‘Another attack is being made on nationalism from the point of view of international Labour or international Communism. This attack is not only ill-advised but unconsciously serves the interests of our alien rulers. It would be clear to the man in the street that before we can endeavour to reconstruct Indian society on a new basis, whether socialistic or otherwise, we should first secure the right to shape our own destiny. As long as India lies prostrate at the feet of Britain, that right will be denied us. It is, therefore, the paramount duty not only of nationalists but anti-nationalistic Communists to bring about the political emancipation of India as early as possible,’
Chandra Bose Vision of a Free India (1928)*
Subhas Chandra Bose (1897-1945) was an ultra-nationalist who embraced the International Fascist Cause from 1941-1945 (and who was prone to Trotskyite-fascist sympathies between 1929-1941, etc). I have in my possession, a first-edition copy of a book published in 1962 by an Indian Government that had firmly aligned itself with Western capitalism, and which would antagonise a border-war between itself and Communist China later in the same year (a war the Indian Army would lose). This allows me to access first-hand what Chandra Bose actually thought, rather than rely upon the pronouncements of others. In 1938, the exiled Leon Trotsky called upon all his so-called ‘Socialist’ followers to align themselves with the Forces of International Fascism (and the Roman Catholic Church) in any attack upon the Soviet Union! Chandra Bose’s activities certainly dove-tails with this ideology, as he was quite happy to associated himself with Adolf Hitler and Imperial Japan. The Indian myth is that Nehru, Gandhi and Bose ‘freed’ India through their collective and varied effort. This myth even has currency within Western culture, suggesting that a ‘hidden’ mystical hand operated from the spiritual void and removed the British from India. The reality is that a left-leaning British Labour Government wanted to instigate a fully comprehensive National Health Service and Welfare State in the UK starting in 1948, and so the decision was taken to grant India ‘Independence’ in 1947 – and in so doing – save the millions of pounds formerly used to run the colony and re-invest this money into developing the well-being of the British working-class. There is nothing ‘mystical’ about Indian Independence, and if it wasn’t for an anti-imperialist British Labour Government, neither Nehru, Gandhi or Bose could have done anything about it.
‘The trade union movement is destined to grow in strength and in volume in spite of the temporary setbacks that it may have received in the past. Various currents and cross-currents of thought sometimes make trade union workers feel bewildered as to the path or the modus operandi they should follow. There is, on the one hand, the Right Wing who stand for a reformist programme above everything else. On the other side there are our Communist friends who, if I have understood them right, are adherents and followers of Moscow. Whether we agree with the views of either group or not, we cannot fail to understand them. Between these two groups is another group which stands for socialism – for full-blooded socialism – but which desires that India should evolve her own form of socialism as well as her own methods. To this group I humbly claim to belong.’
Chandra Bose – The Trade Union Movement (1931)*
Modern Indian nationalism appears to have its roots in Hindu chauvinism rather than Socialist solidarity of an oppressed people. Therefore, Indian nationalism mimics Western racism and appears to be a secular example of the discrimination found within the Hindu caste system (and rejected by Buddha). Chandra Bose was a racist who often presented his racism disguised as Socialist rhetoric. Indeed, he would fit-in quite nicely with the fascist ideology of the currently ruling BJP Government India, which was elected by an Indian population on a platform of open racism and discrimination – with the Modi the BJP leader – firmly linking his fascistic thinking with Hindu spiritual practice. This may seem like a harsh assessment, but Chandra Bose rejected ‘Communism’ and advocated a type of Utopian Socialism premised upon Indian religious thinking that had kept Indians psychologically enslaved for centuries. Add to this the influence of Trotsky, and one is left with the distinct possibility that Chandra Bose never fully understood the Marxist-Leninist ideology of Scientific Socialism, and was simply just another power-monger seeking influence and high status. In this regard, much of what Chandra Bose says and does comes across as terribly naïve. After siding with Nazi Germany (which killed around 40 million Soviets) and Imperial Japan (which killed around 60 million Chinese), Chandra Bose suffered under the delusion that he would be welcome in the USSR! This certainly was not the case in 1941 – where Stalin refused to help him deploy his Japanese-backed fascist army into India to fight the British – and this remain the case in 1945 as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were crushed by the Allies and Chandra Bose fled for his life!
‘We must have full faith in Japan. The Japanese will bombard all the army and naval bases of the Britishers in India. My Indian brothers, you should not misunderstand these aerial attacks. By destroying the British bases, the Japanese are only removing the impediments to the progress of the overseas Indian national armies. Japan is our ally, our helper. Co-operate with the Japanese in order to eliminate British domination and establish a New Order,’
Chandra Bose (1942)*
Was Chandra Bose really unaware of the wholesale massacres that the Imperial Japanese Army was carrying-out across Asia and in India? Did he really not know that tens of thousands of Indian men were shot by the Japanese and Indian women raped? How could he not know? The Indian apologists for Chandra Bose’s collaboration with fascism is that he raised an Indian National Army (INA) of around 30,000 (Chinese language sources suggest 90,000, but this figure could hardly be frontline troops) – drawn mostly from British trained Indians captured as POWs by the Imperial Japanese. The figures I have read suggest that most Indian POWs fighting in the British Army ‘refused’ to serve in the fascist INA – and were ‘shot’ as a consequence. In reality, Chandra Bose had problems sustaining a force of just 10,000 INA soldiers – which was quickly defeated in battle by the British Indian Army in 1944.
