Rashbehari Bose: India’s messenger in Japan

DailyBiteApr 25, 2016 | 17:35

Rashbehari Bose: India’s messenger in Japan

Dr Bhagawan Singh Gyani (Preetam) who had become the president and commissioner of the Revolutionary Ghadar Party had described Rashbehari Bose as follows:

Revolutionary individuals are rare and of the following categories:

  1. There are those who rebel against conditions and environments – personal, social, economic and natural. They complain, whine and grumble and even occasionally protest, refusing to go along with the established order. Under pressure, however, they will compromise, give up the struggle, submit and follow the crowd.
  2. There are revolutionaries who are made of sterner staff. They are ready and willing to suffer and sacrifice whether for an ideal, for the country or a deep conviction. They seldom, if ever, are discouraged and usually work alone or in small circles.
  3. There are revolutionaries who are sages in their perceptions and scientific in their attitude and genius in organising. They construct a clear pattern of a new nation, they possess a unique capacity for fashioning a social order, step by step, as they go along. They work together, coordinate their plans and benefit from each other’s association. They learn in the light of their own mistakes and particularly by the mistakes of others, and they do not hesitate to alter or modify their plans if by so doing they may realise their objective with dignity, efficiency and ease. They possess a volatile personality, adaptable to any condition and always move ahead in spite of obstacles.

Our Shri Rash Behari Basu belonged to this (the third) category of revolutionists.”

(Two Rebels Meet, Dr Bhagawan Singh Gyani (Pritam) p. 515, [10])

Rashbehari Bose with his wife in Japan. 

We have spoken of Rashbehari Bose, the fierce, the unyielding revolutionary in our previous articles [4], [13]. Here, we describe the statesman in him. After his revolutionary attempts from India and East Asia failed, he bid his time for the earliest opportunity. In this piece we describe how he used his sojourn in Japan to spread the message of civilisational India, communicate the pain of her slavery, her exploitation by a foreign nation and raise awareness of the ongoing freedom struggle. In the sequel, we describe how he tirelessly built up contacts among the highest echelon in Japan, kept himself abreast of the developments in India, continuously organised and assisted the Indians living in Japan, particularly the students and freedom fighters who took refuge there, and sought to inform India about Japan so as to initiate an alliance when the time is ripe. He also championed the cause of Asian solidarity, partly out of conviction, partly because of its potential to bind the two ancient civilisations with a common sense of belonging. He prepared as best as he could for the coming events, including attempting to anticipate the events to occur in India and elsewhere, so that the country would be best poised to strike to win freedom from the British. He therefore acted as India’s unofficial ambassador in every capacity. It is these non-military activities, engaged in in a period spanning over two decades in Japan that provided the foundations for his last onslaught – the Indian National Army.


Vallabhbhai Patel had once publicly undermined revolutionaries (the naval mutineers in particular) as a “bunch of young hotheads messing with things they had no business in” pp. 134-135, [14]. Even worse, acclaimed political commentators had abused revolutionaries as “idiots”. Revolutionary Sachindranath Sanyal has written: “And among these critics those who are extremely knowledgeable and cautious they do not hesitate to call these revolutionaries as ‘idiots’. The wise editor of the established monthly periodical Modern Review of India had said in reference to the revolutionaries ‘if there are even some Indians who are armed revolutionaries, then Indians would surely need to doubt their wisdom and intellect’” pp. 167-169, [9]. Far from what such cynics believed, the revolutionaries who had lived long enough had showed themselves to be capable of outstanding statesmanship and possessing of superlative intellectual abilities. The multi-dimensional personality of Rashbehari, as borne out by this article and its sequel, is a case in point.    

