationhood. The dilemma is fundamental as India existed as a civilizational nation long before the British arrived. No one man, or even a group, ought to therefore have the liberty to redefine Indian nationhood without a critical appraisal of the consistency of their chosen definition with age old civilizational ethos as also the advantages and disadvantages of the same. For, a nation is but defined by its cultural ethos. Indeed, "a nation never means a land as such. A nation indicates a group or a community of people which has been traditionally living in a particular land, which has its own distinctive culture, and which has an identity separate from other peoples of the world by virtue of the distinctiveness of its culture. The cultural distinctiveness of a nation may be based on its race, or religion, or language, or a combination of some or all of these factors, but all-in-all there has to be a distinct culture which will mark the nation out from peoples belonging to other lands. Third, there may be internal differences in several respects among the people belonging to this culture, but in spite of these differences there is an overall sense of harmony born out of the fundamental elements of their culture, and a sense of pride which inspires in them a desire to maintain their separate identity from the rest of the world. Finally, as a result of these factors, this group of people has its own outlook towards the history of its traditional homeland; it has its own heroes and villains, its own view of glory and shame, success and failure, victory and defeat." p. 3, [11].

A.2 Unresolved nationhood-but why now?

 

Those rooted in the present may well question  the need to ponder over this dilemma of contrasting ethos of nationhood, now, given that the last identified invader has left us about 70 years back.  My answer would be multi-fold. We would not know which direction to move forward unless we identify what kind of nation we want to become – one that abjectly surrenders to any aggression that cares to look our way citing principles of morality that the opponent does not observe, or one  that demonstrates the confidence to respond and defend in a language the aggressor understands. To cite a recent example, after his much touted visit to India, US President Obama suggested that India has deviated from the principles of religious tolerance that M K Gandhi had espoused.  President Obama is probably on solid grounds here, as M K Gandhi’s idea of religious tolerance would involve Hindus and Sikhs to court death when confronted by practitioners of other religions. India needs to deviate from that path and perhaps India indeed has in parts where Hindus and Sikhs are in majority. But, Obama could  not be countered with truth as post independence India has vociferously identified herself with Gandhian principles notwithstanding their merit or rational support.  This has pervaded to the extent that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, an ideological descendant of Veer Savarkar, one of few to have intellectually opposed Gandhi during his life time, profusely elaborated on the virtues of non-violence in a recent speech [12].

"Those forces which focus only at achieving the economic interests of their own groups in the name of globalization; want to expand their own empires in the name of establishing peace or; compelling all other countries to remain weak and helpless in the name of non-proliferation of weapons, can never and shall never let the dream of a happy and beautiful world become a reality. In the history of past one thousand years, Bharat has been the only example which has made genuine efforts in this direction through the path of truth and non-violence. With Bharat's deep faith in the mantra of 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam' (i.e. entire world is one family), a wide range of her Rishis, Munis, Bhikshus, Shramanas, Saints, scholars and experts travelled across the world from Mexico to Siberia in olden eras. Without attempting to conquer any empire or without destroying way of life of any society, prayer systems or national and cultural identity, they shared with them the Bharatiya ethos of love, affection and universal welfare."

Shi Bhagwat would surely know about the Hindu monastic tradition of carrying arms given that the armed rebellion of Sanyasis (monks) inspired Anandamath the literary masterpiece of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee which in turn gave India her national song Vande Mataram (it is after all RSS that has preserved this song long after it has been obliterated from the cultural memory of the province where it originated from). Also, if not the Rishis and scholars, the Chola kings of India certainly did seek to  establish an empire beyond the precincts of India eg, in far East, through military conquest. But, the historical accuracy of Shri Bhagwat’s statement constitutes only a side note in this discussion. The values that Shri Bhagwat and President Obama chose to emphasize on are more pertinent. For, "a nation not only has its own heroes and villains, its own view of glory and shame, success and failure, victory and defeat," but it is also the choice of these very heroes and villains, understanding of glory and shame, success and failure, victory and defeat that define a nation.

