Democracy Indian Style: Subhas Chandra Bose and the Creation of India’s Political Culture 2002043002, 0765801868, 9781412854887, 9780765801869

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Democracy Indian Style: Subhas Chandra Bose and the Creation of India’s Political Culture
 2002043002, 0765801868, 9781412854887, 9780765801869

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Contents
Tables
Preface to the Paperback Edition
Acknowledgments
1. Why Bose?
2. Why India?
3. The Rise of a Nationalist
4. The Roots of Modern India
5. Interlude in Vienna
6. Indian Democracy: Constitution, Parliament, Federalism
7. Gandhi’s Friend and Foe
8. No Parties—Or Too Many Parties?
9. Interlude in Berlin
10. India—One, Two, or Many Nations?
11. At the Right Place—At the Wrong Time
12. A World Power Waiting in the Wings
13. Bose—The Myth Lives On
Sources and Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Democracy Indian style

Democracy Indian Style Suvhas Cmmm Rose and ike Creation of India's Political Culture Translated Jy Rewee Sc/ieZZ

Anton Tehnkd with n new preface ty the author ! j Routledge jjj^^ Taylor & Francis Group LONDON AND NEW YORK

First published 2003 by Transaction Publishers Published 2017 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business Copyright © 2003 by Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Catalog Number: 2002043002

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Pelinka, Anton, 1941Democracy Indian Style: Subhas Chandra Bose and the creation of India’s political culture / Anton Pelinka ; translated by Renée Schell. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-7658-0186-8 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. Democracy—India. 2. Political culture—India. 3. Bose, Subhas Chandra, 1897-1945. I. Title. JQ281.P44 2003 320.954’092—dc21 ISBN 13: 978-1-4128-5488-7 (pbk) ISBN 13: 978-0-7658-0186-9 (hbk)

2002043002

Contents Tables vii Preface to the Paperback Edition

ix

Acknowledgments xi 1. Why Bose?

1

2. Why India?

15

3. The Rise of a Nationalist

31

4. The Roots of Modern India

57

5. Interlude in Vienna

81

6. Indian Democracy: Constitution, Parliament, Federalism

109

7. Gandhi’s Friend and Foe

131

8. No Parties—Or Too Many Parties?

157

9. Interlude in Berlin

181

10. India—One, Two, or Many Nations?

207

11. At the Right Place—At the Wrong Time

235

12. A World Power Waiting in the Wings

265

13. Bose—The Myth Lives On

285

Sources and Bibliography

305

Index 313

Tables 2.1 Illiteracy in Nonindustrialized Countries

19

2.2 Per Capita Income 1999; Economic Rate of Growth, 1998–1999

19

2.3 Average Rate of Annual Growth

20

6.1 The Composition of Majorities in the Lok Sabha and Prime Ministers

115

6.2 Indian States and Territories of the Union, 2000

117

6.3 Majorities in the State Parliaments in the Largest States in 2000

119

8.1 Results of the Lok Sabha Elections: Seats in the Lok Sabha

159

8.2 Voting Turnout in the Elections to the Lok Sabha

169

8.3 Percentage of Votes by Party, 1999

174

8.4 Women in the Lok Sabha

176

10.1 Minorities in India, 1996

210

10.2 Categorization of Hindu Society According to Castes, Mid-Twentieth Century

225

Preface to the Paperback Edition India is an example for democracy’s success. After this book’s first edition was published in 2003, Indian democracy still must be considered a success story. Three general elections—2004, 2009, 2014—demonstrated a democratic quality that is the envy of so many other countries: a very competitive but generally accepted process, despite the country’s huge social, ethnic, and religious fragmentations; an openness that makes peaceful government rotation working; the combination of an extremely diverse party system and, at the same time, the focus on clearly visible alternatives—the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Indian People’s Party (BJP). India’s economic growth enabled the country to increase its military power. India is one of the biggest buyers on the global armaments market. But India is still hesitant to play a more assertive role in international affairs. India is very much a society that looks first and foremost inward. India’s political culture is defined by its inclusiveness. The consensus-oriented political system is based on permanent renegotiations of power-sharing compromises between the Union and the states. Governing coalitions reflect the diversity of religious, linguistic, social, and territorial interests. This tendency results in a lack of efficiency: Decision-making in India is a time-consuming affair with many veto holders to satisfy. This is the reason for the absence of a more decisive reform orientation. But this is also the reason for the very existence of Indian democracy. Part of India’s inclusiveness is the tradition of embracing national heroes in a way that tends to border on worshipping. This, of course, includes Mahatma Gandhi, who understandably is seen as the father of modern India. In the second league of national heroes, Subhas Chandra Bose’s status is broadly accepted. In recent years, his hero status has grown. Bose statues can be found all over India. He belongs more than ever to India’s political pantheon—together with Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, and Indira Gandhi. Hero-worshipping always lacks balance. Among the recent publications concerning Bose’s life and politics, the most remarkable is the ix

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book his grandnephew, Sugata Bose, published in 2012: His Majesty’s Opponent. Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle against Empire (Allen Lane, Penguin—New Delhi). This book is an example that an academically sound book can become one-sided. Sugata Bose plays down or even neglects some aspects of his granduncle’s less attractive political dalliances. Subhas Chandra Bose not only used Nazi Germany (mostly unsuccessful) and Japan (quite successfully) as allies against the British Empire. He also published articles and made speeches praising Hitler’s National Socialism; and justified Japan’s extremely cruel occupation of Chinese (and other Asian) territories. Subhas Chandra Bose’s political role is much more complex than the role usually associated with a national hero. Bose’s role must be seen in a dialectical way, which is the approach I tried to demonstrate in this book’s first edition, published 2003. And Bose’s ambivalence concerning democracy is still needs to be underlined in 2014. Democracy Indian Style is a combination of chapters about Subhas Chandra Bose’s dramatic life, and chapters trying to characterize India’s political system and political culture from the perspective of the early twenty-first century. Anton Pelinka Professor of Nationalism Studies and Political Science Central European University, Budapest May 2014

Acknowledgments The initial idea to learn more about Subhas Chandra Bose came to me during my first stay in India in 1977. I met an Indian Sikh—at the Austrian Embassy in New Delhi. He told me that he had been to Innsbruck, Austria in 1943. His was the story of a POW from the British Indian Army who was recruited by Bose to recruit other POWs for Bose’s Indian Legion. Innsbruck was an interesting place for such an activity because the trains with the Allied soldiers who became prisoners of Nazi Germany during the battles in North Africa usually passed through there. Later, I became familiar with Bose’s activities in Austria and I realized that his years there had been much underrated by his previous biographers. But Bose’s link to Austria is just one of the motifs responsible for my interest in Bose’s impact on contemporary India. Teaching comparative politics and democratic theory in Austrian and U.S. universities made me sensitive to the extraordinary success of democracy in India—despite all the presumptions that a stable (and liberal) democracy needs a certain economic environment that a county like India cannot provide. I am especially indebted to certain institutions that were instrumental for my research: The Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the Austrian State Archives (Oesterreichisches Staatsarchiv) in Vienna. I am especially grateful for the friendly welcome I was able to enjoy during my stay in Calcutta in 1999. The late Sisir Kumar Bose, Subhas Chandra Bose’s nephew, was a gracious host during the days of my visit to the Netaji Research Bureau. After extensive research, I was able to use my sabbatical at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for writing and finalizing this manuscript in 2001 and 2002. The friendly atmosphere on UMich’s campus plus the interest shown by Ashutosh Varshney, the director of UMich’s Center for South Asian Studies, was very helpful during my stay in Ann Arbor. All the uneven chapters follow Subhas Chandra Bose’s life. All the even chapters describe and analyse Indian politics and society. I wrote this manuscript in German. Renée Schell was a perfect translator with whom to cooperate and was a professional joy. As always, I am xi

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indebted to Ellen Palli, who was important in giving the manuscript the perfect touch. And, last but not least: I thank Mary E. Curtis and Irving Louis Horowitz from Transaction Publishers for accepting this book. Innsbruck August 2002

1 Why Bose? His life reads as though written for Hollywood. False passports play a role. A cloak-and-dagger tale leads our hero across Asia and half of Europe, by train, by car, and by mule. This hero undertakes a complicated journey halfway around the world with two submarines in the middle of World War II. He meets Hitler and Tojo, Mussolini and Lord Halifax, Attlee and Benes and de Valera and, of course, again and again, Mahatma Gandhi, the Übervater; and Pandit Nehru, the rival who is so like him and yet so different; and Muhammed Ali Jinnah, who works toward the creation of Pakistan—against Gandhi and Nehru and Bose. Moments of triumph: tens of thousands cheer him on; moments of recognition: he negotiates with other Asian leaders as an equal among equals, yet always overshadowed by the fact that all of this is possible only by the grace of Japan. And a bittersweet love story—in transnational, transcontinental, and transcultural terms. Finally, the tragic element: an airplane catastrophe. What a life, what a script, what a film. But it is more than a film— it is a legend whose consequences can be seen in India at the outset of the twenty-first century. Bose is dead. But he cannot be allowed to die. His legend lives on. In the 1920s, Subhas Chandra Bose, born in the east of British India in 1897, a Bengal by language, becomes the hope of the Leftwing radicals in the Indian National Congress. He speaks of socialism and, early on, enjoys appearing in uniform. To the British he soon seems dangerous. He is taken into custody and placed under house arrest. He is said to sympathize with the Communists. While in Vienna in the 1930s, Subhas Chandra Bose organizes a network of contacts with the goal of making a decisive impact on British rule over India. At this time he becomes one of the most significant opponents within 1

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the Indian National Congress to Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolence. Not Mahatma Gandhi, but Ireland’s Eamon de Valera is his model. Following Ireland’s example, he wants to drive out the British. British newspapers call him “India’s de Valera” (Gordon 1990: 348). Bose is India’s de Valera, but also India’s Kemal Pasha Atatürk, a nationalist and modernizer; someone who takes the West at its word, who emulates the West in order to suppress and overcome its rule. He is the “young Turk” among India’s freedom fighters. This is the one constant in Subhas Chandra Bose’s life: an Indian nationalist who builds on the foundation of British colonial rule, as well as on the notion of India’s unity. This unity is a concept that is actually a product of this same British rule, this Raj. It is a rule that Bose wants to overcome as quickly as possible and, if need be, with violence, and in any case, completely and totally. Bose’s tale is the tale of a politics of impatience. Waiting, letting matters develop and counting on the end of colonial rule coming almost by itself: this is not Bose’s cup of tea. In the 1930s, Bose rejects the compromise with which the British seek to canalize Indian nationalism. Self-determination in individual provinces, elections, governments; an all-Indian parliament that was supposed to share power with the British government, but no end to the rule of His Majesty’s government over India as a whole. Showing his colors as a student of de Valera, Bose rejects the notion, otherwise widely accepted in the Congress, that India could attain Dominion status within the framework of the British Commonwealth. For Bose, this is a poor compromise: for India, he wants everything. Was Bose a Fascist? He often speaks of Fascism with great sympathy. His predilection for military gestures seems to underline this tendency. But wasn’t Bose, at the same time, also a Communist? Bose prefers to speak of himself as a Socialist. Yet his admiration for the Soviet experiment is clear. At the end of his life, the Soviet Union is the only country in which he can still place hope. Yet, for India’s Communist Party, which had, until that time, viewed him as a potential partner, he becomes, from the moment of Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, a collaborator, an agent, in fact, a Fascist (Seth 1946). Yet after his death, Communists—and feminists—sympathize with him (Sahgal 1997). Is Bose the man for all movements, for all party divisions in modern India? One thing is clear, and that is that Bose was not a National Socialist. And he was not a liberal democrat. His lack of understanding for

Why Bose?

3

the racial doctrine is what separates him from National Socialism. In Berlin he will also experience the degree to which the doctrine of the superior people and the superior race prohibits a pragmatic foreign policy and effective strategy. The fact that he lacks a connection with the moderate Left of Europe, in particular with the Labour Party, is what separates him from Democrats such as Nehru. Bose never truly feels at home in the milieu of the Fabian Society and the intellectual Left of Britain and Europe. Bose does not really fit into the political labels of the twentieth century, if the latter are viewed from the European perspective. But he was certainly always a nationalist. For him, the Indian nation was, as an idea, the antithesis of prince states and the caste system, the religious struggles and linguistic conflicts. The Indian nation was, above all, the antithesis of Jinnah’s theory of “two nations.” Bose’s India (also Gandhi’s and Nehru’s) could not accept the idea of a Pakistan, a state founded on religious clarity. Bose’s India was ambiguous. It was a nation of contradictions. Bose was above all a nationalist because he was willing to join forces with anyone and anything that brought him closer to his goal: an independent, secular, united India. Calcutta and Vienna, Berlin and Tokyo Between the years 1933 and 1938 Bose spends much of his time in Vienna, and Austria in general. He comes to the Viennese Medical School to be cured of a lung ailment. And he remains because he attempts, from within Vienna, to win over Indians in exile for his goal of an aggressive, active campaign against the colonial rulers. From Vienna, he travels to Prague and Dublin, to Rome and Berlin, to Paris and Warsaw. The British secret service observes his actions. For the most part, their Austrian counterparts leave him alone. At first he cannot travel to London. The British government does not allow him to enter the country until 1937. This was the same man who had studied in Cambridge immediately following World War I, although, unlike Nehru, he had not been influenced by the atmosphere of British politics. In Vienna, Bose meets Emilie Schenkl. At first, she helps him as a private secretary. By the end of 1937, the two are married. In 1942, when they are living in Berlin, their daughter, Anita, is born. In India, Bose keeps his relationship with Emilie Schenkl secret, also in South-

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east Asia from 1943–1945. As “Netaji,” as a leader, he has no personal relationships, no wife, and certainly not a wife who is not Indian. With Gandhi he is now in open conflict. Bose’s theory of the necessity of military force is not compatible with Gandhi’s teachings. However, he remains loyal to Mahatma—the differences of opinion do not change the fact that, until the end of his life, Bose continues to show Gandhi the deepest respect. In Southeast Asia he will name a regiment for Gandhi. And Gandhi reacts in a similar fashion: in spite of the intensity of their disagreements, Gandhi does not stop viewing Bose as one of his own. For that reason, or perhaps in spite of it, Bose is elected president of the National Congress in Haripura in 1938. Bose, like Nehru, is regarded as a man of the Left wing. Unlike Nehru, however, he is prepared to oppose Gandhi openly. After his highly controversial reelection in 1939, Gandhi sees to it that Bose, increasingly isolated in the independence movement, resigns (Toy 1984: 51–54). Now, having openly declared his opposition to Gandhi, he wants to force the Congress to a more radical line vis-à-vis the colonial rulers, using his “forward bloc.” With the outbreak of war in Europe, his conflict with Gandhi and the British intensifies. Bose sees a great opportunity for India’s independence in a defeat of Great Britain, that is, in a victory by the Axis powers. Britain’s weakness—whoever may have caused it—is, for Bose, India’s strength. Gandhi and Nehru do not and can not go so far. Nehru, above all, is too strongly associated with the thinking of the European Left and too strongly connected with the British Labour Party to think that Hitler could win. The National Congress advocates noncommittal formulations as a sort of neutrality, later replaced by the demand that London “Quit India.” The British, who, of course, had been suspicious of Bose for a long time, and with whose prisons he had frequently become acquainted, place him under house arrest in Calcutta. Today, the Bose Archive and Museum is located in the “Netaji Bahwan” there. In January of 1941, he escapes the non-too-effective British guards. Traveling first by train to Peshawar via Delhi, the Hindu Bose, wearing traditional Muslim clothing, crosses the border to Afghanistan near the Khyber Pass. In Kabul, the embassy of Fascist Italy procures a passport for him. As “Orlando Mazzotta” he travels to Moscow in March, and from there, to his destination—Berlin (Chand 1946).

Why Bose?

5

Several weeks later, Bose’s plan of a broad German, Italian, Soviet, and Japanese alliance against Great Britain is destroyed by the German attack on the Soviet Union. The overland route to India is now blocked. And in National Socialist Germany he does not always experience support. To be sure, he can establish his Free Indian Centre and recruit Indian soldiers for an “Indian Legion” from those who had fallen into German hands while in British uniform. He even prepares antiBritish broadcasts for the Greater German Radio, destined for India. One of his opponents is George Orwell, who, at the same time, is preparing the BBC’s “Indian Program” in London. Yet, the pragmatic powers in the German government do not really prevail. The vulgar racism and Eurocentrism entrenched there, particularly Hitler’s brand thereof, prevent the Axis powers from fully believing in the Indian independence movement—which also reflected Mussolini’s ideas. The “realists” in the Foreign Office do not prevail against the “ideologists,” whose world view allows no place for an Indian Revolution. Among the latter is Adam von Trott zur Solz, who will play a particularly active role on July 20, 1944 (MacDonogh 1989: 184– 206). The Indian Legion in Europe remained doomed to a shadow existence, quite unlike the Indian National Army that Bose will raise in Singapore and Rangoon. In 1942, the Foreign Office suggests deploying the Indian Legion in Rommel’s next offensive in North Africa. This idea is not solely a military one. A great number of Indian soldiers are fighting in Africa on the British side. Bose and his pragmatic friends in Berlin are hoping for the propaganda effect that will occur when these troops suddenly see themselves opposite Indian units who are fighting for India’s independence. Rommel refuses, and “Hitler, of course, thought the Legion as a joke” [sic] (Bose M. 1982: 200). Bose’s maxim, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” does not apply to the NS regime: Hitler holds fast to the myth of the superiority of the “white man” and shies away from allying himself with the non-whites against the “white” Albion. Bose’s mission in Germany fails. It fails because the basis for imagining cooperation between Berlin and Moscow against London has disappeared; it fails because there is no mutual understanding between Bose’s pragmatic nationalism and the ideological nationalism of the NS regime. Just as Germany does not know how to make use of the forces of Russian na-

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tionalism against Stalin, so does Hitler not understand how to deploy Indian nationalism against London and, thus, against the Allies. The Japanese perspective is different. Japan also defines the war that it started in December against the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands as a war of liberation against the European– American hegemony in Asia (Lebra 1975). Early in 1943, Bose transfers from Germany to Japan. Before he leaves, he has one audience with Hitler and receives a silver case with a personal inscription. But Bose’s energies are in chains in Germany. He escapes these chains by leaving for Asia. His wife and child remain behind in Europe. On an adventurous voyage that takes him across the Atlantic and the southwestern part of the Indian Ocean in a German U-boat, Bose reaches a meeting point near Madagascar. A Japanese submarine is waiting there to take him to East Asia. This trip takes three months. But now Bose has reached his goal: for the Japanese strategy—both politically and militarily—Bose is a welcome instrument. The Japanese leadership can use him to further their anti-colonial tactics. As previously in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Burma, emotions will also be used as tools in India, if Japan is to be seen as the liberator from the yoke of colonialism. It should not be a disturbing factor that this same Japan plays quite a different role in Korea and China. Bose founds an Indian exile government in Singapore and establishes an army, the Indian National Army (INA). The soldiers of this army are recruited largely from the ranks of those Indians who, as soldiers of the British Army, had fallen into the hands of the Japanese and been prisoners of war in Burma, Malaysia, and, particularly, Singapore. For this army, Bose also appeals to women—not as office workers, but as members of fighting units, the “Rani of Jhansi Regiment,” named for a female independence fighter of the nineteenth century. This tactic meets with resistance, particularly on the part of Bose’s Japanese allies (Sahgal 1997: 47–68). His government is recognized by the Axis powers and promptly declares war on Great Britain and the United States. Bose represents India at the summit meeting of the Asian nations allied with Japan that tales place in Tokyo in November of 1943. This conference, which is meant to underscore Japan’s right to leadership in the Asian Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, sees Bose together with General Tojo and the representatives of Burma and Manchukuo, Thailand, the Philippines, and the satellite regime in

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7

China, itself dependent on the grace of Japan. The official photograph of the summit shows Bose in uniform, standing off to the side somewhat, but still on equal footing with the leaders of the countries in Japan’s sphere of influence, who appeared both in uniform and in civilian clothing (Gordon 1990: 310 f.). Bose has finally alligned his fate with that of the Axis powers. Like Cortes, he has burned his ships behind him. But unlike Cortes, the story does not end well for him: in the final Japanese attack along the Burmese-Indian border in early summer, 1944, the INA plays a not insignificant military role. But Japan’s situation is already hopeless. The siege of Imphal, the most easterly provincial capital of British India, fails. This is where Bose wanted to raise the flag as a signal for an all-Indian revolt against the British. And from here there is only retreat—for Japan, for the INA, and for Bose (Fay 1993: 273–304). During the process of the continual retreat that lasts from the summer of 1944 to the summer of 1945, the INA undergoes a partial disintegration. When Japan surrenders in 1945, Bose flies in a Japanese military aircraft to Taipei, via Bangkok and Saigon. After this brief stop, the airplane crashes directly after take-off. It is the 18th of August. A few hours later, Bose dies in a Japanese military hospital. He is forty-nine-years old (Bose M. 1982: 250–252). The Legend that Will Not Die In accordance with the beliefs of Hinduism, Bose’s body is burned. The ashes are brought to Tokyo. On September 14, 1945, a memorial service is held. The cease-fire is almost two weeks old and American troops are already in Tokyo. Nevertheless, representatives of the Japanese Foreign Office and the Japanese Ministry of War attend—and Indians; among them are those who have been sent by Bose’s exile government to be educated in Japan. Finally, Bose’s ashes are given to a temple of the militant nationalist sect of the “Nichiren” Buddhists (Bose M. 1982: 252 f.). Bose is dead, but he cannot be allowed to die. Myths immediately begin to develop. They begin with the question of where the “Netaji,” the head of the Indian exile government, had meant to flee in August of 1945. His government found itself at war with Great Britain and the United States—not with the Soviet Union. That country’s declaration of war on Japan, a few days before the Japanese surren-

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der, made no reference at all to the collapsing INA. And Bose still represented a direction within the National Congress that was friendly toward the Soviets. What should we assume but that Bose had as his goal the Soviet armies who were rapidly gaining ground in Manchuria and Korea; it seems clear that he sought ways and means to continue India’s struggle for independence with the support of the Soviet Union. This assumption is not without a basis in fact. Admittedly, Bose’s precise destination from Taipei is not known. Above all, we do not know what his plans for the future might have been, after the enemy of his enemy—his friend—had surrendered to his, Bose’s, enemy. Bose had reached the end of an illusion. Did he have another one? The existence of yet another perspective is suggested by the fact that he did not simply want to wait for the advancing British troops in Rangoon or Singapore; nor did he abandon the seat of his exile government and army. Clearly, Bose was not thinking of surrender, and he thereby saved the British Labour government some degree of embarrassment. This government, in turn, was soon to demonstrate a wild decisiveness to release India to independence. What else should the British government have done with Bose? Should they have tried him, as they had done with the leading officers of his INA, who were then found guilty at the end of 1945 in the “Red Fort” trial in Delhi, only to be released from prison soon thereafter (Bose M. 1982: 259–265)? Should they have executed him? The Labour government had no need to create an Indian martyr. Bose died at the right time, at least with regard to the interests of the parting colonial powers (Chaudhuri, 1987: 798). Bose did not want to be tried. Probably due to the idiosyncracies of his personality, he wanted to continue the fight. It was clear that he kept possible Soviet interests in mind, realizing that they might not always wish to support the India policy of their British allies. On the other hand, it was not realistic to assume that, at this time in 1945, admission to the Soviet Union would have been possible. Bose had always shown great respect for the Soviet Union. To be sure, he was no Marxist. He was, however, a sort of non-Marxist Leninist. That is to say, his brand of socialism was a combination of national independence and forced modernization, even, or rather, especially, in the form of industrialization. He shared this line of thinking with Nehru and distinguished himself greatly from Gandhi, who represented the rural and rustic India.

Why Bose?

9

The notion of an alliance with the Soviet Union had always played an important role in Bose’s global orientation. Since the late 1930s he had always tried to bring about a relationship with official places. As “Netaji” he wanted to contact the Soviet embassy in Tokyo—the embassy of a country that was, to be sure, at war with the German empire and Italy, but not with Japan. But the Soviet ambassador refused all communications as part of the Soviet policy at the time, which showed great respect for the Allies’ spheres of influence (Gordon 1990: 538). Whatever Bose had in mind when his plane crashed on August 18, 1945, he could no longer realize it. But in the imaginations of millions of people in India (and likely also in Pakistan and Bangladesh), Bose lived on. There were many circumstances that did not meet nationalist expectations in India after 1945, particularly the division of British India into India and Pakistan, but also the cautious foreign policy of Nehru’s government. Above all, there remained the fact that independence did not come to mean a high standard of living for the many but rather expulsion and death for millions and then the still unsolved problem of mass poverty. In the face of all these disappointments, Bose embodied the hope that remained unfulfilled. And for that reason, he was not allowed to die. The Bose mythos begins with the doubt that Subhas Chandra Bose actually perished in the plane crash of August 18, 1945 in Taipei. Many people were willing to believe in a cover-up of mass proportions, regardless of who might have carried it out. Bose was alive, it was said, or had been seen somewhere, he was alive in a Soviet camp, he was a highranking member of Mao’s People’s Liberation Army and would soon, very soon, in fact, return to India. He would come, like a messiah, to eradicate all evil and thus, to fulfill the unfulfilled promises of independent India (Bose M. 1982: 251). Numerous commissions of the Indian government have examined the circumstances surrounding his death. They all arrive at the same conclusion: Bose died on August 18, 1945 in Taipei from the severe burns sustained in the plane crash. Bose’s family also subscribes to this interpretation (Bose Sisir, interview, 1999; Bose Sugata, interview, 2001). But the legend refuses to die. The hundredth anniversary of his birth in January 1997 was celebrated intensively in India, particularly in Calcutta. The city administration in Calcutta, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, published a detailed report on

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Bose’s life works. In this special edition of The Calcutta Municipal Gazette, Bose’s death is reported in lapidary fashion: “The mysteries concerning his death remain unsolved till date” (Calcutta Municipal Gazette 1997: 344). The fact that Calcutta was and continues to be the place where Bose’s mythos is cultivated points to a further function of this mythos. Bose stands for Bengal’s disappointments. Around 1900, Bengal was the most important part of British India, and Calcutta was the capital of the empire’s crown jewel. But then Bengal lost more and more of its importance. The British moved the capital to Delhi, and Bengal seldom played a significant role in the Indian National Congress. Bose was the exception to this rule. And then came the partition. After Punjab, Bengal was the second of India’s traditional regions to be divided, with all of the terrible consequences for both sides. Bose is the protest against the loss of significance, especially for the Bengali sense of self; against the dominance of Delhi, and that of Uttar Pradesh, against the predominance of Hindi. For Bengal, Bose could not be allowed to die. In the ongoing memory of him, Bengal celebrated self-pity and nostalgia (Chaudhuri 1987: 799 f.). Bose’s mythos is also Bengal’s attempt to demand recognition of its own importance within India. Everything is resolved and nothing is resolved. Bose’s death is a given for everyone who has a certain understanding of empirically provable reality. Confirmed by eyewitnesses and underscored by numerous investigative commissions, the fact remains that Bose died on August 18 on the island of Taiwan. But Bose’s afterlife, the fantasies produced about his life after the fact: they pertain to the mythos, to Bose’s very function. Hopes and expectations are projected onto him. He stands for the underdeveloped energies of India—in the center of the country as well as in its influence abroad. Bose’s Contribution to the India of the Present Upon closer inspection, it is clear that Bose did, in fact, inspire those who were not satisfied with India’s development, but also that Bose’s notions about Indian reality are not so far-fetched today. In many regards, the India of the early twenty-first century is more Bose’s India than Gandhi’s: under the influence of Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi, India’s economic development was influenced by socialist notions of growth after 1947. Industrialization and mod-

Why Bose?

11

ernization through political planning stood at the center. From the beginning, the rural ideal of Mahatma Gandhi—the spinning wheel, the demonstrative modesty—did not correspond to the reality of Indian politics. However, Bose’s ideas, which were also socialist in nature, would have fit into the era of Nehru and that of his daughter without a problem. To be sure, the economic policies of Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Behari Vajpayee departed (and continue to depart), in turn, from the more socialist and planned economic concepts of the first decades and thus also from Bose’s quasi-Leninist concepts. But a closer analysis of Bose’s speeches and writings makes clear that Bose was a pragmatist, particularly when it came to economics. If it served the modernization of the Indian economy, even Bose would have likely supported a step-by-step opening toward the global market economy in the style of Nehru’s grandson Rajiv Gandhi. Alongside the Nehru “dynasty” and alongside the government of the first premier of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), Bose stands for an India that does not present itself as a closed alternative to the West, to capitalism, and to globalization. He stands for an India that does not orient itself to the morals of Mahatma, but rather fundamentally to the same cost-benefit analyses as Western industrial society. This is the case particularly for foreign policy. The tragedy of 1947, when Mahatma Gandhi’s great hour—independence—was accompanied and overshadowed by a giant wave of violence and by a war between the two successor states, stands for the failure of the new India to truly practice Mahatma’s principles. The partition, the massive “ethnic cleansing,” and the first war with Pakistan over Kashmir did not allow India to come into being nonviolently; rather, this happened with great bloodshed. It was also a factor that, from the outset, this India had armed forces. India did not begin as an alternative to the tradition of other states that were prepared for violence. India began precisely like these states. It was not nonviolence, but rather an invasion by troops in 1948 that integrated the principality of Hyderabad into the Indian state— a blow that was only partially successful in the case of Kashmir. In 1961 Goa became a part of India as a result of a military invasion. And the experience of the military defeat by China in the Himalayas in 1962 ended once and for all the notion that India would remove itself from the pattern of politics as power, a politics that also considers the military option (Cohen 2001: 127–155).

12

Democracy Indian Style

The fact that the country that continues to iconicize Mahatma Gandhi became an atomic power in 1998—a step that had been introduced and prepared for almost a quarter-century earlier by Indira Gandhi, clearly shows that particularly in questions of foreign policy and state security, India is not Gandhi’s country. Rather, it is determined to a far greater degree by the man who raised the first modern army to fight under the Indian tricolor flag for India. Perhaps, or, probably, Bose was on the wrong side; perhaps, or, probably, he remained without direct and abiding success. But surely he acted as someone who, effectively and continuously, sent a clear signal: India is not a pacifist country that is able to, or desires to, act without a military presence on the international stage. India is no different from the others. India today—is it Bose’s India? What we can determine fairly easily in economic policy and particularly in foreign policy is much more difficult to argue with regard to political culture and the specifically Indian form of democracy. As a politician of the National Congress, Bose had confronted the democratic forms developed by the Congress in the 1930s, and also respected them. At this time, the Congress comprised a mixture of independence movement and political party. As “Netaji,” that is, as head of the government between 1943 and 1945, Bose acted and ruled in an authoritarian manner. But it was clearly unimaginable for Bose to take on the roles of Japanese ally and commander of an exile army allied with the Axis powers in the middle of the war and, at the same time, to build up an Indian democracy outside of India. In the regions of Malaysia and Burma that were occupied by Japanese troops, where Bose enjoyed political support among the Indian minorities, collaboration or resistance between 1943 and 1945 was a possibility—but not the establishment of democracy. It is still more complex to determine whether, and to what degree, a certain concept of democracy can be traced from Bose’s speeches and writings. Here we must be cautious: Bose was not a very original thinker; he subordinated the different currents of the time to his own highly pragmatic brand of nationalism. In the years between 1930 and 1945, Bose demonstrated the influence the Soviet Union had on him as a model, but also the influence of Fascism, largely of the Italian variety. What repulsed him about National Socialism was clearly its doctrine of racism, although it obviously did not stop him from attempting to win the NS regime as a partner in the fight against

Why Bose?

