New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) As mountainous waves struck the German U-Boat under dark and roiling skies, its captain emphatically advised Subhas Chandra Bose against leaving the vessel to board a Japanese submarine.
Bose replied: “I haven’t come all this way to go back.”
Disregarding the fact that he could not swim, Bose stepped into a raft with two of his aides and crossed the stormy seas to board the Japanese vessel, anchored a 100 metres away to prevent the possibility of collision.
This is an anecdote from the nationalist leader’s life narrated by Major Gen G.D. Bakshi at the launch of his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, published by the Knowledge World. He was highlighting Bose’s single-minded devotion to the national cause and the struggle for independence.
Gen Bakshi said he had chosen to focus on the ‘Samurai’ aspect of Bose.
“This kind of warrior chooses death, therefore he lives. The safest place for a samurai is under the edge of the enemy’s sword,” Bakshi said, adding that he had attempted to correct what he regards as “discriminatory” treatment of Bose at the hands of historians.
The British, for all their antipathy to Bose’s Indian National Army (INA), paid a grudging tribute to the tenacity and sheer grit of its men.
According to Peter Ward Fay, Maj Gen Gracy, then General Commanding in Chief of an Indian Division, questioned INA Colonel Prem Sahgal, why bereft of numbers, artillery, air support, logistics and supplies, did they not surrender to the British.
“Instead of surrendering, you fought. It was madness. Why did you do it?”
“Of course it was madness,” said Col Sahgal, then a POW, adding the INA was “a revolutionary Army”.
Gen Bakshi mentioned the conversation that the then Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, P.B. Chakraborthy, had with Clement Attlee whom he hosted during his visit to India in 1956.
Attlee, who had signed the transfer of power to India as the prime minister of Britain, revealed the reasons behind quitting India: they (the British) could not take the loyalty of the Indian Army and Navy for granted any longer, after the INA trials at Delhi’s Red Fort had angered the public.