Section A: The propaganda war

A subjugated nation needs to fight its freedom struggle on multiple fronts, one of which is enlisting support for its cause in foreign land, and thereby build international pressure on the occupier forcing it to reduce its repressive actions. On June 10, 1933, Subhas Chandra Bose had articulated the need for propaganda as follows: “Thanks to British propaganda, India has been portrayed before the world as a country full of internal conflicts in which peace has been preserved by the might of England. India certainly had her internal conflicts in the past, as every other country has. But these conflicts were solved by the people themselves. That is why Indian history from the most ancient times abounds in instances of mighty empires like that of Asoka the Great, under the aegis of which peace and prosperity reigned throughout the land. But the conflicts of today are permanent in character and they are artificially engineered by the agents of the third party in our country. And I have no doubt in my mind that real unity among the Indian people can never be achieved as long as British Rule exists in India. Though we cannot expect anything from any political party in England, it is exceedingly important and necessary for our purpose that we should organise international propaganda on behalf of India. This propaganda must be both positive and negative, on the negative side we must refute the lies that are told about India consciously or unconsciously by the agents of Great Britain throughout the world. On the positive side we must bring to the notice of the world the rich culture of India in all its aspects as well as India's manifold grievances. It goes without saying that London must be an important centre for this international propaganda. It is to be regretted that till quite recently the Indian National Congress did not realise the value and the necessity of international propaganda. But we now hope that our countrymen in the days to come will realise in an increasing degree the value of international propaganda. There is probably nothing which I admire so much about the Britisher as his skill in propaganda. A Britisher is a born propagandist, and to him propaganda is more powerful than howitzers. There is one other country in Europe which has learnt this lesson from and that is Russia. And it is not surprising that Britain dislikes Russia and is even afraid of her for having discovered the secret of her (Britain’s) success. There is so much of hostile propaganda carried on in this world against India by British agents that if only we could state the real condition of India and her grievances against Britain, we would at once get a large measure of international sympathy. I will now mention some of the points in connection with which active propaganda is necessary throughout the world: (1) Ill-treatment of political prisoners in India and the transportation of long-term political prisoners to the unhealthy Andaman Islands, where recently two of them have died as a result of hunger strike. (2) Extreme vindictiveness displayed by the Government in the matter of issuing passports to Indians. (It is not known outside India that innumerable Indians have been refused passports for going out of India, while Indians living abroad have been refused passports for returning to India.) (3) The systematic practice of aeroplane bombing in India, particularly in the North-Western Frontier, for terrorising helpless villagers. (4) The strangling of India's indigenous Industries; including the shipbuilding industry; by Great Britain during her rule in India. (5) The popular and widespread opposition in India to any scheme of Imperial Preference, including the Ottawa Pact. (The world should be informed that India never accepted the Ottawa Pact, but that it was forced down our unwilling throats). (6) The popular opposition in India to any proposal for a tariff truce, since India urgently wants protection for her infant industries. (7) The fixing of the exchange rate arbitrarily by England in a manner that is prejudicial to India's interests. The world should know how Great Britain has robbed India of crores of rupees merely through the manipulation of the exchange rate. (8) Further, the world should be told that Great Britain has saddled India with a heavy public debt for which Indian nationalists refuse to accept any responsibility. As early as in 1922 the Indian National Congress at its Gaya session gave notice to the Government that it would refuse to accept any responsibility for this public debt. It is a matter of common knowledge that the debt was incurred not for India's benefit, but for the interests of British imperialists.” pp. 257-259,  [16].


Subhas Bose had wished to set up unofficial embassies throughout the world, utilising the legacy of Vittalbhai Patel p. 36 [15], worth more than 1,00,000 rupees bequeathed to Subhas Bose for national work p. 304 [3]. Patel was one of the few Indian political leaders who was interested in foreign propaganda p. 365 [3]. 

Sachindranath Sanyal had written: “The leadership of India has not understood even today the benefits of spreading awareness about India in Europe and USA, because if they did they would surely have paid attention to it. In this manner, to secure their interests, how much money the English spent in propaganda, this our political leadership has not yet observed, for this reason whenever some Indians publicize abroad that India wanted to be free, then the leadership of India sing paeans to the virtue of British rule” p. 145, [9].


Section A: Rashbehari’s positive and negative propaganda in Japan

Unknown to Subhas Bose and possibly Sanyal, the other Bose had embarked on the path of propaganda on behalf of India about eighteen years back. Rashbehari Bose had conducted both positive and negative propaganda, focusing on both the cultural contributions of India to the world and political repression in and economic exploitation of India by the British.


Rashbehari had arrived in Japan in June, 1915, and on November 27, 1915, he organised a meeting at the famous Seiyoken hotel at Ueno Park, Tokyo p. 6, [8] p. 550, [10], which was attended by large parts of Japanese gentry (top ranking politicians, editors, writers, public men) p. 550, [10]. Georges Ohsawa has written about the meeting: “The address of Lala Lajpat Rai moved all the Japanese invited. Every speaker attacked violently English cruelty in India,” p. 6, [8], which constitutes negative propaganda. Sabarwal has written: “The late Hugh Byas, an Englishman, who was then the editor of the American owned Japanese Advertisor, compared Lalajee to Lloyd George as an orator and a statesman in his report of that function which appeared in his paper next morning” p. 550, [10].  The conference was so effective that we learn from Ohsawa: “Alarmed by this news (of the banquet and speeches) the British embassy requested the Foreign Minister of Japan for the deportation of all Indian revolutionaries in Japan. …..The next morning Lala Lajpat Rai escaped to the U.S.A. Bose and Gupta were summoned to the police station and handed over a deportation order. They must go out of the country within five days” pp. 6-7, [8]. Rashbehari went into hiding in Japan to escape deportation, and the order was subsequently rescinded, thanks to sustained efforts of the eminent Japanese [4]. 

