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>>

Ban on Forward Bloc, Broadcast from Rome

Friends, it is surprising that there are still some people in India who believe in the possibility of a British victory in this war. But let me assure you that the British Empire's doom is inevitable. All those Indian brethren who are still trying to come to terms with the British are wasting their precious time and hampering the progress of revolutionary forces. Now, only three courses of action are left open to India; first, to help Britain; second, to maintain strict neutrality; and third, to revolt against the British. If India happens to side with Britain, she would invite disgrace and ruin and be enslaved for ever. Should India remain neutral, it would be better than helping Britain. In this case, she would not be able to get freedom through her own efforts, but would get it as a gift from the enemies of the British. If she makes up her mind to rise in revolt against Britain, she will have achieved her independence through her own strength. When we gain freedom, it will still be our own strength which will help us preserve it. It is suicidal to reach a settlement with Britain which is fast drifting towards ruin and disaster. If an Indian could not fight for his country's liberation, he had better be silent and not raise the question of a compromise with the British. There can be no greater folly than to help the British at the present juncture. That freedom is worthless for which you have to shed your blood for foreigners. I appeal to you not to waste your time by thinking of a compromise with Britain. You had rather gird up your loins for the battle for freedom.

Friends, unfortunately there are some in India, including a number of Congressmen, who say that if political power is transferred to them, they will allow Anglo-Saxon forces to continue to operate from India, but will not fight themselves. Here I would like to point out that no free nation could tolerate the presence of alien troops within its frontiers, and allow them to utilize her territory as a military base. These Indian politicians will embroil India into the British war.

A number of Indians are anxious to help Britain, but they are not bold enough to say so openly. They intend to gain their ends by raising the plea of help to China. Every Indian is in sympathy with China. But today the important question is as to who does the Chungking regime represent. Friends, did not Marshal Chiang Kai-Shek come to India merely to beg Indian help for the British? Did he not send his troops to Burma to help the British keep their hold on her? Did not the Chungking Ambassador in London say that Britain must continue its hold on Burma? He also urged the British to recapture Burma. All this shows that the Chungking Government is a puppet in Anglo-American hands. Supposing, the Chungking regime emerges victorious from the present war with Allied help, it will have to pay the price for Anglo-American support in the shape of perpetual slavery for China. Would it not be advisable for China to join hands with Japan? I am sure if the Chungking Government tries to make a compromise with the Japanese, the latter will do so gladly. If despite all efforts, the Chinese do not succeed in effecting a compromise with Japan, the whole of Asia will be on their side. But at present the support and sympathies of all Asiatic countries are with the enemies of British imperialism.

The British are exploiting Indian poverty. Poor Indians are being recruited in the army, police and civic guards. I appeal to my countrymen and friends to abstain from joining the army. If at all they join the army, let only those join who are nationalists or revolutionaries so that they sabotage the British war effort, and thus prove themselves useful when the hour for India's independence arrives. This is the only way that will lead you to your goal. It is a matter of profound gratification that there are even now a number of nationalists and revolutionaries in the British army, police and civic guards

I am also highly indebted to the British government for the honour it has done to the Forward Bloc by imposing a ban on it. This shows that the Forward Bloc has been a thorn in the British side. It is a matter of great pride for the Bloc that it is bearing British barbarities. I send my love and sympathies to my friends of the Forward Bloc who are behind prison bars.

Friends, I again assure you that I will continue struggling for Indian independence until India is completely free I also reassure you that if I accept foreign support for freeing India, it will be on the condition that India gets complete independence I will reach India when the occasion arises to guide your national struggle. After this, I will leave it to you to form a national government in a free India. I will again see Mahatma Gandhi after achieving my mission, as I had seen him in his Sevagram Ashram in 1940.

At present, every Indian should do his bit to destroy British imperialism in India. God helps those who help themselves. Long live revolutionary free India.