Netaji Bose: Attempted Appropriation by Hindu Nationalism

Ram Puniyani
February 5, 2021

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Netaji Subhashchandra Bose’s birth anniversary was marked by various events this year (January 23). His portrait was unveiled by the President in Rashtrapati Bhavan. It was declared that his anniversary will be celebrated as Parakram Divas (Bravery day). Railway Minister announced the renaming of Howrah-Kalka Mail as Netaji Express. Mamta Bannerjee in contrast stated that his anniversary will be celebrated as Dehs Nayak Divas (National Hero Day). Through word of mouth propaganda and the social media BJP and company is spreading the falsehood that Congress did not honor Bose and that Bose supported Hindutva.

In a public meeting in Kolkata to celebrate his anniversary on 23 January when Mamata Bannerjee rose to speak a section of BJP supporters shouted Jai Shri Ram. Bannerjee said it is an insult to her and left the meeting without speaking. As such the slogan dear to Bose was Jai Hind.

All this is happening in the backdrop of forthcoming West Bengal elections where BJP is making all the attempts to win the Assembly elections. In tune with the attempt to pick up the icons by BJP; Subhash Bose is the latest on the line. He is a tall National figure and is greatly revered in WB. So far BJP never talked of putting Netaji in such a way as it is doing currently. The truth that Netaji’s ideology was totally in opposition to the one being pursued by BJP is being hidden under the carpet and strong attempt is underway to show that Netaji had ideology similar to the present ruling dispensation. Netaji was for socialism, democracy and communal amity and the present ruling party is for Hindu nation, is practicing the divisive politics and is undermining democracy through all its action.

As far as his differences with Congress party (INC) are concerned they related more to means to be employed for getting Independence. He was twice President of INC. The difference came up mainly in the wake of Second World War when Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi planned a nationwide agitation; ‘Quit India Movement’. Bose at this point of time wanted to make the British quit by allying with Germany and Japan who were Britain’s enemy countries. The majority of Congress Central committee was with Gandhi’s proposal and leaders like Patel and Nehru totally opposed the strategy proposed by Bose.

Still it was a tactical difference; Congress and Bose both were for getting freedom, while Hindu Mahasabha and RSS supported the British war efforts. Savarkar of Hindu Mahasabha was in the lead to make the British army strong by helping them to recruit Indians into British army. Bose on the contrary formed ‘Azad Hind Fauz’ (Indian National Army, INA) in Singapore with the aim of countering British army. He continued to be admirer of INC, Gandhi and Nehru; as is evident from the fact that he wrote to Mahatma Gandhi addressing him as Rashtrapita (Father of the nation). He sought Gandhi’s blessings while forming INA and two of INA Brigades were named after Gandhi and Nehru.

While Hindu Mahasabha and RSS have been totally against the state sponsored welfare programs and the concept of Socialism, Bose was a firm socialist. Within Congress he was with Nehru and other socialists for incorporation of socialist ideals in the national movement. Bose was strongly advocating for planning commission for the planned development of the country. Incidentally the planning commission which was set up after Independence was scrapped by BJP-NDA Government and replaced by Niti Ayog. When he left Congress he formed Forward Block, a socialist outfit, which had been part of the Left Alliance which ruled WB for decades.

Congress also looked at INA in a positive light and when after the end of World War II, the soldiers and officers of INA were tried in the Courts; lawyers like Bhulabhai Desai and Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru among others fought the case for the INA. Interestingly Nehru adorned the lawyer’s gown precisely to fight the cases for the brave soldiers of INA.

One should note that Hindu Mahasabha’s Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was part of the Government of Bengal in alliance with Muslim League. When British Government was suppressing the Quit India Movement, Mukherjee promised British not to bother about the Quit India Movement in Bengal as he will deal with them properly. Parallel to this Hindu Mahasabha’s Savarkar wanted British army to be strong and chief of RSS, Golwalkar put out a circular to its branches to stick to their regular activities and not to do anything which will annoy the British.

Hindu Rashtra (Nation) has been the main plank of Hindu Mahasabha-RSS. Bose was totally opposed to the politics of communalists, Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha. It was under his President-ship of Congress that that dual membership of communalists was barred. They no longer could be on the elective committees of Congress. Also in one of his broadcasts from Berlin he criticized these formations for their siding with British. As per him the politics of communal organizations was totally against the interests of peasants and workers. His opposition to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee joining Hindu Mahasabha’s Bengal unit was very strong.

It is not much projected as to what were the ideas of Bose on the issue of nature of Nationalism and Hindu Muslim unity.  To quote Bose from his writings, “With the advent of the Mohammedans, a new synthesis was gradually worked out. Though they did not accept the religion of the Hindus, they made India their home and shared in the common social life of the people – their joys and their sorrows. Through mutual co-operation, a new art and a new culture were (sic) evolved ….” And also that, “Indian Mohammedans” have continued to work for national freedom.” In order to uphold rights of minorities, he conceptualized a new State where “religious and cultural freedom for individuals and group” should be guaranteed and no “state-religion” would be adopted [‘Free India and her Problems’].

