Skip to main content

Netaji didn't want Gandhiji to write foreword to his book he presented to Mussolini

A former Union ministry of external affairs ministry official who retired on January 31, 2015 after serving for 38 years, and last served as first secretary at the Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is now reportedly engaged in studying India's freedom struggle, the role of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army (INA). Excerpt from an introduction to Netaji's book “The Indian Struggle 1920-1934”, which was later revised into “Indian Struggle 1920-1942”, he posts on his Facebook timeline:
***
ubhas Chandra Bose was on forced exile in Vienna, Austria, in 1934, and he was undergoing medical treatment there when he was approached by M/s. Wishart and Co., a Publishing Company of London, for writing a book on Indian politics. He was happy to receive such an offer and decided to name the book “The Indian Struggle 1920 –1934”. Initially, he was asked to submit the manuscript by August, 1934, and the book was scheduled to be published in October, 1934. He received advance royalty money for writing the book. When he had written a good part of the book, he sought assistance of Rabindranath Tagore, through a letter dated August 3, 1934, requesting the poet to introduce him and request, in turn, either Mr. Bernard Shaw or Mr. H.G. Wells for writing a Foreword of his forthcoming book. Subhas Chandra Bose had informed the Poet that since his book would contain criticism of Mahatma Gandhi, Romain Rolland or Rabindranath would probably be reluctant to write the Foreword. He further said that his book would be “an objective study of the Indian movement from the standpoint of an Indian nationalist.”
However, in his reply dated August 17, 1934, Rabindranath declined to intercede as he thought that it would not be of any help. The poet further stated that though Gandhiji had many drawbacks, he had been able to reach and move the common people of India and Gandhiji exhibited a strong moral force. Rabindranath, however, admitted that Gandhiji had harmed the nation in some matters, but the force he could generate in the country had neutralized all his negativities. He also stated that nobody else could enliven the whole country the way Gandhiji did.
Subhas Chandra Bose then decided that he would write the introduction of his book himself and wrote it on November 29, 1934. In the meantime, on November 26, 1934, he got a telegram from his mother informing him that his father, Janakinath Bose’s, condition was grave and Subhas should return home immediately. His 74-year-old father had suffered a serious heart attack a couple of months earlier and was brought to Calcutta for treatment. Subhas Chandra was himself suffering from gall-bladder-stone related problems. 
During this time, he had actually moved out of his rented flat and had shifted to Hotel de France as he was contemplating to undergo the surgery for removal of his gall-bladder after the work relating to his book was completed. The earliest plane booking he could get was in the Dutch Airlines that would take off from Rome on November 30, 1934, morning. That flight would reach Calcutta on December 4, 1934. At that time, flights used to be slow and night-flying had not been introduced. He had to hurriedly look through the remaining parts of the proofs of his book and had to keep working the whole night on November 28, 1934, completing the proofreading by 6.30 a.m. on November 29, 1934. In the meantime, on his request, his nephew Asoke had come over to Vienna from Munich on November 28 morning. 
Subhas Chandra then boarded a flight on November 29 morning for Rome (via Venice) and stayed overnight in Rome to catch the Dutch Airlines flight on November 30, 1934, at 7.30 a.m. In a letter written from Rome in the early hours of November 30, 1934, he expressed his anxiety to Miss Emilie Schenkl, hoping that she could send all the galleys, preface, etc. with care and without any mistakes. Just before he was leaving to catch his flight at Rome, he received the telegram sent by Miss Schenkl, probably informing him that the proofs, etc. were duly sent to M/s. Wishart as per his instructions. 
The next stop of the Royal Dutch Airlines was Athens, where they had a night-halt on November 30, at Cairo, where they halted overnight on December 1 and Baghdad on the afternoon of December 2 for a night-halt. He reached Karachi on December 3, 1934, and there he came to know that his father had already passed away in the early hours of that day. After customs clearances, etc. at Karachi airport, the Dutch Airlines flew him to Jodhpur for a night-halt. On the last leg of the journey, the Dutch airlines flight took off on December 4, 1934, morning, from Jodhpur and after an hour’s halt at Allahabad, he arrived at Dum Dum Airport in Calcutta at 4 p.m. on December 4, 1934, about forty hours after his father had breathed his last. 

Confiscation of the typed copy of ‘The Indian Struggle’

Subhas Chandra did carry with him a typed copy of his book ‘The Indian Struggle 1920 – 1934’ which was seized at the Karachi Airport by the Customs authorities. This news was published in the newspapers and many people, including George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and Rabindranath Tagore, strongly criticized the colonial government for such treatment.

‘Indian Struggle’ is banned in India

‘The Indian Struggle 1920-34’ was published in London on January 17, 1935. The book was immediately banned in India by the British Indian Government. In reply to a letter from the Publishers, Secretary, Public & Judicial Department of India Office, London, wrote to M/s. Wishart & Co. on February 5, 1935, stating that the Government of India in the exercise of their powers under section 19 of the Sea Customs Act have prohibited the bringing into India the book of Subhas Chandra Bose. This decision, India Office communicated to M/s. Wishart & Co., was taken with the approval of the Secretary of State on the ground that the book as a whole is to encourage methods of terrorism or direct action. It further stated that the Secretary of State does not consider that it would be possible by amendment of certain passages to render the book unobjectionable.
The book, however, received favourable review from all the leading newspapers and periodicals in England.

Copy of ‘The Indian Struggle’ presented to Signor Mussolini

Subhas Chandra Bose returned to Europe by M.V. Victoria sailing from Bombay on January 10, 1935. He reached Naples, Italy, on January 20, 1935. A few copies of the book were sent to him at Naples by the publisher on the instructions from a friend. He stayed in Naples for a few days and then went to Rome. On the evening of January 25, 1935, he met Signor Mussolini and presented him a copy of his Indian Struggle. He then took a train for Vienna on January 28 and reached Vienna on January 29, 1935.

Comments

TRENDING

When Ahmed Patel opined: It's impossible to win a poll in Gujarat if you're a Muslim

By Rajiv Shah/ Ahmed Patel has passed away. It is indeed sad that he became another Covid victim, like thousands of others across the world. His loss appears to have been particularly felt in the Congress corridors. I know how some party leaders from Gujarat would often defend him even if one “negative” remark was made on him. “I personally cannot tolerate any criticism of Ahmedbhai”, Shaktisinh Gohil, Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, appointed Bihar in charge ahead of recent assembly polls, told me about a couple of years ago during a tete-e-tete in Ahmedabad.

Dangerous trend? Castes, communities making efforts to infiltrate IAS at entry level

Inside IAS academy, Mussoori By Rajiv Shah/ The other day, I was talking to a former colleague of the Times of India, Ahmedabad. I have known him as one of the reasonable and rational journalists. He later served in a TV. When in TV, he would often tell me anecdotes of how they would report events if they failed to reach the spot on time: “We would just say, here the attack took place, and that was the place from where the attackers attacked.”

World of Mahabharata is stacked against women, today things aren't much different

Controversial American Indologist Audrey Truschke , associate professor of South Asian history at Rutgers University, Newark, in a detailed essay, “The living Mahabharata”, points to how “immorality, sexism, politics, war” in the “polychromatic Indian epic pulses with relevance to the present day”.  ***