Continued from Part २....
71. Some good number of people are labouring under the delusion that the freedom movement in India started with the advent of Gandhiji in 1914-15 and reached is consummation on the 15th August 1947 on which day it is said we attained Freedom under the leadership of the Father of the Nation. In all history there was never a more stupendous fiction fostered by the cunning and believed by the credulous in this country for over a thousand years. Far from attaining freedom under his leadership Gandhiji has left India torn and bleeding form a thousand and wounds. There has been always alive in India a freedom movement which has never. been suppressed. When the Mahratta Empire was finally subdued in 1818 as the British thought they forces of freedom were lying low for some time in part of India but were actually challenging the supremacy of the British so far as Northern India was concerned through the rise of Sikh power. And when by 1848 the Sikhs were defeated at Gujarat the rebelling of 1857 was being actively organised. It came with such suddenness and force and was so widespread that the British Imperialists began to shake in their shoes and more than once they seriously considered the advisability of leaving India. The history of the great effort on the part of the Indian people to overthrow the British yoke has been vividly described in the pages of Veer Savarkar's "War of Independence 1857" and by the time the British had fully regained control the Indian National Congress was established, once more to challenge the British domination and from 1885 the rational urge for freedom began to assert itself first through constitutional methods, later by militant methods. This fast developed into armed resistance which openly asserted itself through the bomb of Khudi Ram Bose in 1906.Source: Gandhiji and Independence by ReferenceBuddy and Mr. Gopal Godse
72. Gandhiji arrived in India in 1914-15. Nearly eight years earlier, the revolutionary movement had spread over a large part of India. The freedom Movement had never died out. It had risen again like the Phoenix from its ashes. After the arrival of Gandhiji and his fads of Truth and Non-violence, the movement began to suffer eclipse. Thanks however to Subhash Chandra Bose and the revolutionaries in Maharashtra, Punjab and Bengal that the movement continued to flourish parallel to Gandhiji's rise to leadership after the death of Lokamanya Tilak.
73. Even the constitutional movements carried on by the Moderates in the Congress registered some progress towards Freedom. In 1892 the British Government. were obliged to extend the then Legislative Councils. This was followed up by the Morley-Minto Reforms in 1909 when for the first time the elected representatives of the people secured the right to participate in the work of the Legislatures both by their voice and their votes. Twelve years thereafter later, after the first World War the Montague Chelmsford Reforms conceded partial Provincial Autonomy and also increased the number of elected members so as to give permanent non-official majority both at the Centre and in the Provinces; and in 1935, came the complete Provincial Autonomy and substantial Central responsibility which cover every subject except foreign policy, Army, and to some extent Finance. Gandhiji had no love for Parliamentary bodies. He called them prostitutes, and always urged their boycott. Yet the constitutional progress upto 1935, little though it was, had been achieved The Act of 1935 was of course defective. more especially because of the numerous and vexation safeguards granted to the British vested interests and the premium it placed on communalism.
74. There was further objection to it on the ground of the veto which it granted to the Governors and the Governor General. Even then it is reasonably certain that if the Act had not been boycotted under Gandhiji's leadership, India would have long since reached the status of a Dominion which we are now supposed to be enjoying, after losing one-third of Indian territory.
75. I have already mentioned the revolutionary party which existed independent of the Congress. Amongst its sympathisers were many active Congressmen. This latter section was never reconciled to the yoke of Britain. During the First World War between 1914-1919 the Congress began to turn left and the terrorist movement outside was running parallel to the leftist party within. The Gadar Party was operating simultaneously in Europe and America in an effort to overthrow British Rule in India with the help of the Axis Powers. The 'Comagata Maru' incident is well known, and it is by no means clear that the "Emden" incident on the Madras beach was not due to the knowledge of the German Commander that India was seething with discontent. But from 1920 upwards Gandhiji discouraged, put his foot down on the use of force although he himself had carried on an active campaign for recruitment for soldiers of Britain only a few years earlier. The Rowlatt Repert described at length the strength of the revolutionaris in India. Form 1906 till 1918 one Britisher after another and his Indian stooges were shot dead by the revolutionary nationalists and the British authorities were trembling about their very existence. It was Then that Mr. Montague came to this country as Secretary of State for India and promised the introduction of responsibility; even he was only partially successful to stern the tide of revolutionary ferver. The Government of India Act 1919 was over- shadowed by the Jailianwalla Bagh, Tragedy in which hundreds of Indians were shot dead by General Dyer at a public meeting fot the crime of holding a protest against the Rowlatt Act. Sir Michael O'Dwyer became notorious for callous and unscrupulous reprisals against those who had denounced the Rowlatt Act. Twenty years later he had to pay for it, when Udham Singh shot him dead in London. Chafekar brothers of Maharashtra, Pt. Shamji Krishna Verma the back bone of the Revolutionaries, Lala Hardayal, Virendranath Chatopadhyaya, Rash Behari Bose, Babu Arvind Ghosh, Khudiram Bose, Ulhaskar Datta, Madanlal Dhingra, Kanhere, Bhagatsingh, Rajguru, Sukhdeo, Chandrashekhar Azad were the living protest by Indian youth against the alien yoke. They had unfired and held aloft the flag of Independence, some of them long before Gandhiji's name was heard of and even when he was the accepted leader of the constitutional movement of the Indian National Congress.
