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  • Virendra Sharma and Indian independence


    by Sunny
    11th August, 2009 at 3:33 pm    

    Everyone needs a laugh during the day eh? So how about this? Tory blogger Iain Dale is outraged…. OUTRAGED I say because Southall MP Virendra Sharma recently gave a speech praising Subhas Chandra Bose.

    So a Labour MP praises a wartime axis leader because he was, er, Indian, and prior to the war had supported Indian independence. Mr Sharma is a disgrace. Those of his constituents in Ealing Southall who had fathers and grandfathers who fought in the Far East should be informed of this act of treachery by their local MP.

    He says. Oh no! The constituents of Southall will be so pissed off that Sharma praised someone agitating for Indian independence! It’s an act of “treachery” and any other similar words you can find!

    For a start, Dale’s headline: “Labour MP Praises Indian Wartime Fascist Leader” - is libellous to Sharma. Bose was never a fascist, though he did want to work with the Japanese and/or Germans to get rid of the British. But he wasn’t a race supremacist. Meanwhile, Dale makes excuses for MEP Roger Helmer despite him saying homophobia doesn’t exist. No outrage there - only solidarity. Pathetic partisan grandstanding at its best.


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    1. pickles

      New blog post: Virendra Sharma and Indian independence http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5493


    2. Phil Taylor » Blog Archive » Netaji Sharma

      [...] the phrase fascist leader and has been criticised for it, not least on the Pickled Politics blog here. Sunny Hundal asserts: “Bose was never a fascist, though he did want to work with the Japanese [...]




    1. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2009 at 3:47 pm  

      So someone who raised an army to fight for the Japanese and Nazis isn’t a fascist? What is a fascist then if not someone who fought for the fascists?

      It’s fine if you want to admire him for believing in independence, but to suggest that he wasn’t fighting on the Japanese side (who were planning to do to India what they did to the Chinese) is silly. If you accept he did raise an army to invade India, then he was fighting for the Japanese/Nazis.

    2. Leon — on 11th August, 2009 at 3:53 pm  

      partisan grandstanding at its best.

      Er isn’t this post that too!? :D

    3. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2009 at 3:57 pm  

      Oh, and he wasn’t ‘agitating’ for Indian independence. He was trying to invade the country in order to place it under Japanese control, who probably would have behaved like they did in the rest of Asia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_war_crimes

      Iain Dale’s headline is 100% accurate. It is not libellous in the least, and no court would ever convict.

    4. Iain Dale — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:19 pm  

      Pathetic, even by your admittedly fairly low standards, Sunny.

    5. fugstar — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:21 pm  

      Like the rest of the nehru centre whitewash, he Nehruvianised Bose in his speech. I actually respect Sharma for coming and sharing how he understood a really virile historical character. Sharma’s a little sad that the present generation of Indian brits are a political and satisfied with the status/money game.

      He was sweet to give the talk and took pains to make clear where Bose was contraversial. The british occupation saw Bose as a German quisling. Bose wasnt a satyagraha type.

      Bose is an essential part of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani history and we should know about him on our own terms. not those of WASP establishment.

      He wasnt a fascist in his rendering of an Asian socialism. He wanted the british out soo much that the real politic was acceptable to him.

      Sometimes our folks got used also, remember when Mussolini invited an unwitting Tagore over for a photoshoot?

      Boses actions and their ramifications brought forward independance by at least a decade. When the brits went all out to prosecute, ostracise and hang his followers they found they couldnt because the Indian people werent happy about killing people (using the law) who were fighting for their freedom.

      This might not rest well on the skull of a brownsaab earnestly shining the boots of Whitedom. but its part of our messy shared history. Read Bose’s writing if you want to see more clearly how he thought. Dont be a cheapskate with your history. I think he should be put into a black history month and lionised a little more.

      I wonder if those failed soas students at the quiliyum have a sound bit on this….

    6. Shamit — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:24 pm  

      “Oh, and he wasn’t ‘agitating’ for Indian independence.”

