Skip to main content

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
Anonymous said…
Fact Check: https://satyagrahis.stck.me/post/36820/Did-Atlee-said-Gandhi-had-minimal-role-in-Independence-FactCheck

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.