Today I am addressing you as a revolutionary speaking to fellow-revolutionaries as I would have done if I had been in your midst. India is now feeling a political crisis and if a wrong step is taken, we might suffer a setback in our march towards independence. I cannot tell you how worried I feel today because on the one hand independence is within sight while on the other hand, if a wrong step is taken, that independence may recede into the distance.
At the outset, let me tell you that enemy propaganda in India has been so successful that influential sections of our countrymen who only three years ago were convinced that independence was within grasp and who were determined to “Do or die” in order to win that independence, are now thinking in terms of Indianisation of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. We, who are outside India at this critical juncture, can take a much more objective view of the entire world situation than many of our countrymen at home. It is, therefore, our duty to tell you frankly what we think and to advise you accordingly.
After we withdrew our Headquarters from Rangoon, it was open to us to move to another place inside Burma just as the Government of Independent Burma did on the ground that our troops were still fighting inside Burma. But we instinctively felt that the enemy would immediately exploit his recent military successes in Europe and in Burma and launch a new political and military offensive. Consequently, we should be ready to meet that offensive and we should be at a place from where we can speak to India if necessary. That is the principle reason why I am in Syonan today.
The crisis that faces India today, has arisen because some influential section among our countrymen who only three years ago, were shouting liberty or death are now prepared to enter Into a compromise with the British Government on Lord Wavellâ€™s own terms. This attitude is entirely mistaken and unjustified for two reasons. Firstly, there can be no compromise on the question of independence. Secondly, the situation is not what these countrymen of ours think and if we continue our resistance to British Imperialism we shall win our independence by the end of this war.
If among those who are listening to me now, there is anyone who has any doubt as to whether I am in close touch with what is happening all over the world, he can himself judge from one simple fact. He must have noticed from my daily talks during the last week that I am in intimate touch with the daily developments inside India. If I am in touch with the daily developments at home, I can easily be in touch with what is happening all over the world. On the other hand, for those who are inside India, and who cannot see what is happening in that part of the world that is not dominated by the Anglo-Americans and who are victims of skilful enemy propaganda, it is difficult to form an objective opinion of the entire world situation. Today the whole world is in the melting pot and Indiaâ€™s destiny is bound up to some extent to what is happening all over the world.
Now why I am so optimistic at a time when some of our prominent leaders have developed such a defeatist mentality? It is because of two principle reasons. Firstly, we are carrying on an armed struggle against the British and their Allies and we are not pessimistic about the situation in East Asia inspite of our recent reverses in Burma.
Secondly, India has become an international issue and if that issue is not converted into a domestic issue of the British Empire, India’s case will come up before the bar of world opinion. Cannot you see with your own eyes or hear with your own ears how Syria and Lebanon are exploiting the world situation to their advantage by creating a split within the camp of the so-called Allied Nations? We are not less intelligent or less far-sighted than the leaders of Syria and Lebanon. But if we want to bring the Indian issue before the bar of the World opinion we have to do two things.
Firstly, we have to prevent any compromise with British imperialism. Secondly, we have to assert India’s right to freedom with arms. If our countrymen at home cannot take up arms, or they cannot continue within civil disobedience against Britain’s war effort, let them at least keep up the moral resistance to British imperialism and refuse to come to any compromise. We shall continue to assert Indiaâ€™s right of freedom with arms and so long as we do so no power on earth can prevent India remaining an international issue provided you do not let us down by compromising with the British Government.
I understand that some of the leaden at home are furious with me for opposing their plans for a compromise with the British Government. They are also furious with me for pointing out that the Congress Working Committee has constitutionally no right to take such a fateful decision behind the back of the All-India Congress Committee and the Congress. And they are furious with me for pointing out that the Congress Working Committee does not represent left wing opinion in the Congress and in the country. These infuriated leaders are abusing me for taking the help of the Nipponese.
I am not ashamed of taking the help of Nipponâ€¦Nippon recognised India’s complete independence and has granted formal recognition to the Provisional Government of Azad Hind of Free India. But those who now want to cooperate with the British Government, and fight Britain’s imperialist War, are prepared to accept the position of subordinates responsible to Britain’s Viceroy in India. If they are to cooperate with the British Government on the basis that Britain grants formal recognition to a Government of Free India that would be a different matter.
Moreover, Nippon has given us the arms with which to organise an army which is Indian from top to bottom. This army, the Azad Hind Fauj, has been trained by Indian instructors using the Indian Language. This army carries India’s national flag and its slogans are India’s national slogans. This army has its own Indian Officers and its own Officers’ Training Schools, run entirely by Indians. And in the field of battle this army fights under its own Indian Commanders some of whom have now reached the rank of General. If one talks of a puppet army, then it is to the British Indian Army that should be called a puppet army because it is fighting Britain’s Imperialist War under British Officers.
