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>>



In the period between 1941 and 1945, two apparently connected events took place which profoundly effected the freedom movement of India. The first was the great escape of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose dated 16th jan 1941 and the second was the formation of Indian national army. These two events were notable in a sense that its impact on India's freedom struggle was direct. But in the course of time the contribution of Bose and INA went missing from the pages of history.
With a heavy heart I must admit that we have conveniently forgotten the greatest son of the soil and a true patriot. It is an irony for our country and our countrymen that we tend to forget the true patriots like Netaji Subhas Chandra bose,Bhagat Singh,Khudiram Bose,Masterda Surya Sen ,Rashbehari Bose,Rajguru,Chandrashekhar Azad,  with much ease ,all while worshipping media projected and politically motivated entities ,who otherwise wouldn't have stood a chance to be compared with these heroes. I get a feeling that somehow congress and its so called leadership always wanted the nation to forget a great leader like Subhas Chandra Bose .  The reason of such a bizarre wish has something to do with hiding some ugly opportunist faces and acts.
I am much convinced that with the passage of time Bose's ideology and vision are all getting lost from public memory. This is mainly because of the people in charge of education department and ministry have deliberately kept our nation away from what Netaji stood for, what INA achieved and his planning for free India.
In the last 50 years after getting independence, the government and its agencies like ncert and organizations like upsc have supported only scholars who are rather weak in analyzing actual facts and afraid of thinking independently, but willing to toe the official line. Lets analyze the syllabus of Indian civil service examination or (ICS),which After 1886 was officially called as the imperial service and was also known as the British India service of India , has long been regarded as the steel frame of administration in India right from the colonial era. The colonial legacy of civil service is still continuing even after independence. If I turn back the previous year's questions papers of Upsc history optional mains,out of my utter dismay I find, that from "1985 to 2005" in a huge span of 20 years only one question regarding Bose appeared and that also in the year 2002. The question has been quoted like this—
"The ideology of Subhas Chandra Bose was a combination of nationalism, fascism, and communism."
I being an aspirant of ICS would like to answer this question in a very few words -
Netaji has stated his position unequivocally to refute this canard that he was moved by the ideas of fascism. His association with Germany, Italy and Japan was dictated by revolutionary strategy and not by ideological kingship. He was totally opposed to the theory of racial superiority. It was however nationalism which was the only redeeming features of Netaji's synthesis of samyaveda.
Netaji's principle was a synthesis of leftist ideology for it urges its adherents to unceasing struggle, to go ahead without rest and compromise. It is revolutionary because it wants a complete and radical change in the existing capitalists and imperialist order. It is a believer in material upliftment of the people through industrialization while cottage industries having their legitimate place.
It is distinct from Gandhism , Marxism, Fascism,and other schools of thought, but the best in everything finds its place in it. It is precise in religious and foreign policies. The programme and plan of action which emanates from his ideology is as clear as crystal. A follower of Netaji needs never goes in a dark path. His path is illuminated by the clearest of thoughts all demonstrated in the practical labotary of history. The ideology of subhasnism is learnt not in the scheduled halls, they are leant with intelligent study, close observation and continuous application in the widest field among masses. Thus learnt, Netajis ideology serves as the surest guide to a revolution in his march for the emancipation of man.
There is not an iota of doubt that the history taught in schools and colleges are created by colonial masters and their willing servants who are ready to serve national interests by rather damaging India's true history, culture and heritage. They are the products of macaulayite education system, which was created to produce colonial servants and not independent thinkers.
To name a few of this so called government scholars and historians are Bipan Chandra, Tara Chand, Sumit Sarkar and Grover and Grover. Now let's study what's written in their history books. In Bipan Chandra "s book named "India's struggle for independence" consisting of 563 pages ,he completed the contribution of Subhas Chandra Bose and INA  within one page as if it was a mere skirmish and nothing else. In his second volume i.e "India since independence"(710 pages), he dedicated this book to Nehru uplifting him in any way that was possible. Tara chand in his Herculean four volumes of "history of the freedom movement in India" has completely ignored the contribution of Subhas Chandra Bose and INA, or I may justify this by saying he didn't felt the importance to write about Bose. Surprisingly ,Sumit Sarkar another well known scholar  and historian in his book "modern India 1885 to 1947" didn't comprise anything about INA but went directly in their trails though he wrote two pages about the event that took place in red fort. Similarly another historian "B L Grover and S Grover" also didn't feel the urge to write anything about Bose. They are just a few. If I start naming more, then it will be an enormous task for all the readers. But I feel its imperative to mention about INGOU booklets, as because they are 42 such booklets divided into ancient ,modern and medieval considered to be indispensable for civil service exam . We read about Chandragupta maurya, Babur and Akbar elaborately but sadly there is no place for Bose either than just a few paragraphs. The animosity and hostility is Cleary visible and they left no stones unturned to malign Bose and depict him and none other than a local hero. The people who prepare the syllabus of IGNOU comprises of scholars and big shots like Prof Sudhir Chandra, Prof Bipan Chandra, Dr Tanika Sarkar, Prof Amit k Gupta,Dr Atul Chandra Pradhan, Prof Sunil Kumar Sen., Prof V N Datta, Prof S Bhattacharya all making the same mistake.. And our government has been supporting this kind of political favorites than capable scholars and these historians are able to get away with it because of their monopoly hold over the establishment. They have no important contribution that can be compared to say, the decipherment of the Indus script. The nation's educational system is being controlled and guided by men and women with slavish minds and a hostile attitude towards our true nationalist leaders. History as a subject has become an instrument of whims and fancies of politicians fulfilling their personal interests.
Having said, that the congress also, doesn't want to fully disown Bose, or else, what can explain  the presence of a small picture of Bose in congress banners ?even if his photo appears, that is also in the smallest form and that too after Rajiv Gandhi, it gives us a feeling  that even though  congress is not admittedly confident in adoring Bose in a great way neither they want this great leader to be used by any opposition either. Bose is a phenomenon who seems to be everywhere yet being nowhere.
BJP can blow their trumpet that Bose is their man as it is none other than Savarkar who used to have an influence on Bose in a big way, though yet to be proved. The Marxist can have their part and furnish claims of Bose being a Marxist leader as because of his close associations with  leaders like Mussolini. And also congress can do so as Bose was their leader in the beginning.
But irony, while all seems to lay their claim to satisfy their vested interest, none is ready to admit the true fact. So at the end of the day "Bose Babu" is allowed to be forgotten or rather deliberately ignored by government resulting in a complete whitewash from all the history books.
Somebody rightly said "had he been Subhas Chandra Gandhi then he would have been greeted with full front page memorabilia message in front page newspaper." But sadly he is one Bose and not Gandhi.  So who cares for a certain Subhas Bose,Rashbehari bose Surya Sen, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru or Azad and their contribution towards nation building as long as they don't carry the Gandhi surname. I have no personal grudge towards anyone or any family but the open hypocrisy and prejudiced behavior of an entire nation promptly hijacked by a bunch of paid media houses and buttering crooks is what bothers me a lot.
In the process of projecting a few handful entities as the architects of modern India whose contribution in reality is minimal but  picturing them with a larger than life image for personal and political gains, we just can't and shouldn't ignore a leader like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

About the Author Abhisekh Singh, is doing his MA in History (final year) and Political Science (first year) after obtaining a Master of Commerce degree. He is a history buff and an admirer of Subhas Chandra Bose. He can be contacted at


Abhisekh Singh