13

Great Britain. But even if we read his speeches and writings as very momentary reflexes of the direct, everyday business of politics, there is surely no trace of sensitivity for the structure of liberal democracy in the Anglo-American tradition. Unlike Nehru, he was not the product of the European Left. In spite of all of his sympathy for social democracy—expressed, for example, in his report of 1933 on his visit to the social-democratic mayor of Vienna, Karl Seitz—Bose did not hesitate in simultaneously speaking of a formula which would, in its generality, accompany him to the end, namely, the “synthesis of communism and fascism” (Gordon 1990: 279). None of this is very reminiscent of democracy, nor does it mesh well with Indian democracy today. And yet, when Bose was “Netaji” he did not govern a country, but he did command an army, and he set great importance on restraining what is called “communalism” in India. That is to say, the fragmentation of society into religions, languages, and castes. Bose went out of his way to strike a balance between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs among his officers, and he sought to resolve the ethnic-linguistic question by forcing the use of Hindustani. This artificial language was a composite of Hindi, spoken by the Hindus in northern India, and Urdu, spoken by the Muslims in northern India, and was written using the Latin alphabet (Sahgal 1997: 6, 64, 120). In this line of thinking, which is termed in India “secular” in conscious distinction from Pakistan, Indian democracy today corresponds to Bose and Bose corresponds to the political system and the political culture of India after 1947. Bose’s political and cultural conception was and remains that of the Congress: that of an Indian nation that integrates all religious and ethnic-linguistic social differences. In this position, Bose was and still is closer, in any case, to the Congress party of today, than he is to the BJP, whose roots in fundamentalist Hinduism express the protest on the part of the Hindu majority against the secularism that was, both apparently and factually, limiting to them. Contrary to what Gandhi thought, India is simply no different from other powers and other states where economic and foreign policies are concerned. India is not following a special path. And it is precisely this refusal of such a special path that is echoed in Bose’s life and works. His Indian nationalism is a single plea to let apply to India what applies to other countries. Gandhi’s messianism and Nehru’s idealism—partial and present only at the start—were attempts

14

Democracy Indian Style

at a special path for India. These attempts are part of history now. The present is ruled by a realism of the quality that, earlier, formulated Bose’s pragmatic nationalism. The “normalcy” that characterizes India at the outset of the twentyfirst century, that is, integration into the global economy and realism of a foreign policy that harps on national interests: this normalcy has its roots much more with Bose than with Gandhi. Bose stands for the departure from the special role that was emphasized, above all, by Gandhi. The regional superpower that is India—a country that does not shy away from deploying military instruments in order to carry out its goals—this is the power in which we can recognize not Gandhi, but Bose. With regard to a special role for India, we can speak of it the least when we are dealing with India’s democracy: against all (Eurocentric) odds, a country with a high illiteracy rate, deeply divided in its religious, social, and ethnic-linguistic contradictions, has proven itself a stable democracy in the space of little more than half a century. This role was not anticipated by Bose—or perhaps it was: if we do not focus on the process of horizontal pluralism in the competition among parties and the process of vertical pluralism in the form of India’s federal structure, but rather on the specifically Indian form of the balance of power, then we do indeed find points of reference with Bose as well. The “puzzle” of Indian democracy (Lijphart 1996)—the all-encompassing model of a sort of participation based on all religious, social, and ethnic groups. In his exile government as well as his exile army, Bose was already practicing this recipe, a mix intended to make India the center of political loyalty for Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs, Tamils and Bengals and Gujaratis, Brahmans and Dalits. In Bose’s life and in his (mythical) afterlife, the development of a country is reflected that presents itself at the outset of the twentyfirst century as the world’ largest democracy, as one of its largest growing economies, and as a world power waiting in the wings. To study Bose is to study India: its reality and its potential.

2 Why India? “Does America need a foreign policy?” asked Henry Kissinger— shortly before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 seemed to answer everything (Kissinger 2001). Behind this rhetorical question lies the contradiction to the assumption that after the bipolarity of the East-West conflict came to an end, the United States was the only superpower able to lift itself up as a hegemonic power on a global scale. Then, American domestic policy would be the only decisive determinant of a foreign policy that could be explained as a dependent variable exclusively by domestic interests and constellations of the hegemony. As he had previously in his book of 1994, Diplomacy, Kissinger contradicts this notion of the dissolution of foreign policy: the dominance of the United States, he wrote, was neither so clear nor so unlimited in terms of time that the United States could do without an independent foreign policy that would be at least partially autonomous vis-à-vis domestic policy. One of the powers whose international position does not reduce it to the status of an object of U.S. interests is India. For Kissinger, India is potentially on the same level with Russia, China, and Japan, even if this role as superpower, at least in regional terms, has not yet clearly crystallized. India is a regional power, potentially a superpower. Indian politics—the political system of the country, its structures, and the interests lying behind them—are therefore of global importance. What happens in India and why it happens in a particular way is not only of importance for India itself; nor only for its Southeast Asian neighbors, whom India often confronts as a regional hegemonic power: Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, and, of course, the arch rival Pakistan—bound to India, as well as to Bangladesh, by centuries of shared Indian history. 15

16

Democracy Indian Style

The international importance of India can be traced back largely to the following factors: z

z

z

z

Size: Sometime around 2000, India became the second country on the globe, after China, to reach a population of more than a billion people. India has more inhabitants than North and South America combined, more than the entire continent of Africa, more than all of Europe including the Russian Federation. At the turn of the millennium, every fifth person on the earth lives in India—this phenomenon will only increase because the Indian population continues to grow more quickly than most others in the world. If we extrapolate this demographic development, India will overtake China sometime in the first half of the twenty-first century and become the most populous country in the world. Economy: For decades, India’s economy has been in a process of growth that is, admittedly, not spectacular, but continuous nevertheless. The Indian economy has not attracted the same attention as the growth of China or the successes of some of the economies in Southeast Asia. But the stability of this growth, in conjunction with the relative political calculability of the country makes India a potential economic giant. India has not only opened itself to the world market in the last decades—this opening has also led to the necessity of seeing the Indian economy more as the western border of east and Southeast Asian regional dynamics than as part of the stagnation of the Near East and central Asia. Democracy: Since its independence in 1947, India has been a stable democracy in the Western sense. A multiple-party system and the rule of law have survived wars with Pakistan as well as powerful internal conflicts such as in Punjab and in the northeast of the country. The single real danger to Indian democracy—the emergency regime of Indira Gandhi from 1975–1977—ended with free elections and a change in government. Indian democracy is, alongside that of the United States, a model for integrating into a federation heterogeneous social segments that cover large geographical areas. In this regard, India is, alongside the United States, a possible model for the European Union. India justifiably lays claim to what counts as one of the standard phrases of Indian self-presentation: the role of the world’s largest democracy. Education: The Indian educational system ensures that, despite a continuously significant, if constantly subsiding illiteracy rate, millions of Indian men and women leave the universities and other

Why India?

z

17

post-secondary institutions of higher learning as internationally competitive workers, most of whom also speak perfect English. Indian intelligence, along with the economic dynamics, is a factor in the process of globalization—migration from India, but also the flow of capital to India can be explained in this way. India’s intelligentsia, armed with the competitive advantage of the English language, have become a global economic factor. Power: In May, 1998, when the Indian atomic bomb exploded, having been a potential force for almost twenty-five years, it had to be clear to the world: India lays claim to the role of superpower—and not only vis-à-vis its direct neighbors who approach Indian strength with a great deal of reservation. India wants to have a voice alongside the other recognized atomic powers, which, until 1998, have been identical with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The fact that India had an unresolved border conflict with one of these five—China—after the war of 1962; and the fact that Pakistan’s atomic bomb exploded as a direct response to India’s bomb, only underscores the significance of India’s claim. India’s geopolitical tendency to view itself in alliance with Soviet interests and against the United States—a tendency observable during the East-West conflict due to its stand against China and against Pakistan—disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The convergence of Indian interests with those of the United States is more than just a possibility.

These factors make the study of India important—important for the political and economic actors, important for the universities that must convey to these (future) actors the phenomenon of India’s growing significance, and important for political science, which, as India becomes an object of study, will need to examine and perhaps also discard one or the other of its traditional statements. In Contrast to Traditional Political Science In spite of all of India’s economic successes, in spite of the impressive bottom line of the Indian politics of education, India, now in its sixth decade of independence, remains a developing nation and demonstrates all the hallmarks of a “third world” country: z

Illiteracy: The rate of illiteracy (illiteracy among adults over 15 years of age) in India in 1990 was 64 percent for women and 38

18

z

z

Democracy Indian Style

percent for men. In 1999 the corresponding numbers were 56 percent for women, 32 percent for men. Analogous numbers for other “third world” countries show that the situation in India is not significantly different from that of other nonindustrialized nations. The strides India has made in the struggle against illiteracy are less impressive than those of China (World Development Indicators 2001, 94–96). This does not apply to the two other nations that succeeded British India on the subcontinent—the situation of illiteracy in India is not unlike that of Pakistan and Bangladesh in principle, but it is significantly different—to India’s advantage. But that does nothing to change the fact that India does not rise above the ranks of nonindustrialized countries in any decisive way. Per capita income: In 1999, India’s gross national product, transferred to the number of its inhabitants, was $440.00. This figure is not significantly different from that of other “third world” countries. India’s position when compared to China and Brazil is still noticeably weak—and India cannot be distinguished at all in this regard from the two other nations of the Indian subcontinent. Agricultural quota: India’s agricultural productivity is noticeably underdeveloped, which is typical for nonindustrialized countries. It is increasing, but not in a manner that would particularly distinguish India (World Development Indicators 2001: 28–30). The consequence of lower productivity is a high agricultural quota: a high percentage of the population is involved in agricultural production compared to industrialized nations. The Indian economy demonstrates all the hallmarks of a “third world” economy.

India has a significantly higher illiteracy rate, a significantly lower per capita income, and a significantly higher agricultural quota than the developed industrial societies of North America, (Western) Europe, and the Pacific Rim (Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand)—but also China. In all of these rankings, India comes in clearly ahead of Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as most countries on the African continent. What distinguishes India is the continuity of its economic growth. The Indian economy has been growing less spectacularly than China’s economy, but with similar stubbornness for more than two decades. This distinguishes India from most other “third world” countries—and, in particular, from the leading industrial countries. This long-standing trend makes India interesting: after China, it is the second economic giant in development, waiting in the wings. If

Why India?

19

Table 2.1 Illiteracy in Nonindustrialized Countries (Percentage of illiterates in the population older than 15 years) 1990

Women 1999

Men 1990

1999

China

33

25

14

9

Brazil

20

15

18

15

Nigeria

62

46

41

29

Bangladesh

77

71

54

48

Pakistan

79

70

50

41

India

64

56

38

32

Source: World Development Indicators 2001: 94–9

Table 2.2 Per Capita Income 1999; Economic Rate of Growth, 1998–1999 Gross national product per capita, in U.S. dollars

General rate of growth

Rate of growth per capita

China

780

7.1

6.1

Brazil

4,350

0.8

- 0.5

Nigeria

260

1.0

- 1.5

Bangladesh

370

4.9

3.2

Pakistan

470

4.0

1.5

India

440

6.5

4.6

Source: World Development Indicators 2001: 12–14

we extrapolate India’s growth, it becomes clear that India the atomic power is also becoming India the global economic power. For that reason, it makes sense—particularly considering U.S. and European interests—to examine the parameters surrounding this development. Unlike China, and also unlike the two other successor states to British India in Asia—Pakistan and Bangladesh—India is a stable democracy. Since its independence in 1947, India’s political system

20

Democracy Indian Style Table 2.3 Average Rate of Annual Growth 1980–1990

1990–1999

China

10.1

10.7

Brazil

2.7

3.0

Nigeria

1.6

2.4

Bangladesh

4.3

4.7

Pakistan

6.3

3.8

India

5.8

6.0

USA

3.6

3.3

Germany

2.2

1.3

Japan

4.0

1.3

Source: World Development Indicators 2001: 24–26

has been determined by the competition of several parties as well as by a guarantee of fundamental rights. According to the standards of “Western” democracy, no postcolonial state in Asia, Africa, or the Caribbean after 1945 has accomplished the direct transformation from colonial rule to a democracy as successfully as India. Some of these states come relatively close to the example of India: Jamaica, perhaps, or Sri Lanka, or even Malaysia and Singapore. But particularly in these two countries of Southeast Asia, the reduction in competition among political parties—in Malaysia to ensure Malaysian-Muslim dominance—constitutes a significant difference from India, which, with the exception of the time between 1975– 1977, has remained essentially untouched by such interventions in the openness of the political market. Thus, India is in many regards an exception, a “deviant case.” India stands in contradiction to the experience that stable economies are only possible after a process of economic and political development has been completed, and that democracy stands at the end— not at the beginning—of this process. In particular, the doctrine of the comparison of political systems assumes that certain forms of

Why India?

21

pre-industrial, pre-modern democracy are possible in “parochial” societies, but that precisely the processes of modernization and industrialization destroy these (non-Western) forms of democracy. It assumes that a stable Western-style democracy is only possible after advancing through long stages characterized by authoritarian and, under some circumstances, totalitarian forms of political rule (Almond and Verba 1963: 17–19). According to this definition, whose formulation is not coincidental, India, as a country not yet truly industrialized, should not be a Western-style democracy at all—with a constitution, competition among political parties, and basic freedoms. India is the conspicuous exception to the pronouncements of comparative political science, which are based on (other) experiences. The field of comparative political science is geared more toward the experiences of Pakistan or Egypt, Turkey or Mexico, Brazil or Nigeria. These are all nonindustrialized, or not fully industrialized societies whose political systems are characterized by a succession of systems that are openly or de facto single-party systems, military interventions in the political process, and open military dictatorships—and, in the case of multi-party systems—with significantly reduced freedom of competition among the parties. These comparisons also show that pointing out the effects of colonial rule by Great Britain, the “motherland” of democracy when viewed from the European-American perspective, in no way suffices to explain the success of Indian democracy. In fact, pointing out these effects has no actual value as an explanation. Why were there not comparable successes in the other former colonial states that were not based on European emigration—in Nigeria or Guaiana, Oman or Burma? But above all, it is the example of Pakistan that stands in the way of such an explanation: if the influence of the British political tradition, of “Westminster democracy,” was and is so decisive for India’s stable democracy, why did this influence not even come close to demonstrating similar influence in Pakistan? Why are the elites of British India, influenced by the British model, capable of transforming India into a stable democracy on the one hand, while on the other hand, with the same historical background of experience—they are not? Why is there no common model of political culture “of south Asia,” despite certain approaches in political science (Weiner 1960)? The quality of Indian democracy contradicts the explanation that India should primarily be seen as a success story of British

22

Democracy Indian Style

Westminster democracy: India’s political system has, to be sure, adopted much from the British—the parliamentary system with a prime minister, who is also the majority leader in parliament and in whom all political power is concentrated; the electoral system of single-member districts, in which the relative majority of votes decides victory and defeat. India has also considered the experiences of other nations: Indian federalism is the antithesis to British centralism. If the federal state of India corresponds to any “model” at all, that model is American federalism. But other postcolonial states have adopted elements of Great Britain’s constitution (or that of France, or other European or American nations). Why, then, have they been transformed in India, and indeed, essentially in India alone, into more than five decades of stable democracy? There is a further explanation that also fails to explain the nature of Indian democracy: according to Gabriel A. Almond and Sidney Verba, one could view Indian democracy as a perfect example of pre-modern, “parochial” democracy, in which—under the specific parameters of an essentially tribalistic society—the participation of part of the population in the political process is possible. According to the results of Almond and Verba’s comparative empirical study, carried out in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and the United States in the mid-twentieth century, India would have had a poor foundation for a modern democracy in keeping with the twentieth century. Almond and Verba see successful modernization—measured in terms of industrialization and modernization—as the best possible foundation for democracy (Almond and Verba 1963, particularly 504 f.). India did not possess this foundation in 1947, nor are they present at the outset of the twenty-first century. Can India’s democracy, then, be valid as an example of a “parochial,” pre-democratic democracy on the basis of subnational, tribalistic participation? Beside the fact that, from the beginning, the Indian political system was characterized by parties and competition among parties—elements that do not belong in this “parochial” democracy—Almond and Verba’s basic assumption is that modernization of society—expressed largely in terms of industrialization—removes the basis for this pre-modern democracy. They further assume that a democracy in the Western, liberal sense is possible only after difficult processes, at the end of which stand enlightened dictators like Kemal Pasha or modernizing, open unity parties like Mexico’s Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI).

Why India?

23

Democratic India purposefully practices a politics of economic development. Led first of all by notions of modernization following democratic socialism, represented by Pandit Nehru, and then by an orientation toward a market economy open to the world economy, from Rajiv Gandhi to Atal Behari Vajpayee: Indian democracy would have removed its own foundation of “parochialism”; it would have destroyed itself—if the incompatibility of democracy and development applied to India. India is in a decades-long process of development—without an Indian Kemal Pasha Atatürk, without an Indian PRI, a party of the “institutionalized Revolution,” having to lay aside or at least relativize the freedom of democracy for the benefit of societal development. India refutes another basic assumption of political science as practiced in Europe and North America: that of the connection between national homogeneity and the capacity for democracy. India contradicts the European experience whereby democracy assumes a nation state, whereby “nation building” first creates the framework for democracy (Cf. e.g., Almond 1970, esp. 223–234). The notion that national heterogeneity would be detrimental for the development of democracy was already formulated by John Stuart Mill (Lijphart 1996: 258). Whatever was or is meant in Europe by “nation”—India was, in 1947, not yet a nation in the European sense. The multiplicity of language groups and religions was what characterized India— not social homogeneity. India was rent by “cleavages,” social fault lines, to too great a degree to qualify as a nation state. That was also the decisive argument of Mohammed Ali Jinnah: India was for him—the key figure of the Muslim League and a major proponent of the notion of Pakistan—not a nation. Rather, it was a sum of nations, at least of two: the nation of the Muslims for whom Jinnah lay claim to a nation state, and the nation of the Hindus (Bose and Jalal 1998: 171–196). Jinnah saw homogeneity as a basis for the existence of a state and with this term expressed that which corresponded to European experience. Jinnah represented the European tradition—the homogeneity of language and/or civilization defined in religious terms first creates the nation; and the state erected on the foundation of the nation is what first allows democracy. When viewed from this perspective, the example of India is a paradox: a society that became a political unity only through the foreign rule of the British empire; a society characterized by the lack

24

Democracy Indian Style

of a common language, by the absence of a hegemonic religion— such a society made “nation building” possible as a result of its diversity and contradictions. And this secular, trans-ethnic nation made democracy possible. Pakistan, which was built upon the idea of homogeneity, experienced a series of military dictatorships and unstable multi-party systems. India, which contradicted this homogeneity, experienced a series of free elections, a well-defined political pluralism, a constant change at the head of Indian federal and state governments—and a clear primacy of politics over the military. Indian Exceptionalism? The Indian combination of underdevelopment and a dynamic economy, of its role as a regional superpower and a stable democracy cannot be explained solely from a Eurocentric perspective. To be sure, India has adopted much of what characterizes the democratic experience, particularly in Great Britain and the United States. But India’s democracy should not be viewed simply as a successful export of a European-American model of democracy. The pre-conditions are too specific for that. That which can be viewed as a successful implantation of the European-North American model of democracy in India is, to be sure, important: the parliamentary system in the British fashion— Westminster democracy and government by cabinet members with the prime minister in the central position, and majority rule. All of this is inherited from the British. Federalism, that is, the vertical separation of powers, the high degree of autonomy for the member states—this is derived from the American system. But the adoption of the rules corresponding to these models does not in and of itself make a stable political system. For the history of decolonization in the twentieth century is full of failures on the part of political systems that were based on European or North American models. It is a history of military dictatorships, authoritarian “directed” democracies, the veiled single-party systems—and no history of democratic stability. India, easily the largest former colony, is the exception to the rule of decolonization—not because India was able to establish for itself a European-North American model of democracy, but because there was, clearly, another factor that contributed to the adoption of structures from British and U.S. democracies. This was a factor that could

Why India?

25

not be effective in Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, or Algeria: a specifically Indian factor. This specifically Indian factor is the antithesis of the British and U.S. model of competitive democracy. While the Westminster model—with the limitations of checks and balances—and the American model, in large part, derive from the principle of “winner take all,” Indian democracy is more ambivalent vis-à-vis this principle. At the level of elections to the lower house (Lok Sahba) and to the state parliaments, this principle rules with the rigidity of the Westminster model: whoever controls the majority of seats also controls all the power —within the framework of the constitution. Parties not in possession of the majority or not participating in a majority coalition are excluded from this power. Yet, upon closer inspection, there lies an additional model behind the mechanism of a democracy oriented toward competition and majority, according to the European-American model. Moreover, this model builds on relativizing the concepts of majority and minority; and thus, the concepts of winner and loser. “Winner takes all”—but the answer to the question “who can be called a winner” is much more diffuse in India than in Great Britain. The clarity of the division of roles between winners and losers, government and opposition is lacking in Indian democracy. This clarity is what characterizes British democracy. Arend Lijphart has pointed out this specific characteristic of Indian democracy (Lijphart 1996). Due to the very heterogeneity of Indian society, which contradicts the sort of nation-state thinking common in Europe, Indian democracy cannot build solely upon the notion of competition that we find in competitive democracy. This is the reason Indian democracy is so successful—as a “deviant case” in post-colonial systems. India builds upon the fundamental notion of alliance between minorities. In India, too, the majority rules; in India, too, the role of the winner is up for grabs—but—only someone who is capable of forming a majority in a carefully constructed coalition of interests; and who then shares in the power if the election is won, can be a winner. Of course, the fact that majorities in democracies are nothing more than alliances of minorities does not apply solely to India. It also applies to the competitive democracies of Great Britain and, particularly, to the United States. However, the amount of careful perfection, formalizing, and duplication that goes into this phenomenon has attained a particular and specific quality in India.

26

Democracy Indian Style

Indian democracy and its success are founded on the reversal of the idea of Pakistan. The lack of ethnic and religious homogeneity is not seen as a burden for democracy, but as a basis for the specifically Indian model of democracy. The fact that India is a nation divided into nations that are, in turn, defined in ethnic-linguistic and religious terms, is what makes the politics of systematic bridge building possible in the first place. These are the bridges over the “cleavages” of a society riven with fault lines. Seymour Martin Lipset (Lipset 1960), Stein Rokkan (Rokkan 1996), and others have described and analyzed the degree to which the functioning of political systems depends on the capacity to deal with “cleavages,” the social separations that ripple through every society with differing intensity. Indian society, which in its quantitative dimension alone is not that of a (European) nation state but that of a large continent, is riven by particularly deep and conspicuous fault lines, at times quite specifically Indian ones. z

z

Religion: The most decisive hallmark for independent India is first and foremost secularism. This characteristic marks the Indian antithesis to the Pakistani thesis of clarity and homogeneity most clearly. India answers the historically motivated explosivity of religious opposites by legislating the separation of church and state, politics and religion. The state and politics is one sphere—religion is another. This secularism hits upon a tradition of religiously motivated violence. It hits upon a deeply-rooted sense of identity based on religion and a society that is one of the most religiously fervent. The political doctrine of secularism meets a society that is not at all secular. But this tension, this opposition between the political program and real society is what defines Indian democracy’s first recipe for success (Varshney 2002). Ethnicity: The ethnic diversity of India is expressed in the multiplicity of languages. Unlike Pakistan, which attempts to cover over this multiplicity with Urdu, stemming from Indian Islam, India lives with this diversity. Hindi, the first official language of India, is complemented by English, the de facto second official language; and Indian federalism is based on the autonomy of member states that are defined principally by language. In each of these states, according to the model, one ethnicity and its language are dominant—Tamil in Tamil Nadu; Bengali in West Bengal; Punjabi in Punjab, etc. In spite of the predominance of Hindi, speakers of Hindi do not form the majority of the population. Every attempt to

Why India?

z

27

find a majority on an all-Indian level has to find a compromise among different ethnically and linguistically defined interests. Because there is no hegemony on the part of a single group, a political culture of compromise is needed to deal with India’s ethnic diversity (Varshney 2001). The caste system: The diversity that particularly distinguishes India from other societies is reflected in the caste system. The concept of caste is entwined with the concept of class, which comes from the European context, but it is not identical to it (Bose and Jalal 1998: 201–219). Castes, which can be explained by the history of Hinduism, the invasion by foreign rulers from the northwest, and the north-south opposition, comprise a concept of social barriers and types of discrimination rejected by secular India. But informally, these barriers and forms of discrimination live on. And, like the religious and ethnic fissures, the social divisions expressed by the real existence of castes are explosive—full of ongoing and potential violence. But here, as with the ethnic and linguistic diversity, there is no majority, and any party that wants to win elections must consider the heterogeneity of the population, both in the way it presents itself as a party and in its policies.

“Winner takes all”: the Indian version of this saying is “Winner integrates all.” The example of the BJP, which developed from Hindu fundamentalism, shows the truth of this saying. The BJP was the competitor of the Congress Party that dominated the first decades of Indian independence. In order to “come to power” by means of an election victory, and in order to maintain this power by means of further successful elections, the BJP could not afford to address only its original followers. The BJP had to make compromises—particularly with regional parties from the states in the south and the east whose interests contradict the policy of furthering Hindi, as laid out by the BJP. The BJP had to make the strategy of the Congress Party their own in order to prevail against the Congress Party. And, in spite of their claim of being the party of the natural majority, they had to ally themselves with minorities. This Indian model of democracy, which relativizes the concept of majority, is, above all, significant for the development of democracy beyond the homogeneity of the nation state. The Indian way of dealing with social heterogeneity is—for example, in the domain of linguistic politics—also a possible model for the development of democracy in the European Union (Laitin 1997).

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Unlike most other political systems of the post-colonial “third world,” India has found a way to stabilize its democracy—not in spite of, but because of its diversity; not in spite of, but because of its transnational, trans-ethnic character. The search for patterns and models for a democracy that does not exhaust itself in the increasingly meaningless nation state in the face of globalization must hit upon the model of India. This model, like all models, cannot deliver formulas, but rather experiences. In his book, The Age of Extremes, in which he seeks to interpret the history of the twentieth century, Eric Hobsbawn attributes a not insignificant role to Subhas Chandra Bose (Hobsbawm, 1994: 172, 216). For Hobsbawm, Bose is an important example of the political understanding of nationalism (not only) outside of Europe, willing to align himself with anyone and everyone to come closer to the noble goal of national independence. In Bose’s case, the result was defeat for the INA in the last Japanese offensive at the Burmese– Indian front, the collapse of Bose’s exile government, and his death in Taipei. But Hobsbawm does not see in this failure the failure of Bose’s tactical motto in general. For Hobsbawm, Bose’s tactical motto, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” is a successful recipe of anti-colonial liberation movements—even if, due to global configurations, Bose and his INA could not enjoy the sweet taste of success. But Bose’s tactical motto is also an example of the way in which national interests predominate visà-vis other, transnational “idealistic” goals. In that regard, Bose did not effect a specifically Indian contribution to the behavior of national actors in international politics. On the contrary, he tried to normalize India’s international presence by means of his motto. Unlike Gandhi’s globally oriented idealism, Bose laid claim to nothing but the representation of India’s interests. Bose stands for the claim of securing a role for India in the concert of the great nation states. This “normalcy” is the one side that can be seen in the example of Bose and that can be examined in the case of India at the outset of the twenty-first century. But this India is not only “normalcy,” not only the push for equality. Rather, it also has quite specific characteristics. And these specific Indian accents connect Bose and Gandhi, Bose and Nehru: the concept of balancing ethnic and religious interests, expressed in the concept of secularism, can be found in Bose’s writings—and in Bose’s actions as head of India’s exile government from 1943–1945. The specifically

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Indian aspects of Indian democracy—the way in which the majority principle is relativized—can be demonstrated in Bose’s emphatic politics of balance between language groups and religions, and also in his emphatic consideration of women in his exile government.

3 The Rise of a Nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897 into a Bengali family in Cuttack in what is now Orissa. Bose’s parents had moved to Cuttack from Calcutta. Years later, the family resettled in Calcutta— from the provinces to the metropolis of British rule. At the time of Bose’s birth, Cuttack was part of the presidency of Bengal. From 1905 to 1911, Cuttack was added by the colonial powers to a new presidency consisting of West Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa that, from 1911 to 1935, consisted only of Bihar and Orissa. The Government of India Act of 1935, which brought India a limited degree of autonomy and Indians a limited say in their own affairs, gave Cuttack to the now separate presidency of Orissa (Bose 1948: 2). Since Indian independence, the city, which lies southwest of Calcutta, has been part of the state of Orissa. Around 1800, approximately a third of the area of British India was included in the presidency of Bengal—what are now the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, and what is now Bangladesh. In 1947, Bangladesh, as East Bengal, was given to Pakistan, and in 1971 the region seceded from Pakistan. In 1880, approximately 67 million people lived in the presidency of Bengal—of them, approximately 35 million in what is now considered to be Bengal, i.e., in Bangladesh and in West Bengal. 120 years later, the population of West Bengal and Bangladesh together numbers approximately 180 million on an area comparable to that of Great Britain or the state of Minnesota (Gordon 1990: 7 f.). Bose’s family background reflects the multiethnic character of India: a Bengali family that moved from Calcutta in 1885 to a part of Bengal whose majority did not speak Bengali. However, this background expresses the influence that the British rule—the Raj—had 31

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on Indian society. His father, Janaki Nath Bose, whom Subhas himself counted as belonging to the middle class (Bose 1948: 2), had gone to British schools in Bengal and had completed his education as a lawyer in British institutions in Bengal (Bose 1948: 11). He was considered “anglicized.” He read English literature (including Rudyard Kipling, the “ideologist” of British colonialism), often wore European clothing, and had fully accepted British rule over India (Gordon 1990: 11 f.). Bose’s mother, Prabhabati, could read and write Bengali, but she learned English relatively late in life and had only a passive mastery of the language (Gordon 1990: 14). In contrast, her sons went to British schools and were soon perfectly bilingual (Gordon 1990: 16). The lifestyle of the family was actually above that of the middle class. The family had servants (Bose 1948: 4 f.). Janaki Nath Bose was addressed as “Sahib,” a form of address that was actually meant for the British and was otherwise used only to address particularly wealthy Indians who enjoyed a certain prestige (Gordon 1990: 11). The Bose’s were Hindus and they belonged to one of the “higher” castes: the Kayastha. Subhas Chandra Bose, who, as a secular modernist, always had certain difficulties with the reality of the caste system, had skipped over this aspect of his background in a footnote in his autobiography: “The Kayasthas claim to be none other than Kshatriyas (i.e., warrior-caste) in origin. According to popular usage, the Kayasthas are classified among the (so-called) higher castes” (Bose 1948: 6). His true colors as a socialist come through: it was almost embarrassing to him to even mention his own origins. There were also Muslims among the servants employed by the family. The experiences he had with these Muslims, as well as those he had with Muslim pupils and teachers in his schools, influenced Subhas’ secularism. He grew up in an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence between Hindus and Muslims: “[F]riction or conflict between Hindus and Muslims was unknown in my early days” (Bose 1948: 57). The partition of Bengal in 1905 was also an expression of the policy of viewing India not as a whole but as the sum of its parts. The “first” partition of Bengal, which lasted from 1905 to 1912, gave the Muslims a clear majority in East Bengal and the Hindus a clear majority in West Bengal. The British also introduced separate electoral bodies for Hindus and Muslims during the elections of 1909, limited as these were (Gordon 1990: 74). This was the politics of

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“divide and conquer,” which of course was supported by the interests of the leading representatives of the Muslim sub-society. Bose’s early personal experience with harmony between Hindus and Muslims did not, in any case, correspond to the political reality of Bengal. Subhas Chandra Bose was the sixth son and the ninth child of his parents. After Subhas’s birth came three daughters and two additional sons. Prabhabati, Subhas’s mother, had given birth to fourteen children in the space of twenty-one years—the first, when she was fifteen. The fact that thirteen of the Bose’s fourteen children reached adulthood speaks for their affluence and social status—a visible sign that the Bose’s stood well above the milieu of India’s poor (Gordon 1990: 14). Subhas’ brother Sarat Bose, who was to share much of his political path, was the second son—and the sixth child (Bose 1948: 1; Gordon 1990: 15). Their father had foreseen a British education for all the sons—in the British schools in Bengal, then, circumstances allowing, university studies in Great Britain. This would also prove to be the path taken by Subhas Chandra. The path that the family had foreseen for the daughters, on the other hand, was quite different: they were not prepared for a profession and a career, but for marriage. And the marriages of the daughters were arranged, just as the marriage of Prabhabati and Janaki Nath had been arranged in 1880, that is to say, agreed upon between the families without participation by the two directly affected by the marriage (Gordon 1990: 9). It is surprising how Subhas Chandra was able to develop his image of women. His mother was evidently a dominant figure in the home who determined, in particular, that the children would be raised in the Hindu orthodox tradition (Gordon 1990: 9). Outside the home, however, his mother had no part in the anglicized life of her husband and sons. Subhas’s sisters were married off in accordance with tradition. In contrast, Subhas would appoint a woman as Minister for Women’s Affairs in his exile government and form a regiment of (fighting) women in his army. As early as the 1920s, he expressed the opinion to his brother Sarat, whose thinking was originally more traditional in this regard, that Sarat’s daughters should enjoy a secondary education and even attend university (Gordon 1990: 160 f.). This change in attitude vis-à-vis gender roles within a single generation demonstrates the dramatic rate of modernization that took place in India during the final decades of British rule.