Gandhi is no longer an individual, but a school of thought -  1) one  that espouses passive submission as a response to  blatant aggression and 2) one that prioritizes morality of means over the necessity of end. It is this school  that is rapidly becoming representative of Indian nationhood. If this school defines India, the world would  be right to expect a docile submission whenever India is confronted with external or internal aggression. We therefore at least need to examine if the other end of the spectrum, namely valor, purposive actions, national goals over moralistic egos and self righteousness ever had a place in the ancient civilization that India is, and how far they succeeded. If Gandhianism does indeed define Indian nationhood, it is imperative to explore if the proponent adhered to the lofty standards that he enforced on others, or did he apply them selectively for his own people while providing substantial leeway to their aggressors (British or Muslims seeking partition of India as the case may be) – in other words was Gandhi a committed Gandhian himself  or Gandhianism was also for him a means towards the end of the halo of sainthood? 

A fundamental question in this quest ought to be if the conflict between the Gandhian school and one that seeks a robust counter to intrusion through the most efficacious means regardless of its moral basis emerged during freedom struggle against the British. Or is it that the protagonists merely chose different sides in an eternal conflict of values that has been recurring over the ages. If it is the latter, then we need to examine how did the two sides  fare over ages?  To resolve this query, let us retrace our paths through the sands of time to 713 AD, the year in which Arabs established their first foothold in India – in Sindh, which was then a  part of India.

Muhammad Bin Kasim who conquered Sindh in 713 AD from the Hindu king Dahar had just arrived at one of its principalities, Siwistan, with the goal of annexing it. The king and many of his chieftains were Hindus, but Buddhism was a dominant religion there in the 7th century pp. 9-10  [1]. Samanis (originally Shramans or Buddhist monks) were also rulers of several cities. The earliest account of the invasion of Sindh, Chachnama, recounts the following story pp 91-92 [1]:

Upon Kasim’s arrival, the Samani at Siwistan, who was a chief of the people, sent the following message to Bachehra (the ruler of Siwistan and a cousin of King Dahar of Sindh) , saying: "We people are a priestly class (Nasiks), our religion is peace and our creed is good will (to all).  According to our faith, fighting and slaughtering are not allowable. We will never be in favor of shedding blood. You are sitting quite safe in a lofty palace; we are afraid that this horde will come and, taking us to be your followers and dependents, will deprive us of our life and property. We have come to know that Amir Hajaj has, under the orders of the Khalifah, instructed them to grant pardon to those who ask for it. So when an opportunity offers, and when we consider it expedient, we shall enter into a solemn treaty and binding covenant with them. The Arabs are said to be faithful to their word. Whatever they say they act up to and do not deviate from." p. 90, [1]. Bacchera refused to accept this advise and some residents of Siwistan were ready to fight. Muhammed Kasim attacked. The Samani party reprimanded Bacchera and forbade him to fight, saying "This army is very strong and powerful; you cannot stand against them. We do not wish that, through your obstinacy, our life and property would be endangered.p. 90, [1]. Bacchera still refused their counsel. Then the Samani clique sent a message to Kasim that:  "All the people, whether agriculturists, artisans, or other common folk, have left Bacchera’s side and do not (now) acknowledge allegiance to him, and Bacchera has not sufficient men and materials of war, and can never stand against you in an open field, or in a struggle with you." p. 91, [53]. Regardless of whether this inside information was accurate, this definitely increased the zeal of the Muslim army. Kasim ordered the assault to be continued night and day.  The occupants of the fort ceased to fight after about a week. "When Bacchera found that the fort was in great straits and that could not stand long, he determined to leave it. So when the world was hid behind the pitch-dark curtain of night, he issued from the Northern gate, and crossing the river, fled away. p. 91, [1].

So, the conflict between pacifist surrender and robust response to invasions as also the morality of means and the necessity of the end (Samani considered a defense that relies on force as immoral) did exist as far back as early 8th century AD. Our quest then would let us discover who emerged as heroes and who as villains across such ideological and real life conflicts India fought over the ages. Villains would naturally occur dime a dozen, but were there any real hero in the end? How did the different choices fare in this conflict? Who succeeded, who failed, and why? The win that the Samani registered would be short lived as the dominant religion in this region, Buddhism, would be obliterated from Sindh under Islamic sword but Hindus would continue to comprise up to  about 25% of Sindh even  until 1947. Bachera could not defend Siwistan either, but Siwistan lost its independence with his loss too. While the choice of the hero and the villain is perhaps clear in this context, it is apparent both the hero and the villain lost – just that the hero tried and failed, diminished and undermined by the villain. Yet, Hindus would start recovering lost ground in Sindh as early as 715 AD, and by 9th century AD, they would regain control of most of Sindh. Thus, Bachera failed, but inspired others to complete part of his unfinished agenda. 

