“दिला दी आजादी बिना खड्ग बिना ढाल, साबरमती के संत तूने कर दिया कमाल”. These are the fancy quotes that we may hear very often from those people, who do not have a zilch of idea about the freedom struggle that Bharat went through. They are simply carrying the well-crafted agenda of copy-paste historians to maintain false secularism and make us weak and by propagating an idea, that violence can be stopped with non-violence. It’s a universal law, violence can be stopped with greater violence. If that violence comes from ruthless murderers like Hitler or full-time warlords like Muhammad. Then we are creating certain people as slaves and certain as masters, if that violence is constructive, then we are creating a free society. There is no place for the weak in this world. If someone is violent, counter him with violence and make rules as you feel. A similar thing happened with a brand called “Gandhi”. He has been hyped up to that level, that if you are criticizing him based on merit, you will become a traitor. But this image has been artificial, he started to be promoted in the mainstream since the late 1980s. Gandhi’s first image on the Bhartiya currency note came in 1987. Before that, there was “Lion Capital”, “Ashoka Pillar”, etc on the Indian Currency. And, the history writers started to give him larger space in their textbooks.
You may have heard a lot about Gandhi Ji, that he is the father of the nation, he fought British power with non-Violence, he got Bharat out of the clutches of Britishers, and so on. Well, all things may be true about him, except the last one. Instead, the real hero who should be credited in totality for Bharat’s freedom is “Subhash Chandra Bose”. Yes, you read it correctly, he was the sole person responsible for the Britishers that they were able to securely left Bharat within time. Had it not been for him, Bharat would have been under the rule of Britishers for another 40-50 years. The mainstream idea promotes Gandhi Ji and INC the sole responsible for 15th August 1947 but hardly talks about Bose. Indeed, Gandhi Ji is overrated and Bose is underrated. So, let’s dive into this maze and know what exactly the roles were played by both these historical figures and do proper justice to both of them.
Gandhi Ji’s undeniable Role in Society, not Freedom.
Those people who are of the camp of Bose, try to depict it as if Gandhi Ji didn’t do anything at all and whatever was done at that time to get Bharat freedom was done by Bose. The reality is a bit different. Gandhi Ji played a pivotal role in uniting the people, making them connect with the national struggle against the Britishers. He gave tools to the common people like “Satyagrah, non-violent protests, agitation, etc”. He was the only mass leader of that time, that could connect the local peasantry with the national political agenda of INC of that time. So, his stature was very big and he did a lot of work in the direction of freeing Bharat.
His book “My experiments with truth” gives quite a good insight into how he helped people in South Africa against the Britishers. Like Satyagrah against registration certificates, where it was compulsory for Indians to carry certificates of registration with them all the time. He led a very successful campaign of burning those certificates and uniting all the Indians or Bhartiya at that time, where there was no respect for human rights by Britishers, they were the legislators, judges, and executioners. Imagine the struggle of uniting people against such a big power. Then there was a “Tolstoy Farm” where Gandhi Ji housed families of Satyagrahis who were harassed by Britishers. Struggle against the invalidation of Marriage certificates, etc.
And, when he came to Bharat in January 1915, he contributed his life to Bharat and its people. His participation in Champaran Satyagrah, Ahemdabad Mill strikes, Kheda Satyagrah, Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement, and many more is commendable. He was the person who was organising things and strategies, INC (Indian National Congress) was managing his instructions and Gandhi Ji was trying to connect mass of the country to fight and demand their just rights, which were lacking under the Britishers. But, saying without thinking that Gandhi Ji and INC were the only responsible entity for the freedom of Bharat, is a bit extrapolation. They were helping hands; the real hammer was someone else’s. In reality, Gandhi Ji or INC never had any executable plans to get Bharat out of the Britisher’s hands, whereas Bose was working on his plans and implementing them on the ground level from outside India. He was planning to attack the Britishers with his Indian National Army (INA).
Britishers Crushed every Movement of Gandhi.
