(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
(1945 was a tumultuous year in world history. Adolf Hitler committed suicide. Germany surrendered on May 8. Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). USSR entered the Pacific War on August 10. The same day, Japan offered to surrender and finally capitulated on August 14. On August 16, Subhas Chandra Bose, head of the Indian National Army (INA) flew from Rangoon to Bangkok then to Saigon (Vietnam) for his final, fateful journey.
Amidst all the rumours, conspiracy theories and three Commissions looked to inquire into his death for over half a century, there is little doubt Bose died on August 18, 1945. On his 73rd death anniversary, we take the readers through Subhas Bose’ final hours in the words of Leonard A. Gordon, from his seminal work: “Brothers against the Raj.” The words in italics are compressed account, without taking the essence of narrative of Subhas’ Bose final journey. The sources of reference are at the end of the piece.)
Bose wanted to reach Manchuria and seek help from the advancing Soviet army. He went saying, “they are the only ones who will resist the British. My fate is with them. Japanese, who were now at war with Soviet Union, nevertheless agreed to help Bose meet their enemies. In Saigon, Bose learnt there was no special plane for him or his party. He was offered only two seats in the plane: he selected INA colonel Habibur Rehman to accompany him.
There was a problem about the luggage because the plane, a twin-engine heavy bomber of the 97-2 (Sally) type, was overloaded. They could not take all of Bose’ luggage. He discarded a good deal. Then two heavy suitcases, possibly filled with gold and jewellery, were brought on the plane, and, after Bose’s insistence, they were loaded on.
On board, besides Bose, and Shidei (a Japanese expert on the Soviets), were also several Japanese military and air staff officers, among them Lt. Col. Tadeo Sakai, a staff officer of the Burma Army; Lt. Col. Shito Nonogaki, an air staff officer; and Major Taro Kono, an air staff officer who was sitting behind the pilot and assisting him; and Major Ihaho Takahashi, a staff officer. The crew was in the front of the aircraft and the passengers were wedged in behind, some like Bose, with cushions, because there were no proper seats on this aircraft. The plane finally took off between 5.00 and 5.30 pm on August 17, 1945. Since they were so late in starting, the pilot decided to land for the night at Tourane, Vietnam, then start early the next morning.
Bose and the others spent the night at a hotel serving as an army hostel in Tourane. While they were resting, the pilot and Major Kono, who had noticed the difficulty in taking off at Saigon due to overloading, did their best to lighten the cargo. Major Kono later said they took off about 600 kilos of machine guns, ammunition and excess baggage (1).
The take-off from Tourane at about 5 am on August 18, 1945 was normal and they flew at about 12,000 feet. It was quite cold in the plane but the weather was favourable and they flew to Taipei (Taiwan). Major Kono has testified that they received information during the flight that the Russians had occupied Port Arthur, so it was essential for them to hurry on and reach Dairen (modern day Dalian in China) which was still under the Japanese before the Russians reached there too. The flight took six to seven hours and the landing was smooth. They stopped for lunch and Rahman changed into warmer clothes during the break. Bose, he said, laughed off the need for more appropriate clothing, but he handed him a sweater anyway.
At Taipei, Major Kono, the pilot, and ground personnel checked the engines and noticed some problem with the left one. There was some unusual vibration, but they did not know the source or what to do about it. The engine was adjusted and they hoped the problem was solved. Major Kono was also unhappy because even 600 kilos lighter than in Saigon, he still thought they were overloaded. Col. Nonogaki noticed the engine check and observed that Major Kono had discovered some problems. The former also heard Bose ask if they would again be flying as high as earlier. When the answer was positive, he put on the woolen sweater that Rahman had handed him. There was a tent set up near the air-strip and they ate lunch there. They had been told they would leave by 2 p.m.
The crew and passengers took their places as before and they were ready to go at about 2.30 p.m. As on previous take-offs, the heavy aircraft needed the full 1500 metres of the airstrip to negotiate the climb. Just as they left the ground—barely thirty meters up and near the edge of the airfield—there was a loud noise. Part of all of the left engine including the propeller had fallen off. The pilot could not control the aircraft. As the ground peered up at him faster and faster, he tried to switch off the engine. Major Kono seated behind him also tried; but failed. With an enormous crash, they hit the ground and thei airplane broke into two large parts. Within seconds there was a fire raging. Major Kono released a lock on the canopy, opened it, and slid out. As he was getting out, some gasoline splashed on him and he caught fire. Once on the ground, he rolled around and Col. Nonagaki helped him.
When the crash took place, Rahman, seated near Bose was momentarily knocked unconscious. This is what he told S.A. Ayer, a few weeks later, about what happened next:
“When I recovered consciousness..I realized that all the luggage had crashed on top of me and a fire had started in front of me. So exit by the rear was blocked by the packages and exit by the front was possible only through the fire. Netaji was injured in the head but he had struggled on his feet and was about to move in my direction to get away from the fire and to get out of the plane through the rear. But this was out of question…Then he tried to make his way through the nose of the plane which was already smashed and burning. With both his hands he fought his way through the fire…When the plane crashed, Netaji got a splash of petrol all over his cotton khaki and it caught fire when he struggled through the nose of the plane. So he stood with his clothes burning and himself making desperate efforts to unbuckle the belts of his bushcoat and round his waist. I dashed up to him and tried to help him remove the belts. My hands were burnt in the process. As I was fumbling with his belts I looked up and my heart nearly stopped when I saw his face, battered by iron and burnt by fire. A few minutes later he collapsed and lay on the ground of the Taihoku aerodrome (2).”