Rashbehari attended conferences all over Japan, stressing the old ties between India and Japan, the Indian culture, the India life, the British cruelty and the union of all Asiatics. He also periodically travelled to Korea, eg, in 1934, influencing the cultural and intellectual circles there p. 33, [8]. Zen-ichi Suzuki has described the impact of Rashbehari’s speeches as follows: “Frequently I gave lectures at the same stage along with Mr Bose. At that time Mr Bose delivered a fervent speech with tearful eyes, by which all Japanese audiences were charmed” p. 48, [10]. He became widely known as Sensai (meaning “teacher”, In Japanese) to his Indian followers and admirers, and to most Japanese who had given him this popular title (SA Iyer, p. 443 [10]). A prince of the imperial family of Japan had attended a lecture by Rashbehari Bose in 1923. In Rashbehari’s own words, “In 1923 I was invited by the commanding officer of that regiment to deliver a lecture on India and at that time I had the honour of making the acquaintance of His Highness (Prince Chichibu, second son of the Emperor who passed away in 1926), who came forward and shook hands with me and heard with rapt attention what I said about the present condition of India” [7]. 

Rashbehari wrote extensively in Japan, mostly in Japanese, but also in English and Bengali (only a few). The books he wrote in Japanese are 1) Panoramic Views of Asian Revolution  (1929), 2) Wits and Humours of India (1930), 3) India Oppressed (1933), 4) Stories of Indian People (1935), 5) India in Revolution (1935), 6) Victories of Young Asia (1937), 7) India Crying (1938), 8) Bhagavata Gita (1940), 9) Tragic History of India (1942), 10) Speaking on India (1942), 11) Dawn of Independent India (1942), 12) Struggle for Independence (1942), 13) Ramayana (1942), 14) Translation of Rabindranath’s Sesher Kabita, The Last Song (1943), 15) India of Indians (1943), 16) Bose appeals (1944) p. 34, [8]. We could not access the contents of these as they have not been translated. From the names, it appears that 2), 4),  8), 13) 14) would be positive propaganda, while 3), 5), 7) 9) 12) would be negative propaganda. Rashbehari is also known to be closely associated with the Asian Review magazine, which started in February, 1920. Many articles had appeared in Asian Review on India until 1921, November, including the English translation of Sagar-Sangeet, a poem written by CR Das, articles on Motilal Roy (with his picture) and his ashram, on Rabindranath, on major political events of India (and the world). They were likely penned by Rashbehari who preferred to remain anonymous as he was not naturalised in Japan then.  Most of these have not been translated to English or any Indian language yet. (Introduction, [5]). Rashbehari had also arranged for the translation of Subhas Bose’s book The Indian Struggle to Japanese p. 257, [1].

We enumerate other instances of positive and negative propaganda next. 

Section B: Positive propaganda

Rev Nikki Kimura, who had worked as a lecturer on the topic of Buddhist philosophy and Buddhist history for about 15 years in Calcutta University, starting from 1915, appointed by Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, had written about Rashbehari: “He endeavored to introduce to us stories of India, or Indian religions and political news of India. Particularly he paid keen attention to the movements of Mr Gandhi and introduced to us his famous books. Also he introduced to Japan Indian ancient cultures” p. 11, [10]. Rashbehari’s former pupil and life-long associate, Mr Zen-ichi Suzuki, the director of Shin-Nihon Kyogi-Kai, Tokyo, has described Rashbehari’s contributions on raising awareness about India in Japan as follows: “Several hundred thousands or several millions of Japanese people are well acquainted with the name of Rashbehari Bose and they feel sympathy for him. Even now, many Japanese would call to their minds the name of Rashbehari Bose against the words of Indian independence movement. It will not be too much to say that Mr Rashbehari Bose is only one person among Indians, excepting Buddha, who gave to Japanese deep impressions and acquired the public sympathy” p. 48, [10]. On July 9, 1922, Rashbehari had written to Sachindranath Sanyal from Tokyo as follows: “When I came here first, the Japanese had little knowledge in the state of affairs in India. It is chiefly through our efforts and sacrifices that today every Japanese is closely following the trend of event in India. I have got many Japanese friends, from the cabinet ministers down to lawyers, MPs, journalists and students. Many books in Japanese about Gandhi and Indian movements have been published, and the papers and magazines are regularly carrying articles on India. This month a professor in the Tokyo Imperial University, published a voluminous book in Japanese on India. Next month I am engaged to deliver lectures on Indian situation for three days…Today most of the young men here are staunch advocates of Asian independence. Even older men and responsible officials are in sympathy with the new awakening noticed from Persia to China” pp. 132-133 [9].

