On 15 August 1947, political power was transferred by Great Britain to the Indian people. Historians will have to analyse whether Britain transferred political power voluntarily or was forced to relinquish their power.
The battle for India’s freedom started in 1857 with the Sepoy uprising. There were thousands of revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives by going to the gallows. To mention a few, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose, Surya Sen, Jatin Das, Binoy, Badal and Dinesh, and many others who did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of their motherland.
Gandhiji’s non-violent mass movement made people aware of the importance of freedom, however, the non-violent movement had serious limitations. The Congress platform, which was used to launch the mass non-violent movement against the British empire, drew people from all walks of life. There were stalwarts like Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Abdul Kalam Azad, Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru. The concept adopted by the Congress was to negotiate the transfer of power. There was a divide in the concept adopted by the Congress leaders for the transfer of power. Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das stood for “Purna Swaraj — Complete Independence”. Subhas Chandra Bose supported Chittaranjan Das’ ideology of complete independence and not transfer of power as dominion status. As differences grew, Subhas Chandra Bose realised that the Congress was not capable of obtaining complete independence for a united India. Therefore, in spite of winning the presidential election of the Congress in 1939, for a second term, Subhas Bose resigned from his presidentship. He was completely disillusioned with the Congress. As you all know, he was thereafter expelled from the Congress. Till today, the Congress has not withdrawn the expulsion order.
On 17 January 1941, Subhas Bose escaped from his Elgin Road residence in Kolkata, where he was kept under house arrest. Subhas was convinced that India could attain freedom from the clutches of British imperialists with the help of foreign power. Subhas could be called the Garibaldi of India. He went to Germany to seek the help of Adolf Hitler. He adopted the concept of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. He probably did not approve or accept Hitler’s way of functioning, but sought his assistance as he felt Hitler would rise against the British, enabling India to attain its freedom. Subhas Bose was the only leader who could speak to Hitler in his own terms. During the discussions Subhas had with Hitler, he clearly stated to Hitler that his observation about Indians in his book Mein Kampf must be deleted as it was not correct. Subhas, while sitting in Germany, made a public statement against the Nazi regime by stating, “The German aggression against the Soviet Union will not be accepted by India.” Hitler could have easily eliminated Subhas Bose, but he realised the spirit of the man striving for his country’s freedom. Subhas established the Indian Legion in Germany, but he realised it would be extremely difficult to attack the British Indian empire because of India’s geographical location. Subhas, therefore, decided to travel to South East Asia and seek the help of Japan to liberate India. It was Hitler who organised a u-boat (submarine) to travel to South East Asia. It was a 90-day journey Subhas undertook to reach Japan. This kind of a journey has never been undertaken by any human a second time.
The distortion of history by certain paid historians need to be rectified now. Generations of our countrymen will never forgive us if we teach them incorrect history of our freedom struggle.
India attained freedom on 21 October 1943 when the Provisional Government of Free and United India was established at Singapore. On 30 December 1943, the Azad Hind government, under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose hoisted the Azad Hind flag at Andaman and Nicobar Islands that were named by Netaji as Shaheed and Swaraj Islands. There is a demand from the people that the present government of India rename Andaman and Nicobar Islands as Shaheed and Swaraj Islands, once again to honour the Indian National Army (INA) soldiers.
On 14 April 1944, the Indian Tricolour was hoisted by Colonel Saikat Ali Malik of the INA at Moirang in Manipur. This was the first time that the Indian National Flag was hoisted on Indian soil. Moirang was under the occupation of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind for a period of three months.
The announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14 October to the members of the Bose family and associates, that Government of India, with effect from 23 January 2016, which happens to be Netaji’s 119th birth anniversary, would start the process of declassification of all classified documents held by the government. The government would also request foreign nations who are still holding documents pertaining to Netaji to release them. The foreign nations include Russia, China, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. This would facilitate the emergence of a new chapter in the history of India’s freedom struggle. The entire nation has been patiently waiting for the last 70 years to know the truth about the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the liberator of India. We need to be tolerant until 23 January 2016, to know whether the NDA government would fulfil the peoples’ demand finally.
Chandra Kumar Bose is the Convenor of the Open Platform for Netaji.