Major Kono, who was lying on the ground a short distance from the plane, and saw Bose on fire, described him as a “living Fudomyoo” a Japanese Buddhist temple guardian who is usually represented with “fierce visage…hair aflame, face contorted and weapons in hand (3).” According to the accounts of all the survivors, Bose was very badly burnt. The pilot and Gen. Shidei were killed on impact.
Dr. Yoshimi was told that he was “Chandra Bose” of whom he had heard, and that Rahman was the only other Indian. Upon arrival the doctor noticed that Bose was naked except for the blanket wrapped around him. He had third degree burns all over his body, but they were worst on his chest. His body “…had taken on a grayish colour like ash. Even his heart had burns. His face was swollen…his eyes were also swollen. He could see, but had difficulty in opening them. He was in his senses when was brought in…he was in high fever..the condition of his heart was also weak (4).” Dr. Yoshimi doubted that he would live.
Bose and Rahman were quickly taken to the treatment room and the doctor started to work on Bose who was much more critically injured. Dr. Yoshimi was assisted by Dr. Tsuruta. A disinfectant, Rivamol, was put over his body and then a white ointment was applied and bandages were applied. Dr. Yoshimi gave Bose four injections of Vita-camphor and two of Digitamine for his weakened heart. These were administered approximately every 30 minutes. Since his body had lost fluids quickly upon being burnt, he was also given Ringer solution intravenously. A third doctor, Dr. Ishii, gave him a blood transfusion. An orderly, Kazuto Mitsui, an army private, was in the room and several nurses were also assisting. Bose still had a clear head which Dr. Yoshimi found remarkable for one with such severe injuries. He was thirsty and asked for “meju”, which the Japanese interpreted as their word for water. The orderly brought him water. Might he have been asking for his mej-da (his elder and closest father-like brother, Sarat Bose).
What, if anything, did he say in these last hours? Private Mitsui says that Bose did talk briefly to Nakamura in English, but he himself only heard Bose ask for water. Rahman told Ayer that Bose told him shortly before he sank into unconsciousness: “Habib, my end is coming very soon. I have fought all my life for my country’s freedom, I am dying for my country’s freedom. Go and tell my countrymen to continue the fight for India’s freedom. India will be free, and before long (5). Mitsui also believes that Bose said something about India’s independence before he died.
Bose’ conditions worsened as the evening darkened. His heart grew weaker. Finally, between 9 and 10 pm, August 18,1945, Bose succumbed to his terrible burns.
Dr. Yoshimi filled out a death certificate and put the cause of death of “Chandra Bose” as “burns of third degree.” He says that the certificate was filled out in Japanese, was filed with the Municipal office. This certificate has not been located and most Japanese records for that period of Taiwanese history seem to have been destroyed. No photographs were taken of Bose at the end or just after his death. Some Japanese said this was not their custom. Then too, Bose had been completely bandaged except for eye slits.
Private Mitsui remembers that Dr. Yoshimi told the staff to try to preserve the body and “homoline” was injected. Cotton batting was used to close the body openings and the body was wrapped in a white kimono. The next day an army officer came for the body. Rahman had hoped to have the body removed to Singapore or Tokyo, but practical difficulties intervened. The coffin could not be shipped, even to Japan, at this moment when Japan was still carrying out the surrender terms and the American occupation had not yet officially begun. So the body was taken to the main Taipei crematorium and cremated. Rahman told Ayer that the cremation took place on August 20 and that the ashes were kept in an urn in the shrine attached to the hospital (6).
Subhas Bose was dead: his wife, his daughter, many of his relations, almost all the INA officers, and all the personnel with whom he worked have accepted his death, some later than others. His ashes—Gordon has given a detailed account—are now at a Buddhist temple, the Renkoji temple, in the Suginamiku quartet of Tokyo, in which Ramamurti, president of the Indian Independence League, lived. There a Buddhist priest conducted a ceremony around 18 September. About a hundred persons, mostly Indian but also including Col. Takakura, representing Imperial General Headquarters, attended. The ashes, in a small shrine area of the temple, have remained there till today.
(For Subhas Chandra Bose aficionado, there is a museum in his memory in Red Fort in the Capital which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year. The digitized museum is housed on the first floor of the Red Fort Barrack, the same place where Britishers tried INA soldiers).
- The details here are from interviews with Colonel Sakai, Major Kono, Col. Nonagaki by the author; and from Rahman’s account to Ayer in latter’s book : Witness, 111-14. Also Netaji Inquiry, 17, which also interviewed Rahman in addition to the surviving Japanese officers.
- Quoted in Ayer Witness, 112-13.
- Showa, vol.10,30
- The details are from interviews with Dr. Yashimi, Takajo Machi, Kyushu Island, Japan, August 1, 1979. Also see Netaji Inquiry, 27-30; TR Sareen, ed, Select Document on Indian National Army, Page 241-44 which reprinted Dr. Yoshimi interview.
- Ayer, Witness, Page 114.
- Ayer, Witness, 114; Harin Shah, Verdict, 106-113.
I expect a political storm over Leila, a six-part TV serial on Netflix, the first season of which went on air last week.