76. I had already stated that the revolutionary movement beginning in Bengal and Maharashtra later on reached the Punjab. The young men associated with it did not come from the riffraff of society. They were educated, cultural men belonging to most respectable families having high social status in private life. They sacrificed lives comfort and ease at the altar of the liberty of the Motherland. They were the martyrs whose blood became the cement of the India Church of Independence. Lokmanya Tilak built on it and the Mahatma got advantage of the accumulated momentum of this movement. It is my firm conviction that each stage of constitutional progress between 1909 and 1935 became possible as a result of the revolutionary forces working in the background.
77. Moderate's opinion condemned the revolutionary violence. Gandhiji publicly denounced it day after day on every platform and through the press. There is however little doubt that the overwhelming mass of the people gave their silent but wholehearted support to the vanguard of the armed resistance working for national freedom. The theory of the revolutionary is, that a nation always tries to wage war on its alien conquerors, It owes no allegiance to the conqueror, and the very fact of his domination carries with it a notice to him that he may be overthrown any moment. The judgements passed on the armed resistance by a subject people to the foreign master, on the principle of allegiance of the citizen to his State is altogether beside the mark. And the more the Mahatma condemned the use of force in the country's battle for freedom the more popular it became. This fact was amply demonstrated at the Karachi Session of the Congress in March 1931; in the teeth of Gandhiji's opposition a resolution was passed in the open Session admiring the courage and the spirit of sacrifice of Bhagat Singh when he threw the bomb in the Legislative Assembly in 1929. Gandhiji never forgot this defeat and when a few months later Mr. Hotson, the Acting Governor of Bombay was shot at by Gogate, Gandhiji returned to the charge at an All-India Congress Committee meeting and asserted that the admiration expressed by the Karachi Congress for Bhagat Singh was at the bottom of Gogate's action in shooting at Hotson. This astounding statement was challenged by Subhash Chandra Bose. He immediately came into disfavour with Gandhiji. To sum up, the share of revolutionary youth in the fight for Indian Freedom, is by no means negligible and those who talk of India's freedom having been secured by Gandhiji are not only ungrateful but are trying to write false history. The true history of India from 1985 onwards for the freedom of the country will never be written so long as Indian affairs are in charge of the Gandhian Group. The memorable share of the youth will be kept back. It Is nevertheless true that they have played a noble and creditable part.
78. It was not merely those who advocate the use of force in the freedom battle whom Gandhiji opposed. Even those who held political views radically different from his and those who did not accept his nostrums whom Gandhiji made the target of displeasure. An outrageous example of his dislike of people with whom he did not agree is furnished by the case of Subhash Chandra Bose. So far as I am aware no protest was ever made by Gandhiji against -the deportation of Subhash for six years and Bose's .election to the Presidential Chair of the Congress was rendered possible only after he had personally disavowed any sympathy for violence. In actual practice however Subhash never toed the line that Gandhiji wanted during his term-of office. And yet Subhash was so popular in the country that against the declared, wishes of Gandhiji in favour of Dr. Pattabhai he was elected president of the Congress for a second time with a substantial majority even from the Andhra Desha, the province of Dr. Pattabhai himself. This upset Gandhiji beyond endurance and he expressed his anger in the Mahatmic manner full of concentrated venom by stating that the success of Subhash was his defeat and not that of Dr. Pattabhai. Even after this declaration, his anger against Subhash Bose was not gratified. Out of sheer cussedness he absented himself from the Tripuri Congress Session, staged a rival, show at Rajkot by a wholly mischievous fast and not until Subhas was overthrown from the Congress Gadi that the venom of Gandhiji became completely gutted.
79. This incident about the re-election of Subhash to the Congress crown and of his eventual expulsion from the Presidential office is an indication of the, hypocracy with which the Mahatma controlled and repudiated the Congress as and when he liked. He had repeatedly stated after 1934 with a great show of detachment that he was not even a four anna member of the Congress Party and that he had nothing to do with it. But when Subhash was elected for a second time Gandhiji complete lost his balance and furnished, the best proof that he had interfered with that election from the very inception in favour of Dr. Patrabhai; it is a proof of his keen and engrossing interest in the rivalries and petty squabbles within the Congress at every stage while professing to be not even a member of that body.