While sticking to ‘first comers’, RSS ideologues say that Aryans were the original inhabitants in India and from here they emigrated to parts of West Asia and Europe. In contrast Bose points out “, “The latest archeological excavations … prove unmistakably that India had reached a high level of civilization as early as 3000 B.C. … before the Aryan conquest of India.” His praise for Mohenjo-daro and Harappa is certainly a rational counter-argument based on ‘scientific findings’ against the imagination of a Hindu-Aryan origin of Indian culture. Bose was forward looking and did not subscribe to ‘golden ancient period’ thesis propounded by communalists.

Time and over again the Hindu nationalists have been trying to gain legitimacy by appropriating the national icons like Vivekanad, Sardar Patel and the like. BJP is on the lokout for those nationals icons who differed with Congress, with Gandhi or Nehru. Now with WB elections forthcoming ‘no holds barred’ efforts is on to appropriate a tall leader of freedom movement, whose ideology is totally in opposition the one of Hindu nationalists. He was a true socialist wedded to the concept of Hindu Muslim unity. He fought against British while Hindu nationalists supported them. He called Gandhi as rashtrapita, while one of the Hindu nationalist murdered him!

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News Network
September 19,2022

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London Sept 19: Britain said farewell to Queen Elizabeth II on Monday at a state funeral attended by world leaders, before a historic last ceremonial journey through the streets of London packed with sorrowful mourners.

The funeral brought to an end 11 days of national mourning across the United Kingdom that has seen the personal sorrow of the royal family play out in the glare of intense international attention.

Huge crowds gathered in near silence to watch as the queen's flag-draped coffin, topped with the Imperial State Crown, her orb and sceptre, was carried slowly to a gun carriage from parliament's Westminster Hall where it had lain in state since Wednesday.

To the tune of pipes and drums, the gun carriage -- used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria's in 1901 -- was then drawn by 142 junior enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy to Westminster Abbey.

The thousand-year-old church's tenor bell tolled 96 times at one-minute intervals -- one for every year of her life -- stopping a minute before the service began at 11:00 am (1000 GMT).

In his funeral sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the queen's life of duty and service to the UK and Commonwealth.

"People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer," he told the 2,000 guests, who included US President Joe Biden and Japan's reclusive Emperor Naruhito.

"But in all cases, those who serve will be loved and remembered," the Anglican leader added, before the coffin was borne on another procession towards her final resting place in Windsor Castle, west of London.

The longest-serving monarch in British history died at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland retreat, on September 8 after a year of declining health.

Her eldest son and successor, King Charles III, dressed in ceremonial military uniform, followed the solemn processions, alongside his three siblings.

Charles's eldest son Prince William accompanied them alongside William's estranged brother, Prince Harry, and other senior royals.

William's two eldest children, George and Charlotte, who are next in line to the throne, also walked behind the coffin inside the abbey.

Late Sunday, Charles, 73, and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, said they had been "deeply touched" by the public's flood of messages.

"As we all prepare to say our last farewell, I wanted simply to take this opportunity to say thank you," he said.

Britain, a country much changed since the queen's coronation in the same abbey in 1953, has dug deep into its centuries of tradition to honour the only monarch that most of its people have ever known.

"It's once in a lifetime," said student Naomi Thompson, 22, camped out in the crowds at London's Hyde Park.

"It's a moment of history... She's everyone's granny," added engineer Alice Garret, 28.

Others unable to be in London gathered in cinemas and churches around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to watch the service and procession on big screens.

Auto engineer Jamie Page, a 41-year-old former soldier, stood on Whitehall to observe the funeral procession, wearing his military medals from service in the Iraq war.

"Sixteen years old, I swore an oath of allegiance to the queen. She's been my boss. She means everything, she was like a gift from God," he said.

But on Charles, the oldest person yet to ascend the British throne, Page added: "Who knows, time will tell."

The funeral lasted just under an hour, brought to an end by a bugler playing "The Last Post", before two minutes of silence and the reworded national anthem, "God Save the King".

After an hour-long procession that was to go past Buckingham Palace, the coffin was to be taken west by road to Windsor Castle, where thousands had lined the route since early morning.

Some 6,000 military personnel have been drafted in to take part in proceedings in what Britain's highest-ranking military officer has called "our last duty for Her Majesty the Queen".

The queen will be buried alongside her father king George VI, her mother queen Elizabeth and sister princess Margaret, reuniting in death the family who once called themselves "us four".

The coffin of her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99, will also be transferred to lie alongside her.

