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>>

Message to Indians in Burma

On April 24, 1945, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose left Rangoon for Bangkok. On the eve of his departure he issued the following message:

"To my Indian and Burmese friends in Burma! Brothers and Sisters! I am leaving Burma with a very heavy heart. We have lost the first round of our fight for Independence. But we have lost only the first round. There are many more rounds to fight. In spite of our losing the first round, I see no reason for losing heart.

You, my countrymen in Burma, have done your duty to your Motherland in a way that has evoked the admiration of the world. You have given liberally your men, money and material. You set the finest example of total mobilisation. But the odds against us were overwhelming and we have temporarily lost the battle in Burma.

The spirit of selfless sacrifice which you have shown, particularly since I shifted my Headquarters to Burma, is something that I shall never forget so long as I live.

I have the fullest confidence that that spirit can never be crushed. For the sake of India's Freedom, I beseech you to keep up that spirit, I beseech you to hold your heads erect, and wait for that blessed Day when once again you will have an opportunity of waging the War for India's Independence.

When the History of India's Last War of Independence comes to be written, Indians in Burma will have an honoured place in that History.

I do not leave Burma of my own free will. I would have preferred to stay on here and shared with you the sorrow of temporary defeat. But on the pressing advice of my Ministers and high-ranking officers, I have to leave Burma in order to continue the struggle for India's liberation. Being a born optimist, my unshakable faith in India's early emancipation remains unimpaired and I appeal to you to cherish the same optimism.

I have always said that the darkest hour precedes the dawn. We are now passing through the darkest hour; therefore, the dawn is not far off.

India shall be free!

I cannot conclude this message without publicly acknowledging once again my heartfelt gratitude to the Government and people of Burma for all the help that I have received at their hands in carrying on this struggle. The day will come when Free India will repay that debt of gratitude in a generous manner.