      Yes he was — the frst exiled Government of India after Chittagong was created In japan —

      and it was also agreed between Japan and INA that INA would fight in India with Japanese support and when asked if Japan tried to colonise India — Subhas Bose said the INA would fight the Japanese then.

      “He was trying to invade the country in order to place it under Japanese control,”

      Where did you get this crap?

      “What is a fascist then if not someone who fought for the fascists?”

      Well US and UK both fought with the Communists during the second world war — does that mean we have all become communists?

      Actually Subhas Bose was following a old dictum:

      “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”

      “If you accept he did raise an army to invade India”

      The fighters were all Indians and the objective was to attack India and get the support of the Indian troops serving the british crown there.

      **************************************************

      This does not imply I support what the Japanese did in Second world war. And having lived in South East Asia — it is quite evident that Japan and Japanese occupation are very sore subjects.

    7. qidniz — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:24 pm  

      Bose was never a fascist, though he did want to work with the Japanese and/or Germans to get rid of the British. But he wasn’t a race supremacist.

      Where do you get your potted histories? Bose’s fascist leanings have long been well-known. (Try this for a gentle introduction, it also has some choice bits on Bose’s notions of “fusion”.)

      As a Bengali babu, he was most definitely a racist, albeit not one of the stamp easily recognizable in the West, but he was probably too muddleheaded on the whole politically to be a supremacist.

    8. Shamit — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:28 pm  

      Iain — there is nothing pathetic about this post.

      So, anyone who fought for Indian Independence is a traitor — they were not really British subjects by choice.

      So, anytime someone talks about George Washington, John Adams or benjain Franklin are traitors too.

      Or Churchill must have been a traitor for he joined hands with Stalin knowing full well the extent of the evil empire — Why don’t we cut the same slack to Subhas Bose -

      I am bewildered. And your post turns out to be pathetic than Sunny’s

    9. Sunny — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:35 pm  

      So someone who raised an army to fight for the Japanese and Nazis isn’t a fascist?

      Oh dear - what a failure of simple logic.

      Iain Dale - well that was a typical response. But I’m amused at anyone even trying to get Sharma out of his seat over something like this. They’d be laughed out of Southall.

      This reminds of Dale’s stunt when he thought the defection of five Khalistani councillors from Labour to Tory would hand Lit the election! How did that work out Iain?

      In the meantime, nice to see you’re still trying to defend the British Raj.

      I can see that Sharma’s really going to be unpopular with Southall’s Asians for supporting someone opposing the British Raj.

    10. fugstar — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:36 pm  

      if sharma prompts those he leads and represents to find out more about Bose’s virtues and errors, thats a good thing. Dale’s poison is irrelavent.

      He wasnt even there, he reports from remote and by proxy, one of the weaknesses of the blog format. He weild no authority either way.

      Ian dale should get a more nuanced view of Bose. His fame and contribution to Indian independance predates WW2 path he took. His rush to British Nationalist Takfir is hasty, wrong headed, unwise but really quite telling. Thank goodness his is a dying viewpoint.

      Dale needs reeducation, not prosecution.

    11. Sunny — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:37 pm  

      Funny you should mention Churchill - this country’s most revered hero. What did he say about Indians again? Remind me someone?

    12. cjcjc — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:49 pm  

      it is quite evident that Japan and Japanese occupation are very sore subjects

      Masterly understatement.

      when asked if Japan tried to colonise India — Subhas Bose said the INA would fight the Japanese then

      LOL

      I think if my grandfather had fought against the Japanese I might be a bit pissed off about this…wouldn’t you?

    13. Rebrander — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:52 pm  

      Sunny, here you go below. Iain Dale and his Policy Exchange/Center for Social non-Cohesion buddies are good at attributing historical quotes/figures to smear present-day community figures and activists:

      On Gandhi:

      “It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king-emperor.”

      - Winston Churchill, 1930

      On Muslims:

      “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity.

      The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

      -Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899).

    14. Leon — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:53 pm  

      What did Churchill say about gas and north Africans…?

