I am reading the volume 1 of Rash Behari Bose, the father of Indian National Army. I am extremely delighted to see your effort in bringing to light one of the greatest revolutionaries and son of India, Rash Behari Bose. I had written an article sometimes back on him in order to make him, his sacrifices and his activities familiar with the younger generation who knows nothing of this great person. Rash Behari Bose and Jatindranath Mukherjee (Bagha Jatin) are the two names that were most feared by the British Government between 1910 and 1915. After Aurobindo, these two revolutionaries took up the mantle to keep the anti British activities alive. Both of them could plan and organize at a grand scale, were spiritually oriented and had intense love for India, so that they could sacrifice everything.
Sadly India post 1947 completely ignored them and upheld only one line – that of Gandhian non violence. The successive governments promoted and propagated one lineage, one family, one party and their contribution to Indian freedom movement, often exaggerating and belittling the efforts of the truly great ones. One good book in India in this respect is Two Revolutionaries by Uma Mukherjee, that discusses the life and exploits of Bagha Jatin (Jatindranath Mukherjee) and Rash Behari Bose. Another recent book is Life and Times of Jatindranath Mukherjee by Dr. Prithwindra Mukherjee, a grandson of Bagha Jatin who live in France. Also history of freedom movement of India by Dr. R. C Mazumdar is possibly the most unbiased account of India’s freedom movement.
This period of Indian National Movement had revolutionaries who were intensely spiritual in nature, inspired by the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest spiritual leaders. Swami Vivekananda visited Japan en route to Chicago in 1893 and he was extremely impressed by the nationalistic spirit, the industrialization and the patriotism of Japan, its cleanliness and its love for freedom. He urged every Indian to visit Japan and learn from the Japanese their ideals and their love for the nation. He later became a great friend of Kakuzo Okakura, and his disciple Sister Nivedita was closely associated with Okakura to formulate the one Asia concept and help in Indian nationalistic cause by promoting Indian art and also perhaps helping in early revolutionary activities. So India Japan friendship started much earlier.
When I read the condition of Japan post world war, the guilt and the Americanization of the younger generation who embraced an alien culture, I was amazed to find the similarity with present day India as we are riding the same crest of demeaning our culture, civilization and embracing alien culture. Let me assure you that many Indians have a very favourable notion about Japan and Japanese and people like Katju and his elks are really a minority. You may have unfortunately come in touch with this minority. Another point is most of India’s so called highly educated are leftist elites and naturally they are predisposed to hate Japan. Their view is not shared by the masses. The left liberals have ruled India for long and changed its history and taught us to hate our culture and it is on account of their concerted efforts (they hold very important position in every academic institutions. Moreover they have enjoyed the backing and support of ruling Congress since the days of Nehru) that Japan’s role in World War 2 is considered as dubious and Japanese are viewed as aggressors by certain sections. Majority of Indians however do not subscribe to their views.
I perhaps would not be able to change your notion about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, but would only say the following – Rash Behari loved him and knew him to be his only worthy successor, not only because they were fellow Bengalis, but also it was only Subhas who shared his intense love for the Indian cause, his ideal of supreme sacrifice for the country and to dedicate everything for the sake of the country’s interest. Netaji is also a forgotten hero by Government, but people hold him in respect because he was the only leader who commanded respect, who as betrayed by Congress and who decided to follow the footsteps of Jatindranath and Rash Behari to fight the British through armed revolution. He lost as British moles had penetrated INA got wind of all his plans. His strategies were often thwarted by lack of resources, betrayal and also British propaganda machine and betrayal of his own countrymen who did everything to prevent his success. Netaji is largely regarded as a tragic hero. Netaji was respected by the Japanese higher authority and Tojo himself had only admiration for him. Many in India believes and there are new evidences that there was no plane crash. Japanese Government set up a smoke screen to help Subhas Chandra Bose escape to Russia to help him continue his battle to free India. Netaji was the one true successor of Rash Behari. He never took credit for creating INA and always held Rash Behari in extreme respect. He had to reorganize INA, rename it to Azad Hind as he needed to form a provincial Government to take on the British. Like Rash Behari he was an rencunciate in spirit, a sannyasi whose only ideal was his country.
Another Bengali who is held in high esteem in Japan is possibly Justice Radha Binod Pal. Am sure you have heard his name. It takes real guts to stand against the collective verdict of Anglo American council and oppose the sentence meted out to the so called war criminals of Japan. The war crimes of the allied forces are many for them to hold any high moral ground.
Let Lord Buddha bring India and Japan closer and closer. Incidentally Bengal, the place from where Rash Behari, Netaji, Radha Binod, all came had once been a fertile ground for Buddhism in the 7th and 8th century AD under the mighty Pala kingdom who ruled a large part of North India from Bengal. Also it was Atish Dipankar, a noted Buddhist scholar from Bengal who spread the ideals of Buddhism to China and Tibet.
Many thanks for your thoughtful email. I appreciate your support and your dedication to such an important topic to India, Japan, and Asia as a whole.
The main goal of my project is to bring to light the true words of Rash Behari Bose, and others who knew him or worked closely alongside him, such as A.M. Nair, M. Sivaram, Toshiko, Kokko and Aizo and Yasuo Soma, and others. The volumes contain only a condensation of their own writings. They were never meant to project my own personal opinions. This is a crucial characteristic of my publications.
I have read the English language texts that you have listed, as well as many others. After extensive research and comparisons between these texts, and those in Japanese (written both by Japanese people and Indians), it is clear that the English language texts contradict the Japanese texts.
Even for me, personally, this has been a long learning process. I am neither Japanese nor Indian, and was deeply immersed in Western propaganda. It took years and immense effort to realize the undeniable fact that all English publications about Asia are written with a bias. Even those written by Indians such as Uma Mukherjee are written by referring to other English language resources, and as such, they are not reliable either. When there are contradicting accounts of the same event, I side with the reports by freedom fighters who fought against colonialism and who directly experienced the events. I would not side with the reports by the colonialists themselves, nor second-hand reports by Indians writing in English who were not engaged in the events. Understanding the crucial differences between these is imperative, and is vital to the bright future of India and Japan.
I have read what Rash Behari Bose and those close to him wrote about Subhas Chandra Bose, as well as what SCB himself wrote about his own actions. This is only what I convey in my writings. It is important to me to provide an unbiased English-language text, as none such exist to my knowledge. As far as I have seen, no English documents have been written by people who could read and write old-style Japanese, as Rash Behari Bose did. Rash Behari Bose said that Indians tend to refer to English materials to learn about world history, and even about Indians’ own culture and past. It was his firm conviction that Indians must rewrite their own history, rather than relying on the British. It is my intention to honour this.
Regarding such important personages as Radhabinod Pal, Vivekananda and Okakura Kakuzo, they are covered in later volumes, yet to be published. These will provide information and interpretation of historical facts that are not available in English.
I am certain that this is very important knowledge for Indian people. It is something they must know, but I am increasingly coming to have doubts that the Indian people even care to know the truth. I plan to eventually complete up to the 6th volume, although it is disheartening to see Indians’ lack of interest in learning their own truth, and the persistence of relying on distortions by colonizers and authorities.
Thank you again for your support. I hope that you will also read Volume 2.