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>>

Broadcast by Nanking Radio

In the course of a speech broadcast over Nanking Radio, Mr Subhas Chandra Bose said, “It is imperative that China should unite under a single leader and come to an honourable settlement with Japan. In her recent Agreement with the National Chinese Government, Japan has promised to withdraw her forces from China as soon as war is over. If the Chungking Chinese are sensible enough to sign a peace treaty with Japan, a new era will dawn which will bring everlasting peace and prosperity to Asia. It will increase the enthusiasm of the Indians and strengthen their struggle against British Imperialism. China's economic position will be completely stabilised and her future assured. Since September 1942, Japan has followed a policy which has completely changed the political situation in East Asia. China has a golden opportunity before her today and my advice to my Chinese brethren is 'Do not let it slip.' I am a radical and revolutionary and want every Indian to work sincerely for the cause of his country. In the same way, I want every Chinese to strive for freedom and to zealously guard their national sovereignty. We must forget the past and be conscious only of the present and the future. The British authorities have withdrawn all Indian troops from the eastern frontier as they do not trust them and fear that they will join the Indian National Army at the first opportunity. In place of the Indian troops, the British have stationed Chungking and Anglo-American troops on the frontier. Therefore, when the Indian National Army invades India, it will not only have to fight the British, but the Chungking forces also. Marshal Chiang Kai-shek who says he is a nationalist and patriot has sent his forces to help the Anglo-American imperialists to keep the Indian nationalists down. The Anglo-Americans have won the support of a section of the Chinese by saying that after the defeat of Japan, China will be raised to the status of a first-class power and will be the foremost nation in the whole of Asia. The Chinese must not be taken in by this clever propaganda. They must realise that the defeat of Japan will place the whole of Asia in danger. Instead of helping China to rise, the Anglo-Americans will bleed her white and enrich themselves. All my life I have been fighting British Imperialism. Long terms of imprisonment and torture have not affected my patriotism or my resolve to free my Motherland from the clutches of the British. Even British politicians, the most cunning in the world, were unable to persuade me to forsake my cause and win me over to their side. I am convinced that they will fail in the present case also and will be unable to deceive the Chinese. The Chinese must realise that an honourable agreement with Japan is possible and I very strongly feel that China will do well to come to terms with Japan. If India had been free, I would have come forward to act as mediator. Chinese unity is necessary for the well-being of the Asiatic nations. Without it, Asia cannot progress. Hence, I appeal to my Chinese brethren not to cooperate with the Anglo-Americans. Their duty is to join the other East Asiatic nations and work for the establishment of a new order of peace and prosperity in East Asia.”

Netaji went on to say, “If you wish, tomorrow you can unite the whole of China under one leader and come to an honourable settlement with Japan. Once that is done, Japan will withdraw all her forces from China. It is not necessary for you to wait till the end of the war. Even now you can attain complete freedom. If you seriously begin national reconstruction now you can fully stabilise China's economic position. Today China has before her an opportunity not even dreamt of during the last few years. Japan's proclamations following the grant of complete freedom to Burma and the Philippines, and the signing of the agreement with the Chinese National Government have shown that Japan is completely sincere about her professions and is willing to help the East Asiatic nations attain freedom and live a life of prosperity. I love my country as deeply and honestly as I expect you to love yours, and I want every Chinese to strive for the freedom of his Motherland. I shall never advise my Chinese brethren to endanger their honour. From my impressions of the policy pursued by Japan since the beginning of the Greater East Asia war, I can say with confidence that the present situation in East Asia has given the Chinese an opportunity to break away from Anglo-American control — an opportunity which the Chinese should not waste. Foreign influence has been completely eradicated from China. The Chinese have only their internal problems to solve, and that is the sole responsibility of the Chungking Government. I fail to understand why Chungking believes that the Anglo-Americans will be successful in the present war. I have toured extensively throughout East Asia and Europe since the war began and know the strength and weakness of the Axis Powers. I am in a position to assert that though the war is certain to be long and bitter, the Anglo-Americans will be finally beaten.”

Continuing, Netaji said, “I am leaving today for my Headquarters in Shonan. From there I shall proceed to Burma and thence to the Indo-Burmese frontier. My position as Commander-in-Chief of the Indian National Army compels me to be at the scene of battle, and I feel that the Indian National Army will soon have to fight the British and Chinese forces, which are stationed there. I am unable to understand why Chungking must fight us and help the British to strengthen her hold on India. Why should Chungking, which calls itself a National Government, help a foreign Power to keep one of her sister nations enslaved? Indians sincerely sympathise with the Chinese people. In 1938, when I was President of the Congress, I sent a medical mission to China. Chungking has repaid us by sending her forces to fight us and help the British maintain their domination. No one could ever imagine that one day Marshal Chiang Kai-shek would order his troops to fight the Indian National Army. If he does so, I trust that Chinese people will never forgive him for helping Britain to continue her imperialistic rule in India.”