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 Tokyo Radio

In the course of a recent speech, Mr Subhas Chandra Bose declared that the Assembly of Greater East Asiatic Nations had succeeded in laying the foundation of a New Order in the East. What was of more interest and importance, Mr Bose said, was the fact that all the nations who banded together were determined to fight in order to preserve this new order. The Assembly, therefore, exhibited one will and one determination. Mr Bose went on to say, “The so-called Liberal and Democratic powers have often said that a New Order can only be set up when the war is over and peace is established. Here in East Asia one has seen a worId war. Where there is a will, there's a way. Straightforwardness and sincerity can overcome mountains. We find no obstacles to prevent the creation of a New Order in the East. The Assembly of Greater East Asiatic Nations also unanimously passed a resolution moved by the Head of the Burma Government, Adipadi Dr Ba Maw, undertaking to give full moral and material support to India's struggle for independence. In reply to the resolution, which was enthusiastically supported by all those countries that were represented in the Assembly, I took the liberty of pointing out that the New Order in East Asia which was being established was a real society of nations and not a league of robbers as we saw at Geneva. The entire interest of the Assembly of Greater East Asiatic Nations, centred in the policy followed by Japan which had shown its sincerity by having granted independence to Burma and the Philippines, having recognised the Provisional Government of Azad Hind or Free India, and having recently entered into an agreement with the National Government of China. Japan has given full and generous proof of her bona fides and of her sincere desire to assist the downtrodden countries of Asia to attain their freedom and to create a free and prosperous East Asia built on the principles of justice, national sovereignty, and mutual assistance. Such sincere and noble evidence was very necessary to build a New Order in East Asia and is of vital interest and importance, not merely to East Asia but to the whole of Asia and the world today.

Continuing, Mr Bose said, “Though India did not officially participate in the Assembly of Greater East Asia, though I attended it only as an observer, and though the Indian question did not form an item in the official agenda, the Indian question, by virtue of its great importance to the future of East Asia and the Co-prosperity Sphere was discussed at great length. Perhaps the most agreeable surprise was the announcement in the Assembly by the Prime Minister of Japan that his Government had decided to hand over to the Provisional Government of Free India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal which had been in the custody of the Japanese Government since the British had been kicked out from there. The problem now for us Indians, and for all the oppressed peoples of Asia, is to go forward for the realisation of our dream. We are all determined to play our full part in this gigantic struggle, and we are confident of final victory.”

Mr Bose declared that the whole of East Asiatic Indian population of nearly 3,000,000 now stood as one solid phalanx behind India's struggle for independence and that their political organisation, the Indian Independence League, had accepted a programme of total mobilisation, and had called upon Indians in East Asia to come forward in large numbers to join the struggle. He said that the response of the Indian community to this call for total mobilisation had been good and it had made it possible for the Indian Independence League to form the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army whose slogan was 'Onward to Delhi'. Mr Bose went onto say, “Since the 21st of October we have our own Government — the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. This Government has the confidence of the entire Indian people, who will do everything to help. It has, moreover, obtained official recognition from such friendly Powers as Germany, Italy, Croatia, Burma, the Philippines, Manchukuo and National China; and, I am sure, that other Powers will soon extend recognition to our Government We are happy and proud that we shall soon commence our last struggle for liberty under the leadership of our own Government. For the first time since 1857, we have a Government of our own recognised by so many powerful allies abroad; for the first time since 1857 our countrymen outside India, particularly in Asia and Europe, are standing shoulder to shoulder with their comrades at home; for the first time since 1857, India is fully organised to destroy those who have ruthlessly exploited and oppressed her. The stage is, therefore, set for the last and final battle for Indian independence.”

Netaji went on to say, “Countrymen at home and abroad! Lose no time, gird up your loins for the last struggle for Indian independence and plant the flag of freedom on Indian soil. When we begin the long and historic march to Delhi our last battle will have begun, and we shall not rest till the last Britisher is thrown out of India and our flag is flown over the Viceroys House, and when India's battle of liberation has been won we shall hold victory parade inside the Red Fort in Delhi.”