Monday, January 22, 2018

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

                                                           
                                                               

Sri Aurobindo had a profound impact on Subhas Chandra Bose as reflected in his autobiography “An Indian Pilgrimage”:

“In my undergraduate days, Aurobindo Ghosh was easily the most popular leader in Bengal… a mixture of spirituality and politics had given him a halo of mysticism and made his personality more fascinating to those who were religiously inclined… We felt convinced that spiritual enlightenment was necessary for effective national service…”





A birthday tribute to Netaji 

Indian Independence was achieved at last due to Netaji and the I NA

During his entire political career Subhas Chandra Bose was mostly kept in jail or exiled unlike
his colleagues. He was singled out as the most obstinate opponent of the colonialists. Close to the
people, he was denied their presence for fear of his influencing them. Rulers before and after
independence were afraid of his presence, before and after his disappearance from the
political scenes.

Under house arrest, he escaped on 16 January 1941and reached Germany incognito. During
the perilous days of the Second World War, on 8 February 1943 he reached Madgaskar in
German Uboat (Submarine). In the perilous water amid scattered boats, men and whizzing
bullets they were transferred in a dinghy to a Japanese submarine and reached Tokyo on 13 June
1943.In Singapore Bose assumed charge of the Indian Independence League as its President. In a
speech on 9 July 1943 he asserted to a gathering of 60000 people: There is no nationalist
leader in India who can claim to possess the many-sided experience that I have been able to
acquire.


In August 1943 he assumed Supreme Command of the INA. Netaji is ever remembered for
his clarion call to his countrymen, "Give me blood and I promise you freedom" and a battle cry
of “March to Delhi or Delhi Chalo”. Bose inaugurated the Provincial Government of ‘Free India’
on 21 October 1943. The provisional Government acquired its first Indian territory when Japan
handed over Andaman and Nicober islands to it on 6 November 1943. Indian flag was hoisted in
Kohima in March 1944. The INA with the Japanese soldiers carried out a heroic campaign
against the Allied Forces. Netaji moved from battle field to battle field. With Axis Power’s fall
INA was fallen.

In his speech to the House of Commons (on 15.3.1946) British Prime Minister Clement Attlee
said, “The temperature of 1946 is not the temperature of 1920 or of 1930 or even of 1942. The
slogans of an earlier day are discarded . . . . I am quite certain that at the present time the tide
of nationalism is running very fast in India . . . . Today I think that national idea has spread right
through and not least, perhaps, among some of those soldiers who have given such wonderful
service in the war.”

I. K. Gujral, Ex-Prime Minister of India, who was present at the Karachi uprising of the Royal
Indian Navy in 1946, wrote on 20.2.2006,
“The naval mutinies of February 1946 remain indelible in the Nation’s mind and even more
deep in the psyches of those like me who had witnessed this turning point in history of the
freedom struggle. . . .

“Their high morale was inspiring. The on-lookers spilled on the road to join the slogan
shouting, ‘Netaji ki jaiand Bharat Mata ki jai’”.
Once when Lord Atlee visited Calcutta in 1956 he gave an interview to the then Governor of
West Bengal, P. B. Chakraborty, in 1956. 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."

“That's not all. Chakraborty adds, “Toward 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-al!’"
Fact is that Indian Defence forces turned entirely against the rulers. This was their main
reason for leaving an Empire 200 years old for ever. Indian independence came as a result of
armed struggle, not a bit for non-violent movement, not as a result of ‘Quit India’ exactly; it was
a part of ongoing Indian Independence movement, violent of course.
“Before he was assassinated in 1948, Gandhi-a senior journalist told me-rebuked Nehru and
Patel for not being able to reign in partition madness and wished that his other son(Subhas)
was here!Reminded by Congressman, who had witnessed the dressing down, that Bose was
dead and he had himself come to that belief, Gandhi shot back, ‘He’s in Russia.’” (Anuj 45)

From all facts it may be gathered that if Netaji the Hero of Modern India lived in the country
then there might not be a partition, at least not a blood-bathed partition as happened. He was the
only leader who galvanized all sections of Indian community. He could have ushered in a path of
united India towards real development and progress. Should we look clearly at the recordings
of events and facts in history and change the notion about how India achieved
independence or stick to our prejudiced mindset to teach wrong history to our students and
the posterity?
                                                                                                                      
                                                        © Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rishi Agastya and Sri Aurobindo Ashram



As per many legends and myths, Pondicherry was supposed to be the home to Rishi Agastya. It is believed that the ashram of sage Agastya was at the same place where Sri Aurobindo Ashram is located at present. Initially, Pondicherry was named as the Vedapuri and was one of the main centers for Vedic studies. According to some excavations at Arikamedu, few researchers guessed the place to be a port town and also there may be the rule of Roman rulers before 2000 years. Also, the place went into the hands of the Pandiyas, the Pallavas and the Muslim rulers for few years.
     During the early 16th century, Pondicherry was conquered by the Portuguese and remained in power for few years. Gradually, the interference of the French and the Dutch began just because of trade affairs and they invaded the town. The French rulers completely took over its control in 1673 and later on, many minor conflicts took place between the Britishers and French rulers to capture Pondicherry. But finally, both the parties decided to end up the struggle for Pondicherry and decided to do settlement with mutual agreement. And as per agreement, the Britishers handed over the Pondicherry to French forever but lastly in 1954, India was quite fortunate to have Pondicherry under his control.