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The British were afraid of Netaji’s audacity: NSA Doval at memorial lecture

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (Photo: Twitter/@VinodDX9)

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval on Saturday said that the qualities of “audacity” and “tenacity” made Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose an outstanding leader. Doval was speaking at the first Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Memorial lecture in Delhi.

The NSA said that Netaji had the audacity to single-handedly take on the British against all odds. He motivated a defeated army by rallying them behind a larger cause, gave mottos like Jai Hind, “Ittehad, Itmad, Qurbani” (Unity, Trust, Sacrifice) and ensuring that people rise above distinctions of caste, religion and gender to pursue the single-minded goal of complete elimination of colonial rule.

Doval added that Netaji’s second quality was his tenacity – his ability to persevere despite the odds and not dilute his goal. India would not have been partitioned had Netaji been there at the time of Independence. Jinnah had said I can accept only one leader and that is Subhas Bose, said Doval.

“Subhas Chandra Bose wanted complete freedom for Indians, not merely dominion status. He wanted Indians to feel free like birds and never compromise for anything less than the complete independence of the country. It is such a Mindset that can propel India forward as it moves ahead towards the Centenary in 2047”, Doval said at the memorial lecture.

So, were Netaji’s efforts successful?

This can be gauged by what Former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, under whom India got Independence, during a subsequent visit to India after leaving office, said in his reply to a question by Chief Justice of Bengal High Court and acting Governor Justice JB Chakraborty.

When asked by his friend Justice Chakraborty about the real reason for the British quitting India in a hurry, Doval said that Attlee cited several reasons, the principal 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.

According to the NSA, Attlee said it was Netaji Bose and his ideas that we were afraid of. The Royal Indian Navy mutiny, Jabalpur protests acted as Straws in the wind that evoked past memories of 1857 for the British. They feared that the 25 lakh Indian soldiers who won the Second World War for the Allies imbued by the spirit of Netaji’s ideas would be a nightmare for the British, therefore their hurried departure.

Doval said at the memorial lecture that “the legacy of Subhash Bose should continue to guide us. History has been unkind to Netaji. Therefore, the creation of a museum in the Red Fort, an island being named after him in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is part of an effort by the Prime Minister to create a new psyche in the country.

The Political, economic and social philosophy of Netaji was far beyond his time – his priority after independence would be to create a strong military. We should Never undermine our security, otherwise we will crumble without our knowing it.

Netaji would have wanted a strong defence industry. His philosophy of economic freedom through planning model had a context – at that time capitalism was seen as synonymous with colonialism – it was perceived as exploitative. Therefore, straight jacket descriptions of Netaji as a Leftist need to be viewed more dispassionately. He was deeply religious considering that he was influenced by Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. He had read the Vedas but remained staunchly secular. Deep inside he was a devout Hindu, said Doval.

What would Netaji have liked India to do today?

He would have liked to see 1.4 billion Indians imbued with fire in their belly moving forward and doing better than their performance of yesterday. India’s biggest asset is its Human Resource. “If we can make our labour more competitive every year, then by 2050, when we will contribute 40% of the global workforce we will be a force to reckon with. Our HR is an asset and it should be nationalist. There is no antagonism in the world towards India. We should bring in critical and emerging technologies into the country through initiatives like the iCET. India is a cost effective and productive destination. Netaji reposed faith in Indians. Our business can do yeoman’s service by taking forward this legacy”, Doval said.