Section B.1: Encomiums on Indian leaders

Rashbehari’s positive propaganda also included encomiums on contemporary Indians even when he did not share their worldview. This is again consistent with what an ambassador does, seeks to represent his country in a manner that would enhance its image the most in a foreign land, regardless of his individual opinions on the issues. He was for example nothing but laudatory on his public postures on Mohandas Gandhi, regardless of serious ideological differences with the latter. On August 22, 1922, he wrote in The Standard Bearer on the non-cooperation movement launched by Gandhi: “Finding themselves unable to remain under the rule of Whites long, Gandhi and his followers made their appearance in India. Gandhi was arrested by the British authorities and thrown into prison, but the ideas that he has implanted deeply in Indian mind cannot be so easily removed. The Indians to the number of 300,000,000, who are in sympathy with the ideas of Gandhi, are determined not to stop their movement until independence is attained” p. 359, [10]. As president of the Indian Independence League, he issued the following statement on Gandhi in the occasion of Gandhi’s successful termination of Poona fast in September, 1932: “Indians all over the world are overwhelmed with joy at the news from Poona this morning that Mahatma Gandhi has successfully concluded the three weeks’ fast which he had imposed upon himself as a protest against the British reign of terror in India.

Three weeks ago when Mahatma Gandhi began this penance to rouse the conscience of the world against the British oppressors of India, he declared that he desired to survive the ordeal. At his advanced age, and with his health considerably impaired by six months of prison life, Mahatma Gandhiji’s move was a source of grave concern to the Indian people and their friends all over the world, and even the doctors who attended on him expressed serious doubts as to whether he could survive.

But survive he did, and in the most triumphant fashion, thanks to the formidable spiritual force within that frail form, and the Divine grace of Almighty God. I consider the miraculous triumph of Mahatma Gandhi and the devastating blow he inflicted on British power in India in the past three weeks, as an unmistakable message of victory to the Indian people – a message of victory in India’s battle for independence.

For nearly seven months, Indian nationalists all over the country have been waging a relentless war against the British. True to the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, Indian patriots fought the British with clean weapons and on a nobler plan of combat. India met Britain’s ungodliness with godliness; India met Britain’s untruth with truth; India met Britain’s cunning and craft by frankness and simplicity; India met Britain’s terrorism and frightfulness by bravery and patient suffering. Indian nationalists exposed to the world the sheer brute force, which is the basis of British rule in India. Unarmed India defied the organised violence of the British and is still defying the British.

From behind the British prison walls at Poona, Mahatma Gandhi’s heart bled for his four hundred million compatriots – helpless victims of the ruthless campaign of murder and loot launched by the bloodthirsty British. And, on February 10,  Mahatmaji resorted to the only weapon at his disposal, as a prisoner of the British, to register his protest against British barbarism.

While India and the world counted the hours and days, anxiously awaiting the news of Mahatma Gandhi’s condition, the heartless British remained unmoved. While India and the world hoped and prayed for Gandhi’s survival, the callous British hoped and prayed for Gandhiji’s death. While the entire right-thinking world expressed its sympathy for Mahatma Gandhi and India’s cause and the British prepared to group for the murder of Gandhiji and the destruction of Indian National Congress. The British Viceroy turned down with contempt the demand of the Indian nation for the release of Mahatma Gandhi; the British Viceroy even went to the extent of dismissing three influential Indians whose names he exploited in the most unscrupulous manner when these Indians pressed the Viceroy to save Gandhiji’s precious life.

