Monday, 29 July 2013

Bose: Between Hitler and Gandhi

Of all the modern anti-imperialist movements, the Indian Independence Movement is the most risible. The Indians did not fight for their independence like men; they resorted to the most effeminate strategy available: non-violence.

The Indian Independence Movement was held in contempt - and rightly so - by the Russians, the Chinese, and the Vietnamese. To Stalin, all Indians were potential British agents, Chairman Mao used to crack jokes at the expense of Gandhi and Nehru, and Ho Chi Minh would shake his head in disdain at the leadership of the Indian Congress Party.

India was the the richest amongst the British colonies; and also the most docile. The leading Indian parties were co-founded by the British: the Indian Home Rule Movement by Annie Besant and the Indian National Congress by Octavian Hume, both of whom were British agents.

The British were pulling all the strings in regard to the Indian opposition; this political theatre provided the Indians with the illusion of fighting against the Empire all the while Indian soldiers were accomplices to British colonial projects all over the world.

The ultimate political masterstroke of the British was the repatriation of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from South Africa to his native India in 1915. No man did greater harm to the Indian Independence Movement than this timid and unprincipled barrister. By insisting on a non-violent struggle, he rendered the Indian fighters for independence less intimidating to the British rulers than the coconut-wielding Bushmen of Africa. Furthermore, Gandhi introduced Hinduism into politics, thus alienating India's Muslims and delivering the decisive impetus to the movement for a separate Muslim homeland. The Britons were rubbing their hands in glee at the antics of their Indian asset dressed up as a Kuli.

The Gandhi we encounter in the history books is a creation of the media; the British loved him because he was harmless to their political aims and the ignorant Americans loved him because they thought he was a saint. The man was a veritable celebrity; a fighter for independence he was not. His figure was hypostasised during his own lifetime, and the point was reached where no Indian stood the chance of leading the movement for India's independence without Gandhi's approval. Nehru remained Gandhi's loyal dog, but as soon as Nehru had become India's Prime Minister, he spat Gandhi out of Indian politics. When Nehru declared India's independence in the Indian parliament, Gandhi was absent. The true nature of Gandhi had finally come to the fore: that of a political non-entity.

One Indian leader refused to be Gandhi's loyal dog. The name of this great man was Subhas Chandra Bose. He rejected Gandhi's strategy of non-violence and went for the British Empire's jugular, thus evoking the ire of both Gandhi and the British.

Bose's intellectual prowess and political astuteness forced Hitler to revise his condescending views about the Indians, the Japanese considered him a latter day heir to their Samurais, and Stalin was left utterly confounded because he could not get himself to believe that an Indian would be willing to fight tooth and nail for his country's independence.

There is a pantheon of great European and Asian anti-imperialists: Lenin, Stalin, Attatürk, Mao, Kim Il-Sung, and Ho Chi Minh. Bose deserves the be the ranked among these all-time-greats who fought against Anglo-French-American imperialism.