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Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'

By Rajiv Shah
Yet another attempt is underway by circles close to the Narendra Modi government for “rewriting” the history of India’s freedom struggle, and this time the target is Mahatma Gandhi. The question has already been posed: Who brought independence, Mahatma Gandhi or Subhas Chandra Bose?
A new, yet-to-be published book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai” by a “Netaji scholar and military historian”, General GD Bakshi, has been cited to point towards why Bose, and not Gandhi, was the real Father of the Nation.
Bakshi reportedly quotes former British prime minister Clement Attlee to say that Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) played a more critical role than Gandhi for the Britishers “granting” independence to India, even as dismissing Gandhi’s non-violent movement as having had a “minimal effect.”
To prove the point Bakshi reportedly cites a conversation, which purportedly took place between Attlee and West Bengal governor Justice PB Chakraborty some time in 1956. It centred round circumstances in which Attlee, as British Prime Minister, signed the decision to grant India Independence.
The “documentary” evidence cited is Chakraborty’s letter to the publishers of RC Majumdar's book, “A History of Bengal”, in which he wrote: "When I was acting governor, Lord Attlee, who had given us Independence by withdrawing British rule from India, spent two days in the governor's palace at Calcutta during his tour of India.”
Pointing towards “a prolonged discussion” regarding “the real factors that had led the British to quit India", Chakroborty’s letter said, "My direct question to Attlee was that since Gandhi's Quit India Movement had tapered off quite some time ago and in 1947 no such new compelling situation had arisen that would necessitate a hasty British departure, why did they had to leave?"
"In his reply Attlee cited several reasons, the main among them being the erosion of loyalty to the British crown among the Indian Army and Navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji," Chakraborty is quoted as saying in the letter.
The letter further goes on: "Toward the end of our discussion I asked Attlee what was the extent of Gandhi's influence upon the British decision to leave India. Hearing this question, Attlee's lips became twisted in a sarcastic smile as he slowly chewed out the word, 'm-i-n-i-m-a-l'."
Attlee
 Then Chakroborty reportedly points towards the “significance of Attlee's assertion”, going back to 1945. The Second World War had ended. The allied powers, led by Britain and the US, had won. Already, there was erosion of loyalty to the British crown among the Indian Army and Navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji.
Further: The Axis powers led by Hitler's Germany had been vanquished. The victors wanted to impose justice on the defeated armies. In India, officers of Netaji Bose's INA were put on trial for treason, torture, murder. This series of court martials, came to be known as the Red Fort Trials.
As a result, Indians serving in the British armed forces were “inflamed”. In February 1946, almost 20,000 sailors of the Royal Indian Navy serving on 78 ships mutinied against the Empire. They went around Mumbai with portraits of Netaji and forced the British to shout Jai Hind and other INA slogans.
Things did not stop here. The rebels brought down the Union Jack on their ships and refused to obey their British masters. This mutiny was followed by similar rebellions in the Royal Indian Air Force and also in the British Indian Army units in Jabalpur. The British were terrified.
Based these facts, circles close to the Modi government insist, school textbooks, “dominated” by the non-violent movement, but “dismissive” of the INA in a few cursory paragraphs, should be “revisited”, and the “immense role" of Netaji in helping India win freedom should be “acknowledged.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
Who the hell was Atlee to say so, when it was Netaji himself who addressed Gandhi with that title!
Anonymous said…
Bcz netaji was so inspired by Gandhi ji and he netaji treated gaandhiji as his father.
So being a son, he addressed Gandhi ji with that title.
I agree without Gandhiji our freedom fighters even couldn't see the dreams of independence.
But the role of Netaji was supreme.
Anonymous said…
How the hell that title has anything to do with impact of Gandhi on Britishers??? Attlee was in charge of the British govt & he knew very well what make them exit India and who had the stronger force behind it Netaji or Gandhi.. So we must take his point of view seriously afterall all procedure of Transfer of power happened under his leadership
Anonymous said…
The first guy didn't even read the article or even the headline fully. People just want to bash anything anywhere.

Attlee nowhere mentioned Bose to be father of nation.
zoso said…
This article uses loaded words like purported to describe the conversation between Chakraborty and Atlee. Why? Why is it so dismissive of the ramifications that Netaji's efforts had on the British departure? Modi's coterie might be a bunch of motivated demagogues but that is no reason to discredit Netaji. As for the title of Father of Nation, since that was conferred by Netaji, why don't we just let it stay rather than scouting anew for new candidates in accordance with political and ideological allegiances?
Unknown said…
If one reads the article carefully one will read that the basic reason was the court marshalling of the INA personals that lead to disgruntment of the Indian Navy and Airforce. If there was no court marshalling then there would be no disgruntment and no rebelling.
Hmmm

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