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The British Education of an Anti-British Activist The British schools that Bose became familiar with in India—first in Cuttack, then in Calcutta—were more interested in British than in Indian culture and more interested in Latin than Sanskrit. Sports were important, as was discipline. The teachers were frequently arranged according to an informal hierarchy: British teachers were typically at the top of the hierarchy, whereas the second level consisted mostly of Anglo-Indians, that is, the offspring of British and Indian parents. There was also a sort of hierarchy among the pupils. For example, in the elementary school that Bose attended, only about 15 percent of the spaces were allotted for Indian children—most of the pupils were British or Anglo-British (Bose 1948: 25–32). Bose could read and write English before he had mastered Bengali, his mother tongue. Not until he was twelve-years-old and had changed to a secondary school, did he learn to read and write Bengali (Bose 1948: 33 f.). This experience shows the degree to which Bose’s milieu—determined by his anglicized father who came from the upper middle-class of Hindu society—set the priorities: in order to advance in life, according to the message transmitted to the young Subhas, English was more important than Bengali. In this process, however, Bose also gained a comfortable ease with multilingualism early on. At home, at any rate, he spoke Bengali with his mother. English dominated the world outside the family. Thus, Bose learned to live in two linguistic worlds. The notion he developed later of making “Hindustani,” (comprised of Hindi and Urdu) the Indian national language surely has something to do with this experience of his youth. People can, he learned, live in two or even more linguistic worlds. Retrospectively, Bose viewed his first experiences with the colonial school system very critically: he perceived the neglect of Indian history, culture, and society and the emphasis on all things British as something forced upon him. In Bose’s case, and of course, not only in his case, using the educational system to force British culture on the children of the Indian upper classes and upper middle classes was counterproductive. When he was writing his memoirs at the end of 1937, he summarized his experiences: “Considering everything, I should not send an Indian boy or girl to such a school now” (Bose 1948: 31). The emphasis is surely on the word “now.” In this way, Bose avoided criticizing his father, for whom it had been a matter of course

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that his sons would attend British schools. Moreover, in the limitation that lies in the word “now,” one can assume a certain insight as well. In other words, the British schools gave the Indian elite an excellent foundation from which to resist British colonial rule. For Bose’s family, the goal of educating the sons was to make them capable of taking on a position either directly in the British colonial administration (in the Indian Civil Service) or in a closely related position (for instance, that of a lawyer) (Bose 1948: 37). The British colonial administration was, for the generation of Bose’s father and for his social background—“higher” castes, upper middle class—not the enemy but rather the system that aided careers and social standing. Subhas’s criticism regarding the school system that bore the imprint of the British system is directed primarily toward the seven years he spent attending the Protestant European School in Cuttack. In 1909 he transferred to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School for four years, a sort of junior college that prepared students for university studies (Das 2000: 9). In this school he not only learned to read and write his mother language. A charismatic teacher—Babu Beni Madahav Das—helped him to approach the spirituality of Hinduism. This approach was the background for Bose’s interest in the writings of Swami Vivekananda, who died in 1902 and whose philosophical works Subhas began to read at the age of fifteen (Bose 1948: 36–58). The experience he had with an influential Indian teacher who in his person and in his teachings contradicted the superiority of British–European culture that was accepted in his own family circle served as a catalyst for Bose’s growing Indian consciousness. Subhas Chandra Bose began his university studies in 1913 at the Presidency College of the University of Calcutta (Bose 1948: 59– 93). Unlike the situation in provincial Cuttack, the British military presence was omnipresent on the streets of Calcutta. The arrogance that many British showed in their daily interactions with Indians must have served to hone the critical perceptions of Subhas the student. Resistance to the British was also part of daily life in Calcutta. Incidents in the trains and streetcars in which Indians used force to defend themselves against humiliations at the hands of the British were just as much the topic of conversation as the stories that circulated in the Presidency College that some Indian students had been beaten by their British teachers (Bose 1948: 86).

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Behind the increasingly political polarization and the resulting politicization that Bose underwent there was the palpable influence in Calcutta of Bengali resistance that began to organize itself just before the outbreak of the world war in terrorist-revolutionary circles. As a student, Bose had knowledge of this resistance but he was—at first—not drawn to it: “not because I believed in non-violence as Mahatma Gandhi does, but because I was then living in a world of my own” (Bose 1948: 84). Bose’s world still was primarily influenced by the spiritualism of Vivekananda, who demonstrated little interest in politics (Das 2000: 9). The process of Bose’s politicization was only beginning. An important milestone in this process was an experience that was to create his reputation as a “radical”: his leading role in the student strike at Presidency College in early 1916 (Bose 1948: 88–93). The reason for the strike seemed banal at first glance: a British professor had, in his own words, “grabbed” certain Indian students “by the arm” who, he felt, were disrupting the classroom. According to the students, however, he had pushed them violently and thus “insulted” them. As speaker for the students, Bose represented the matter before the principal of the college. The students demanded an apology from the professor in question and called for a strike when they did not receive it. The principal, in turn, threatened disciplinary measures against all striking students. The conflict was resolved on the second day—the instructor found a formulation that satisfied the students as an apology (Bose 1948: 88–90). This first incident, in January of 1916, laid the foundation for Bose’s reputation as an effective representative of the interests of Indian students vis-à-vis the British school administration. When a similar incident took place a few weeks later in February, the students beat the professor. Bose himself had observed the beating, but he left open the question of whether or not he had participated in it. Now an internal resolution of the conflict was out of the question: the media reported on the incident and the government seemed to be considering closing the college for good. One consequence, in any case, was Bose’s expulsion from the college and thus from university study (Bose 1948: 90–93). In this way, Bose’s political career was assured. He had become the martyr of the Indian cause: “My Principal had expelled me, but he had made my future career . . . I had a foretaste of leadership” (Bose 1948: 93).

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Bose had become a symbolic figure of Indian nationalism at an interesting time. The renewed Indian resistance against colonial rule was nourished from two sources: z

z

As viceroy, Lord Curzon had carried out the partition of Bengal in 1905. With this step, he had set a precedent that the Bengali variation of Indian nationalism would run up against in a particularly bitter manner—until 1947 and even thereafter. The resistance took on dimensions that a few years later would be exceeded theoretically by Gandhi: British wares were boycotted and plans were developed to ignore the Raj and thus circumvent it—perhaps by constructing a school system independent of that of the British. The radical wing of the resistance, based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, turned to violence as well (Gordon 1990: 39–41). Among these radicals was Ras Behari Bose, who withdrew to exile in Japan in order to avoid capture by the British authorities—and who would welcome Subhas Chandra Bose to Singapore in the summer of 1943 (Gordon 1990: 371). The First World War had awakened the nervousness of the colonial rulers. The British relied on particularly repressive measures against activists in the resistance movement (Gordon 1990: 71, 102). Like the Irish nationalists, the Indians attempted to take advantage of the difficult situation in which the British found themselves and to gain the enemies of the British—the German Empire, but also the Ottoman Empire—for their own cause. These attempts remained unsuccessful (Das 2000: 55). But Bose saw the pattern that would inspire him: whoever causes trouble for the British is a potential ally of Indian nationalism. The failure of these attempts on the part of Indian nationalists during the First World War could not prevent Bose from making parallel attempts twenty-five years later.

After his suspension, Subhas Chandra Bose had spent a year in Cuttack. In 1917, the University of Calcutta indicated to him that he would be accepted again as a student. He continued his interrupted studies at a different college—the Scottish Church College. At the same time, Bose began military training within the University Unit of the India Defense Force. The government of the Raj, then, allowed one of its most embittered—future—opponents not only to earn a university diploma, but it also gave him a basic military education. In 1919, Bose graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Bose 1948: 103–108).

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Now Subhas Chandra Bose wanted to study experimental psychology. However, his father’s suggestion that he go to England to prepare himself for entry into the Indian Civil Service (ICS), that is, for a position in the administrative apparatus of British India, changed his plans. On September 15, 1919, Bose began his voyage to England by ship in order to study at Cambridge (Bose 1948: 108– 110). In doing so, he followed an already well-established pattern. The British colonial power allowed the best and the brightest (and the most privileged) among young Indians to study at a British university—also with the goal of tying them that much closer to British rule. Sarat Bose had studied in London from 1912–1914, Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi had come to England to finish his law degree back in 1888 (Gordon 1990: 22). Jawaharlal Nehru had first attended the elite school in Harrow beginning in 1905 and then, from 1907– 1911, studied in Cambridge (Wolpert 1996: 11–27). At the time of Subhas’s stay in Cambridge—1920—there were approximately 1,450 Indian students matriculated at British universities (Gordon 1990: 23). The British educational system educated the elite of the opponents of the British colonial system. Unlike Nehru, Bose clearly did not feel at ease in Cambridge. The Brahman Nehru, an Indian aristocrat from head to toe, was fully integrated into British society, stayed in London often, and undertook numerous journeys. After two years of study in Cambridge, Nehru resembled in his social behavior an upper class Englishman— not an Indian, of whatever caste (Wolpert 1996: 22). Nehru had also used his studies in England to form political connections that he would later draw on repeatedly. He had become an insider of the enlightened, liberal, Leftist milieu of Great Britain. Bose’s case was different: his stay in Cambridge, just shy of two years, was not long enough to develop these sorts of connections. And Bose’s course of study was overshadowed by the self-doubts that made him doubt the direction he had chosen more and more. Bose followed the political debates in Cambridge with great interest. Among the politicians whose appearance in Cambridge he took particular notice of was Hugh Dalton, later one of the leading men of the Labour Party, and Oswald Mosley, in 1920 still a man of the Left, later the leader of British Fascists. Bose was also sensitive to the many actual, perhaps occasionally imagined, instances of discrimination that Indian students suffered (Bose 1948: 117–120).

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In August 1920, Bose passed the entrance examination for the ICS. But he had already begun to ask himself during the preparations for this exam whether he could really bring himself to enter the service of British colonial rule. He shared these doubts with his brother Sarat in several letters. In April 1921, these considerations led him to take action. In a letter to the State Secretary for India, the British cabinet member responsible for Indian affairs, he attempted to have his name removed from the list of candidates for the ICS. He completed his studies in Cambridge in 1921, but he had given up the original goal of this study, entrance to the ICS (Bose 1948: 125– 144; Gordon 1990: 62). In the summer of 1921 he returned to India. Bose had completed his course of study at the universities of Calcutta and Cambridge. Yet at each British university he had committed a political act that lent his political biography an anti-British accent. The success he enjoyed at his studies in Cambridge was overshadowed by his refusal to take on the leadership position in the administration of British India that he had earlier desired and that now stood waiting for him. Bose had profited from the British educational system—even politically, since he had made himself a reputation as a rebel. Bose’s decision to disappoint his father’s expectations and to turn down the security of a prestigious career as a civil servant of the Raj also had to do with the increased tension in the political climate of India. At the end of World War I, Indian nationalists had every reason to believe that vague promises from the British government regarding Woodrow Wilson’s formulation about the self-determination of peoples and the founding of the League of Nations could be the basis for an independence that might be reached one step at a time. At the time of the Viceroy Montagu, in the years 1917–1918, the British had discussed the idea of partial autonomy for India (Gordon 1990: 76). But the British government did not translate this idea into action; in fact, the contrary was true. After the war, they increased the repressive measures that had been introduced during the war. In April 1919, the massacre of Amritsar, when British troops gunned down 400 Indian demonstrators within 10 minutes, gave a new dimension to the repression (Wolpert 1997: 297–300). This massacre and the disappointment it caused among moderate nationalists had accompanied Bose to Europe in September of 1919 and influenced his decision to break off the possibility of a career in the ICS, despite having passed the entrance exam. Developments in

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India robbed the young nationalist of his hope of uniting his role as a civil servant of the British administration with his idea of an independent India. Thus, Bose did not become a British civil servant— he became an anti-British politician. Bengali Renaissance, Bengali Mentor On August 1, 1920, shortly before Bose took the entrance exam for the ICS in Cambridge, Gandhi had begun his first all-Indian campaign for nonviolent non-cooperation. In a short time, Gandhi was the undisputed leader of the Congress (Wolpert 1997: 301). But Bose’s political planet orbited a different sun—at least at the outset of his political career: Chittranjan (C.R.) Das. Bose’s political beginnings were closely tied to the political situation in Bengal. Intellectual life in Bengal around the turn of the century had acquired a special note that was termed the “Bengali Renaissance.” C. R. Das was the one who drew the political consequences from this intellectual movement. Das rejected the simple adoption of European (“Western”) models for India. India, he believed, should recall its own roots. Das criticized the tendency of constantly having to prove that India was as “modern” as Europe (Das 2000: 37). The Bengali Renaissance must be seen within the specific context of this large region in the east of India: z

z

z

Bengal was on the periphery of the Mongol Empire. For British rule Bengal was—at first—the center. The political significance of Bengal was also the product of the Raj. As the first Indian capital of the British, Calcutta had become an economic, cultural, and political metropolis, thanks to the Raj. But for precisely this reason it also attracted resistance to colonial rule. Hindus and Muslims lived together in Bengal as segments of the population that were more or less equal in size. Thus, Bengal was something of a laboratory for communalism as well as for overcoming it.

For Bose, the Bengali Renaissance had numerous facets including the spiritual (Hindu) renaissance, represented by the names Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda (Gordon 1990: 33 f.; Das 2000: 1–21); the combination of spiritual, intellectual, and political

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aspects in the narrow sense—a combination whose most well-known proponents included Rabindranath Tagore and Sri Aurobindo (Aurobindo Ghose) (Das 2000: 50 f.); and the political organization of this movement of change and resistance—embodied in C. R. Das (Chatterjee 1965). Calcutta around 1900 was full of conspiratorial circles that—in the style of the Italian carbonari, the Russian narodniki, or the Irish republicans—conspired against British rule. Assassinations modeled after those committed by European anarchists were planned, occasionally also carried out. Rabindranath Tagore had connections to these circles. And the name Sri Aurobindo was named with increasing frequency in this context (Das 2000: 50). But this Calcutta lost political significance when the British moved the capital of the Raj to Delhi in 1911. With that, Bengal forfeited the significance that the colonial rulers had lent to Calcutta and the entire region. C. R. Das was a well-known and successful lawyer for Bengali activists. In 1909, for example, he had won an acquittal in a proceeding against Sri Aurobindo (Das 2000: 51). He had been active in the Indian National Congress since 1906. He was a Brahman, that is to say, he was born into the highest caste in Hindu society—like Motilal Nehru, the father of Jawaharlal (Pandit) Nehru, with whom he would co-determine the politics of the radical wing of Congress after the First World War. Das was also influenced by the mysticism of Hindu tradition. In a speech in 1917, he gave an example of the bridge between this mysticism and the nationalism of the present: “The state of the country today stood in sombre contrast with the Bengal of the old. . . . It was because when the English came to Bengal the people of the land were decadent. . . . And so it happened to them as it happens to all the weak. . . . In this critical period of nation building they (the people—A. P.) must root out and cast aside the European ideal of indulgence, and cleave fast to their native and ancient ideas of sacrifice” (Das 2000: 37 f.). Here is the language of impatience. And here is the model of rising up from the morass of decadence: the language of impatience would become that of Subhas Chandra Bose. And the image of decadence suited the images that nationalism everywhere—particularly in Europe—used for mobilization. Das’s nationalism was inclusive, and in spite of his mystical tendencies, it was secular, too. He spoke of nation building as the common task of Hindus and Muslims. And he rejected any compromise

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with the British that would have the effect of relativizing the goal of self-determination for all of India, for example in the form of shared rule between the British government and an autonomous Indian government (Gordon 1990: 71). But Das’s language was not only an expression of an all-Indian radicality but also a specifically Bengali one. This radicalism brought Das into the Congress that had changed under Gandhi’s leadership from a club of notables educated in Europe to a mass movement. In the last years before his death, Das was considered the undisputed leader of the Congress in Bengal. When Gandhi carried out his first great action of nonviolent resistance in 1920, Das, like Motilal Nehru, was already part of the inner circle of leadership in the Congress. But Das (and Motilal Nehru) were skeptical regarding Gandhi’s influence, which was now dominant. Das often considered Gandhi’s path too soft, too non-confrontational (Das 2000: 57 f.). At the same time, however, Das and Nehru considered counterproductive Gandhi’s call to boycott the elections to the legislative councils (legislative bodies endowed with limited power) that had been granted by the British in 1919. Das and Motilal Nehru saw in the elections the possibility of mounting a political challenge to the colonial powers. To them, Gandhi’s call to boycott the elections was tantamount to a missed opportunity—and proof of the Mahatma’s tendency to overlook possibilities for political action when a moral principle was at stake. In 1923, Das and Motilal Nehru founded the Swaraj Party (Home Rule Party) with the goal of giving the independence movement a basis for participating in these elections (Wolpert 1996: 57). The founding of the Swaraj Party was preceded by open conflict with Gandhi. During the conference of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) in Gaya in December of 1922, Das, as the acting president of Congress, declared himself against Gandhi’s boycott of the elections. But Gandhi prevailed with a two-thirds majority among the delegates of the AICC. As a result, Das resigned as president of the Congress and Motilal Nehru resigned as general secretary (Gordon 1990: 98). In 1939, Bose would learn that openly challenging Gandhi did not bode well for the challenger—this, too, was Das’s legacy. The founding of the Swaraj Party did not mean that Das wanted or had to leave the Indian National Congress. The Congress did not

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(yet) understand itself to be a party, but rather a movement that had room for any number of different trends, even those that specifically identified as a party. This Swaraj Party served as a political basis for Bose when he returned from Cambridge in 1921. His activity in this party that was classified as radical brought him into conflict with the Raj. In a “brief note” the Bengali Home Department wrote that the Swaraj Party supported terrorists—and cited the following as evidence: “In 1924 . . . (the) Party supported the candidature of Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose as chief executive officer of the (Calcutta) Corporation and it was noteworthy that after his appointment to that post many jobs in the Corporation were given to terrorists” (qtd. in Das 2000: 77). Subhas Chandra Bose had found his political home—the radical, Leftist wing of the Congress, represented by the Swaraj Party. And he had found a political father and mentor: C. R. Das. Bose’s ties to Das were also strengthened by a specific experience: in December of 1921, several months after his return from England, Bose was arrested with Das and other Bengali activists. The reason: the campaign of non-cooperation that followed Gandhi’s tactical strategy had been declared illegal by the British authorities. Das, Bose, and the others received prison sentences of six months. Bose would later say that this time spent with Das in prison had been a “privilege” (Gordon 1990: 89). Until his death in 1925, Das was Subhas’s political guru. Das and his wife, Basanti Devi, were also political (substitute) parents of a sort for Subhas once he had returned from England (Gordon 1990: 82). Das, in any case, introduced Bose to Bengali politics—and to the politics of the Congress. Das promoted the young Subhas— and quickly brought him political prominence. It was the time when the all-Indian independence movement in which Bose was politically active was in a state of fundamental change. Gandhi had made a mass movement out of the Congress. Within the Congress, Das represented the Bengali tradition and the radical wing. Bose was not only the political adoptive son of his mentor—he also adopted the role of heir after Das’s death. And this political inheritance was twofold: on the one hand, it represented the specifically Bengali accent of Indian nationalism; on the other hand, the impatience that Bose would exhibit in Congress also lay concealed in this legacy. Gandhi had begun a new chapter of Indian

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history. Bose was in the process of contributing to this chapter—at first to the section dealing with Bengal, and then to the section dealing with India as a whole (Das 2000: 55–73). The political consequences of the Bengali Renaissance were reflected in Bose’s thinking and in his actions: z

z z

rejection of a pragmatic path to independence laden with compromises; skepticism vis-à-vis Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolence; emphasis on Indian civilization whose tradition does not have to take second place to European tradition.

Bose’s life and legacy reflect the ambivalent meaning of the Bengali Renaissance for the India of the present. The resistance to the (“second”) partition of Bengal in 1947, represented by, among others, Subhas’s brother Sarat Chandra, invoked Subhas Chandra Bose. The attempt to prevent the partition by creating an undivided Bengal independent from India was the expression of a slumbering Bengali separatism (Bose, S. 1968: 183–194). After the partition, West Bengal soon became a bastion of the Left. The CPM (Communist Party of India/Marxist) had its great successes here. West Bengal became the model that proved that a democratically elected Communist Party could govern (Chatterjee 1998). Bengal also became the object of Marxist social analyses that sought to see the contradiction between the classes lurking behind the cleavages of religion and caste (e.g., Chakrabarty 1989; Chakrabarty 1990). Subhas Chandra Bose continues to be reclaimed for this specifically Bengali and specifically socialist tradition. In particular, Bose’s Forward Bloc, which he had organized between 1939—when he failed as president of the Congress—and his escape in 1941, was founded in the tradition of the Swaraj Party as a Leftist opposition to and within the Congress (Chatterjee 1998: 185). The self-confidence that Bose demonstrated vis-à-vis the “white man’s” claim of superiority that was an inherent part of British colonialism had its foundation in the Bengali Renaissance. Bose, the secularist, was strongly influenced by the mystical sides of this renaissance. In his autobiography, Bose writes about the degree to which mysticism had influenced him—for instance in matters of sexuality. In his writings on the desirability of sublimating sexuality, he referred to the tradition of the yogis. His notion that overcoming, or

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at least holding in check, sexual urges could release special energies could even be compared to the teachings of Sigmund Freud or to the Catholic doctrine of celibacy (Bose 1948: 63–65). Bose’s self-stylization as a man who lives out his political calling—and thus has “no time” for a commitment to a woman—likely has its roots in this mysticism. Years before he became the Netaji, he demonstrated an ascetic submission to his task. There was no room here for women (Gordon 1990: 82). This also explains Bose’s later difficulty in going public with his relationship with Emilie Schenkl. This relationship clearly contradicted the discipline he had set out for himself of subordinating everything to his political mission. He took the strength for this discipline from his religion, from the mysticism of the Bengali (Hindu) Renaissance. From Oxford, where he was visiting for several days, he wrote a letter to his brother Sarat on April 6, 1921 in which he formulated his impatience clearly: “I believe we shall get Home Rule within ten years and certainly earlier if we are ready to pay the price. The price consists of sacrifice and suffering” (Bose 1948: 181). Bose was prepared to pay this price: sacrifice and suffering. Without this risk, nothing would be gained. The Empire Strikes Back On July 16, 1921, Bose returned to India. On the very day of his arrival in Bombay, he had a discussion with Gandhi. In the portrayal he would write more than ten years later of this first meeting with the “father of them all” (Übervater), Bose described Gandhi as a kind man whose answers to Bose’s questions were nevertheless not fully convincing. Above all, Gandhi’s promise that “Swaraj,” that is, independence, or at least self-government, would be reached within the year seemed to Bose to be hopelessly unrealistic. Gandhi advised Bose to turn to C.R. Das in Calcutta. Bose had already taken up contact with Das by letter from England. Nevertheless, Gandhi’s advice played a significant role in the special relationship that would develop during the following years between Das and Bose. Bose both wanted to and was able to invoke Gandhi as the impetus for the special relationship he enjoyed with his political father (Bose 1997a: 58–60). Gandhi, then, had contributed to the political relationship that deepened due to the arrest of Das and Bose in December of 1921

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and the sentences they served together in 1922. When C. R. Das, Motilal Nehru, and Vithalbhai Patel were in the process of creating the political basis for a successful election campaign in all of India after the founding of the Swaraj Party, Bose was one of the leading activists for this campaign in Bengal. He was forced to realize that the majority of the Congress that had declared itself for Gandhi’s position and against that of Das in December of 1922 at the conference of the AICC (All-India Congress Committee) had tried to prevent the organizational work of the “Swarajists.” There were conflicts throughout India between the Swaraj Party and the “no-changers” (the followers of Gandhi’s slogan to boycott) in the Congress. The activists of the Swaraj Party brought about a call for a special conference of the AICC in Delhi. Das, at the head of the powerful Bengali delegation, achieved a change of the official position of the Congress: the Congress left it up to its members whether they would run for the upcoming elections or not. The slogan to boycott was dropped; the “Swarajists” could now invoke the words of compromise from Delhi. (Bose 1997a: 93–96). The Swaraj Party enjoyed great success in the elections, above all in Bengal—and along with Das, his adoptive political son was successful as well. In addition to his active role during the student strike at the Presidency College in 1916 and his rejection of a career in the ICS in 1921, Bose could point to a further distinction. He had made the acquaintance of the Raj’s jail for the first time and he had shared this experience with Das, the most prominent Bengali politician in the Congress. Bose already had a reputation—and that had consequences as well. Das and the organization of the Bengali Congress largely under his control saw to it that the regional elections strengthened Bose as the representative of the young generation that was prepared for conflict. The elections of 1924 gave the Swaraj Party a strong position in Bengal. Das became the faction leader of the Swaraj Party in the Bengali legislative council. However, he turned down the offer of a ministry position in the presidency from the governor of Bengal (Gordon 1990: 108–111). In Calcutta the party achieved a clear majority in the city council. In addition to his function in the legislative council, C. R. Das became the mayor of Calcutta. The twentyseven-year-old Bose became chief executive officer, that is, director of the city administration under the mayor. The political power was still concentrated in the viceroy in New Delhi and the governor in

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Calcutta. But beneath the politics which were steered by the government in London, the Indian nationalists were now able to realize their goals autonomously (Bose 1997a: 104). The politics of Das and Bose was a nationalist politics: streets and public places were named after great men of India’s past—no longer after those of Britain’s past. The city of Calcutta no longer gave receptions in honor of the viceroy or the governor. Instead, it gave receptions in honor of leaders of the independence movement— Gandhi, Motilal Nehru, and others. But the political orientation of the “Swarajists” was also socialist: free elementary schools, generalized health care, free distribution of milk to the children of the poor. In addition, another element distinguished the political culture of the Congress—the Congress of Gandhi and Das, Nehru and Bose— and that was a more thorough consideration of minorities when filling administrative positions. This “affirmative action” benefited primarily the Muslims (Bose 1997a: 105). But Bose was not able to carry out his duties as the most important co-worker of the mayor for long. In October of 1924 Bose was arrested again. The British authorities did not make any formal charges, and there was no court proceeding. Bose was simply imprisoned on the basis of the special law of the Raj. There are two obvious reasons for Bose’s being arrested again: z

z

Bose was considered a radical revolutionary. It had already been clear at his first arrest in late 1921 what the British thought of him. They considered him a Bolshevik. And as such, he was capable of anything in the eyes of the British administration. A number of attacks on high-ranking police officers had provoked the authorities in Bengal. Although there was clearly no evidence that Bose was involved in these assassinations, the police took advantage of their special powers to take him out of the picture politically (Gordon 1990: 114–117).

Das was not arrested—clearly he was too prominent a politician for the government to do so. Das and the Swaraj Party protested strongly against Bose’s arrest. But Bose remained in custody for six weeks in Calcutta. Then he was stripped of his official title of “chief executive officer” and he was transferred to a prison that was more than 100 miles from Calcutta. But apparently this prison, too, was too close to the center of Bengali politics. In late January of 1925 he

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was transferred to the prison in Mandalay in Burma (Gordon 1990: 117 f.). The conditions in the Burmese prison represented a deterioration for Bose. The wooden buildings provided insufficient protection from the cold and the heat (Bose 1997a: 144). Above all, however, he was cut off from his political surroundings. After more than a year in prison—with no legal proceedings—Bose and other political prisoners began a hunger strike in February of 1926. After fifteen days, Bose had reached the direct goal of the hunger strike: the Hindus among the prisoners had the support of the authorities to celebrate religious holidays in prison, which the Christian prisoners had already been allowed to do. The hunger strike was also a success because newspapers in India reported on the act and representatives in the legislative assembly had discussed the hunger strike (Bose 1997a: 152 f.). The Swaraj Party nominated Bose as the candidate from an electoral district in Calcutta for the new elections to the Bengali parliament planned for November of 1926. From prison, Bose, of course, could not take part himself in the election campaign. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of this, he was elected. Although one motivation for his candidacy was freeing him from prison, he remained in prison as an elected official. In the meantime, his health had deteriorated. As it turned out, he had lung disease, which would recur in the years to come. A medical discharge brought about his release from prison. But not until May 1927 was he brought to Calcutta from Burma and released from custody after a medical examination. This second arrest had lasted 31 months (Bose 1997a: 153–155). During this time, the conditions for Bose’s political career had changed dramatically: C. R. Das had died in June of 1925 when Bose was in prison in Mandalay. Eight years later, Bose wrote the following words about the death of his mentor: “Today, as we look back on the year 1925, we cannot help feeling that if Providence had spared the Deshabandhu (i.e., C. R. Das—A.P.) for a few years more, the history of India would probably have taken a different turn. In the affairs of nations, it often happens that the appearance or disappearance of a single personality means a new chapter in history. Thus has been the influence of Lenin in Russia, of Mussolini in Italy and of Hitler in Germany in recent world-history” (Bose 1997a: 124). Whether Das would have felt at ease in this political company is an open question. What is clear with this word choice is that Bose

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mourned the possibilities that were linked with the person of Das. With a strong Leftist wing—represented by Das—the politics of the Congress and thus developments in India could have happened differently, or so Bose felt, than was possible under Gandhi’s influence, which outshone all else. For even Motilal Nehru was less and less capable of taking an active role, due to a serious illness. He died on February 6, 1931 (Gordon 1990: 241). The mentors had exited the political stage. The young generation had to step into the foreground. Before Bose intervened actively in politics, he tried to restore his health in Shillong—at the foot of the Himalayas. In November of 1927 he was again fully present in the political arena: he was elected president of the Bengal Province Congress Committee (BPCC). Working closely with his brother Sarat he determined the politics of the Congress in Bengal during the following years. On this basis he became an increasingly important factor for the politics of the Indian National Congress—the All Indian Congress Committee (AICC). As the heir of his adoptive political father, Subhas Chandra Bose had become the most important voice of Bengal in the concert of the Indian independence movement. Jawahrlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose were the representatives of the young generation in this phase and of the Left wing. The son of Motilal Nehru and the adoptive political son of C. R. Das were often allies and occasionally rivals (Gordon 1990: 162–165). The relationship between Bose and Nehru, who was seven years his senior, was also influenced by Gandhi. The Mahatama soon made clear which of the two men was the “good son” and thus the successor. It was not Bose (Gordon 1990: 219). Nehru would completely fulfill the expectations that Gandhi had of him until Gandhi’s death. The Left wing was skeptical of the possibility that the British government would offer to grant India dominion status. For Bose, everything that was not complete independence was an unacceptable compromise (Som 1995: 73–109). In his impatience, Bose rejected a status that would have been comparable to that of Canada or Australia. In this, he could point to de Valera as his example. But de Valera was to demonstrate that dominion status could not prevent a committed government from following a line of politics that corresponded to that of a fully sovereign state. But for Bose such a status was not a decisive step in the right direction or even an important step. For Bose such a step was surrender.

