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>>

Address to Imperial Consultative Political Council, Tokyo

Without any strength of arms the Indian National Congress was established in the year 1885. Under the then conditions the only methods available to the Congress were to build up a strong public opinion and to propagate from the platform. During the period from 1840 to 1900 the desire for liberty was first roused among the Indians by the brave fight for freedom put up by the Boers.

Then the victory of Japan in her war for defending Asia from Russian aggression instilled faith into the hearts of the Indian people that their freedom movement was bound to end in victory. As a result of the Japanese triumph, the Indians were convinced that they could not win the freedom struggle through peaceful methods like platform speeches, etc. This idea struck roots particularly among the youth. Because of this they brought pressure on the Indian National Congress to adopt methods like economic boycott and the like.

Not satisfied with such methods of opposing Britain, the Indian youths sent students to foreign countries to study other ways and means of achieving freedom. Young Indians went to Japan to study the tactics and the national characteristics which helped her to defeat Russia. Many other students went to France and Switzerland to learn the art of manufacturing arms for the revolutionary movement, and to study effective methods of agitation. As a result of the studies of these youths abroad, small arms like revolvers came to be used in the political agitation of 1907.

The Indian youths who were engaged in direct armed struggle failed, due to lack of proper leadership, to utilise the last World War to the advantage of their freedom struggle. During the last World War any youth who tried to spread disaffection among the troops or to instigate acts of sabotage in the factories was arrested and incarcerated. The time was not yet ripe for an open movement. After the war the British adopted cruel and repressive measures to suppress the Indians.

On seeing the attitude and methods of the British, even Mahatma Gandhi got angry and he gave up his friendship for them for ever and announced to the world his grim determination to fight against Britain for liberating India. Throughout the country anti-British feeling spread openly and strengthened itself. During this period many British officials were murdered and many British camps were burnt down.

In retaliation, thousands of Indians were massacred and the British unleashed brutal oppression everywhere. When the anti-British movement was suppressed in this manner the Indian people were perplexed about the next step in their freedom struggle. It was then that Mahatma Gandhi taught them Civil Disobedience. It was the view of Mahatma Gandhi that if the Indian people completely ignored all the Acts and regulations of the British, and if they refused, in a disciplined manner, to cooperate with them, then the British administrative machinery would come to a standstill.

Had Mahatma Gandhi given his support to direct action after the starting of the present World War it would have resulted in hastening the achievement of freedom

It is my firm conviction that Mother India can only be freed by resisting the British tyranny with armed might, and that the Indians cannot liberate India without shedding their blood. Freedom gained without shedding our blood will not be real freedom. We are determined to fight against Britain, our enemy, with all our strength

I very well know that the Japanese Government will give all kinds of assistance for the success of the Indian freedom struggle. I am determined to use all my energy to achieve the only objective of myself and of my compatriots, the objective of Independence. The declaration of General Hideki Tojo, Japan's Prime Minister, in the Imperial Diet of Japan has made the Indians understand clearly that Japan will render sincere support to the Indian struggle for independence