But Gandhiji has survived the fast; and the British Viceroy and his accomplices in the crimes against India, have been disappointed. Mahatma Gandhi’s triumphal emergence from this fast is not only a victory for the spiritual force which inspires Gandhiji; it is a victory for India; it is a victory for India’s cause and righteousness. It is a victory that should stimulate the confidence of the Indian people in the greater triumph against the evil force of British imperialism that is now imminent. It is a victory that should spur the Indian nation to the supreme sacrifice in the fulfilment of Mahatma Gandhi’s life’s mission. I consider this day of successful termination of Mahatma Gandhi’s fast as an important milestone in the victorious progress of India’s battle for independence.

On this auspicious day, the day on which our revered leader, Mahatma Gandhi, has scored a signal victory over the British enemies of India, I would like to express my grateful appreciation of the kind sentiments of all friends of India in the hour of crisis that the Indian people have just overcome. To the mighty Axis powers and their Allies, who support the Indian Nation in its fight against the common Anglo-American enemies, I wish to express the heartfelt gratitude of Indians at home and abroad. And to the great Japanese nation that has pledged all-out assistance to India in her battle for independence, I, on behalf of Indians of East Asia, convey India’s debt of gratitude to the Japanese government and the invincible armed forces of the Nippon, and reaffirm the determination of the Indian people to fight shoulder to shoulder with their Japanese brethren until Anglo-American power in Asia is annihilated. In the past three weeks of India’s trials and tribulations, in the period of anxiety and suspense just over, the words of sympathy and reassurance of aid to India by responsible spokesmen of the Japanese Government and Nation, have been a source of immense gratification and encouragement to the Indian people.

On this day of Gandhiji’s triumph against the British enemies of India, I would urge my compatriots, at home as well as abroad, to plunge themselves wholeheartedly into this final battle for India’s independence and to achieve the life’s mission of our revered leader, Mahatma Gandhi.  To them, I would stress once again that the odds are in our favour. The British in India have just suffered a grave defeat and the Indian Nation has just won a spiritual victory over the British enemy. This is our opportunity to strike the final blow. Let us unite, let us have faith in ourselves and let us be ready for the supreme sacrifice. That was Gandhiji’s message to India; it was to send out this message that Gandhiji offered to sacrifice his life. Let every Indian respond to Mahatma Gandhi’s call. Let every Indian – soldiers, officials, workers and peasants – let every Indian rise against the British and wipe out the last trace of that satanic regime which was determined to murder Mahatma Gandhi and to crush the Indian nation.    

Almighty God has willed that India must be free; Almighty God has willed that Mahatma Gandhi should live to lead a free India” pp. 215-218 [10].

The question that naturally arises is how much of Rashbehari’s adulation for Gandhi is sincere, and how much is a public posture. It is important to bear in mind that Rashbehari’s chosen path to freedom had substantially diverged from the almost dogmatic insistence of Gandhi that India attains her freedom through non-violence. To be specific, Gandhi was not rigid on non-violence per se, but only on that the Hindus must not resort to violence against any aggressor. Gandhi had campaigned to recruit Indians to fight for British during the First World War, while Rashbehari was in contrast seeking to overthrow the British through an armed rebellion. Gandhi had also extended his support to the Khilafat movement of pan-Islamists of India with the full knowledge that it was not tied to non-violence. In contrast, Rashbehari had started his political life as a revolutionary. He had never denounced violence as an illegitimate means towards freedom. With the objective of calling for an armed revolution in India, Rashbehari had formed the Indian Independence League (IIL) in Japan in 1924, and became its founder president p. 561, [10]. We learn from Nedyam Raghavan, who had closely interacted with him in 1942:  As to our leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and others, he (Rash Behari)  displayed great respect and regard. He seemed to feel, however that being within India their fight for freedom had necessarily to be limited and circumscribed. He was, I am sorry to say, no believer in non-violence, and on more occasions than one he reiterated his conviction that violence and non-violence should go hand in hand in the liberation of our country. To him, both were legitimate means to achieve a legitimate end” p. 438, [10]. Raghavan here is commenting on Rashbehari’s “display” of respect and regard for Gandhi and Nehru, but also pointing out that Rashbehari felt that their fight for freedom was limited, and testifying to Rashbehari’s conviction as to the necessity of violence. The INA would declare war on Britain and America under the leadership of his successor, Subhas Chandra Bose.

