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>>

Press Conference in Tokyo

Statement to the Press made on June 19, 1943 on arrival in Japan from Germany.

While in India I had a long association with journalism and as such I now offer my sincere greetings to you who are engaged in journalism. Many of you might wonder as to the reason for my arrival in this part of the world at this time. For many a year the British prisons in India and Burma were my home. But if, instead of rotting in the den of an Indian prison, I am standing in your midst today in the capital of Japan, it is only symbolic of the new momentum gained by the wide-spread movement for independence in my country.

I left my country some two years back at the wish of my compatriots. From that time, all that I do every day is in conformity with their ideas. During the last great war our leaders were deceived by the cunning British diplomats. We took a decision some twenty years ago that we would never again be cheated. In the past twenty years of my generation all the Indians have been fighting for freedom and have been waiting for the opportune moment, which has now come. Such an opportunity will not repeat itself again for a hundred years to come. We are therefore determined to utilise it to the fullest extent.

Very often it is said that this war is being waged only for saving liberty and democracy. But you can very well appreciate the feelings of my compatriots against the Anglo-Saxons, who talk tall about liberty and democracy which are denied to our people forming one-fifth of the human race, and who through terror and brutal cruelty are massacring unarmed and innocent men, women and children.

Spiritual degradation, cultural degeneration, dire poverty and political slavery are the only things which India got from British imperialism. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Indian people have once and for all risen up boldly to smash the British chains and attain freedom. Indians view the present World War as a struggle between two ideologies. It is a struggle between those who want the status quo to continue and those who are determined to tear that old rag into pieces. In such a struggle, if that party which stands for change gets our sympathy nobody can blame us for that. Our sincere support is for the New Order. Under the circumstances we will give our sincere sympathy and support only to those who uphold such an ideal.

Whatever the propaganda humbug of the Anglo-Americans, I can say with certainty that the Indians are praying for the victory of the Axis Powers. If the Axis Powers win, the tyranny of Anglo-American imperialism will come to an end. British imperialism will be smashed to pieces, and India will regain her lost freedom.

By declaring war on our permanent enemy, the Axis Powers have given the greatest help to India in her fight for freedom. Since they have not stopped with the mere expression of sympathy but are actively rendering us large-scale aid, we are sincerely grateful to them. We should, however, get our freedom only by shedding our own blood. We will be able to preserve our freedom only if we get it through our own sacrifice and toil.

We, therefore, feel that we should take an active part in this war against our common enemy. Since the enemy fights with his sword we too should fight with the sword. The non-violent struggle should transform itself into a violent one. Only if a large number of Indians undergo this baptism of fire can they win the race and get the reward of freedom.

However long the war may continue, I have full faith in the total victory of the Three Powers. I am not surprised at the empty shouts about opening a second front in Europe. If empty propaganda can give victory in a war then our enemies could have won long, long ago. Unlike the last great World War, the conditions are not favourable to the Anglo-Americans now. Even Churchill had to admit this publicly in Washington. I therefore have no doubt about the victory of the Axis Powers.

You may be eager to know the sentiments of Indians towards Japan. Japan was the first country which prevented the people of an alien continent from committing aggression in the Asian continent. Japan's victory over Russia in 1905 was the first harbinger of Asian resurgence. That victory was hailed with great joy not only by the Japanese but also by the Indians. Therefore, Indians feel that the existence of a strong Japan is essential for the reconstruction of Asia,

It is true that India's views on Japan underwent some change following the Chinese affair. But after the beginning of the great East Asia war the situation has become different. Today Japan is waging war against our common enemy; Chungking has joined our enemies. Any Indian who is participating in the struggle for liberating India is bound to be friendly with that country which supports his cause. Further. Indians are now asking why Chiang Kai-shek has not come to some honourable settlement with Japan, and why he is relying on and serving as a tool of the Anglo-Americans even after the announcement of Japan's new policy on China.

For the past twenty centuries India and Japan had been maintaining close cultural relations. Because of the British rule in India these contacts were somewhat interrupted. But when India becomes free these ties will again be strengthened. It is but natural that Indians will cooperate closely with Japan so that they may live in complete freedom in their country and shape their national destiny independently.

It should be pointed out in this connection that the statements on India made by Prime Minister Tojo from March 1942 onwards have gone deep into the mind of the Indian people and have added strength to the Indian freedom movement.

I am glad to note the progress of the Japanese people as exemplified by great heroes like Fleet Admiral Yamamoto and abo their strength in the economic and other fields

In conclusion I should like to express my firm faith in the victory of the Axis Powers and in the liberation of the 40 crores of Indian people.