Bose And INA

Rewriting History

Shamsul Islam

Once a prime national centre of historical research, ICHR has been totally handed over to the RSS pracharaks. It is nobody's argument that RSS cadres have no right to influence research in Indian history. But as George Orwell in his masterpiece NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (1949) wrote, it should not be left to the whims of a section of the sectarian ruling elite which specializes in daily changing historic records to fit its polarizing propaganda goals of the day. The deliberations at recently concluded 3-day (8-10 February, 2017) national seminar on Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army (INA) organized by ICHR show that even George Orwell and practitioners of post-truth dictum would be embarrassed by reliance on sheer false-hood by the RSS historians and leaders invited for the seminar.

The guest of honour, organizing secretary of RSS sponsored Akhila Bharatheeya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana (ABISY-All-India project for chronicling history), Balmukund Pandey and a senior RSS cadre went on to declare :
"There has been an attempt to demonise our country's icons and heroes and Subhas Chandra Bose was the biggest victim of this effort. If there is one person who represents the country's freedom struggle, it is Subhas Chandra Bose. But, Bose and INA are missing from our national archives and our primary school textbooks. His contribution was so great that in spite of the efforts of a few governments, Subhas continues to rule the hearts of the people".

Balmukund Pandey while congratulating ICHR for organizing a seminar for Subhas called upon to carry stories of Subhash and INA to every Indian household, "there is no other way to save this country". Y S Rao, chairman of ICHR and a senior RSS cadre, agreeing with Pandey promised that ICHR in collaboration with ABISY would organize a national seminar on Vivekanand and Bose as both "had imbibed the spirit of Goddess Kali".

The fact is that if people of India come to know about the treacherous role Hindutva organizations like Hindu Mahasabha (HM) led by VD Savarkar and RSS led by MS Golwalkar played against Netaji's plan of liberating India from the clutches of the colonial masters, it is going to be highly embarrassing and damaging for the Hindutva camp including ICHR. These terrible facts are available, nowhere else but in the pre-Partition archives of both the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS.

Netaji escaped from India in 1940 in order to organize a liberation army (INA) outside the country. He and his supporters wanted to use it as a force to liberate India militarily when England, the colonial master was trapped in the World War-II. Congress led by Gandhi refused to back the British rulers in this War, declaring it as an imperialist war. Bin it was Savarkar, an icon of Hindutva politics and RSS who decided to back the British war efforts. To what extent Savarkar helped the British would be clear by the following words of his :
"So far as India's defence is concerned, Hindudom must ally unhesitatingly, in a spirit of responsive co-operation with the war effort of the Indian government in so far as it is consistent with the Hindu interests, by joining the Army, Navy and the Aerial forces in as large a number as possible... Again it must be noted that Japan's entry into the war has exposed us directly and immediately to the attack by Britain's enemies. Consequently, whether we like it or not, we shall have to defend our own hearth and home against the ravages of the war and this can only be done by intensifying the government's war effort to defend India. Hindu Mahasabhaits must, therefore, rouse Hindus especially in the provinces of Bengal and Assam as effectively as possible to enter the military forces of all arms without losing a single minute".

Hindu Mahasabha (HM) under Savarkar organized recruitment camps throughout the country under its banner for the British army. The British Government was in regular touch with Savarkar so far as the organization of its highest war bodies was concerned. It included individuals whose names were proposed by Savarkar. This is made clear from the following thanksgiving telegram Savarkar sent to General Wavell, the Commander in-Chief; and the Viceroy of India on the 18th instant (July 18, 1941) :
Your Excellency's announcement of Defence Committee with its personnel is welcome. Hindumahasabha views with special satisfaction appointment of messers Kalikar and Jamnadas Mehta. [As per the original text, Kalikar and Mehta were two senior HM leaders]

It is important to note here that even Muslim League, sub-serving the interests of the British rulers, refused to align in these war efforts or join Defence Committees established by the government.

His presidential address at Madura (1940) is a living testimony to his unabashed support to the British imperialistic designs. He rejected outrightly Netaji's attempts to liberate India. He declared :
"Not only on moral grounds but on the grounds of practical politics we are compelled not to concern ourselves on behalf of the Hindu Mahasabha organisation with any programme involving any armed resistance, under the present circumstances".

He shamelessly declared that it would be a,
"political folly into which the Indian public is accustomed to indulge in thinking that because Indian interests are opposed to the British interests in general, any step in which we join hands with the British government must necessarily be an act of surrender, anti-national, of playing into the British hands and that co-operation with the British government in any case and under all circumstances is unpatriotic and condemnable".

He demanded complete loyalty from the Hindu recruits who joined the British forces :
"One point however must be noted in this connection as emphatically as possible in our own interest that those Hindus who join the Indian [read the British] Forces should be perfectly amenable and obedient to the military discipline and order which may prevail there provided always that the latter do not deliberately aim to humiliate Hindu Honour".

Astonishingly, Savarkar never felt that joining the armed forces of the colonial masters was in itself a great humiliation for any self-respecting and patriotic Indian. He went on to inform the Hindu recruits that through the efforts of Hindu Mahasabha alone, one lakh Hindus were recruited in the British armed forces in one year.

The HM archives are full of records of meetings between His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief & Shri Jwala Prasad' second in command of HM in which British Commander-in-Chief "expressed his grateful appreciation of the lead given by Barrister Savarkar in exhorting the Hindus to join the forces of the land with a view to defend India from enemy attacks".

It is to be noted that pre-Partition RSS literature did not have a single reference to the liberation struggle of Netaji, on the contrary, has records of Savarkar regularly addressing RSS meetings regarding recruitment in the British armed forces.

Vol. 49, No.39, April 2 - 8, 2017