Rashbehari became much more unequivocal about his ideology in a letter that he had written to Subhas Bose on January 25, 1938 who he possibly perceived to have shared his ideological persuasion. In the letter that was not meant for public consumption, he articulated his conviction that India could only be emancipated through might, and not through education nor sanitation. Note that Gandhi had strongly championed social work by Congress members leading to diversion of manpower and other material resources from the freedom struggle, and had himself observed multiple fasts against untouchability. He went on to ridicule the fetish for non-violence expressed through self-deceiving sanctimonious phrases – one can not but conclude that in that letter he was castigating all that Gandhi stood for (emancipation through non-violence, social work involving sanitation etc). Ironically, the letter never made it to Subhas Bose, as it was intercepted by British intelligence pp. 253-257, [1]:


It is of course possible to admire an individual while disagreeing with his views in part, but the disagreement in this case was fundamental. So at least part of Rashbehari’s public deification of Gandhi was public posturing directed towards promoting India’s image abroad. Gandhi’s movements had received tremendous international media coverage, mostly through some generous covert assistance provided by the British [8], and the coverage bestowed on him a saintly aura leading to popularity among the masses. For instance, we learn from Rashbehari’s communication to the Standard Bearer on January 23, 1923, of the following report on Gandhi that appeared in the Japanese managed The Osaka Mainichi: “Although poles apart from one another in their characters, Gandhi, Kemal and Mussolini belong to the same category of men, who have suddenly risen to fame and power, in the post-war history of the modern world. Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian national independence movement, is now in prison on the charge of sedition, but he carries with him the whole nation of India. Kemal Pasha, the Turkish Napoleon, is holding the destiny of his country in the grip of his fingers. Signor Mussolini, the leader of the Fascist Party, is wielding such power that by the indefinite adjournment of the Parliament, he has practically been made the dictator of Italy. By far the most significant personality among the three national heroes is Mahatma Gandhi, in the sense that he is not only a political leader, but a spiritual apostle, whose doctrine of non-resistance and non-violence the whole people of India are accepting like sheep following the shepherd.  While the two other heroes have obtained power by means of force and military prowess, Indian hero, almost against his will, has done so by means of the spiritual force of his wonderful personality. At any rate the rise of these three leaders in their respective countries shows that the world is, after all, a place where hero-worship never ceases to exist” pp. 374-375 [10].  Rashbehari acted as a force multiplier on publicity for Gandhi realising that owing to Gandhi’s connection with India’s freedom movement his popularity would bring to the forefront the cause of India’s freedom, as also mobilise the Indians of East Asia towards the freedom movement.

Rashbehari wrote a biographical article on Veer Savarkar in March and April 1939 issues of Japanese Magazine Dai Ajia Shugi (Greater Asianism) to commemorate his release from British captivity in 1937. He quoted national leaders like Rajagopalachari, Subhas Bose, MN Roy to show how Savarkar’s release was welcomed across the spectrum, and summarised their views as: “If I put together views of influential persons on Savarkar as mentioned above, Savarkar ‘is heroism, valor, adventure, and epitome of patriotism’. ‘To praise him is to praise the spirit of sacrifice’. He is the one ‘who always kept the fire of India’s freedom burning; he is a patriot who risked his life for the freedom of India in the early 20th century and is a founder exponent of the doctrine of cultural independence in the current times’”. Rashbehari subsequently provided a biographical sketch of Savarkar, and went on to summarise his views on Hindu nationalism and the import of military: 1) “It does not make sense to take all Indian as one. In Turkey, Turkish are nationals. In India, Hindus are nationals, and who believe in other religions are minorities”. He (Savarkar) defined Hindus as those who have faith in the area around the Indus River.” 2) “Like it or not, army is necessary. The nations gain respect with guns. Peace without guns does not exist. We need to use international help for us. Independence is much more important than ideology. First we need to be strong to be independent. It is not important whether Japan which conquers China is right or wrong. The world takes care of its own countries. You must not count on help from any other country.” He concluded the article by saying If you agree with Savarkar, you will have political power, and he has a strong position in the Indian independence movement[11]. (The original article in Japanese and its translation in Sanskrit was shared with us by Ranjit Savarkar, Chairman of Swatantryaveer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak.)


Section B.2: Popularising Indian cuisine in Japan

In the 1920s, Rashbehari became an executive in the Nakamurya bakery owned by his father in law p. 59, [10], [2], introduced Indian-style curry “Indo Karii” there p. 6, [2], and set up a supply-chain for receiving the ingredients [6]. As Russel and Cohn have observed, “Though more expensive than the usual curry, it became quite popular, with Rashbehari becoming known as Bose of Nakamurya. It is still one of the most popular curry restaurants in Tokyo” p. 6, [12]. Japanese residents have written blogs about the “Indo karii” of Shinjuku Nakamuraya as late as 2011; the dish was served there at least until then [2]. Nakamuraya’s website apparently carried pictures of Rashbehari and Toshiko, wearing a saree, draped Bengali style [6]. 