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In the late 1920s, the politics of the colonial rulers toward the mass movement that Gandhi and the Congress organized appeared more and more helpless. The British seemed to know only one answer: repression. When Gandhi brought his campaign to a climax with his salt march in 1930, the prisons of British India began to fill again with political prisoners. Bose and a group of Bengali politicians were among the first. In late 1929, Bose was arrested. This time the British took Bose to court. The charge was sedition. The evidence: Bose’s radical rhetoric. The sentence: nine months of imprisonment (Gordon 1990: 220 f.). In the Alipore prison in Calcutta, Bose was the victim of an attack by prison guards in April of 1930 (Bose 1997a: 205). The contradictory nature—or helplessness—of British politics in India illuminates what happened to Bose after his prison term. On September 23, 1930 Bose was released from prison. The next day he was sworn in as mayor of Calcutta. The faction of Congress that controlled the city council of Calcutta had already decided on Bose as mayor while he was still in prison. Bose’s opponent, B.C. Roy, was also in prison. Bose’s predecessor—the successor to C.R. Das, Sen Gupta—also spent the end of his administration in a prison in British India (Gordon 1990: 234; Bose 1997a: 214). As mayor of Calcutta, Bose was again the heir to C.R. Das. In his inaugural address he recalled Das’s platform. But then he employed the rhetoric that, from then on, would be so characteristic of him: he spoke of the synthesis of Fascism and socialism. Mussolini and Lenin, but also social-democratic “Red Vienna,” were his points of reference: “We have here the justice, the equality, the love, which is the basis of Socialism, and combined with that we have the efficiency and the discipline of Fascism as it stands in Europe today” (qtd. in Gordon 1990: 234). Bose did not retain his liberty for long. On January 26, 1931 he marched at the head of a demonstration in Calcutta. Along with other demonstrators, Bose was beaten by the police and arrested. The next day a judge sentenced the mayor of Calcutta to six months of imprisonment for taking part in an illegal demonstration and posing a threat to public security (Bose 1997a: 234; Gordon 1990: 240 f.). Bose’s arrest was overshadowed by a shift in British politics. The British government and its representative in Delhi, Viceroy Lord Irwin, tried to break out of the vicious circle they had fallen into: the Congress carried out its nonviolent campaigns, and the leaders of

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the Congress were arrested. After their release from prison (often forced through hunger strikes) the cycle began all over again. The British government wanted a solution that would keep India in the Empire but would allow India enough self-administration to satisfy at least Gandhi and the mainstream of the Congress. To this end, negotiations, not arrests, were needed. On January 25, 1931 Gandhi was released from prison—that is to say, one day before Bose’s arrest. Immediately, Lord Irwin began talks with the Mahatma and as early as March 5, 1931, the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was announced. Gandhi declared that the campaign of nonviolent non-cooperation was at an end and he was ready to take part in a Round Table Conference in London (Wolpert 1997: 317 f.). This political shift was strongly criticized from two sides. In London, Winston Churchill declared that it was “nauseating” to see the viceroy negotiating on the same level with a half-naked fakir (ibid.). Churchill had realized that the path taken by British politics could have only one logical end: that of Indian independence. But in Calcutta, Bose, barely out of British prison himself, gathered the young Turks of the Left wing together in open rebellion against the Mahatma. Bose’s argument: giving up the campaign without the promise of the only acceptable quid pro quo—the end of British rule—was unconscionable (Bose 1997a: 219–240). One result of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, albeit indirect, was that Bose did not have to serve out his six-month sentence. At the AICC convention in Karachi he gave a speech on April 5, 1931 in which he focused on his socialist goals—and his rejection of all compromises on the path toward complete independence. Socialism for Bose was the right of every human being to have a job and an income. Freedom for Bose was independence for India—with no ties whatsoever to the British Empire (Bose 1997b: 113). The Gandhi-Irwin Pact brought a sense of alienation to the relationship between Gandhi and Bose that would deepen further during Bose’s stay in Europe starting in 1933 and would only be overcome superficially during the time he was president of the Congress from 1938–1939. Gandhi’s willingness to negotiate with the British government and in so doing to signal his willingness to compromise—perhaps on the fact that dominion status might be acceptable to the Congress—contradicted Bose’s radicalism and impatience. Bose cloaked his disappointment with Gandhi’s patience in clear terms: if, as Bose wrote in 1933, the Mahatma had only spoken the

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language used by the “Dictator Stalin, Il Duce Mussolini, or Fuehrer Hitler,” the British would have had more respect for him (Bose 1997a: 254). Gandhi’s language was that of patience. The language of Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler was that of impatience, and this was also Bose’s language. Bose’s opposition to Gandhi’s path made him popular with the young people of the Congress and with the unions (Bose 1997a: 257 f.). But the growing distance that separated him from Gandhi corresponded to an increased distance from the mainstream of the Congress. Originally, Nehru shared Bose’s criticism of the GandhiIrwin Pact to a great extent, but unlike Bose, he knew how to keep this difference of opinion from becoming personal. Nehru remained the “good son.” At the AICC convention in Karachi in late March of 1931, Gandhi’s position prevailed in all essential points—Nehru was on the Mahatama’s side again (Gordon 1990: 241–244). Bose’s response to this increasing isolation was to flee. The internal conflicts, from which the Congress in Bengal was also not spared, caused Bose to resign his leadership of the BPCC and in so doing, to renounce his actual power base. At the same time, he resigned his seat on the city council of Calcutta. Thus, he also officially renounced his position as mayor, the duties of which he had not been able to carry out anyway during his imprisonment (Gordon 1990: 250). The (first) Round Table Conference was, from the perspective of the Congress, a failure. To be sure, Gandhi had been a success in the eyes of the British public, but not with the British government. After his return from London in late 1931, Gandhi and the Congress Working Committee—the executive committee of the AICC—decided to readopt the campaign of nonviolent non-cooperation. Cooperation had been a failure. Now was the time to exert pressure on the Raj once again. As a result, the British set in motion the old cycle of repression again in early 1932. Gandhi and the leadership of the Congress were arrested. Bose was among the incarcerated (Gordon 1990: 253 f.). In 1932, during his imprisonment, Bose’s health deteriorated again. Treatment in Indian hospitals brought no noticeable improvement. The government of British India suggested that he might cure his illness in Europe. The authorities wanted him out of India. They took advantage of Bose’s illness as a way to be rid of him. After giving the matter some consideration, Bose accepted the offer. In February 1933, he left India (Gordon 1990: 256–269).

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The Self-Destruction of Colonialism When Bose left India he was thirty-six-years-old. From the time he was five-years-old he had spent nineteen years—with one year’s interruption, 1916–1917—at British schools and universities in India and England. Between 1921, when he returned to India with his degree from Cambridge, and 1933, when he left India again, he had spent perhaps five years in British prisons, that is, almost half of this time. By 1933 Bose had spent most of his life in two—apparently—different institutions of British (European) civilization: schools and prisons. Bose was, of course, not the only such case. His brother Sarat had also attended British schools and universities and had then been imprisoned in British prisons. Gandhi and Nehru represent the many others who were first promoted by British politics and then suppressed. Bose’s fate—between Cambridge and Mandalay—corresponds to a certain pattern: those who spent many years being educated in British schools went on to spend a good deal of time after their studies in British prisons. The British government followed a peculiar cost-benefit analysis: it invested in the education of Indian elite, whose education was, to a large degree, indebted to the British model; and after this education they locked up the members of this elite in prisons. What sounds like a contradictory paradox was only the logical consequence of colonialism. The tendency of colonialism to self-destruct can be observed and analyzed in the case of Bose and the Raj. The Raj was forced to raise an educated British elite. Unlike the model of European colonialism in America, based on settlers, the colonialism based on trade in Asia could not simply make do without the “natives.” In India, the few hundred thousand British soldiers, civil servants, entrepreneurs, and teachers could control the subcontinent only with the aid of an Indian elite. For this reason, the British had to allow the Indians an appropriate education. However, the Raj was also forced to alienate this educated elite through repression. For what the students learned at British schools and universities necessarily had to direct itself against the colonial rulers. How could, say, an Indian lawyer who had studied and practiced law in England, not be outraged at the discrimination against “coloreds” in South Africa? How could an Indian intellectual who had become acquainted with the works of John Stuart Mill, not be angry that the British wanted to determine India’s political fate?

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Bose’s career embodies this dialectic of European colonialism. The colonial lords gave a minority of those whom they ruled over the chance to acquire European values and a European education. But “Europeanizing” those who were ruled in this way also gave the educated elite the means with which to fight colonial rule. For the European education had conveyed the dissonance and inconsistencies of colonialism. In terms of a doctrine and as a system, the democracy for which the Allies—at least the Americans—fought the First World War had to lead the colonies to troublesome, in fact, to anti-colonial thoughts. The experience conveyed to Gandhi and Nehru and Bose at British universities made them European—and alienated them from Europe at the same time. And as soon as this alienation was perceptible in political terms, the colonial rulers responded with repression. The colonial rulers had to fight the tendencies that were an unavoidable consequence of colonial rule. By attempting to suppress these tendencies, they made them all the more effective politically. Colonialism was caught in a vicious circle from which it could not break free—and which would ultimately destroy it. The glamour and misery of colonialism becomes visible in the contradictory nature of the British Raj. If British rule had only been fueled by the desire to exploit India and to enslave the people of India, then Adolf Hitler could have been advisor to the Raj. His infamous suggestion to “shoot Gandhi” was not just a superficial remark made to Lord Halifax (Das 2000: 317). His “shoot Gandhi” stood for the politics of colonialism, as it was practiced by the Nazi regime in Poland, in the Balkans, and in the occupied regions of the Soviet Union. The fact that the conservative former viceroy was so horrified by Hitler’s piece of advice expresses the horror of the colonial ruler, caught within contradictions, facing the slaveholder who is not contradictory at all, but quite clearly a slaveholder. Surely Halifax understood that the politics of “shooting Gandhi” could make sense. But he of course also understood that this could not be the politics of the United Kingdom during the 1930s. But this was, in fact, the politics of Nazi Germany. Bose could never (afford to) admit this difference between British colonialism and Nazi slavery. British rule was not simply fueled by the desire to exploit India; it was also fueled by the desire to bring civilization to India—or what was defined as such in Oxford and Cambridge. And according to

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the notions of civilization in Great Britain around 1900 and thereafter, one could not simply shoot Gandhi—nor Nehru, nor Bose. Instead, what would reflect the colonial ruler’s mission to civilize would be to invite Gandhi and Nehru and Bose to take part in elections. Included in the Raj’s mission to civilize—at least in the twentieth century—were democracy and human rights. But what to do when those who have been invited to take part in democracy also understand this concept to mean self-determination and who in turn take self-determination to mean the end of colonial rule? The Raj was caught in the contradictions of both of its goals, both of its desires. The German order, represented by Hitler, had only one goal in mind for colonies in the East—exploitation and slavery. The British order, represented by Lord Irwin (later Lord Halifax) had more complex and thus contradictory goals. It was unimaginable that the Nazi regime would have purposely educated a Russian or Polish elite at German universities. Hitler’s politics was not to educate the members of an elite but to annihilate them. But British politics allowed its future opponents access to Oxford and Cambridge. The Raj equipped those that would fight against it with the most decisive instrument possible: insight into the unsolvable contradiction of colonialism. The Raj’s goal of civilization made the goal of exploitation impossible in the long run. The summer of 1930 in Calcutta offers the grotesque image of this contradictory nature: the Raj had granted the city of Calcutta a limited form of self-administration. Freely elected officials chose a mayor in free elections. The mayor who had been in office since 1930, Sen Gupta, was no longer running for office. He was in prison—for “sedition.” The majority faction of the Congress had to choose between two men—B. C. Roy and Subhas Chandra Bose. Both of them were also in prison—for “sedition.” After harsh discussions, Bose was elected mayor on August 22. But he would only be able to enter office after his release from prison on September 23. Bose became mayor. The British respected this decision because it corresponded to one goal of the Raj—to bring civilization to the Indians. But Bose was constantly threatened by the possibility of being thrown in prison again for “sedition,” because this corresponded to the other goal of the Raj—to govern and exploit India as British territory. And indeed—after several months in office, the mayor of Calcutta was arrested again. He had to go to prison again:

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for taking part in an illegal demonstration. But he was not shot, and the British released him again soon enough—to fight against British rule. Is it any wonder that Adolf Hitler could not understand this sort of politics?

4 The Roots of Modern India The politically defined India of the turn of the millennium is deeply rooted in an India that was defined socially. For centuries, actually for millennia, Indian identity was determined not primarily in political terms but in social terms. As a political system, India has existed only since 1947. As a social system, India has existed for millennia. Independent India—the democracy that emerged from British India—was a new nation. Before 1947 there was no Indian state— there were states within India. But there was still an India before 1947—defined not as a political but as a social and cultural identity. Before there was a political India there was a social India. It was British colonial rule, termed “Raj,” that made a unity of a politically diverse India, one step at a time. Before the Raj, a mixture of diverse nations living side-by-side, at times opposing one another, at times coming together, determined the political history of India. It was determined by the waves of conquerors that invaded India from the northwest and established their empires without ever being able to control completely what was and is India. Indian history is a history without an Indian nation—it is the history of an Indian culture. Unlike Chinese history, which carries the imprint of thousands of years of continuity of the Chinese nation, Indian history is determined by thousands of years of Indian nations that were at times rivals and at times existed side-by-side with one another. The perception of this history reflects the self-understanding of modern India (Thapar 2000). Historically, the interpretation of India has been characterized by the search for Indian identity. This interpretation, in turn, is characterized by many facets that point to the pre-British, pre-European identity of India. This identity includes the cultural expansionism of 57

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the subcontinent. The spread of Buddhism (and also of Hinduism) particularly to Southeast Asia and East Asia was culturally defined— and, unlike the spread of Christianity and Islam, it was not accompanied by military expansion. To be sure, India was by no means isolated during its pre-colonial history, and it was by no means a mere passive object of desire for others. But the history of pre-colonial expansion in India is characterized by different hallmarks—not military ones and, thus, not political—than the expansion of Christian or Muslim societies and nations (Bose S., Jalal 1998: 12–22). What Is India? Political diversity and political heterogeneity have always been a defining characteristic of India. And yet, for centuries there has been no doubt that an Indian identity exists—beyond national diversity. This Indian, pre-national identity is determined by its geography and by its culture. z

z

Indian is determined by its geography. Hardly any other large region has as many “natural” boundaries as India—not even China or Europe. In this sense, India is a continent, at least a subcontinent. The borders of India in the southeast and southwest are determined by seas, in the north by the highest mountain range in the world. The only border areas that allowed invasions by European “alien” armies lie in the northwest: in the region bordering on central Asia in what is now Afghanistan. “Alien” peoples came to India repeatedly via this region—in order to live, but also to mix their own culture with that of India. The Greeks under Alexander came from the northwest and made India into something concrete for Europe. Muslim armies also came from the northwest and established their empires in the north of India. The European colonial rulers, of course, came from across the ocean—thereby surmounting a border that until then had been considered a “natural” insurmountable border. European colonialism opened up a new way to conquer India. In so doing, colonialism also opened up a new way for India to enter the world and created, indirectly, the necessary background for present-day India as a national entity and as an actor on the political world stage and in world economics. India is determined by its culture. A specific society developed within the geographically defined subcontinent, characterized by

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a specific civilization. Religion has always stood at the heart of this civilization. Hinduism, which absorbed Buddhism (which itself originated in India) in its many variations, is crucial for this civilization (Huntington 1996). But for many centuries, the pluralistic divisions in this central role of Hinduism have also been specific to India. Unlike the situation in other regions of this size, India has been determined by religious pluralism for centuries. For the last millennium, Islam has coexisted with Hinduism throughout the entire subcontinent. Religions with regional popularity—the religion of the Parsi which has its origins in pre-Islamic Iran and the Jewish and Christian (pre-colonial) minorities have given particularly the west and southwest of India the specific accent of religious and cultural pluralism. The religion of the Sikhs, which evolved as a protest against Mughal rule, has influenced Indian civilization for centuries, particularly in the northwest. The geographical definition of India is a clear given. The cultural definition of India is multivalent and for that very reason specific to India. Cultural plurality as a definitive hallmark is strengthened by the definitive hallmark of ethnic and linguistic plurality. The diversity of the religiously determined subcultures of India forms a perpendicular to the diversity of the linguistically determined subcultures. Being a Hindu says little or nothing about one’s ethnic identity—just as being a Muslim does not signify any clear ethnic-linguistic identity. The Muslims in Bengal speak Bengali—as do the Bengali Hindus. And in Punjab, Urdu, the variant of Hindi developed by Muslims in the northwest, coexists alongside Punjabi. India’s identity is determined by its historical ability to unite ambiguities—and not to let them become dissolved in oversimplification (Bose, S. and Jalal 1998: 23–34). In this sense, India’s identity is determined by a consistent rejection of totalitarianism. Of course, this is not to say that Indian history has always been tolerant. Indian history is full of wars and conquests. But the results were not always clearly defined in the sense of closed, homogeneous societies in medieval Europe or even those of Chinese civilization influenced by Confucianism or the noticeably homogeneous society of Japan. India is not India is not India—and precisely that is what makes India India. India is defined in clearly cultural terms—by its lack of clear, defining terms. This ambiguity is accompanied by another specifically

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Indian form of heterogeneity: the caste system. Unlike the heterogeneity of language groups and religions that can be recognized immediately by any observer, the heterogeneity of the castes defies categorization. Modern India has—in accordance with its constitution—to all intents and purposes “eliminated” the caste system in political terms, but it continues to exist in social reality. For social behavior, such as marriages being forbidden, the refusal of social contact, or professional socialization, cannot simply be changed by means of a law. The Indian caste system is considered “the world’s most complex and unique system of social stratification” (Sheth 2000: 238). This system of social hierarchy, which was so fascinating to Europeans, has established itself on the subcontinent throughout the course of millennia. Its interplay with religion—the non-Hindu religions have historically rejected the caste system, therefore it is a peculiarity of Hinduism—in association with characteristics such as skin color necessitates a multi-layered interpretation. In the past and in the present, India’s heterogeneity has been enriched through this specific system of diversity: z

z

Past: The Christian missionaries viewed the caste system as an evil from the beginning—and also tried to make their message attractive for those whom they saw as oppressed, in a manner similar to Islam and the Sikhs. The turn away from Hinduism and toward other religions has always been offered as an escape from the caste system—and is correspondingly resisted. Thus, the difference between the castes is parallel to religious difference, unlike the ethnic-linguistic differences. Present: The modern, secular, democratic Indian has not only withdrawn any legal recognition from the caste system. The Indian political system of the present is also determined by a politics of “reversed discrimination” to the advantage of the lower castes, the “untouchables (“Dalits”) and certain ethnic minorities (“tribes”). This element of Indian democracy, related to the American concept of affirmative action, grants a special status to the caste system within Indian politics. That is to say, it is meant to be overcome by the promotion of those who are disadvantaged by the caste system (Sheth 2000: 253–255).

Bose had tried—at least in the way he presented himself in public—to relativize and thus downplay the significance of the caste system. In a speech given in Vienna on May 3, 1934 he equated the

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caste system vaguely with “social position” or different classes of society. And he went on to say that “in India as early as 500 years before the birth of Christ” one could observe how “the people” tried to do away with these “castes or classes” (Austrian State Archive: Report by the Federal Police Headquarters, Pr.ZI.IV2053/1/34). In the book he wrote at approximately the same time, The Indian Struggle, there is only one reference in the index to the caste system and this refers to the empire of the Gupta, the beginnings of which reach back to 330 A.D. (Bose 1997: 6). Bose thus conveyed the impression of wanting to push the actual meaning of the caste system to the background as much as possible—because it contradicted his notion of an Indian nation state. But after independence, India granted the reality of the caste system a politically important position. That is to say, the basis for “reversed discrimination” is the insight into the reality of the caste system. Wishful thinking about nation states alone cannot rescind this reality. Modern India has declared political war on the caste system in all its forms. In so doing, however, India underscores the significance of this system of inherited social inequality. Castes are no more than marks of social status. The caste system is a specifically Indian structure of inherited inequality that is unknown in Europe. Castes are not simply markers of social positions or social classes. Unlike social standing or class, castes are primarily a religious category of Hinduism (Larson 1995: 89–91, 113–117, 130–139). It is indisputable, of course, that this religious category has social roots and that it can also be seen as having a political function. But the category of “caste,” precisely because of its deep roots in religion, has a much more influential consequence than the category of social position or the category of class since this consequence is of longer duration. This understanding of the caste system as a religious category of Hinduism does not mean, of course, that it has not always had a social and political function to fulfill. The caste system was an ordering principle of a special kind—with a much stricter impermeability than the feudal system of pre-modern Europe or the class system of capitalism. Independent of the theoretical explanation of the caste system, it can be observed that its function— a clear and stable hierarchy of society—was evidently very convincing in its functionality. One result of this functionality was that even the Muslim subculture of India—that rejects the caste

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system on religious grounds—has developed a sort of “substitute caste system” (Larson 1995: 113). The idea of modern India, as it was developed within the National Congress and was represented by Nehru as well Bose, fundamentally rejects the existence of castes—or, better said, declares war on it. The notion of distinguishing society into hierarchically ordered subsocieties determined by birth and not to be overcome contradicts any notion of modernization. But the notion of modern India alone cannot yet do away with the reality of the pre-modern structure of a caste society. The India of the present notes this reality—as a structure that must be overcome through education and through direct promotion of those disadvantaged by the caste system a priori. Indian democracy does not confuse the desired image of a casteless society with social reality. In order to come closer to this desired image, Indian democracy promotes those who are disadvantaged through the caste system—by means of specific measures that consist primarily of quotas in the educational system and in civil service in order to promote the lower castes and the Dalits, a system very similar to that of affirmative action in the United States. The social heterogeneity, expressed in and firmly anchored by the caste system, primarily intersects with the ethnic-linguistic heterogeneity—and all of this within the context of a missing history of India—in terms of a nation state—before 1947. This heterogeneity allows India to appear much more as a parallel to Europe than to China. There is no single Indian language—like Mandarin in China— that coexists with numerous other, related but fundamentally subordinate Chinese languages. Instead, there are Indian languages that are, on the one hand influenced by specific regions, particularly in the south; on the other hand, they are also influenced by religion, for instance in the broad Hindi-Urdu belt of the north. There is a single Chinese language—but there is no single Indian language. The Indo-European languages of the north demonstrate certain commonalities, just as do the Dravidian languages of the south. The ethnic and linguistic diversity of historical India corresponds fundamentally to the diversity of India since 1947: There is no “one” Indian language. It is part of the essence of independent India that it is characterized by a noticeable pluralism of languages— in factual and normative terms. The precedence of Hindi (officially) and of English (factually) as all-Indian languages of discourse coex-

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ists with the regional dominance of such large linguistic groups as Bengali, Telugu, and Tamil. The idea and the reality of modern India are a rejection of the notion of a homogeneous nation state—just as the reversal is true in Pakistan. There, the idea and the reality of modern Pakistan is the affirmation of just such a homogeneity conveyed via religious identity. In this sense, two contradictory concepts of dealing with pluralism emerged from British India. The concept of India is based on the territorial and non-territorial autonomy of the diverse religious, linguistic, and socially defined subsocieties. The concept of Pakistan is based on a homogeneity constructed by religion. India as an idea is democracy and religious tolerance, economic progress, and cultural pluralism (Khilnani 1998: 12 f.). India, according to this idea specifically attributed to Nehru, cannot and should not be the specific homeland of the Hindus, that is, of the absolute majority. It can and should not be the specific homeland of those who speak Hindi (the largest linguistic group, relatively speaking). India should fuse the loyalty of all people who find themselves in the cultural diversity that is India. Gandhi had announced his reservations regarding economic progress—and Bose would surely not have given democracy quite the same prominence. But the notion of religious tolerance and cultural pluralism—that is what unites all who experience India as a political identity. It is among the most important consequences of the history of modern India that the concept of democracy, based on heterogeneity, has made possible—and not the concept based on homogeneity, at least not to the extent of the first concept. The India that admits to its contradictory diversity in religious, linguistic, and social terms has demonstrated democratic continuity for more than a half century. Pakistan, which is based on homogeneity in terms of religion but also, in part, in terms of language has experienced democracy only as interludes in a history fundamentally determined by military dictatorship. India’s heterogeneity is what is specific about the identity of this country. The ethnic and religious and social contradictions and oppositions account for a social pluralism that clearly distinguishes itself from the longing for homogeneity—the defining characteristic of the Islamic state of Pakistan. Indian society is divided into many language groups and ethnicities, fissured as a caste society, and di-

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verse in its religious plurality. Since 1947, this conspicuously nonhomogeneous society has been the largest democracy in the world. Democracy is clearly not necessarily the political order of single meanings—it can also be the political order of multivalence. The nation of Pakistan, conceived of as an Islamic state, enjoys little success as a democracy. India, founded as a secular state, and making a virtue of contradiction, is a success story of democracy. British India When the European powers sent their ships to Asia in order to trade, land missionaries, and ultimately, establish their empires, India experienced a different fate than China. India was not a nation. Rather, it was a collection of nations that co-existed side-by-side. The Portuguese and the British, the French and the Dutch therefore did not destroy an independent India. Instead, they set the individual Indian princes against each other—as Cortes had done in Mexico— and they took advantage of the competition among the Indian princes to continue their own European competition on Indian soil. For example, between 1756 and 1763, the alliance led by Great Britain and the coalition led by France fought one another not only in Europe and in North America, but also in India. In this first world war in history, Great Britain prevailed militarily—and after that it had no serious European competitors to fear on the subcontinent. British India saw to it that there was a certain unity in the diversity. After the competing European powers had been driven back and after the destruction of the Mughal Empire in 1857, Britain reigned supreme on the entire South Asian subcontinent for roughly one hundred years. The exceptions were the enclaves that, as Portuguese and French colonies, served as reminders into the middle of the twentieth century of the extent to which European colonial powers had fought for India (Burke and Quraishi 1995). British India gave the geographically and culturally defined India a political identity. The unity constructed by the British from the religious and linguistic diversity also became part of the founding philosophy of modern India—and found its contradiction in the founding philosophy of modern Pakistan. The independence movement organized by the Indian National Congress confronted the British colonial rule by turning the founding philosophy and the claims of the British against colonial rule itself.

The Roots of Modern India z

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India was seen as a unity not in spite of its diversity but because of it. It was also viewed as a political unity as the colonial rulers had constructed it. The strategy of Indian nationalism meant the instrumentalization of the product of colonialism—a unified India—against colonialism. India’s submission to the British was not evaluated by the yardstick of pre-colonial India but by that of the British parliamentary system, the British claim to democracy, and thus of the European Enlightenment. The most important argument of the Indian independence movement was taken from British and other European standards: self-determination instead of foreign rule.

The British had to contend with this from the beginning. During the war of 1857–1858 against Bahadur Shah, the King of Delhi and descendant of the Mughals, the Indian princess (Rani) of Jhansi, along with other anti-British Indian forces, fought against the British and was at first very successful. After her death, she soon acquired a mystical dimension. Indian nationalism made use of this against the British in a way altogether parallel to the way in which French nationalism functionalized the myth of Joan of Arc (Lebra-Chapman 1986). Subhas Chandra Bose exploited this functionalization most insistently, even calling his female regiment in the Indian National Army (INA) the “Rani of Jhansi Regiment” (Sahgal 1997). The myth of Rani of Jhansi also demonstrated that in India, the exclusion of women from public life never took on the proportions it did in Arab Muslim countries. Bose would consciously place his bets on this quasi-feminist tradition in 1943. Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of Punjab, who as a child was brought from his capital city of Lahore to England to live in luxurious exile became an additional symbol of resistance that Indian nationalism could invoke. In the 1880s, after he had left Great Britain, Duleep Singh tried to organize an anti-British alliance to free India. The most important partner in this alliance would be Russia. The Russian push toward expansion would shift from central Asia to the south, toward India (Campbell 2001). Duleep Singh’s trip to Russia and his lengthy stay in France enjoyed little success, but his efforts demonstrate the political pattern that Bose, too—more than two generations later—would follow: the enemy of Great Britain is the friend of Indian independence. British India was an administrative monstrosity. The South Asian subcontinent collapsed into the most varied regions, each of which

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was governed differently. Some were directly subordinate to the British administration, others, as principalities, enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy vis-à-vis the British. However, principalities such as Hyderabad or Kashmir were just as much subject to the sovereignty of the British crown and government as represented by the viceroy as were those provinces directly subject to British authority. The British took advantage of this administrative monstrosity in terms of “divide and conquer.” In particular, they tried to play the special status of the princes against Indian nationalism. In other words, these princes had something to lose if India became independent: the wealth guaranteed by the colonial powers as well as power itself, albeit very limited. Independent India could solve this problem relatively quickly and take away the special status of the princes and thus their privileges. The British were the midwives of Indian nationalism—ultimately against their own interests. The notion of an India with a specific political identity would fail to prevail in only one aspect, although this was, of course, a particularly crucial one. The Muslim League and its claim of speaking for a—second—separate nation in India prevented the program of Indian nationalism from being fully implemented. Pakistan was the product of the European notion that the prerequisite for a modern nation is a high degree of social homogeneity. In this sense, the very European idea of social homogeneity prevented the complete transformation of British India into an Indian India. One product of colonialism—all-Indian nationalism— was weakened by another such product: Pakistan. And yet, British colonial rule provoked the emergence of the movement that—in the political struggle with the colonial rulers— would expand the social and cultural identity of India to include a political identity. This movement was Indian nationalism, represented primarily by the Indian National Congress. British colonial rule was the catalyst that produced an Indian national consciousness and thus the prerequisite for an Indian state. This Indian state, together with Indian democracy, developed the instruments for integrating both the diversity and the fragmentation of India (Bose S. and Jalal 1998: 107–164). “British domination helped to create the opportunities for Indians to acquire a modern self, a political identity guaranteed by a state. In the twentieth century Indians have taken that opportunity and have invented themselves, and they have kept that inven-

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tiveness alive. They have shown a kind of care for the idea of India, as well as sometimes an anger” (Khilnani 1998: 194). The British had sown what they did not want to reap. Their rule had by no means created an Indian identity for the first time—this identity had already existed. But as a catalyst, the Raj had played a crucial role in India’s learning to perceive itself not only as a culturally and geographically defined entity, but as a political entity as well. Ultimately, the British could no longer control what they had strengthened: India. The Historical Background of Indian Independence The India ruled by the British was never a land that passively accepted rule by a foreign power. The memory of the battles and rebellions against the British that had, for example, produced the myth of Rani of Jhansi was always alive. This tradition gave rise to an organization at the end of the nineteenth century that imbued the resistance against colonial rule with a new quality and that would ultimately lead to success: the Indian National Congress. The Congress was not only an umbrella organization for various anti-British movements. The Congress also had a decisively integrative task: to construct from the very political unity of India that had been attained by British rule a politically unified India directed against colonial rule. The Congress wanted to turn the result of British rule against this rule. In this sense, the Congress competed with the British—to be the “makers” of a modern, politically integrated India (Pandey 1988: 121). The success of the Congress was based on two prerequisites: Indian nationalism and the European Enlightenment. z

Indian nationalism saw to the political integration of the various cultural identities, determined primarily by region and religion, caste and language. The Congress integrated India politically— long before the goal, independence, could be reached. Due to the efforts of the Congress, more and more people in India did not identify only as Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs, not only as Tamils or Biharis or as members of a particular caste, but more and more as Indians. As a vehicle of nationalism, the Congress saw to it that the traditional instrument of the colonial rulers—the strategy of “divide and conquer”—could not, in the end, prevent indepen-

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dence, not even when this strategy, in Muhammed Ali Jinnah’s notion of “two nations,” had a decisive effect. The European Enlightenment was one of the primary foundations on which nationalism was built. It was also the strategic vehicle that Congress purposely introduced in order to convey to the colonial rulers what would weaken them in a decisive way: their guilty consciences. The Congress confronted the British with the very values the British themselves invoked: reason and science, human dignity and self-determination. It was no coincidence that the individuals who set the tone in Congress were products not only of Indian society but also of the British educational system. In Oxford and Cambridge, Great Britain educated the individuals who would turn this very education against Great Britain. The Congress also fought British colonialism successfully using the weapons of European civilization. Colonialism most emphatically played a role in its own demise.

