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Was the Indian Independence Movement MORE INDIAN than GANDHIAN ?

Yes my dear friends, That's my question. Was the Indian Independence Movement MORE INDIAN than GANDHIAN ? Before I begin, .....



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09-01-2011
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Was the Indian Independence Movement MORE INDIAN than GANDHIAN ?


Yes my dear friends,

That's my question. Was the Indian Independence Movement MORE INDIAN than GANDHIAN ?

Before I begin, I need to ask Your Pardon - this piece is going to be long - and very long. However, that's for a Reason - the Indian Independence Movement is itself a long story - and I'm afraid I might commit injustice if I try to analyze it in too short a manner.

I've long been a student of Indian History - we probably all have, right from our school days. But the narrative I read then always seemed to baffle me at the very end - I read and re-read, and read again, and all over again, and for days and weeks and months and years, but I could never get the answer to one question - How did we become Independent ? Why did the British transfer Power to us ?

The Quit India Movement, that is so credited with being 'THE Gandhian Movement' that secured and rescued Indian Independence from the hands of the British, though quite important in the stream of Indian history, doesn't seem to quite exactly be what it was touted to be.

For one, the Movement wasn't quite completely Gandhian - Gandhi had always insisted on the Non-Violent methods of resistance, but Quit India was far from it. In fact, Quit India can be regarded as one of the bloodiest revolutions in the history of Indian Independence, with violence erupting at almost every nook and corner of the country. Part of that bloodshed was due to British Repression, part due to riots.


Let me begin with a VISUAL CHART that will help :



Movement---------------Year-------------- Result
===============================================
Non-Cooperation----- 1919-1921----------Failure
Civil Disobedience-I---1931-1933 ---------Failure
Civil Disobedience-II---1934---------------Failure (before even starting)
Quit India Movement----1942--------------Failure (within 1 Month)
.................................................. ............................
.................................................. ............................
(what happened in between ?) ....................................
.................................................. ............................
.................................................. ............................
NONE-----------------1947-------------INDEPENDENCE (HOW ??)


HOW
did Independence SUDDENLY come about in 1947 when all we had before it was a string of failures ?


WHAT HAPPENED IN BETWEEN ?



Lets now begin our Analysis.

In 1922, with just one instance of violence at Chauri-Chaura, Gandhi had withdrawn the otherwise completely Non-violent Non-Cooperation Movement, in spite of repeated requests to the contrary from leaders like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das and many others. But in 1942, in spite of repeated instructions and requests, he was unable to do that - the matters had gone out of his hand - the Indian masses were simply not listening to him anymore.

The Quit India Movement can be roughly divided into three phases -

(1) At the First stage the movement burst out in urban areas, which the British Police tried to severely repress. Pitched Battles were fought by the mob with the Police. The rioting took to such a level that from about 8th-16th August (1942) there was no existence of Governance in Bombay and Calcutta (Kolkata). The British let loose brutal measures to repress the strikes. The First Part of the Movement Ended.

(2) The Second phase of the Movement began in South Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. It was mostly non-violent, and perhaps the only phase of the Movement to be admirably so. However, as the masses peacefully tried to seize Police Stations and Courts, the British Police doused them in a shower of bullets. Many died. The fervour reached such a peak that even bombing from the British Planes could not deter the protesters. However, it was World War-II, and the Allied (American, Canadian, British and Australian) Land and Air Forces were stationed at Sonargaon in Bengal, and they were used. The Allied Airplanes went up in the air, and opened Machine-Gun fire on the protesters. Within a span of Two hours - more than 10,000 people were dead - and the second phase of the movement was finished.

(3)
The Third Phase broke out in September 1942, and it was something that you could hardly call non-violent. In fact, from the very beginning, the movement had a Revolutionary Character. In North Bihar, educated middle class youth started Guerilla operations against the British govt. In the South, it was the peasants. In Tamluk in Midnapore (Bengal), even a Parallel Govt. called the 'Jatiya Sarkar' was set up, which successfully fought the British govt. and maintained its independent existence till 1944 until Mahatma Gandhi persuaded them to give up. The Third Phase of the Movement ended. The Quit India Movement was over.

Now, notice
that the most of the Movement was crushed within a period of about one month (August - September 1942). Only the last section hung on till 1944, but it was only in local and sporadic areas, and had hardly any effect on the other parts of British territory.

