Skip to main content

Appropriating an icon? Why is RSS-BJP "celebrating" Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

By Ram Puniyani*
On January 23, BJP-RSS organized various programmes to honour Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. In one of these programs, a clash took place leading to a curfew in Kendrapada, Orissa. In different meeting organized by BJP-RSS, an attempt was made to draw parallel between Bose and Savarkar, Bose and RSS.
Propaganda is on to show that it was on Savarkar’s suggestion that Bose undertook to tie up with axis powers (Germany and Japan). Parallels are being drawn between RSS and INA (Azad Hind Fauj). Now all attempts are on to show that Bose’s nationalism was close to that of Savarkar-RSS.
The RSS combine is trying to praise Netaji as the one who gave legitimacy to struggle for Independence against British. When did this combine realize the contributions of this great freedom fighter? Or for that matter the question comes did RSS combine ever want to struggle against British rule?
It is last few years that these attempts to identify with national icons are going on. While in case of Sardar Patel the propaganda is that, had he been the first Prime Minster of India, we would not have had Kashmir problem, we would has progressed more. The truth in this matter is that Patel and Nehru were two solid pillars of Indian Cabinet who gave foundations to Indian republic. The differences among them were of minor nature and Patel was the most trusted Cabinet colleague of Nehru.
As far as Netaji is concerned, we know that he is one of the major freedom fighters of India. He was part of the Indian National Congress most of his life and was its President of Tripura session in 1939. Within Congress he was part of the socialist group. He and Nehru had matching ideas on issues of socialism, secularism among others.
He did fallout from Congress on the issue of method of getting freedom. While Gandhi-led Congress wanted to adopt the path of non violence, Netaji did not see eye to eye on this issue. For getting freedom for India, Congress launched ‘Quit India’ movement to build anti-British pressure, and this gave boost to the freedom struggle.
During the Second World War, Netaji’s approach was to launch armed military action against the British by collaborating with axis powers (Japan and Germany), that’s how he set up INA. He also formed free India’s provisional government in Singapore on October 21, 1943. He has been a charismatic leader who was thoroughly anti-British.
Undoubtedly Congress was firm in the path of non-violence. It launched Quit India movement which was led by Mahatma Gandhi. Bose did develop some differences on the matter of fighting against the British. He resorted to tying up with fascist Germany and its ally Japan.
What were RSS and Hindu nationalists doing at this point of time? Hindutva ideologue Savarkar, the progenitor of Hindutva and Hindu nation ideology, propagated at that time that Hindu nationalists should help British in their war efforts against Japan and Germany. RSS sarsanghchalak MS Golwalkar instructed all its branches not to do anything which will annoy British and kept aloof from the anti British struggles.
So while Congress was putting pressure on British through Quit India movement, Netaji was fighting British through INA, Savarkar was proactively helping the British by helping them in recruitment for armed forces. In a way, RSS did nothing which went against the British rule. So here, with a forked tongue, Hindu nationalists on one hand were supporting the British in their war efforts (Savarkar) or keeping aloof (Golwalkar-RSS), on the other now they are eulogizing Netaji for his anti-British INA!
While Netaji was socialist, close to the ideas held by Nehru, Golwalkar went on to write that communists are internal threat to the Hindu nation. While BJP at the time of its formation used the word Gandhian socialism, it was a mere electoral jumla (gimmick). The ideology and actions of Netaji and Hindu nationalists-RSS were poles apart. So why are they projecting him today? Why are they trying show similarities which are not there?
Essentially, as RSS did not participate in freedom movement, it does not have any national icon. RSS’ Atal Bihari Vajpayee at that time was a young college student who during Quit India movement was jailed by mistake; he apologized and got himself released. Savarkar, since he was anti-British before being imprisoned in Andman jail,/has been glorified as the brave warrior by prefixing Veer (brave) to his name. He also apologized to the British and got released from the jail.
Mostly the communal nationalists, Muslim League-Hindu Mahasabha-RSS, never took anti-British stance. This should be the defining point for Indian nationalism. Congress and Bose were anti-British to the core, so their nationalism in a way has similar wave length despite some differences.
When INA of Bose was being tried by British for their anti-war actions against the British, it was the likes of Nehru who defended the INA; none from the Hindu nationalist camp came forward to defend Bose and his colleagues during the trial by British. It is only for electoral reasons that now RSS-BJP need to identify with the likes of Patel and Bose. They are actively trying to dig up some points here and there to get a ride on the back of legends like Patel and Bose.
So far Sardar Patel has been projected and now it’s Netaji’s turn! Their central opposition is to Indian nationalism. They vilify Nehru, who stood rock solid in defense of secularism and democracy. Since RSS wants to oppose the Nehru legacy and Congress on electoral ground, it keeps propping up icons like these.
While these icons had some differences with Nehru, they essentially were on similar wave length as far as secular democratic values are concerned. These projections of Patel and Netaji are mere electoral ploys to garner more power!
---
*Well-known political commentator

Comments

GC said…
The left coined Netaji as a foreign agent...
Congress cheated Netaji every point of time when he was alive and also supressed his glorious life history from the people of the country. How can these parties cantslk about Netaji now?
T N RAMAKRSIHNA said…
RSS founder himself was associatedpleasant with Congress and was also a revolutionary. Savarkar inspired Hindu youths to join army so that they can revolt against British at an appropriate and opportune time.

RSS swayamsevaks have participated in freedom movement in their personal capacity. T N Ramakrishna President Rashtra Gaurava Samrakshana Parishath. +91 9845672560. www.rgspbharath.com
Unknown said…
Stop Bullshitting about RSS, visit The National Library in Calcutta and go through the archives. Read and get out of denial..Bose and Bengal were opposed to RSS and Hindu Mahasaba. RSS backstabbed are freedom fighters.

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Modi-led regime 'contributed' 60% to rise of global poverty, yet Hindutva is intact

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* In recent years, the Hindutva politics has caused long term damage to India and Indians. The so called 56-inch macho PM, the propaganda master manufactures and survives all political crisis including the current mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic in India. In spite of deaths and destitutions, the social, cultural, economic and religious base of Hindutva is intact.

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.