The essence of Indian nationalism is its inclusivity. India’s identity is based fundamentally not on what it is not, but on what it is; not on India distinguishing between the “other” or the “others” but on what and who is to be included in India. This inclusivity distinguishes the development of the Indian national political identity from the European tradition, notwithstanding all of Bose’s references to European versions of nationalism—from Mazzini and Garibaldi to de Valera. The “Bengali Renaissance,” including such figures as Rabindranath Tagore and Sri Aurobindo, played a significant role during the development of national inclusivity in India, which had its beginnings in the nineteenth century, and there is a direct line from this “Bengali Renaissance” to C. R. Das and to Subhas Chandra Bose (Das 1999: 160–173). Bose’s frequent references to Garibaldi and Mazzini demonstrate the connection of Indian nationalism to a background also shared by European nationalism of the nineteenth century: the European Enlightenment. This connection was also the basis for the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885. Of course, the Congress cannot be explained by this reason alone: Gandhi, in particular, who became a central figure of the Congress at the end of the First World War and thus of the Indian independence movement, embodied in his anti-modernism a countermovement to certain aspects of the Enlightenment. His platform was not only political independence— it was also the distance from progress that had come with the colo-

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nial rulers. “India’s salvation consists in unlearning what she has learnt during the past fifty years or so” (qtd. in Bose, S. and Jalal 1998: 135). Gandhi’s anti-modernism laid the first foundation for the Congress and the independence movement—inclusive nationalism. Nehru laid the second foundation more emphatically. The “Nehruvian tradition” (Cohen 2001: 37) was capable of turning European notions of progress against European interests. If Gandhi impressed the European public, in particular the British, with his conspicuous otherness, then Nehru bribed them with the demonstration of his similarity: the Left and liberal intelligentsia of Europe could recognize in him one of their own. More and more, the British government saw itself confronted with massive opposition on the subcontinent, influenced primarily by Gandhi’s technique of nonviolent resistance—and forced to find a compromise. The first and most important partner for negotiation was the Indian National Congress. This body had become a mass movement at the time of the Round Table conferences in the early 1930s under whose auspices the most varied movements and parties had gathered together. The reigning figure was Gandhi. Bose described Gandhi’s domestic program using the definition of inclusive nationalism: Gandhi “wanted to unite Hindu and Muslim; the high caste and the low caste; the capitalist and the labourer; the landlord and the peasant.” Bose also added a remark on Gandhi’s effect outside his own circles: “By this humanitarian outlook and his freedom from hatred, he was able to rouse sympathy even in the enemy’s camp” (Bose 1997a: 329). In Europe, Gandhi became a political cult figure. Unlike Nehru and Bose, he viewed the results of progress, stemming largely from Europe, with noticeable skepticism, even dislike. And he mobilized an inclusive coalition of sympathizers on the “other” side—in Europe. For some he was a high moral authority with his consistent nonviolence; for others he embodied the warning of the consequences of uncontrolled progress and growth; for still a third group he was a figure akin to Christ, whose conspicuous suffering—for instance in the hunger strikes—touched on an almost Christian ethics. Altogether, Gandhi was the best possible person to remind Europe that in India it was violating its own principles of democracy and human rights. With this Congress deeply influenced by Gandhi, a Congress which in its plurality also included individuals, factions, and wings of par-

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ties oriented in different directions, the British attempted to negotiate a compromise in the 1930s. The Congress wanted independence. The Muslim League wanted it, too—but not for one India but for the two “nations” in Jinnah’s sense; that is to say, independence for an India of Hindus and for a second India, that of the Muslims (Burke and Quraishi 1995: esp. 226–241). British politics was led by internal and external factors: the participation of the Labour Party in the national government beginning in 1929 signified a departure from the politics of holding onto the notion of the British Empire. Just like the mandate of Palestine, India was seen more and more not simply as the “jewel” of the Empire but also as a burden and a liability. The leading conservative, Lord Halifax, had come to believe during his tenure as viceroy in New Delhi—from 1926 to 1931, under the title Lord Irwin—that Britain had to confront the Congress politically, not simply with police and military force. Irwin had begun to view Gandhi as a partner in negotiations. In 1931 Gandhi was released from prison. Soon thereafter Irwin and Gandhi worked toward a preliminary agreement. Gandhi ended his campaign of civil disobedience. Gandhi and the independence movement attained in exchange an official recognition of their role as speaker for India. As a result, Gandhi was a participant at the next Round Table conference in London. With his willingness to compromise, Lord Irwin had provoked an opponent in the Conservative Party: Winston Churchill. But Churchill’s stubborn policy on India led to an isolation from which only Hitler’s acts of aggression would free him. The time was ripe, then, for the search for a British–Indian consensus (Wolpert 1997: 317 f.). The result of this consensus was the Government of India Act of 1935, a sort of Indian constitution permitted by the authority of the British government (Mishra 2000: 171–182). Under the auspices of this constitution, elections were held in certain regions and representatives were sent to an all-Indian parliament. The viceroy remained completely independent of the parliament in his function as head of the executive branch—he continued to function as the representative of the government in London, subordinate to the directions of the prime minister and his cabinet, particularly the secretary of state for India. The viceroy was supposed to continue carrying out the policies of the governing majority of Parliament in London—and not those of the parliament in New Delhi.

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The Government of India Act was one step toward independence— and the Congress was deeply divided as to whether or not to accept or boycott this half-solution (Burke and Quraishi 1995: 300–330). The solution of the conflict was pragmatic. The reform was rejected as insufficient, but the Congress was supposed to take part in the elections, which it did with considerable results. In most of the provinces with a Hindu majority, it formed the majority either alone or in an alliance with closely associated groups. In Bengal, Punjab, and Sind, however, the Congress remained in the minority—the division into the “two nations” proposed by Jinnah began to coalesce (ibid.: 302). The conflict over whether or not the independence movement should take advantage of the limited possibilities of the reforms of 1935 was solved in 1939—or rather, it yielded to a higher sort of conflict. After the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, the British government assumed that developments in India should be frozen; then any further debate about an expansion of the Government of India Act or the possibility of dominion status or even full sovereignty for India would have to wait—until the end of the war. The policy of the British government saved the Congress from carrying out its internal conflict over participation in the autonomous parliaments and governments. A different conflict took the place of this one: should the Congress, without departing in the least from its demands for independence, maintain a sort of benevolent neutrality or should it place its bets on the defeat of colonialism? Nehru represented the first, Bose the second position. In 1940, a national government took the place of Chamberlain’s conservative government. Admittedly, this shift took place under the man who opposed independence for India in principle, Churchill, but it also included the Labour Party. And their contacts to the Congress would now be used to keep India quiet—until the end of the war. That was the background to Labour Minister Stafford Cripps’s mission in 1942 (Mansergh 1970). Cripps’s negotiations failed because Gandhi and Nehru could not be satisfied with noncommittal promises. During the middle of the war, the British side under Churchill’s influence did not want or could not agree to any binding promises that would have led the way to independence per se. Gandhi and Nehru could not accept these promises because in Berlin, Bose embodied the other option. He called for India to participate in the war against Great Britain on the side of the Axis powers.

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This was the constellation that explains Cripps’s failure and that led Gandhi and the Congress to their “Quit India” campaign—and thus to the revocation of their not unfriendly neutrality vis-à-vis the British war effort. The “Quit India” campaign provoked the British authorities to a wave of repressive actions because, to the British, this campaign constituted rebellion. They were not alone in this judgment. Jinnah, too, called this campaign “open rebellion” and positioned his Muslim League as the partner Britain could count on (Wolpert 1997: 335). Gandhi, Nehru, and the other leaders of the Congress had to go to prison again or were put under house arrest— for the last time. Bose symbolized the alternate strategy that both sides—the British and the Congress—had in mind and that put pressure on both sides. To this extent, Bose was a third party for Cripps to reckon with, after the Congress, whose complex neutrality Cripps sought to eliminate and replace with a more accommodating attitude, and after the Muslim League that suggested itself to the British as a possible partner. In return, the Muslim League demanded the price of partition. Bose, then, was an alternative to these two groups. The British had to take into account the possibility that a significant agreement with Gandhi and Nehru could have an impact on Bose’s slogan of open war on the side of the Axis powers. And it was this consideration that slowed the willingness of Congress to compromise. British politics had collected information on the possibility of an Indian insurrection, supported by the opponents of Great Britain, modeled on the Easter uprising in Ireland in 1916. The secret report prepared for the British government in 1942, Wickeden’s Report, discussed Bose’s indirect influence on Gandhi’s politics. In Nagpur and Calcutta—it was no coincidence, surely, that this was in the Bengali metropolis—followers of Bose’s Forward Bloc (prohibited by the British) would assess the situation as follows: “Mahatma Gandhi is following Subhas Chandra Bose and the Forward Bloc” (Chopra 1976: 70, 253 f.). At the same time, leaders of the Congress used Bose as a possible instrument against the British. If the British withdrew from India, this would prevent an invasion of India by Japan. “Japan would not attack India in the event of British withdrawal and would possibly bring Subhas Chandra Bose to influence M. Gandhi . . . to enter into a treaty with her (Japan—A. P.) and other powers including Britain and adopt a neutral attitude” (Chopra 1976:

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309). India’s independence, according to this argument of the Congress, would remove the British nightmare of a Japanese invasion of India—and thus make Bose’s strategy superfluous. Gandhi and Nehru knew, of course, that Bose’s activities first in Europe and then in Southeast Asia were an influential factor in the relationship between the Congress and the Raj. Officially, Gandhi and Nehru distanced themselves from Bose. In an interview of May 1942, Gandhi stated that India would not by any means view Japan as a potential liberator—and if Bose came to India with Japanese troops, the Congress would have to turn against Bose (Chopra 1976: 221). Eve Curie, who came to India in 1942 as a special war correspondent for the Herald Tribune reported that Nehru, whom she described as a “rabid antifascist” was very irritated by the possibility of an exile government under Bose in Japan (Cure 1943: 427) . Bose’s mere existence as a charismatic leader—who, beginning in 1941 mobilized military forces against the Raj within the realm of the Axis powers—influenced Cripps’s negotiations and, in particular, paralyzed the ability of the Congress to compromise. What resulted from the failure of the British government and the leadership in the Congress to settle on a compromise was “Quit India” and a new wave of repression against the independence movement. Gandhi, Nehru, and the other leaders of the Congress were imprisoned again or placed under house arrest. In Germany, Bose saw this escalation of events as a chance for his strategy of open military confrontation. After the Cripps mission failed, he hoped for open rebellion in India. The End of the Raj The rebellion against British rule did not take place—not even when Bose’s INA laid siege to Imphal, the capital of Manipur, with Japanese troops in 1944. Whether the rebellion would have taken place if Japanese troops and the INA had succeeded in conquering Imphal and penetrating further into India—that was, after all, Bose’s strategic goal in May of 1944—has to remain an open question. Yet, British rule had been weakened to such an extent, in fact, that at the end of the war the British government decided to leave India—to “quit” altogether in the sense of Gandhi’s slogan of 1942. Even before the end of the war, Gandhi, Nehru, and the Congress were no longer prisoners but negotiation partners of the British—a role that

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they, of course, had to share with Jinnah and the Muslim League (Wolpert 1997: 338 f.). The process that the Round Table conferences and the Government of India Act had set in motion and that had been interrupted by the circumstances of the World War now came into full swing. The political decision to allow India independence was a shift in the direction of global politics. It was the first real decolonization in European history. Other examples of withdrawal by colonial rulers in modernity came under different circumstances. They were either concessions to European settlers (the first example was the United States, others—dominions like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa—followed). Or it was a case of a withdrawal from territories whose legal status was not that of a colony—such as the withdrawal of the British from Egypt or the withdrawal of the British and French from the mandates of the Near East (Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and finally, Palestine). Other withdrawal maneuvers of European colonialism after 1945 were accompanied by war—the withdrawal of the Netherlands from Indonesia and the withdrawal of France from Indochina. The British withdrawal from India was of a different sort altogether. The British withdrew from India without being forced to do so by a long, drawn-out war that could not have been won. But they also withdrew, of course, in order not to reach that point. The following preceded the withdrawal of the British: z

z

z

z

The worldwide political trend before and during the Second World War signaled the end of the material requirements for European colonialism. Although it was one of the victorious powers, Great Britain’s position in 1945 was weakened in comparison to 1939, as was that of France. The paternalistic philosophy of colonialism (Kipling’s “white man’s burden”) had outlived its use, not least under the influence of the attractive anti-colonial slogans of Japan—the first non-white world power of modern times. The egalitarian philosophy on which the United Nations was based could not be as easily reversed as had been the case during the time of the League of Nations. After all, the Allies had also fought for the liberation of Ethiopia from Italian colonialism. Public opinion in the Western democracies, influenced by new media (radio, weekly newscasts) became more and more critical vis-à-vis the contradiction between the claim to democracy made

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by their governments (e.g., vis-à-vis the Axis powers) and the reality of colonialism. The election success of the Labour Party accelerated a process that would otherwise have been unavoidable even without this success. Attlee’s government had made a firm decision to withdraw from India—motivated by the insight into the weakness of the British position but also by its own socialist tradition.

These conditions were influenced in general terms by the Indian independence movement—and specifically by the personality of Mahatma Gandhi. The Indian independence movement had gained partial successes even before the Second World War; the Government of India Act in 1935 was a compromise negotiated at the Round Table that accorded India a democratic partial autonomy—not full independence, but also not the semi-sovereign status of a dominion. Yet it was clear what direction developments were pointing to. This partial autonomy was not the end; it was the beginning of British concessions. The Second World War had interrupted this development. As the governing party, the Labour Party—unimpeded by Winston Churchill’s imperialism—could now do what it had really wanted to do earlier. Attlee knew he was in agreement with the United States: Roosevelt had tried several times before 1945 to bring Churchill to a more flexible policy on India. But the United States accepted the fact that for the imperialist Churchill, Indian independence was a taboo. The United States also had to accept Churchill’s insistence that the matter of India was an internal affair of the Empire (Stafford 1999: 206–221). Churchill was now opposition leader and Attlee knew that his policy of an almost unconditional withdrawal from India had the full sympathy of the United States. The Cold War had not yet relativized the anti-colonial instincts of the United States—and there was not yet a Joseph McCarthy in the Senate accusing Gandhi or Nehru of being a Communist sympathizer. The British government was acting not only in its own interest but also in accordance with a global political constellation. In 1946, a Constituent Assembly was elected in all of India. This election already represented the Indian dilemma that the British had not invented but that they had always used as an instrument of rule: just as with the earlier elections of 1937 that took place under the

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auspices of the Government of India Act, the Indian electorate was chosen according to specific categories of fragmentation. Thus, for example, certain seats were reserved for the principalities. But it was of much greater significance for this dilemma that the seventy-four representatives of the Muslim League boycotted the meeting. The majority reached by the Congress was overwhelming due to this— but Jinnah and his party had brought their veto power against a solution that was based not on consensus but on the principle of majority rule (Mishra 2000: 182–185). The British government saw itself forced to negotiate the modality of the transfer of power not with “India,” but with one India represented by Congress and with another India represented by the Muslim League. The Labour government had two options: z

z

To grant India independence as quickly as possible, as long as the team of Gandhi and Nehru were able to represent India. Given such a rapid solution, taking into account the decisive concession to the Muslim League would be unavoidable: Pakistan and thus the partition of British India. In Gandhi, the British had a partner for negotiations whose mystical effect on the British and worldwide public carried massive weight; and in Nehru they had a partner whose thinking was very close to that of the Labour Party (Wolpert 2000: 264–268; Wolpert 1996: 188–200). To delay independence and thus be confronted with a movement in the tradition of the INA and Bose that was not only prepared for violence but that would carry it out. The willingness of the independence movement as represented by Gandhi and Nehru to integrate the INA tradition and the increasing difficulty of maintaining discipline over the Indian troops under British command were clear signals (Fay 1993: 439–526).

The British had the choice between a rapid withdrawal or the delay of this withdrawal. The first option had two advantages—minimizing the cost and a consensus with the representatives of the independence movement that was used to thinking in categories familiar to the Labour government, and one disadvantage—partition. The costs of partition would no longer have to be paid by the British, of course. In contrast, the second option would have only had disadvantages for the British, along with the fact that the Mahatma’s star and Nehru’s predictability might have lost some of their brilliance to a “Netaji” of Bose’s style.

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In this way, Bose had a substantial if indirect influence on the decisions—even, or especially, after his death. He served as the “greater evil.” His image made it clear that the Indian masses could also make their presence known in other than nonviolent ways. Gandhi and Nehru had cleverly reintegrated Bose into the hall of fame of the Congress. In so doing, they could exert pressure on the British—and the solutions they could agree on suddenly seemed a “lesser evil” to the British (Sen 1997: 173–185). Yet the British had access to a threatening gesture connected to one name: Jinnah. The secular Muslim had now become the only really relevant rival of the Congress. He and his Muslim League contradicted the claim of the Congress that it spoke for all of India. The British had brought Jinnah into the game long before the Second World War—in order to reign in Indian nationalism with the policy of “divide and conquer.” But Jinnah was, of course, more than an invention on the part of British techniques of ruling India. He articulated the most politically explosive line of conflict of Indian society, the opposition between Hindus and Muslims (Wolpert 1984). Between the years 1939 and 1945, Jinnah had acted in a manner seen as pro-British. He had made himself useful and he could no longer be ignored. The negotiations that preceded independence— between 1945 and 1947—were thus not bilateral but trilateral. Three, not simply two sets of interests had to be accommodated. The result of this trilateralism was the partition of British India. From the point of view of Indian nationalism, this was the greatest failure of the Congress. The partition of India along religious lines constituted a decisive blow to Indian identity as understood by the Congress. It was a contradiction to the notion of India as a nation of heterogeneity, particularly in the domain of religion. And the fact that the partition was accompanied by a gigantic wave of violence and huge numbers of murders must surely have deepened the feeling of failure. The transitional government that was installed on October 26, 1946 was still a coalition government comprised of representatives of the Congress and the Muslim League. But this government, whose most prominent members came from the Congress (Jawaharlal Nehru as Foreign and Commonwealth Minister, Vallabhbai Patel as Minister of the Interior and the Dalit Jagivan Ram as Labour Minister) and whose most important minister, the Minister of Finance, Liaquat Ali

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Khan, was from the Muslim League—did not speak with one voice to their British counterparts in the negotiations. The negotiations did not yield results not because the British did not want to grant India independence but because India spoke with two voices. The civil unrest, particularly in Punjab, increasingly became a burden to Nehru and the Congress and in March 1947 the Congress accepted de facto the partition. Gandhi had distanced himself from this decision-making process (Burke and Quraishi 1995: 460–482). The decision to pay the price of partition for independence was a burden, particularly to Nehru and Gandhi, albeit in different forms. In 1946, Nehru had been reelected president of the Congress. While Gandhi remained in his role as Mahatma and, as spiritual leader of the independence movement, kept his distance from concrete decisions, Nehru could not afford this distance. Nehru had to decide between two evils: to accept independence now and pay the price of partition or to delay independence and risk that a British government weary of the “white man’s burden” would simply turn its back and accept what it accepted one year later in Palestine: war. In India’s case this would likely mean civil war between the Hindus and Muslims. And there was indeed a foreshadowing of civil war. On August 16, 1946 the killing began in Calcutta: Muslims murdered Hindus and Hindus murdered Muslims. Within the space of a few days some ten thousand people were killed in Bengal (Wolpert 1996: 372 f.). Elsewhere—for instance, in Punjab—the situation was not much different. These were the circumstances surrounding the decision facing Nehru and the Congress. And this explains Nehru’s agreement to the partition. This did not mean an end of the violence between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. Rather, the partition itself brought the climax of anarchic mass murder in connection with expulsion and the fleeing of millions. The partition turned a domestic social conflict into a conflict between two nations. Gandhi experienced the hour of Indian independence—midnight of August 15, 1947—not in New Delhi, where Nehru announced the birth of the Indian state; and not in Karachi, where Jinnah shared his dream of Pakistan with the world. Gandhi was in Calcutta—in order to stem the tide of violence between Hindus and Muslims by his mere presence (Wolpert 2001: 7–12). It is likely he signed his own death warrant in doing so. For the fundamentalist Hindus, whose idea of India was just as far from Gandhi’s notion of India as Jinnah’s idea of Pakistan, the Mahatma was a traitor. And several months

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later, Gandhi became a victim of this other India—the India that was not his. This other India was also not the India of Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose had always been against the notion of partition, that is, against Jinnah’s Pakistan. But Bose had also spoken out against the thought of a Hindu India. Bose’s secularism was on a par with that of Gandhi and Nehru. But Bose’s death spared him the decision that Nehru could not avoid. Bose was dead—but Nehru lived and had to choose between two evils. Since his decision for one of the two would necessarily constitute an evil, the myth of Bose could be used as a chief attraction for all of those for whom partition was an evil. The myth of Bose became a protest against the pragmatism of Nehru. Presumably the most important critic in this vein, who invoked Bose, was Sarat Chandra Bose, Subhas’s older brother. Sarat Bose was under British arrest from December 1941 to September 1945. He was imprisoned earlier than Gandhi and Nehru and remained so longer than they did. His radicalism, similar to that of his brother, seemed particularly dangerous to the British authorities. His name and his political and personal proximity to his brother may have made the British more aware of him than they would otherwise have been. In January of 1946, Sarat Bose was elected leader of the Congress faction in the central Legislative Assembly, a sort of preliminary version of the Indian Parliament and in July of 1946 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly. Sarat Bose became a critical voice—against the partition of India—particularly against the partition of Bengal. As a protest against the policies of Nehru and the majority in the leadership of the Congress, he resigned from his offices in the Congress in January of 1947, called for the founding of a new party in the tradition of Subhas Chandra Bose, and started a campaign for an undivided, independent Bengal. The specifically Bengali roots of Sarat and also Subhas Chandra Bose were evident in these actions. After the independence of India and Pakistan—and thus the failure of the plans for an undivided, independent Bengal— Sarat Bose founded a separate party, the Socialist Republican Party, which continued in the vein of his brother’s Forward Bloc. Up until his (premature) death in 1950, Sarat Bose argued against the partition of India, invoking Subhas. His—posthumous—book with the title I Warned My Countrymen carries the following dedication: “To the People of India and Pakistan” (Bose, S.C. 1968; Gordon 1990: 548–612).

5 Interlude in Vienna On March 6, 1933 Subhas Chandra Bose reached Venice. His nephew Asoke Bose was expecting him. He traveled with the latter to Vienna. Bose viewed himself as the ambassador of the Indian independence movement. For him, Vienna was the city he had traveled to for medical reasons—to cure a lung ailment. Vienna would become his command post and political headquarters for the next several years (Gordon 1990: 269 f.). Vienna also became the city in which he wrote a book, The Indian Struggle. With this book, which he was later to expand during World War II (when he had already openly joined the side of the Axis powers), he wanted to present to a broad audience his program for India; his understanding of politics; his “doctrine” (Bose 1997). But Vienna also became the city of personal fulfillment. A Viennese woman named Emilie Schenkl became his companion, his wife, and the mother of their daughter. For Bose, Vienna was a political headquarters. In 1933 he traveled from Vienna to Czechoslovakia, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Germany again, France, and Italy. In 1934 his activities led him once again to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, then Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia—and again to Czechoslovakia (Gordon 1990: 273 f., 289). After a gall bladder operation in Vienna, he returned to Calcutta. His father was gravely ill and died. He spent late 1934 and early 1935 in India—but the pressure from the British authorities, who wanted him out of the country, was great. We can also assume that other motives (such as Emilie Schenkl) in addition to the desire for the freedom to be politically active—and this was possible in Europe, in Vienna—led him to return to Austria. On the way from Naples, where he arrived by ship from India on January 20, 1935, 81

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he stopped in Rome and met Benito Mussolini—this was already their second meeting. He gave the dictator a copy of his book, The Indian Struggle, which had just been published. He returned—again—to Vienna via Switzerland (Gordon 1990: 293–295). In Vienna he was something of an unofficial messenger for the Indian independence movement. From Vienna, he traveled across Europe in 1935 and 1936—to Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Ireland. His intensive correspondence demonstrates his political mission (Bose 1994, Vol. 8). In 1936 he returned to India, where he played an increasingly greater role in the politics of the National Congress, despite recurrent health problems. But by 1937 he was back in Vienna. With Gandhi’s agreement, he was designated to become the next president of the Indian National Congress, to be elected in early 1938. In Badgastein, in the Alps, he worked on his autobiography, An Indian Pilgrim, with Emilie Schenkl’s help (Bose 1967). Before being elected president of the Congress, he traveled from Austria to London. During the years of his European activities, the British government had purposely kept Bose out of Great Britain. But in January of 1938, he was welcome. The British government did not want to deny entrance to the country to the new president of the Association for the Indian Independence Movement. Many British politicians also wanted to meet him in person—the man who had openly criticized the Mahatma—and who now, with the Mahatma’s blessing, was to become a key figure in the Congress. In London he also met Eamon de Valera, who was in the process of negotiating further steps in the separation of Ireland from Britain. From Prague, where he met President Benes, and Naples—there is no evidence for a further meeting with Mussolini at this time—he returned to Calcutta. He arrived there on January 24, 1938—prepared to accept the presidency of the National Congress. His years as messenger were over (Gordon 1990, 346–349). The available sources do not give clear indication of the way in which Bose financed his stay in Vienna or his travels throughout Europe. He lived modestly and always took care to choose the least expensive mode of travel, as can be seen from a letter to a young Indian doctor in Vienna, Santosh Kumar Sen (Bose 1994, Vol. 8, 146 f.). But Bose mentions financial aspects only infrequently in his correspondence. Certainly, his publications ensured him a certain amount of income—his book, The Indian Struggle, which

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soon appeared in a second edition, more so than the articles published largely in Indian newspapers and magazines. To a certain extent, support from the Bose family may have financed his years in Europe—Janaki Nath Bose, Subhas Chandra’s father, was apparently a wealthy man (Gordon 1990: 291). The Attentive British, the Disinterested Austrians Vienna was, first of all, the city where Bose wanted to regain his health. His health improved, even if he continued to experience certain symptoms (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 12, 42, 44). But soon a woman bound Bose to Vienna: Emilie Schenkl (Bose 1994: Vol. 7). And Vienna had a further advantage: it was apparently ideally suited to political activities. To be sure, Bose’s political élan did not go unnoticed in Vienna, but it went largely unhindered. As the former capital of a continental power with no tradition of colonialism, Vienna hardly had much in common with India. Austria had no real interests in India. The presence of an Indian nationalist, whom the British secret service did not want to lose sight of, was hardly of concern for Austria. Naturally, Great Britain tried to exert pressure on Austria not to expel Bose from Austria. In 1933 and thereafter, the British government likely preferred to see the radical leader of the Left wing of Congress in Vienna rather than Calcutta. However, the small country of Austria should nevertheless be aware that the superpower of Great Britain was highly interested in Bose. There are files in the Austrian State Archives in Vienna that reflect this interest. A certain pattern is revealed in them: the British secret service demanded that the Austrian authorities try to hinder Bose’s political activities, that they at least place him under surveillance. For example, the Federal Police Headquarters in Vienna announced in a memorandum of May 2, 1934, directed to the Office of the State Police, at the General Headquarters for Public Security in the Office of the Federal Chancellery, that “Subhas Chandra Bose . . . traveled to Rome on April 17, 1934 and from there, returned to Vienna on April 30, 1934.” And the Federal Police Headquarters added: It is hereby noted that several days ago the information officer Captain Kendrick of the Royal Great British [sic!] passport control gathered information on, among other matters, whether Subhas Chandra Bose had any connections to the “Board of Trustees for Austrian-International student clubs.” At this time, Captain Kendrick supplied the Federal Police Headquarters with a translation of the following confidential information about Bose: He had been incarcerated numerous times in India due to his revolutionary

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This piece of writing closes with inimitable officialese: “On this matter the Federal Police Headquarters has the honor to report that with this enclosure, it will devote the necessary attention to the activities of Subhas Chandra Bose during his stay in Vienna and, if it becomes necessary, will carry out the appropriate measures” (Austrian State Archive: File Nr. Pr.Z.IV-2053/1/34). The British information officer Kendrick was stubborn. At his interview with the Austrian police, he handed over “confidential information about Bose in translation.” In this information provided by the British secret service, which is enclosed in the above-mentioned file (“Confidential!!!”), Bose’s resume is marked with several caveats: Bose is “an irreconcilable enemy of the British regime in India;” in 1922 he was said to have “connections to Communist agents abroad;” and he was said to have demonstrated a “tendency toward Communist ideology” (ibid.). The Federal Police Headquarters in Vienna sent to the Office of Foreign Affairs at the Federal Chancellery “a translation of a speech given in English by Subhas Chandra Bose on May 3, 1934 in the auditorium of the ‘Austrian-International Student Club’ in Vienna, District 1, Schottengasse #7.” This translation, dated August 27, 1934 (“strictly confidential!”), carried the added remark “that Captain Thomas J. Kendrick of the Royal Great British passport control in Vienna was also informed about his petition regarding this matter” (Austrian State Archive: File Nr. Pr.Z1.IV-2053/34). The Austrian police thus delivered papers to the British secret service regarding Bose’s activities in Austria. But, even under the authoritarian corporatism that then characterized Austrian government, the position of the authorities continued to be one of disinterest visà-vis this revolutionary with “Communist tendencies.” It was typical of the attitude on the part of the Austrian government that Bose was said, for the most part, to have connections with the activities of foreign students’ clubs. The low degree of interest Austria had in Bose and the intensity of Great Britain’s interest in Bose’s activities in Vienna are also typical of this attitude. When the Prince of Wales visited Vienna in 1935, the Office of the Federal Police Headquarters announced in a memorandum of March 3, 1935 to the Office of the State Police at the General Headquarters for Public Security in

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the Office of the Federal Chancellery that “some Indians, whose enmity toward England is well known, were under police surveillance.” In addition to two students, this piece of writing expressly mentions Subhas Chandra Bose, who is listed as a former mayor of Calcutta. Bose had filed two petitions to complain about this surveillance. The report by the Federal Police Headquarters in Vienna reports on Bose: “He was then called into Police Headquarters and enlightened in the appropriate manner” (Austrian State Archive: File Nr. Pr.Z.IV-2196/35). We can only guess at what this enlightenment “in the appropriate manner” might have included; we can also assume that Bose was not too intimidated by it. But the cooperation with the British secret service continued. In an “official notice” of October 20, 1935, the Federal Chancellery reported that the British Consul General Taylor had made a petition to the Federal Police Headquarters in Vienna to keep him informed as to whether Bose remained in Austria: “Supposedly Bose traveled at the end of June . . . to Gastein. The security director for the state of Salzburg . . . reported . . . that Subhard (sic!) Chandra Bose was staying at the Hotel Hampel’s Erben in Hofgastein and would likely remain there until the end of the month. . . . After consultation . . . the Federal Police Headquarters in Vienna was informed by telephone about the result of the inquiry and was told to notify the English Consul General in an appropriate manner” (Austrian State Archive: File Nr. of the official notice 366.174/35). The statement of January 6, 1936 from the Federal Police Headquarters in Vienna to the Office of the State Police at the General Headquarters for Public Security in the Federal Chancellery is marked “strictly confidential!” This mark clearly relates to the international dimension of the police file: The Royal British Consul Taylor appeared at the Federal Police Headquarters on January 3, 1936 in order to inform himself about the two associations in Vienna, namely, “The Hindustan Academical Association of Vienna” and the “Indian Central European Society.” In this regard, Consul Taylor noted that the former mayor of Calcutta, Subhas Chandra Bose, played a role in these two associations. Said Bose had already, as noted by this office, spent as much as eight years in prison in India for revolutionary activities and was only set free because he claimed to need medical treatment in Europe. Consul Taylor noted confidentially in this regard that Bose would likely have to face renewed incarceration, were he to return to India. (Austrian State Archive: File Nr. of the statement Pr.ZI.IV-701/36)

The Austrian government really had no reason to hinder Bose’s activities in any serious way. For these activities made use of Vienna

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as a command post—but they were by no means directed toward Austria. And the international consequences were not very friendly toward Great Britain. Austria’s most important international political partner at this time—Fascist Italy—was not disturbed in the least by Bose’s revolutionary machinations. On the contrary, Bose’s travels, which took him from Vienna all across Europe, led him repeatedly to Italy. He was a welcome guest of Mussolini, in contrast to his reception with Hitler. And that was an additional reason for the governments of Dollfuss and Schuschnigg to leave Bose essentially to his own devices. Vienna—The Epicenter of Europe The Vienna in which Bose arrived in 1933 was the epicenter of European development. With the elimination of the National Council one day before Bose’s arrival in Vienna, the Austrian government had started down a path that led away from the constitution of 1920, democracy, and the rule of law. This path would culminate in the corporatism that was announced on May 1, 1934 “in the name of God the Almighty” (Gulick 1948). The path from Dollfuss’s Catholic, conservative government to the dictatorship of a clerical semiFascism supported largely by Fascist Italy was closely connected to the entirety of political development in Europe. Adolf Hitler had been named chancellor of the Reich on January 30, 1933, and in March—in accordance with the special absolute powers the National Socialist chancellor had had bestowed upon his office following the burning of the Reichstag—the path to dictatorship was laid. A dictatorship whose totalitarian character was made clear by the Enabling Act (“Ermächtigungsgesetz”) and the process by which GermanJewish citizens were systematically stripped of their rights. Everywhere in Europe, democracy seemed to be in retreat. By 1938 there were only two functioning democracies that remained in Central Europe: Czechoslovakia and Switzerland. Through his travels across Europe, Bose experienced in a particularly intensive manner the rise of antidemocratic systems. His tendency to view the future of India, too, as a symbiosis of Fascism and Communism surely had something to do with this experience. The attraction of liberal democracy seemed meager to him, especially since the most prominent country of this democracy, next to France, was the Great Britain he struggled against so fiercely.