The serial which has Huma Qureshi as the central character is Hinduphobic and foresees India becoming a totalitarian regime, priming itself for a genocide in the name of purification, a throwback to Adolf Hitler and his “purification” drive of ethnic cleansing which caused World War II. (Even the greeting—Jai Aryavarta—a la “Heil Hitler” is uncannily similar.)
It’s a frontal attack with no punches pulled. The clock is set on 2047, exactly 100 years since India’s independence. India has been replaced by Aryavarta, as “Bharat” was known in holy Hindu texts. Its’ a totalitarian, repressive regime: The show begins with the lynching of a Muslim man and poops drop at every stage to establish “love jihad”, “ghar wapsi,” “suit-boot” persona of its authoritarian head, the degrading conditions in Doosh (Dalit) camps etc.
The serial, directed by Deepa Mehta, is based on a work of Prayaag Akbar who deserves an introduction of his own. The young writer was once deputy editor of Scroll as well as a writer for Caravan, the two news outlets with the stench of Left. His lineage is even more interesting: Prayaag is son of MJ Akbar and unlike his father who swung from Congress to BJP with a straight face, the son has ventured too far into the Hinduphobic drain to have any possibility of “purification” in future.
There is no point picking holes in Prayaag’s work. It’s a free world, you have the licence of artistic freedom and the vehicle, Netflix, is free from local censor. You know exactly your audience as well as your funders, that media outlets and film critics of this ecosystem who would only unsheathe their pens in praise. You are turned into an icon by this system who can spot a peddler and his potential from a mile. May be this was his intention from the outset.
I say so because the serial lacks conviction in every next frame. Script is too convenient: the protagonist could will herself at 3-4 different places in a matter of a night in her quest to be at Commercial Centre in the morning. Surveillance always fails; frisking is always lax, the bosses are dumb idiots as the protagonist waltz from one room to another, one computer to another, her manager an accomplice hidden in plain sight. But how does it matter as long as you could stoke fears of an approaching fascist Hindu nation, overriding logic, reason, decency and all this without looking into a true mirror which reflects your dishonest self.
Let me put a writer-bucket challenge for Prayaag. The year is 2070, exactly 1500 years to Prophet Muhammad’s birth, peace be upon him. The Muslim world constitutes 90 per cent of humanity—not by repression or war but by the message of his piety, love for all. The prophet comes into dream of every Muslim on earth at a certain hour, minute and second of the night. How would you depict Prophet Muhammad? Would you dare give this role to any human actor?
No, you won’t. You can’t Prayaag. Nobody has dared so in hundreds of centuries: I hope it sobers you down to the orchestrated praise on your courage which is coming your way. I can even ask you on an easier script: Ever heard of Tughlaq or Aurangzeb; Khilji or Tipu Sultan? How about putting your creative juices at work on these subjects?
Everyone knows that chances of a dystopian Hindu regime in future is lesser than your car running on air. I mean in a country where you can’t even chant Jai Shri Ram or include “Veer” ahead of Savarkar or even vaguely mention “Hindi” as a link language, forget about Ram Temple, abolition of 370 and 35A, triple talaq etc, where army is independent, how would it come about. Who would burn up the Constitution? And what do you think forces in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China and United States etc, who might have invested in your project and who you might see as your investment in fame and money, would react? Let India be taken up by a totalitarian regime?
In showing India as a dystopian state in the making, Prayaag Akbar has insulted the wisdom and resilience of a 1.30 billion people. The fibre of our democracy. The basic tenet of peace and ahimsa which made “Aryavarta” never seek to invade, rape, kill or usurp countries. If he is looking for such traits, he would find aplenty in Islam and Christianity. To show a country which has suffered like no other nation in 1000 years as a monster-in-making is sin—and let Prayaag deciper it in whichever religion he follows. As for millions of Hindus, we are still under repression, by tools other than war. In the liberal world, they call it artistic licence. And a warning to Hindus: You just can’t drop your guard for the enemy is committed.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
A tweet video is trending in which a Muslim is caught having just broken an idol of Hanuman and uttering that he did it in the name of the Allah.
We do not where and when it happened. We don’t know the name of the offender. We don’t know what happened to him thereafter.
Five years ago, when Modi had just ensconced himself in Centre, there was a recorded event of a Hanuman idol being attacked in Andheri (W) in Mumbai. As the news spread and devotees began to mass around the temple agitated, the possibility of an ugly turn to events was real. However police was able to persuade the seething crowd to cool off.
Last year a temple in Howrah in West Bengal was ransacked with portraits of Hindu gods and goddesses thrown in mud. If you click on this link, you would find various attacks on Hindu idols in temples in Pakistan, Bangladesh and even United States.
I am not writing this to contrast the outrage which Lutyens Media had shown three weeks ago when a skullcap of a Muslim was thrown on the ground and police had later contested that the victim might have actually kept the skullcap in his pocket. I am also not trying to whip up an outrage among Hindu majority. And I am certainly not trying to paint millions of Indian Muslims in a corner who I believe are largely peaceful.
My point is larger and the instance I quote is of Lebanon to show how stray incidents, if not checked, snowball into something monstrous.
On April 13, 1975, a few gunmen of a PLO (Palestine Liberation Organiztion) faction barged into the Church of Notre Dame de la Deliverance in East Beirut and opened fire on the VIPs present, killing four people.
