Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi acknowledged Subhas Chandra Bose, also known as Netaji, for playing a pivotal role in India’s struggle for independence, giving more credit to Bose than Mahatma Gandhi. Speaking at an event commemorating Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary at Anna University on January 23, Governor Ravi asserted that it was Netaji’s relentless fight against the British colonial rulers that ultimately compelled them to release their grip on India in 1947.
Governor Ravi highlighted that the non-cooperation movement led by the Indian National Congress (INC) lost momentum with the onset of the Second World War, leaving a void in the resistance against British rule. He emphasised that it was Netaji’s unwavering commitment and efforts that sustained the struggle and forced the colonial rulers to make the historic decision to free India from its colonial shackles.
According to Governor Ravi, the period following the commencement of the Second World War saw a decline in the effectiveness of the non-cooperation movement led by the Indian National Congress (INC). With internal divisions and conflicts, including the Muslim League’s demand for a separate homeland under Mohammed Ali Jinnah, there was a lack of cohesive resistance against British rule. Ravi emphasised that the British took advantage of the internal strife, enjoying a period of relative calm in India.
The governor stated, “If Netaji had not been there, Bharat would not have become free in 1947.” He explained that the British, unopposed on the ground, could have continued their rule in India for many more years. Drawing on his experience in the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Governor Ravi revealed insights from archives of intelligence reports from 1945-46, demonstrating the panic among the British at that time.
Ravi went on to underscore Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s visionary leadership, particularly commending his foresight in creating a women’s battalion during World War II. He compared Netaji’s vision to the eventual admission of women to combat roles in the Indian Army seven decades later. The governor expressed appreciation for Netaji’s sacrifices, likening them to historical figures like Velu Nachiyar and VOC. He stressed the importance of recognising Netaji’s role in shaping the trajectory of India’s military capabilities.
Furthermore, Governor Ravi highlighted Netaji’s efforts to form military alliances with foreign countries and organize a military fight against the British with Indian soldiers in exile. This initiative, exemplified by the Indian National Army (INA), continued to resonate even after its disbandment. Ravi pointed out that within six months of INA’s dissolution in September 1945, Indian personnel in the British navy revolted in February 1946, followed by strikes in the Indian Air Force. The cumulative effect of these actions compelled the British to realise that the presence of Indian soldiers could no longer be trusted. In a haste to exit India, the British announced in March 1946 that they would be leaving the country within the next 15 months.
Ravi asserted that attributing a significant part of India’s freedom to Netaji was not an exaggeration but a factual acknowledgment of his pivotal role. The governor expressed concern over the apparent ingratitude in relegating such a great figure to the margins of the national freedom movement’s history.
Governor Ravi referenced a conversation between Justice Chakraborthy and former British Prime Minister Attlee, where Attlee reportedly stated that the British departure from India was not primarily due to the non-cooperation of the Indian National Congress but stemmed from a sense of insecurity following the Navy revolt and Air Force rebellion.
Highlighting the significant contribution of soldiers from Tamil Nadu in the Indian National Army (INA), Governor Ravi lamented the absence of university chairs in the state dedicated to researching Netaji’s role in the freedom movement.
ஆளுநர் அவர்கள், சென்னை ராஜ் பவனில் நேதாஜி சுபாஷ் சந்திரபோஸின் பிறந்தநாளை முன்னிட்டு அவருக்கு மலர் தூவி மரியாதை செலுத்தினார்.
— RAJ BHAVAN, TAMIL NADU (@rajbhavan_tn) January 23, 2024
As political tensions rise following the governor’s statements, discussions about the differing perspectives on India’s freedom movement have come to the forefront. The debate revolves around the acknowledgment of various leaders and groups and their respective contributions, with Governor Ravi’s remarks opening up a new chapter in the ongoing discourse. The accusations and counterarguments highlight the complexity of interpreting India’s history, particularly regarding the diverse ideologies and approaches that shaped the country’s path to independence.