Mahatma Gandhi's war on Indian revolutionaries

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Mahatma Gandhi's war on Indian revolutionaries

Gandhi was not doctrinally opposed to violence as he had enlisted soldiers for the British during the first world war pp. 83-87, [23]. He had also stated that he felt morally bound to help, using non-violent means, those who further a just cause even if they do not shun violence p. 151, [51]. We quote his speech on June 1, 1921 in full as we would use it to contrast with his attitude on violence perpetrated by the revolutionaries against the British: "I would be untrue to my faith, if I refuse to assist in a just cause any men or measures that did not entirely coincide with the principle of non-violence. I would be promoting violence, if finding the Mussalmans to be in the right, I did not assist them by means strictly non-violent against those who had treacherously plotted the destruction of the dignity of Islam. Even when both parties believe in violence, there is often such a thing as justice on one side or the other. A robbed man has justice on his side, even though he may be preparing to regain the lost property by force." pp, 151, [51].

Yet, we will show that Gandhi and his closest lieutenants (eg, Nehru, Patel, Pant, Rajagopalachari) opposed violence directed against the British as part of India's freedom fight. Forgetting his own dictum highlighted in the paragraph above, as also the fact that robbed of their freedom, the revolutionaries of an enslaved nation had justice on their side, he repeatedly equated the violence they perpetrated with those of the colonial occupiers (despite the substantial difference in scale): "I know, however, that my appeal to the violent revolutionaries be just as fruitless as any such appeal to the violent and anarchical Government is likely to be. We must therefore find the remedy and demonstrate to both the violent Government and the violent revolutionaries that there is a force that is more effective than their violence" p. 505, [73], and "Armed conspiracies against something satanic is like matching satans against Satan. But since one Satan is one too many for me, I would not multiply him" p. 140, [75]. Gandhi had in fact launched a Satyagraha against the repressive Rowlatt Act primarily to prevent the "Little Bengal Cult of Violence" from spreading - that is to nip in the bud the possibility of a violent nationwide uprising against the British. pp. 302, [11], p. 189, [7]. He also invariably condoned the violence perpetrated by the British in suppressing the revolutionaries with all the resources at their disposal. For example, on April 13, 1919, General Dyer ordered his group of 50 Gurkha riflemen to fire for 10 minutes on an unarmed assembly at Jallianwala Bagh, killing approximately 1000 and injuring 500. On April 6, 1921, Gandhi wrote in the Young India: "I would not punish or procure punishment even of General Dyer for his massacre, but I would not call it voluntarily doing injury to him to refuse to give him pension, or to condemn his action in fitting language. " pp. 5, [58]. Thus, Gandhi's ability to condone British violence carried him as far as not calling for any punishment for Dyer. And, later he went on to castigate (on March 12, 1925) the revolutionaries as guilty of "the exciting and unquenchable thirst for the blood of English officials and those who are assisting them. " p. 396, [74]. In p.89, [86], it has been pointed out that Gandhi, imprisoned in South Africa by the Transvaal government, made General Jan Smuts a pair of leather sandals in prison, and presented them to Gen Smuts on his release. It is in this context that his indifference at best and sinister satisfaction at worst, which we show in this article, at the harsh, often brutal, punishment meted out to the revolutionaries must be assessed. He also offered moral support to, while his lieutenants actively collaborated with, the British in suppressing the revolutionaries. Gandhi's lieutenants also relegated the revolutionaries to oblivion post independence while generously commending the erstwhile rulers.

The only conclusion that emerges then is that Gandhi would not countenance a violent overthrow of the British regime, not because of his doctrinaire opposition to violence, but because he was not keen on their departure and wanted a continuity of regimes even if they had to leave. Recall from our earlier pieces that Gandhi's stated goals vacillated between Spiritual Swaraj, which did not require the British to cede even direct authority, and Dominion Status, which would allow them to retain indirect control [57]. In contrast, Subhas Chandra Bose was open to securing independence by any means as his concept of independence consistently involved complete dismantling of the authority wielded by the British [56].

In the words of his ardent devotee, JB Kriplani, Gandhi was "always anxious to accommodate his opponents" p. 134, [5] - to the detriment of his own, we should add. He was intolerant of opposing opinions emerging from within Indian political spectrum, despite his professed adherence to ostensible Christian virtue of tolerance. On 19/1/1922, he even sought to exclude Indian citizens who were not members of Congress from franchise in the Swaraj that he promised: `Swaraj means, in the event of the foregoing demands (Khilafat & Justice for Punjab) being granted, full Dominion Status. The scheme of such swaraj should be framed by representatives duly elected in terms of the Congress constitution.  That means four-anna franchise. Every Indian adult, male or female, paying four annas and signing the Congress Creed, will be entitled to be placed on the electoral roll. These electors would elect delegates who would frame the swaraj constitution. This shall be given effect to without any change by the British Parliament.'  pp. 468, [98]. From the above, it must be obvious that Gandhi saw no scope for anyone outside the Congress to be a stakeholder in framing of the new constitution for India.  Rule of India would be a Congress-only enterprise.  Criticizing  Gandhi's four anna franchise Sir Sankaran  Nair had written pp. 63-64, [93]: A more preposterous demand cannot be imagined.  He [Gandhi] excludes all those who do not belong to his Congress.  Those who do not pay the annas four and sign the Congress creed form the majority of the population.  Again, to ask the British Parliament to accept the scheme framed by his Party, however absurd, without examination of the same, is absolute nonsense.  If Mr. Gandhi and his Party can form a scheme of Swaraj for the consideration of the rest of India, have it discussed with others, modified if necessary after such discussion, it may be and it ought to be placed before the Government and Parliament.  But this is the last thing he will do, for various reasons.  Mr. Gandhi himself will never do it because I doubt whether he has any correct idea of the Dominion status and all that it involves. Mr. Gandhi is not a student but an impulsive fanatic, indifferent to facts and obsessed by phantasmagoria. He jumps to what he calls conclusions, but which have in fact, no premises.

Even at this very early stage, Gandhi had already disavowed all other non-Congress freedom fighters, of whatever stamp. It would but be natural that he would be intolerant of the revolutionaries who by virtue of the path they chose had to function outside Congress.  As Shachindranath  Sanyal had pointed out on 12/2/1925:  You [Gandhi] have criticized the revolutionaries most unsympatheti- cally and even you went so far as to describe them as the enemies of the country, simply because they differ from your views and methods. You preach tolerance but you have been violently intolerant in your criticisms of the revolutionaries. The revolutionaries have risked their everything to serve their motherland, and if you cannot help them, at least be not intolerant towards them. p. 247, [94] Gandhi responded: All criticism is not intolerance. I have criticized the revolutionary because I have felt for him. He has the same right to hold me to be in error as I believe him to be in error. p. 249, [95] One may ponder if such strident a denunciation as below is symptomatic of an inherent intolerance -  A well-meaning and self-sacrificing physician who prescribes arsenic when he should have given fresh grape juice is one to be shunned in spite of his good intentions and even sacrifice.....If the revolutionaries are as many let them spread out into these villages and try to bring sunshine into the dark dungeons of the millions of their countrymen. That would be worthier of their ambition and love of the land than the exciting and unquenchable thirst for the blood of English officials and those who are assisting them. [Gandhi, 12/3/1925, To Another Revolutionary]: p. 397, [95] On 2/1/1930, Gandhi revealed the extent to which he detested the revolutionaries, when he wrote, Let those who are not past reason then cease either secretly or openly to endorse activities such as this latest bomb outrage. Rather let them openly and heartily condemn these outrages, so that our deluded patriots may for want of nourishment to their violent spirit realize the futility of violence and the great harm that violent activity has every time done p. 186, [76]

Symptomatic of an intolerant mind, Gandhi was not particularly enamored of  prolonged  debates either. Indeed, while debating with the revolutionaries, Gandhi started out with the eminent revolutionary Shachindranath Sanyal on a respectful and welcoming note:  ``A correspondent, who has given his name but not his address, has sent me what he calls "an open letter". It is a letter in reply to my remarks on the revolutionary movement in my address to the Belgaum Congress. The letter breathes love of the country, fervour and a spirit of self-sacrifice. It is moreover written under a sense of wrong, said to have been done by me to the revolutionaries. I therefore gladly print the letter without the name. The address of the writer is not given. The following is the unchanged full text of the letter'' p. 242, [94]. He continued similarly in his next letter in the sequence which was in response to Sanyal's colleague, Gupta's letter: The revolutionary whom I endeavoured to answer1 some time ago, has returned to the charge and challenges me to answer certain questions that arise out of my previous answers to him. I gladly do so. He seems to me to be seeking light, even as I am, and argues fairly and without much passion. So long as he continues to reason calmly, I promise to continue the discussion. p. 137, [96] But, after receiving a third letter, Gandhi seemed to have subsequently exhausted not only his time, but also his patience: My revolutionary friend has returned to the charge, but I must tell him that he has not been as patient with his composition as before. He has introduced in his letter under discussion much irrelevant matter and has argued loosely. So far as I can see, he has exhausted all his argument and has nothing new to say. But should he write again, I advise him to write his letter more carefully and boil down his thoughts. I have been obliged to do that for him this time. But as he is seeking light, let him read carefully what I write, then think out his thoughts calmly and then write out clearly and briefly. If it is merely questions he has to ask, let him simply write them out without arguing to convince me. I do not pretend to know everything about the revolutionary movement, but as I have been obliged to think, observe and write a great deal, there is very little new that he can tell me. Whilst, therefore, I promise to keep an open mind, I ask him, please, to spare a busy servant of the nation and a true friend of the revolutionary the labour of reading much that he need not read. I am anxious to keep in touch with the revolutionary and I can only do so through these columns. I have a soft corner for him in my heart, for there is one thing in common between him and me-the ability to suffer. But as I humbly believe him to be mistaken and misguided, I desire to wean him from his error or in the process myself be weaned from mine p. 285, [97] It is unclear though how Gupta could wean Gandhi away from his path if he was forbidden to argue to convince him.

But, his war against the revolutionaries was more rationally grounded than a misplaced generosity, perhaps. Big industrialists who sponsored Gandhi and influenced his policies were vehemently opposed to armed insurrections against the British (Section B.2.3 [12]). During the British regime, the privileged had grown through their cooperation, and they had learned how to effectively function in tandem with them. The industrialists for example relied on the British for machinery, technical knowhow and British controlled markets outside India eg, Britain, Hong Kong, China, East Africa (particularly jute industry and cotton mills which constituted an important venture of several who funded Congress) even beyond the nineteen forties (eg, a note prepared in 1946 under the instructions of Viceroy Wavell said that: "Britain is still the natural market from which Indian importers are likely to seek their requirements... British technical skill is also highly valued in India" p. 51, Vol. VIII, [16]). They could ill afford a new regime that represented a complete break from the past which would be the natural outcome of a violent overthrow of the current. In contemporary international developments, in the first decade of the twentieth century, the Bolshevik revolution displaced the existing Russian regime as also the mercantile community supporting it. Besides, armed insurrections were not conducive to smooth functioning of business, which is always the primary objective of industrialists. As a result, they opposed the revolutionaries, tooth and nail, in conjunction with the British. For example,  a prominent sponsor of Gandhi and a key member of his coterie, GD Birla has written that he urged Viceroy Linlithgow to arrive at a common position with Gandhi on "terrorists" and get rid of "terrorism" altogether pp. 164, 174, [8]. He had commended the Irwin-Gandhi pact for striking " at the roots of the method of securing political advance by means of disorder, " and substituting it by "the method of mutual discussion and confidence"' p. 161, [8]. He had defended the repressive Rowlatt Act introduced to contain the revolutionaries as "For the Rowlatt Act was merely the taking of emergency reserve powers in case. " p. 235, [8]. On June 30, 1935, he told Sir Henry Craik that if the British did not arrive at a settlement with Gandhi, "a revolution of the bloody type may become an inevitable factor. And this would be the greatest calamity not only to India but also to England. Tories may say this would be India's funeral. I say it would be a funeral for both. " p. 132, [8]. Thus, Gandhi's war on the revolutionaries was the industrialists' too.

High ranking British officials including Viceroys Chelmsford, Linlithgow and Puckle (Director general of Intelligence in 1940), Ellen Wilkinson, (member of the British Parliament for several years and a member of the British cabinet from 1945-1947) would naturally find Gandhi as an "asset" p. 94, Vol. 3, p. 138, Vol. 4, [17], an ally p. 179 [18] and "the best policeman the British had in India" p. 219, [1] , and "out, he might prove of great assistance to them " p. 179 [18]). The missionaries have also commented how Gandhi aided the efforts of the government to crush the revolutionaries and sidelined them.  In the words of a prominent missionary, Stanley Jones, "He saw clearly that there were two ways that India might gain her freedom. She might take the way of the sword and the bomb-the way that Mohammed Ali and Shankat Ali, the Mohammedan leaders, untamed by Gandhi, would have taken; and the way that the Bengal anarchists have actually taken. The fires of rebellion were underneath. The flash of a bomb here and there let the world see in that lurid light what was there. Gandhi brought all this hidden discontent to the open. A member of the secret police told me that it was comparatively easy for them now since Gandhi's advent, that they simply went to the Non-Cooperation Headquarters and asked what would be the next step in their program in the fight with the government and they told him just what they would do next. Gandhi turned the streams of discontent and rebellion into open and frank channels. " Chapter IV, Jesus Comes Through Irregular Channels-Mahatma Gandhi's Part, [89]. While the contempt of the missionaries for the revolutionaries (whom they disdainfully referred to as the 'Bengal Anarchists') is understandable, it is instructive to observe how much in consonance with the interests of the British rulers and their Christian missionaries Gandhi's own views were.

