Chandra Kumar Bose, Netaji’s grandnephew, welcomed Narendra Modi’s decision to rename the islands of Andaman & Nicobar. In a free-wheeling chat with News Intervention, Bose explained how several facts about INA have been systematically distorted over the last seven decades and it’s time to present correct history to the world.
Q. Government of India has decided to rename the three islands of Andaman & Nicobar—Havelock Island, Neil Island and Ross Island—as a tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. What are your thoughts?
Ans: It was a long-standing demand from the people of this country to rename Ross Island, Neil Island and Havelock Island to ‘Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island’, ‘Shaheed Dweep’ and ‘Swaraj Dweep’, respectively. Japan had captured these three Islands from British during the Second World, and later on it was handed over to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It was on these Islands that Netaji had first hoisted the Indian National Flag, as the first Prime Minister of undivided free India on December 30, 1943, and he had called it “Shaheed Swaraj Island”.
We got dominion status on August 15, 1947, and ideally, Jawaharlal Nehru should have gone to these Islands on December 30, 1947, and should have renamed these Islands as Shaheed and Swaraj Islands. But it took 72 long years to rename it and honour the soldiers of Azad Hind Fauj. Thanks to Prime Minister Modi for doing so. The new names are indeed a tribute to Netaji.
Q. How do you see the role of Bose in retaining Andaman & Nicobar despite multiple claims on these Islands?
Ans: If Andaman & Nicobar Islands had not been liberated under Netaji’s leadership, then it would have gone in some others’ hand. Many nations were eyeing the Islands to make it their strategic base, and if they had succeeded then it would have been a significant threat to our national security. The British were compelled to cede the Islands to India only because of Bose.
Q. We often hear about Japanese atrocities on the people of these Islands, and that they were against Azad Hind Fauj. How true is that?
Ans: All claims about Japanese atrocities are baseless. Several stooges who earlier used to work for the British, are now working for the Congress party in our country. It is these stooges who say time and again that the local people of the Island do not like Netaji. They talk about the Japanese atrocities, but there is nothing like this. Over the last seven years, I have been to the Islands many times and during these visits I spoke to many people. They have a huge respect for Netaji. He is worshipped as a hero there.
Look, the Japanese came to the Andamans on March 23, 1942 and within 4 months they captured these Islands from British. Azad Hind Government subsequently took charge on December 30, 1943. When Netaji took over the Islands, he gave explicit instructions to General Hideki Tojo, the then Prime Minister of Japan not to hurt even a single person. “I will not tolerate harassment of my people” were the words of Netaji. These facts are documented.
Q. What was the contribution of Azad Hind Fauz towards India’s Independence?
Ans: The first battle of India’s Independence started in 1857 which was the Sepoy Mutiny, and a sepoy named Mangal Pandey fired the first shot of the uprising. This independence war later on was continued by Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Raj Guru who sacrificed their lives for India’s Independence. Then came the non-violence movement of Gandhi ji.
It is true that Gandhi ji played an important role in India’s Independence; he had the impact, but the final onslaught on British Imperialism was the battle of Azad Hind Fauj and Netaji. These are not my words, even the book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai” by General GD Bakshi revealed the quotes from a conversation between former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the then Governor of West Bengal Justice Phani Bhusan Chakraborty.
In 1956, Clement Attlee had come to India and stayed in Kolkata Raj Bhavan as a guest of the then Governor. Clement Richard Attlee was British Prime Minister between 1945 and 1951, and he had signed off on the decision to grant Independence to India.
PB Chakraborty was at that time the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court and was also serving as the acting Governor of West Bengal. He wrote a letter to the publisher of RC Majumdar’s book, A History of Bengal. In this letter, the Chief Justice wrote, “When I was acting Governor, Lord Attlee, who had given us independence by withdrawing British rule from India, spent two days in the Governor’s palace at Calcutta during his tour of India. At that time I had a prolonged discussion with him regarding the real factors that had led the British to quit India.”
Chakraborty adds, “My direct question to Attlee was that since Gandhi’s Quit India movement had tapered off quite some time ago and in 1947 no such new compelling situation had arisen that would necessitate a hasty British departure, why did they had to leave?”
