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 Singapore Radio

Opening the Rani of Jhansi Regiment Training Camp at Singapore on October 22, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Supreme Commander of the Azad Hind Fauj, said:

"Sisters!

The opening of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment Training Camp is an important landmark in the progress of our movement in East Asia.

We are engaged in the great task of regenerating our nation. And it is only in the fitness of things that there should be a stir of New Life among our womenfolk.

Our past has been a great and glorious one. India could not have produced a heroine like the Rani of Jhansi if she did not have a glorious tradition. In the same way as we have figures like Maitreyi in India's ancient days, we have the inspiring examples of Ahalyabai of Maharashtra, Rani Bhawani of Bengal, Razya Begum and Noor Jahan, who were shining administrators in recent historic times prior to British rule in India. I have every confidence in the fertility of the Indian soil. I am confident that India, as in the past, will surely produce the best flowers of Indian womanhood.

I may at this juncture say a few words about the Rani of Jhansi. When the Rani of Jhansi started her fight, her age was only twenty. You can easily imagine what it meant for a girl of twenty to ride a horse, and wield her sword in open battle. You can easily realise what courage and spirit she must have had. The English Commander who fought against her said that she was the best and bravest of the rebels. First she fought from the Jhansi Fort, and when the fort was besieged, she escaped with a party to Kalpi from where she put up a fight. When she had to retreat from this battlefront, she made an alliance with Tantia Topi, attacked and captured Gwalior Fort, and using that Fort as the base she continued the battle, and in this last and great battle she died fighting.

Unfortunately, the Jhansi Rani was defeated. It was not her defeat; it was the defeat of India. She died, but her spirit can never die. India can once again produce Jhansi Ranis and march on to victory.”