Worthwhile to note that one of the leading members of a revolutionary organisation, HSRA, Yashpal, had reported in his memoirs that during a police interrogation, a British inspector general of police counselled him to follow the Gandhian way to freedom p. 81, [77]. If Yashpal's version is true, this would constitute additional evidence that the Gandhian method was completely ineffective (it was alleged that Yashpal had himself turned a police informant). Regardless of the veracity of the above statement, it has been established that the British enhanced Gandhi's stature worldwide through publicity, encomiums, awards and velvet glove handling [12]. This in turn fed into the personality cult surrounding him, thanks to the susceptibility of Indian masses to personae who appear as avatars, and in due course facilitated the subversion of national goals.

Section A: Gandhi called Madanlal Dhingra a coward, a traitor, childish, murderer, intoxicated and mentally deranged

Enraged by the executions of revolutionaries like Khudiram Bose, Kanai lal Dutta, Satinder Pal, Pandit Kanshi Ram, Madanlal Dhingra exacted revenge upon the British by assassinating the political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India, Curzon Wylie, on July 1, 1909. Gandhi, who was then in South Africa condemned Dhingra on July 16, 1909: "The assassination of Sir Curzon Wyllie and Dr Lalkaka was a terrible thing. Sir Curzon Wyllie served as an officer at several places in India. Here he was Lord Morley's aide-de-camp. Dr Lalkaka was a Parsi physician and carried on business at Shanghai in China. He was here on a short visit only.  

On July 2, there was a tea-meeting of the National Indian Association in the Jehangir Hall of the Imperial Institute.  Such meetings are arranged with the object of bringing Indian students into contact with Englishmen, who therefore attend as the guests of Indians. Sir Curzon Wyllie was [thus] a guest of the assassin. From this point of view, Madanlal Dhingra murdered his guest in his own house, and also killed Dr Lalkaka who tried to interpose himself between them.  

It is being said in defence of Sir Curzon Wyllie's assassination that it is the British who are responsible for India's ruin, and that, just as the British would kill every German if Germany invaded Britain, so too it is the right of any Indian to kill any Englishman.  

Every Indian should reflect thoughtfully on this murder. It has done India much harm; the deputation's efforts have also received a setback. But that need not be taken into consideration.  It is the ultimate result that we must think of Dhingra's defence is inadmissible. In my view, he has acted like a coward. All the same, one can only pity the man. He was egged on to do this act by ill-digested reading of worthless writings. His defence of himself, too, appears to have been learnt by rote.  It is those who incited him to this that deserve to be punished. In my view, Mr. Dhingra himself is innocent. The murder was committed in a state of intoxication. It is not merely wine or bhang that makes one drunk; a mad idea also can do so. That was the case with Dhingra. The analogy of Germans and Englishmen is fallacious. If the Germans were to invade [Britain], the British would kill only the invaders. They would not kill every German whom they met. Moreover, they would not kill an unsuspecting German, or Germans who are guests. If I kill someone in my own house without a warning-someone who has done me no harm-I cannot but be called a coward. There is an ancient custom among the Arabs that they would not kill anyone in their own house, even if the person be their enemy. They would kill him after he had left the house and after he had been given time to arm himself. Those who believe in violence would be brave men if they observe these rules when killing anyone. Otherwise, they must be looked upon as cowards. It may be said that what Mr. Dhingra did, publicly and knowing full well that he himself would have to die, argues courage of no mean order on his part. But as I have said above, men can do these things in a state of intoxication, and can also banish the fear of death. Whatever courage there is in this is the result of intoxication, not a quality of the man himself. A man's own courage consists in suffering deeply and over a long period. That alone is a brave act which is preceded by careful reflection.  

I must say that those who believe and argue that such murders may do good to India are ignorant men indeed. No act of treachery can ever profit a nation. Even should the British leave in consequence of such murderous acts, who will rule in their place? The only answer is: the murderers. Who will then be happy? Is the Englishman bad because he is an Englishmen? Is it that everyone with an Indian skin is good? If that is so, we can claim no rights in South Africa, nor should there be any angry protest against oppression by Indian princes. India can gain nothing from the rule of murderers-no matter whether they are black or white. Under such a rule, India will be utterly ruined and laid waste. This train of thought leads to a host of reflections, but I have no time to set them down here. I am afraid some Indians will commend this murder. I believe they will be guilty of a heinous sin.  We ought to abandon such fanciful ideas. More about this later.'' pp. 427-429, [22].  

What Gandhi failed to realise was that Curzon Wylie was not any Englishman. As a high ranking British official (political aide-de-camp to the Secretary of State for India) in India, he was an invader himself, and a decision maker in the colonial system that exploited India. Thus, by Gandhi's argument, "If the Germans were to invade [Britain], the British would kill only the invaders'' Dhingra had every right to kill Wylie. "They would kill him after he had left the house and after he had been given time to arm himself - what chance did Madanlal Dhingra have to kill any invader after he had the opportunity to arm himself given the might of the British empire? " A man's own courage consists in suffering deeply and over a long period. That alone is a brave act which is preceded by careful reflection.'' - one wonders why Gandhi did not prescribe the same for the British? Perhaps the British could benefit from suffering over the death of one of their own colonials? "No act of treachery can ever profit a nation'' - perhaps unbeknownst to Gandhi deception constituted a valid military strategy even then. Within a decade, Gandhi would seek to enlist thousands half a million of soldiers from India for the British during the first world war, 12000 from Kheda alone; the British army employed deception as a military strategy big time   pp. 83-87, [23]. But, he could only look upon his compatriot Madanlal Dhingra who sought to liberate India from the British, as  a traitor and  a murderer, not as a soldier.    

Madanlal Dhingra was put up for trial on July 23, 1909.  In the trial he said: "I do not want to say anything in defense of myself, but simply to prove the justice of my deed. As for myself, no English law court has got any authority to arrest and detain me in prison, or pass sentence of death on me. That is the reason I did not have any counsel to defend me." [15].

"And I maintain that if it is patriotic in an Englishman to fight against the Germans if they were to occupy this country, it is much more justifiable and patriotic in my case to fight against the English. I hold the English people responsible for the murder of 80 millions of Indian people in the last fifty years, and they are also responsible for taking away? 100,000,000 every year from India to this country. I also hold them responsible for the hanging and deportation of my patriotic countrymen, who did just the same as the English people here are advising their countrymen to do. And the Englishman who goes out to India and gets, say, ? 100 a month, that simply means that he passes a sentence of death on a thousand of my poor countrymen, because these thousand people could easily live on this ? 100, which the Englishman spends mostly on his frivolities and pleasures. Just as the Germans have no right to occupy this country, so the English people have no right to occupy India, and it is perfectly justifiable on our part to kill the Englishman who is polluting our sacred land. I am surprised at the terrible hypocrisy, the farce, and the mockery of the English people. They pose as the champions of oppressed humanity-the peoples of the Congo and the people of Russia-when there is terrible oppression and horrible atrocities committed in India; for example, the killing of two millions of people every year and the outraging of our women. In case this country is occupied by Germans, and the Englishman, not bearing to see the Germans walking with the insolence of conquerors in the streets of London, goes and kills one or two Germans, and that Englishman is held as a patriot by the people of this country, then certainly I am prepared to work for the emancipation of my Motherland. Whatever else I have to say is in the paper before the Court. I make this statement, not because I wish to plead for mercy or anything of that kind. I wish that English people should sentence me to death, for in that case the vengeance of my countrymen will be all the more keen. I put forward this statement to show the justice of my cause to the outside world, and especially to our sympathizers in America and Germany."[13] [15].

Since Dhingra did not put up a defense, he was sentenced to death on the day of his trial. The apostle of peace did not condemn the death sentence issued by the British state as is evident from his indifferent response on the day of the sentence: "Madanlal Dhingra's case came up for hearing today (the 23rd). We were not permitted not be present in the court. Since Dhingra did not put up any defence, the case did not take much time.  He only stated that he had done the deed for the good of his country, and that he did not regard it as a crime. The presiding judge sentenced him to death. I have already given my views about this assassination.  Mr. Dhingra's statement, according to me, argues mere childishness or mental derangement. Those who incited him to this act will be called to account in God's court, and are also guilty in the eyes of the world. Dhingra's case has led to Government action against The Indian Sociologist.  The journal had published a categorical statement that homicide for the good of one's country was no murder. The printer, poor man, has been sentenced to four months' imprisonment for printing such a violent article. The man who has been sentenced is a poor, innocent Englishman, who was entirely ignorant [of what he was printing]. The authors are in Paris, and hence the Government is unable to get at them. Such acts will not advance the progress of the nation. So long as the people do not throw up men who will be prepared to invite the utmost suffering on themselves, India will never prosper.'' pp. 436-437, [24]. Gandhi has been following the Christian principle that espouses suffering for redemption, for sure, but his prescription was only for the colonised Indians, not their masters.

Dhingra's final statement before his execution was that: "I believe that a nation held down by foreign bayonets is in a perpetual state of war. Since open battle is rendered impossible to a disarmed race, I attacked by surprise. Since guns were denied to me, I drew forth my pistol and fired. Poor in wealth and intellect, a son like myself has nothing else to offer to the mother but his own blood. And so I have sacrificed the same on her altar. The only lesson required in India at present is to learn how to die, and the only way to teach it is by dying ourselves. My only prayer to God is that I may be re-born of the same mother and I may re-die in the same sacred cause, till the cause is successful. Vande Mataram!"[13], pp. 79-80, [14].

"Lloyd George expressed to Winston Churchill his highest admiration of Dhingra's attitude as a patriot. Churchill shared the same views and quoted with admiration Dhingra's last words as the finest ever made in the name of patriotism. They compared Dhingra with Plutarch's immortal heroes.'' p. 288, [26], quoted in p. 230, [25]. The Irish were naturally more appreciative. "Huge placards from Irish papers paid glowing tributes to Dhingra: Ireland honours Madanlal Dhingra who was proud to lay down his life for the sake of his country.''  p. 230, [25].

Gandhi remained unmoved while Lloyd George and Winston Churchill compared Madanlal Dhingra with Plutarch's immortal heroes. On November 19, 1909, he wrote as an editor responding to an imaginary reader:        

"Reader: You are over-stating the facts. All need not be armed.  At first, we shall assassinate a few Englishmen and strike terror; then, a few men who will have been armed will fight openly. We may have to lose a quarter of a million men, more or less, but we shall regain our land. We shall undertake guerilla warfare, and defeat the English.

Editor [Gandhi]:  That is to say, you want to make the holy land of India unholy. Do you not tremble to think of freeing India by assassination? What we need to do is to sacrifice ourselves.  It is a cowardly thought, that of killing others. Whom do you suppose to free by assassination? The millions of India do not desire it. Those who are intoxicated by the wretched modern civilization think these things. Those who will rise to power by murder will certainly not make the nation happy. Those who believe that India has gained by Dhingra's act and other similar acts in India make a serious mistake. Dhingra was a patriot, but his love was blind. He gave his body in a wrong way; its ultimate result can only be mischievous.''  p. 285, [35]

On 1909, Gandhi believed that "it is a cowardly thought, that of killing others.'' Within a decade, while enlisting for defending the very civilisation he called wretched above, he would however say that Indians can immortalize themselves by sacrificing their lives as British soldiers in  the first world war: If they [Indians fighting for the British in the first world war]  fall on the battle-field, they will immortalize themselves, their village and their country,  pp. 83-87, [23]. But then Dhingra was fighting against the British to liberate his motherland, while immortality was the sole prerogative of those that sacrificed in service of the British. Gandhi indicated in this speech that "we need to sacrifice ourselves'' perhaps omitting the qualifier that the sacrifice ought to be in service of the British.   The political assassination like the one that Madanlal Dhingra perpetrated did sully a holy land in Gandhi's world view as it did not conform to the missing qualifier.    

Then again, after the assassination of a Deputy Commissioner, Navjivan, Gandhi said on September 5, 1920,: "I know, however, that there are Muslims, and Hindus too, who welcome such assassinations. A good many people read with interest accounts of murders in Ireland. Quite a few believe that, were it not for bomb-throwing, the partition of Bengal would not have been undone. There are some who believe that the assassination [of Sir William Curzon Wyllie] by Dhingra did some good. I myself am emphatically of the view that assassinations never do any good, and that, if sometimes for a while good seems to have followed, in the end there is harm. I regard the victory of the British to be their defeat.  Evil has increased in them. Greed, hypocrisy, anger, lying, injustice - these are rapidly increasing. There is no limit to their arrogance. The Germans have no scope for these evil impulses. On whom should they perpetrate injustice? What will anger avail them?'' pp. 235, [47].  

Without further ado on the observation that in 1918 Gandhi had sought to enlist thousands of soldiers from India to ensure the very victory of the British that he called defeat in 1920, we would quote W S Blunt on the role of political assassinations in emancipation of India. Blunt wrote about his interview with Lyne Stevens, the `Doctor Royal friend' as follows: "He talked about the Dhingra assassination, which seems to have at last convinced his Royal friends that there is something wrong about the state of India. People talk about political assassinations as defeating its own end, but that is nonsense; it is just the shock needed to convince selfish rulers that selfishness has its limits of imprudence. It is like that other fiction that England never yields to threats. My experience is that when England has her face well slapped, she apologises, not before.''  p. 276, [26], quoted in pp. 232-233, [25].      

