Thursday, January 21, 2016

An Open Letter to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: Happy Birthday Netaji (on Jan 23)

My dear Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose;

If I fail you, it is because I am incompetent to talk about myself, our country and people !!  ….the country you left and of course with the people and the politicians around. As an individual I was always awed by the great patriotism and valiant courage you displayed. 

India attained its freedom from British raj in 1947 but it soon submerged into some kind of stagnancy, some kind of bondage to a particular political party and more so the particular dynasty. That was our unbecoming !
At this juncture as the nation awaits your birthday once again, Netaji, my observations can easily lead to ponder where the country and more so the people – you loved so much - had taken a wrong turn.
Netaji: The Valiant Patriot
India as a nation known to people of my generation – late 1960s-early 1970s as my parents married only in 1967 – has progressed. But in retrospect, Netaji, India as a civilization has been actually in the process of change and each passing day sees that transition in the context of the millennium-old spectrum of social life. All these meant multiple challenges. 

Foremost of all these challenges has been one core issue – that is the gap in “absorption” of a rich ancient culture into a new synthesis called modernity.
You had left India at a crucial juncture of its history. Some of your compatriots and albeit political rivals took over the reins of power and sorry to say, often displayed gross selfishness, partisan and parochialism. A new kind of political culture was pushed. It actually accentuated several dormant problems and these have today turned into demons – those cannot be controlled.
The Hindu-Muslim disunity is one of them. Casteism is the other. It only shows your leadership as the INA you led was able to shed all these trappings. Sadly, a free India could not. No democracy – as enforced in the manner – actually can achieve that. This was our another faultline, may be! 
The sociology of nationalism debate would suffice that India as a nation – post the gruesome partition of 1947 – does bear resemblance to “western nations”.
Bertrand De-Jouvenel, the French Philosopher who was born in 1903 and has seen your times, was impressed by our country’s size (post 1947 itself) and had said in 1960s later that “Bihar itself has a population equal to France”.
So, Netaji, our beloved Netaji….India is itself a continent – with considerable variety of people, their culture, occupation and climate and natural resources. So perhaps naturally we also inherited the challenges of provincial discrimination, religious (or communal) passions and hatreds. 
Sadly, we did not do enough as citizens to conquer these vices. I often wonder, whether your presence amidst us during such hour would have resolved at least a few problems.
On this birthday, you will hit newspaper and television headlines with a ‘difference’. Some ‘secret and codified’ papers regarding your life and times may be brought out by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
This new leader, India chose so enthusiastically in 2014, comes from the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Without going into details, I ought to share with you another information that Modi also – mildly put - has disapproval of certain things Pt Jawaharlal Nehru did and said.
We will debate these political issues on a later day, Netaji. But as an ardent admirer of yours – initially by the fashion as I too was born a Bengali and you are a folk hero of Bengalis. And later by conviction – I beg your attention to the contemporary setting. Things are actually in a mess today and would have certainly pained you – if not shocked you! The challenges are many and yet we as countrymen and women continue to contribute in increasing a few – at least every month. The situation we are in, Netaji, should be enough to wake us up to the realization that the basic game has changed fundamentally. Lingering territorial disputes are no longer the driving force. After 68 years, we still have found no answer to starvation and problems on water have only grown manifold.
Instead, it is high time we appreciate that the world and our country should be viewed through economic prism and developmental lens. One community can be rivals to another in one front and at the same time we need to be on a winning partnership in another.
The task ahead is for scrupulous placement of several broken chapters and episodes on an increasingly complex chessboard. But you would appreciate, Netaji, this is an interconnected chessboard. 
I am referring to the game of chess as this sports teaches each one of us that after the game is over – pawns and the King have to get inside the same box.

Now the practical issues: In 1940s when you left us in agony and even few years later – in 1947 – when India was divided but free from colonial masters – as a nation India emerged a miserable figure. Our country was stricken with dire poverty. But overall there have been intriguing changes in food scenario and plans. The heavy shortfalls in agricultural stocks and targets are now thing of the past.  In industry we have reaped benefits from dependence on heavy industries. But the truncated new-economic culture ensured in many pockets the gap between haves and have nots has increased manifold.
Our farmers often end their lives themselves. We disrespect women and fight over religion.

On your part, on some occasions, and leaders like you spoke of self-dependency in industrialization. This has been another area of our failing Netaji. You would appreciate that India was actually a colonial economy par excellence – when we exported raw materials and Britain dumped the manufactured goods. From our Asian brothers like Japanese, we need to learn corrective steps on these fronts.
A Rare snap of Bose
Lately our government is talking about ‘Make-in-India’. Japan or even neighbours like South Korea have over the years utilized the same technical novelties that are prevalent in India but are strangely enough not adequately adopted. Sad na? 
In the ultimate analysis, Netaji, as one of your million admirers – in this missive one only hopes it is time Indian people give unto themselves a critical advantage of hearing the opposite views. We hate criticism. In the process, we fail to do the right diagnosis.
We have become such much of a country of ‘yes men-and-women’ and this cannot be an India the fearless son of my country like you dreamed off.

Warm regards. Will I hear from you, Netaji, ever?

My dad & daughter: Both Netaji fans



  1. Good Writeup... I will only add one point on to this. Until we as a humanity take the sole responsibility towards our-self first, Shake off all the dirt's still attached to our psyche and conditioning of past we wont be able to change the face of what the world and humanity is as of today.

    We all need a very deep catharsis of our own psyche, cure ourselves of all emotional and psychological garbage for the birth of a new blissful humankind. Only then can their be a possibility of a happier blissful world that we always long for.

    May we all be inspired to look into ourselves first before changing the neighbors, society, nation and this planet at large.

    Love & Hugs,

  2. tks joy lovely comments...u really think global and for entire humanity...something Netaji stood for!