So, where is that GREAT EFFECT that the Quit Movement has always been insisted to have ? True, the movement was very important, for it once again raised the hatred against the British Government in the minds of the people - but that had always been there from 1857 and earlier, otherwise why would we have had so many Rebellions - the Great Rising of 1857 (Sipahi Vidroh), the Santhal Rebellion, the Kol Rebellion, the Indigo Rebellion and numerous others from 1857 to 1942. Why were the Indians at all Rebelling against the English govt., whether by Non-violent means or by Violent, if they did not harbour HATRED against them? Why at all were they trying to get rid of them? The only common sense answer - they HATED them. But then, they couldn't succeed at any time. So, having the HATRED was NOT ENOUGH; a real ability of OVERTHROWING the British Govt. was required.Something else was required. What OTHER EFFECT did the QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT have apart from Raising Hatred against the British THAT WAS SO BIG THAT IT LED TO A TRANSFER OF POWER ?

AND THIS EXACTLY IS THE QUESTION THAT HAS BOTHERED ME FOR THIS LONG TIME - I've tried looking almost everywhere for an answer; I searched high and low, I read, re-read up and almost ate up every bit of literature that I could lay my hands on, but the only answer I could find was - NONE. The Quit India Movement seemed to have no bearing at all (or even if something, very little) on the TRANSFER OF POWER FROM THE BRITISH TO THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT.

THEN WHAT WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR INDEPENDENCE ?

THE ANSWER, MY FRIENDS, I'M SHOCKED TO FIND, ARE THOSE SECTIONS OF THE INDIAN HISTORY, THAT HAVE BEEN RELEGATED TO POSITIONS THAT SEEM TO ME TO BE ONES OF EXTREME NEGLIGENT INSIGNIFICANCE, IN A LOT OF OUR SCHOOL-LEVEL, AS WELL AS ADVANCED, TEXT-BOOKS ON HISTORY.

Now, I'll tell what you what they are. But in order to understand them better, we'll need a little Prelude.

If you look at any Upsurge in the Indian Freedom Movement, including Quit India, you'll find the British were able to crush them all because of forces that were NOT BRITISH - but rather INDIAN - the British Administrative and the Armed Forces. That is, most of the Sepoys in the British Police and the Armed Forces were NOT BRITISH, but INDIAN. More importantly, Britain kept strong control on her colonies in Africa and Asia with the help of NOT BRITISH, NOT AFRICAN, NOT OTHER ASIAN, but MOSTLY INDIAN SOLDIERS. And Indians there carried on (though grudgingly, resentingly as they were treated poorly and unfairly by their British superiors), without ever questioning their British masters because of two reasons -

(i) the British Administration paid them their salaries, without which they could not feed themselves and their families, and

(ii) because of a very widely held view (misconception) that the British were INVINCIBLE - i.e No one could defeat them. Surprisingly, this view was held not only in India, but in a large number of Britain's colonies elsewhere in the world, like Africa, Burma, South and South-East Asia, which is why the British were able to successfully keep these territories under their control for such a long time. (The proof of this lies in that once the British govt. in India was overthrown, this myth was broken, and the 300-Year Old Mighty British Empire, in which the Sun never Set, disappeared from the face of this Earth in a mere span of 20 years.)

IN OTHER WORDS - THE BRITISH EMPIRE RAN ON THE BASIS AND STRENGTH OF INDIAN SOLDIERS !

But this was all set to change. A mighty storm was brewing up in the British Skies, and it bore the name - SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE STRONG POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ABOVE SITUATION ? - TAKE AWAY ALL INDIAN SOLDIERS AND SEPOYS FROM THE BRITISH FORCES - AND THE BRITISH EMPIRE COLLAPSES - IT DOESN'T EVEN STAND A FIGHTING CHANCE.

AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT NETAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE DID.


AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT BROUGHT US OUR INDEPENDENCE.


And therefore, we'll now bring up THOSE PARTS OF THE INDIAN INDEPENDENCE STRUGGLE that many History text-books in our country have happily neglected.

Lets Begin.

(1) The INDIAN NATIONAL ARMY (or the AZAD HIND FAUZ) led by NETAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE :- This was the beginning of the process that led to the collapse of the British Empire not just in India, but across the World. This part of history is painful and stirring at the same time.

Bose was a brilliant student, and one of the only two Indians, who ever successfully made it to the British Civil Services. Only Surendranath Bannerjee was the other one before him to have done that. The reasons pretty clear - the discrimination of the British against the Indians. But seeing the atrocities that the British were perpetrating on his countrymen, Bose resigned from the Civil Services and joined the Indian National Movement.