80. When the 'Quit India' Movement was launched by the Congress, on the 8th August 1942 in the initiative of Gandhiji most of its leaders were quickly arrested by Government before they could make any start and the movement so far as it was non-violent was nipped in the bud. There was another section in the Congress itself who went underground. These latter were not over-anxious to follow the Gandhian technique and to go to jail; on the contrary, they wanted to avoid going to jail as long as possible and in the meantime to do she maximum damage to Government by cutting communications, by ,committing arson, loot and other acts of violence, not excluding murder. The statement of Gandhiji exhorting the people to 'Do or Die' was interpreted by that section as giving them full scope for all kinds of obstruction and sabotage. In fact they did everything to paralyse the war effort of Government to the fullest extent-Police Thanas were burnt, postal communications were violently interrupted. In north Bihar and other places, nearly 900 railway stations were either burnt or destroyed and the administration was almost to a standstill for a time.
81. These activities were directly opposed to the Congress creed of non-violence and to the Satyagraha technique Gandhiji could neither support nor oppose These latter activities. If he supported them his creed of non-violence would stand exposed. If he opposed them publicly he would become unpopular with the masses who did not care one brass button whether 'the expulsion of the British from India was accomplished by violence or non-violence. In fact, the Quit India' campaign was known more for its acts of violence on the part of Congress supporters than for anything else. Gandhiji's non-violence- had died within few weeks of the starting the 'Quit India' campaign while the violence that was being committed under that flame found no favour with him. The Gandhian point of view was entirely absent from the activities of the Congress party and its supporters within a few weeks of the 8th August 1942. No where was non-violence either preached or practised as the supporters of the campaign were, in the words of Gandhiji himself, prepared to 'Do or Die'. It was only when Lord Linlithgow in his correspondence with Gandhiji in 1943 categorically challenged him to own or disown the violence on the part of the supporters of the 'Quit India' campaign that Gandhiji was forced to condemn that violence. Whatever embarrassment, damage, inconvenience and harm were done to the war efforts was the result of the violent activities of the Congress supporters and not the so-called non-violence of the Mahatma. Non-violence had completely failed; violence to some extent appeared to have succeeded, but Gandhiji had to denounce it from the jail. The revolutionary struggle for independence was thus discouraged by Gandhi while his own strategy had completely collapsed soon after the 8th August 1942.
82. By this time Mr. Subhash Chandra Bose who had mysteriously escaped from India early in January 1941 had already arrived in Japan after reaching Berlin through Afghanistan. The way in which Mr. Subhash Chandra Bose escaped from Calcutta in January 1941 and the hardships and sufferings which he had to undergo on his way through the Indian Frontier to Kabul and thence after to Berlin are vividly described by Mr. Uttam Chand in his book 'When Bose was Ziauddin'. The courage and tenacity with which Bose faced all privations, all dangers, all difficulties, eventually reaching Berlin made the most thrilling and romantic reading. By the time of the arrival of the Cripps Mission in India in 1942 he had already reached Japan and was organising an invasion of India. Before Subhash left Germany, Hitler had invested him with the title of His Excellency and on reaching Japan he found the Japanese ready to assist him against the British in the invasion of the country. Japan had already joined the war on tie side of the axis by the attack on the Pearl Harbour in America; Germany had declared war on Russia; and Britain France in turn had declared war on Italy and Germany and Japan. In Japan in Federated Malaya States, in Burma and its other parts of the Far East, Subhash received most enthusiastic welcome and immence support from the Indians settled there.
83. The Japanese had intensified their war effort and occupied Burma, Dutch East Indies, Federated Malaya States and the whole of the Far East including the Andamans Islands. Subhash Chandra Bose was thereby enabled to start a provisional Indian Republican Government on Indian territory. By 1944 he was equipped to start on an invasion of India with the help of the Japanese. Pandit Nehru had declared that. if Subhash Chandra Bose came into India with the support of the Japanese he would fight Subhash. Early in 1944, Japanese and the Indian National Army organised by Subhash were thundering at the gates of India and they had already entered Manipur State and some part of the Assam Frontier. The I. N. A. consisted of volunteers from the Indian population of the Far East and of those Indians who had deserted to the I. N. A. from the Japanese prisons. That the campaign eventually failed was no fault of Subhash; his men fought like the Trojans. But his difficulties were far too great and his army was not sufficiently epoipped with modern armaments. The I.N.A. had no aeroplanes and their supply-line was weak. many died of starvation and illness as there was no adequate medical treatment available to them. But the spirit which Subhash engendered in them was wonderful. He was lovingly described by them as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, and they had adopted the slogan of 'Jai Hind' under his leadership.
