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Play in Parliament on 15 August Babasaheb's statement on how Netaji freed India

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The following is the text of an email sent to Vice President & Speaker seeking the playing of in Parliament on 15 August Dr BR Ambedkar's statement on how India attained freedom.

Respected Vice President Hamid Ansari ji and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ji

In the last two years, several new initiatives and efforts have been taken to honour the memories of iconic leaders Dr Ambedkar and Subhas Chandra Bose, who had been relegated to sidelines over the decades as a result of political considerations. We feel that these initiatives and efforts would not be complete if the pivotal role of Netaji's contribution towards making India free is not acknowledged. More so, now that we have Babasaheb's word for it.

Therefore, we make an earnest appeal that the most relevant portion from what possibly was the last recorded interview of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar concerning the real reason India gained freedom should be played in both Houses of Parliament on 15 August.

In this interview, Babasaheb has stated what has been suppressed from people of India for political reasons ever since power was transferred to Indian hands in 1947.

On 26 February 1955, Babasaheb spoke to BBC's Francis Watson. Recording of that interview is now freely available. A most important segment of the interview concerns the British government's decision to give India independence. "I don't know how Mr Attlee suddenly agreed to give India independence," Babasaheb is heard remarking about then British PM Clement Attlee.

"That is a secret that he will disclose in his autobiography. None expected that he would do that."

Babasaheb then added that from his "own analysis" he had concluded why Sir Attlee took that momentous decision:

"The national army that was raised by Subhas Chandra Bose. The British had been ruling the country in the firm belief that whatever may happen in the country or whatever the politicians do, they will never be able to change the loyalty of soldiers. That was one prop on which they were carrying on the administration. And that was completely dashed to pieces."

The relevant portion from Babasaheb's interview can be heard by clicking on the following link:

Respected Vice President & Madam Speaker, we earnestly urge you to replay in both the Houses these insightful words for the benefit of Hon'ble members, and through them the people of India who have been kept in the dark till now.  When the 50th anniversary of India's freedom was observed in 1997, portions from iconic leaders' speeches were played in the Central Hall, but this most relevant portion of Babasaheb's historically significant interview wasn't.  Now that it is available in public domain, there is no reason it should not resound in our Parliament.

What makes Babasaheb's insight particularly significant is that since he articulated it, much has become known to vouchsafe for its authenticity.

In October 1956, two months before Babasaheb passed away, Clement Attlee himself disclosed in a confidential private talk the secret why he agreed to give India freedom. At the Governor's mansion in Kolkata, Sir Attlee confided the following to PB Chakravarty, first Indian Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court and acting Governor of West Bengal:

"…the INA activities of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the RIN mutiny which made the British realise that the Indian armed forces could no longer be trusted to prop up the British."

In 1960, in Nuffield College, Oxford, Sir Attlee repeated this to eminent historian Prof Barun De.

While the words of Sir Attlee, the man who took the decisions with regard to India in 1947, require no corroboration from those who were nowhere near the position he was in, further information that has become available drives home the point that the INA military onslaught and the Red Fort trials of 1945-46 majorly impacted the British decision to quit India. In fact, that was the No 1 reason for British departure from India.

It is to be noted that in September 1945, the resolution adopted by All India Congress Committee read that "neither the end of the war nor the change of the Government in Britain appears to have resulted in any real change in British policy towards India".

The majority [of Congress leaders], including Gandhiji", wrote Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his seminal book India Wins Freedom, "held that we must devote ourselves to exclusive constructive work. They believed that there was not much hope on the political plane."

As Netaji's Indian National Army's exploits became known following lifting of war time censorship, the situation began to change dramatically. Noting its impact on the Indian Army, Intelligence Bureau Director Norman Smith made the following assessment in November 1945:

"The situation in respect of the Indian National Army is one which warrants disquiet. There has seldom been a matter which has attracted so much Indian public interest and, it is safe to say, sympathy… the threat to the security of the Indian Army is one which it would be unwise to ignore."

Thereafter, the nationalist fervour in the country reached such levels that it drowned the differences between the Hindus and the Muslims. The New York Times reported on 17 February 1946:

"In spite of the uncompromising struggle between the two factions, last week for the first time since 1921, Moslems and Hindus together staged street protests and riots against the British in Calcutta, Bombay and New Delhi. The catalytic agent in this case was the Indian National Army, organized by a Japanese collaborator named Subhas Chandra Bose…."

The colonial British regarded Netaji as their sworn enemy. Major General FS Tucker, GOC Eastern Command, thought Bose was a "plump Bengali" of "over-weening personal ambition" and like everyone else demanded a "condign punishment for the INA".

But in the face of public anger and their own interest, they had to backtrack. The Transfer of Power Volume V released by the British government in the 1970s contains a letter which Viceroy Field Marshal Archibald Wavell received from the United Province [present-day Uttar Pradesh] in November 1945. It reads that "handwritten leaflets are said to have been found in a hotel that if any INA soldier were killed, Britishers would be murdered. These may be rather petty matters, but they do show which way the wind is blowing".

By 12 February 1946 Commander-in-Chief General Claude Auchinleck was forced to explain to his top military commanders through a "Strictly Personal and Secret" letter the reasons why the military had to let the so-called INA "war criminals" and "traitors" go off the hook:

"Having considered all the evidence and appreciated to the best of my ability the general trend of Indian public opinion and of the feeling in the Indian Army, I have no doubt at all that to have confirmed the sentence of imprisonment solely on the charge of 'waging war against the King' would have had disastrous results, in that it would have probably precipitated a violent outbreak throughout the country, and have created active and widespread disaffection in the Army, especially amongst the Indian officers and the more highly educated rank and file."

A ringside view finally emerged in 1976 from Lt Gen SK Sinha. The former Assam and J&K Governor along with fellow officers Lt Col Sam Manekshaw [later Field Marshal] and Maj Yahya Khan [would be Pakistan President] were the only natives posted to the hitherto exclusively British Directorate of Military Operations.

"The real impact of the INA was felt more after the war than during the war," Sinha wrote in an op-ed article in a newspaper, adding: "There was considerable sympathy for the INA within the Army. ...I am convinced that well over 90 per cent of officers at that time felt along those lines."

"In 1946 I accidentally came across a very interesting document…prepared by the Director of Military Intelligence. It was classified document marked 'Top Secret. Not for Indian Eyes'. …The paper referred to the INA, the mutinies at Bombay and Jabalpur and also to the 'adverse' effect on the Indian officers and men of the humiliating defeats inflicted by the Japanese on the white nations in the early days of the war. The conclusion reached was that the Indian Army could no longer be relied upon to remain a loyal instrument for maintaining British rule over India."

As the forgone demonstrates, Subhas Chandra Bose did play the most pivotal role in making India free. And yet for generations, this has been blotted out or not acknowledged at the official levels. No President, Prime Minister or even Army chief has ever visited the INA War Memorial in Moirang, leave alone made heartfelt tributes to the INA and their Japanese comrades who all died for the freedom of India. But such tributes have been made for the British and Indians who fought against them for the safety of the British Raj.

Therefore, at this distant point in time, the least our country can do is to acknowledge the role of Netaji and INA. And there can be no better start than having this done in our Parliament, with the words of Dr Ambedkar echoing the sentiments of a large number of Indians who always knew the truth.

We look forward to getting a positive response from you.

We are taking the liberty of posting this petition on internet so that people from all over the world can show their support towards this demand in national interest.  

For "Mission Netaji"

Yours Sincerely

Anuj Dhar, Chandrachur Ghose, Sreejith Panickar, Adheer Som

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