National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said on June 17 that India would not have been partitioned if Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was there at the time. He said that Muhammad Ali Jinnah said that he could accept only one leader and that is Subhas Chandra Bose. Jinnah was the founder of Pakistan.
Describing Subhas Chandra Bose as a “highly religious man”, the NSA said he was the only leader who had the audacity to challenge Mahatma Gandhi and refused to beg for freedom from the British.
He said that history has been unkind to him and he was happy that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making efforts to resurrect the history. The NSA said that India lost the 1962 war with China because the country was not prepared.
“From 1950 to 1962 there was an idea to disband the Army because we had gained Independence. If we started building up our defence, probably the development of 1962 might not have happened. We were short of equipment, soldiers, short of accessibility in areas that we had to defend, and probably we did not have proper planning,” Mr. Doval said.
He was speaking at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Memorial Lecture organised by trade body ASSOCHAM.
“India had everything, better quality of people, more educated, but it did not have a strong defence, it did not build its defence, that’s why the intruders — Hans, Mongols, Mughals every day came here one by one, to transcend our area. When your survival depends on that if you don’t have people structure you tremble like a pack of cards,” he said.
Recalling Subhas Chandra Bose’s contribution to the freedom movement, Mr. Doval said, “Netaji had the audacity to challenge Mahatma Gandhi. Out of reverence he made way for Mahatma Gandhi. After that, he was jailed and while in detention, he decided to escape from India. Getting into the attire of Afghan, quite difficult for a Bengali to do, he left for Kabul. He then moved to Russia, Germany where he met (Adolf) Hitler. He wasn’t very comfortable with his policies; he got 4000 Indians released who were jailed in Germany by Hitler. He then formed the Indian National Army.”
Mr. Doval said when former British Prime Minister Clement Atlee, under whom the Indian Independence Act was signed, came to India in 1956, he stayed at Raj Bhavan in Kolkata.
“The then Governor asked Atlee why the British agreed to Independence in 1947 when there was no pressure. Mahatma Gandhi had given up on the Quit India movement in 1942. There was no immediate pressure to vacate. Just see how history has been unkind to Netaji. Atlee replied that it was because of Netaji. He said even though Netaji had died in 1945 in a plane crash in Taipei. Even after his death they were afraid of the ideas of nationalism that it created, many Indians would have gone down that path,” Mr. Doval said.
The NSA said that Netaji’s legacy is unparalleled and he was of the belief that India was beyond caste and creed.
He said there is some thought about whether Subhas Chandra Bose was a leftist.
“He believed in a strong economic framework for India, he supported planning. He was a highly religious man, and always carried Gita with him. He was secular in his outlook, but deep inside he was pious and devoted, and did not make a display out of it,” Mr. Doval said.