Sunday, March 8, 2009

Speech by S.C. Bose

Netaji addresses students of the Tokyo University in November 1944

"In the first place, it is not true that India was easily conquered by the British. It took British 100 years, from 1757 to 1857, to finally subjugate India. Secondly, it is also an entirely wrong notion to think that India was politically unified by the British. The fact is that India was for the first time politically unified nearly 2,500 years ago under the Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka the Great. In reality, India of the time of Ashoka the Great was even larger than the India of today. Ashoka's India included not only modern India, but also Afghanistan and a part of Persia."

"Now we come to another question-namely, the political system or Government. If we are to have an economic structure of a socialistic character, then it follows that the political system must be such as to be able to carry out that economic programme un the best possible way. You can not have a so-called democratic system, if that system has to put through economic reforms on a socialistic basis. Therefore, we must have a political system-a State-of an authoritarian character. We have had some experience of democratic institutions in India and we have also studied the working of democratic institutions in countries like France, England and the United States of America. And have come to the conclusion that with a democratic system we cannot solve the problems of a Free India. Therefore, modern progressive thought in India is in favour of a State of an authoritarian character, which will work as an organ, or as the servant of the masses, and not clique or of a few rich individuals."

"With regard to caste, that is now no problem for us, because caste, as it existed in the old times, does not exist today. Now, what is caste system? The caste system means that a community is divided into certain groups on a professional or vocational basis and marriage takes place within each group.
In modern India there is no such caste distinction. A member of one caste is free to take up any other profession. So caste, in that sense does not exist today. Then there remains the question of marriage. In the old times, it was custom to marry within each caste. Nowadays, intermarriage between the different castes takes place freely. Hence caste is fast disappearing. As a matter of fact in the nationalist movement we never inquire as to what caste a man belongs to and we even do not know the caste of some of our closest collaborators, which shows that in our generation we do not think at all about caste. For Free India, therefore, caste is no problem at all."

"I have already told you about the kind of economic and political system that we would like to have in Free India. Out of this, arises the problem as to what our political philosophy is. On this question, I gave my own views in a book I wrote about 10 years ago called "The Indian Struggle". In that book I said that it would be our task in India to evolve a system that would be a synthesis of the systems in vogue in different parts of the world. For instance, if you take the conflict between Fascism (or what you might call National Socialism) on the one side and Communism on the other, I see no reason why we cannot work out a synthesis of the two systems that will embody the good points of both. It would be foolish for any one to say that any one system represents the last stage in human progress. As students of philosophy, you will admit that human progress can never stop and out of the past experience of the world we have to produce a new system. Therefore, we in India will try to work out a synthesis of the rival systems and try to embody the good points of both. "

"There may be people who doubt whether a nation can rise to a high moral level, whether a nation can be farsighted and unselfish and undertake the work of establishing a new order. I have every faith in mankind. If it is possible for one individual to be unselfish, to live one's life at a high moral level, I see no reason why an entire nation cannot also rise to that level. In the history of the world we have seen examples in which a revolution has changed the mentality of a whole nation and made it rise to a high level of morality. Therefore, if anybody has any doubt whether an entire nation can rise to that level, then I do not share that doubt."

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