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 23,2021

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Bengaluru, Sept 23: Two persons lost their lives on the spot and two others sustained injuries in a mysterious blast at a godown in Chamarajpet's Rayon Circle in Bengaluru on Thursday afternoon. 

According to the fire and emergency officials, they received a call from a person about the incident saying that there was a cylinder blast around 12.10 pm in a house. But the officials found out that the blast happened in the gowdown of goods-carrying vehicles service.  

The fire tenders from different fire stations rushed to the spot by 12.20 pm and brought the fire under control. A senior officer said three persons are suspected have died at the spot and two other injured persons are rushed to nearby Victoria Hospital. 
Suresh, a witness of the incident said, he was passing through the spot when he heard a huge blast sound.

"I immediately called the fire and emergency control room and alerted them about the incident. I saw officials reaching the spot carrying three bodies and two other injured persons to hospital. I suspect that it is a blast in the air compressor in a godown but am not sure, what exactly caused the blast," he said. 

The senior officials including Sanjeev M Patil, deputy commissioner of police (West), VV Puram and Chamarajpet police have rushed to the spot and are conducting the rescue operation.

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Agencies
September 17,2021

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is having a difficult year. The economy is struggling after a brutal second wave of Covid-19, his popularity has dipped and a crucial state election looms. Now his ruling party has planned a mega birthday bash for him in “service of the nation.”

Starting Friday, when the prime minister turns 71, some 5 crore postcards will be mailed to him from citizens saying “thank you” for his concern for India’s poor, Om Prakash Dhurve, a secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said. There will be film screenings and exhibitions on his life, blood donation camps, cleanliness and vaccination drives, as part of the celebration billed as the “Service and Dedication Campaign” by the party’s youth wing. 

Environmental campaigns will clean 71 spots in various states. Local units of the BJP will organise prayer ceremonies and fairs in their areas with stalls set up to encourage people to download the NaMoApp, “which will help them communicate with the Hon’ble Prime Minister directly,” the party’s youth wing said.

“BJP is observing this as service and dedication campaign,” said Dhurve. “We want Modi to be become glorious and continuously serve the nation.” While Modi’s birthday is celebrated by the party every year, the scale of the extravaganza this time is a first. A spokesman of the prime minister office refused to comment.

The grand events come as Modi’s popularity has dipped to 24 per cent from 66 per cent a year ago, the lowest point since he came to power seven years ago, according to a Mood of the Nation survey published by the India Today media group in August. A sweeping second wave of coronavirus infections in April and May overwhelmed burial grounds and crematoriums and shuttered the economy.

His party lost a key state election in May and is looking to retain power in the politically significant state of Uttar Pradesh, which goes to the polls early next year. His home state of Gujarat will also have elections in late 2022.

“This is chiefly a strategy to mollify people’s anger on mismanagement of the Covid pandemic and winning assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh -- and restore Modi as a charismatic, dynamic leader,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a political analyst who has written a Modi biography. “The whole campaign is a blatant copy of the individualized-authoritarian model and also a great PR exercise.”

The celebrations are in stark contrast to the everyday reality of millions of Indians left jobless by the pandemic. 

More than a year after the first Covid-19 lockdown, the unemployment rate is still above pre-pandemic levels, with the manufacturing sector seen to have shed about 10 million jobs permanently and most new opportunities in services turning out to be low-paying gigs. That’s hardly a reason for cheer in an economy where private consumption makes up some 60% of gross domestic product.

Many economists see this as a recipe for a bumpy recovery. Although the latest quarterly headline growth numbers look good, GDP when adjusted for base effect, is much weaker than it was before the pandemic.

Congress panned the birthday events, with plans to mark September 17 as #NationalUnemploymentDay, the president of the party’s youth wing Srinivas B V said on Twitter. 

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News Network
September 10,2021

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The BJP on Friday fielded Priyanka Tibrewal from Bhabanipur to take on Mamata Banerjee in the upcoming bypolls. 

The party has fielded Sujit Das from Jangipur and Milan Ghosh from Samserganj.

Priyanka Tibrewal joined the BJP in August 2014. Prior to that she worked as a legal counsel for Babul Supriyo. She forayed into politics with his help.

In 2015, she contested in Kolkata's municipal elections, from ward 58, which she lost to the TMC candidate.

Born on July 7, 1981, Priyanka Tibrewal completed her schooling from Welland Goulsmith School, Kolkata. She pursued her graduation from Delhi and gained a law dgree from Hazara Law College, University of Kolkata. She also  has an MBA in HR from Thailand assumption University.

In August 2020, she was made the vice president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in West Bengal.

Early this year, she contested in the state assembly election from Entally, but lost to TMC with a margin of 58,257 votes.

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