“In his reply, Attlee cited several reasons, the principal among them being the erosion of loyalty to the British Crown among the Indian Army and Navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji,” Justice Chakraborty elaborated.
That’s not all.
On Mahatma Gandhi role in attaining Independence and Gandhi’s non-violent movement, Chakraborty says, “Towards the end of our discussion I asked Attlee what was the extent of Gandhi’s influence upon the British decision to quit India. Hearing this question, Attlee’s lips became twisted in a sarcastic smile as he slowly chewed out the word, m-i-n-i-m-a-l (minimal)!”
In fact, India would have attained freedom on April 14, 1944, when Colonel Shaukat Ali Malik, an officer of the INA (Indian National Army aka Azad Hind Fauj) led a unit of the Bahadur Group brigade in the capture of Moirang during the initial phases of the INA’s Imphal Campaign during World War-II. Moirang was the first territory within India to be captured by the INA and also the first place within mainland India to be held by the Azad Hind Government.
Malik hoisted the Indian Flag at Moirang on 14 April 1944. At that time, INA gave the slogan of ‘Chalo Delhi’ to hoist the Indian flag at Red Fort. Unfortunately it failed. Some senior Congress leaders in Delhi were internally hand-in-glove with the then British Government and had opposed the Azad Hind Government. We would have got ‘Purna Swaraj’ (complete independence) in 1944. Netaji was never in favour of Partition. Even GD Bakshi claims in his book that “Without Azad Hind Fauz, India would have been under British rule for another 50-60 years”.
These truths are never told. It is time to tell the people about the real history. Truth cannot be suppressed for too long. Time has come to bring out the real history.
Q. Many school textbooks are still dominated by the role played by non-violent movement, while the role of INA is dismissed in a few paragraphs…
Ans: It is a complete distortion of the history of India’s freedom struggle by the historians who worked as stooges of British and later of the Nehru-Congress regime. There is no connection between Mahatma Gandhi and the present Congress. Congress thinks that Gandhi is their property. Now this Congress Party has fallen into the hands of elites that are largely hostile to the Indian tradition and culture which the Mahatma embodied. It is now in the hands of individuals representing interests and values far away from the people of India.
After India’s Independence, Gandhi ji clearly said that the purpose of Congress is diluted and it should be disbanded. My father Amiya Nath Bose was very close to Mahatma Gandhi. He met Gandhi ji in Pune after Independence. Gandhi ji was very upset. My father along with Sarojini Naidu was sitting with Gandhi ji in a room where Mahatma Gandhi clearly said “I think I backed the wrong horse. Supporting Nehru was my biggest fault, and now it is too late”.
Narendra Modi-led NDA Government is attempting to correct the distorted history of India’s Independence. Opposition calls it ‘Rewriting of History’, but it is ‘Correction of History’.
Q. How can the masses, especially the youth, be made aware of the role of Subhas Chandra Bose and INA in India’s freedom struggle?
Ans: The government should immediately publish the real history of INA in the textbooks and the reference books. The three-volume work by Ramesh Chandra Majumdar on the Indian Freedom Movement should be included in the textbooks as a reference point. He was a great historian.
Even Nehru had asked Majumdar to write the history of India’s Independence. When Majumdar wrote it and gave it to Nehru, he discarded it claiming that this is not the one he (Nehru) was looking for as the book did not talk too much about Congress’ role in attaining freedom.
Regarding INA’s military history, Professor Pratul Chandra Gupta has done excellent work on Azad Hind Fauj’s history which Nehru has sealed and kept it in the Defence Archives in Delhi. The work of Pratul Chandra needs to be brought in the public. I have requested many people to bring it out and publish it. Let the students go through this.
This is high time, and we need to correct the distortions. We need another five years to correct the distorted history.
The history of Indian freedom struggle is not what it is seen or said, instead there is a different story behind it, and people must be aware of it. For the last 70 years, our students have been taught a distorted history. The new generation will not forgive us if we continue to teach them the wrong history. The time has come to “teach the real history to posterity”.