“The one who wields power rules the world”. And the Britishers had all of it till 1947. So, from Jallianwala Bagh to Chauri-Chaura, Khilafat Movement, Non-Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, Quit India Movement, etc. They were all crushed either by diplomacy, divide-rule or by using brute force. The end result was, that all the leaders of INC including Gandhi Ji were rotting in jails, people were back in villages and towns, and Britishers were back to the business of looting Bharat. So, everything comes to square one eventually. Because, the Britishers had a “Brahmastra” and the only weapon with them that was failing congress, Gandhi, and helping them to rule Bharat, it was “The Indian Army”. Whenever the situation was out of hand, they used to send Army and shoot to kill people, like the “Jaliyawala Bagh Massacre”.
Britishers were having balls, when Gandhi Ji, Nehru, etc were protesting. They used to simply put them behind bars for a few years and release them only when the environment becomes cool. Because there was no one to challenge them militarily and these newly devised tools of Gandhi Ji were totally ineffective against Britishers. For example, the Quit India Movement was the most collective aggressive movement launched by Gandhi Ji in his entire career. He gave a call to every Bhartiya to come out and throw Britishers out of Bharat. You may read any modern Indian history book. There is a clear detailed description of how that movement was organized and how INC leaders were jailed. But nobody tells you how Britishers crushed them! So, in August 1942, to suppress the Quit India Movement of Mahatma Gandhi, the Britishers used a total of eight Brigades with some fifty-seven and a half battalions for a period of 6 to 8 weeks (1 brigade = 2,000 to 8,000 soldiers). So, a total of 48,000 white British soldiers were sent to hammer them by Viceroy Linlithgow. This Movement was most serious since the 1857 revolt because there was a clear instruction to Bhartiya to “Do or Die”. To aid the movement Bose had sent gold, US dollars, radio sets, and arms to Bharat. All the Congress leadership was clapped in jail and draconian wartime censorship ensured that the Freedom Movement was completely deprived of the oxygen of media publicity. Within two months, it was all over for the Quit India Movement of the Congress, bar the shouting including Gandhi. The British had been brutal and ruthless and the Non-Violent Movement collapsed entirely in the face of such draconian and repressive measures.
So, the Gandhian form of mass mobilization and nonviolent protests lack efficacy to move the British empire even a little bit lest throwing them out. Gandhi Ji who came out of prison in 1944 after his arrest in August 1942 seemed to be a broken man. During his prison time he undertook fasts which took a toll on his health and spirit, Churchill had menacingly said “let him die”. Britishers placed wartime censorship and were confident that they could handle the civil unrest that would follow Gandhi’s death. They used small 57 white battalions or 6 Brigades to very good effect to crush whatever unrest that had followed. There was no second-tier Congress leadership that could guide mass-scale civilian unrest. Imagine the same repression and subjugation of all the movements of INC and Gandhi that were aimed to get Bharat its freedom. It was all known to Britishers, that they could squeal them anytime they want.
Gandhi and his Apology to Britishers
Dr. Kalyan Kumar De in his inimitable book, Netaji Subhash: Liberator of Indian Subcontinent has carried out invaluable research into the British Transfer of Power archives. He repeatedly cites instances of Gandhi saying that he had no moral or legal authority to carry on with the Quit India Movement and could not ask anyone to continue with the non-cooperation movement. In other words, the Quit India Movement was all over. This was the most tacit admission of defeat from the top leader of the Quit India Movement himself and is the final epitaph of the sad but abject failure of this non-violent movement. In the face of ruthless military action, it just petered out and collapsed. The first-hand statements of Gandhi Ji clearly highlight this caving in and collapse of the Quit India Movement.
Gandhi’s Statements after May 1944.
- Speech to Congressmen at Poona June 29, 1944
Gandhi ji said: “Today I do not meet you in any representative capacity. In terms of Satyagraha, the moment I was imprisoned I ceased to wield the authority reposed in me by Congress and if I am now out of prison, it is not because of my strength or yours but because of my illness. This fortuitous release does not restore to me the authority that lapsed with my imprisonment.