Am I to believe that in an army of two and a half millions in which so many Indians are found fit to obtain the highest honour in the British Army, namely: The Victoria Crossâ€”not one single Indian should be found fit to hold the rank of General?
Comrades, I have just said that I am not ashamed to take up the help of Nippon. I shall go further and say that if the oncealmighty British Empire can go round the world with the begging-bowl and can go down on its knees in order to obtain help from the United States of America, there is no reason why weâ€”an enslaved and disarmed nation should not take help from our friends. Today we may be taking the help of Nippon, tomorrow we shall not hesitate to take help from any other quartersâ€”if that be possible and if that be desirable in the best interests of India.
Nobody would be more happy than myself If we could achieve India’s independence without foreign help of any sort. But I have yet to find one single instance in modern history where an enslaved nation has achieved its liberation without foreign help of some sort. And for enslaved India,it is much more honourable to join hands with enemies of the British Empire than to carry on with British leaders or political parties. Our whole difficulty is that we do not hate our enemies enough and our leaders do not teach us to hate India’s enemiesâ€”though they teach to hate those whom they regard as the enemies of other nations. Is it not ridiculous for some of our leaders to talk of fighting Fascism abroad while shaking hands with imperialism at home?
Comrades, I would have never opened my mouth and said one word to you if I had been sitting as armed-chair politician here. But I and my Comrades here are engaged in a grim struggle. Our comrades at the front have to play with death. Even those who are not at the front, face danger every moment of their existence. When we were in Burma, bombing and machine gunning was our daily entertainment. I have seen many of my comrades killed, maimed and injured from enemy’s ruthless bombing and machine-gunning. I have seen the entire hospital of the Azad Hind Fauj in Rangoon raised to the ground and our helpless patients suffering heavy casualties.
Why I and many others with me are still alive today, is only through God’s grace.It is because we are living, working and fighting in the presence of death, that I have a right to speak to you and to advise you. Most of you do not know what carpet bombing is. Most of you do not know what is to be machine gunned by low-flying bombers and fighters. Most of you have had no experience of bullets whistling past you, to your right and to your left. Those who have gone through this experience and have nevertheless kept up their morale, cannot even look at Lord Wavellâ€™s offer.
Comrades, we have to consider what to do about Lord Wavellâ€™s offer. First of all though the time at your disposal is very short, you will have to do everything possible to prevent the acceptance of this offer by the Congress Working Committee. Secondly, if you fail in that, you will then have to create a situation which will force the Congress representatives to resign from the Viceroy’s Executive Council. This will not be difficult. You will have to insist on the release of all political prisoners which will in itself bring about the crisis between the Viceroy and the Congress members of the Executive Councilâ€¦
This will naturally raise numerous issues in which India’s interests will clash with those of Britain. If you keep up your agitation and propaganda, then Congress members of the Executive Council will be forced to stand up for India’s interests against those of Britain in which case a clash with Viceroy will be certain. This you will have to agitate in order to prevent Indian troops from being sent as cannon-fodder to the Far East.
If you fail in that, you will have to undertake sabotage in order to disrupt enemy’s transport and lined communication. As you are aware during the last five years, the British were giving valuable instructions for organising and carrying on an underground movement in countries which went out of their control orinfluence. If you make use of all these instructions and apply them against British in India, you will achieve valuable results. Last but in the least, you will have to form cells with the Indian army and prepare for a revolt from within. The Indian army of today Is not the Indian army of 1939. It is an army which according to British report is two and a half million strong. In this army there are many who are politically minded and nationalist at heart The time for a revolt will come when this army is demobilised, If India Is not free by then. Thanks towar, two and half a million Indians have been trained in using arms.When the time comes for their disbandment,they can raid armouries and get the arms with which to fight our British rulers. The Chittagong armoury raid in 1930 was an excellent example of how arms belonging to our enemy should be procured and then used against them.
Comrades, I shall now close for the day. But before I conclude I would remind you that a revolutionary is one who believes in the justice of cause and who believes that cause is bound to prevail in the long run. He who gets depressed over failures or setback is no revolutionary. The motto for a revolutionary is “Hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.”
I am confident that if we fight on and if we play our cards well in the international field, we shall win our freedom by the end of this war. But that does not mean that if by any chance we fail to do so, we should be disheartened or depressed. Consequently, if the worst happens and India does not emerge as an independent state by the end of this war, our next plan shall be a post-war revolution inside India. And if we fail in that too, then there will be World War No. 3 to give us another opportunity to strike for our freedom.
I have no doubt that World War No. 3 will break out within 10 years of the end of this war, if not earlier, in case all the suppressed nations of the world are not liberated during the course of the present war. India’s independence is a settled fact. The only uncertain factor is the time factor. At the worst, it may take a few more years for India to be free. Why then, should we be easily discouraged and rushed to the Viceroy’s house for a compromise? Your task as revolutionaries will be to keep the flag of Independence flying until such time, as that flag proudly floats over the Viceroy’s house in Delhi.