    15. damon — on 11th August, 2009 at 4:53 pm  

      Fugstar, he sounds like this Irishman called Sean Russell, whose statue in a Dublin park sometimes gets attacked and has even had it’s head lopped off.
      http://www.irishblogs.ie/images/615133.jpg

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_JY_9Pnqs9bU/SlZjtgnMaXI/AAAAAAAACBE/0G84wh9TWVk/s320/IMG_5632.JPG

    16. Shamit — on 11th August, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

      I think if my grandfather had fought against the Japanese I might be a bit pissed off about this…wouldn’t you?

      Similarly any Pole who had a grandfather fighting for his country must hate Churchill, Roosevelt etc for joining hands with Stalin.

      That is bollocks.

      Churchill joined hands with Stalin to beat the Germans — even though he knew exactly the threat Soviet Union posed and he also knew about the apalling human rights conditions.

      Would that mean Churchill is a traitor because he joined hands with the Communists? Or is it our God given right to rule countries and if they want independence then we think “how dare they”?

    17. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

      Okay, what does it take for someone to be classed as a fascist/Nazi? I would have thought raising an army to help the Nazis/Japanese might allow an entry into the club, but obviously not. It seems that anyone who supported Indian independence can be excused any crimes.

      I hope that I am wrong. I will write about this in detail later.

    18. Sunny — on 11th August, 2009 at 5:08 pm  

      Let me make it clear for you Rumbold, because Iain ain’t gonna listen - he has a partisan axe to grind.

      The aim of Indians at the time was to achieve independence. Their main aim wasn’t to save British ass against Hitler. It’s really that simple. They had bigger problems to contend with.

      And if you don’t get Shamit’s point about Britain joining up with Stalin to defeat Hitler - then unfortunately you’re being just as blind to a simple point.

    19. Leon — on 11th August, 2009 at 5:08 pm  

      Heh I’ve never seen ol’ Rummy get so animated. Never get the goat up of an historian I say…

    20. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells — on 11th August, 2009 at 5:14 pm  

      “Labour MP Praises Indian Wartime Fascist Leader”

      “It would be a dangerous folly for the British people to underrate the enduring position in world history which Mussolini will hold; or the amazing qualities of courage, comprehension, self-control and perseverance which he exemplifies.”

      Name that tune.

    21. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2009 at 5:15 pm  

      Heh Leon.

      Sunny and Shamit:

      The British-Soviet alliance was hardly comparable. That was a response to the German invasion of the USSR. Churchill feared and loathed Stalin, condemned his ideology and would never have used Soviet troops to try and ‘free’ Britain.

    22. Vikrant — on 11th August, 2009 at 7:35 pm  

      Rumbold,

      By extending that logic, you could as well tar Churchill as a racist genocidal imperialist maniac. Bose was certainly misguided communist, but a facist he wasn’t.

      Funnily, the Raj tried to prosecute captured INA members, but they had to be pardoned… because of public outrage. The Indian army almost mutinied over that! (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INA_trials ) Addtionally, leading Congressmen like Nehru and Desai defended them! Does that make Nehru a facist sympathisers too?

      I’m no fan of Bose but he wasn’t necessarily that bad. At any rate, any genuine debate ove his legacy has been stifled thanks to his lionisation in Bengal.

    23. Vikrant — on 11th August, 2009 at 7:37 pm  

      It seems that anyone who supported Indian independence can be excused any crimes.

      Yes the crown actually had to do so… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INA_trials

    24. Edsa — on 11th August, 2009 at 8:00 pm  

      Honestly, what has India achieved really after 62 years of so-called independence?
      India tries desperately to claim an illusory global status by aligning with seasoned aggressors like the US and Israel and buying the latest military hardware (warships, nuclear submarines, aircraft carrier and the like) while the bulk of its population is mired in poverty, illteracy, malnutrition and held to ransom by feudal beliefs and practices like caste and Hindutva bigotry.