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Bose did not only experience the fall of Austrian democracy. Wherever he traveled, liberal democracy in central and eastern Europe— this victorious concept of 1918—seemed to be at an end. Central and eastern Europe were determined by the Dollfuss’s, the Horthy’s, and the Pilsudski’s. In Yugoslavia the “Royal Dictatorship” began. In Romania and elsewhere Fascist movements were on the rise— often promoted by the traditional powers of reaction. Italy’s Fascist dictatorship was a model—and Mussolini was all too often the one who was pulling the strings behind the antidemocratic tendencies. However, he was soon to receive competition from Germany for his role as “puppeteer”: In July 1934, Vienna and Austria as a whole experienced the open conflict between the two brands of Fascism. The powers promoted by National Socialist Germany brought a coup against Dollfuss. The coup failed, but Dollfuss, who had been held in power by Mussolini, was shot to death by the leaders of the coup. The decision brought about a demonstration of power on the part of the Italian army on the Austrian border and Hitler dropped the leaders of the coup. He was still the weaker in the competition between the two types of Fascism—still Austrian semi-Fascism was safe— still. Bose experienced all of this almost directly: a politics that bet everything on direct violence and military strength. And when National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy —now partners—supported the military coup against the Spanish government in the summer of 1936, (which provoked only mild reaction from Western democracies), this had to solidify Bose’s idea: the future could not be represented by the Messrs. Blum and Baldwin, Daladier and Chamberlain. The future was Mussolini and Stalin; and perhaps—in spite of his reservations regarding the day-to-day racism of the NS regime— Hitler as well, after all. In 1934, at the end of the first edition of his Indian Struggle, following a harsh criticism of Nehru’s anti-Fascist credo, he wrote, “Considering everything, one is inclined to hold that the next phase in world-history will produce a synthesis between Communism and Fascism” (Bose 1997: 351). Bose would not be able to let go of this perspective of a convergence of the two anti-liberal, antidemocratic systems. It accompanied him when he traveled to Berlin via Moscow in early 1941—while accepting the durability of the pact between Hitler and Stalin. It was something of a state doctrine for his exile government, a view he was also to hold in his speeches in

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Tokyo. In his speech at the University of Tokyo in November of 1944, he would also go so far as to substitute National Socialism for Fascism—, which was very uncharacteristic for Bose at first: “our political philosophy should be the synthesis between National Socialism and Communism” (Bose 1997 (2), 323). However one interprets this “synthesis,” a formulation which appears repeatedly in Bose’s writings and speeches (Bose M. 1982: 102–104), and which draws on Hegel’s notion of “synthesis” in the framework of his dialectics—and whatever motives might be lurking behind the new semantics that crop up in 1944 (National Socialism in lieu of Fascism)—they demonstrate the strong influence the developments in Europe had on Bose, as he experienced them in Vienna itself and from his position within Vienna. They also demonstrate that the attempt to place Bose within the usual Eurocentric spectrum of political thought is not a simple undertaking—except for the fact that he remained unconvinced of the power and the significance of liberal democracy (in sharp contrast to Nehru, in particular). The years spent in Vienna and Europe allowed Bose to create an international reputation for himself. From Vienna he traveled to most of the countries of Europe. Bose made use of the network of Indians living in Europe—particularly students at European universities. For everyone in Europe who was interested in modern India, Bose became the representative of a young generation of the Indian independence movement; a generation which had to provide the successors to the already legendary Mahatma. The British government followed Bose’s activities closely. It is likely that most of Bose’s steps were known to the British secret service. The anti-British forces saw him as someone who could still be of use—above all, Benito Mussolini, who received him just as did Eamon de Valera. Bose also worked on his image with an eye to his future career plans in India. He solidified his reputation as an important representative of the “Leftist” wing in the National Congress—the wing with which Nehru, too, was aligned. Bose was a “Leftist” because he joined socialist ideas and the refusal to compromise on the one hand, with the struggle for independence on the other. In his years in Vienna, he cultivated an image for himself as a leading member of the opposition in the National Congress—against the willingness to compromise with the colonial powers and against the dominant role played by Mahatma Gandhi.

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In 1933 the proceedings of the Round Table Conference had yielded results that were then summarized in the “White Paper” of March 1933. This became the basis for the “Government of India Act” of 1935, which constituted a limitation of the autonomy of Indian states within the framework of a federation still to be governed by Great Britain (Burke and Quraishi 1995: 297–333). The question surrounding the extent to which the National Congress should take part in elections to parliament and should thus confer legitimacy on the compromise that lay far behind the goals of the National Congress led to tremendous tensions within the Congress. From the outset, Bose consistently took a position directed against any sort of compromise. As early as 1934, for the first edition of his Indian Struggle, he formulated his defiant position—taking pains to point out the veto power of the British government, as laid out in the “White Paper” and as represented by the secretary of state for India regarding all decisions arrived at through the autonomy of the Federal Parliament (Bose 1997a, 323–326). The Challenge to the Father of Them All The Indian Struggle, the product of his first stay in Vienna, became the programmatic motif for those who opposed a flexible politics that also included the possibility of compromise with the British government. The intensification of his anti-British position was destined to bring Bose into conflict with the man who was able to withdraw himself from designations such as “Right” and “Left” wing, pragmatism and dogmatism: Mahatma Gandhi. In his book, Bose found his way to a very nuanced position vis-àvis Gandhi—beginning with an unlimited respect for Gandhi’s concept of a single, inclusive, secular India: His (Gandhi’s—A.P.) policy was one of unification. He wanted to unite Hindu and Moslem; the high caste and the low caste; the capitalist and the labourer; the landlord and the peasant. By this humanitarian outlook and his freedom from hatred, he was able to rouse sympathy even in his enemy’s camp.

But still, the question remained: Why has the Mahatma failed to liberate India? He has failed . . . because while he understood the character of his own people—he has not understood the character of his opponents. The logic of the Mahatma is not the logic which appeals to John Bull. (Bose 1997a: 329)

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In other words, for the first phase of the struggle for Indian liberation, Gandhi was the ideal, the perfect leader, one who was able to establish a national consensus across all fault lines of India. But Gandhi had now become—according to Bose, who ascribed this view to the British—a de facto element of the status quo: “the best policeman the Britisher had in India” (Bose 1997a: 219). To overcome this status quo, a different concept and a different personality was needed. Gandhi was no longer the right leader for the second phase of the struggle against colonial rule. Bose saw him as too soft, almost too naïve in the confrontation with “John Bull,” the British colonial power. It is clear whom Bose did see as the right leader for this next phase, for the direct conflict with the British. He prepared for this role in Vienna and across Europe. He wanted to be a different opponent for the British than the Mahatma. Bose knew—or thought he knew—what logic and what language the colonial rulers would understand. “If . . . the Mahatma had spoken in the language of Dictator Stalin, or Il Duce Mussolini or Fuehrer Hitler—John Bull would have understood and would have bowed his head in respect” (Bose 1997a: 254). The role for which Bose prepared would be modeled on the example of the dictators. Bose’s notion of the British democracy’s capacity for resistance, which, for him, signified primarily the rule over India, was already set down in Vienna. Gandhi’s path of nonviolence demanded no respect from “John Bull,” but the threat of the dictators did. This calculation would lead Bose to the false belief years later that the cause of the Western powers against the resolute dictators was lost; that it thus made sense to ally the forces of free India to the side whose victory seemed more likely. Gandhi’s time—according to Bose in Vienna—was up. Now was the time for the resolute fighters, and their models were to be found in Moscow and Rome and Berlin. The Indian nationalist found his models in Europe, and aside from de Valera, his models were the dictators. Not that Bose had shown himself in Vienna to be an adherent of a totalitarian political system. He judged Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler with respect to their effect on Western democracies. Bose anticipated the British–French politics of appeasement. The West would prove itself to be yielding in the face of the pressure presented by a Realpolitik that was supported by threatening gestures of a military nature. Bose placed himself in the position of the British govern-

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ment and the British establishment: for these institutions, Gandhi was a “frail man in loinclothes,” in Bose’s view (Bose 1997a: 254). One almost gets the impression that he was ashamed of Gandhi’s appearance. As early as May 1933, that is, two months after his arrival in Vienna, Bose, along with Vithalbhai Patel, had published the “BosePatel Manifesto,” which was an open challenge to Mahatma Gandhi. Patel had been in Europe for a while already, particularly in Switzerland. He had good contacts at his disposal, in particular with the radical Irish Republicans who had adamantly rejected the compromise that one part of Sinn Fein had made with the British government in 1922. The Indian-Irish League also resulted from these activities on Patel’s part, on which Bose was now able to build. Unfortunately, Patel died soon after the manifesto was published (Gordon 1990: 270–273). In their manifesto, Bose and Patel declared: We are clearly of the opinion that as a political leader Mahatma Gandhi has failed. The time has therefore come for a radical organisation of the Congress on a new principle and with a new method. For bringing about this reorganisation a change of leadership is necessary. (Gordon 1990: 271)

Bose also attempted to direct against Gandhi the attention of the international public, which was of great interest to him. In April 1935 he visited Romain Rolland in Geneva. Rolland, known to be a pacifist, was said to be a theoretical “fellow traveler” of Gandhi’s. In an article published in Calcutta, Bose reported that in a conversation with Rolland he discovered that he did not, as it turned out, support Gandhi at all: He (Rolland—A.P.) would be sorry, if Satyagraha (Gandhi’s method of nonviolent resistance—A.P.) failed. But if it really did, the hard facts of life would have to be faced and he (Rolland—A.P.) would like to see the movement conducted on other lines. (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 305)

The manifesto and the instrumentalization of Rolland combined to sound like a break—in fact, a final break between Gandhi and Bose. But what sounded like this was actually the beginning of Bose’s rise to the presidency of the Congress. Gandhi and the center, the mainstream of Congress, reacted to this challenge not with exclusionary tactics or disciplinary measures. Instead, Gandhi and the rest of the Congress reacted with embraces. Bose was sought after now, more than ever—by Gandhi, Nehru, and others. And this strategy of inte-

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grating opposites culminated in the election of Bose to the presidency of the independence movement, with the support of Gandhi. Bose had acted functionally and in a take-charge manner. He had challenged Gandhi and brought himself into a position of opposition. In this way, his image grew—as a speaker for those people who remained mystified by Gandhi’s stubborn adherence to his principle of nonviolence and for whom the mere willingness to take part in “Round Table” talks was a barely tolerable compromise. Gandhi had also reacted functionally and in a take-charge manner. The opposition was to be integrated. In this way, he secured for himself a broad spectrum of the Congress—almost all relevant voices in the independence movement remained in Congress; even the voice of the radical young Turk Bose. Gandhi succeeded in this in 1938. The ultimate failure of the integration—as president of Congress Bose withdrew himself from Gandhi’s subtle direction—led to the disposal of and segregation of Bose from the center and thus from the leadership of the Congress. But even after that, the signs of respect and allegiance were not to end. Already a declared partner of the Axis powers, Bose directed a radio address to India on October 2, 1943, speaking from Bangkok on the occasion of Gandhi’s seventy-fifth birthday: “This day, all Indians all over the world are celebrating the 75th birthday anniversary of their greatest leader, Mahatma Gandhi” (Bose 1946: 1). And after having placed Gandhi among the ranks of Mazzini and Garibaldi and Ireland’s Sinn Fein Party, Bose stated: “Mahatma Gandhi has firmly planted our feet on the straight road to liberty. He and other leaders are now rotting behind prison bars. The task that Mahatma Gandhi began has, therefore, to be accomplished by his countrymen—at home and abroad” (Bose 1946: 8). There it is—the claim of the pretender: in spite of all conflicts, Bose shows reverence to the father of them all (Übervater). But the political intention is clear: Bose tried to portray himself as Gandhi’s successor. The fact that Gandhi, who—as Bose claimed in 1933— failed as a leader was, after all, ten years later the greatest of all Indian leaders, is a contradiction only on the surface. Through his alliance with the Axis powers Bose had emancipated himself forever from Gandhi’s path. Now he could lay claim to the throne of “the greatest of Indian leaders.” But this flexibility did not apply only to Bose. Gandhi also took advantage of it. In spite of the conflict between the two, which was

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public beginning in 1933, Gandhi also continued to deliver compliments to his rival. For Gandhi, Bose remained “a patriot of the patriots” (Guha 1986: 105). A few days before Gandhi’s death, the Mahatma honored the Netaji: “Subhas Chandra Bose was tolerant of all religions and consequently he won the hearts of all men and women of his country. He accomplished what he had set his heart on. We should call to mind his virtues and practise them in our lives” (Guha 1986: 21). Gandhi underscored what he and Bose had in common: secularism, and thus the opposition against the idea of Pakistan, against Jinnah’s concept of two nations, but also against those who, shortly thereafter, would murder Gandhi. These were the Hindu fundamentalists, who fought Gandhi and Bose’s praise of India’s diversity and who wanted to see it supplanted by their notion of simplicity. Gandhi’s murderers could not, in any case, appeal to Bose. Bose’s praise of Gandhi and Gandhi’s of Bose functioned, of course, as letters of reference after 1941, after Bose, as president of the Congress, had already lost the real, not only the verbal, power struggle against Gandhi. At a time, therefore, when the two were so far removed from one another they could praise each other—without endangering their own claims to power. The actual dispute between the messianic prophet and the armed rebel took place after Bose’s stay in Vienna, but before his escape to Berlin. In Vienna, Bose announced his rebellion. The rebellion itself was on the agenda after the years in Vienna, but before Bose’s years in Berlin. After the paths of these two very different charismatics had diverged, as soon as Bose had escaped India for Europe, the mutual exchange of praise and recognition was without immediate consequence—and was therefore, relatively freely distributed. Bose’s praise of Gandhi and Gandhi’s praise of Bose was part of the political strategy of two politicians who wanted to establish independent India as inclusive, not exclusive. Yet, what a difference in the way they chose to deal with one another; what a way to carry out political conflict! During the phase in which Mussolini approved the execution of his son-in-law Ciano; in which Stalin chased his arch enemy Trotzki all the way to Mexico and had him murdered there; in which Hitler (somewhat earlier) had ordered the shooting death of his close friend Röhm; and in which (somewhat later) Mao was to set in motion the destruction of his closest fellow travelers—in this period of history, Gandhi and Bose set each other a different example. It was not that of political inno-

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cence or moralizing naiveté, but rather an example of civilized political tactics. In Vienna, Bose positioned himself against Gandhi, but not only in a strategic sense. He also questioned, theoretically, Gandhi’s claim that the Indian struggle for liberation was a movement of a particular and ultimately unique nature. Even at the start of his—first— European phase, Bose laid claim to a normalcy oriented toward the European example. The fact that Bose praised Gandhi with the comparison to the Italian and Irish nationalists, who were more foreign to Gandhi than anything else was, demonstrates that in questions of means, Bose was really a European and Gandhi was the representative of an Indian special path. With his doctrine of nonviolence, Gandhi wanted to give the world an example. For India’s independence, Bose wanted to take the world as his example. Bose and the European Left The Vienna that Bose entered in 1933 was—still—the “red” Vienna. To be sure, Austrian Social Democracy had had to accept a decisive defeat against the rising semi-Fascism of Dollfuss’s conservative Catholic government in March of 1933, but the city of Vienna was still—until February 1934—governed by the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Austria. This party had created a model of socialist and democratic communal administration in the Austrian capital. The social housing program in particular became a widely admired model (Rabinbach 1983). Bose was very conscious of the socialist character of Viennese communal politics. In a letter of May 11, 1933, he gave the mayor of Calcutta, Santosh Kumar Basu (his successor), a report of his visit with the Social Democractic mayor of Vienna, Karl Seitz: I told the Buergermeister Seitz of Vienna the programme of our first Mayor, which was in reality a socialist programme. And outside of Russia, Vienna is the most important socialist community in the whole of Europe. (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 11)

Bose understood his meeting with Seitz to be the meeting of two socialists. The fact that he named the difference between the democratic variants of socialism—that of the Austrian social democracy and that of the Stalinist Soviet Union—in one breath and did not differentiate any further underscores Bose’s lack of interest in the process of liberal democracy. Socialism was the Left wing of the Congress

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and—later—Bose’s “Forward Bloc.” Socialism was also the dictatorships of Lenin and Stalin, as well as the parliamentarianism of the British Labour Party and Austrian Social Democracy. Bose was apparently genuinely interested in Austrian social democracy because his letter to Basu continues: “I should very gladly take the trouble of writing a book on Vienna (from the Indian standpoint) embodying what I see and learn here” (ibid). And somewhat later, on May 23, he reports to the mayor of Calcutta his first impressions of “red” Vienna: I have been able to visit some of the institutions built by the municipality during the last 12 years. There is a wonderful diversity in their scheme. . . . I had also the opportunity of seeing the Kindergarten houses where the children of the poor . . . are taken care of and educated. The arrangement made for the children of the poor are such as to evoke the envy of even the rich people …. Vienna is a practical illustration of a socialist Municipality, and from that point of view, it has a unique position in Europe. (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 13 f.)

But nothing was to come of Bose’s book. The experiment of the “red Vienna” met a violent end at the hands of Dollfuss. In an article published in April 1934 in Calcutta, Bose comments on the end of Austrian social democracy in an emphatically neutral tone. The consequences Bose drew from the end of the republic and the end of social democracy were, of course, very informative—for Bose’s strategic concept: At the end of the last War it was generally thought that the era of Nationalism had ended in Europe and that of social reconstruction had begun in right earnest. It is now clear, however, that the era of Nationalism has not ended. (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 273)

That is the first conceptual result for Bose: not socialism, but rather nationalism is the driving force. The analyst Bose, then, strengthened the nationalist Bose. Bose formulated the second strategic result in such a way that he was right—in particular vis-à-vis Gandhi: One of the conclusions to be drawn from the February events is that a comparatively small but well-disciplined armed force as the Austrian government had, can overpower with the aid of artillery, any well-armed force that may be pitched against it. (Bose 1994, vol. 8: 281)

The first message from Bose the socialist was directed to Nehru the nationalist: it is still, or once again, nationalism that drives history forward; and not, or at least not primarily, socialism. Bose’s second message was directed to the prophet of nonviolence: questions of power are decided with cannons—and not with moral argu-

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ments. The coolness with which Bose turned his back on the “red Vienna” is conspicuous: not another word about his plan to write a book about the accomplishments of social democracy. It does not seem to have affected Bose in the least that Karl Seitz, the mayor of Vienna whom he mentioned in such positive terms, was arrested on February 12. Perhaps he assumed a certain set of facts, drawing on his experience with the British authorities—the victor determines the rules. And woe to them who are not the victors. Social democracy seemed to have exited the stage of history. Bose was not a man who did not understand how to stand on the ground of newly established facts. In Vienna (and in Rome) Bose had had the experience more than once that Dollfuss’s government could find support from Fascist Italy. His article “The Austrian Riddle” reflects this particular connection (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 269). Bose logically saw the victory of the authoritarian “Patriotic Front” (“Vaterländische Front”) over social democracy as a victory on the part of the Fascism that had, from the beginning, sent him friendly signals, unlike German Fascism. Social democracy, whose content he liked exceedingly, could no longer help him in his struggle against colonial rule. Fascism of the Italian variety, on the other hand, seemed to him to promise just that. In Mussolini Bose found a politician who was like himself insofar as the Italian, too, could make sense of the motto “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Unlike Hitler, Mussolini had the same understanding of Realpolitik as Bose. Social democracy, which appealed to him, had gambled away its potential usefulness. Italian Fascism seemed very promising to Bose. Why grieve sentimentally over social democracy when it was inferior to the potentially strategic partner Fascism? There is no doubt that for many reasons Bose viewed himself as more closely connected to the European Left than to the Right—at least the traditional Right-wing parties. These were the ones that held fast to the model of colonialism. Moreover, the idea of socialism connected Bose to the Left. And the Left courted Bose, just as it courted Gandhi and Nehru. During his visit to London in January 1938 he met, in particular, with the prominent members of the Labour Party—Clement Attlee, George Lansbury, Arthur Greenwood, and Harold Laski. Of the conservative leaders, only Lord Halifax spoke with him—as a former viceroy of India (as Lord Irwin at the time) he

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had a particular interest in becoming better acquainted with the rising star of the National Congress (Gordon 1990: 348). Overall, the democratic Left seemed to Bose in these years to be simply too weak, too little a factor in terms of power. The Left was now catastrophically inferior to a Right that was no longer traditional—in Germany, in Austria, and elsewhere. And in the democracies of Western Europe the Left either had no power or, where it did have power, it was, for Bose, not resolute enough. Bose’s travels throughout Europe give an image of sober realism: he did not want to meet with the people with whom he was on the same political wavelength—those on the Left. He wanted to speak with the people who had the say in Europe’s Realpolitik and in the world—in other words, he wanted to speak with those who could be useful for India’s independence. Bose’s preferred partners in conversation were democratic presidents (like Eduard Benes), democratic heads of government (like Eamon de Valera), democratic mayors (like Karl Seitz), or even dictators (like Benito Mussolini). He was not in Europe for his own pleasure—intellectual or otherwise. He saw himself as a messenger of the cause for a free India. And as such he had to seek contact with those who could be important for this India. But only those who were powerful could be important and useful. Bose and Fascism Bose did not have the sensitivity that characterized—or hindered— Pandit Nehru. Nehru was a declared anti-Fascist. Bose considered such a fundamental statement to be senseless. In his book, The Indian Struggle, he criticized Nehru’s anti-Fascism. First, he quotes a press conference of Nehru’s from December 18, 1933, in which Nehru explained: “I dislike Fascism intensely and indeed I do not think it is anything more than a crude and brutal effort of the present capitalist order to preserve itself at any cost.” Bose described this position, which more or less corresponded to that of the European Left of the 1930s, as “fundamentally wrong.” Then he included his notion of the synthesis between Communism and Fascism and added: “And will it be a surprise if that synthesis is produced in India?” (Bose 1997a: 351). Does it come as any surprise that so many people considered Bose a Fascist? That he was suspected of striving for the role of dictator in

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an India freed from colonial rule? But the matter is more complicated. Bose was surely not a Fascist in the sense of the Fascist movements of Europe. What he observed—in Vienna and elsewhere— was the triumphant advance of a political concept, particularly in countries whose interests lay diametrically opposed to those of Great Britain. What Bose lacked was the spontaneous revulsion vis-à-vis Fascism that was evinced by the European Left and by Nehru. Mussolini sought Bose’s acquaintance and Bose sought Mussolini’s proximity. But in this matter, Bose could appeal to Gandhi. The Mahatma was on his way back from the (second) Round Table Conference in London in 1931 when he accepted an invitation to visit Mussolini. Like Bose, Gandhi lacked Nehru’s genuinely Leftist antiFascism. The Mahatma reported on the meeting with Mussolini to Romain Rolland: Mussolini is a riddle to me. Many reforms attract me. He seems to have done much for the peasant class. . . . His care for the poor, his opposition to super-urbanization, his efforts to bring about co-ordination between capital and labour, seem to me to demand special attention. . . . It seems to me that the majority of the Italian people love the iron government of Mussolini. (quoted in Gordon 1990: 277)

The apostle of unconditional nonviolence, then, was defeated by the charm of the violent dictator. Clearly, Mussolini knew what would appeal to Gandhi: politics for the peasant class and opposition to super-urbanization were mottos that had to resonate with the politics of the representative from the Indian village. If the Mahatma succumbed—partially—to Mussolini’s charm, why shouldn’t the apostle of a Realpolitik that accepted violence not meet Mussolini openly? If Gandhi was not repulsed in principle by the dictatorship of Fascist Italy, why should Bose react differently? In any case, with regard to their original positions vis-à-vis (Italian) Fascism, Bose and Gandhi were closer to each other than either one of them was to Nehru. Bose met with Mussolini at the end of December 1933 in Rome. Bose had traveled there for a conference to which Fascist Italy had invited perhaps 600 Asian students. Mussolini’s reaction was positive when Bose intimated that he preferred revolutionary methods over reformist ones (Gordon 1990: 278). The second meeting took place at the end of January 1935, when Bose, having returned to Europe, personally presented Mussolini with a copy of his book. In a report intended for Indian readers dated March 9, 1935, Bose wrote about the official benevolence he experienced in Fascist Italy, par-

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ticularly at the hands of the Fascist press. The fact that this book had been forbidden by the colonial government in India must have made it even more interesting for Mussolini (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 289–291; Gordon 1990: 294). In 1935 Fascist Italy began its program of external expansion. Italy isolated itself from the West. Mussolini saw himself forced to accept the advances of National Socialist Germany. The war against Ethiopia as well as the Spanish Civil War clarified the alliances that were to determine the course of the Second World War. Bose was ambivalent vis-à-vis the expansionist policies of Fascist Italy: on the one hand, the attack on Ethiopia was nothing but a—belated—act of European colonialism; on the other hand, the discrepancy in state interests already existing between Italy and Great Britain would thus be made deeper. Bose’s reaction to the Spanish Civil War was similar: Fascism and Communism seemed further than ever away from the synthesis he dreamed of. But Italy and Germany stood as a single front, as an axis against the one real opponent, against the principle enemy—Great Britain. His analysis of the war in Ethiopia, published in India in November of 1935, was characterized by an analytical coolness similar to that in the report on the civil war in Austria, one and a half years earlier. Bose wanted to draw conclusions and consequences for India. The report makes clear that Bose neither approved of the Italians’ actions, nor did he harbor particular admiration for the Italian victories. But he did not criticize Fascist Italy—he criticized the British policy of isolating Italy and he criticized the economic boycott by the League of Nations. The motives of Great Britain, Bose said, were “purely imperialistic.” With this remark, Bose withdrew from taking sides: the conflict between Great Britain and France and the League of Nations on the one hand, and Fascist Italy on the other (supported increasingly by National Socialist Germany) could lead to an “imperialistic war.” But as an Indian nationalist, Bose believed he could gain something from such a war: There are two ways in which Imperialism may come to an end—either through an overthrow by an anti-imperialist agency or through an internecine struggle among imperialists themselves. If the second course is furthered by the growth of Italian imperialism, then Abyssinia will not have suffered in vain. (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 326)

This perspective, which recalls Lenin’s theory of imperialism and Stalin’s (future) official evaluation of the war from 1939–1941, dem-

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onstrates what interested Bose in particular about (Italian) Fascism: the opposition to Great Britain. Whatever he may have found to like or dislike about Italy under Benito Mussolini, it was essential that he saw in him a potential partner in an anti-British alliance. Mussolini and Italian Fascism were for Bose the enemy of his enemy; and thus Bose was a friend of this Fascism. It cannot be denied that there were certain affinities beyond these tactical considerations. There were many indications for this: Bose’s predilection for marching columns of soldiers, for uniforms (apparent from the early days), and his fascination with leadership, with a type of power that was concentrated in the person of a “Führer,” a “Duce,” or a “Netaji.” But this alone did not make him a Fascist. It only served to underscore the fact that he was not, like Pandit Nehru, an anti-Fascist. Would he have governed as a Fascist dictator had he had access to the requisite power? This question cannot be easily answered with a yes or no. Bose’s experience as the head of Indian exile government from 1943–1945 offers arguments for both interpretations. Yes, because as Japan’s partner and as a politician in exile, he could not appeal to a democratic system; no, because in Southeast Asia he leaned toward a political culture of compromise and balance, which was diametrically opposed to any understanding of Fascism. Bose’s relationship toward Fascism as it developed in the years when he, living in Europe, experienced the direct effects of the rise of Fascism, was instrumental. It was, in this sense, amoral. Bose lacked the anti-Fascist emotion of the Left, just as Gandhi did. Real Fascism, as it existed, was useful to Bose—or maybe not. The years 1941–1943 would clarify this. Italian Fascism wanted to be useful to Bose—but it was no longer able to do so. German Fascism was able to—but didn’t want to. Bose and National Socialism When viewed with hindsight, Bose’s attitude toward National Socialism is determined primarily by his years in Germany, 1941–1943. The politically keen Bose had already been moved by what he had experienced between 1933 and 1938: from Hitler’s “seizure of power” to British and French appeasement politics. Unlike Mussolini, Hitler did not have a sober, functional attitude toward India. In Mein Kampf, he had written:

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Some Asian charlatans, or, for all I care, true Indian “freedom fighters,” who were hanging around in Europe at that time, had managed to fill otherwise perfectly reasonable people with the obsession that the British empire, whose pivotal point lay in India, was about to collapse in precisely that location . . . Indian rebels will never succeed in this, however. We Germans have experienced sufficiently how difficult it is to force England to do anything. Not to mention that as a Teuton, I prefer to see India under English rule than under any other, in spite of everything. (Hitler 1938: 746 f.)

Later plans of the “Asian charlatan” Bose were destined to fail due to the arrogance of this “Teuton.” Bose had no illusions about the racism of National Socialism. But nevertheless, working from Vienna, he did try to test the capacity of the new German regime to form alliances. Bose saw as his task the production of relationships between the Indian independence movement and the Germany that had been ruled by Hitler since January 30, 1933. Bose’s nationalism made it clear to him that the question was not primarily who ruled Germany; rather, it was a matter of whether this Germany could be of use to the Indian struggle for freedom. He wanted to build on where the First World War had ended: the German Empire had tried not only to support the struggle of Irish Republicans but also that of Indian nationalists against Great Britain (Gordon 1990: 274). But his visits to Germany were sobering for Bose. Unlike his visits to Fascist Italy, these trips never brought him in touch with the head of the government, that is to say, with the leaders of the NSDAP. He would have a similar experience in the years 1941– 1943. Bose found much to dislike about National Socialist Germany. In a letter to Franz Thierfelder of the German Academy in Munich, dated November 7, 1935, he summarized the results of his trips to Germany: z z

z

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“The present pro-British attitude of the German government. The race-propaganda, which among the unintelligent people in Germany, promotes a general scorn against the coloured races. A disdainful attitude towards contemporary India among the highest German leaders which is evident in their writings and reports. The blocking of censor of pro-Indian articles and the willful promotion of anti-Indian articles in the German media” (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 112).