Section C: Negative propaganda

Rashbehari had exposed the economic exploitation of India in the following article titled India: A Blood Bank: Blood banks are the rage in India, at any rate with the British authorities. That is nothing surprising. The British are experts in creating blood banks all over the world and using the life-blood of other nations to transfuse new blood into the economic life of their island country.

Only lately have the British started opening blood banks in India for the transfusion of blood into the victims of air raids etc. in times of emergency. But, for two hundred years, the entire sub-continent of India has been serving as one colossal blood bank for the forty million British, five thousand miles away.

Before the advent of the British, India was the richest country in the world. To-day, India’s four hundred millions have been reduced to living skeletons, to famine and poverty, pestilence and starvation under the ‘benign’ British rule. The British vampires have sucked the life-blood of India to rejuvenate themselves and, even after two centuries of this deadly blood-sucking, the British are still determined not to let go their deadly grip on India’s throat.

Wholesale pillage was the normal business of the British East India Company in India. Loot of all visible wealth and the systematic destruction of Indian industries likely to compete with the British commercial ventures were the common devices of the British to bleed India white. After establishing themselves as the bandit rulers of the country, the British in India took on the mantle of respectability but still carried on the pillage. They continued their exploitation of India by more refined but nevertheless ruthless methods. This new phase of British exploitation of India took the subtle form of special commercial privileges, monopoly of capital industries, discriminative duties, and the throttling of Indian industries and shipping and coastal traffic. Besides all these there are even to-day payments to the British Treasury for naval defence, payments to the British army of occupation in India and the consequent obligation for enormous pensions payable to British civil and military servants. That is not all. There is the arbitrary exchange fixed between the pound and the rupee. Under this head alone, India loses two pence on every rupee remitted to England as capital of saving or in pensions or salaries. By these means, the British vampires are sucking the blood of India, just as unscrupulously though not so barefacedly as did the agents of the East India Company who plundered India wholesale.

The British know that this blood-sucking is soon coming to an end. They are therefore intensifying their nefarious endeavours to extinguish India’s economic life altogether. That is why the British recently misappropriated 199 million pounds of India’s funds kept with England on trust. And the British have threatened to drain 60 million pounds more of Indian money before the end of the month. Not content with all these, the British vampires have been plundering the starving Indian peasants for well over three months by extorting the so-called `collective fines’. In the first three months of the Indian revolution, the British have plundered Indian villagers to the tune of one crore forty-five lakhs of rupees (14.5 million rupees).

The British have thus mercilessly created for themselves the biggest blood bank in the world in India, where four hundred million human beings are made to bleed so that forty million Britishers may roll in luxury and dominate the rest of the world as well.

But these four hundred million Indians ought to be thankful now for small British mercies! The British have generously come forward to open slam blood banks in odd corners of India, of course with the blood that able-bodied Indians would provide, and most likely for transfusion to British victims of air raids and other incidents of war” pp. 210-212, [10].      

Rashbehari had exposed the political hypocrisy and racial discrimination of the British in a scathing article titled India Rules Herself, again during the Second World War: “The hypocritical British imperialists and their Indian dupes move heaven and earth to convince Indian patriots that Britain means to give complete independence to India – after the war, of course. The British freely promise also virtual independence immediately. They are so sincere about this offer that they cannot understand the unwisdom of Indian leaders who spurn such a generous offer, of course with the contempt it deserves. As proof of their sincerity, the British and their dupes point to the many ways in which the British treat India as an independent country. At least once a week, the British authorities, from the Secretary of State for India down to the Governor of a petty little province in India, point to the eleven Indian members of the British Viceroy’s Executive Council as against only three British members. So Indians are asked to believe that after all India is being governed by Indians.

On the surface, this argument is quite convincing indeed. But, scratch that surface, and you see the British hypocrisy underlying it. Quite true, eleven Indian members against three British is an overwhelming majority for Indians and the Indians must be controlling the Government of the country. Is that not virtually independence? – ask the British hypocrites.

But the vital question is: What can these poor, misguided eleven Indian renegades do against the wish of the autocratic British Viceroy and the three British members who control the defence, the finances and transportation of the country? The British Viceroy still has enough powers to ignore the existence of the eleven Indian members of his Council on all vital issues. In the name of defence in war-time, the British commander-in-chief can and does control everything from the armed forces down to the sale of the salt, sugar and kerosene, the barest necessities of the poorest villager; and he can control everybody except the Viceroy.