Finally, while Gandhi was condemning Madanlal Dhingra in 1909, he was leading a civil disobedience movement in South Africa to protect the rights of the Indian middle class there. We note that, immediately afterwards, big industrialists in India started generously contributing to Gandhi's struggle in South Africa. For example, on January 10, 1910, Ratan Tata, the younger son of JN Tata who had received knighthood, wrote to him: "My warm appreciation of the noble struggle our countrymen are waging. I need hardly add that I shall watch the progress of the struggle with great interest.'' p. 112, Vol. 1, [48], p. 108, [7]. Ratan Tata, Sir Purshotmadas Thakurdas and Sir JB Petit were respectively, president, vice-president and secretary of the South African Indian Relief Fund. Other business magnates and rulers including Aga Khan, the Nizam of Hyderabad and other ruling princes were among his donors. As Gandhi himself stated in 1913, "the river of gold'' flowed from India, and "Then money began to rain from India'' p. 157, Vol. 1, [48], p. 236, [49], p. 108, [7]. It is worthwhile to note that  British would typically not knight anyone who was not a loyalist (even Nobel laureate Rabindranath Thakur's family had a long history of loyalty and proximity to the British crown), and only the ruling princes who were loyal to the British were allowed to survive until the beginning of the twentieth century. The support extended by the British loyalists (Indian industrialists and princes) to Gandhi starting 1910 can be understood keeping in view that a revolutionary movement seeking complete severance from the British was gathering steam in India during the first decade of 1900.  As we described, such an outcome would be in conflict with the interests of the privileged British loyalists. Given his hostility to Madanlal Dhingra, Gandhi came across as a promising option to suppress a revolution and ensure continuity to the British regime, and his stature had to be advanced.

It is perhaps for the same reasons that on Gandhi's return to India from South Africa, in early 1915, the British themselves enhanced his stature among the general public, which in due course, contributed to his emergence as the Mahatma. On the eve of his return to India in January in 1915, General Smuts, the South African minister, told the press: "I am convinced that Gandhi is sincerely anxious to come to a fair settlement, and his power while it lasts, is an enormous asset to Britain in its efforts to arrive at a settlement.''  pp. 173-174, Vol. 3, [48] p. 126, [7]. British ensured a hero's welcome for Gandhi.  They arranged for him to land at the Apollo Bunder in Bombay - an honor accorded to Royalty, by the Viceroys and India's most distinguished sons p. 157, Vol. 1, [48], p. 126, [7]. Viceroy Lord Hardinge conferred on him the Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal for his services in Africa p. 46, [18], p. 126, [7]. On his arrival in  India, he was welcomed by those who among the knighted industrialists  - Sir Dorab Tata, Sir J. B. Petit, Sir Vithaldas Thackersay, Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas, Sir Ibrahim Rahimtoola, Sir Jamshetji Jeejibhoy and others [2], p. 108, [7]. As many high ranking British officials including Viceroys Chelmsford, Linlithgow and Puckle (Director General of Intelligence in 1940), Ellen Wilkinson, (member of the British Parliament for several years and a member of the British cabinet from 1945-1947) would later acknowledge, British and their collaborators were welcoming  their "asset" p. 94, Vol. 3, p. 138, Vol. 4, [17],  ally p. 179 [18] and "the best policeman the British had in India'' p. 219, [1]. And, Madanlal Dhingra contributed to the discovery by the British eco-system of the above potential in Gandhi  not in any small measure.    

Section B: Gandhi disapproved of a resolution commending the sacrifice of Gopinath Saha

A teenaged (18-year-old) young revolutionary, Gopinath Saha, was hanged in March 1924 after seeking to kill a notorious Police Commissioner, Charles Tegart,  and killing a civilian Ernest Day by mistake. He had stirred Bengal by valiantly declaring at the court that he really had intended to murder Tegart and expressed his sincere sorrow for having killed the wrong person. He was glad to pay with his life and hoped that "May every drop of my blood sow the seeds of freedom in every home of India'' p. 38, [19], pp. 112-113, [1],  p. 197, [7]. At Sirajgunj in Pabna, the Bengal Provincial Conference held in May 1924, passed a resolution which while disassociating itself from violence, paid a tribute to Gopinath Saha's ideal of self sacrifice p. 113, [1] . On June 11, 1924, GD Birla complained to Gandhi: "At the Sirajgunj Conference, the Swarajists have openly declared themselves in favour of violence and have thereby torn the mask of non-violence off their faces. Thus, ended the drama of non-violence." p. 8, Vol. I, [17]. Subsequently, Gandhi strongly disapproved of the resolution p. 236, [21], p. 229, [1]. Gandhi was in fact infuriated when C R Das praised the courage and sacrificing spirit of Gopinath Saha. A resolution was moved at the AICC at Gandhi's instance in June 1924, which characterised Saha's action as misguided love of the country and disapproved emphatically of all political murders as inconsistent with the Congress creed p. 320, [71], p. 22, [64]. p. 179, [79]. The same AICC resolution also went out of the way to commiserate with Day's family, but did not have a single word to say about the fate of the teenaged Gopinath Saha.  Gandhi declared himself as 'Defeated and Humbled" that the resolution was passed at a narrow margin of 78 in favor and 70 against p. 22, [64], p.248, [78]. He also forced the Calcutta Corporation to annul a similar resolution that it had passed p. 236, [21]. As we have argued before, big industrialists were threatened by attempts of revolution as those would disrupt the status quo, which was in their interests, and Gandhi's stands were usually in sync with them.

As an aside, the Karachi Congress in 1931 passed a similar resolution on Bhagat Singh in Gandhi's presence and under the presidency of his staunch loyalist, Vallabhbhai Patel.  S Bose quipped: "The circumstances at Karachi were such that this resolution had to be swallowed by people, who under ordinary circumstances, would not come within miles of it. So far as the Mahatma was concerned, he had to make his conscience somewhat elastic.'' p. 229, [1]. We would let the reader judge here if Gandhi really stood for the truth he so religiously championed in his persona of a Mahatma.

Section C: Gandhi congratulated Viceroy Irwin for surviving an attempted political assassination  

Revolutionaries attempted to blow up the Viceregal Special on December 23, 1929 at Delhi. Gandhi himself moved a resolution in December 1929, Lahore session of the Congress, congratulating the Viceroy on his escape and condemning the revolutionaries. It said: "This Congress deplores the bomb outrage perpetrated on the Viceroy's train and reiterates its conviction that such action is not only contrary to the creed of the Congress but results in harm being done to the national cause. It congratulates the Viceroy and Lady Irwin and their party including the poor servants on their fortunate and narrow escape.'' p. 27, [64]. pp. 157, [80].  In his speech following his moving the resolution, he said, "The Congress Resolution also congratulates the Viceroy and Lady Irwin and their party including the poor servants. In my humble opinion it is a natural corollary to what has been said in the previous part of the resolution, that we congratulate the Viceroy and Lady Irwin and their party. We lose nothing by using common courtesy. Not only so; we would be guilty of not having understood the implications of our creed if we  forget that those Englishmen, whether in authority or not, who choose to remain in India are our charge, that we who profess this creed of non-violence should consider ourselves trustees for the safety of their lives.'' pp. 159, [81].  It is interesting to observe that Gandhi saw himself as a trustee of the safety of British lives, but not the lives of the Congressmen, or other freedom fighters, who were required to sacrifice without demur. Many Congressmen opposed the resolution, eg, HD Rajah from Tamil Nadu wondered "What did it matter to them whether the bomb hit the Viceroy or a donkey?'' p. 27, [64]. The resolution won by a narrow margin, 904 in favor and 823 against '' (later the word "donkey'' was replaced by "any other'' ) p. 27, [64], [72]. Incidentally, Gandhi never moved, nor Congress never passed, a resolution condemning brutalities on revolutionaries '' p. 27, [64].  

Disappointed that Congress was a divided house on approving the above resolution, Gandhi went on to condemn the revolutionaries in an article on January 2, 1930. The most severe fallout that he was concerned about should the revolutionaries have succeeded was that the Congress would have to cancel its annual session in Lahore in December 1929: "Let us think then for a moment what would have happened if the Viceroy had been seriously injured or killed. There certainly would have been no meeting of 23rd ultimo and therefore no certainty as to the course to be adopted by the Congress. That surely would have been, to say the least, an undersirable result. Fortunately, for us the Viceroy and his party escaped unhurt, and with great self-possession he went through the day's routine as if nothing had happened. I know that those who have no regard even for the Congress, who hope nothing from it and whose hope lies only through violence, will not be affected by this speculative reasoning. But the others, I hope, will not fail to realize the truth of the argument and to put together several important deductions that can be drawn from the hypothetical case put by me.'' p. 184, [76]. In the same article, denouncing the revolutionaries as deluded patriots, he called upon the masses to isolate them: "Let those who are not past reason then cease either secretly or openly to endorse activities such as this latest bomb outrage. Rather let them openly and heartily condemn these outrages, so that our deluded patriots may for want of nourishment to their violent spirit realise the futility of violence and the great harm that violent activity has every time done'' p. 186, [76].

HSRA issued a counter manifesto titled  the Philosophy of the Bomb, authored by Bhagwati Charan Vohra which dismissed Gandhi's denunciation of the revolutionaries and his support for the Viceroy with contempt:

1) ``It [Congress]  has changed its creed from Swaraj to Complete Independence [December 31, 1929]. As a logical sequence to this, one would expect it to declare a war on the British Government. Instead, we find, it has declared war against the revolutionaries. The first offensive of the Congress came in the form of a resolution deploring the attempt made on the 23 December, 1929, to blow up the Viceroy's special. It was drafted by Gandhi and he fought tooth and nail for it, with the result that it was passed by a trifling majority of 81 in a house of 1713... the supporters of the resolution indulged in abuse, called the revolutionaries cowards and described their actions as `dastardly' -and one of them even threateningly remarked that if they wanted to be lead by Gandhi, they should pass this resolution without any opposition...Having achieved a victory which cost him more than a defeat, Gandhi has returned to the attack in his article ``The Cult of the Bomb.'' ''  pp. 208-209,  [92]

2) ``If the bomb, that burst under the Viceroy's special, had exploded properly, one of the two things suggested by Gandhi would have surely happened. The Viceroy would have either been badly injured or killed. Under such circumstances there certainly would have been no meeting between the leaders of political parties and the Viceroy. The uncalled for and undignified attempt on the part of these individuals, to lower the national prestige by knocking at the gates of the Government house with the beggar's bowl in their hands and dominion status on their lips, in spite of the clear terms of the Calcutta ultimatum, would have been checkmated and the nation would have been the better off for that. If, fortunately, the explosion had been powerful enough to kill the Viceroy, one more enemy of India would have met a well deserved doom. The author of the Meerut prosecution and the Lahore and the Bhusawal persecutions can appear a friend of India only to the enemies of her freedom. In spite of Gandhi and Nehru and their claims of political sagacity and statesmanship, Irwin has succeeded in shattering the unity between different political parties in the country that had resulted from the boycott of the Simon Commission. Even the Congress today is a house divided against itself. Who else, except the Viceroy and his olive tongue,  have we to thank for our great misfortunes.  And yet, there exists people in our country, who proclaim him a Friend of India! ''  p. 211, [92]      

3) ``Gandhi has called all upon all   those who are not past reason to withdraw their support from the revolutionaries and condemn their actions so that `` our deluded patriots may for want of nourishment to their violent spirit realize the futility of violence and the great harm that violent activity has every time done.''  How easy and convenient it is to call people deluded, to declare them to be past reason, to call upon the public to withdraw its support and condemn them so that they may get isolated and be forced to suspend their activities, especially when a man holds the confidence of an influential section of the public! It is a pity that Gandhi does not and will not understand revolutionary psychology in spite of the life-long experience of the public life. Life is a precious thing. It is dear to everyone. If a man becomes a revolutionary, if he goes about with his life in the hollow of his hand ready to sacrifice it at any moment, he does not do so merely for the fun of it. He does not risk his life merely because sometimes, when the crowd is in a sympathetic mood, it cries `Bravo' in appreciation. He does it because his reason forces him to take that course, because his conscience dictates it. A revolutionary believes in reason more than anything. It is to reason, and reason alone, that he bows. No amount of abuse and condemnation, even if it emanates from the highest of the high can turn him from his set purpose. To think that a revolutionary will give up his ideas if public support and appreciation is withdrawn from him, is the highest folly. Many a revolutionary has, ere now, stepped on the scaffold and laid his life down for the cause, regardless of the curses that the constitutionalist agitators rained plentifully upon him. If you will have the revolutionaries suspend their activities, reason with them squarely. That is the one and the only way. For the rest let there be no doubt in anybody's mind. A revolutionary is the last person on Earth to submit to bullying.''   pp. 215-216, [92]      

Eminent historian R C Majumdar understood the revolutionary psyche better than Gandhi: ``Like the wandering ascetics of old, these young men willingly forsook all that was dear and near to them, to carry on a life-long struggle for their goal. Fear of death and physical sufferings worse than death did not deter them; obstacles and difficulties like Himalyan barriers could not deflect them from their course. Deserted by friends and relatives, ignored, if not derided, by their countrymen, without means or resources to keep their body and soul together, haunted by spies and hunted by police, flying from one shelter to another, these young men carried on a heroic but hopeless struggle, from day to day, from month to month, and from year to year. They chose the life of hardship and privations and consecrated their lives to the service of their country. Many of them rushed headlong to destruction. They died in order that others may live. '' p. 72, [25].  He would know that they cannot easily be bullied to submission.

