Sunday, September 13, 2015

Markandey Katju, Subhash Bose, and Bengalis

India's outspoken judge, Shri Markandey Katju, took to Facebook yesterday in an outburst against Subhash Chandra Bose. I quote his entire article here, syntactical and grammatical style unchanged, except for the bit in bold near the beginning, which I was responsible for.

The Japanese agent Subhas Chandra Bose 
I hold Bengalis in high respect. They are a highly intelligent, highly cultured people, with great contributions in literature, science, philosophy,social reforms, etc
Unfortunately, many of them have some blind spots. It is diifficult to talk rationally with many Bengalis about some personalities whom they have converted into icons or holy cows, e.g. Tagore or Subhas Chandra Bose. Even the slightest criticism of these persons invokes a torrent or barrage of invectives and vituperations.
I remember when I was a Judge of Allahabad High Court I was sitting with some other Judges, one of whom was a Bengali, at the house of one of my colleagues. I mentioned my view that Subhas Chandra Bose was a Japanese agent. This so infuriated the Bengali Judge that he started shouting and raving almost like a madman, and so I quickly apologized so as not to break up the party.
But why should Bengalis go crazy if someone rationally criticizes Tagore and Bose ? Are they the private property of Bengalis.?
I have already mentioned my view about Tagore on my blog in which I have said that Tagore was objectively a British stooge, who had been built up by the British ( through their agent Yeats ) so as to divert literature from the revolutionary direction Sharad Chandra Chattopadhyaya was taking it ( see his Pather Dabi ) towards harmless and nonsensical spiritualism and mysticism ( see Gitanjali, Agni Beena Bajao Tumi, etc ) so as not to harm British interests.
I had also called Bose objectively a Japanese agent, in one of my blogs.
Today I read in the newspapers that Mamata Banerjee has decided to throw open the state government's files on ' Netaji '.
In my opinion this is just a diversionary populist measure to divert attention from the real problems of Bengalis ( and other Indians ) of poverty, unemployment, healthcare, price rise, malnourishment, etc.
Moreover, it is high time for Bengalis ( and other Indians ) to make a rational assessment of this ' national icon ' ( as Mamata described him ).
In Germany, Bose not only hobnobbed with Hitler but even with Himmler, two of the most evil men in history, ( their photographs can be seen on the internet ) responsible for sending millions to gas chambers. He wanted to organize the Indian soldiers captured by the Germans, to fight along with the Nazis. But when Hitler showed no interest, Bose went to Japan and raised his ragtag 'Azad Hind Fauj ' to fight with Japanese support against the British army.
In my opinion Bose was a highly ambitious person, and he became a Japanese agent because neither Gandhi nor Hitler had given him any ' bhaav ', so he thought that the only alternative left was to ally with Japan.
The Japanese fascists used Bose in their fight against the British, but the moment his utility was over they would probably have bumped him off.
Does anybody think that the Japanese fascist imperialists would have given freedom to India if they had defeated the British ? No, they would have made India their colony ( as they made Korea, Manchuria and other parts of China, Vietnam,etc ) and looted us. If we resisted, the Japanese would assuredly have massacred our people, as they did to the people of Shanghai, Nanking, etc ( see on Youtube visual accounts of these massacres ).
If Bose was a great freedom fighter, why did he give up the fight against the British the moment the Japanese surrendered ? He should have carried on a guerilla war against the British, the way the Chinese Eighth Route Army fought against the Japanese. In guerilla war you fight with the weapons of the enemy, by snatching them from him. The fact that he did not do so shows that there was nothing in the man. First he tried to become an agent of the Nazis, but they rebuffed him. Then he became an agent of the Japanese, who accepted him as their loyal running dog.
Some people support Bose's alliance with the Japanese by saying that an enemy's enemy is one's friend. In the real, practical, world, this maxim cannot be of universal application. Moreover, one can understand alliance with Japan if there was a possibility that such an alliance could have given us real freedom. But there was no such possibilty. Even if the Japanese, with I.N.A. support had defeated the British, they would never have given us freedom, but converted India into their colony. The very nature of the then fascism prevailing in Japan makes this evident.
My assessment of Bose is that he was an over ambitious, confused person, who to satisfy his ambition and ego was prepared even to ally with the devil, like a Faust. It is high time Bengalis ( and others ) realize this

So he obviously doesn't like Bose or perhaps even Gandhi and company. Which is fine. He is entitle to his opinion, as is everybody else in what is still probably a country that allows free speech. Which of course resulted in a volley of abuse and criticism in the comments section. Katju's standard reply, and one that I quite agree with, is "abuse does not equate with argument". Here are two such examples.

He seems to be driving that point home. Nothing wrong in that. Constructive criticism goes a lot further than abuse. So imagine my surprise when this happens.

Now that was plain uncalled for. I understand he might have had a beef with Bengalis in the past, but this is simply violating the very principle that he himself expounded. Besides, he began his post declaring that he "holds Bengalis in high respect". This sort of turnaround brings into his entire line of argument into question; if you contradict yourself within a period of two minutes (as can be seen in the time tags), how can anyone take you seriously sir?

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