84. Gandhiji was opposed to Subhash Chandra Bose's invasion of India. Nehru was Opposed to him because he did not approve of Bose's support to the Japanese invader. But whatever difference may have existed between Bose and other Indian leaders there was no doubt whatever that Subhash was loved more than any other leader because of his singlehanded effort to destroy British imperialism. If Subhash had been alive and had entered India in 1945 after the defeat of the Japanese army, the whole Indian population would, likes one man, have been behind him and given him the most affectionate welcome, But Gandhiji was again more Lucky. Lokmanya Tilak died in 1920 and Gandhiji became the unchallenged leader. Success of Subhash Chandra would have a crushing defeat for Gandhiji, but luck was again on his side and Subhash Chandra died outside India. It then became easy for the Congress party to profess love and admiration for Subhash Chandra Bose and the I. N. A. and even to defend some of its officers and men in the Great State Trial in 1946. They even adopted `Jai Hind' as the slogan which Subhash had introduced in the East. They traded on the name of Subhash and the I. N. A. and the two issues which led them to victory during the election in 1945-46 were their hypocritical homage to Subhash's memory. moreover the Congress party had promised they were opposed to Pakistan and would resist it at all costs. On these two assurances they treated the I.N.A. with scant courtesy and of course they succumbed to Pakistan in breach of their promise.
85. All this time the Muslim League was carrying on treasonable activities, disturbing the peace and tranquility of India carrying on a murderous campaign against the Hindus. Lord Wavell and Lord Mountbatten looked on entirely unconcerned. The Congress would not venture to condemn or to stop these wholesale massacres in pursuit of its policy of appeasement at all costs. Gandhiji suppressed everything which did not fit in with his pattern of public activities. I am therefore surprised when claims are made over and again the winning of the freedom was due to Gandhiji. My own view is that constant pandering of the Muslim League was not the way to winning freedom. It only created a Frankenstein which ultimately devoured its own creator swallowing one third of hostile, sensoriour, unfriendly and aggressive Indian Territory, and permanently stationing a neighbour on what was once Indian territory. About the winning of Swaraj and freedom, I maintain the Mahatma's contribution was negligible. But I am prepared to give -him a place as a sincere patriot. His teachings however have produced opposite result and his leadership has stultified the nation. In my opinion S. C. Bose is the supreme hero and martyr of modern India. He kept alive and fostered the revolutionary mentality of the masses, advocating all honourable means, Including the use of force when necessary for the liberation of India. Gandhiji and his crowd of self seekers tried to destroy him. It is thus entirely incorrect to represent the Mahatma as the architect of Indian Independence.
86. The real cause of the British leaving this ,country is threefold and it does not include the Gandhian method. The aforesaid triple forces are :
(i) The movements of the Indian Revolutionaries right from 1857 to 1932, i.e. upto the death of Chandra Shekhar Azad at Allahabad, then next, the movement of revolutionary character not that of Gandhian type in the countrywide rebellion of 1942. and an armed revolt put up by Subhash Chandra Boss the result of which was a spread of the revolutionary. mentality in the Military Forces of India are the real dynamic factors that have shattered the very foundations of the British Rule in India. And all these effective. efforts to freedom were opposed by Gandhiji.
(ii) So also a good deal of credit must be given to, those who, imbibed with a spirit of patriotism, fought with the Britishers strictly on constitutional lines on, the Assembly floors and made a notable progress in Indian politics. The view of this section was to take the maximum advantage of whatever we have obtained and to fight further on. This section was generally represented by late Lokmanya Tilak, Mr. N. C. Kelkar, Mr. C. R. Das, Mr. Vithhalbhai Patel-brother of Hon. Sarder Patel, Pandit Malaviya, Bhai Parmanand and during last ten years by prominent Hindu Sabha leaders. But this school of men of sacrifices and intelligence was also rediculed by Gandhiji himself and, his followers by calling them as job hunters or power seekers, although they often ultimately resorted to. the same methods.
(iii) There is also one more but nonetheless important reason for the Britishers which made them part with power and that is the advent of Labour Government and an overthrow of Mr. Churchill, superimposed by the frightful economic conditions and the financial bankruptcy to which,the war had ;reduced Britain.
87. So long as Gandhian method was in ascendance, frustration was the only inevitable result. He had throughout opposed every spirited revolutionary. radical and vigorous individual or group, and constantly boosted his Charkha, non-violence and truth. The Charkha after 34 years of the best efforts of Gandhiji, had only led to the expansion of the machine-run textile industry by over 200 per cent. It is unable even now to clothe even one per cent of the nation. As regards non-violence, it was absurd to expect 40 crores. of people to regulate their lives on such a lofty plane and it broke down most conspicuously in 1942. As regards truth the least I can say is that the truthfulness of the average Congressman is by no means of a higher order than that of the man in the street and that very often it is untruth in reality masked by a thin veneer of pretended truthfulness.
Courtesy of Shri Gopal Godse
Continue to Part ४....