Our quest would reveal that Indian history has displayed an astonishing continuity. Indians, or Hindus in particular, have shown similar traits over ages, excelled in similar spheres and committed similar grave errors. For instance, resistance to every invasion would reveal two parallel strands – one of sublime heroism, the other of base collaboration with the invader, overt or covert. Heroes would invariably not live to tell their tale,  while collaborators would continue to prosper. Next, Indian nationalism up until early twentieth century will be deeply rooted or may even be synonymous with Hindu faith and practices. Faith and pride in religion would constitute pillars of strength of Indian nationalism, yet simultaneously its Achilles heel too.  We will also discover that Hindu response to invasion would be shaped by the distinctive features of the specific school of Hinduism the adherents subscribed to – in particular, considering Buddhism as a school of Hinduism, we will observe that Buddhist pacifism would undermine the heroic resistance the adherents of Sanatana Dharma would launch (the contrast between the Samanid and the Bachera would be typical). Buddhist pacifism is perhaps intellectually closest to the passive surrender advocated by the Gandhian school.

 The remarkable continuity in history compels us to ponder on  if  history repeated itself so ominously because the fundamental conflicts in our nationhood had not been resolved. The unresolved conflict between the Samani and Bacchera would  reappear at a critical juncture of India’s struggle for invasion by another imperialist power. If we move fast forward to about 1225 years later, the Samani of Siwistan, Bachera and an occupier (albeit a different one) reemerge – to pose a question that would haunt our national consciousness yet again.   The new incarnation of the Samani would cite the morality of  non-violence to justify cooperation with the occupier in war time when the occupier was at his weakest.  The Bachera would reject his counsel and seek a fight to the finish, and  would enlist some support from within his own Siwistan too. The samani would however persist to gradually demoralize and diminish his support. Eventually realizing that he can no more defend  from within , the Bachera would leave his Siwistan , eerily again,  when the world was hid behind the pitch-dark curtain of night. In 1940, starting from his ancestral home at Elgin road in Calcutta, he would take trek across central Asia to reach far West, navigate back to far East to strike the blow he could not deliver from within. The rest as they say is history, one that we shall revisit  in due course. That history will tell us the Bachera who left us in 1940 didn’t himself succeed in his cherished goal of freeing from the clutches of the occupier the motherland he so dearly loved, but his heroism would motivate others to carry his baton to the goalpost, half way to be specific. If the Samani ever aspired to free his motherland as one nation that she was, he did fail too, but he would succeed in acquiring a halo of sainthood perhaps at the expense of the well being of his own people. Notwithstanding, again neither of the two would reach their stated goals. 

A.3 The Road Ahead

 

The last word in the history of India has not yet been said.  India won freedom in 1947 in a pyrrhic victory after a partition which involved the slaughter of 2,00,000-5,00,000 in the Punjab region alone [14].  India has subsequently taken tremendous strides in advancing knowledge, which again represents a continuity of history  (pursuit of knowledge continued in India even during  periods of foreign occupation). But, as we have learned the hard way,  the world renowned centers of learning like Nalanda and Vikramshila  themselves succumbed to the swords of the Turkic invader Bakhtiyar Khilji,  and could naturally not  protect India from invasion. So, knowledge will not suffice by itself. And, India may not have seen the last of its foreign invasions either. Indeed, even after 1947 we fought four official wars. In the first, in 1947, two months after its birth, Pakistan invaded Kashmir. The Indian army repulsed the attack, and was about to drive the Pakistani army out of Kashmir, when her first prime minister, J L Nehru, the ideological descendant and the PM choice of MK Gandhi, called a halt to the fighting and brought the dispute before the United Nations.  Kashmir remains divided, and its Pakistan occupied part is continually been used to foment terrorism in the remainder that is in India. In the third war, China inflicted a humiliating defeat on India (1962) due to the Himalayan blunders effected by the political leadership of the same PM Nehru.  A soldier lamented subsequently "Our peasantry has always fought gallantly; but it is an undisputable fact that seldom has this bravery been utilized to win battle field victories and thus to attain our political objectives, due to inept political or military leadership, or both. Need we follow this tragic path interminably." P. XVII [15].  In the last thus far, in 1971,  in yet another instance of inept political leadership,   we lost the territory gained on ground on negotiation table.

