Honour INA and Netaji Bose; Let INA Veterans be Included in RD Parade: Maj Gen GD Bakshi
Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhein azadi doonga – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Netaji Bose was not only a Military Leader but also the First Supreme Commander of modern India. He was instrumental in India getting her freedom. Netaji Bose and his Azad Hind Fauz (INA) was the primary catalyst that inspired the military revolts of 1946 that ultimately forced the British to quit. The truth about Netaji Bose and the sacrifices he made for India have been wiped out from History.
Such was Netaji Bose’s determination, dedication, and commitment to free Mother India from the hands of the British Raj that he managed to raise a huge army of 60,000 soldiers in a foreign land! He underwent big hardships to create his army. Many Indians donated huge amount of money for the formation of the Azad Hind Fauz and themselves became part of the army. The son of an INA veteran says, “My father joined Netaji Bose’s INA from Singapore. He donated a huge amount for forming of INA. Due to this, after freedom, our family was under severe poverty, and my father could not send me to school. I was brought up illiterate. I have seen some of my father’s friends who were INA soldiers. They all perished in poverty and their families have vanished.” This is very unfortunate. After India gained freedom, the Nehru government should have recognized the INA soldiers role in India’s freedom movement. Hope the current government gives the surviving INA veterans their due rights.
In the words of Bhuvan Lall, author of a book on Netaji titled The Man India Missed the Most, “Netaji Bose embarked on death defying journeys for India’s freedom across the treacherous mountains of Afghanistan, threatening waves of Atlantic and Indian Oceans, tortuous jungles of Burma – pursued by assassins and the spectre of death. Faced with impossible odds, he was determined to triumph over an undefined future with courage, dignity and honor. He became the stuff of legends in his own lifetime.”
A succession of court historians have tried to craft a narrative that India had obtained her freedom entirely by the soft power of ahimsa (non-violence) and Satyagraha; and that hard power had no role to play whatsoever. This is a huge sacrilege. As per the INA’s official history, the force had a total strength of 60,000. Of these, 26,000 were killed in action. Was that non-violence?
In the words of Maj Gen GD Bakshi, “The pity is that the Nehruvian dispensation treated these men as traitors. There is no memorial for the 26,000 martyrs. The INA veterans were not taken back into the Army (on Mountbatten’s advice) and denied their war time pensions. Any nation that seeks to gloss over the martyrdom of 26,000 of its soldiers erodes the very basis of its nationhood.”
“The problem arose from the Nehruvian dispensation’s quest for political legitimacy. It claimed that its non-violent struggle alone had liberated India from the colonial yoke and as such, that gave it the right to rule. This was a deliberate distortion of History to downplay the role of violence and completely bury the role of Netaji Bose and the INA. In denying this obvious legacy of force and violence, the Nehruvian dispensation went to inordinate lengths to underline the relevance of its ideology of pacifism and non-violence.”
Only a handful of surviving INA veterans are left. Can’t the Govt. of India honor them and recognize their role in the Indian freedom struggle? Recently, Maj Gen GD Bakshi said on this aspect, “Can we for GOD’s sake put our last surviving INA veterans on the Republic Day parade at Raj Path before they all die out. There are just a handful of them left.”
He questions further, “Why have they been kept away so far? Is it because our Bureaucracy is still loyal to the British Raj and not to INDIA?? Why are politicians still so scared of the Raj that they can’t honour the INA and Netaji Bose, the real liberators of INDIA. We will not let this insult to the INA veterans pass. It has to be undone. For the last 3 years we have constantly been requesting PMO, MOD and even the Army to get the INA veterans and a float on Netaji Bose included in the RD parade. What is stopping us? I simply can’t understand. We talked so much about revising our History- what have we done about it? The ICHR has now been without a head for the last 6 months.”
When the INA memorial was set up in Singapore, Nehru was to visit it, but he didn’t. In the words of Maj Gen GD Bakshi, “Nehru was to visit this but Mountbatten told him not to and he meekly complied. Mountbatten then ordered the memorial blown up. It remained that way for 50 years. The Indian Govt did absolutely NOTHING. It was the Govt and people of Singapore who rebuilt that memorial in 1995.”
Maj Gen GD Bakshi has raised these questions pertaining to Netaji Bose and the INA right, “What is the problem with our govt? Are we still full of stooges of the British Raj? Why can’t we dare to own up Netaji Bose as our true liberator? Why is the present govt still energetically protecting the Nehruvian thesis? Why has the present Parliament not accepted the justice Mukherjee commission report? Why are the people of Bengal and India so dead???”
It is time, we, the citizens of India, collectively fight for the rights of the INA veterans and facilitate building of a memorial of the 26,000 INA martyrs in the Indian soil. They have a memorial in Singapore and not in India! As suggested by Maj Gen GD Bakshi, the government should include the last surviving INA veterans on the Republic Day parade at Raj Path before they all die out. Wake up India!! Jai Hind!
Featured image courtesy: TopYaps and India Today