Mamata Banerji regarding herself smart ( or oversmart ) has played the wonderful gambit of declassifying the Netaji files, obviously eyeing the coming West Bengal elections next year, and the Prime Minister has invited 50 relatives of Subhas Chandra Bose to meet him next month in connection with their demand to declassify the files with the Central Government. The media has gone overboard in publicizing this issue as if it were one of the most important one for the nation. But is it ?
To my mind whether Bose died in an air crash in Taiwan in 1945 or not, and whether Bose's relatives were snooped upon by the police, allegedly on Nehru's instructions or not, is hardly relevant.
The real question is whether Bose had become a Japanese lackey or not, and the questions being posed today really sidetrack from this real issue. So let us examine it rationally and historically.
- Japan had rapidly industrialized in the early 20th century, and then started looking for colonies, which are markets and sources of raw materials for their industries, in East and South Asia . But these areas were already in occupation or under the control of European powers. So to oust these powers from these areas the Japanese embarked on the road of militant expansionism from the early 1930s, to capture markets and raw materials in Eastern and Southern Asia , like imperialists. They conquered Korea , then Manchuria, parts of China , and after Pearl Harbour , Vietnam etc going as far south as Indonesia , Singapore and Burma.
From Burma the Japanese started fighting the British, taking the help of Bose and the INA. Did they do so as a social service to Indians, or to capture the huge Indian market and immense raw materials here ? Even the slightest commonsense and knowledge of historical realities and the nature of Japanese fascist imperialism would make it clear that had they defeated the British and conquered India, their utility of Bose would have been over, and then they would either have bumped him off, or made him a puppet ' Head of State ', the way they made the last Chinese Emperor Pu Yi head of ' Manchukuo '.
- When Japan surrendered in 1945 Bose also gave up the fight against the British. Why did he not start a guerilla war against the British, the way the Chinese fought against the Japanese? In guerilla war one fights with the weapons of the enemy, by first snatching them from him. The fact that he did not shows there was nothing in the man.
- Bose went to Germany and hobnobbed with those monsters Hitler and Himmler ( see their photos on Youtube ) and offered to raise an army of captured Indian soldiers to collaborate with the Nazis. Thus he offered to become a Nazi collaborator.
Some people say that Bose did not know of the terrible deeds of the Nazis. It may be true that he did not know about the gas chambers but he went to Germany in 1941, though the hideous persecution of the Jews had been going on since 1933 when Hitler came to power. In November 1938 the Kristalnacht ( Crystal Night ) was organized by the Nazis in which thousands of Jews were murdered and hundreds of their synagogues were burnt (see on Youtube) This was publicly done, so it cannot be believed Bose was unaware of it.
When the Nazis did not show much interest in his fantastic schemes, he became a collaborator of the Japanese fascists. To fulfil his vaulting ambition, like Faust, he sold his soul to a Mephistopheles. In fact he sold it twice, first to the Nazi monsters, and then to the Japanese devils, who had massacred the Chinese in Shanghai , Nanking, etc ( see on Youtube about the Shanghai and Nanking massacres ).
- The INA fought with weapons supplied by the Japanese, and if Bose had objected to their aim of making India a Japanese colony they would have cut off arms supply to the INA and that would have been an end of the INA. Bose realized this, and therefore never objected to the Japanese atrocities in Andaman Islands . The theory of Anuj Dhar that the Japanese would not have made India their colony as it was a land of Buddha is laughable. Do fascist imperialists really care for Buddha?
Though in his youth he was patriotic, having resigned from the I.C.S. to serve the country, Bose later became over- ambitious, and after he was ousted from the presidentship of Congress by Gandhi, he went totally haywire, and shamelessly collaborated with fascists.
If the facts presented above are true, then declassification of the files becomes wholly irrelevant.
Justice Markandey Katju is a Former Judge, Supreme Court of India.