Section D: Gandhi  did not utter one word in support of revolutionary Jatin Das' martyrdom in non-violent protest

Gandhi did not utter one word in support of Jatin Das, while Das observed a hunger strike protesting the treatment meted to under-trial political prisoners, in which he eventually died on September 13, 1929.   

It is worthwhile to note that Jatin Das died observing a non-violent protest - hunger strike - that Gandhi often employed, but usually came out fine from it - Jatin however stuck to his stand until his very end. S. Bose had written about this inconsistency: "In this connection the attitude of the Mahatma was inexplicable. Evidently the martyrdom of Jatin Das which had stirred the heart of the country did not make any impression on him. The pages of Young India ordinarily filled with observations on all political events and also on topics like health, diet, etc. had nothing to say about the incident.  A follower of the Mahatma who was also a close friend of the deceased, wrote to him inquiring as to why he had said nothing about the event. The Mahatma replied to the effect that he had purposely refrained from commenting, because if he had done so, he would have been forced to write something unfavourable. '' p. 180, [1].  

We reproduce Gandhi's letter to his secretary Mahadev Desai, on September 22, 1929, right after Jatin Das' martyrdom: "You have sent a good number of cuttings. I had read none except one. As yet I cannot write anything about Jatin. I am not surprised that what may be called our own circle fails to understand me. Personally, I have not the least doubt regarding the correctness of my view. I see no good in this agitation. I have been obliged to keep silent because what I would say might be misused. But people seem to have understood my position.''  pp, 127, [2]. He had also written to Raihana Tyabji about Jatin Das on October 9, 1929 "Now about Jatin Das. I have been deliberately silent because I have not approved of the fast.  But I have refrained from saying anything as my opinion would have been distorted by the officials and grossly misused''. pp. 223, [2]. Gandhi had written to Rajagopalachari on October 18, 1929 as follows:  "There was one question which I forgot to deal with when I wrote to you. That was regarding the late Rev. Wizia. I cannot deal with the matter satisfactorily because I am wholly against hunger-strikes for matters such as Wizia and Jatin died for. Any expression of such opinion would be distorted and misused by the Government. I therefore feel that my silence is more serviceable than my criticism. Do you not agree with my judgment of the hunger-strikes and with my consequent silence?''  pp. 272, [2].

One wonders why Gandhi opposed hunger strikes by revolutionaries in protest against persecution of under-trial political prisoners. Is it because they did not renounce violence before embarking on Satyagraha, but he did profess that he was duty bound to help those who pursue a just cause even if they do not adopt his methods? Or, did he not want a direct evidence that those who were brave enough to risk their life by taking up guns against colonial oppressors could very well adopt and continue non-violent struggles up to the bitter end, but the converse is not true ?

Section E: Gandhi collaborated with the British in its strong-handed suppression of the revolution in Chittagong

Surya Sen, affectionately known as Masterda, organised an armed insurrection in Chattogram (Chittagong) in 1930 which liberated the district for a few days from the British rule. On April 18, 1930, his team captured two armouries - the police armoury and the auxiliary forces armoury - in a surprise attack. Simultaneously, the central telephone and central telegraphic offices were raided, which destroyed the internal communications in Chattogram and communication links with the outside world. The rail links were disrupted too. The Europeans fled to the Chattogram port and sailed away in a ship, from which they sent a wireless message to Calcutta. Some army officers directed machine gun-fire at the rebels, but the latter effectively responded. A provisional revolutionary government headed by Surya Sen was set up. When the news of Chattogram arrived in outside world in April 1930, the government launched a reign of terror on the masses to hound out the revolutionaries. Panic was so great at Chittagong that a force of several thousand policemen had to be reinforced by regular troops and a Royal Navy flagship came to the harbour to raise sagging morale p. 211, [7]. In due course, British recaptured Chattogram. Surya Sen and his close associates absconded, escaped from an encounter in June 1932, and were finally captured in February 1933. Surya Sen and Tarakeshwar Dastidar were executed by hanging on January 12, 1934, and their dead bodies were given a sea burial from a battle cruiser on the high seas pp. 209-210, 212, [7].

Within three days of the heroic uprising, on April 21, 1930, Gandhi wrote: "Chittagong news makes sad reading. It shows that there is a large or small body of men in Bengal who do not believe in non-violence whether as a policy or as a creed. That there were such people all over India I knew but I had hoped that they would give non-violence a chance. If Chittagong is an indication and not an isolated act, as I believe Calcutta and Karachi acts to be, it is a serious affair. But, however serious the situation becomes, there can be no suspension of the fight. There can be no retracing. I observe that the Viceroy has answered the Chittagong disturbance with the exercise of his extra-ordinary powers. That was only to be expected.''p. 153, [54], p. 210, [7]. Thus, Gandhi lost no time in condemning the uprising, but dismissed the force used by the British to suppress, as merely expected. He also equated the heroic revolt with the ensuing governmental repression. He talked of fighting "both the violence of the Government and the violence of those among us who have no faith in non-violence'' p. 210, [7]. pp. 147-149, [59]. He perhaps forgot the wisdom he disbursed while supporting the Khilafat agitation that even when both parties believe in violence, there is often such a thing as justice on one side or the other, and a robbed man has justice on his side, even though he may be preparing to regain the lost property by force pp, 151, [51].

Multiple ordinances were introduced in Bengal during 1931-1932 in general and districts like Chittagong, Dacca, Midnapore in particular, that in effect placed these regions under martial laws, and empowered the executive to seize buildings, to order citizens, on pain of punishment, to assist them in suppression of terrorism, to impose collective fines on villagers etc. Attempt to murder, and even possession of arms, explosives, were made punishable by death in 1933-1934 in Bengal pp. 261, 272, 281, [1]. Rather than protesting against these, on 8th May, 1931, Gandhi wrote to Sir Darcy Lindsay: "many of us are doing everything we can to counter the growth of the violent revolutionary movement.'' pp.74, [43].  On July 29. 1931, he had assured the Viceroy: "I am trying in all humility to overtake the mischief [revolutionary movement] as far as it is humanly possible.'' pp. 144, [42].  The Viceroy appreciated Gandhi's whole-hearted efforts in containing revolutionary movements. p. 213, [7].  In September 1931, JM Sengupta then BPCC President, and member of Congress Working Committee, urged the Congress High Command to observe an all India protest day in protest against the atrocities in Bengal in general and Chittagong in particular - to no avail. When a police officer, Ashanullah, notorious for sadistic torture of suspected revolutionaries, was killed by revolutionaries, Chattogram town was handed over to Muslim rioters by British officials and non-officials for three days p. 215, [7]. Rather than empathizing with the hapless Hindus of Chattogram, Gandhi empathised with the Viceroy instead. On September 18, 1931, he wrote "I fully share your sorrow over Chittagong murder and am doing all I can to wean the mad youths from their error.''  p. 215, [7] pp. 385, [55].

Section F: Gandhi did not try to commute the sentence of Bhagat Singh and his Comrades

Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru assassinated police officer Saunders in December 1928 subsequent to Saunders' supervision of the assault that eventually killed Lala Lajpat Rai.  Gandhi called the assassination a "dastardly act" which will "decidedly retard the progress of this quiet building" p. 24, [64]. pp. 446-447, [82].  Elaborating on his theory, Gandhi decided to generously grant absolution to Saunders for beating Lala Lajpat Rai, which led to his death. He wrote "I wish however that it was possible to convince the hot youth of the utter futility of such revenge. Whatever the Assistant Superintendent did was done in obedience to instructions. No one person can be held wholly responsible for the assault and the aftermath. The fault is that of the system of Government. What requires mending is not men but the system.'' pp. 446, [82].  Further, he went on to say in the same article, "Surely there is nothing heroic about a cold-blooded robbery accompanied by murder of an innocent wealthy pilgrim carrying treasures for distribution in well-conceived charity. There is equally none in the deliberate secret assassination of an innocent police officer who has discharged his duty however disagreeable its consequences may be for the community to which the assassin belongs.'' This, in Gandhi's eyes, Bhagat Singh and his comrades stood condemned for shooting Saunders on their own initiative, but Saunders himself was innocent and exonerated for beating Lala Lajpat Rai, because he was obeying orders! It is interesting to note that Gandhi's stand absolving and exonerating Saunders goes in the face of judicial opinion concerning guilt in the case of civilian casualties.  The principle of holding policemen, soldiers and government authorities responsible for outrages on civilians, even when they were obeying orders, has been established time and again.  In war crimes trials after World War 2, both Japanese (eg: Gen. Yamashita) and German (eg: Field Marshal von Manstein) officers were tried and convicted not only for their crimes, but also for their inability to protect civilians in their areas of operation, even when they themselves had not perpetrated any outrages themselves as in the case of Gen. Yamashita [88].  Similarly, in a landmark judgement in the Kafr Qasim massacre case (where a group of Israeli soldiers shot many unarmed Arab civilians and other soldiers watched impassively), Judge Benjamin Halevy wrote that it is incumbent upon soldiers to reject an illegal order [88], even if given by a superior officer, saying "The distinguishing mark of a 'manifestly unlawful order' should fly like a black flag above the order given as a warning saying `prohibited'.  Not formal unlawfulness, hidden or half hidden, nor unlawfulness discernible only to the eyes of legal experts…. Unlawfulness appearing on the face of the order itself… Unlawfulness piercing the eye and revolting the heart, be the eye not blind nor the heart stony and corrupt, that is the measure of 'manifest unlawfulness' required to release a soldier from the duty of obedience." p.192, [84].  

In April 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt dropped a bomb at the assembly in Lahore. Gandhi denounced the bomb-throwing as: "sheer madness'', and "bomb-throwers have discredited the cause of freedom in whose name they threw the bombs" and that "Congressmen should not give, even in secret, any approval to the deed" pp. 24-25, [64]. The article titled `The Bomb and the Knife' in Young India on 18/04/1929 pp. 363-364, [87]  is worth quoting to show how Gandhi equated freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh with an assassin like Ilm-ad-din (the assassin of Mahashay Rajpal, the publisher of Rangeela Rasool). Gandhi's words are reproduced here verbatim, "At the back of the bomb thrown in the Assembly by men bearing Hindu names and the knife of Rajpal's assassin bearing a Muslim name runs the same philosophy of mad revenge and impotent rage. The bomb-throwers have discredited the cause of freedom in whose name they threw the bombs.''  However, while Gandhi did not empathise at all with the freedom fighters in the former case, he indirectly sympathised with the assassin in the latter, as he stated in the same article, "Rajpal's assassination has given him a martyrdom and a name which he did not deserve ... The assassination has brought him posthumous renown.''

Much before the death of Jatin Das, Gandhi deplored the publicity given the trials of Bhagat Singh, and his colleague, BK Dutt on July 1, 1929, who were also fasting for the same reasons as Jatin Das, i.e., decent treatment in prisons. The official publication of the Congress published their defence, and Gandhi remonstrated with Nehru for doing so, "I read the current Congress Bulletin. I think that the reproduction of that statement was out of place in an official publication which is designed merely to record Congress activities. Is it not like a government gazette? On merits too, I understand that it was prepared by their counsel. It is not the outpouring of earnest souls as you and I thought it was. Nor did I like your advocacy and approval of the fast they are undergoing. In my opinion, it is an irrelevant performance and in so far as it may be relevant, it is like using Nasmyth hammer to crush a fly. However, this if for you to ponder over.'', p. 132, [83]. Nehru defended himself, but concurred with Gandhi that the publication of their defences in court was inappropriate and sought Gandhi's pardon for it, p. 157. [65] "I am sorry that you disapproved of m giving the statements of Bhagat Singh and Dutt's statements in the Congress bulletin.  I was myself a little doubtful as to whether I should give it, but when I found that there was general appreciation of it among the Congress circles, I decided to give extracts.  It was difficult to pick and choose, so gradually most of it went in.  But I agree with you that it was somewhat out of place. …. Have I been advocating the fast?  I had not intended doing so and I do not know what statement of mine you are referring to.  In Delhi, I had stated that we could not sympathise with the fast of Bhagat Singh and Dutt during their long fast.  As a matter of fact, I am not in favour of hunger strikes.  I had told this to many young men who came to see me on this subject, but I did not think it worthwhile to condemn the fast publicly.''. However, faced with Gandhi's criticism, he backtracked and disowned his statements in support of the fasting revolutionaries.

Revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were sentenced to death by hanging in 1931. During his negotiations with Viceroy Irwin prior to Gandhi-Irwin pact, Gandhi made almost no effort to have their sentence commuted despite fervent appeals from all over India. Irwin has reported as follows about an interview with Gandhi: In conclusion and not connected with the above, he[Gandhi]  mentioned the case of Bhagat Singh. He did not plead for commutation, although he would, being opposed to all taking of life, take that course himself. He also thought it would have an influence for peace. But he did ask for postponement in present circumstances. I contented myself with saying that, whatever might be the decision as to exact dates, I could not think there was any case for commutation which might not be made with equal force in the case of any other violent crime. The Viceroy's powers of commutation were designed for use on well-known grounds of clemency, and I could not feel that they ought to be invoked on grounds that were admittedly political pp.151, [52]. Gandhi deliberately placed Bhagat Singh and his colleagues outside the agreement with Irwin. Gandhi has reported as follows about an interview on February 18, 1931 with Irwin: These two titbits are not worth narrating anywhere. Now the third one. I talked about Bhagat Singh. I told him : "This has no connection with our discussion, and it may even be inappropriate on my part to mention it. But if you want to make the present atmosphere more favourable, you should suspend Bhagat Singh's execution."  The Viceroy liked this very much. He said : "I am very grateful to you that you have put this thing before me in this manner. Commutation of sentence is a difficult thing, but suspension is certainly worth considering." I said about Bhagat Singh: "He is undoubtedly a brave man but I would certainly say that he is not in his right mind. However, this is the evil of capital punishment, that it gives no opportunity to such a man to reform himself. I am putting this matter before you as a humanitarian issue and desire suspension of sentence in order that there may not be unnecessary turmoil in the country. I myself would release him, but I cannot expect any Government to do so. I would not take it ill even if you do not give any reply on this issue." pp.152, [52].