      I can’t resist posting the opinion of an old “India hand”, the British journalist and foreign correspondent James Cameron well known in the 60s and 70s. He had written in the New Statesman on the occasion of India’s 25th Independence Anniversary. His article was reproduced in the Times of India (29 Aug 1972). Here are extracts: “There is little to celebrate. India to be sure survives as the world’s greatest democracy in so far as the word has any meaning at all… the Planning Commission agress that 220 million people still live below the barest subsistence minimum. 70% of Indians are still illterate. The college system is in such a calamitous mess that tjhere are even illiterate graduates… I wonder why I return to this studpid, ditry, corrupt, ineffectual, deceased, caste-ridden, futile, despairing place for which there is no answer except revolution… I shall keep nagging at a nation that should have given the world so much but has given so little.

      Tragically, little has changed. Would it be unfair to call India a failed state happy to be a client or poodle of the US?

    25. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2009 at 8:00 pm  

      Vikrant:

      Bose may not have been a fascist in ideological terms, and no doubt he had some supporters in Indian, but what should one call a man who raises an army to fight alongside the Japanese and Nazis?

      And I think there is a distinction to be made between people who sympathised with Bose, and Bose himself.

    26. Chris Baldwin — on 11th August, 2009 at 8:42 pm  

      I’ve no admiration for Bose, but to accuse someone of “treachery” for praising him is just McCarthyism.

    27. Shatterface — on 11th August, 2009 at 9:09 pm  

      Bose isn’t a fascist even though he sided with Hitler - but Edmund Standing is?

    28. qidniz — on 11th August, 2009 at 10:55 pm  

      Bose isn’t a fascist even though he sided with Hitler – but Edmund Standing is?

      “Fascist” is a cuss-word. Its original meaning is of historical interest only. Nowadays, it means “I loathe”.

      On blogs like this, you are expected to call anyone you loathe a fascist, and defend everyone else from the label.

      HTH.

    29. fugstar — on 11th August, 2009 at 11:13 pm  

      What could someone call a person who fights with a colonial power against his own people?

      What could somebody call a person who fights for an oppressive regime in order to be granted respect and acceptance?

      If its someone else’s struggle, who am I to bleat indignant at the jihadporn?

      i guess the proud imperial brits dont like being equated with nazi germans and imperial japs. but they are cheeks of the same arse, at the very least the jap asian theory had some context.

      Sound Asian tinge my foot. you think it was satyagraha that won india’s freedom or the threat of trouble? nice little meek minorities.

    30. coruja — on 11th August, 2009 at 11:21 pm  

      “what should one call a man who raises an army to fight alongside the Japanese and Nazis?” …erm, pretty desperate to get rid of the British?

      It’s a shame that both Britain and India have airbrushed Bose out of the colonial history of the era, he points at a complex picture which most people would rather avoid. Sure bandy about Nazism, shovel the all the other atrocities committed in the name of Empire under it, no one will notice the tens millions of dead caused by ‘administrative errors’. After all they did build the railways.

      Isn’t it about time this whole period was examined? Open the whole can of worms, it would everyone good. People might appreciate a common history here, might understand why there are so many Asians on their street. There might eventually be some understanding between the various immigrant communities and the ‘native’ Brits, instead of this boiling hate.

      I can’t remember any of the colonial era being mentioned in school at all. There was the Tudors &etc Kings and Queens, cough cough, World Wars I & II and and hurrah England saved the World. But may be some people might see the person trying to free them from the very thing that their colonial masters are claiming to fight a hero. May be in India people don’t think much of Churchill at all. Welcome to the World outside your own backyard.

    31. douglas clark — on 12th August, 2009 at 1:44 am  

      fugstar,

      at the very least the jap asian theory had some context

      Try telling that to the Chinese.

      This is all a bit academic, but assuming the Axis had won the Second World War, do you really think you’d have the freedom to post here? Do you think you’d actually be alive?

      I doubt I would.

      Be careful what you wish for.

    32. Edna on Hols — on 12th August, 2009 at 9:06 am  

      Bose admired the smack of authoritarian government without caring too much about the ideological details; in 1945 he was en route to snuggle up to Uncle Joe Stalin.

      An admirable and fearless fellow. And I shall NOT say that he was a fearless chap FOR A BENGALI!