It was a religious transgression and it began the civil war in Lebanon which lasted for 15 years (1975-1990). Around 120,000 people were killed. By 2012, approximately 76,000 people had been displaced within the country. There was also an exodus of over one million people.
It was a flashpoint and sure the genesis of it was building up over the years. At the turn of the century, Lebanon was a Christian-majority country. It was a model nation of liberal values. By 1950s, Lebanon had entered into its golden age. Politically stable, economy booking, excellent tourism, exemplary banks, envied even in Western world and termed as the Swiss of the Middle East. After Israel, it was the most prosperous country in the Middle East and this too without oil as its backbone.
It began to change when Lebanon opened its border to accept hundreds and thousands of Palestinians during 1948-1967 period, a stretch when Israel became a nation and fought wars with Arab nations. The Muslims’ demography in Lebanon was already booming: Having 10 children in family was a norm. With the influx from across the border, the demographic equation changed, religious battles for turfs became common and Civil War loomed. A flash point was all it needed to wreak havoc.
I am not getting into the debate about the role of demography, about Islam’s ideology of propagation of faith or its resort to violence to achieve its goal. My point is still larger and its’ something which liberal world could either choose to dismiss it as Islamophobia or gird up its lions to deal with it.
We all know that the adherents of Islam are 1.20 billion in the world. That majority of them are peaceful. That only 10-15 percent, or a few millions it is, who cause horror. But this number is enough to bring the liberal world to a staggering halt.
Weren’t Germans by and large peaceful before Adolf Hitler and his ethnic cleansing program dragged them into World War II and caused millions to die? Wasn’t Joseph Stalin a role model of a “reformed” Communism who caused tens of millions to die of starvation and hunger in Soviet Union? Do we need to tell what Mao Zedong did to millions of his men? Do we need a reminder what 19 wood-cutters did to our world by bringing down the towers of World Trade Center?
Would peaceful majority of muslims deny that there are hundreds of Sharia courts in England which were unthinkable a few decades ago and which run parallel to the laws of the land? Would they disagree that there are dozens of areas in France which have been declared “no-go zones” even by the police?
Closer home, weren’t Indian muslims largely peaceful yet the Partition occurred in 1947? In view of historical and present facts, would they revisit their empathy for Rohingya Muslims? Or, to rethink if the so-called state aggression on “innocent” Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir could have a contrary viewpoint? How now do they view the “tukde-tukde” gang? How do they view the growing presence of Islamic State (IS) in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bengal? Do they have an opinion on Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute?
The crux is peaceful Indian Muslims need to stand up and be counted. At least those who are well-off and not struggling to meet their ends meet. They need to be angry on lynchings and be equally outraged on loses in the Hindu quarters. They need to find a leadership within which speaks for say, Kashmiri Pandits and condemn terrorism. The narrative of violent Islam needs a course correction and it must come from within the community. Or they would hand over the future of their own coming generations in the hands of a dreaded few.
As for Hindus, they need be aware of the danger of demography, the limits of secularism and the pitfalls of bookish “liberal” values. Not for nothing it’s said: Those who refuse to learn from history, are condemned to repeat it.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
I am presuming you to have missed the ferocity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal attack on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in his two rallies on Saturday. Blame it on your newspapers, folks. And pay attention: Modi is to raid West Bengal again in his third rally in Siliguri on February 8 and you similarly would’ve a blanket pulled over eyes by your newspapers.
It’s important to call out these English mainstream newspapers. Indian Express and The Hindu are alleged to be the Left’s front soldiers (an irony for Mamata’s TMC it is which has uprooted decades of Left’s entrenched rule in West Bengal and logically the newspapers should’ve lapped up the charges against “Didi” –but no Modi and BJP are a bigger existential threat to Commies’ ideology); Hindustan Times is said to bat for Congress; Times of India is relatively neutral but that’s not to mean it’s objective: in an advertisement-ridden newspaper, important aspects of a story are hacked without a thought.
I am not going to point out mischiefs of each newspapers though there is a great provocation on the part of Indian Express. Look at its headline: “After budget, Modi hardsells sops for farmers, middle class”. Does it convey you Modi’s brutal attack on Mamata? If you are an Indian Express reader, take time out to read their coverage in full and you would be aghast. This editor is no journo but an artist. If you agree then spread the word to put lakhs of its innocent readers on guard (The newspaper is India’s sixth largest and are even more impressive on internet: India ranking 80; Global 982 as per Alexa).
So below are the specific punches which Modi threw at Mamata in his two rallies on Saturday (watch the two speeches in Thakurnagar and Durgapur; Modi is at his best) and compare it with the information your English newspapers have provided:
- I am aware of what happened in Durgapur last night (Mamata’s poster put above Modi; welcome gates pulled down, Modi’s image blackened)
- Centre has announced Rs 90,000 crores worth of project for people in Bengal. The West Bengal government has either not started or have stalled them.
- By scrapping the Ayushman Bharat (health) Yojana, is West Bengal government being sensitive to the need of poor and deprived who need medical attention? Yeh nirdayi sarkar hai (this is a heartless state government).
- Similarly, she (Mamata) doesn’t want CBI in the state. Why worry if you are innocent. When I was the chief minister of Gujarat, I was interrogated for nine hours by the agency. We said bring as many as you want. We don’t worry for we are honest. We never allowed institutions to get insulted. (Mamata may refuse CBI entry but that’s not “damaging institutions” and “democracy” for our cheat newspapers.)
