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>>

Full text of a Singapore broadcast by Netaji in Hindustani. On July 4, 1943, Netaji was unanimously elected President of the Indian Independence League; and in this broadcast Netaji broadcast a summarised version of the speech he had made earlier that day at the meeting of the Indian Independence League.

My countrymen, I am speaking to you from Singapore. I will repeat briefly my speech, delivered today at the Indian Independence League Conference in Singapore.

Sri Rash Behari Bose, representatives of the war of independence of East Asia, sisters and brothers! I thank you all for unanimously electing me President of the Indian Independence League in East Asia. I accept the honour you have conferred on me to shoulder this responsibility and carry out my duties in accordance with your wishes. If I relate to you my experiences in India and abroad, you will agree with me when I say that the blessings of God have been with us so far and have protected and led us on the path of freedom. He has raised my hopes and redoubled my power of thinking.

Friends, the time to start an armed struggle for freedom has come. Military service and loyalty to the mother country are the most essential things necessary to achieve our goal of freedom during the war. I appeal to you, my countrymen in the Far East, to assemble under the common flag. I am pleased to note that this step which you have taken is supported not only by the Indian nationalists in the Far East but by one-fourth of the population of the world. For the first time in the history of India, Indians abroad are unanimous and united in their only goal — that of freedom. Indians abroad maintain direct relationship with the Indians at home. Now we are free and I can tell you that our representatives have spread themselves throughout India during the past twelve months. We shall not take any step which would obstruct our path of freedom.

Now I will tell you how we should attain our freedom. Some of our friends were under the impression that Britain would be obliged to yield to our demand for freedom under the pressure of present world circumstances, but their hopes have proved Utopian. It is evident that Britain is determined to exploit India to the maximum both during the war and after it. The British Government has nominated Wavell as Viceroy with the aim of achieving this end. Some Indians believed that a man like Lord Halifax would have been more acceptable to India, but I do not hold that view. The British Government has selected this fugitive General who will be the last Viceroy of India with the deliberate intention of establishing a military dictatorship in India. The military dictatorship of Wavell will increase the hatred of the Indians for the British, thereby aiding and spurring on the revolution. Our countrymen should revive the struggle which began with the arrival of Cripps in India during April 1942. No doubt the British Premier will endeavour to maintain British imperialism. Recently, he declared that he prefers the phrase "Britain Empire" to "British Commonwealth." The British may offer promises which I must tell you are made to ensnare you. Any compromise with the British will be sheer loss for us, and will prove detrimental to our interests. We must be ready for sacrifice and action. The internal situation of the country must not be against us. The Axis Powers have facilitated our task by striking shattering blows against our enemies and they will continue fighting our adversaries until they are beaten and prostrate.

Friends, for the last two years I have been carefully studying the course of the war and I can say with absolute confidence that the Axis Powers will achieve final victory. I know that there will be insignificant setbacks in this long war, and hardships will have to be endured to defeat the Anglo-Americans. The situation is favourable to the Axis Powers though, I must admit, the Anglo-Americans have lately achieved some minor successes. You will, however, see that the Anglo-Americans will suffer one defeat after another as time goes on.

Britain, despite her being one of the most powerful countries in the world, did not hesitate to stretch out her hand to others for help. World history bears evidence that no war of independence has been successful without outside help. The present situation proves that the Axis Powers, who are at war with our enemies, are our friends and helpers. There can be no harm if we seek the aid of the Tripartite Powers if necessary. I know that some of my countrymen doubt the sincerity of the Axis Powers. Even a child can understand that the Axis Powers who are fighting our enemies are helping the Indians in their war of independence. The Axis Powers have clearly elucidated their attitude towards us. Japan, too, has clarified her policy and explained her attitude towards India, Burma, and the Philippines through her mouthpiece, General Tojo. The cunning and unblushing British statesmen and propagandists try to give the lie to Japan's sincere promises. General Tojo has silenced British statesmen by promising to give complete independence to Burma and the Philippines during the current year. The friendly attitude of Japan towards Burma and the Philippines is the best proof of her sincerity, honesty and truthfulness. Japan is the first Asiatic nation to stand up successfully to the Western Powers. Japan knows that as long as Asiatics are in bondage their freedom will be threatened by outsiders. She earnestly desires to see the Asiatic nations free. We have now a good opportunity to free ourselves and lay the foundations of a new world order based on truth, justice and freedom. I ask those who have any doubts or suspicions in their minds, to rely upon me. I shall always be loyal to India alone, I would never deceive my motherland. I will live and die for India. In my speech over the Tokyo radio the other day, I told you that the British Government could not bring me to submission by inflicting hardships on me. British statesmen could neither induce me nor deceive me. There is no one who can divert me from the right path. Every Indian must know that British victory implies the destruction of India. We can realise our aspiration for freedom by the final victory of the Axis Powers. We must take it for granted that we shall be free with the ultimate success of these Powers.

Friends! Time and circumstances are in our favour. We can win our freedom if we are ready to fight and are prepared to make sacrifices. You might remember that Sir Stafford Cripps returned to England in May last disappointed. The Indian war of independence then entered a new and important phase. Since then we have been marching forward along the road to freedom. The Satyagraha movement received an impetus and sabotage activities began after the arrest of Gandhiji in August last, an event which will long be remembered in Indian history. Since then there has been a marked change in the Indians. The time has come when the Indians at home, and particularly those abroad, should gather together with arms under one leader and await the orders for the destruction of the British imperialists. I have decided to form a Free India Government in order to bring the different elements together and to collect our strength. The aim of this Provisional Government of India will be to make the Indian revolution a success. It will be the duty of this Government to arm the Indians at home and abroad and to realise our aspirations of freedom with the aid of arms. The task of our Provisional Government will end with the extirpation of British influence from India. Indians would then be duty bound to set up a National Government. We shall be ready to fight side by side with the Axis soldiers against our enemies when our preparations for armed warfare are completed. We shall pay the price of our freedom with our blood, but by so doing we shall lay the foundation-stone of national unity. We shall be able to maintain our freedom if we attain it through our own sacrifices and blood.

Friends! I thank you lastly for the faith you have placed in me and for the assurance of your co-operation and loyalty. Though I am confident of our final success, I must warn you and ask you not to underestimate the strength of the enemy. We must face the obstructions in our way with boldness and courage. Our enemy is not only strong and powerful but is cruel and tyrannous. We shall have to face hard and severe fighting. You will have to endure troubles and unforeseen dangers, but you will be free if you withstand the trials. I am confident that you will reach your goal and lead your poor and down-trodden country to freedom and prosperity. Up, up with the Revolution! Long Live Free India.