    33. fugstar — on 12th August, 2009 at 10:43 am  

      dougy baby. heres a thing that you seem unprepared to accept. the ability to name things, learn and speak is not created by this anglosaxonia project we are in the midst of.

      i would be speaking and pondering wherever i was.

      i think both the axis and allies had taken themselves out of the civilisational equation and left the rest to breath. the people of the uk would be far less oppressed by materialism, leftism and rightism.

      we could have museums of nationalism, capitalism and communism!

      OMG there probably wouldnt be an Israel problem either. (NOT because of a lack of jews in the world before you impute other buzz words)

      *** For anybody who might have some critical knowledge of the evolution of congress. What do you think the world would look like had Bose won over rather than the Gandhi-Nehru complex?

    34. Jai — on 12th August, 2009 at 10:57 am  

      What do you think the world would look like had Bose won over rather than the Gandhi-Nehru complex?

      The whole of what was formerly “British India” would be a part of the Empire of Japan. I do not know what would have happened to the independent royal states; based on the precedents, I expect they would have been forcibly annexed or they would have voluntarily become vassal states.

      Whether that would have subsequently accelerated or (conversely) prevented the US dropping nukes on Japan at the end of WW2 in order to comprehensively defeat them is a matter of opinion.

      In any case, as mentioned earlier, the number of Indian soldiers affiliated to Bose was massively outnumbered by the number of Indian soldiers fighting alongside the Allies, so perhaps this question is moot.

      ***************************************

      It’s also important for everyone to bear in mind that Indian independence was not solely because of Gandhi/Nehru etc or the activities of others such as Bose. Britain was exhausted in all aspects due to WW2 and no longer had the resources to be able to sustain an extensive overseas empire.

    35. Jai — on 12th August, 2009 at 11:33 am  

      “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”

      What Shamit said above in #6 pretty much hits the nail on the head.

      If you want a more recent example, consider the United States allying themselves with the Islamist mujahideen in Afghanistan against the USSR.

      It doesn’t mean the US agreed with & condoned the mujahideen’s worldview or ideas about religion, or (conversely) that the mujahideen fighters of the time necessarily agreed with & condoned all things American. And as you all know, a certain Mr OBL was also present in the conflict and allied with the US against the Soviets.

      The same principle applies to Bose — he is absolutely not unique in world history in this regard.

      Not that I even remotely support his decision to ally himself with the Axis powers, mind you (in my view, he really was making a deal with the Devil), but I’m just explaining the line of reasoning that was involved there. Especially in terms of modern-day people who support his decision, irrespective of whether Bose himself did or did not hold “fascist” views like his Axis friends.

    36. fugstar — on 12th August, 2009 at 11:37 am  

      But jai, those fighting for the brits weren’t really ‘free’ nor fighting for a belief were they. Buffalo soldiers, no sorry Balti Soldiers. (you seen miracle at st Anns?)

      historical fantasy must not be deterministic.

      Would Britain even have been able to fight without Indian resources. A free India could have sat out the war quite easily, like spain. Of course mujahids could have been dispatched unoficially to fight for justice in certain battles where Anti-colonial interests were at play.

    37. Shamik Das — on 13th August, 2009 at 2:52 pm  

      #7 Qidniz said: “As a Bengali babu, he was most definitely a racist”

      Wtf? Could you please explain this racist comment of yours?!

      Let me tell you us Bengalis are not racists.

    38. Arshad — on 13th August, 2009 at 3:08 pm  

      Shamik Das

      Let me tell you us Bengalis are not racists.

      This may well be true- but it is a fact that Bengalis have the lowest rate of inter-racial marriage of any community in the UK so when it comes to letting people marry who they wish, many Bengali parents clearly are.

    39. Sunny — on 13th August, 2009 at 4:34 pm  

      but it is a fact that Bengalis have the lowest rate of inter-racial marriage of any community in the UK

      I think you’re chatting rubbish, frankly. I’d be very surprised if there were a survey on this broken down by the Indian state people come from…

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