- Mamata is now seen together with opposition who only make false promises. Remember Congress has similarly announced loan-waivers for farmers 10 years ago (of Rs 52,000 crores). And they have done it again. In Rajasthan, the Congress government has thrown up its hands (and said we can’t waive off loans). In Karnataka, police is being sent after farmers who haven’t paid loans. Today lakhs of those are being waived off who even haven’t availed loans. As against a loan-waiving promised of Rs 2.5 lakhs, those benefitting have availed loans of a mere Rs 13!”
- West Bengal government doesn’t even touch those projects in which the syndicate is not involved. They are afraid of RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority). Now flats have to be handed over in time. Black money won’t work. The (construction) lobby is being hurt. Chit Fund, Saradha, painting scams all lead to one door (ostensibly Mamata and TMC’s).
- Everyone knows TMC has Trinamool Tolabaaji (extortion) Tax (TTT). From college admission to teacher transfer, it’s being levied. Students are being taxed.
- Looking at this massive surging crowd (watch the videos, it’s like ocean of people), I am confident the people of West Bengal would assert themselves. Didi is following the same tactics (of repression and non-development) as was done by the Left. Such forces do not last. She may stop helicopter (of Amit Shah) from landing, may stop yatras (as was done recently) but the people won’t stop. I can clearly see it in your presence now.
Two attending news need to be brought to your notice, readers. One, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has accused Mamata’s government of not providing land to seal the India-Bangladesh border which is causing massive infiltration, including one of Jihadis, from the across the border. “Illegal citizens from Bangladesh are entering West Bengal,” said Rajnath Singh. (This while Mamata fights tooth and nail the Citizenship Bill, intended for induction of displaced Indian refugees from our neighbouring countries.)
Two, CBI is in hot trail of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar who it claims is missing and faces “imminent arrest”. Rajeev Kumar allegedly is delaying and diluting the SIT probe in the multi-crore Saradha and Rose Valley ponzi scams. As per CBI sources, they had summoned the officer twice for interrogation but he (Rajeev Kumar) had not been cooperating. Over to Times of India:
“CBI sources said when Kumar was leading the state Special Investigating Team (SIT), crucial evidence had either been lost or tampered with to save some influential persons in the state.
“After CBI summoned him, Rajeev Kuma had even written to then CBI director Alok Kumar Verma. The Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund probes were being headed by then special director Rakesh Asthana at that time, which apparently had become another bone of contention between Verma and Asthana…”
Well, well, well, I hope you get the drift readers. West Bengal is on fire. It’s at a critical trajectory where BJP is trying to fight back the Islamist, Jihadi forces and their takeover of Mamata’s land. BJP plans to turn the heat further in coming days. Amit Shah has begun his poll campaign; and so has Rajnath Singh, not to forget Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is coming over. Modi would be the mascot of these “Ganatantra Bachao (Save Democracy)” rallies across the state.
Meanwhile, I presume you are aware of the development that TMC Lok Sabha MP, Saumitra Khan had joined the BJP last month and likened Mamata Banerjee to Germany’s Adolf Hitler. If not, you could blame this too on your newspapers.
Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar needs you on his 45th death anniversary on Tuesday (June 5, 1973). Chances are he would be reviled by Leftists Sitaram Yechury, and “Liberals” Ramachandra Guha, for his alleged affinity with Adolf Hitler. It would help them paint Rashstriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a Fascist and Nazist force, a virulent campaign meant to neutralize the sting out of Pranab Mukherjee’s upcoming visit to RSS headquarters on June 7.
“Guruji” as Golwalkar is known, was in public eye for a long period between 1940-1973 as the second sarsangchalak of RSS. In his profuse writings, letters, articles, statements and interviews, there is NOT ONE single sentence which declares Guruji’s admiration for Hitler. Not one. Yet libraries of articles and books repeat the lie to run down the world’s biggest mass organization.
This ocean of lies floats on a mere two paragraphs which appeared in Guruji’s maiden book in 1938, “We, Our Nationhood Defined”. The book has never been reprinted since 1947. It’s been over 70 years but these two paragraphs alone is the edifice around which an entire cottage industry of RSS-bashing, Hindu-mocking has flourished. Only Shiva knows how many careers have been launched; reputations air-brushed; funds transferred to crooks reaping the harvest out of these two paragraphs.
As an analogy, why Karl Marx is not Hitler-like for he too described Jews as “arch-exploiters”? Or John F. Kennedy so, for he praised Fascism-for-Italy and Nazism-for-Germany in the 1930s? Or our own Pt. Nehru for he swore by socialism even as millions were being massacred in its name in Stalin’s Russia?
But let’s look at these two contentious paragraphs first:
“From the standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture or language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence or merge into the Hindu race, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment–not even citizens’ rights.”
Let’s look at key issues in the paragraph. One, there is no call for genocide for it says “minorities can stay in the country.” The sentence “not claim any privilege” isn’t objectionable either for that’s the decree of “secularists” alone. All the democracies of the world are run by this maxim.
As for Citizens’ Rights, before we describe its context, let’s remember most Muslim countries till today exclude non-Muslims in its political decision-making system. Golwalkar’s prescription for Non-Hindus is vastly different from Sharia’s prescription for non-Muslims. Golwalkar isn’t stopping non-Hindus from bearing arms or riding a horse. So if Golwalkar/RSS are fascist, how would you describe Quran and Sharia?
