Wednesday, March 30, 2022

On Bose’s Mission to Defeat the British Empire

In the 1920s, when the British Empire was at its highest point and seemed invincible, Subhas Chandra Bose realized that this empire was doomed. The important question for him was: What would happen to India when the British Empire fell? In a speech that he gave in September 1929, he talked about the changing balance of power between Asia and Europe in the past, and proposed that a rejuvenated Asia could arise again:

“History tells us how in the days of old Asia conquered and held sway over a large portion of Europe and in those days Europe was mightily afraid of Asia. The tables are turned now… Asia is at the present moment throwing off the yoke of thralldom and the time is not far off when rejuvenated Asia will rise resplendent in power and glory out of the darkness of the past and take her legitimate place in the comity of free nations.”

In the final section of his book, The Indian Struggle (1935), Bose talks about the possibility of a synthesis between the communist and the fascist forces for defeating the British Empire. To achieve such a synthesis, he met several European leaders, including Hitler and Mussolini, in the early 1940s. He was also close to some leaders of Ireland and France. He tried to meet Stalin but the Russian government discouraged him from coming to Moscow because they did not want to antagonize the British.

Bose wanted the Indian National Congress to be organized as a broad anti-imperialist front which would wage war on the British and drive them out of India. He thought that India should win independence through warfare; he had little faith in having independence through the process of reforms and negotiations.

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