Appendix to `Two Revolutinaries, Rashbehari and Subhas – A Meeting of Minds’


Rashbehari Bose wrote the following letter to Subhas which was intercepted by British intelligence and never reached the recipient pp. 253-257, [1]:



My dear Subhas Babu

I am glad to learn from a press dispatch from India that you have been elected as President of the next session of the Congress. I offer you my hearty congratulations. I am, as a Bengalee, proud of you. Bengalees were partly responsible for the British occupation of India, and it is, in my opinion, the primary duty of the Bengalees to make more sacrifices to recover the freedom of India. Bengalees by their sacrifices and sufferings are destined to lead India in the battle of freedom. This is my conviction, and hence I expect you to give a definite lead to the Congress for the attainment of our goal.

At present the Congress is passing through a crisis. It is now a constitutional organization and cooperating with the government. In a subject country no constitutional and legal organization can ever secure freedom, because the constitution or law is framed by the rulers for their own benefit and interest. Only unconstitutional or illegal organisations from the British point of view can lead the country to independence. The Congress became an unconstitutional body at the time of civil disobedience movement and hence it could do immense work. At present it has reverted to its past position of a harmless body. There is practically speaking no difference between the Congress and Moderate parties. I do not understand why Congressmen in the past criticized Sir Surendranath Banerji when he accepted office. Congressmen at present are doing exactly what Sir Surendranath Banerji and other Moderates did at the time of the last so-called Reforms. Rather, credit should be given to the Moderates of that time for their demand for a general amnesty to all political prisoners. Now only a limited number of political prisoners have been released, at that time all the political prisoners were immediately pardoned and released. What is now wanted for the Congress to lead the country correctly is to have a revolutionary mentality. It is now an evolutionary body. It must be made a pure revolutionary body. When the whole body is poisoned, applying medicine on certain parts will be of no use.

The fetish of non-violence should be discarded, and the creed should be changed. Let us attain our goal through `all possible means: violence or non-violence’. The non-violence atmosphere is simply making Indians womanly men. No nation in the present world should think of non-violence, if it wants to exist as a self-respecting member of the world. Our difficulty had been the `other worldliness’ dinned into our ears for such a long period. The idea should be completely removed. Instead of `other worldliness’ we should have `this worldliness’ first as Swami Vivekananda preached. Daridra Narayans should be fed, clothed and sheltered first. Let them have the enjoyment of the world first. Then we can talk of heaven. The Muslims say: Pir, Amir e Fakir, so that one can defy the world. If you cannot be a Fakir, be an Amir, and enjoy life. If you cannot become an Amir, be a Pir. That means kill a Kafir, and your tomb or you in the other world will be worshipped by the people as a God. The Gita also says so, let us sacrifice ourselves, so that the future generation may enjoy.

The Congress should devote attention to only one aspect, ie, military preparedness. Might is still the right. This we must remember. Its no use deceiving ourselves by sanctimonious phrases. The Congress should agitate for control of the army first, all branches of the army. Education, sanitation, etc., can never make us free. Strength is the real need. You should concentrate your whole energy on this point. I think, Dr. Moonje has done much more than the Congress by establishing his military school. Indians should first of all be the masters of the army. They must secure the right to bear arms.

Next important thing is the Hindu solidarity. The Muslims are Hindus too, when they are born in India, and when their religious practices differ from those of the Muslims of Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, etc. Hinduism is catholic enough to give a place to Islam within the Hindu fold, as it has done in the past. All Indians are Hindus, though they may believe in different religions, as all Japanese are Japanese though they may be Buddhists, Christians, etc.

The Congress should support the Pan-Asia movement. It should not condemn Japan without understanding her motive in the Sino-Japanese conflict. Japan is a friend of India and other Asiatic countries. Her chief motive is to destroy British influence in Asia. She has begun with China.

The Congress ought to have a world outlook. International situation should be studied and utilized for India’s benefit and interests. We should make friends with Britain’s enemies. This should be our foreign policy. Sentiments should find no place in actual politics. Interest is always the basis. Japan is at present the eye-sore of England, Russia, and America for obvious reasons. They want to down Japan by hook or crook. (With) Japan’s fall will vanish the hope of a regenerated and free Asia. The Congress had made great mistake by carrying on anti-Japanese movements. We should remember that a time may come when England will shake hands with Japan, and control India pointing to Japan the anti-Japanese activities of the Indians in Japan’s hour or trial. It is now the best policy for Indians to support Japan and utilise this opportunity to increase their influence in world-politics and extract as much concessions from Britain now as possible.

For a subject country, dictatorship is absolutely necessary in a freedom movement. As in time of war, dictatorship is indispensable, at present in India’s struggle for freedom dictatorship is equally indispensable. At the time of civil disobedience dictatorship came into being to a certain extent, and hence the movement achieved so much success.

Democracy is all right in peace time, but if it is observed in war time, disaster is surely to overtake that country.

We know not how to enjoy life or how to sacrifice life. There is the difficulty. Let us in this respect follow the Japanese. They are now dying in thousands gladly for the sake of their country. This spirit we must know. We must know how to die and the problem of the freedom of India will be automatically solved.

I have faith in you. Go ahead irrespective of criticisms, obstacles and impediments. Lead the nation along the right path. And success will be your’s and India’s.

With Blessings,

Yours affectionately

Rash Behari Bose

PS Your book is being translated into Japanese and published in a magazine serially. I again stress the point `Let us have control over the army, navy and air-force and let British rule India in other Departments.


[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