Worthwhile to note that while Gandhi was living in South Africa and England, he did not even condemn the execution of Madanlal Dhingra in 1909, invoking humanitarian principles against capital punishment. His elastic conscience perhaps enabled him  to adapt his stance in 1931 given public pressure in India where he then operating.  

In Delhi, great pressure was brought to bear upon the Mahatma to save the lives of Bhagat Singh and his colleagues. Subhas Bose has written in p. 204, [1], "On this occasion, I ventured the suggestion that he should, if necessary, break with the Viceroy on the question because the execution was against the spirit, if not the letter of the Delhi Pact. I was reminded of a similar incident during the armistice between the Sinn Fein Party and the British government, when the strong attitude adopted by the former had secured the release of a political prisoner sentenced to the gallows.  But the Mahatma, who did not want to identify himself with the revolutionary prisoners would not go so far and it naturally made a great difference when the Viceroy realised that the Mahatma would not break on the question.'' Others too made fervent appeals to the Mahatma to save Bhagat Singh and his colleagues. On February 14, 1931, Madan Mohan Malaviya made a fervent appeal to the Viceroy that Bhagat Singh's death sentence be commuted to life sentence, saying p. 20, [91] "I do so not only because I am opposed on grounds of humanity, but also because the execution of these young men whose action was prompted not by personal or selfish considerations, but by patriotic impulses...'' But Gandhi was unmoved. In p. 757, [91], Sitaramayya reports the reply of the Congress to the following question, "Q. Would it be fair to ask, whether the sentences on Bhagat Singh and others be commuted to transportation for life? A. It would be better not to ask me that question. Regarding this there is sufficient material in the newspapers to allow journalists to draw their own inferences. Beyond this, I would not like to go.''

In Delhi on March 7, 1931, Gandhi said in a speech: "I beseech you then, if you want the release of the prisoners, to change your methods, to accept the settlement, and then come and ask me about the Garhwalis and Bhagat Singh. Come to me six months hence, after you have implemented the settlement and gained in strength, and ask me the question you are asking today[how Bhagat Singh can be saved]  and I promise to satisfy you.'' pp.229-230, [52]. Bhagat Singh was scheduled to be hanged on March 24, 1931, no promise was given about postponing the date. We would like to cite  Viceroy's report to the Press on 19/03/1931 towards the above end: His [Gandhi's] general attitude was friendly and he seemed not less anxious than he was last week to tread the path of peace. As he was leaving, he asked if he might mention the case of Bhagat Singh, saying that he had seen in the Press the intimation of his execution for March 24th. This was an unfortunate day, as it coincided with the arrival of the new President of the Congress at Karachi and there would be much popular excitement. I told him I had considered the case with most anxious care, but could find no grounds on which I could justify to my conscience commuting the sentence. As to the date, I had considered the possibility of postponement till after the Congress, but had deliberately rejected it on various grounds : (i) that postponement of execution, merely on political grounds, when orders had been passed seemed to me improper; (ii) that postponement was inhuman in that it would suggest to the friends and relatives that I was considering commutation; and  (iii) that Congress would have been able legitimately to complain that they had been tricked by Government.  He appeared to appreciate the force of these arguments, and said no more. pp.272, [52]. So, Gandhi knew that Bhagat Singh's assassination had not been postponed. After the execution of Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Rajguru, on March 23, 1931, Gandhi affirmed that: ``We must realise that commutation of the sentences was not a part of the truce. We may accuse the Government of violence but we cannot accuse it of breach of the settlement.''  p. 293, [52].  On March 26, 1931, when Gandhi was asked in a press interview, "Does the execution of Bhagat Singh and his friends alter your position in any way with regard to the [Gandhi-Irwin]  settlement" He answered: My own personal position remains absolutely the same, though the provocation has been of the most intense character.  I must confess that the staying of these executions was no part of the truce, and so far as I am concerned, no provocation offered outside the terms will deflect me from the path I had mapped out when I agreed to the settlement. pp.301-302, [52] How could he then assure satisfaction to his countrymen in six months who were demanding the release of Bhagat Singh? The question arises not only because he professed to adhere to truth, but also because it concerned national sentiments regarding the execution of one of the greatest revolutionaries of India.   

After the execution, "the city of Delhi resounded with the slogans 'Down with Gandhi' and even the humbler Congress camp followers believed that Gandhi had deserted them, that he had been bought over by the Viceroy and that nice-places were being made for himself and his immediate entourage.'' p. 31, [64].

The sense of betrayal that the revolutionaries faced after Gandhi's indifference to Bhagat Singh has been expressed by Manmathnath Gupta, an eminent member of his organisation, as follows: Gandhi was always eager to show that the life of the Viceroy was dearer to him than that of say, Jatin Das, or Bhagat Singh. This was perhaps a pose and a part of his strategy, but it hurt the revolutionaries who had been rotting in jails for years.  The agents of the alien government called us terrorists. This did not hurt us, but Gandhi's attitude amounted to almost saying, `You fellows are not political prisoners'.  What annoyed us very much was that Gandhi was not consistent in his denunciations.  He recognised the revolutionaries of all other countries as patriots, but he was more than step-motherly towards Indian revolutionaries, as evinced by the fact that he did not press for the release of revolutionaries at all on this occasion. pp. 322, [27].

Finally, after the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Gandhi spoke as follows: "Bhagat Singh and his companions have been executed and have become martyrs. Their death seems to have been a personal loss to many. I join in the tributes paid to the memory of these young men. And yet I must warn the Youth of the country against following their example. We should not utilize our energy, our spirit of sacrifice, our labours and our indomitable courage in the way they have utilized theirs. This country must not be liberated through bloodshed.'' pp. 292-293, [10].  His confidant GD Birla communicated to the Home member, Sir Henry Craik, on 30th June, 1935, that "Swaraj attained through violence is no good to him [Gandhi]. He attaches more importance to non-violence than even to Swaraj. His nearest lieutenants believe in his policy.'' pp. 132-133, [8]. Gandhi is surely at liberty to hold the view expressed in the last sentence, but by his own argument which he presented while championing the Khilafat agitation p. 151, [51], did he not promote violence and violation resulting from political enslavement by refusing to assist those who believed in accomplishing the just cause of liberating India, if only, through violence? Nonetheless, GD Birla rightly summarised Gandhi's and his "nearest lieutenants'' views as would be evident from the speeches and correspondences we provide below and in Section I.

We conclude this section by reproducing a letter written by Sukhdev to Gandhi right before he was hanged along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru p. 209, [7]. Sukhdev's letter was published in [29] on April 23, 1931, after his execution, and reinforces the sense of betrayal that Manmathanath Gupta had expressed:  

Recent reports show that, since the successful termination of your peace negotiations, you have made several public appeals to the revolutionary workers to call off their movement at least for the present and give you a last chance to try your non-violent cult. As a matter of fact the calling off any movement is neither an ideological nor a sentimental act. It is the consideration of the peculiar needs of different times that force the leaders to change their tactics.

Let us presume that at the time of peace parley, you did not overlook the fact even for a single moment, and did not make a secret of it, that this was not going to be the final settlement. I think all intelligent people would have understood quite easily that the final stage was not reached. The Congress is bound by its Lahore resolution to carry on the struggle relentlessly till the complete independence is achieved. In face of the resolution, the peace and compromise is but a temporary truce which only means a little rest to organise better forces on a larger scale for the next struggle. The possibility of compromise and a truce can be imagined and justified in the light of the above consideration alone.

At regards the proper opportunity and the conditions on which any truce can be effected, it rests with the leaders of the movement to decide. In face of the Lahore resolution you have thought it expedient to call off the active movement for the present, but nevertheless that resolution stands. Similarly, as is evident from the very name - The Hindustan Socialist Republican Party - the revolutionaries stand for the establishment of the socialist republic which is not a half-way house. They are bound to carry on the struggle till their goal is achieved and their ideal is consummated. But they would be quite apt to change their tactics according to the changing circumstances and environment. Revolutionary struggle assumes different shapes at different times. It becomes sometimes open, sometimes hidden, sometimes purely agitational and sometimes a fierce life-and-death struggle. In the circumstances, there must be special factors, the consideration of which may prepare the revolutionaries to call off their movement. But no such definite idea had been advanced by you. Mere sentimental appeals do not and cannot count much in the revolutionary struggle.

Since your compromise you have called off your movement and consequently all of your movement and consequently all of your prisoners have been released. But, what about the revolutionary prisoners? Dozens of Ghadar Party prisoners imprisoned since 1915 are still rotting in jails; inspite of having undergone the full terms of their imprisonments scores of martial law prisoners are still buried in these living tombs, and so are dozens of Babbar Akali prisoners. Deogarh, Kakori, Machhua Bazar and Lahore Conspiracy Case prisoners are amongst those numerous still locked behind bars. More than half a dozen conspiracy trials are going on at Lahore, Delhi, Chittagong, Bombay, Calcutta and elsewhere. Dozens of revolutionaries are absconding and amongst them are many females. More than half a dozen prisoners are actually waiting for their executions. What about all of these people? The three Lahore Conspiracy Case condemned prisoners, who have luckily come into prominence and who have acquired enormous public sympathy, do not form the bulk of the revolutionary party. Their fate is not the only consideration before the party. As a matter of fact their executions are expected to do greater good than the commutation of their sentences.But, inspite of all this, you are making public appeals, asking them to call off their movement. Why should they do so? You have not mentioned any very definite things. In these circumstances your appeal means you are joining hands with bureaucracy to crush that movement, and your appeals amount to preaching treachery, desertion and betrayal amongst them. If that were not the case, then the best thing for you would have been to approach some of the prominent revolutionaries and talk over the whole thing with them. You ought to have tried to convince them to call off their movement. I do not think you also share the general conservative notion that the revolutionaries are devoid of reason, rejoicing in destruction and devastation. Let us inform you that in reality the case is quite contrary. They always consider the pros and cons of every step they take and they fully realise the responsibility which they thus incur and they attach greater importance to the constructive phase of the revolutionary programme than to any other, though in the present circumstances, they cannot but occupy themselves with the destructive part of their programme.

The present policy of the government towards them is to deprive them of the sympathy and support of the masses which they have won in their movement, and then crush them. In isolation they can be easily hunted down. In face of that fact any sentimental appeal to cause demoralisation amongst their ranks would be utterly unwise and counter-revolutionary. It would be rendering direct assistance to the government to crush them.

Therefore we request you either to talk to some revolutionary leaders - they are so many in jails - and come to terms with them or to stop these appeals. Please, for goodness sake, pursue one of these two alternative courses and pursue it whole-heartedly. If you cannot help them, then please have mercy on them. Let them alone; they can better take care of themselves, they know that the hegemony of the revolutionary party in the future political struggle is assured. Masses are rallying around them and the day is not far off when they will be leading the masses under their banner towards their noble and lofty ideal - the socialist republic.

Or, if you seriously mean to help them, then have talk with them to understand their point of view, and discuss the problem in detail.

Hope you will kindly consider the above request and let your view be known publicly.


One of the Many.

Indeed, the Mahatma, who was negotiating  with India's colonial masters in 1931, was yet to have opened a direct dialogue with an incarcerated revolutionary,  it is not known if he did so in future either. pp. 321-322, [27]  Gandhi dismissed Sukhdev's letter as: "...authors of political murder count the cost before they enter upon their awful career. No action of mine can possibly worsen their fate.''  He even attributed the delay in freedom on the revolutionary activities and that if he "had a completely peaceful atmosphere he would have gained our end already". pp. 31-32, [64], p.416, [85]

Section G: Manmathanath Gupta: Gandhi threw the real apostles of non-violence, the Gahrwali Soldiers, who refused to fire on unarmed protesters, to the wolves

On April 23, 1930, during the civil disobedience associated with Gandhi's Dandi march, there was a peaceful demonstration following the arrest of some local leaders at Peshawar. The authorities sent armoured cars full of soldiers to disperse the crowd. They approached the crowd from behind and open fired at them without warning, killing three on the spot and wounding many. Subsequently, the crowd is reported to have set fire to the armored cars. Soldiers were rushed to the spot and ordered to open fire. But, hundreds stood their ground and faced the bullets. A Company of Garhwali soldiers (they constituted the pick of the Indian army) refused to open fire on unarmed masses. They were at once disarmed, court martialled and sent to long term imprisonments which in many cases involved transportation for life pp. 206-207, [1], pp. 322, [27]. But, it is due to their refusal to fire, that on April 25,  British had to withdraw from Peshawar. They regained control only on May 4 after bringing in reinforcements. p. 353, [53].

Ghaffar Khan has said in his autobiography, "It (April 23, 1930) was also the memorable day on which the Garhwali soldiers gave proof of their patriotism and love of the people by refusing to fire at an unarmed crowd … Their courage shall never be blotted out.'' pp. 103, [30]. However, they did not find favour with Gandhi, who remained unimpressed with their non-violence and patriotism. Gandhi wrote about Peshawar: "I did not like at all what happened in Peshawar. If the reins of Government fall into the hands of such persons, will they not rule in the same way? Will they not break the heads of the poor?'' p. 354, [53], pp. 191, [31]. It turns out that it was the British who were ordering soldiers to fire on armed masses of the poor.  In March, 1931, Gandhi signed the Gandhi-Irwin pact, which offered amnesty to all political prisoners charged with non-violent crimes, but explicitly excluded the policemen and soldiers, who had disobeyed orders to fire on peaceful demonstrators p. 231, [1].  