During the World War-II, many INDIAN soldiers in the BRITISH ARMY were captured by Hitler's GERMAN forces in EUROPE, and by JAPAN in South-East Asia. The BRITISH had ABANDONED them, knowing that they could get more from their colonies. It was this chance that Netaji used. From a house arrest by the British in his native home in Cuttack, Orissa, he escaped to Germany and met Hitler.

There, he convinced Hitler to lend him the captured Indian Soldiers to form an Indian Army that he could lead through the Soviet Union (Russia) to attack the British Forces in India. But at the same time he categorically made it clear to Hitler that he and his forces would in no way be subordinate to the Germans, rather they would fight on equal terms. Hitler was impressed with the young leader, and from that day onwards forwarded all assistance to him, including the use of the German National Radio, from where Netaji often broadcasted his messages to India.

But contrary to the wishes of Bose, Hitler made a tactical mistake, and attacked Soviet Union (this finally led to Hitler's downfall). Bose understood that his plans of attacking the British in India through Soviet Territory were now thrashed, and he immediately left for Japan (Hitler helped him in this). The journey itself was dangerous, with Bose having to travel for 7 days and nights in a Submarine through the Atlantic, at a time when the Allied Forces were firing depth-charges (deep-water Anti-Submarine bombs) in the region. What more, Bose even had to change from the German to a Japanese Submarine in the middle of the Ocean. But he made it to Singapore, from where he reached Japan in an airplane.

Bose's strong personality captivated even Tojo, the Emperor of Japan, and he immediately forwarded all assistance to him to raise an army out of the Indian Soldiers captured in the South-Asian theatre of the War. Bose made it clear that the Indians and the Japanese would fight on Equal terms, and once they had entered India, it would be Indian Soldiers that would face the British and lead the way. Tojo had agreed, and must be credited for having always kept his promise as long as the War had continued.

Bose named the Army the AZAD HIND FAUZ.

The Magic had started to work. The Azad Hind - Japanese combine defeated the British in over 300 engagements. NETAJI WAS ABLE TO LIBERATE THE ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS - AND NAMED THEM SHAHEED AND SWARAJ. THE INDIAN LEGIONS ALSO WON OVER TERRITORIES IN THE INDIAN MAINLAND, AND HOISTED FOR THE FIRST TIME THE TRICOLOUR AT MOIRANG IN MANIPUR. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE EMPIRE'S 300-YEAR HISTORY, THE BRITISH WERE HUMBLED BY THE PEOPLE FROM THE COLONIES THAT THEY SO REPRESSIVELY RULED OVER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE TREMENDOUS POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS ? - THE MYTH OF THE BRITISH INVINCIBILITY WAS BROKEN. THE INDIAN SOLDIERS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES REALIZED THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE TO GRUDGINGLY KEEP WORKING UNDER A EXPLOITATIVE MASTER; RATHER THEY COULD BEGIN THE JOURNEY TOWARDS FORMING AN INDEPENDENT INDIA, AND BE TREATED AS RESPECTABLE INDIAN CITIZENS.

TRANSLATED, THIS MEANS - MENTALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY, THE BRITISH EMPIRE LOST ITS INDIAN SOLDIERS.

Though the Azad Hind Fauz ultimately lost, with America dropping two Atom Bombs on Japan (at Hiroshima and Nagasaki), devastating her, and compelling her to surrender and withdraw support.

But in no way should the Effect and the Impact of the Azad Hind Fauz be underestimated. For one, as said, this completely destroyed the myth of British INVINCIBILITY. Morally and Psychologically, this brought the Indian Soldiers and Sepoys out of the British Army, and turned them into its adversaries. The shock-wave from this tremendous crash would only reverberate across the entire British Indian Administration, causing it to further crack up at several places and cave in. That is exactly what we're coming to.


(2) The next to follow were the BRITISH INDIAN ARMY REVOLT, and then the BRITISH INDIAN POLICE REVOLT - Another Mighty Blow to the Pillars of the British Administration.


But the Final Nail in the Coffin of the British Empire was the next one.

(3) The NAVAL REVOLT (Nau Vidroh) - also called the ROYAL INDIAN NAVY REVOLT (or the RIN REVOLT) :-

This was a DIRECT OUTCOME of the AZAD HIND FAUZ's movements and achievements.