Next time, whenever that is, let India’s response be consistent to her national character that has emerged from her hoary past and evolved with imprints of time. Let us perhaps ensure that a future Bacchera can lodge a fierce counter attack from within, let the Samanis of his generation stand by, rather than against, him. Let India not meekly lose Siwistan to a persistent Kasim next time.  Towards this end, in a series of articles, we will  exploring the civilizational ethos that have shaped India’s response to external aggression throughout her past, and position the ideological conflict between Gandhi and the revolutionaries in that context.

Acknowledgement: The series is the closest to a jointly authored piece among all my single-authored articles. Many of the ideas explored here have emerged in extended discussions with @dikgaj. The  arguments presented here have been sharpened owing to the constructive criticisms of Shanmukh (@maidros78) .  Kausik Gangopadhyay (@kausikgy)  has suggested some insightful directions that I have explored.  Sushuptii (@sushuptii) has  provided many of the references I am using.

This intellectual exploration has been stimulated by a dogged campaign launched by activist and  journalist Anuj Dhar and author Chandrachur Ghose for declassifying archival documents concerning the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.  My knowledge of Netaji has substantially enhanced through the research conducted by their team. Above and beyond, they are showing us yet again how one ought to pursue a worthy cause regardless of the odds of success. Last, but not the least, this sequence will be my homage to the Bacchera of 1940 and all those like him  who would never deign to remind us:

When you go home, tell them of us and say

For their tomorrow, we gave our today.

Bibliography:

 [1] Ali Kulfi, The Chachnamah-an ancient history of Sind, Translated by Mirza Kalichbeg, 1900, Reprinted by Rana Saad, 2004

 [2] Prarthana Pravachan: Part I, CWOMG, Vol. 87, pp. 394-5

[3] "Talk with refugees, April 4, 1947"  mahatma Gandhi The Last Phase II, p. 97, CWOMG, vol . 87,

[4]"Speech at prayer meeting, April 7, 1947, Prarthana Pravachan Part I pp. 32-35, CWOMG, vol 87

[5]  May 1, 1947, Prarthana Pravachan: Part I, pp. 54-8, CWOMG, Vol. 87, pp. 394-5

[6] Prayer meeting, April 6, 1947, New Delhi, CWMG Vol. 94 page 249

[7] I M. Sharma, Role of Revolutionaries in the Freedom Struggle, Marxist Study forum, Hyderabad, 1987

[8] Speech at a military review of the Indian National Army (5 July 1943)

[9] http://www.revivaloftrueindia.com/2012/10/madan-lal-dhingra.html

[10] Ramesh Chandra Majumdar "History and Culture of the Indian people – Vol. XI - The Struggle For Freedom" 

[11] Abhas Chatterjee "The Concept of Hindu Nation" Voice of India, 1995

[12] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Text-of-RSS-chief-Mohan-Bhagwats-Vijayadashami-speech/articleshow/44199148.cms

[13] M.K. Gandhi. Hind Swaraj, Hindu Dharma, Ahmedabad 1950

[14] Paul R Bass  The partition of India and retributive genocide in the Punjab, 1946–47: means, methods, and purposes". Journal of  genocide Research. p. 75 (5(1), 71–101, 2003

[15] Brig J P Dalvi, Himalayan Blunder – The curtain raiser to the Sino Indian war of 1962

[16] https://dikgaj.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/counterthoughts-4-bharatya-nationhood-and-yogendra-yadavs-neo- stracheyism

 

Saswati Sarkar is a professor at the department of electrical and systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The views expressed here are in her personal capacity.