The Man and the Ideology

Subash Chandra Bose (1897-?)

By P.R. Sarkar

(4 May 1986, Kalikata) – The Sanskrit word kulála means a person who maintains an intellectual speciality as far as the artistic, intellectual or ideological aspects of life are concerned.* Such a person moves ahead towards their cherished goal according to their own individual plan. Many people are frightened of individuality or scientific planning. The upholders of different ideologies are particularly appalled of individual ideas and spit venom against those extraordinary people who propound them. In this matter we will have to carry out our assessment of such people like an impartial judge or a fair minded critic.

“Subhash wanted to make the best utilization of the available opportunities.”

On the eve of Indian Independence the method of struggle which most obviously stirred public opinion was a special technique of political warfare evolved by Subhash Chandra Bose. The time has now come for those who have remained neutral regarding the utility of such a strategy to peruse this subject and to make a proper assessment of this controversial issue. Without showing the least disregard for the leaders of the Independence movement, I would like to say that those leaders did not have any social awareness or revolutionary zeal, or had no clear cut constructive political strategy or socio-economic program. What they wanted was to whip up public sentiment against the British in various ways, and by angering them, to reap the harvest of political freedom by lightly applying the sickle of political agitation in the country. Those leaders were aware that this sort of action on their part would neither kill the snake nor break the stick.

Some people may think that the path of ahiḿsá or non-application of force is no path at all – that it is just the political stunt of a helpless individual – but they should remember that the mentality of the leaders of the Independence movement was not borne out of a helpless situation. With the assistance of the profound influence that these leaders exerted over the people, they could easily have launched a mass political movement by kindling popular sentiments. While it is undeniable that Mahatma Gandhi awakened mass consciousness, he did not channelize this awakened mass consciousness along the path of struggle. Rather, the so-called originality of all his principles and policies was directed into a negative and passive movement which was averse to struggle.

On the other hand, the style of functioning of Subhash Chandra Bose was just the opposite. He wanted to make the best utilization of the available opportunities. To state it more clearly, he wanted to snatch away Independence by making his adversaries ineffective – he wanted to strike at the enemy while the iron was hot. This strategy was the basis of the conflict between his style of working and that of other contemporary leaders.

The so-called Gandhian doctrine of non-violence did not totally lack simplicity, but it certainly lacked simplicity to some extent. Perhaps some of Gandhi’s followers were not as simple as Gandhi himself was in their personal lives. This difference in the style of functioning between Gandhi and some of his followers became very noticeable to outside observers. In fact, the contest between Subhash Bose and Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaiya for the Congress Presidency in the All India Congress Committee was a contest between these two styles of functioning. Maybe Gandhi was a simple man, and that is why he remarked in unambiguous language at the defeat of Sitaramaiya and the victory of Bose, “Sitaramaiya’s defeat is my defeat.” Subhash Bose never allowed this question of the difference between himself and Gandhi to interfere in their personal relationship. Gandhi also did not allow this to happen. But some ambitious leaders of the Congress exploited this situation. The expression of their personal animosity and the serpentine noose of so-called Ahimsa was one of the main reasons why Subhash Bose had to leave the country.

Some politicians, instead of entering into more meaningful politics, branded Subhash Bose as a misguided patriot and a quisling because of their own superficial knowledge of politics and their desire to slander him. They did not understand, for example, that Britain, France and America could sit together at the dining table with the Soviets and discuss the sovereignty of their respective countries although their professed economic doctrines were poles apart. What wrong did Subhash Bose do if he, as the representative of a freedom loving country which was trying to attain Independence and which was devoid of any military force, sought the help of the Axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan)? In fact, the Second World War was a war between two imperialistic and expansionist forces. Neither the Axis nor the Allied powers were the holy copper vessel and basil leaves that are bathed in the water of the Ganges. The opponents of Subhash Chandra Bose would undoubtedly have maligned him regardless of which party he joined for the independence of India. Those who declared that Subhash Bose’s style of functioning and his idealism were “Subhashism” are wrong for there is nothing like Subhashism. Subhash Bose only longed for the independence of his country and he longed for this passionately. This was the reason why he seized the opportunities that arose to work for the freedom of India. If anybody criticizes him, we can conclude that such critics wanted to make political gains by taking the least political risk – without even risking the least scratch to their bodies. While the Allied powers (Britain, France, and the USA) criticized Subhash Bose for their own social and political reasons and declared Tojo a war criminal, was it justifiable for those Indian people who may have differed with him and his techniques of struggle to criticize him and join in the propaganda chorus of the Allied forces?

The fact is that where there is a serious difference between the style of functioning or approach of people, clear vision and rational intellect become clouded. This makes each and every ripple of social life turbid and is not at all conducive to lofty thinking. This divisive mentality is the nastiest expression of geo-sentiment and demonstrates that people are poles apart in their views.

* Six other meanings of kulála or kulálii omitted here. –Trans.

Published in PROUT in a Nutshell Part 14

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2012

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