Now look at the context of this sentence. In 1938, the talk of a Muslim nation was gathering wind. Muslims advocated the two-nation theory in India. Such a theory had been applied on Austria-Hungarians, Ottoman and Czarist empires. Lenin has supported it; so had USSR constitution. Muslims claimed they were distinct from Hindus by dress and customs; food and marriage; religion and holy days etc. They also lived in separate neighbourhoods. So Golwalkar was only accepting the Muslim logic.
Those advocating a Muslim nation in 1938 unambiguously expressed and defined Muslim community as a separate nation (ummah). So if you are a separate nation, how could you be a full citizen in a Hindu state? As Dr Koenraad Elst says: “Remember, the same choice was given to Kennedy (John), the first Roman catholic president of the (protestant) US. He was asked if he was loyal to Roman Catholic Church or country? He said country.”
Now let’s turn to the second paragraph in contention:
“To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”
This paragraph again must be viewed in the context of 1938. This was the year when Hitler was hugely popular in India and no less around the world. He had transformed Germany; challenged the order of colonial powers. Why, even after WW II, Charles de Gaulle was spewing anti-Jews views. Eugenic politics was on in US and Scandinavia till the 1970s. The “Hitler Salute” was fairly common well into the 1950s. Democratic countries were racists and publicly proud of it. Subhas Bose was hailed in India even though he had joined hands with Japan, an ally of Fascist-Nazist forces.
Just to highlight the double standards, look at how Mahatma Gandhi shed tears on destruction of British Parliament and Westminister Abbey in WW II. But he had no such feel for monuments destroyed in Germany. Was England’s record in India any better than Germany in other countries in 1940?
All Golwalkar said was that Germany proved two nations in one state was not feasible. He drew an analogy but never supported Nazism. He could’ve done so in 1938 since England was still not at war with Germany.
If Golwalkar was a Nazi, he wouldn’t have extensively quoted Western scholars in his work. For instance he approved of John Stuart Mills’ words: “Free institutions are impossible in a country made up of different nationalities.” Golwalkar publicly believed in the authority of League of Nations (while fascist Italy left League of Nations in 1937).
Golwalkar never said Muslims must not hold public office; or intermarriage must be clamped down upon; or that “pogroms of Muslims” was the answer. He didn’t ask for Muslim professors to be removed from universities after the Partition. Golwalkar looked for assimilation of minorities; not dissimilation like Hitler did. What you would never be told is that US, England and France etc—all democratic countries—had refused rights to minorities in League of Nations. They all stood for assimilation of minorities. And so did Golwalkar.
Golwalkar had seen how Muslims in India had appealed to foreign Muslim powers, like Amir of Afghanistan, during the Khilafat Movement. His appeal for their assimilation in the 1930s thus appears perfectly legitimate. Those criticizing Golwalkar, must tell us what was RSS’ position during WW II? They must also be asked: Why don’t you quote from Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism, formulated in 1965 and the official ideology of RSS? Every BJP member has to swear by it.
In the same book, Golwalkar says: “The superiority complex of the White Man blurs their vision. (We.., Pg 6, 11).” Does it look like a comment of “White-Only” Nazis?
An American student who travelled Europe in the 1930s, wrote to his parents saying fascism is right for Italy; Nazism for Germany.” This student was no other than John F. Kennedy. Nobody calls Kennedy as Fascist or Nazist. Those who have no moral compunction while doing the same to Golwalkar and RSS, are at best agents of Left-Liberal mafia. They feed on chaos and anarchy; bloodshed and genocide in a society. Spot them in the light of Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to RSS Headquarters on Thursday.
Veer Savarkar is not in public discourse. His portrait in Central Hall of the Parliament, unveiled in 2003 by Atal Behari Vajpayee, was the first stirring for his recognition.
(No surprises, Congress boycotted that moment. Sonia Gandhi stood with opposition in snubbing the event. The Left had written to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to stay away from the function—he didn’t).
Be witness to the “Hate-Veer-Savarkar” moment in blogs and social media posts on his 135th birth anniversary on May 28. As the creator of “Hindutva” philosophy, the annual reviling of the man would be done in unison by TheLiars, Squint, Srolls and Duff-Posts; besides editorial pieces in “Journalism of Courage.” In essence, these hacks and compromised academicians would take recourse to five issues to revile the man:
1-SAVARKAR SOUGHT MERCY FROM BRITISH
Savarkar spent 27 years in jail and under prison-restrictions: between 1910-1937. He was sentenced to 50-year imprisonment and transported to the infamous Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (“Kaalapaani”) on July 4, 1911. In next decade, he wrote at least four mercy petition for his release. The Left-Liberal echo-chamber hold it as an evidence of his opportunism.
Let’s look at what Savarkar underwent while serving “Kaalapaani,” in the most inhuman jail of all. Prisoners were manacled; gruel to eat was riddled with worms; inmates, formed in groups, were chained like bullocks and hauled to oil mills, grinding mustard seed, for endless hours. Prisoners were flogged. Light was scarce. No talking between prisoners at mealtime. No contact with outside world. Those resisting food had a rubber catheter inserted through the nostril and into the gullet and so to the stomach. Medical aid was none. It was a precursor to Gulag Archipelago and Guantanamo bay prisons of our times.
