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

“Only an armed struggle can bring about the freedom of India. Non-violent satyagraha alone is not enough to overthrow British rule which is maintained by the sword. The British drew the sword first, and it is only by the sword that they will perish,” observed Mr Subhas Chandra Bose, the great Indian patriot who has just arrived in Tokyo from Berlin, in the course of a talk with a large number of Press representatives today. Mr Bose went on to say, “The British have enslaved India by force and it is force alone which can destroy them. It is, therefore, my intention to organise an armed struggle against British rule in India. The intensity of the armed struggle will depend on the opposition that we have to encounter. If the British adopt sterner repressive measures we will also have to adopt stronger methods, and even seek outside help. I may even go so far as to say that we are in dire need of help from outside, and it will be folly not to accept it when it is being willingly offered.”

Replying to a question Mr Bose said that the Prime Minister, General Tojo, is not only taking personal interest in India but he is leaving no stone unturned in order to give all the assistance that lies within the power of the Japanese Government to help India in her struggle against British imperialism. He regretted that he could not disclose what transpired at his meeting with General Tojo, but he said, “I can say with the utmost confidence that apart from any assistance we may receive from the Japanese Government, Prime Minister Tojo is personally anxious to see India free from the British yoke at an early date.” Asked whether he had drawn up any specific plan for the launching of the proposed armed struggle against Britain, Mr Bose said that detailed plans had been drawn up to help his countrymen and that preparations were almost complete. He reiterated his unflagging determination to achieve the liberation of India at the earliest opportunity. He declared that not only did the overwhelming majority of his countrymen sincerely desire to see the Axis Powers emerge victorious from the struggle, but they were not willing to participate in the war against the common foe. Mr Bose said that the enemy had drawn the sword and had to be fought with the sword. He, therefore, felt that the civil disobedience movement must develop into an armed struggle, and only when the Indian people had received a baptism of fire would they be qualified to achieve freedom. He expressed his hundred per cent conviction that the Axis Powers would finally win the war, however long the struggle might last. Mr Bose said, “Indian leaders learnt their lesson in World War I when, as a price of unqualified cooperation, they received lathi-charges, jail sentences and the shooting of innocents. India has realised that British promises have no value whatsoever, and are calculated to deceive the people. Consequently, India is determined to take full advantage of the present war and fight for the freedom of India without thinking of a compromise. The Indian people know that such an opportunity will not come for another hundred years. British rule in India has meant cultural ruin, economic impoverishment and political servitude, and today they are determined to end British rule. Indian sympathy, therefore, rests with the Axis Powers who are fighting to destroy British Imperialism which has enslaved and ruined 400 million people. Today, Japan and Germany are fighting our one and only enemy — British Imperialism — and our sympathies naturally lie with these Powers. We in India feel that a strong Japan is, and always has been, a historical necessity for the revival of Asia. I feel certain that India will welcome close economic, cultural and political cooperation with Japan.” Mr Bose concluded by expressing his absolute confidence in an Axis victory which will result in the complete break-up of the British Empire and Anglo-American domination of Asia, and the emancipation of 400 million Indians from the British yoke.