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 Hindustani)

At a very largely attended Press Conference, Mr SC Bose, President of the Provisional Government of Free India and Commander-in-Chief of the Indian National Army, declared that the troops under his command were impatiently awaiting orders to go to the front and play their part in the war of Indian independence. He revealed that units of the Indian National Army which had already left Shonan for the Northern regions were highly delighted. He said that the Provisional Government of India commanded the confidence and cooperation of all Indian Nationals in East Asia and the support of the strong Indian National Army. He declared that it was directly concerned with the national movement at home, and added that every Indian was in sympathy with it. Under the stress of the changed circumstances, even their enemies realised the significance of the Indian Provisional Government.

Discussing his mission to Tokyo, Mr SC Bose said that he had come to Japan to thank the Japanese Government personally for its recognition of the Provisional Government of India and its promise of full support in the Indian struggle for liberation. He added that he would hold discussions with responsible Tokyo officials on the situation created by the Provisional Government's declaration of war on Britain and America. He expressed the hope that he would be able to further strengthen the friendly relations which he had established with the Japanese Government at his last meeting. This personal contact, he pointed out, demonstrated to the world the mutual love and friendship between Japan and the Provisional Government of India. He pointed out that the recognition of the Provisional Government of India by the Government of Japan had frustrated enemy propaganda which had deliberately misrepresented Japan's attitude towards India. The recognition of the Provisional Government by several friendly Governments, which sought to encourage the Indian National movement, had inspired Indians both at home and abroad. For the first time since the last war of independence in 1857, Indians have now taken up arms against Britain under their own Government. Mr Bose went on to say that the Provisional Government of India had been organised on the same lines as those which several other oppressed nations had established in order to carry on their fight for freedom. The imprisonment of all prominent Indian leaders and the disarming of Indians had made the organisation of the Provisional Government of India imperative. He declared that the sole aim of the Provisional Government was to fight the last war of Indian independence against Anglo-American imperialism, restore peace and order, and establish a permanent Indian Government which would be chosen by the Indian people. He added that owing to the military character of the Provisional Government, only those portfolios had been created which were necessary for the successful prosecution of the national struggle for liberation and the achievement of final victory; and emphasised that more portfolios would be added as soon as the Indian National Army entered the country.

Reviewing the course of events since his departure from India in 1941, Mr Bose disclosed that by the grace of the Almighty he had realised all the aims with which he had left India and now there remained only the last fight for independence and the achievement of final victory. He pointed out that he had organised the National Army of liberation abroad and had taken part in the constitution of the Provisional Government of India because he felt that without this the freedom of India was impossible. Mr Bose stated that the salvation of lndia was as sure as tomorrow's sunrise. Discussing the differences between the Allies and Japan, be stressed that while shouting about their so-called noble aims of freedom and democracy and advertising the merits of the Atlantic Charter, the Anglo-Americans were cruelly oppressing the enslaved nations and depriving small countries like Iran and Iraq of their freedom, the Japanese were doing all they could to liberate the so far oppressed nations of Asia to achieve freedom.

Questioned about the plans of the Indian National Army and the Provisional Government, Mr Bose replied that the Army was so thoroughly equipped and so capably directed by the Provisional Government that no enemy could withstand it. He added that women soldiers had also been included, and they were as capable as the men. The following questions and answers followed:

Q. What measures have been taken by the Indian National Army and the Provisional Government to relieve India's food situation?
A. Originally Burma, and later the Indian National Army, offered 100,000 tons of rice to India's starving population, and the British Government was asked to make arrangements for taking delivery. The British Government, unfortunately, made no reply to this offer. The Army is, however, determined to despatch foodstuffs to India at all cost. A way will somehow have to be found.

Q. Why could not Burma arrange with the International Red Cross Society for the despatch of rice?
A. When the British Government is not prepared to accept the offer, what can the Red Cross do?

Q. Have you complete confidence in the success of the Indian National Army after it has crossed the Indian border? What steps has it taken to cope with a possible rebellion in India?
A. More than 12,000 Indian troops now in the British Army have assured us of their full support as soon as the Indian National Army enters India. These Indian troops have been harassed and ill-treated by their British officers and they are longing for revenge. I have also been receiving regular reports on the functioning of India's political machinery. Our agents keep us well informed of every development in India. Similarly, we have responsible people in India who keep in touch with the latest situation abroad. Thus the closest contact has been established between Indians at home and abroad.

Q. Can the Provisional Government efficiently control and direct the movements of the Indian National Army? Is this Army adequately equipped to carry on the war of freedom for a considerable time?
A. I consider the Provisional Government to be most competent and its Army well equipped. To win any battle of freedom two institutions are essential: first, a National Army; and, secondly, a National Government. India has both. In addition, she has the recognition and full support of mighty Japan and Germany.

Q. It is believed that the Headquarters of the Provisional Government will be transferred from Shonan to Burma. What relationship exists between the Provisional Government of Free India and the Government of Burma?
A. The Headquarters will be transferred when circumstances permit. As to our relationship with the Burmese Government, it is most cordial. We are like two children of the same parents. Japan has recognised the independence of Burma, the Philippines, and the Provisional Government of Free India. We three form a happy family under one guardian - Japan.

Q. What is your opinion as regards the food situation in India?
A. The situation is appalling. The fact that Churchill and Roosevelt have ignored the appeals of the Indians shows that the British Government and its American ally are quite indifferent to their misery. No satisfactory measures have so far been taken by the British Government. It even refuses to supply ships for the import of foodstuffs into India.

Q. It appears that you have achieved the three most important objectives, namely, the formation of an Indian National Army, the establishment of an Indian National Government, and the winning of full support from Japan. Have you any other for the immediate future?
A. Yes, one more — the last — and that is to lead the Indian National Army to India, fight the battle of freedom, expel the Anglo-Americans from our motherland, establish an Indian National Government in India, and bring everlasting peace and prosperity to the down-trodden millions of my country.