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Bose OR Gandhi (English)

This book seeks to answer a seminal question about Nation-state formation in Postcolonial India, “Who got us our Freedom and how?” Was it due to the violence of Bose and His INA- or was it due to the peaceful and non-violent agitation of Mahatma Gandhi? Where we are going depends a lot on where we came from. The author has painstakingly analyzed the documents now available in the British Transfer of Power Archives. He has methodically identified the key British decision-makers in London and New Delhi in the critical period from 1945-1947 and examined their letters and reports about the INA trials and their violent aftermath (November-December 1945) and then the mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy (February 1946). Relevant letters from the Viceroy and military appreciation of the situation by Fd Mshl Auchinleck, along with reports from the Governors of the various provinces, as also the report of the Director IB, have been reproduced in the original along with Letters from the Prime minister Lord Clement Attlee and Secretary of state for India, Pethick Lawerence. The documentary paper trail is chillingly clear. The British were shaken by the widespread violence in support of the INA and the serious question mark it raised about the continued loyalty of some 2.5 million Indian soldiers then being demobilized after the war. There were less than 40,000 British troops in India then. They were war-weary and home-sick. How could they have quelled a revolt by 2.5 million combat-hardened Indian Soldiers? It was this stark maths that forced the British to leave when they did. Nelson Mandela in South Africa continued with the non-violent methods of the Mahatma. Unfortunately, South Africa got its freedom only in April 1994. The unfortunate fact is that the British left but handed over power to an anglophile elite that faithfully carried on with the narratives and constructs of the Raj.

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