Revolutionary Manmathnath Gupta has written: I do not know what is going to be the verdict of history on this point. But I am certain that there cannot be any justification for section 13 of the Gandhi Irwin Pact, which read, Section 13: Soldiers and policemen convicted of offences involving `disobedience of orders' - in the very few cases that have occurred - will not come in the Scope of this Amnesty. This section refers to soldiers and policemen who, during the Civil Disobedience Movement, refused to shoot down peaceful processionists when ordered to do so by their officers. These soldiers and policemen had incurred the risk of being court-martialled and shot; indeed, many of them were awarded transportation for life.  That Gandhi did not press for the release of these policemen and soldiers will remain forever a blot on his character.  Gandhi threw real apostles of non-violence like Chandan Singh Garhwali [this is probably a reference to Veer Chandra Singh] to the wolves. pp. 322, [27]. Indeed, Gandhi disowned them in the same reference he made to Bhagat Singh (in his statement in Delhi on 07/03/1931): "I beseech you then, if you want the release of the prisoners, to change your methods, to accept the settlement, and then come and ask me about the Garhwalis and Bhagat Singh. Come to me six months hence, after you have implemented the settlement and gained in strength, and ask me the question you are asking today and I promise to satisfy you.''  pp.229-230, [52]

Section H: Gandhi called student revolutionaries criminals and traitors

On 6th May, 1930, workers of Sholapur went on strike to protest against the arrest of Gandhi. The protesters burnt down 6 police stations, killing 2 policemen, and also set the district court complex on fire. British soldiers fired indiscriminately, killing and wounding many. Failing to control the situation, the District Magistrate and police officials fled the town. Between 10th and 12th May, the government did not exist there. British rushed reinforcements on May 12, regained control and promulgated martial law which remained in effect for 49 days launching yet another instance of state terror. On 12th January 1931, four leaders of the Sholapur uprising were hanged in the Yeravada prison from which Gandhi was released on January 26 to negotiate the Gandhi-Irwin pact p. 353, [53]. On July 22, 1931 a student of the Fergusson College in Maharashtra,  Vasudeo Balwant Gogte, made an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the acting governor of Bombay, Hotson, to avenge the police atrocities. Gandhi denounced the student's deed as "the double crime of attempted assassination and treachery.'' He wrote: " I tender my congratulations to Sir Ernest Hotson as also to the nation. It will be well if the believers in violence will take a lesson from this happy tragedy-because no one has suffered but the assailant.'' p. 214, [7],  p.153, [34]. The tragedy would be happy for Gandhi as long as only the `assailants' suffered.

On December 14, 1931, teen-aged school girls Shanti Ghosh (1916-1989) and Suniti Chowdhury (1917-1994), had shot dead Stevens, the District Magistrate of Comilla. In this connection, Gandhi sent a long cable to the Viceroy, on January 1, 1932: "As to Bengal, the Congress is at one with the Government in condemning assassinations and should heartily cooperate with the Government in measures that may be found necessary to stamp out such crimes.''  p. 215, [7], pp.349, [33]. He therefore explicitly endorsed the ordinances that had been introduced in Bengal during 1931-1932 that in effect placed many regions under martial laws, and empowered the executive to seize buildings, to order citizens on pain of punishment to assist them in suppression of terrorism, to impose collective fines on villagers etc. pp. 261, 272, 281, [1].

Section I: The Quit India movement - truth or political opportunism?

We have already argued that between 1940-1942, Gandhi started believing that British might lose the second world war. Perhaps, hence, during the first half of 1942, that is just prior to calling for the Quit India agitation, he seemed to suggest that every means was acceptable for overthrowing the British rule. He wrote, "It [British rule] is an insufferable thing.  The cost of the cure, I know, will be heavy. No price is too heavy to pay for the deliverance'' pp. 13, [4] and "If a man fights with his sword, single handed, against a horde of dacoits armed to the teeth, I should say he is fighting non-violently.... Supposing  a mouse fighting a cat tried to resist the cat with his sharp teeth, would you call that mouse violent?'' pp.16, [4]. At an interview with the press on May 16, 1942, he said that "this orderly disciplined anarchy [meaning British rule] should go, and if as a result there is complete lawlessness I would risk it.'' On May 28, 1942, he said to the members of the Rashtriya Yuvak Sangh: "We have to take the risk of violence to shake off the great calamity of slavery.''  pp. 338, [3], p. 213, [7]. On 7th June, 1942, Gandhi wrote in a piece entitled "To Resist Slave Drivers'' which appeared in Harijan: "I waited and waited until the country should develop the non-violent strength necessary to throw off the foreign yoke. But my attitude has now undergone a change. I feel that I cannot afford to wait. If I continue to wait, I might have to wait till doomsday. For the preparation that I have prayed and worked for may never come, and in the meantime I may be enveloped and overwhelmed by the flames that threaten all of us. That is why I have decided that even at certain risks which are obviously involved I must ask the people to resist the slavery.'' pp. 338, [3], p. 7, [4]. Thus, Gandhi was in effect condoning the use of violence against the British.

Yet, as the tide of the second world war started turning, he started disassociating himself from all violence perpetrated during 1942. In a letter to Lord Linlithgow, Gandhi wrote on january 19, 1943, "This, however, I can say from the house-top, that I am as confirmed a believer in non-violence as I have ever been. You may not know that any violence on the part of Congress workers I have condemned openly and unequivocally.  I have even done public penance more than once.'' pp. 277, [60]. And, by 1946, when the British had won the second world war, he opposed the naval mutiny against them with all the authority at his disposal, which we describe in the sequel. This then is the Mahatma's insistence on truth. Thus, Gandhi waged a war against the revolutionaries throughout, except possibly during a brief window of 1942 when he seemed to be condoning violence against the British. This is also the period in which he thought that the British was losing the second  world war. The story does not however end with him.

Section J: The war that Gandhi's closest lieutenants (Nehru, Patel, Azad, Rajagopalachari, GD Birla, Pant) launched on the revolutionaries

We now describe how Mahatma Gandhi's closest lieutenants opposed the revolutionaries.

Section J.1: Chittagong Armory Raid

After the daring Chittagong Armory raid, Jawaharlal Nehru opposed the revolutionaries as follows: "Therefore, it becomes essential for us even from the lower ground of expediency, to counteract with all the strength that we have any attempt at violence....Thus they [the national revolutionaries] must be condemned on human grounds as well as on political grounds.''  pp. 213-214, [7], pp. 291, [28]. We would later note that Nehru in effect sought to assist the British during the second world war.

Section J.2: Bhagat Singh and Jatin Das

Jawaharlal Nehru generously and repeatedly showered encomiums on Bhagat Singh. Immediately, after assassination in December 1928 of Saunders who officiated over police assault that killed Lala Lajpat Rai, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote: "Bhagat Singh did not become popular because of his act of terrorism but because he seemed to vindicate, for the moment, the honour of Lala Lajpat Rai, and through him of the nation. He became a symbol, the act was forgotten,  the symbol remained, and within a few months each town and village of the Punjab,  and to a lesser extent in the rest of northern India, resounded with his name. Innumerable songs grew about him and the popularity that the man achieved was something amazing p. 24, [64], pp. 175-176, [66]. He also sent a message to Naujawan Bharat Sabha, a revolutionary organisation founded by Bhagat Singh, and assured its members that "many in India are full of sympathy for them and are prepared to help them as much as they can" p. 24, [64], p. 1, [65].  He further affirmed that the Sabha will "grow in strength to take a leading part in forming a national India" p. 24, [64], p. 1, [65].  After Bhagat Singh and his comrades dropped a bomb in the assembly, Nehru informed the Viceroy that "it is absurd to talk of unqualified condemnation of the youngmen who did it" p. 25, [64], [67].  He contradicted those who connected the bombs with Moscow saying that "for them everything they (rulers) do not like come from Moscow" p. 25, [64], [67]. During Bhagat Singh's trial,  he published  Bhagat Singh's and Dutt's statement in the Congress Bulletin, but that by his own admission was because "he was compelled to give the statement because there was very general appreciation of it among Congress circles" p. 25, [64], p. 157, [65].

When Bhagat Singh, Jatin Das and Batukeshwar Dutt fasted in protest against the plight of political prisoners, Nehru showered glowing praises: "no Indian can refrain from admiring their great courage and our hearts must go out to them now in their great and voluntary suffering. They are fasting not for any selfish ends but to improve the lot of all political prisoners. As days go by, we shall watch with deep anxiety this hard trial and shall earnestly hope that the two gallant brothers of ours may triumph in the ordeal".  He met the hunger strikers and wrote about them as: "I gathered from them that they would adhere to their resolve, whatever the consequences to their individual selves might be. Indeed, they did not care much for their own selves.'' pp. 25-26, [64], p. 13, [65]. In a speech at Lahore on August 9, 1929, he said: "We should realise the great value of the struggle that these brave young men are carrying on inside the jail. They are not struggling to get honours from the people or laurels from the crowd for their sacrifice. What a contrast this is, compared with the unfortunate wrangles among Congressmen and the fighting for securing positions in the Congress and the reception committee. I am ashamed to hear of these internecine differences amongst the Congressmen. But my heart is equally delighted by witnessing the sacrifices of the young men who are determined to die for the sake of the country'' p. 26, [64], pp. 14-15, [65], and  exhorted the people to emulate them and "free the country from foreign bondage by similar sacrifices" p. 26, [64], pp. 14-15, [65]. Jatin Das died succumbed on the 63rd day of his hunger strike, which Nehru described in his autobiography as "death created a sensation all over the country. It brought the question of the treatment of political prisoners to the front" p. 26, [64], p. 194, [66].

What is however particularly galling is Jawaharlal Nehru's actions were in stark contrast to his stated positions. An eminent revolutionary of Bhagat Singh's organisation, Manmathnath Gupta, has written how Jawaharlal Nehru had betrayed Bhagat Singh who was hanged on March 23, 1931 p. 325, [27]. `It was expected of Jawaharlal, who passed as a youth leader, that he would put pressure on Gandhi in this matter [on forcing the British to release or commute the execution sentence for Bhagat Singh while he was negotiating the Gandhi-Irwin pact].  But he did nothing of the sort' p, 323, [27], and `Chandrasekhar Azad, the great revolutionary leader, himself went to Jawaharlal Nehru to press the release or at least the commutation of their sentences.  A garbled version of their interview is present in An Autobiography, I say garbled because he [Nehru] completely misrepresented the revolutionaries, charging them with fascist tendencies' pp. 320-327, [27]. We corroborate Manmathnath Gupta's charge on Nehru through Gandhi's speech in Delhi on march 7, 1931, after he concluded the Gandhi-Irwin pact, which would not provide amnesty to revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh: "But let me tell you why Bhagat Singh and the rest have not been released. Maybe, if you had been negotiating you might have secured better terms from the Viceroy, but we the Working Committee would secure no more than what we have. I may tell you that throughout the negotiations I was not acting on my own, I was backed by the whole Working Committee. '' pp.229-230, [52]. So, the Working Committee, which consisted of Nehru, backed Gandhi while he negotiated a pact that excluded Bhagat Singh and his comrades from amnesty. Indeed, Nehru remained silent before the execution of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev p. 32, [65].  Further, Nehru's sympathy for the fasting revolutionaries did not reach deeper than his lips either.  When faced with Gandhi's critical letter on July 1, 1929, he backtracked and disowned his support to the fasting revolutionaries, as has been recounted earlier.  

In view of his inaction when he had the opportunity to save the martyrs his words of condolences subsequent to their execution appear farcical: "Not all of us could save him who was so dear to us and whose magnificent courage and sacrifice have been an inspiration to the youth of India. India today cannot save her dearly loved children from the gallows" p. 32, [65], [68],  "He was a clean fighter who faced his enemy in the open field. He was a young boy full of burning zeal for the country. He was like a spark which became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to the other dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere.'' p. 33, [64], pp 505-506, [65]. The scion of the Nehru dynasty simply stated that "I have remained silent though I felt like bursting, and now all is over" p. 32, [64], p. 500, [65], and  "he was being compelled by force of circumstances to do things I was in thorough disagreement with" p. 32, [64], p. 156, [65], without deigning to elaborate on his compulsions and if and how those related to his ambition for personal political power.

Incidentally, when Gandhi moved a resolution in Lahore Congress, 1929, condemning the revolutionaries for trying to blow up the Viceregal Express at Delhi, then Congress President Nehru did not oppose it. The resolution was passed at a narrow majority of only 81 votes, and was opposed by many prominent Congressmen like Swami Govindanand from Sindh, HD Rajah from Tamil Nadu, Dr Mohammad. Alam and Baba Gurdit Singh p. 27, [64].

Section J.3: Shanti Chowdhury and Suniti Ghosh

On 15th December, 1931, a day after the teen aged school girls, Shanti Chowdhury and Suniti Ghosh, shot dead Comilla magistrate, then Congress President and staunch Gandhi loyalist, Vallabhbhai Patel, declared: "It is a heinous crime and unbecoming of the traditions of Indian womanhood.'' p. 81, [19].  In a meeting of the Calcutta Corporation, another politician closely aligned with Gandhi, Mayor Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, deplored the assassination as: "The news that Mr. Stevens was brutally murdered by a Bengali girl was particularly shocking on account of the sex of the alleged assailant.'' p. 81, [19]. One wonders how Gandhi and his coterie would place Goddess Durga or Rani Laxmibai in their hierarchy of Indian womanhood.  

