April 16, 2021
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Netaji’s significance in India’s freedom struggle

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Debate the Debates

Edition 15

Good afternoon. In September 2015, the West Bengal government announced that all files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in its possession would be declassified (over the next few months, the Central government also declassified several files and put them out in the public domain, which can be accessed here). Despite the controversy surrounding Netaji’s death, the declassified files did not provide any information that was out of the ordinary.

Columnist and activist Aakar Patel argued that the lack of scintillating material on Netaji proved that although he was a national hero, his achievements during India’s freedom struggle were insignificant in the overall scheme of things. Contradicting his arguments, columnist and activist Sreejith Panickar wrote that the arguments made by Aakar Patel were ‘lame’ and did not show the true picture.

Was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle significant?

“No”, argued Aakar Patel:

He wrote, “For a man enamoured of Adolf Hitler, imperial Japan and a believer in totalitarianism, he is awfully revered in India. Why? That is the puzzle. I am as quick to bow to the good and great as the rest of us, and as my mother insists I do, but in this instance I need a little more convincing.”

Read his column here.

“Yes”, countered Sreejith Panickar:

He argued, “What was the option Netaji was left with? A lame Congress that would just do lip service and call off movements with the same passion with which it started them? It is shameful to see people opposing Netaji for his association with another country in booting out the British forces from India. For god’s sake, we were fighting for freedom from Britain and not Germany!”

Read his column here.