Bose, then, was by no means blind to the vulgar day-to-day racism of National Socialist Germany. He knew that the totalitarian po-

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lice state in Germany also brutally suppressed the modest activities of the Indians in exile, as soon as they seemed unacceptable—probably against the background of racist prejudice against “Asians.” But the ordering of his criticism of the Nazi regime is clear: his first criticism is directed not toward racism but toward what he saw as the pro-British attitude of the regime. It was his hope that this first point would be abolished—which was to happen in 1939. And Bose was then prepared not to overlook the other points of criticism precisely, but to set them aside in the sense of his strategy of the “lesser evil”— in the interests of the fight for India and that was, of course, the fight against Great Britain. In his letter to Thierfelder he distanced himself from the general anti-Nazi campaign that he viewed as the result “of the Jewish influence” (ibid.). For him, the chauvinistic excesses that also affected Indians living in Germany were, to be sure, unfortunate, but he was nevertheless willing to seek an alliance with this Germany against the British. But the Germans did not respond to this type of pragmatic courting. His contacts in Germany were reduced to individuals who were completely insignificant in the hierarchy of power. Lothar Frank, a member of the NSDAP, arranged for a meeting in the Foreign Office in 1933—but these contacts remained unbinding and lacked any practical results (Gordon 1990: 275). Bose saw and understood; and ultimately, did not understand. He could find common ground with Italian Fascism—that of rational cost-benefit analysis. With German National Socialism, this was not possible. For beyond the functional observation of foreign policy stood an ideology formulated by Adolf Hitler. According to this ideology, Bose represented an Asian people; he was a charlatan. And the Führer of the Greater German Empire did not conduct politics with charlatans. Bose’s calculation that the Nazi regime could be of use to him as soon as it was involved in a belligerent conflict with Great Britain was therefore based on a false presumption. He viewed National Socialism as being based on a rational, nationalistic foundation—as he viewed his own nationalism and those of Benito Mussolini and Eamon de Valera. Placing an ideology that contradicted reality before rational strategy was foreign to Bose. He could sympathize with the Chinese Kuomintang government against Japanese expansionism in order to then make common cause with this same expansionism. He could not understand how his political motto “The enemy

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of my enemy is my friend,” which was so logical, so consistently true for everyone—for Stalin and Churchill and Mussolini, and yet Hitler was completely closed to this form of rationality. Before Bose left Europe in March of 1936, he wrote once again to Thierfelder, his go-between in Germany: I regret that I have to return to India with the conviction that the new nationalism in Germany is not only narrow and selfish but arrogant. . . . The new racial philosophy which has a very weak scientific foundation stands for the glorification of the white races in general and the German race in particular. Herr Hitler has talked of the destiny of white races to rule over the rest of the world. (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 165 f.)

Bose saw and knew. Nevertheless, he closed his letter to Thierfelder with the hope “that the present atmosphere will change and we shall ultimately arrive at an understanding” (Bose 1994, Vol. 8:167). It was, then, not a letter in which he took leave of all hope. In 1939 Bose would yield to the illusion that an alliance with Hitler was not only in India’s interest but also possible. First and Foremost: Nationalist In his book, The Indian Struggle, Bose repeatedly draws parallels between India and Ireland. For him, Ireland was the most important example in the twentieth century of a successful national fight for freedom. Bose was, of course, not the first to recognize parallels between the large country of India and the small country of Ireland. After many years of exile in England, the last Maharajah of Punjab, Duleep Singh, conspired with Irish revolutionaries against the British government in the 1880s in Paris. The commonality lay in the fact that Irish and Indian revolutionaries could only profit from any weakening of the British Empire. To be sure, the time was not yet ripe—for the “Fenians,” the Irish Republicans, or for the Indian struggle for freedom (Campbell 2001: 272). Bose’s sympathies lay foremost with the radical wing of Sinn Fein, led by Eamon de Valera, which, in the meantime, had transformed itself into Fianna Fail, a very successful party within the parliamentary system of the Irish free state. For Bose, Ireland gave him the opportunity to set himself off from certain tendencies in the Indian National Congress: z

The Irish independence movement had not done without violence. On the contrary, Bose was able to argue that the high toll in terms

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of lives that Sinn Fein had cost the British colonial power had made the compromise of 1921 possible. The willingness of the Irish independence movement to resort to violence was an important piece of evidence for Bose in his arguments against Gandhi’s strategy of unconditional nonviolence. The example of Ireland also served as a warning to Bose about the politics of “division before concession” that was ascribed to the British (Bose 1997: 323). The acceptance by the moderate wing of Sinn Fein—against de Valera—of the division of Ireland at least provisionally, was a warning sign to Bose. India must not agree to such a compromise. Bose could refer to the division of Ireland as he distanced himself from Jinnah’s idea of “two nations” and other concepts of a partition of India. De Valera’s resistance against the compromise of 1921 came about not only because of the division of Ireland but also because free Ireland—at least in terms of its form—was not accorded full sovereignty. This served Bose as the foundation for his opposition against that wing of Congress that, in the 1930s, saw sense in the idea of a “dominion” as a possible solution. India as a dominion would mean an India with a high degree of autonomy, but one which—like Ireland after the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1921— would not possess full sovereignty.

In his book, Bose refers quite frequently to Ireland. But he does not (yet) write about de Valera. He did not meet the latter until during his travels throughout Europe. And from then on, there is virtually no other politician whom Bose showers more with unconditional praise and sheer admiration. If Bose’s comments on other politicians are characterized by political calculation, which shifts according to the changing parameters, Bose’s attitude toward de Valera is conspicuously uniform and unconditionally positive. Bose visited Ireland in 1936. The visit was preceded by an official notification by the Irish Foreign Office that President de Valera would like to meet with him (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 140). The Indian– Irish League, whose founding had been greatly facilitated by Patel, had been helpful to Bose in establishing contact to the Irish government. President de Valera met three times with Bose. The first of these meetings took place in the Irish Foreign Office. This was likely the first meeting before 1943 that gave Bose the impression he was being received not as a private person, but as an ambassador of India. De Valera also arranged a meeting with various ministers and

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representatives of parliament—including those from the ranks of the opposition (Gordon 1990: 303–306). In a declaration dated March 30, 1936, written immediately following his visit to Dublin, Bose summarized his impressions (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 350–352). Bose thanked de Valera for his hospitality. In a sober analysis, he reported on the conflict between de Valera’s “Fianna Fail” and the Republicans, who would later take on the old name Sinn Fein. De Valera’s policies regarding the termination of the final rights and privileges remaining to Great Britain did not go quickly enough for the latter. The second meeting between Bose and de Valera took place in London on January 16, 1938 around midnight. Bose had come to London as designated president of the Indian National Congress—intensely observed by the political elite of Great Britain who sought to gain their own picture of the “extremist” who, with the Mahatma’s blessing, was now supposed to become Britain’s most important partner for conflict resolution and negotiations in India. De Valera happened to be in London at the same time carrying out negotiations on the complete sovereignty of Ireland. It was this meeting that earned him the moniker “India’s de Valera” in the British press (Gordon 1990: 348). Later, too, the two men remained in close contact—from afar. As head of the Indian exile government, Bose published a declaration on November 2, 1943 that took approving note of the congratulations sent by Irish Republicans. Bose underscored the commonalities: “The diabolical policy of British Imperialism has brought about the partition of Ireland in the past and if British Imperialism were to survive this War, a similar fate would be in store for India. . . . There is so much in common between us that it is but natural that there should be a deep bond of affinity and comradeship between the Irish Nation and ourselves” (Bose 1946: 128). This declaration was clearly due to the personal congratulations that President de Valera had sent to Bose on the occasion of the proclamation of his exile government. These congratulations did not come close to diplomatic recognition, of course (Gordon 1990: 502). Congratulations from the president of neutral Ireland were simply a neutral middle ground—an attitude which was also an expression of Ireland’s national interest and geopolitical position; and probably no one could understand this better than Bose. Eamon de Valera was, like Bose, repeatedly accused of aspiring to dictatorship. The accusation “Fascist,” but also “Communist” was

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repeatedly leveled at de Valera, as it was against Bose. In a biography published in 1936, Desmond Ryan wrote the following about the Irish revolutionary: like Mussolini and Hitler he has in his time given lip-service to democracy and used the ballot to seize power and transform a machinery he distrusted to further his original programme; like them at their best, he expresses in himself deep national grievances, and, like them, at their worst he thinks he knows better than his own people what is good for them: and if individual freedom interferes with his sacred formulas so much the worse for individual freedom. But there the parallel ends. He is unique, and the best of the dictators in that alone of all the dictators can it be said of him that he himself is under the dictatorship of clear and cherished principles, consistent, unselfish, honest, his name unstained by a June Purge or a Matteotti. (Ryan 1936: 10)

A critical voice could argue in the same vein regarding Bose. Bose was, in principle, also no friend of the democratic process—as one may conclude from his motto about the synthesis of Fascism and Communism. As someone with a strong inner drive, Bose, too, was only willing to show consideration for something like “public opinion” to a very limited degree. And we can say of Bose, also, that his behavior toward his opponent was more internalized; he never acted as Hitler did on June 30, 1934 (“June Purge”) or Mussolini (“Matteotti”), despite the gray zone between Fascism and democracy. And like Bose, one can criticize de Valera for having no understanding of the notion of a natural alliance of democracies against dictatorships. De Valera’s formal visit to the German Embassy in Dublin on May 2, 1945 was always held against him. When, as prime minister of Ireland, he conveyed the official condolences of the Irish government on the occasion of Adolf Hitler’s death, he insisted that Ireland’s national interests had to take priority over all other considerations (Coogan 1993: 609, 639). In this way, or in a similar way, Bose had also grounded his strategic alliance with the Axis powers. In other words, Bose recognized in de Valera a man of his style, a nationalist. This does not mean that the affection he felt for the Irishman, and which came so clearly to the fore during his years in Vienna, could fundamentally be applied to all nationalists. For example, Bose expressed friendly feelings toward Chiang Kai-shek only as long as these did not stand in the way of his interest in an alliance with Japan (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 411–441; Gordon 1990: 329 f.). But when Bose had to choose between a preference for China or Japan, he chose an alliance with imperialist Japan, even against the Chinese nationalist Chang. From that point onward, Chiang was, from Bose’s

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point of view, a henchman for the British colonial rulers (Bose 1997: 388). De Valera spared Bose a similar confrontation between the allegiances among (anti-British) nationalists and the strategic calculations that, in the end, were always geared toward the interests of his own country. De Valera’s Irish nationalism and Bose’s Indian nationalism shared only one point in common: the opposition to Great Britain. Their individual interests did not conflict with each other. For that reason, Bose was able to show his particular respect for de Valera—more than for any other politician outside of India. Nationalism also explains his instrumental, functional attitude toward all -isms—socialism and Fascism, Communism and liberalism. Bose eludes clear categorization because he always judged these -isms and those who represented them from the perspective of India’s national interests. This was the reason Fascism became a strategic partner for him—like Communism. This was the reason he was able to sympathize, at first, with Chinese nationalists—and then make an alliance with their opponents. This was the reason he was able to travel throughout Europe with a sense of cool objectivity—and distribute his allegiances among those who appeared useful to him and the Indian nation. Bose’s trip to India in 1936 was more of a turning point than his trip in late 1934 and early 1935. At that time he had returned for a relatively short time for personal reasons—because of the death of his father. In 1936 he came to India to take on a greater political role in the Congress. The fact that in so doing he was threatened by the colonial government may have actually been useful to him. In a letter to Nehru on March 4 he had announced his intended arrival in India with the added remark that he fully expected to have to spend some time in a British prison there (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 144). And that was, indeed, the case: Bose was arrested immediately following his arrival in Bombay on April 8, 1936. The arrest was quickly changed to house arrest, and he was permitted to receive visitors. After a hospital stay, he was free again in early 1937 (Gordon 1990: 309–325). He did not return to Austria until he had secured his leadership role in Congress; he went in order to write his memoirs in Badgastein and to marry there in December of 1937 (Gordon 1990: 345). Then India had him once more.

6 Indian Democracy: Constitution, Parliament, Federalism The political system in India corresponds in many respects to the model of liberal democracy: z

z

z

z

z

z

A constitution provides for a division of powers among several institutions that act independently of one another. India’s political system has a division of powers among institutions. The Indian constitution provides for a federal system of organization: the distribution of state power between the federal level (that of the union) and the level of the individual states. In this way, India’s system also corresponds to the model of the vertical division of powers. The executive power in India’s political system is concentrated in the office of the prime minister. A majority in the lower house (the Lok Sabha) legitimates his position. The political order of India is thus a cabinet government, in accordance with the Westminster model. The constitution of India guarantees basic rights that are safeguarded by an independent judicial branch. In this way the politics of the governing majority is limited. India is a nation governed by the rule of law. The Indian party system is a competitive one. Numerous parties compete for votes. This competition allows for the flexibility of the roles of government and opposition—and thus fulfills a crucial prerequisite for liberal democracy. India’s political system is also liberal in the sense of freedom of the press, of criticism, and of assembly. With the exception of the years 1975–1977, when the emergency situation under Indira 109

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Gandhi imposed limits on these freedoms, India has guaranteed and continues to guarantee political freedom. India’s political system corresponds in a fundamental way to the economic measures of liberal systems. Private property and the market economy were always a given. However, this aspect of liberal systems was subject to harsh limits throughout the first decades. The Constitution and the Rule of Law

For more than five decades, India has been a stable democracy of the liberal, “Western” variety. This characterization is based on India’s actual as well as its de facto constitution. India’s constitution was worked out in just under three years and passed into law on November 25, 1949. Containing 395 articles, it is the longest or one of the longest constitutions in the world (Sorabjee 2000: 173 f.). In this regard it distinguishes itself clearly from the two constitutions that served as a model in terms of content—the U.S. constitution, likely the shortest in the world, and the British constitution, which actually does not consist of a central document, but is, rather, a combination of common law and individual norms. Like every constitution, the Indian constitution can be read through the prism of the times during which it was written. Its exhaustive quality is a result of its establishing not only the rules of a political process, but of its being at the same time a social document. For this reason, it has a narrative character as well. It tells the story of India’s social background and the time during which the constitution was written. This is expressed in the preamble to the constitution. It promises the guarantee of: Justice, social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and opportunity; and to promote among them all fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual. (qtd. in Sorabjee 2000: 174)

In this declaration of purpose, two aspects help to illuminate the background of Indian democracy, specifically the history of its founding. A preamble with such values could be found in any European constitution of the twentieth century. The Indian constitution is firmly anchored in the tradition of the European Enlightenment. What is specific to this document are not the values but the order in which they are found: the notion of social, economic, and political justice

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is mentioned before the freedoms of the individual. This reflects, on the one hand, the necessity of understanding the Indian nation in as integrative a sense as possible, primarily with regard to the individual segments of Indian society (religions, ethnicities, castes). On the other hand, the specific ordering of the values reflects the socialist orientation of those who left their mark on this document: Nehru and the Leftist tradition of the Congress. The Indian constitution, in any case, names basic social rights before the liberal rights, without thereby subordinating the liberal rights. Certain salient features are ascribed to the Indian constitution: (Sorabjee 2000: 174–179) z

z

z

z

z

Rule of law: The political institutions of India may not act arbitrarily, only in accordance with the constitution and other laws. This prohibition against political capriciousness is inherited directly from the European Enlightenment. Democratic charter: The Constitution guarantees regularly scheduled elections in which all citizens may participate beginning at 18 years of age, with no restrictions regarding gender, origin, religion, personal wealth, or education. Basic human rights: Basic social laws prohibit any form of discrimination, but allow positive, “compensatory” discrimination to the advantage of historically disadvantaged groups (scheduled tribes, scheduled castes, backward classes). Basic liberal rights guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Autonomy for religious and ethnic minorities: These groups have the right to establish their own system of education and thus to secure their specific identity within the framework of a national Indian identity. Secularism: The separation of church and state through the guaranteed equality and freedom of all religions and through the prohibition of promoting any religion with public means. The state must maintain religious neutrality.

These salient features demonstrate some specific Indian characteristics: the strong emphasis on basic social rights that also include the possibility of the conscious promotion of certain groups (affirmative action, reverse discrimination); the emphatic insistence on secularism that is intended to maintain India’s identity both with regard to the concept that brought about Pakistan and with regard to the ideas of fundamentalist Hindus, from whose ranks the murder-

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ers of Mahatma Gandhi came. One aspect of this principle of promoting disadvantaged segments of society is anchored in amendments to the constitution, such as the reserving of seats for specific regions in the Parliament and in the Lok Sabha for scheduled tribes and scheduled castes, i.e., for minorities who have been accorded special status (Ahuja 2000: 45–48). The Indian variation of reverse discrimination is perceived internationally as the most important example, after the U.S. model of affirmative action, in terms of a possible model for Europe (Appelt and Jarosch 2000). Basic principles like these are easy to formulate. They attain their significance for the political system, however, only when they can be implemented—even against institutions of the state. For this to happen an active judicial system is needed—and there is plenty of evidence for the existence of this system. The Indian system of justice, particularly the Supreme Court, has intervened repeatedly when the government (and the parliamentary majority) of the union or the states or certain administrative organs have acted unconstitutionally (Sorabjee 2000: 177 f.). Parliament, Cabinet, Prime Minister A crucial feature of the Indian constitution is the parliamentary character of the system of government. The committee that prepared the constitution—under the chairmanship of B. R. Ambedkar, voted overwhelmingly for the parliamentary form of government, bound up in the British tradition, as opposed to a form of government headed by a president (Mishra 2000: 210 f.). Certain consequences result from this choice for India’s political system: z

z

z

The executive branch—that is, the government—is not elected directly by the people but is chosen by means of a majority in Parliament. On the national level, then, there is only one election: the election to the Lok Sabha. The head of state, the president, is limited to a ceremonial function of representation. The president of the republic is appointed and has no responsibilities of his own, independent of the prime minister and the government. The actual power of government is concentrated in the person of the prime minister and his or her cabinet. The political unity of a parliamentary majority and the government implies that the prime

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z

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minister, as leader of the parliamentary majority, controls the legislative as well as the executive branch. The election of one of the houses of Parliament—the Lok Sabha— has a direct effect on the formation of the parliamentary majority and thus, indirectly, on the government. The parliamentary elections thus become an election of the government. The prime minister and the cabinet are also dependent on the majority in the Lok Sabha between elections since a simple majority in Parliament can bring down the prime minister and the government by a vote of no confidence. The power of the prime minister correlates with the stability of the majority in Parliament.

The parliamentary elections in 1952, 1957, and 1962 each brought clear majorities for the Congress Party and were thus a stable basis for Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. This began to change in 1967: the majority of the Congress Party was clearly reduced and Indira Gandhi, who had stepped in as heir to her father’s legacy after the short interim government of Lal Bahadur Shastri had to govern with a slim majority. Moreover, the Congress Party—in a reversal of its predominance during the first one-and-a-half decades—had become a minority in most of the state parliaments (Kashyap 1997: 32–37; Ahuja 2000: 239 f.). In 1971 the Congress Party was able to build up its majority to the degree it had been used to under Nehru, but those times of governing with a clear majority were slowly coming to an end. As a reaction to the state of emergency that Indira Gandhi had declared in 1975, the election of 1977 brought about the first change in government in the history of India. The alliance of groups that had joined to form the victorious Janata Party became a victim of its own internal contradictions in 1977. Premier Morarji Desai was forced to withdraw by members of his own cabinet and his successor, Ch. Charan Singh had only to dissolve the Parliament and declare new elections to Parliament. In early 1980, Indira Gandhi was able to win the election with an absolute majority. After she was murdered, the Congress Party under Rajiv Gandhi expanded the majority again, but by 1989 the time of the absolute majorities was over, at least temporarily. The Congress Party, now in possession of a mere relative majority, had to clear the way for a Janata Dal cabinet under V. P. Singh. Beginning in 1989, a third phase of parliamentary government set in: none of the parties controlled an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. Coalitions brought about by complicated agreements enabled

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minority governments that were kept viable through parliamentary agreements. The splintering of the party system had a serious impact on the stability of the parliamentary system. The brief administrations of V. P. Singh (until 1990) and Chandra Shekhar (until 1991) reflected the deficit of stability. Even after the murder of Rajiv Gandhi, when the Congress Party became the strongest party by far, it no longer controlled an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. Premier P. V. Narasimha Rao—the first head of government from the south— was dependent upon individuals and factions outside the government in order to govern at all. In the 1990s, in any case, India moved “towards a Coalition Era” (Ahuja 2000: 17). In 1996, the results of the Lok Sabha election were so indecisive that neither the Congress Party nor the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) could govern—nor did they even want to. The BJP, comprised of various fundamentalist Hindu factions and anti-Congress factions, was developing into the second major national party. The election of 1996 led to the government of the United Front, an alliance of regional and Leftist parties that was dependent upon agreements with the Congress Party in order to survive as a party and to govern. In 1996, the regional parties controlled a quarter of all seats—without them, no one could govern. This outlook did not change dramatically during the elections of 1998 and 1999. To be sure, the BJP under Atal Behari Vajpayee came to power, but only based on complicated coalition agreements with numerous regional parties. The consequence of this development has been that the office of prime minister, which should receive the central authority and the most important task of integration, according to the model based on the British system of government—a Westminster democracy with a cabinet government—instead lost more and more power and integrative capability. The three prime ministers of the Nehru dynasty were still able to fulfill a central function in this way. Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi were still able to steer the political system from a central position, within the framework of the constitution. Their successors (and even Desai from 1977–1979) were no longer able to do so. They were and continue to be prisoners in a puzzle of various contradictory interests that continue to be articulated by small, mostly regional parties. In this way, the political system of India has changed from the ground up. It is much less comparable to the British model six de-

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Table 6.1 The Composition of Majorities in the Lok Sabha and Prime Ministers Composition of Majority

Prime Minister

1st Lok Sabha (1952–1957)

Congress Party has two-thirds majority

Nehru

2nd Lok Sabha (1957–1962)

Congress Party has two-thirds majority

Nehru

3rd Lok Sabha (1962–1967)

Congress Party has two-thirds majority

Nehru, Shastri, I. Gandhi

4th Lok Sabha (1967–1971)

simple (absolute) majority of the Congress Party

I. Gandhi

5th Lok Sabha (1971–1977)

two-thirds majority of the Congress Party

I. Gandhi

6th Lok Sabha (1977–1980)

simple (absolute) majority of the Janata Alliance BLD

Desai, C. C. Singh

7th Lok Sabha (1980–1984)

simple (absolute) majority of the Congress Party

I. Gandhi

8th Lok Sabha (1984–1989)

Congress Party has two-thirds majority

R. Gandhi

9th Lok Sabha (1989–1991)

Congress Party has relative majority, but majority coalition of other parties is under leadership of Janata Dal

V. P. Singh, Shekar

10 th Lok Sabha (1991–1996)

Congress Party has relative majority, but has coalition or agreements with smaller regional parties

Rao

11 th Lok Sabha (1996–1998)

BJP has relative majority, but the minority government of United Front governs, supported in Parliament by the Congress Party

Vajpayee*, Gowda, Gujral

12 th Lok Sabha (1998–1999)

BJP has relative majority, coalition government is under leadership of the BJP

Vajpayee

13th Lok Sabha (1999– )

BJP has relative majority, but BJP-led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) has absolute majority

Vajpayee

*Vajpayee was named prime minister after his election to the leadership of the party holding the relative majority. However, since he could not attain a majority in the Lok Sabha, he resigned only days later to make room for the minority government of the United Front which had the support of the Congress—with first Gowda (until 1997) and then Gujral as prime minister. Source: Kashyap 1997; Ahuja 2000.

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cades after the founding of an independent India than in the beginning. India has increasingly distanced itself from the British model— not through fundamental changes in the constitution but due to decisive changes in the non-codified framework of the political system. The political system of India has lost some of its stability and predictability in this process. The rapid succession of new elections after 1996—in 1998 and 1999—underscores the clearly increasing volatility of the system. The fact that the stability of the democracy and thus the quality of the democracy have remained unaffected speaks for the robustness of Indian democracy as a whole. Even the increased distance from the British model, manifested in the decreasing power and ability to integrate on the part of the prime minister, does not threaten democracy in India. It has a stable foundation that is not affected by this gradual departure from the Westminster model of democracy. In accordance with the tradition of Westminster democracy, we can distinguish between efficient parts and dignified parts of the political system in India, too. The lower house (Lok Sabha) and the prime minister with his cabinet are “efficient,” that is, of real importance, whereas the president and the upper house (Rajya Sabha) are “dignified,” that is, only of symbolic importance. The upper house and the president are neither elected directly nor do they have the ability to influence the formation of the government and the legislative process dominated by the governing majority in the Lok Sabha (and thus by the government). The states send representatives to the Rajya Sabha, which is thus intended to consider regional interests. However, since it has neither an effective veto against simple bills passed into law by the Lok Sabha nor can it pass a vote of no confidence on the prime minister and his cabinet, the upper house leads a sort of shadow existence. The upper house is often used to provide for prominent politicians who were unable to get elected to the lower house (Mishra 2000: 262 f.). The upper house steps out of its shadow existence only when changes are to be made to the constitution: for this, a two-thirds majority is needed not only in the Lok Sabha, but also in the Rajya Sabha. Both houses of Parliament function as an electoral college for the election of the president. According to the written constitution, the president has a large role, whereas according to the “real” constitu-

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Table 6.2 Indian States and Territories of the Union, 2000 States Andra Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh Assam Bihar Goa Gujarat Haryana Himachal Pradesh Jammu and Kashmir2 Karnataka Kerala Madya Pradesh Maharashtra Manipur Meghalaya Mizoram Nagaland Orissa Punjab Rajasthan Sikkim Tamil Nadu Tripura Uttar Pradesh3 West Bengal Union Territories4 Andaman and Nicobar Islands Chandigarh Dadra and Nagar Haveli Daman and Diu Delhi5 Lakshadweep Pondicherry

Population (in millions) 66.5 0.9 22.4 86.4 1.2 41.3 16.5 5.2 7.7

Literacy Rate 44.1% 41.6% 53.4% 38.5% 75.5% 61.3% 55.9% 63.9% No data

Language(s)

Percentage of Muslims1 12% 1% 28% 15% 5% 9% 5% 2% 64%

45.0 29.1 66.2 78.9 1.8 1.8 0.7 1.2 31.7 20.3 44.0 0.4 55.6 2.8 139.1 68.1

56.0% 89.8% 44.2% 64.9% 59.9% 49.1% 82.3% 60.3% 49.1% 58.5% 38.6% 56.9% 62.7% 60.4% 41.6% 57.7%

Telugu, Urdu, Tamil 18 regional languages Assamese Hindi, Maithili, Urdu Marathi, Konkani Gujarati Hindi Hindi, Parathi Kashmiri and 8 other languages Kannada Malayalam Hindi Marathi Manipuri Khasi, Garo, English Mizo, English 8 regional languages Oriya Punjabi Hindi, Rajasthan 4 regional languages Tamil Bengali, Kamborak, Manipuri Hindi, Urdu Bengali

0.3

73.0%

8 languages

No data

0.6 0.1

77.8% 40.7%

Hindi, Punjabi, English Gujarati, Hindi

No data No data

0.1 9.4 0.1 0.8

73.6% 75.3% 81.8% 74.7%

Gujarati, Marathi Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu Malayalam 6 languages (including French)

No data 11% 81% 7%

12% 23% 5% 10% 7% 3% 1% 2% 2% 1% 8% 1% 6% 7% 17% 24%

In the official data, only the percentage of Muslims is given. The majority in the individual states and territories consists of Hindus (the exception being Jammu and Kashmir with a majority of Muslims). A (further) exception is Punjab, where the Sikhs are the religious majority. 2 Data include those parts occupied by Pakistan and China. 3 In 2001, a new state— Uttaranchal—was formed out of a region of Uttar Pradesh. 4 Union territories are regions without autonomous self-administration that nevertheless send delegates to Parliament. The reason is a certain status of geographical, historical, or actual nature. 5 Delhi has a special status—since 1991, the national capital has had its own regional parliament and has thus come closer to the status of the states. Source: Ahuja 2000.

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tion, he has only symbolic power. In general, the president can only act on the suggestions of the prime minister and the cabinet. Even the role of the president as regards the appointment of the prime minister is only of great importance when there is no clear majority in the Lok Sabha. This happened for the first time in 1979 when Desai fell (Brass 1995: 45 f.). In the reality, the president does not determine the prime minister; rather, the prime minister determines the president, who is elected by the parliamentary majority controlled by the prime minister. The symbolic role of the president is, however, not without significance; the office of the president is used in order to send certain integrative signals: a Muslim or a Dalit (casteless) or a politician from the south symbolize the secular and trans-ethnic India. The prime ministers have always used the selection of the president to fill the very visible but not very “efficient” office with a person who embodies an all-Indian balance. Union and States The clear loss of power suffered by the institution of the prime minister is a departure from the British model against the intention of the constitution. The federalism that is, as such, foreign to the British system, is a departure from the British system that is already anticipated in the constitution itself. India’s diversity is underscored by the separation of state power between the union and the individual states. The plurality articulated in federalism is the diversity of language groups. The basic premise underlying the individual states and their borders is that of a linguistic-ethnic homogeneity on the state level. The linguistic homogeneity of the states functions as a counterbalance to the linguistic heterogeneity of the union. The fact that in one case, at least—that of Punjab—the linguisticethnic homogeneity goes hand-in-hand with religious hegemony is an exception to this rule. The specific border of Punjab combines the fundamental, general notion of linguistic hegemony with the specific notion of religious hegemony. The state of Punjab underwent a reorganization in the form of a division between Punjab, with somewhat more than 20 million inhabitants whose language is Punjabi, and the largely Hindi-speaking state of Haryana (Ahuja 2000: 101–110, 161–171).

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Table 6.3 Majorities in the State Parliaments in the Largest States in 2000 State Andra Pradesh

Regional TDP (Telugu Desam Party) has majority

Assam

Regional AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) has majority

Bihar

Regional RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) has majority

Gujarat

BJP has majority

Haryana

Regional INLD (Indian National Lok Dal) has majority

Karnataka

Congress Party has majority

Kerala

LDF (Left Democratic Front, including the CPM) has majority

Madya Pradesh

Congress Party has majority

Maharashtra

Alliance BJP (Hindu) Shiv Sena and smaller factions has majority

Orissa

Alliance BJP and the regional BJD (Biju Janata Dal) has majority

Punjab

Alliance BJP and the regional (Sikh-) SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal) has majority

Rajasthan

BJP has majority

Tamil Nadu

Regional DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) has majority

Uttar Pradesh

BJP has majority

West Bengal

CPIM (Communist Party of India/Marxist) has majority

Source: Ahuja 2000.

The federal state of India is firmly rooted in the tradition of the two most important models of federalism: z

z

In terms of size, Indian federalism parallels the model of American federalism. The U.S. brand of federalism can be compared with the Indian less in terms of its social heterogeneity and more in terms of the dimension of space and population, which numbers around 300 million. The geographic and demographic dimension of both nations—the United States and India—hardly allows for a classic central state that, as a point of principle, does not pass on political power to autonomous member states. The first argument for India’s federalism is India’s size. Swiss federalism offers, in another respect, a parallel to that of India. Switzerland developed and solidified its own federalism in order to accommodate its linguistic and religious heterogeneity.

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The basic notion on which the country of Switzerland and the borders of its cantons are based is regional hegemony and homogeneity. One language group and one religion clearly predominate in the individual cantons. In this way, the heterogeneity and the political balance between these linguistic and religious groups is eased (Lijphart 1977). This is the parallel in India. The second argument for Indian federalism is India’s heterogeneity. Taking into account linguistic and ethnic points of view has led to the states being of quite different size. The population of Sikkim is less than three parts per thousand of the population of Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh has almost twice as many inhabitants as Germany, the largest state of the EU, and about four times as many inhabitants as California, the largest state of the United States. The political weight of the states has greatly increased since 1947. The shift in balance to the advantage of the states has a central cause and an important effect: z

z

The cause: The hegemony of the Congress Party at the outset of Indian democracy in 1947 was still predominant at the state level. This allowed the Congress to integrate the interests of the states with those of the union during the first years of the Nehru era. By the end of this era, the situation had changed. Different parties came to power in important states. For instance, in the 1950s, the Communist Party ruled in Kerala, and the Congress Party had to take on the unusual role of opposition party. The hegemony of the Congress Party first came to an end on the state level before it could happen on the national level. In the process, however, an important contributing factor for the de facto autonomy of the states was lost—the integrative power of a party that controlled politics on both levels and thus controlled conflicts between the union and the states. Effect: The opposition in the union now rules on a regular basis in numerous states, even large ones; and the respective ruling party (the Congress or the BJP) is increasingly dependent on the support of parties that exist exclusively in one state and that use their key role on the national level to strengthen their basis in their own state. In this way, the vertical distribution of power gains its full weight: The union has come to agreements with its states. The strongly developed centralism from the beginnings of Indian democracy now belongs to the past.

