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>>

Address to Indians, Broadcast from Singapore

The following is the text of Netaji’s speech:

"Towards the end of October last, I left Burma for a long tour of East Asia and I have been travelling from place to place since then. That is why I could not speak to you as often as I would have liked to. When I spoke to you last from Tokyo towards the end of November 1944, I promised to speak to you again on the international situation, but even that promise has not been redeemed up till now.

Before I proceed further, I want to convey to all of you my warmest greetings and heartiest good wishes for the New Year. With the advent of the New Year, the war is entering upon its third and final phase, which will be for us the decisive and victorious phase of this war. All freedom-loving Indians and Indians in East Asia in particular—must now gird up their loins and prepare for the maximum effort and the maximum sacrifice. It is with a view to mobilising the maximum support of my countrymen in East Asia for the final and decisive phase of this war that I have undertaken this long tour. There is no country in East Asia where Indians are not to be found and I am happy and proud to be able to say that they are all participating actively in India's struggle for liberty. Men, money and materials for our Azad Hind Fauj have poured in from every corner of East Asia and lam now fully assured that they will continue to pour in, so long as our fight for freedom goes on.

During this tour, I have already been in Nippon, China, Indo-China, Malaya and Indonesia, inspecting the work of our organisation there. And I have just concluded an intensive tour of Malaya which— along with Burma— constitutes our principal base in East Asia. The donations that have come in from Malaya alone during my tour amount to seven million dollars or rupeesand a New Year's gift to India is now being organised all over East Asia which will break all previous records.

Friends, my thoughts on this occasion go back naturally to those who have been rotting in internment camps, prisons and underground cells in India for long years. I also pay my tribute of homage, on this occasion, to those brave souls who have been executed by our tyrannical oppressors, for the only crime of loving their country and working for her freedom. The suffering and sacrifice of our comrades will not be in vain. Justice will triumph in the end and freedom will come. We in East Asia have taken a solemn vow not to rest or pause until freedom's battle has been fought to a successful conclusion.

I said at the beginning that the war is now entering on its third and decisive phase. The first signs of this change were visible towards the end of October and the beginning of November last. But you can now see more signs of it. Those who were proclaiming from the housetops some months ago that the war in Europe would end in October 1944 are now constrained to alter their tone and to say that the war in Europe will not only continue through the whole of 1945, but may even go well into 1946.

The German counter-offensive, backed by new and powerful weapons like V-1, V-2, and jet-propelled aircraft, has taken our enemies completely by surprise. Loud and boastful enemy propaganda of the past months is now recoiling on its authors like a boomerang and there is depression and gloom everywhere in England.

Germany, by withdrawing nearer her own frontiers and by calling upon the entire nation to back up her armed forces militarily has scored an advantage over her enemies—while through superior scientific technique, Germany is trying to attain parity with her enemies in the domain of war production. Even our enemies have had to admit that German morale is as strong as ever.

On the other hand, the rift between the Soviet on the one side and the Anglo-Americans on the other is becoming wider and wider. There is no agreement between the British and the Americans either, in their political policy in Europe. As a proof of this, the world has seen the strange spectacle of the American Secretary of State, Stettinius, openly condemning British policy in Greece, Italy and Belgium. British troops who were supposed to liberate Greece, Italy and Belgium from German domination, are now busily engaged in shooting down the local inhabitants in all these countries. The recent visit of Churchill and Eden to Greece and their attempt to patch up things there, they have met with utter failure.

Here in East Asia, the situation for the Anglo-Americans is much worse than what it is in Europe. When the Americans captured a few islands in the Pacific some months ago, they began to indulge in such wild propaganda that people all over the world were led to expect that the Americans would be able to make a bee-line dash for the mainland of Nippon and thereby win a speedy victory. But the Americans have now realised that their island-to-island hopping tactics will not carry them very far. In fact, the American Commander-in-Chief, General Wedemeyer, was constrained to come out in the open and condemn American tactics in the Pacific which according to him could not lead to victory.

The Americans have, by now, begun to realise slowly that Nippon's naval strategy in the Pacific is analogous to Russia's strategy in the land campaign against Napoleon, when he was advancing towards Moscow more than a century ago, and that Nippon will be to the Americans what Moscow was to Napoleon. Napoleon met his Waterloo nearer home. The Americans will perhaps have to face their Waterloo nearer to Nippon mainland. Coming events will bear out the truth of my prediction.

At home, the entire Nipponese nation has just been mobilised for increased war production and the results of this total mobilisation will be apparent six months or one year later. The time is no longer working for the Anglo-Americans—but is working for the Axis powers—and it is no wonder that the Anglo-Americans are in a beastly hurry to end the war as soon as possible before their moral begins to crack.

For us Indians, therefore, the general war situation today is as favourable as we can expect in a war of the present magnitude. The period of our enemies’ counter-offensive is coming to an end and from now onwards, they will, slowly but surely, be pushed back and back, until they go over to the defensive. This is, accordingly, the time when we Indians must prepare ourselves feverishly for our next offensive in the Indian campaign.

As a matter of fact, that is exactly what the Azad Hind Fauj is now doing. We have obtained valuable experience during the recent operations on the Indo-Burma frontier and inside India, and in preparing for the next offensive the fullest use is being made of that experience.

A sense of supreme confidence in final victory prevails among all ranks of the Azad Hind Fauj. Having beaten the enemy forces once in so many sectors of a far-flung frontline over a period ofseveral months and having taken a full measure of the strength of our enemies—confidence in our final victory has increased a hundred-fold.