Emboldened by the news of the Azad Hind Fauz's achievements, The Naval Sepoys of the British India Navy revolted. They seized the British Warships on which they were posted, and they completely cut off the ports of Bombay, Karachi and Madras from British Access. They renamed the British Indian Navy as the Indian Navy. The battle reached such a peak that the British were unable to gain access in any way to the Ports. The leaders of the Indian Congress intervened and persuaded the Indian Sailors to surrender. They surrendered on the condition that pardon would be granted. However, the British Govt. did not keep their promise and executed them.

However, a dangerous precedent had been set - THE BRITISH WERE ABLE TO RULE THE WORLD ONLY BECAUSE OF THEIR MIGHT NAVY - AND MOST OF ITS NAVY'S STRENGTH CAME FROM THE INDIAN SEPOYS. WITH THIS INSTANCE OF THIS FEARSOME MUTINY, THE CONFIDENCE OF THE BRITISH TO USE INDIAN SEPOYS AS THEY LIKED WAS SHAKEN. FROM THAT DAY ONWARDS, THEY KNEW THAT THEY COULD NO LONGER BLINDLY TRUST INDIANS IN THEIR SERVICE. THE REVOLT LEAKED AND SEEPED THROUGH THEIR NERVES. THE STRONGEST PILLAR OF BRITISH SUPREMACY IN THE WORLD HAD CRASHED.

THE BRITISH EMPIRE, FOR ALL INTENTS, WAS SEMANTICALLY COLLAPSED AND OVER.
OFFICIALLY IT WOULD ONLY BE A LITTLE OVER TWO DECADES BEFORE IT WOULD PHYSICALLY FOLD UP FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD.

MY DEAR FRIENDS, THIS WAS THE "OTHER EFFECT" THAT WE WERE SO LOOKING FOR, THAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE TRANSFER OF POWER.

True, the Quit India Movement was important, for it raised Public Fury and once again exposed the ruthlessness of the British, but it still wasn't able to bring that "Other Effect" that realized the transfer of Power to India. The Quit India Movement might have been Gandhian to an extent - BUT THE TRANSFER OF POWER, THE INDEPENDENCE OF INDIA, WAS MORE INDIAN THAN GANDHIAN.

(Please chk Links : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_...ent#INA_trials and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_...al_Army#Impact )


Now friends, referring back to the Visual Chart at the top, I hope you now understand
WHAT HAPPENED IN BETWEEN and HOW Independence SUDDENLY arrived in 1947 ?

If you reply - "Failures are the Pillars of Success",then seriously I'd close the discussion right here, for I'd have nothing else to say except - "Boss, why're we even talking ?"

BUT IF YOU WOULD WANT TO GO AHEAD AND ANALYZE, THEN YOU WOULD FIND THAT WHAT HAPPENED IN BETWEEN WAS NOTHING ELSE THAN THE MOVEMENTS I'VE TALKED ABOUT - AND MANY MORE - THOSE THAT'VE BEEN REDUCED TO COMPLETE INSIGNIFICANCE AND UNIMPORTANCE BY MOST HISTORY TEXTBOOKS IN INDIA, ESPECIALLY AT THE LOWER LEVEL.


The limit of 20,000 chars limits how much I can write here. Therefore my dear Friends, I strongly urge you to read more about these movements. Try and get across to as many sources as you can. But while reading all the sources, KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS WIDE OPEN. LEARN TO READ NOT JUST THE LINES, BUT ALSO BETWEEN THE LINES. For example, our late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had called the Great NAVAL REVOLT – A Rebellion to Increase the Salaries of the Naval Cadets – Imagine ! Therefore, as you read these parts of history that have so mercilessly been relegated to the background and darkness, be very careful. You can very well understand that there would be lots of Vested Interests that WILL try to distort the true Facts and Flows of our Indian National Movement.


And Only When you Know and Understand these movements in depth will you really understand and realize THE TRUE PICTURE OF OUR INDIAN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT.


A Good Place to Start With – Dr. R. C. Mazumdar's 3-Volume Compendium on the Indian National Movement. Dr. R. C. Mazumdar is one of the most Renowned and Authentic Authorities on Indian History.

Did Independence really arrive only because of Gandhi, or because of a lot of other Freedom Fighters too ?

"De di hamein Azaadi Bina Khadag Bina Dhaal, Sabarmati ke Sant toone Kar Diya Kamaal" - was this really so true after all ?

Was the Indian Independence Movement so Gandhian, or was it a lot more Indian ?

And is this way too much stress on Gandhism by many authors and sources putting forward a very distorted picture of Indianness ? Let me know.

Last edited by Summit Ensign; 09-02-2011 at 05:38 AM
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