Elizabeth's funeral could not be more different from Philip's at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in April 2021.

Coronavirus restrictions limited mourners to just 30, led by the queen, a solitary figure in mourning black and a matching facemask.

The contrast was profound on Monday, the abbey packed with dignitaries and some ordinary Britons who were honoured for their military or community service, especially during the Covid pandemic.

"You were fortunate to have had her for 70 years; we all were," Biden said on Sunday after signing a book of condolence. "The world is better for her."

In the abbey pews was Liz Truss, whom the queen appointed as the 15th British prime minister of her reign just two days before her death, in her last major ceremonial duty.

All of Truss's living predecessors were there plus her counterparts and representatives from the 14 Commonwealth countries outside Britain where Charles is also head of state.

Whether they remain constitutional monarchies or become republics is likely to be the defining feature of Charles's reign.

The queen's death has prompted deep reflection about the Britain she reigned over, the legacy of its past, its present state and what the future might hold, as well as the values of lifelong service and duty she came to represent during her 70-year reign.

Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have queued, sometimes for up to 25 hours and overnight, to file past the queen's coffin as it lay in state.

Chrissy Heerey, a serving member of the Royal Air Force who joined the marathon queue twice, was the last person through the doors and described the experience as "amazing".

"When they came to me and said, 'right, you're the last person', I said, really?!" she told AFP, before heading off to join the crowds for the coffin's procession through London.

Throughout the procession after the funeral, Big Ben, the giant bell atop the Elizabeth Tower at one end of the Houses of Parliament, tolled and military guns fired at one-minute intervals.

At Windsor, the Sebastopol Bell -- captured in Crimea in 1856 -- and the Curfew Tower Bell also sounded.

A vast television audience was expected to watch the funeral worldwide and live online, in a sign of the enduring fascination with the woman once described as "the last global monarch".

Those lining the streets of London -- already jammed at sunrise on Monday -- said they had to bear witness.

"I will talk about this moment to my children," said Jack Davies, 14, camped out for the procession with his parents at Hyde Park Corner, where the coffin will be transferred from the gun carriage for the drive to Windsor.

"I'll say: 'I was there!'"

At Windsor, the queen's crown, orb and sceptre will be removed and placed on the altar.

The most senior officer of the royal household, the lord chamberlain, breaks his "wand of office" and places it on the coffin, symbolising the end of her reign.

The lead-lined oak casket, draped with the queen's colours, will be lowered into the Royal Vault as a lone bagpiper plays a lament.

A private interment ceremony will take place at the adjoining King George VI Memorial Chapel at 1830 GMT.

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News Network
September 29,2022

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Lucknow, Sept 29: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the Election Commission (EC) deliberately reduced the votes of Yadavs and Muslims by 20,000 in almost every Vidhan Sabha seat based on diktat of the BJP and its aides.

"A probe can be conducted. It will be found that the names of many people were removed," Yadav said.

Yadav said that the BJP government has made ration free as elections are approaching in some states. "They can make ration free but can't provide stretcher or ambulance to poor people in villages while they give huge benefits to big businessmen," he added. 

Akhilesh Yadav was on Thursday unanimously elected president of the Samajwadi Party for the third consecutive time, said the party's secretary general Ram Gopal Yadav.

Declaring the result of the election at the Samajwadi Party national convention at Ramabai Ambedkar stadium here, Ram Gopal Yadav said Akhilesh Yadav was the only candidate for the post.

Taking over from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav became SP president for the first time at an emergency meeting of the party in January 2017 and for the second time at the party's national convention in Agra in October the same year.

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News Network
October 3,2022

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A 7-year-old child died when an electric scooter battery, which was being charged at home, exploded in Maharashtra's Palghar. 

The boy, identified as Shabbir Ansari, breathed his last during treatment after getting critically injured in an e-scooter blast. "Case registered; further investigation initiated," Manikpur Police Station stated. 

The boy had sustained over 70 percent burns when the scooter’s battery exploded at his home. The boy and his grandmother were sleeping in the hall when the explosion took place. 

Ansari's father plugged in the EV battery for charging and woke up to shock as the battery exploded. The EV battery fire incident took place at around 4:30am on September 23. Grandmother suffered minor injuries while Ansari had over 70 percent burns and was rushed to hospital. He breathed his last on October 2.  

The media reports further claim that it was detachable 24 Ah Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP) battery. However, Ansari's family blames EV scooter manufacturer for 'faulty' battery.

India has been witnessing electric scooter battery fires since the onset of 2022. A few months ago, an EV fire occurred in Andhra Pradesh, where the battery of an electric two-wheeler detonated in a house, killing one person and injuring three others. The event occurred in Vijayawada, when the detachable battery of the vehicle was kept on charging in his bedroom and it suddenly exploded in the early hours when all were fast asleep.

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