Savarkar endured all this and much more. His badge was marked “D”—for Dangerous. He was subjected to unspeakable cruelties. Every time there was trouble in the compound, Savarkar was punished. The British were determined he must not be allowed to leave the prison alive.
(Before we proceed, let’s see how it contrasted with jails of pliable Congress leaders: it was almost a holiday vacation. We have the good word of none other than Asaf Ali: that Nehru almost had a bungalow to himself in his so-called jail with curtains of his choicest colour: blue. He could do gardening at leisure; write his books. When his wife was sick, his sentence was suspended even without he asking for it! Nehru “graciously” accepted the offer).
As subsequent events were to show, there was a method in Savarkar’s mercy pleas. He didn’t want his life’s mission to rot away in prison and come to a grief as it happened to Rajput warriors in the past. Jaywant Joglekar, who authored a book on him, dubbed his clemency pleas a tactical ploy like Shivaji’s letter to Aurangzeb during his arrest in Agra.
After his release in 1937, Savarkar led a political movement to prevent the Partition of India as president of Hindu Mahasabha.
2-DIDN’T SUPPORT QUIT INDIA; PLEDGED SOLDIERS TO BRITISH IN WW2
Savarkar’s stance to British was: ”Quit India but not Army.” Unlike Gandhi, he firmly believed “military strength” as key to India’s survival. He pledged Indian men as soldiers to British and helped Hindu-Sikh youths to join Indian army and thus reduce latter’s essentially Muslim-dominated numbers. It came handy during the partition or even when Pakistani raiders came up to Srinagar in 1947. But for these “secular” numbers, not just Jammu and Kashmir, event West Bengal, East Punjab or Delhi could’ve been overwhelmed.
It’s laughable to even suggest Savarkar worked for the British. After Second World War broke out, he wrote once and cabled on another occasion to US President Franklin Roosevelt, urging him to ask “Britain too to withdraw armed domination over Hindustani.”
Savarkar, and Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, were keen on Indianising the British-India army. This effort of his was endorsed by both Rash Behari Bose and Subhas Chandra Bose—the revolutionaries behind the Indian National Army (INA). Subhas Bose praised Savarkar in his broadcast from Singapore on June 25, 1944 “for fearlessly exhorting the youth to enlist in the armed forces.” Rash Behari Bose spoke thus in his radio broadcast: “In saluting you, I have the joy of doing my duty towards one of my elderly comrades in arms. In saluting you, I am saluting the symbol of sacrifice itself.”
It was INA which forced Britain’s hands to quit India.
Further, Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev had made “Life of Barrister Savarkar” a necessary reading for revolutionaries, as their associate Durga Das Khanna was to reveal in 1976. The book was clearly anti-British.
3- SAVARKAR HAD A HAND IN GANDHI’S MURDER
Savarkar was 14 years younger to Gandhi. But his vision was far clearer. He asked for complete independence in 1900; Gandhi’s demand only came in 1929. It was Savarkar who first made a bonfire of foreign clothes in 1905; his movement against “untouchability” was stunning as even his critics admit.
Savarkar was a fierce critic of Gandhi. He termed Gandhi a hypocrite for the latter had supported use of violence by British against Germany during World War 1. He was also critical of Gandhi’s Muslim appeasement during Khilafat movement.
In his articles between 1920-1940, Savarkar considered Gandhi a naïve leader who “happens to babble…(about) compassion, forgiveness”, yet “notwithstanding his sublime and broad heart, the Mahatama has a very narrow and immature head.”
As for his hand in Gandhi’s murder, he was honourably acquitted by the court.
4- SAVARKAR BEGAN HINDUTVA AND WAS ANTI-MUSLIM
It was Savarkar who expounded the philosophy of Hindutva in the book by the same name in 1923. But his Hindutva espoused Hindu-Muslim unity. He was against the Partition; believing Muslim should stay in India as Hindustani Muslims, just as they are alright with being in minority in Greece (Greek Muslims), Poland (Polish Muslims) and elsewhere.
He believed in a Hindu Rashtra which didn’t curb the religion of a minority in any way. But he was against “creation of a nation within a nation in the name of religious minoritism.” How true the words sound in today’s context. He once described his difference with Jinnah thus: “I stand for equality and no concessions while Jinnah is for more concessions and doesn’t stand for equality.” His view was not Hindus supremacy but that of Hindus’ protection.
5—SAVARKAR WAS A NAZI IN WORD AND SPIRIT
The critics must make up their mind whether Savarkar was pro-British or pro-Nazi. He couldn’t be both at the same time. After all, he actively campaigned for recruitment in British-Indian army during WW 2. He supported the allied war effort against the Axis. He said: “After all, there is throughout this world…but a single race, the human race, kept alive by one common blood, the human blood.” Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, believed in the superiority of his race, the “pure race.” The truth is Savarkar believed in military strength which his shameless critics equate with support for Nazism.
What critics won’t tell you is that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (May 28, 1883- February 26, 1966) was an atheist. He had asked his relatives to perform only his funeral and no rituals of 10th or 13th day as is done in Hindu faith. He was called Veer for when only 12, he led fellow students against a rampaging horde of Muslims that attacked his village in Nasik. He wrote several books, most of them while in jail.
Since his death, the airport at Port Blair has been named in his name. India House in England has a plaque in his name. In recent past, there have been calls to award him the “Bharat Ratna” posthumously.