Section J.4: Kakori Conspiracy

One may recall the Kakori train robbery organised by revolutionaries Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, of which Bhagat Singh used to be a member. On 9 August 1925, Revolutionaries looted the Number 8 Down Train travelling from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow when it was approaching the town of Kakori, now in Uttar Pradesh. The train was supposed to carry the money-bags belonging to the British Government Treasury. Seeking to fund their organisation, they looted only some of the above bags, and not Indians (Indian big business would not contribute to their cause unlike they did to Gandhi's). One passenger was killed by an accidental shot. British launched a massive manhunt arresting 40 revolutionaries from Agra, Allahabad, Banaras, Bengal, Etah, Hardoi, Kanpur, Lahore, Lakhimpur, Lucknow, Mathura, Meerut, Orai, Pune, Raibareli, Shajahanpur, Pratapgarh. The legal defence for the arrested revolutionaries was provided by Gobind Vallabh Pant and others.  Motilal and Jawaharlal Nehru came out in public support of the accused.  But, after the trials, Bismil, Thakur Roshan Singh, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Ashfaqullah were hanged,  Sacchindra Nath Sanyal and Shacchindra Nath Bakshi were deported to the dreaded cellular,  and Manmath Nath Gupta, Yogesh Chandra Chatterji, Bhupen Nath Sanyal and others got various terms of imprisonment. There were widespread protests against the verdict all over the country, and members of the Central Legislature even petitioned the Viceroy, the Privy Council, and Gandhi, to help commute the death sentences given to the four men to life sentences.  Gandhi did not seek to provide any reprieve for those convicted in the Kakori incident.

On August 26, 1937, Gandhi's secretary, Mahadev Desai, referred to the Kakori incident as follows to  GD Birla: "You know the Kakori Dacoity prisoners who were convicted some years ago of the most violent and unpardonable crimes. Pantji [GB Pant] has released them all. It is a feather both in his cap and that of Haig [Governor of the United Provinces] who might well have objected to their release. But the moment their release was announced, our idiotic Congress makes an announcement of taking these people out in procession. Poor Pantji was absolutely at sea. He was persuaded to be firm. He made it clear that if they persisted it would not be possible for him to do any such thing in future. Jawaharlal did not give any encouragement to the Congress enthusiasts. And so everything ended well.'' p. 206, [8].

Like Gandhi, his secretary characterised the revolutionary acts as crimes: "the most violent and unpardonable crime''. GB Pant, who led the defence, and Nehru, who publicly offered support, privately prevented a procession in honor of the revolutionaries - which Gandhi's secretary was in full agreement with.   

Section K: The continuity of British regime banished the revolutionaries from public memory and feted all those who betrayed them

The transfer of power in 1947 ensured that the state that followed remained a continuity of the colonial regime. So it looked upon those that ruled over her in her days of subjugation as her comrade and ally, and those who resisted her erstwhile rulers became her enemies rather than her liberator. Mounbatten continued to serve as the Governor General of free India and oversaw the transfer of power (one wonders why a free nation would allow a top ranking foreign national learn of its operational secrets during its formative years). Many of the top bureaucrats of the British regime, who helped formulate and execute British policies that invariably exploited India, continued in their positions of power as trusted aides of the Indian leaders. For example, VP Menon, who served as the Constitutional Adviser and Political Reforms Commissioner to the last three Viceroys during British rule in India, became the right hand of Vallabhbhai Patel and the secretary of the Ministry of the states that Patel headed.  Gandhi had only effusive praise for him around the time of the transfer of power. On May 3, 1947, as reported on the front page of Hindustan Times (a newspaper owned by Gandhi's close associate GD Birla) and the Hindu, Gandhi said at a prayer meeting: "British cabinet has sent their best man, who was a warrior and statesman, as Viceroy. He had come to carry out the noble decision of the British Government'' p. 607, Vol. X, [16], p. 386, [7], pp. 27, [44].  He gave the impression, which Mountbatten would articulate later, that "The sole referee of what is or is not in the interest of India as a whole will be Mountbatten in his personal capacity.'' p. 71, [36], p. 386, [7], He described the British withdrawal as "the noblest act of the British nation.'' p. 386, [7], p. 26, [61].

Not to be left behind, Nehru, Patel and Rajagopalachari were effusive  in their commendations  for Mountbatten and Churchill and vice versa. Nehru became "Mountbatten's man'', to quote Leonard Mosley, after Mountbatten's arrival in India p. 101, [38], p. 386, [7]. Perhaps, hence, Winston Churchill later called Nehru more than once "The Light of Asia'' pp. 236-237, [39], p. 386, [7] . Mountbatten stated that Patel wrote to him on 31st October 1947: "Your appointment as Governor-General of a Free India - perhaps the greatest evidence India could have offered of its friendship and trust in Britain-is at the same time the greatest personal triumph which a Briton has secured in this country.'' Mountbatten wrote that when he saw Patel before leaving India, Patel spoke of the "debt India owed me'', and asked "How can we prove to you our love and gratitude ? '' pp. 243-244, [37],  p. 386, [7]. Rajagopalachari said that "The deepest reality was that for the all-round suspicion, bitterness and ill-will that prevailed during the war-years, Mountbatten had succeeded in substituting unqualified good-will between India and Britain'', and pondered ``has not Lord Mountbatten then done greater service to Britain than Hastings and Clive?''    pp. 304-305,  [36], p. 386, [7]. Rajagopalachari had incidentally staunchly backed the British regime during the second world war to the extent that he even opposed the launching of the Quit India movement; he was one of the first to support Jinnah's demand for partition.

More importantly, Mountbatten wanted the Congress and League leaders to have the Union Jack on the upper canton of their flags. Gandhi, Nehru and Patel were amenable. Gandhi sharply criticised those who opposed. He said: "I have been asked some questions. Here is one: 'One understands that the national flag that has been proposed will have a little Union Jack in a corner. It that is so, we shall tear up such a flag and, if need be, sacrifice our lives.'. His answer was  `But what is wrong with having the Union Jack in a corner of our flag? If harm has been done to us by the British it has not been done by their flag and we must also take note of the virtues of the British. They are voluntarily withdrawing from India, leaving power in our hands. A drastic bill which virtually liquidates the Empire did not take even a week to pass in Parliament. Time was when even very unimportant bills took a year and more to be passed.  Whether they have been honest in framing the bill only experience will show. We are having Lord Mountbatten as our chief gate-keeper. So long he has been the servant of the British king. Now he is to be our servant. If while we employed him as our servant we also had the Union Jack in a corner of our flag, there would be no betrayal of India in this. This is my opinion. But I understand that the report is not true. It pains me that the Congress leaders could not show this generosity.  We would have thereby shown our friendship for the British. If I had the power that I once had I would have taken the people to task for it.  After all, why should we give up our humanity?" pp. 86-87, [62]. The plan did not materialize owing to ``the general feeling among Congress extremists.....that Indian leaders were pandering far too much to the British.'' Both Nehru and Jinnah wanted to fly the Union Jack twelve days a year, but did not want their intention to be publicized. This desire was aborted fearing adverse public reaction as well pp. 164, 230-231, 596, Vol. 12,  [16], pp. 383-384, [7]. Mountbatten perhaps indeed had provided a greater service to Britain by ensuring a continuity of regime without shedding British blood-a regime that would ensure that the free Indian state would eavesdrop on the families of freedom fighting martyrs, like Subhas Bose, and share the information with Great Britain [45, 46]. While Churchill described Nehru as the light of Asia, he had issued an order to assassinate Subhas Bose. Mountbatten had said "I hated Subhas; he brought together the dregs of Indians in his army.'' p. 576, [6]. Mountbatten had also excluded Subhas Bose's elder brother Sarat Bose from discussions concerning the partition of Bengal, though Sarat Bose was a prominent leader of Bengal Congress, because he had some residual bitterness against the Boses for the sin of the Indian National Army p. 576, [6]. Mountbatten's predecessor, Wavell, had also objected to Sarat Bose's presence in 1946 in the Interim Government because of Subhas Bose's INA and Japanese connections p. 569, [6]. The British clearly made no mistake in distinguishing between the war that Subhas Bose launched against them and the friendly match that the Congress leadership mentioned here played with them.

The regime that was a continuation of the British found the revolutionaries that lodged a war against them as an inconvenient reminder of what they did not do. It continued with the penalties that the British regime perpetrated on the revolutionaries, and the material incentives the British regime provided to the Indians who betrayed them. Sachindra Nath Sanyal was one of the leading planners for the Ghadar conspiracy,   and went underground after it was exposed in February 1915. A close associate of Rash Behari Bose, he made an unsuccessful attempt to organise a mutiny in Indian army in 1915. He functioned as the senior-most leader of India's revolutionary movement after Rash Behari Bose escaped to Japan. He wrote a pamphlet called "Revolutionary" through which he represented a future picture of republic India. He was sent to the dreaded Cellular Jail in the Andamans and in jail he authored the famous book "Bandi Jeevan" (A Life of Captivity), which became the Geeta for a generation of revolutionaries fighting British rule.  During a brief release from jail, he continued to engage in anti-British activities, and was returned to Cellular (the only revolutionary to have this distinction twice). He received a life sentence for his participation in the Kakori conspiracy (he was an eminent member of Hindusthan Republican Association of which Bhagat Singh was a part).  He contracted TB in jail, probably deliberately infected, and was sent to Gorakhpur Jail for his final months. He died in 1942.  His ancestral family home in Varanasi was confiscated. The tragedy is that it has not been returned to his descendants after 66 years of transfer of power (as confirmed by his grand nephew and acclaimed author Sanjeev Sanyal). Similarly, Hansraj Vohra, whose testimony clinched the Lahore case, on the assassination of police officer, Saunders, against Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru, and enabled the British government to send the trio to the gallows was not only not tried for treason in free India, but was allowed to prosper in a long journalistic career [69].  

Sukhdev's brother Thapar has alleged that Yashpal, a reknowned Hindi writer, was a police informer: "He used to gather all information from Jai Gopal and then pass it on to the police. Though now dead a few years, he is fondly remembered by his admirers as a great revolutionary and a Hindi writer of no mean significance." [69]. In his autobiography, Yashpal has indeed confirmed that HSRA central committee had issued an order for shooting him dead believing him as likely to betray the party p. 77, [77]. Yashpal had attributed the decision to resentment against his romantic relationship with a woman member of HSRA. It is pertinent to note that Yashpal, who by his own account was supposedly a top leader of HSRA, was neither executed nor incarcerated under trying circumstances like in Cellular as another leader, Sanyal, was. Furthermore, while most revolutionaries were severely persecuted in jails, Yashpal was treated exceedingly well in British jails. He was sent from the jail to a sanatorium to recover his health (in contrast Sanyal was moved from Cellular to Gorakhpur only at the terminal stage of tuberculosis) p. 85, [77]. Yashpal was also allowed to marry while serving his jail sentence, the first ever in the history of Indian jail, and a British deputy commissioner performed the civil ceremony. p. 86, [77]. A new section was subsequently added in the Indian penal code to prevent such ceremonies for prisoners.  The truth of the allegation of treason on Yashpal was never investigated in free India. He was instead allowed to flourish in a literary career, and was awarded Padma Bhushan.

Next, the father of eminent journalist, Khushwant Singh, Sobha Singh, had identified Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt in the trial on the charge that they threw a bomb in the Lahore assembly in 1929.   A man of modest education, he was rewarded with several contracts for constructing prominent buildings in Lutyen's Delhi, possibly for the services he rendered to the Raj in the above trial,  both before and after freedom.  He was famous as `Adha Dilli ka Malik' (Lord of half of Delhi).  He became a prominent member of the social elite, became the first Indian President of the New Delhi municipal council and held the post four times, in 1938, 1942, and 1945-46. He was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1938, and was subsequently appointed a member of the Council of States.

Along with rewarding the men who betrayed the revolutionaries, the ostensibly free Indian state did everything possible to annihilate the memory of the revolutionaries. First it propagated the myth that India was liberated through non-violence. This is notwithstanding the factual counters available in public domain. An extract from a letter written by PV Chuckraborty, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, on March 30 1976, reads thus: "When I was acting as Governor of West Bengal in 1956, Lord Clement Attlee, who as the British Prime Minister in post war years was responsible for India's freedom, visited India and stayed in Raj Bhavan Calcutta for two days`85 I put it straight to him like this: 'The Quit India Movement of Gandhi practically died out long before 1947 and there was nothing in the Indian situation at that time, which made it necessary for the British to leave India in a hurry. Why then did they do so?' In reply Attlee cited several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Netaji Subhas 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. When asked about the extent to which the British decision to quit India was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi's 1942 movement, Attlee's lips widened in smile of disdain and he uttered, slowly, 'Minimal'." [20].

Yet, on February 11, 1949, Major General of Staff, PK Khanduri, issued an order recommending that photos of Bose not be displayed at prominent places in army Canteens, Quarter guards or Recreation rooms. Such an order would not be issued without the knowledge of the defense minister.  In the regime of the first Information and broadcasting minister, Patel, circulars were sent to All India Radio banning any broadcast related to Bose in January, 1949. The circular created a great commotion in the Calcutta station of the All India radio.  Despite a vociferous  public demanded for broadcast of a special program on the birthday of Subhas Bose, on January 23, 1949, no programme was broadcast honouring him in the morning or evening; only ten minutes were spared in the afternoon to broadcast the music of the Azad Hind Fauj p. 181, [41].

