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 from Tokyo

Countrymen and friends! I want to deal in the first place with the meaning of this war, and the historical facts lying behind it. Well, this war is a clash between the forces that want to maintain the status quo in the world and the new forces that are determined to destroy it in order to usher in a new order. The former includes the Anglo-American imperialistic powers that have been masquerading under the cloak of freedom and democracy. Victory to these imperialistic powers would mean the perpetuation of our servitude as well as the continued enslavement of many other unfortunate nations.

In this titanic conflict our national interest clearly lies in allying ourselves with those young and virile nations who are determined to overthrow the status quo and thereby give us a chance of winning our liberty.

It should be fully evident that the Tripartite Powers by fighting our age-long enemy and inflicting terrible defeats on him have been indirectly helping our national struggle to a remarkable degree. If our enemy had not been mortally wounded by these Powers, our task of achieving liberty would have been a hundred times more difficult than it is today. We are grateful for this, but we are even more grateful that the Tripartite Powers are not only content with giving us indirect help, but have been offering active support and assistance in our fight for freedom.

I know that there are some countrymen of mine who, having been brought up in English institutions and having been influenced by English propaganda, doubt the merits of the Tripartite Powers. I would ask those countrymen to put their trust in me, for the powerful British Government that has persecuted me all my life and has imprisoned me eleven times has not been able to demoralise me. No power on earth can hope to do so. And if the wily, cunning and resourceful British politicians have failed to cajole and corrupt me, nothing else can do so.

In all the Axis countries I have visited, I have not only studied very closely the public opinion in regard to India, but I have also acquainted myself at first hand with the attitude and policy of the three Governments. The latest declaration of Premier Tojo made at the Imperial Diet on 16th June 1943, which I had the privilege of hearing personally, following my interview with him on 14th June, was absolutely clear and unequivocal. In the course of that statement, which will live in history for all times as an epoch-making declaration, His Excellency said: "Japan is firmly resolved to extend means in order to help to expel and eliminate from India the Anglo-Saxon influences which are the enemy of the Indian people, and enable India to achieve full independence in the true sense of the term.”

Friends! I know some anti-Axis people have been making efforts to mislead the Indian people by suggesting that it is unbelievable that the Axis Powers should become so generous as to support India's demand for independence. But to me the attitude of every Axis Power is both natural and easily understandable. Today, the Axis Powers and India have a common enemy, and therefore a common interest and objective.

The Axis Powers must in their own interest and in order to ensure their own freedom and prosperity in the future, defeat and overthrow the British Empire. In order to achieve that aim they must expel the Anglo-American Powers and influence from India, and they must do this even if the Indian people preferred to remain under the British yoke. Knowing, however, that the Indian people have been struggling for their freedom, the sympathy of the Axis Powers naturally goes out to them. Moreover, if India could achieve her national emancipation from the British Empire, it will be of advantage to the whole world including the Axis Powers. Reason and common sense should therefore easily comprehend why the Axis Powers have adopted so friendly an attitude towards the Indian independence movement.

Having been completely foiled in their anti-Axis and anti-Japanese propaganda, the Anglo-American imperialists and their hirelings have fallen back on their last subterfuge. Referring to Premier Tojo's repeated declarations, they have been saying that these declarations are the embodiment of policies intended to bluff gullible and credulous people. There is an old saying in Sanskrit which you all know “atmawat manyate jagat” — which means that a man would judge the world according to his own nature. Being hypocrites themselves, these people think that everybody else is a hypocrite.

However, Premier Tojo has given the most effective and crushing reply to such vile propaganda by declaring to the world that before the end of the present year both Burma and the Philippines will have independence in reality. I wonder what new arguments our enemies can possibly invent for their anti-Axis propaganda when this year is out.

Countrymen! You are aware that towards the end of 1940, since I saw that Mahatma Gandhi had at long last launched the civil disobedience campaign, I felt that the honour and prestige of the Indian people had been vindicated and it was necessary to plan the Indian revolution on a larger scale and in an effective manner in order to bring it to fruition. But, for that, it was necessary to have information on the international situation and to establish contact with the Axis Powers and to secure the active assistance of our countrymen abroad. Today I am in a position to announce to you that all these objectives have been fully achieved.

Firstly, we know the international situation at first hand and we are therefore convinced of our ultimate victory.

Secondly, we know at first hand that the Axis Powers in general, and Japan in particular, are the best friends and allies that the Indian people now have in their struggle for freedom.

Thirdly, all Indians outside India, who are not living in countries directly under the control of our enemies, have now been brought together into one well-knit organisation. They are closely following developments inside India and, on the other hand, they are keeping unimpeded contact with international events. They are making all possible preparations to bring at the right time the maximum assistance to you who have been carrying on this struggle at home in spite of internment, persecution and brutality.

Friends! You may remember that I have in the past assured you more than once that, when the hour strikes, I, and many others like myself, will be by your side to share the glory of fighting and suffering side by side and to share with you the joy of victory as well.

The British Broadcasting Corporation has said that I did not have the slightest intention of fulfilling my pledge. I would like to tell them that my pledge, which had been given not to the BBC but to my countrymen, will be redeemed in the fullness of time. Now I am not far from the Indian frontier. No power on earth was able to hamper my movements since January 1941; and no power on earth will be able to prevent my crossing the frontier once again in order to participate in the last phase of our national struggle.

Countrymen and friends! In conclusion let me convey through you to our comrades in prison and in internment my brotherly greetings. Tell them to be of good cheer. They have upheld the honour and prestige of our country. Through their sufferings, they have declared to the whole world that enslaved India is at war with Britain. I and all those who have been working outside India are proud of them. Not a day passes without our paying humble homage to their noble martyrdom. I assure them once again that their sufferings will not be in vain. India shall be free, and before long. And a free India will throw open the prison gates so that her worthy sons may step out of the darkness of the prison cells into-the light of freedom, joy and self-fulfilment.

Inquilab Zindabad! Azad Hind Zindabad!