Osaduddin Owaisi, a Muslim hardliner known for his legal wordplay, was brought to his knees by the combine of Times Now’s Rahul Shivshankar and BJP spokesperson Dr. Sudhanshu Trivedi on Ayodhya issue on Tuesday night debate.
Owaisi’s spacious argument was that Kapil Sibal was representing Sunni Waqf Board in the Supreme Court in the capacity of a lawyer and not from Congress; similarly as Ravi Shankar Prasad and Arun Jaitley have represented their respective clients in the past even though they are the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
(The same argument was stressed by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, chewing his words more than in his usual irritating style and flashing documents as Moses might have recounted the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20).
“But then why make a political argument that the Ayodhya hearing be postponed till after the ’19 General Elections? Doesn’t it show him (Sibal) as a political front of Congress? Why not stick to legal recourse? Doesn’t it show a lack of faith in India’s top judiciary?” Owaisi was questioned. Losing his cool by the minute, Owaisi said he didn’t fear as much Hindutva revivalism as Hindutva and the effect a majoritarian rule could have as it happened in (Nazi) Germany.
While Dr. Trivedi made a pertinent point on Hindu philosophy (“We have instances of one brother following another in the Forest; a heir-apparent abandoning his right on kingdom bowing to wishes of his father—unlike other faiths where son kills father and brother kills brother”), Owaisi’s sly reference to Germany needs a rebuttal. This is the last recourse Hindu-baiters employ to paint them as “Hindu fascist/Nazi forces.”
Since very few of us have the time or energy to verify these allegations, they acquire kind of a life of its own. Such a narrative would become more and more dominant till the next General Elections in 2019. It must be confronted with hard facts time and again.
Owaisi, who was dubbed by author Taslima Nasreen as a Muslim Extremist, is not alone in this fake tirade.
Communist leader Sitaram Yechury renamed RSS as Saffron Shirts (even though the RSS uniform has no saffron) or SS in a sly reference to Hitler’s dreaded paramilitary group. [i] Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders have done so in the past. [ii]
In Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the word Hindu or any term for any specifically Hindu concept, does not figure anywhere. “India” figures only twice.
As for the adoption of Swastika (or hooked cross) as party symbol, it was Hitler’s attempt to counter Communist “hammer and sickle” as a logo of his own party. It bore no resemblance to Hindu’s quest for inner control from one of his of outward physical dominance. [iii]
Further, there is no Hindutva theory on race purification, no biological divergence of the Hindu-Muslim conflict and no Hindu programme on eugenics.
Still, the Hindu-haters attempts have persisted all along. At the time of Ayodhya history debate in 1990-91, VHP-mandated scholars had mentioned a 19th century Germany archaelogist Dr. A. Fuhrer to further their claims. Quickly enough, the vicious propaganda turned it into an evidence of VHP’s admiration for the Fuhrer!
Owaisi need be told that if anything, the Muslim League before Independence was viewed to have a similar outlook on Hitler and Nazi Germany by none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, as mentioned by BR Nanda in his book, Gandhi and his Critics :
“When Nehru returned after a brief visit to Europe in 1938, he was struck by the similarity between the propaganda methods of the Muslim League in India and the Nazis in Germany.”
Nanda wrote further that “the league leaders had begun to echo the Fascist tirade against democracy…Nazis were wedded to a negative policy. So also was the League. The League was anti-Hindu, anti-Congress, anti-national…the Nazis raised the cry of hatred against the Jews; the League had raised its cry against the Hindus.” [iv]
Though this piece is not about Hindu-Muslim viewpoints, it must be said in passing that the RSS and Hindutva forces, against whom Owaisi mouths his venom, have never commented on the intrinsic value of Islam as a religion even though by popular admission, Islam is narrower, more regimented and less freer than Hinduism.
For example, Muslim countries are less repentant about having treated non-Muslims under their rule as a lower class of human beings. Such has been the case against the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Thousands of Christians were killed in Indonesia, in East Timor and in Sudan; substantial Copts were killed by Muslims in Egypt; Algerian Islamicists targeted Catholic priests in 1990s. Christian natives too have committed since against Hindus in Fiji but neither any Muslim or Christian country is ever termed as Fascist/Nazis. (Thanks to Dr. Koenraad Elst for these facts).
Communists have killed far more people in numbers than Hitler ever did. Did British colonial powers kill less number of Indians than Hitler ever did in his Holocaust?
Yet, the tag of being Fascist/Nazis has never been applied against an Islamic or Christian country after World War II. Hinduism, in contrast, is tolerant and accommodating, never looking for outward expansion, and thus an easy target for this tirade.
Those who call Hindutva as Fascists or Nazis, ironically are clearly in alliance with ideologies whose record against Humanity leaves much to be desired: Communism and Islamism.
I conclude this piece with a delicious chuckle: all these secularist champions—who fear-monger about supposed Hindu fascism—need be told that Hitler himself was a secularist!
The European history of the last half-millennium has shown that modernity (Renaissance, Enlightenment, French and American Revolution, French Third Republic etc) has gone hand-in-hand with secularization. Hitler too had continued with the secular policies of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf. All along, Hitler had kept religions in its place.
i] Pseudo-Hinduism Exposed, CPI (M), Delhi, 1993, Page 1
[ii] The Saffron Swastika, Dr. Koenraad Elst, Page 28
[iii] The Swastika, Malcolm Quinn, Page 129
[iv] Gandhi and his Critics by BR Nanda, Page 88