- Interview with Stuart Gelder July 4, 1944 (Bombay Chronicle, July 13, 1944)
When Stuart asked him, “Supposing you saw the Viceroy what would you say to him?”
Gandhi ji replied, “I would tell him that I sought the interview with a view to helping and not hindering the Allied war effort”. These are the same words and tone that Veer Savarkar is accused of apologizing to Britishers. If, this is not an apology then, we don’t know what that is.
- Interview to Press, Panchagni, July 13, 1944
“What no one can do in the name of the Congress is mass civil disobedience, which was never started and which, as I have said, I cannot at the present movement, even in my personal capacity, start.” This is a clear acknowledgment of his defeat by him.
- Talk to Bombay Congress Leaders, Pachagni, July 29-30, 1944
“Today I see no possibility of mass civil disobedience either according to that authority or according to circumstances.” This sadly is an admission of abject defeat. It was all over for the Quit India Movement.
- Statement to the Press, Sevagram, August 5, 1944
Gandhi ji said, “Many Congressmen asked me how to celebrate 9th August.” It was the day when Quit India Movement was launched in 1942.
Gandhi ji replied, “The second thing that I should like done on the forthcoming 9th August is for those who have gone underground to discover themselves. They can do so by informing the authorities of their movements and whereabouts or by simply and naturally doing their work in the open without any attempt to evade or elude the police. To go underground is to elude the police.” He is asking all those who were still trying their level best to fight Britishers to surrender! The reason was that this time Gandhi Ji used his extreme side to fight Britishers which didn’t work and that was using violence that he despised throughout his entire life. So, technically Gandhi Ji had no other weapon in his armory to fight Britishers, hence he was defeated now.
Bose’s Spark that kicked Britishers out
Do you know that Cyprus got its freedom in 1960, Dominica in 1978, and Hong Kong in 1997 from the United Kingdom or Britishers? Even when Allied forces won WW-II yet they decided to leave Bharat as soon as possible. Even after all the National Movements were brutally crushed by Britishers yet they fled in such a hurry that even before June 1948 which was fixed by Britishers to hand over everything to Indians or Bhartiya and leave. In fact, Churchill was on record stated that any assurances given to the Indians during the Second World War need not be honored after it was over.
Justice P.B. Chakraborty of Calcutta High Court also served as the acting Governor of West Bengal during 1946-47. He revealed that Lord Attlee the Prime Minister of Britain from 1945-51 spent two days in the Governor’s palace during his tour of India after 1947. Then Mr. Chakraborty asked him a direct question.
- 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 have to leave?
Reply of Clement Atlee: The Principal among them was the erosion of loyalty to the British Crown among the Indian Army and Navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji.
Towards the end, Mr. Chakraborty asked Atlee what was the extent of Gandhi’s influence on the British decision to quit India. Hearing this question, Atlee’s lips became twisted in a sarcastic smile as he slowly chewed out the word and said “MINIMAL.”
It was all because Netaji sparked a rebellion in the Royal Indian Air Force, Army, Navy, and Constabulary of India in 1946 by mere fighting against Britishers in Manipur. Britishers feared that once the Netaji comes to India and ask the British Indian Armed forces to slay British power, they might end up repeating the horrors of the 1857 revolt. Hence, they decided to leave India, because the biggest weapon or “Brahmastra” that Britishers had now started to disobey them and might be used against them. And by now the war-weary soldiers with a count of 2.5 million soldiers were back from Europe. Imagine the fear of Britishers, because nobody cares about the weak and the actions of the weak. Everyone obeys and fears the ones who wield power and by now the power was shifting in the hands of Netaji. But, the unfortunate missing situation of Netaji transferred that influence to INC leaders. Had it not been for Netaji, India would have certainly continued to be under colonial rule for quite some more time like other countries mentioned.