‘The courage, tenacity and fortitude with which the armed forces of Germany fought till the moment Herr Hitler’s death must have evoked the admiration of the whole world. In my own view, the defeat of Germany was not a military but a political one. It was the foreign policy of Germany, vis-a-vis Soviet Russia and other countries, that was fundamentally responsible for the military disaster which has now overtaken the German nation… In this hour of Germany’s sorrow, I cannot help reiterating on behalf of the Indian people and myself our heartfelt gratitude to the German people an nation for the sympathy and support that they gave us in our struggle for freedom.’
Chandra Bose – The German Defeat (1945)*
Did Chandra Bose really not know that Hitler murdered around 11 million people in the Nazi German Holocaust? Was he so detached from the everyday policies and behaviours of his Axis allies that he was unaware of the mass murder they were habitually committing? Even before the end of WWII, the British Government was referring to Chandra Bose as an ‘enemy of the people’ complicit in the abusing of Human Rights. Interestingly, when the British Labour was elected in 1945, this rhetoric did not change – a reality that seemed to surprise Chandra Bose. By the time Japan surrendered in August, 1945, the writing was on the wall. Chandra Bose was very much painted himself into an ideological corner with little chance of escape. In reality, according to the standards of the time, (which included a certain stratum of Indian opinion), Chandra Bose was a War Criminal. As Japan unconditionally surrendered, Chandra Bose addressed the small number of Indian men who still remained with the INA in Singapore:
‘Friends! In this hour of darkness, I want you to conduct yourselves with the discipline, honour, and strength befitting a real revolutionary army. You have already given proofs of your valour and self-sacrifice on the battlefield. Now, in this moment of temporary defeat, it is your duty to maintain your faith firm and determination strong. I know it for certain that even in this adverse situation you will hold your heads high and face the future with full confidence and hope.’
Chandra Bose – Many Roads to Delhi (1945P*
The USSR and her Western Allies had made it clear that all ‘surrenders’ would be unconditional, and that War Crimes Trials would follow which would include the Death Penalty for the worst offenders. It seems odd that as the Soviet Red Army swept across Manchuria – crushing the Imperial Japanese Kwantung Army – Chandra Bose, as an ally of Japan in Singapore, was planning (with Japanese help) to fly to the USSR – as if he had not spent the last four years supporting the fascist enemies of the Soviet Union! On the face of it, this appears to be a yet another bizarre decision amongst many made by Chandra Bose. His death – like his life – was equally bizarre. The Japanese Authorities on Singapore placed Chandra Bose on a Japanese aeroplane destined for Tokyo. However, this aeroplane was mistaken for an enemy aircraft, and apparently shot-down by Japanese anti-aircraft guns as it flew over the still Japanese-occupied Chinese island of Taiwan! Contemporary Chinese language sources state that Chandra Bose survived the crash, and was taken to hospital on Taiwan, but died from his injuries on August 19th, 1945. Earlier reports seem to suggest that he was killed outright in crash, or that he was not on the aeroplane at all, and was later seen in different parts of India. These ideas are incorrect. Japanese language records state that Chandra Bose died in Taipei aged 49 years of age. His body was treated with full cultural respect and was transported to the Japanese Buddhist temple known as ‘Nishi Honganji’ [西本愿寺 – Xi Ben Yuan Si] (Taiwan had been a Japanese colony since 1895), where it was cremated in the presence of Japanese Buddhist monks sent especially from the Japanese Mainland. The ashes of Chandra Bose were then transported to Mainland Japan where they were placed with honour in the ancient Japanese Buddhist temple of central Tokyo known as ‘Renkoji’ (莲光寺 – Lian Guang Si). This is where Chandra Bose lies today.
‘There was a time when German armies had advanced inside Russia right up to Stalingrad. I wonder how many people there were who, in those days, could imagine that the tide would turn, that one day the Soviet Army would be in Berlin. Germany’s defeat is one of the surprises of this war… It is clear by now that the war aims of the Soviet Union are quite different from those of the Anglo-Americans, although they had a common enemy in Germany.’
Chandra Bose – Soviet Support for India (1945)*
The USSR NEVER supported Chandra Bose and had no intention of supporting his perceived Trotskyism (and its collaboration with fascism). The USSR supported the development of India exclusively through the machinations of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of India – which Chandra Bose did not support. I suspect that if Chandra Bose had made it to the USSR, he would have been arrested a tried for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. If he had been executed for these crimes, I wonder whether the Indian Government and its Bourgeois Establishment would still present his cooperation with International Fascism as a ‘Freedom Fight’ in disguise! Only a reactionary Trotskyite would refer to themselves as a ‘Socialist’ whilst simultaneously rejecting the Marxist-Leninism of Communism. Of course, whilst very much a product of the privileged bourgeois education system, Chandra Bose tried to convince his sei-literate countrymen and women that he was somehow a product of some ancient Indian mysticism, a mysticism which invented everything the West now holds dear thousands of years ago! Even today, as modern India continuously votes in a fascist Hindu-extremist Government, over half of India’s people still live in abject poverty, with around the same number existing with no access to medical care, housing, employment or education! This is the reality of the predatory capitalism of modern India which continues the oppression of the imperialist days, but this time with no ‘outsider’ to blame for the eternal suffering!
Chinese Language Reference:
English Language Reference:
Bose, Subhas Chandra, Selected Speeches of Subhas Chandra Bose, Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, (1962), Foreword by B Gopala, Radde, Biographical Sketch by SA Ayer
*Page(s) 33, 68-69, 141, 231, 240, 228