On Saturday, June 17, trade body ASSOCHAM organized the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Memorial Lecture, where National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval was invited and delivered his speech.
Doval made five key points during his speech, incorporating relevant historical references that hold relevance in today's narrative.
1. Doval stated that if Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had been present at the time of independence, India would not have been partitioned. He recollected how Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had expressed that he could only accept one leader, and that leader was Subhas Chandra Bose.
This was pertinent since Subhas Chandra Bose was a "highly religious man", said Doval. In addition, he also mentioned how Bose was the only leader who had the courage to challenge Mahatma Gandhi and refuse to beg for freedom from the British.
2. Additionally, speaking on the 1962 Indo-China war, Doval attributed India's loss in the war to the country's lack of preparation.
"From 1950 to 1962, there was an idea to disband the Army because we had gained Independence. If we had started building up our defence, the 1962 development might not have occurred. We were short of equipment, soldiers, accessibility in areas that we had to defend, and proper planning," stated Doval.
Commenting further on the importance of defence establishment, Doval stated that India previously had everything, including a better quality of people and a higher level of education. However, India did not have a strong defence, which made it vulnerable to attacks from intruders such as the Hans, Mongols, and Mughals. He further added that without a strong defence, India's survival was at risk, and the country would crumble like a pack of cards.
3. Further, Doval expressed that while history had not been kind to Subhas Chandra Bose, it was laudable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making efforts to revive his legacy.
Doval highlighted the efforts made by the NDA government to recognise Bose's contributions. He also expressed his happiness at being associated with the installation of Bose's statue at India Gate. He further added that the war memorial of the Indian Army was also dedicated to Bose.
Notably, the memorial contains the names of Indian soldiers who have died in the post-Independence period. He highlighted how the old India Gate was dedicated to people who died for the British, instead of the cause of the nation.
4. The NSA also talked about Bose’s contribution to the freedom movement, stating, “Netaji audaciously challenged Mahatma Gandhi. He made way for Mahatma Gandhi out of reverence. After that, he was imprisoned and during his detention, he decided to escape from India. He left for Kabul, disguised as an Afghan, which was quite challenging for a Bengali to do. He then travelled to Russia and Germany, where he met (Adolf) Hitler. Although he was uncomfortable with Hitler’s policies, he managed to secure the release of 4000 Indians who were imprisoned in Germany by Hitler. He then formed the Indian National Army.”
Doval also recounted an incident involving former British Prime Minister Clement Atlee, who had signed the Indian Independence Act, and had stayed at Raj Bhavan in Kolkata when he visited India in 1956.
When the then Governor had asked Atlee why the British agreed to Independence in 1947 when there was no pressure; Mahatma Gandhi had given up on the Quit India movement in 1942, and there was no immediate pressure to vacate. Atlee had replied that it was because of Netaji.
He further said that even though Netaji had died in 1945 in a plane crash in Taipei, the British were still afraid of the ideas of nationalism that he had created, fearing many Indians would have gone down that path.
5. The NSA also expressed his admiration for Netaji’s unparalleled legacy and his belief that India was beyond caste and creed. According to him, there is some consideration as to whether Subhas Chandra Bose was a leftist.
"He supported planning and believed in a robust economic framework for India. He was deeply religious and always carried the Gita with him. Although he had a secular outlook, he was devout and did not flaunt it," he stated in connection with that notion.
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