In the name of war-time economy, the British finance member can and does control every cent of the income and expenditure of the entire country. All his eleven Indian colleagues, including Sir Feroze Khan Noon, the much-boosted first Indian Defence Member, have to go to their British colleagues with a begging bowl in hand for every cent they want for their Departments. The so-called Indian Defence Member has nothing to defend except his own cosy job and Rs. 6000 monthly salary; in his spare time he can defend the tyrannical rule of his British masters who have given him the cosy job and Rs. 6000 salary. The real defence of India is solely vested in the British commander-in-chief.

So much for the hypocritical British claim that India is now ruled by Indians.

How could you expect the greedy British to part with even an iota of real power to Indians? They are in India as its rulers and exploiters, and they mean to stay in India as rulers and exploiters, that is, until Indians themselves drive the British out of India.

The British will never trust Indians with important positions for fear that one day their domination of India may be jeopardised. Meanwhile, they will go on trying to fool Indians and the world with their hypocritical talk of Indians governing their own country.

Do you want any more proof of this British hypocrisy? Here is the latest. The British Viceroy has appointed a Committee to enquire into the working of the Postal and Telegraphic arrangements for the Defence Services. But, who is to be the Chairman of this committee? An Indian? Oh, Lord, no. Not by any chance. How could you expect the liberal British who have already given virtual independence to India, how could you expect these generous British to give more independence to Indians, how could you expect them to trust an Indian with a job that is even remotely connected with the defence of his own country? No, that is too much to expect of the hypocritical British. Have not the British already appointed an Indian, Sir Feroz Khan Noon, as Defence Member, although he is only allowed to inspect barracks and look after military hospitals? Even the job of enquiring into the postal and telegraphic arrangement for the defence services cannot be given to an Indian. It can only be given to a Britisher. So, it has been given to a Britisher, and to a retired official at that.

India is governed by Indians, India is virtually independent, that is, if you are taken in by British hypocrisy.

Bande Mataram” pp. 212-214 [10].


[1] Subhas Chandra Bose, Congress President, Speeches, Articles, and Letters January 1938-May 1939, Collected Works of Netaji, Vol. 9, edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugato Bose

[3] Subhas Chandra Bose “Indian Struggle”

[4] Saswati Sarkar, Jeck Joy, Shanmukh, Dikgaj Rashbehari Bose’s second war from East Asia – battleground Japan and Singapore http://www.dailyo.in/politics/rashbehari-bose-sachindranath-sanyal-japan-revolutionary-china-indian-freedom-struggle-second-world-war/story/1/9745.html

[5] Rash Beharir Atma-katha O dushprapya Rachana, edited by Amal Kumar Mitra

[6] http://indianfoodreviews.blogspot.in/2013/11/curry-and-freedom-fighter-rash-behari.html?m=1

[7] Rashbehari Bose, “Anachronistic Admiration”, Standard Bearer, May 1927, Vol-1, No-1, Pages 55-57

[8] JG Ohsawa “The Two Great Indians in Japan”

[9] Sachindranath Sanyal “Bandi Jiban”

[10] Rashbehari Basu – His Struggle for India’s Independence, Editor in chief, Radhanath Rath, Editor Sabitri Prasanna Chatterjee, Biplabi Mahanayak Rash Behari Basu Smarak Samiti

[11] https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6910465149498857638#editor/target=post;postID=1825410271313671015;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname

[12] Jesse Russel, Ronald Cohn: Rashbehari Bose

[13] Jeck Joy, Saswati Sarkar, Shanmukh, Dikgaj ``The legend of Rashbehari Bose and the forgotten Hindu-German conspiracy’’ http://www.dailyo.in/politics/rashbehari-bose-hindu-muslim-riots-partition-1947-mahatma-gandhi-independence-hindu-german-conspiracy-ina/story/1/8230.html

[14] BC Dutt Mutiny of the Innocents, Sindhu Publications Pvt Ltd, Bombay-1, 1971

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

[16] Subhas Chandra Bose, The Anti-Imperialist Struggle and Samyavada, Presidential Address at the Third Indian Political Conference, London, 10 June, 1933, India’s Spokesman Abroad, Netaji Collected Works, Vol. 8, Letters, Articles, Speeches and Statements, 1933-1937,    pp. 240-263

Last updated: September 22, 2017 | 23:26
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