In 1948, Loknath Bal, one of the leaders of the heroic Chittagong uprising, sent a proposal for producing a film on the historic event to the director of publicity of the West Bengal government who forwarded the letter to governor Rajagopalachari. The president and some members of the executive committee of the Bengal Congress supported the proposal.  But, on 29th April 1948, Rajagopalachari forwarded Loknath Bal's proposal to the then home minister of the central government, Vallabhbhai Patel, along with a note stating that

"My dear Vallabhbhai,

I am enclosing a letter from the director of publicity, Government of West Bengal. Crime is pretty bad already. I feel that we shall be adding one more item to the romantic attraction of crime for semi-educated people if we allow such films with an aura of patriotic effort floating about it.

Also, I believe that, incidentally, it would put money in the hands of people with no pretensions to patriotism, while a small percentage is distributed among those who suffered imprisonment.  I think the department responsible for censorship should discourage this and other similar productions.  As for the local Congress executive, you know how weak they are against pressure, especially when the final `yes' or `no' doesn't lie with them.  I have replied, as in enclosed [paper] to the invitation that I should bless the film in the course of production. pp.151, [40]''

Agreeing with Rajagopalachari, Patel responded on May 4, 1948: "We at the centre have no control over the production of films, nor over their censorship. Censorship is, for the present, concentrated in the provinces, though we contemplate taking powers in the next session, to have central censorship, as lack of uniformity is resulting in many anomalies. The only way this can be tackled, therefore, is to exercise pressure locally. A hint that even after the film is ready it might not be possible to permit its exhibition would serve the purpose.'' pp.152, [40].  

We therefore  see that Vallabhbhai Patel would not be averse to curtailing freedom of expression to prevent dissemination of  information on a heroic uprising against the British - what then was the liberty that he was ostensibly seeking to provide?  Next, the ticket to governance had enabled the two icons to question the patriotism of those who perhaps suffered more than them in his quest to liberate India (Loknath Bal had spent fourteen years, from 1932-1946 in the dreaded Cellular jail for leading a raid on the British armoury at Chattagram and another gunfight against British military and police in which his brother succumbed among others).  Subhas Bose had perhaps foreseen the fate of free India under the Congress High Command and the Gandhian hierarchy, when  he wrote to his brother, Sarat Bose on 31.10.1940,  from Presidency jail: "If power goes into the hands of such mean, vindictive and unscrupulous persons [Congress High Command] when Swaraj is won, what will happen to the country?'' p. 160, [63]. Indeed, the contempt about the revolutionary effort to free a region of India from the British is palpable in both of Gandhi's trusted aides.  Following the footsteps of their eminent Bapu, as also the colonial occupiers, they  reduced the armed resistance against the British  to ``crime with an aura of patriotic effort floating about it''.  No wonder then that the British feted the presumed icons with honors, awards, encomiums, which were reciprocated in due course with greater generosity; and they ruthlessly repressed the other wing of our nationhood, the revolutionaries.  The same path has been followed later, by the Congress.  Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Petroleum Minister in the UPA government, removed a plaque dedicated to Savarkar, and containing his poems at the infamous Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. [90]


[1] S. C. Bose, The Indian Struggle (1920-1942)

[2] Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi's letter to Raihana Tyabji, 09/10/1929, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL047.PDF

[3] Complete Works of Mahatma Gandhi,  Conversations with Members of the Rashtriya Yuvak Sangh, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL082.PDF p.337

[4] Government of India White Paper on Congress Party's Responsibility for the events of 1942,  13/02/1943

[5] JB Kripalani , Gandhi His Life and Thought   

[6] Leonard A. Gordon, Brothers Against the Raj - Biography of Indian Nationalists, Sarat and Subhas Chandra Bose

[7] Suniti Ghosh The Tragic Partition of Bengal

[8] G D Birla In the Shadow of the Mahatma

[9] Rajmohan Gandhi Patel - A Life

[10] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh's Condolence speech, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL051.PDF

[11] Complete Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi's letter to Natarajan, 25/02/1918, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL017.PDF

[12] Saswati Sarkar, Shanmukh, Dikgaj, Chandra Mauli Singh, Why Brits disliked Netaji and made a Mahatma out of Gandhi http://www.dailyo.in/politics/the-gandhi-bose-interaction-personality-cult-money-power-foreign-influence-divisive-politics/story/1/3967.html

[13] http://www.revivaloftrueindia.com/2012/10/madan-lal-dhingra.html

[14] Reginald Massey, ``Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian  Martyrs'', Abhinav Publications.

[15] Old Bailey Proceedings online, http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/print.jsp?div=t19090719-55

[16] N. Mansergh (editor-in-chief) Constitutional relations Between British and India: The Transfer of Power 1942-47, in 12 volumes,  London 1971-1983  

[17] G D Birla ``Bapu - A unique association''   

[18] Judith M. Brown ``Gandhi's rise to power - Indian Politics 1915-1922''  

[19] Tirtha Mandal, The Women Revolutionaries of Bengal, Minerva Associates, 1991

[20] http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060212/spectrum/main2.htm

[21] R. C. Majumdar, History of Modern Bengal, Part II, C. Bharadwaj and Co., 1981

[22] Complete Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Deputation Notes: 16/07/1909, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL009.PDF

[23] - ibid, Gandhi's appeal in a speech in Nadiad, 22/06/1918. http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL017.PDF

[24] Dhingra Case, 23/07/1909,  http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL009.PDF

[25] Ramesh Chandra Majumdar ``History and Culture of the Indian people - Vol. XI - The Struggle For Freedom''  

[26] W. S. Blunt, My Diaries, Part II

[27] Manmathnath Gupta, `They Lived Dangerously',

[28] S. Gopal,  `On Terrorist Violence', ``Selected Speeches and Writings of Jawaharlal Nehru'', Vol. 5.

[29] - Sukhdev's letter to Gandhi, published on 23/04/1931.

[30] Abdul Ghaffar Khan, ``Autobiography: My Life and Struggle''

[31] Complete Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Speech at Chharwada, 26/04/1930, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL049.PDF

[32] -ibid, Gandhi's speech on the Moplah Outbreak, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL024.PDF

[33] ibid, Telegram to the Private Secretary of the Viceroy, 01/01/1932, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL054.PDF

[34] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Foul Play, Young India, 30/07/1931, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL053.PDF

[35] M.K. Gandhi. Hind Swaraj, Hindu Dharma, Ahmedabad 1950, online version, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL010.PDF

[36] Campbell-Johnson, Alan, Mission with Mountbatten, London 1951.

[37] G. M. Nandurkar, This was Sardar-The Commemorative Volume (Birth Centenary Vol I)

[38] Leonard Mosley, The Last Days of the British Raj, Bombay, 1966

[39] Sarvepalli Gopal, Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography, Vo 1I, Delhi, 1979

[40] Durga Das, Sardar Patel's Correspondence 1945-50, Ahmedabad, 1971-74  

[41] Kanailal Basu, Netaji Rediscovered https://books.google.com/books?id=b9bQyfKq_EMC&pg=PA181&lpg=PA181&dq=Sardar+patel+Netaji+birthday&source=bl&ots=OjVn_bthkx&sig=0FvECcHsz926CpXuYLhNLK7Gkvg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OTUpVdilIurasAS0jYDYBw&ved=0CB4Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=Sardar%20patel%20Netaji%20birthday&f=false

[42] - Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Letter to the Viceroy, 29/07/1931, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL053.PDF

[43] - ibid, Letter to Darcy Lindsay, 08/05/1931, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL052.PDF  

[44] - ibid, Interview with Hindu, 05/05/1947, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL095.PDF

[45] http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bose-netaji-family-members-snoop-jawaharlal-nehru/1/429401.html

[46] http://swarajyamag.com/politics/why-did-the-government-spy-on-netajis-kin-for-more-than-two-decades/

[47] Assassination of a Deputy Commissioner, Navjivan, 05/09/1920, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL021.PDF

[48] D. G. Tendulkar,  Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Vol I, New Delhi, 1969, Vols II-VIII, Bombay, 1951-1954

[49]  http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL034.PDF

[50] Suniti Kumar Ghosh ``The Indian Big Bourgeoisie - Its genesis, Growth and Character''

[51] Nirmal Kumar Bose, Selections From Gandhi, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, April, 1957

[52]  Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi Interview to the Press, 26/03/1931, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL051.PDF

[53] Suniti Kumar Ghosh ``India and the Raj-1919-1947'', Vol. 1

[54] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Interview to Associated Press of India, 21/04/1930 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL049.PDF

[55] ibid, Letter to Kingsley Hall, 18/09/1931, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL053.PDF

[56] Saswati Sarkar, Shanmukh, Dikgaj, ``Subhas Chandra Bose's connections with revolutionaries of India'' http://www.dailyo.in/politics/revolutionary-association-of-subhas-bose-mahatma-gandhi-british-independence-ina/story/1/4197.html

[57] Saswati Sarkar, Shanmukh, Dikgaj, ``Netaji's Modernism Versus Gandhi's Spiritual Swaraj'' http://www.dailyo.in/politics/mahatma-gandhi-subhas-chandra-bose-socialism-british-raj-independence-nehru/story/1/4164.html

[58] - Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, A Taxing Examiner, Young India, 06/04/1921. http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL023.PDF

[59] - ibid, Black Regime, Young India, 24/04/1930, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL049.PDF

[60] - ibid, Letter to Lord Linlithgow, 19/01/1943, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL083.PDF

[61] - ibid, Interview to Reuters, 05/05/1947, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL095.PDF

[62] - ibid, Speech at a Prayer Meeting, New Delhi, 19/07/1947, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL096.PDF

[63] Subhas Chandra Bose, The Alternative Leadership, Speeches, Articles, Statements and Letters, June 1939-1941, Collected Works of Netaji, Vol. 10  

[64] S. K. Mittal and Irfan habib, The Congress and the Revolutionaries in the 1920s, Social Scientist, Vol. 10, No. 6 (June 1982), pp. 20-37

[65] Report of the Congress Session, Karachi, 1931, NMML, Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vol 4

[66] J Nehru ``An Autobiography'', Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1941

[67] The  Tribune, April 17, 1929

[68] The Bombay chronicle, March 25, 1931.

[69] http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2003/03/23/stories/2003032300580400.htm

[70] http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/khushwant-singh-sir-sobha-singh-bhagat-singh/1/146778.html

[71] M. R. Jayakar The Story of my Life II, Vol. II, Bombay, 1959

[72] Report of the Lahore Coigress 1929, NMML

[73] Presidential Address at Belgaum Congress, December 29, 1924 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL029.PDF

[74] Letter to an unnamed revolutionary on 12/03/1925 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL030.PDF

[75] My Friend the Revolutionary on April 9, 1925 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL031.PDF

[76] The Cult of the Bomb, Young India, January 2, 1930 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL048.PDF

[77] Corinne Friend ``Yashpal: Fighter for Freedom-Writer for Justice'' ,  Journal of South Asian Literature, Vol. 13, No. 1/4, pp. 65-90

[78] Defeated and Humbled, Young India, 03/07/1924, pp. 248 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL028.PDF

[79] The Acid Test, Young India, 19/06/1924, pp. 148 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL028.PDF

[80] AICC Resolution moved by Gandhi, Lahore Congress, 31/12/1929, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL048.PDF

[81] Gandhi speech on his resolution, Lahore Congress, 31/12/1929, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL048.PDF

[82] Curse of Assassination, Young India, 27/12/1928, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL043.PDF

[83] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, ``Gandhi's letter to Jawaharlal Nehru'', 01/07/1929, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL046.PDF

[84] Nitzan Lebovic and Roy Ben-Shai, ``The Politics of Nihilism: From the 19th century to contemporary Israel'', Bloomsbury,

[85] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, ``One of the Many'', Young India, 24/04/1931. http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL051.PDF

[86] Diane Eck, ``Gandhian guideline for a world of religious difference'', in `Gandhi on Christianity' edited by Robert Ellsburg.

[87] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, ``The Bomb and the Knife'', Young India, 18/04/1929, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL045.PDF

[88] Shanmukh, Saswati Sarkar, Divya Kumar Soti and Dikgaj, ``Was Gandhi a Christian in Faith and Hindu in Name?'', DailyO, 17/07/2015. http://www.dailyo.in/politics/gandhi-hinduism-christianity-indian-freedom-struggle-non-violence-revolutionaries-indic-ethos/story/1/5049.html

[89] E. Stanley Jones ``The Christ of the Indian Road''

[90] ``Plea Seeks Information on Plaque Removal'', The Hindu, 02/12/2006 http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/plea-seeks-information-on-savarkar-plaque-removal/article3027978.ece

[91] V N Datta, ``Gandhi and Bhagat Singh'', Rupa Publishers, 2008.

[92] ``The Philosophy of the Bomb'', reproduced in ``To Make the Deaf Hear'' by S. Irfan Habib, Appendix C.3, pp. 205-217  

[93] Sir C. Sankaran Nair, ``Gandhi and Anarchy'', 1922.

[94] A revolutionary's defence, Young India, February 12, 1925 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL030.PDF

[95] To Another Revolutionary, on 12/03/1925 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL030.PDF

[96] MY FRIEND, THE REVOLUTIONARY, Young India, April 9, 1925  http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL031.PDF

[97] At It Again, Young India, May 5, 1925 http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL031.PDF

[98] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Malaviya Conference, 19/01/1922, http://www.gandhiserve.org/cwmg/VOL025.PDF

Last updated: January 28, 2016 | 11:10
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