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The majorities in the individual state parliaments show that the U.S. experience with federalism cannot be transferred to India. Only in a few Hindi-dominated states of the north and in Karnataka has the party system developed from the phase of the Congress hegemony in the direction of a two-party system. Most of the states are dominated by rapidly shifting alliances between parties. Even the regional parties are splintered. For example, in Tamil Nadu numerous other rival parties have split off from the original regional party, the DMK. These newer parties also emphasize the Dravidian-Tamil element and enter partnerships with the Congress Party or the BJP, but also easily dissolve such alliances with no great problems (Ahuja 2000: 175–178). Since the elections to the Lok Sabha and to the state assemblies take place at different times, it happens quite often that the majority of representatives of a state in the Lok Sabha represent not the government, but the opposition in their state. In 1999, the BJP as opposition party in Madya Pradesh won twenty-nine of the state’s forty seats in the Lok Sabha election—an act of protest against the ruling Congress Party on the state level (Ahuja 2000: 133–135). The decline of centralism and the increase in federalism is also manifested in the increasing importance of two instruments that the Indian constitution provides for the strengthening of central state power: the state governor and president’s rule. As a result of the worry on the part of the Congress Party led by Nehru that the states could gain too much jurisdiction to the detriment of the union and Indian national interests, the Indian constitution contains provisions that enable intervention in the states by the federal government. For this reason, the constitution provides for a state governor for the states who is intended to counterbalance the chief minister and the majority of the state assembly that legitimates the latter. Governors are representatives of the federal government in the individual states, even vis-à-vis the state governments. The chief ministers are the representatives of the states, even vis-à-vis the federal government. The governor has the authority to dismiss the chief minister and his government and to subordinate the state to the direct administration of the federal government (president’s rule)—albeit with the provision that he or she call for new elections to the state assembly (Brass 1995: 116 f.).

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This practice of dismissing chief ministers by governors (i.e., by the federal government) was implemented in 1959 in Kerala when the governor—clearly in the interest of the Congress Party and thus, in the interest of the federal government—dismissed the Communist chief minister. Since then, the tendency has been to increase the use of this practice (Brass 1995: 118–123). This does not, however, express a trend toward centralization; rather, it expresses the return of a synchronization between the Congress-led states and the Congressled federal government. During India’s first decade of independence, this synchronization had been seen as self-evident. The growing independence of the states provoked the conflicts that are manifested in the use of the president’s rule. Political Control: Opposition, the Judicial Branch, the Media The parliamentary character of the Indian political system—at the national level as well as the state level—does not allow for a separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, that is, between Parliament and the government. The lower house (Lok Sabha) on the one hand, and the cabinet and the prime minister on the other, are too closely bound together for serious differences to arise between these two institutions. For this reason, there are no inter-institutional checks and balances in Loewenstein’s sense; rather, there are intra-institutional checks and balances. The prime minister and his or her cabinet are checked in Parliament by the opposition (Loewenstein 1962). The checks and balances of the Indian system are fundamentally the same as those of the parliamentary system in a Western democracy. Beyond this, the opposition leader is granted official status in the tradition of Westminster democracy. The characteristic duality within the British parliamentary system of government and opposition in Parliament has been hindered in India by several factors. z

z

In the first decades of the hegemony of the Congress Party, no effective opposing power was able to step forward as an alternative to the government. Only a heterogenous powerless opposition of small parties confronted the Congress Party. The Janata Alliance, which came into being as the opposition to Indira Gandhi’s emergency government, did not become an effective opponent to the Congress beyond the 1977 elections be-

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cause internal conflicts prevented the Alliance from becoming a large, stable party. The rise of the BJP in the 1990s was not only accompanied by the decline of the Congress Party but also by a general de-concentration of the party system and the increased importance of regional parties.

The role of the parliamentary opposition on the national level is by no means insignificant. The mere intensity of the conflicts carried out in Parliament proves this. But the development of the party system prevented the “swing of the pendulum” that is by definition laid out in the Westminster system. After the end of the hegemony of the Congress Party, there were a great many shifts in the government—but there were not actually two clear alternatives presented to the voters. These alternatives were presented by the smaller parties and the regional parties. As a result, the decision regarding the appointment of the prime minister and the formation of the government since 1989—the end of the Congress Party hegemony, if we disregard the “interlude” from 1977–1980—is only made after the election by means of a tedious and complicated and hardly predictable process of negotiations. Consequently, in spite of the formal framework reminiscent of Great Britain (e.g., the Westminster system, elections based on single member districts)—the Indian system of government is more similar to that of Switzerland or even that of Israel (Lijphart 1977). z

z

As in Switzerland, the existence of a majority is not the product of a decision by the voters. Rather it is the result of a compromise that has to be renegotiated repeatedly, unlike the situation in Switzerland, of course. But as in Switzerland, the concepts of majority and minority are relative: the majority rules in Parliament, but deciding who belongs to the majority is the result of a process of negotiation. As in Israel, relatively small parties carry an overly proportional weight. Since there have been no clear majorities by a single large party in the Lok Sabha since 1989, the Congress and the BJP must attempt to make alliances with small parties that usually are anchored exclusively in specific regions. In this way, special interest groups play the part of a sort of referee between the large, national parties. In Israel, this would be the minority of the Orthodox Jews,

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in India, the regional parties, for example, from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal, or Bihar. This development means less clarity—but more control. The best example for this is the rise of the BJP to the level of a national party and ultimately, to the governing party. Until 1977 the BJP (or its predecessor, the BJS—Bharatiya Jana Sangh) had the status of a small party, located on the Right wing of the Indian party system, that was seen by the non-Hindu minorities and the non-Hindi-speaking ethnicities as a threat to secularism. In 1977, the BJS joined the Janata Alliance, which brought the Congress Party its first defeat. After the collapse of the Janata Alliance, the BJS was, at first, doomed to insignificance in the national arena. Not until 1989, as the BJP, did the party address a larger audience in elections and become, in the 1990s, the actual opposition to the Congress Party. In the conflict surrounding the destruction of the mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, the BJP, particularly the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, played a role that seemed to confirm the fears of its critics. The BJP articulated a fundamentalism on the part of the Hindu majority in the Hindi belt of the north that, for all minorities but particularly for the Muslims, took on the appearance of a threat to the religious and linguistic balance and thus, to secularism. Moreover, the BJP had never really dissolved its historical and present-day ties to the RRS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sanghi), from whose ranks the fundamentalist murderers of Mahatma Gandhi had come (Ahuja 2000: 212 f.). However, the BJP never attained the strength necessary to govern at the national level. Rather, in order to displace the Congress Party at all, it had to make alliances with parties whose central interest has always been the prevention of a Hindu centralism, particularly a Hindi-speaking centralism: alliances with regional parties of the southern states, for instance, that, in order to preserve their Dravidian identity, had to block any centralism of this kind. In this way, the BJP became a prisoner of the diffuse majority alliances. In order to govern at all, it could by no means do what had comprised its original identity as a party, that is, being speaker for the “natural” majority (from the perspective of the BJP) that wanted to liberate itself from the chains of the secularism defined by Congress. As ruling party, then, the BJP was subject to a very effective means of control: not that of the opposition but that of its partners in the

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government itself. By means of this control, the practice of government on the part of the BJP remained relatively similar to that of the Congress. The excesses (feared, expected, hoped for) of the Hindu, Hindi-speaking majority, that could dispose of the rights of minorities, did not take place. The specific form of an intra-institutional check—the check inside a complex alliance—proved to be working. The specifically Indian form of the consociational democracy reduces the original mandate of the BJP to a level that is tolerable in the context of the mainstream that was at first represented only by Congress Party (Lijphart 1996). As in every liberal system, the judicial branch is accorded the important task of checks and balances. The Indian constitution has granted the Indian Supreme Court, as the highest judicial institution in the land, tasks that correspond to those of the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the “judicial activism” typical for decades in the United States, that is, the extensive interpretation by the Supreme Court itself of the role of its jurisdiction, is less pronounced in India, or rather, very controversial. This has numerous causes: (Brass 1995: 51 f.) z

z

During the state of emergency, from 1975 to 1977, Indira Gandhi’s government had suspended important basic rights and rescinded judicial control over them. In any case, the Supreme Court was unable to function effectively in terms of checks and balances. Adding amendments to the constitution is easier to do in India than in the U.S. In this way, the specifically American role of the judicial branch of amending the constitution through interpretation to suit changes in circumstances is superfluous in India.

And yet the judicial branch in terms of checks and balances is very active, which is proven precisely by the case history of the emergency situation under Indira Gandhi. A court in Uttar Pradesh had declared Indira Gandhi’s election to the lower house invalid, thus endangering the existence of the government. Even before the final decision of the Supreme Court had been made, Gandhi called the state of emergency and thus prevented a decision on the part of the highest court that would have threatened her government (Brass 1995: 52). In the past, the Supreme Court has always defended the secularism of the constitution and thus, the most important foundation of Indian democracy (Mishra 2000: 195–209). In the process, the

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Court’s independence, expressed in the appointment of its members, has been an advantage. Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court itself, or rather, its leader, the chief justice of India, plays an important role in terms of recruitment. After discussions within the Court, the chief justice suggests the names of new members and the actual appointment is then made by the president. Without the input of the Supreme Court itself, then, no appointments can be made. Clearly, this situation reduces any political influence on the judicial branch, as well as strengthening its own position vis-à-vis checks and balances within the federal government (Mishra 2000: 529 f.). One hallmark of the liberal quality of the Indian political system is the vitality of the media as an instrument of criticism. India’s media landscape is characterized by its linguistic diversity. Supra-regional English language newspapers play an important role, and, increasingly, so do supra-regional radio and television stations. As we saw with the judicial branch of the government, the emergency situation from 1975–1977 was also a crucial experience for the media. Indira Gandhi tried to control the media by means of a comprehensive system of censorship—in order not to be controlled by them. After the state of emergency was lifted and censorship was relaxed, the critical potential of the media experienced a revival. Since 1977, the media in India have increasingly practiced investigative journalism—and thus they confront the respective governments as a form of checks and balances (Narayanan 1997: 175 f.). Particularly in association with the fragile majorities and governments on the national level since 1989—not to mention the fragile circumstances in the individual states—the media enjoys an important political function. The checks and balances provided by the media have a high level of importance for Indian democracy. Amartya Sen explains the disappearance of catastrophic hunger in India with the existence of free and critical media, and thus with the checks and balances of a pluralistic democracy. Only the freedom of the media allows Indian democracy to react in a timely manner before erupting completely. The catastrophes of hunger in other countries without liberal democracy and freedom of the press substantiate this—in North Korea as well as in countries in Africa. In the authoritarian systems of the “third world” those who make decisions often do not receive information on impending catastrophes; and information on catastrophes that have already taken place do not reach the

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public, or it reaches the public too late or in a fragmented form. In India, the governments at the national and state levels must try to convert the information they receive due to the freedom of the press and the plurality of the media into political action in a timely manner. The plurality of Indian democracy, expressed in the diversity of the media, guarantees a particular social quality—protecting the population from catastrophes that can be avoided through political intervention (Sen 1999). Democracy—Beyond Gandhi, Nehru, and Bose As in any liberal political system, the opportunity for checks and balances as laid out in the constitution are not as decisive for the quality of democracy in India as the de facto checks and balances that are actually carried out within the framework of the constitution. During the decades in which independent India was establishing and developing its form of democracy, democracy was preserved because the checks and balances worked—most clearly in 1977 when Indira Gandhi resisted the attempt to allow a second step to follow the first toward an authoritarian regime. In 1977, Indira Gandhi acted differently than a military dictator would have done. She fully reestablished the parameters of liberal democracy and she faced a free election. The fact that she lost this election was probably the most decisive proof for the quality of Indian democracy. Since Indira Gandhi’s flirtation with authoritarianism, Indian democracy has developed—away from its beginnings. The end of the hegemony of the Congress Party that had already begun in 1967 signified an increase in pluralism, both horizontal and vertical: z

z

Horizontal: On the national level, the competition has become stiffer and the political process less predictable. The unpredictability of complex alliances of many parties has taken the place of the predictability of one party’s stable majorities. The Nehru dynasty found no successors either in the Congress Party or in another party— not because of a lack of possible candidates, but because of a lack of prerequisites. Vertical: The emancipation of the states has made the conflict between them and the federal government a constant one. This only increases the unpredictability of Indian politics, but at the same

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time, this vertical pluralism opens a safety valve that integrates potential strivings toward secession (from Punjab in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south). The creators of Indian democracy did not anticipate the intensity of this pluralism. But in 1947, a dynamics was set in motion that made room for itself, that corresponds to the rules of liberal democracy but that within the context of these rules cannot be foreseen. Indian democracy is different than Nehru planned—probably primarily because its engagement is less and less socialist in nature as well as less and less international. Indian democracy is different than Mahatma Gandhi could have imagined—primarily because democratic India is a militarily armed power that also appears prepared to take on the role of a super power. Particularly in terms of its active and often excessive, chaotic pluralism, Indian democracy since the end of the Nehru era is also different from Bose’s notions of democracy. And yet, what were Bose’s ideas about democracy in India? To put it mildly, Subhas Chandra Bose was reserved when it came to his idea of democracy. The vision that he expressed on many occasions of a synthesis of Fascism and Communism offers one explanation for the lack of a theory of democracy on his part. He was fascinated by the apparent power of authoritarian and totalitarian systems and their ability to mobilize societies. Questions regarding the control and thus the internal legitimization of Stalin’s or Mussolini’s systems were therefore not of central importance for him. A further explanation is Bose’s political character. In his impatience he subordinated everything to the goal that was most urgent to him: independence. As long as independence did not yet exist, he clearly felt it was superfluous to consider seriously any concepts of democracy or constitution for India. In this regard he was more similar to Gandhi than to Nehru. Nehru had ideas that were identical with those of Leftist social democracy in Europe. Nehru advocated socialism within the context of a liberal democracy; and he had clear ideas as to what this democracy should consist of. Like Bose, Nehru was, above all, an Indian nationalist. His experience confirmed his nationalism. Nehru’s criticism of the Communist Party of India (CPI) was directed not primarily against its orientation toward the Soviet model of society. Rather, it was directed against the fact that, beginning in 1941, the CPI had pushed the demand for independence to the back-

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ground and the slogan of an anti-Fascist alliance to the foreground. He criticized the Communist Party not solely as a democrat but as a nationalist: “At a critical moment in India’s history . . . they (the Communists) went to the other side.” And Nehru added: “They may be right but the approach was wrong.” And he stated in the same speech, almost in resignation: “Whenever there is a conflict between national and international policy, the former wins” (Bright 1947: 86). Nehru, then, was not so far from Bose’s emphasis on nationalism. Yet, from 1945 onward, Nehru worked on constructing a democratic India. And he worked on a compromise with the British Labour government. It went without saying, for Nehru, that this India should be democratic, more specifically, democratic in the sense of liberal democracy. As had already been the case at the time of the Round Table discussions, independence stood in the foreground for Nehru—but not independence for just any India, but for a democratic India. And this notion of democracy Nehru had developed not as a nationalist, but as an internationalist, as the following citation reveals: His vision of the future was one of one world of socialist humanism, in which each person would create or labour to the limits of his or her ability, and all would receive as much education as they were capable of absorbing and whatever goods or services they needed from a government enlightened enough—thanks to his or Indira’s leadership— to provide it. George Bernard Shaw first taught him that; Harold Laski believed it; so did Lenin and Trotsky and Krishna Menon, and even as conservative a Republican as Wendell Wilkie thought some of it was possible. (Wolpert 1996: 5)

Nehru’s internationalism balanced his nationalism; Nehru’s international contacts, particularly his political socialization in Great Britain, determined his understanding of democracy. All of this characterized Nehru—not Bose. Bose lacked the balance between nationalism and internationalism and this made him immune to the influences of the European Enlightenment and the European Left. Bose was more of a nationalist than Nehru—and for that reason, less of a democrat. This approach also characterized Sarat Chandra Bose’s criticism of the Indian constitution from the beginnings of Indian democracy. Sarat Bose, who referred again and again to his younger brother Subhas—he even tried to coin the term “Subhasism” (Bose, S. Ch. 1968: 317–329)—criticized the Indian constitution primarily for three reasons:

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1. He saw in the constitution—correctly—the solidification of the partition of India. This was simply unacceptable to him (and in this, he was in the company of Subhas Chandra Bose). It constituted treason. This criticism is insightful insofar as, with the partition, the Congress and Nehru had left the ground of Indian nationalism as it was determined above all by Gandhi and also as Bose had understood it. But the criticism did not answer the question of what would have been a real alternative, given the situation in which Nehru found himself in 1947. 2. He saw in the dominion status—wrongly—an ongoing tie to Great Britain. In this, too, he could refer to his brother, whose admiration for de Valera and his resistance to notions of compromise circulating in the 1930s were characterized by a similar skepticism regarding any status of India in the context of the British Commonwealth. But Bose overlooked the fact that a status such as that of dominion could neither prevent rescinding the tie to the British crown that was only symbolic in any case, nor could it prevent a policy on India’s part that was completely independent of Great Britain. What Congress had negotiated in 1947 was not half of India’s sovereignty— it was all of it. 3. He did not see a socialist state in the political order as it developed after independence. In his criticism, Sarat Bose was approaching an orthodox Communist position in 1949: he demanded “faith in scientific socialism. . . . The Indian State must be a Sovereign Independent Socialist Republic. . . . The Indian State and all its departments must be administered on socialist lines . . . landlordism must be completely abolished without compensation. . . . Key and basic industries must belong to the community and must be run and managed by the State” (Bose, S. Ch. 1968: 289).

The heirs of Subhas Chandra Bose had difficulty coping with the realities of Indian independence. Sarat Chandra Bose adopted, in part, Communist demands. Lakshmi Sahgal, who, as “Captain Lakshmi” had commanded Bose’s Rani Jhansi Regiment, joined the Communist Party (Sahgal 1997). In a manner that recalled Gandhi’s distance to the independence that was won at the cost of partition (Wolpert 1996: 5), these developments expressed the problems of a nationalist in living with the reality of independence. Subhas Chandra Bose’s avoidance of formulating a concrete model of Indian democracy shared an essential element with Mahatama Gandhi: the Mahatma did not represent the model of a political order. He stood for a moral one. What began in 1947 to develop into a political order could not completely correspond to what the Mahatma advocated as his vision (Wolpert 2001: 257–268). His legacy—for India and for the world—goes beyond what India represents concretely. For this India is a functional democracy and at the same time, a deficient one because it is imperfect.

7 Gandhi’s Friend and Foe Bose returned to India in April of 1936. Since his departure in early 1933, he had been in India only once. In late 1934 he had wanted to visit his dying father, but upon his arrival in Calcutta on December 4, 1934 he was able to take part only in the Hindu rituals of grief. His father had died shortly before his arrival (Gordon 1990: 290 f.). In early 1935, Bose was in Europe again. His return in 1936 was also the return to the reality of British rule in India. The Raj wavered between negotiations and repression. In any case, Bose was arrested immediately following his arrival. The British government had warned him via the British Consulate in Vienna that his return would bring with it his immediate imprisonment—likely with the purpose of keeping him out of India (Bose 1997: 366). His arrest prevented Bose from becoming involved directly in the politics of the independence movement or in the politics of the Congress. His arrest did not, however, prevent him from becoming the object of these politics. The Congress took advantage of him as a victim. Nehru, the president of the Congress, called for an All-India Subhas Day on May 10, 1936. The British authorities were bombarded with questions and complaints. The British could think of nothing better than to go public with the true motive behind the repression directed specifically against Bose: Subhas Chandra Bose was too dangerous to simply be allowed to act freely (Gordon 1990: 317). At first Bose was in a prison in Bombay, then near Poona in Maharashtra. But then he was released to a sort of house arrest. He spent the next several months in the house of his brother Sarat in Kurseong near Darjeeling at the foot of the Himalayas. He was allowed to receive family members and take walks (ibid.). It was clearly 131

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a form of arrest that the British provided for those political prisoners whom they considered “gentlemen.” This form of imprisonment was similar to the one from which Bose would be able to escape in early 1941, thus beginning his adventurous journey to Berlin. Bose’s health had deteriorated once again. This became evident in his correspondence with Emilie Schenkl, in which he avoided any mention of politics—due to the British censors (Bose 1994: 58– 90). In December, he had to be brought to a hospital in Calcutta for medical treatment, but remained under arrest. He was not released until May of 1937. The British authorities tried once again to play the other card of their political indecisiveness against Bose. The repression card would replace the negotiation card. A note from the Bengali government gives evidence of this: it could now be expected, according to this note, that Bose would support the politics of Jawaharlal Nehru—and that was, after all, in the British interest (Gordon 1990: 323). Bose had spent almost a year under arrest and house arrest by order of the British. How familiar is this situation: Bose returned to India in 1936— and was arrested. His health worsened. He was also politically isolated. His firm public criticism of Gandhi, formulated in Europe, had not exactly brought him closer to Gandhi. Had anything changed since 1932? The Return of the Prodigal Son After his release, Bose threw himself back into politics—into the politics of the Congress. The Congress was still the umbrella organization of the Indian independence movement. His criticism of Gandhi notwithstanding, Bose had always viewed himself as part of the Congress. As a movement, the Congress was determined more than ever by the contradiction between its two wings (Som 1995). The election of Nehru to the presidency of the Congress in April of 1936 was a sign for Bose that the Left wing could prevail against the Right wing. Bose had encouraged Nehru during the time before the convention in Lucknow at which Nehru was elected: “You are the only one whom we can look up to for leading the Congress in a progressive direction” (qtd. in Som 1995: 175). But the Left wing found itself in a dilemma: should the Congress accept the invitation of the Raj to participate in the limited self-administration that was outlined in the Government of India Act of

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1935? This quasi-constitution of India provided for parliaments for the provinces directly administered by the British (i.e., not for the principalities), a very limited right to vote, and governments in the provinces that answered to the parliaments. Participation in the elections had to be viewed as a departure from the principle held by Nehru and Bose, namely that there could be no compromises on the path to complete independence. And the Government of India Act was far from the goal of independence. The Left wing was nevertheless tempted to taste a bit of governmental power, even if this contradicted the fundamental claims to the opposite that had been formulated against the Government of India Act. Bose had voiced a scathing criticism of the Government of India Act of 1935. “The new constitution (The Government of India Act, 1935—A. P.) was unanimously rejected by Indian public opinion and, in particular, because it was a scheme, not for self-government, but for maintaining British rule in the new political conditions through the help of the Indian Princes and sectarian, reactionary and proBritish organisations” (Bose 1997a: 361 f.). Above all, Bose criticized the limitations on the right to vote (the right to vote was limited to one-ninth in the lower house of Parliament and to one in five hundred of the Indian population); the fact that the viceroy’s continued responsibilities were dependent upon the House of Commons and its majority (and thus London) in foreign policy, matters of security, and financial policy; the lack of autonomy for the principalities (only the eleven provinces directly under British colonial rule received regional parliaments); and the reserving of the majority of parliamentary seats for certain groups: Muslims, Sikhs, lower castes and untouchables, women, etc. (Bose 1997a: 362). Bose criticized as “sectarian” the fact that the representation of the various groups was legislated—the same way it would be after 1947 in independent India, in part through the constitution and in part through political practice. However, the rejection of the constitution by the Congress was not as consistent as it sounds in Bose’s words, written years after his escape to Germany. Not even Nehru, who was largely identified with the Left wing, therefore the radicals, of the Congress, was immune to the temptation of trying his hand at governmental powers, as insufficient as the parameters might be. At the Congress in Lucknow, Nehru called the new constitution “a charter of slavery.” But he added that the Congress had no other choice than to take part

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in the elections provided for in the provincial parliaments in 1937. Nehru argued as a reformist disguised as a revolutionary. The slaves should exploit the institutions of slavery to destroy slavery (Wolpert 1996: 206). These were the circumstances surrounding Bose’s surprising escape from political isolation. Shortly after his release from prison, he was already the logical successor to Nehru as president of the National Congress. How did he manage to obtain the blessing of the Mahatma? Gandhi had officially withdrawn from politics in 1934 (Brown 1988). But from his position of retirement he remained a key figure in the Congress. Whether Gandhi wanted to or not—no leadership in the Congress could act without his approval. And the withdrawal of this approval was tantamount to political banishment. Bose’s departure in 1933, which was also something of an escape from the repression of the British, was, at the same time, the logical conclusion of Bose’s alienation from Gandhi. He had made this sense of alienation public knowledge in Britain. But now he was here again, and the prodigal son was received with open arms. For Gandhi needed Bose. Bose’s new significance for the Congress and for Gandhi was connected with the fact that the ambivalent attitude of the Congress vis-à-vis the Government of India Act presupposed a prominent role on the part of the Left wing. In order not to let the latent contradictory nature of the Congress lead to divisiveness, the Congress needed the radical wing. The Left wing, Nehru and Bose above all, would reconcile the contradictions in the Congress by themselves. The Left wing had to make the fundamental rejection of the Government of India Act believable. Without the coverage of the Left wing, the Congress would probably not have been able to take part in the elections. These elections themselves had been made possible by the constitution that the Congress had rejected in such decisive terms. A non-integrated Bose could have substantially endangered the complicated unity of the Congress and prevented the covering over of the contradiction. The renewed rivalry between the Congress and the Muslim League was an added element in the tensions felt by the Congress. The Congress needed all of its powers to face the challenge posed by Jinnah. For Jinnah had a quite different, fundamentally positive attitude toward the limited autonomy provided for by the Government of India Act (Wolpert 1984: 134–154).

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Of course, the Congress continued to be the umbrella organization for the Indian independence movements that joined the different wings and factions and quasi parties. But the fact remained that it had lost its monopoly, and this was significant, particularly in view of the elections of 1937. The Muslim League was organized as a rival organization to the Congress. Jinnah had adopted a clearer, less contradictory attitude to the Government of India Act: he saw the chance to destroy once and for all the Congress’s claim of being the sole speaker for all of India. Jinnah presented himself and the Muslim League to the British as a partner willing to cooperate—in contrast to Gandhi and the Congress—a pattern that would repeat itself beginning in 1939 (Prasad 1988; Voigt 1978: 36 f.). The competition with the Muslim League only heightened the Congress’s interest in integrating all of its various wings and factions, and thus increased Gandhi’s need to include Bose fully. The contradictory nature of the Congress evidently contributed substantially to its successful elections in early 1937. Of the 1,585 seats open for election in the parliaments of the federation and of the provinces, the Congress received 715, that is to say, almost 50 percent. The Muslim League was disappointed by the result. It was able to win only 105 of the 482 seats reserved for Muslims (Prasad 1988: 310). The Congress had reached a majority in seven of the eleven provincial parliaments (Bose 1997a: 367). Bose was active in the Congress Socialist Party, a part of the Left wing. This party within the Congress was part of the tradition of the Swaraj Party and anticipated the Forward Bloc that Bose would organize in 1939. The Communist Party of India (CPI), prohibited by the British government, was also integrated into the Congress Socialist Party. Bose’s proximity to the Communist Party was clear and would remain so until June of 1941 when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. However, Bose never fully identified with the CPI and it never saw more in Bose than a strategically useful partner, and that only sporadically (Bose 1997a: 363). The Congress Socialist Party advocated the idea that the Congress should take part in the elections to the Parliament and to the provincial parliaments but should reject government ministries. This anti-ministry movement did not prevail within the Congress. Representatives of the Congress accepted ministerial posts in the governments of the provinces. Against the opposition of Bose, but with the vague tolerance of Gandhi, the Congress had grabbed

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the opportunity to try its hand as governing party, despite the limiting conditions of the Government of India Act (Bose 1997a: 367 f.). Nehru had been reelected president of the Congress in 1937. But even he could not smooth over the contradictions and oppositions in the Congress, particularly between the anti-ministry movement and the Congress governments in the provinces, although he was acceptable to Gandhi as well as to the Left wing. Nehru had been opposed to members of the Congress Party accepting ministerial posts—in this he was in agreement with Bose. As president of the Congress and concerned about the unity of the Congress (and probably also about Gandhi’s approval) he accepted the fact that his position would not prevail, that the opinion of the president of the Congress was not in accord with that of the entire Congress (Wolpert 1996: 223). But Nehru either did not want to—or could not—represent the politics of the majority of the Congress when he thought it was wrong, namely the anti-ministry movement. And he did not want to, or could not, openly contradict the majority of the Congress and the Mahatama (Wolpert 1996: 233). Toward the end of 1937 it was clear that after two years of Nehru’s presidency, the Congress would have to look for a new president. There is no indication in Bose’s memoirs as to why he became Nehru’s successor. He wrote: “In December, 1937, the writer paid another visit to his favourite health-resort, Badgastein, in Austria, and from there he visited England. While in England, in January, 1938, he received news that he had been unanimously elected president of the Congress” (Bose 1997a: 370). Bose remained silent not only on the fact of his marriage to Emilie Schenkl; he was also silent regarding the circumstances of his election, which of course could no longer have surprised him during his stay in England. The die had already been cast (Das 2000: 329). Bose had had stimulating contacts with representatives of the Left wing as well as with representatives of the Gandhi center in 1936 and 1937 during his imprisonment, particularly with Nehru and Gandhi himself. The British authorities granted many liberties to those kept in “gentlemen’s” imprisonment. The meeting of the AICC and the Working Committee of the Congress—that is to say, the executive branch of the Congress—took place in Calcutta at the invitation of Subhas Bose in October of 1937. And here, apparently, is where the die were cast as to who would become Nehru’s successor

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at the conference of the AICC in Haripura, Gujarat. Gandhi had made a note after the meeting in Calcutta: “I have observed that Subhas is not at all dependable. However, there is nobody but he who can be the President” (Gordon 1990: 340). Gandhi did not lose his reservations about Bose as a person but he accepted Bose in his political role. Bose, then, was already the logical successor to Nehru even before departing for Europe. Moreover, he had the Mahatma’s blessing. Gandhi and Nehru apparently agreed that it was necessary to include the Left wing more emphatically, which had not been able to prevail in the matter of the ministerial posts. At least in public, Nehru had moved too close to Gandhi’s centrist position. Gandhi now needed a different figure to represent integration; he needed a president who was different from him. Gandhi needed an antiGandhi. And that was Bose—Bengal’s man, the man of the antiministry movements, the man who despite his youth had already attained a high degree of credibility in the struggle against the British colonial rulers. Gandhi believed that with Bose he could attain a “unity of opposites” (Sen 1997: 131)—the unity of the Congress based on integrating internal contradictions. Of course, Bose was not Gandhi’s puppet. Bose represented a strong movement in the Congress—a wing that Congress needed in order to fulfill its all-Indian function. Gandhi accepted and wanted Bose as president, not because he thought Bose was weak but because he considered him strong, at least strong enough to bring together as an anti-Gandhi, along with Gandhi himself, the contradictions of India and the Congress to form a dialectical union. In any case, Bose did not become president against Gandhi’s will. Gandhi wanted Bose for the role of unifier, for the crucial task at the center of the Congress (Guha 1986: 61). In spring of 1939 at the latest, toward the end of his presidency, Bose had to realize that much was possible within the Congress, including open criticism of Gandhi and opposition to Gandhi’s policies, but that nobody—not even Bose—could be president against Gandhi. As president, Bose needed the Mahatma’s blessing. And he had it—in the fall of 1937. And he kept it—at least until the fall of 1938. Gandhi’s Heir After All? In January of 1938, in London, Bose was already received as Nehru’s successor and thus as a possible heir to Gandhi. Of the con-

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servatives, Lord Halifax in particular was interested in him. Lord Halifax, of course, as Lord Irwin, had tried years before to come to a compromise with Bose. But primarily it was the Left that courted Bose, including very good friends of Nehru: Clement Attlee, Harold Laski, Stafford Cripps, and others (Gordon 1990: 348). Bose was no longer the outsider standing on the margins of the Indian independence movement. Bose was the leader of the Congress—thanks to his own efforts and thanks to the Mahatma’s approval. The convention in Haripura, which would stand as the beginning of his presidency, took place in February of 1938, after his return from Europe. In his first statement as President of the Congress, Bose tied the position of the Left wing to that of the center: So long as I remain the President I will utilize this position to resist with all legal and legitimate means the federal scheme which contains all undemocratic and anti-national elements. I will utilize the presidency to strengthen the determination of the country to fight against the federal scheme by formulating, if necessary, a mass resistance programme which will include non-violent non-cooperation. (Bose 1992: 48)

Many interest groups were able to read into this statement what they wished: z

z

z

The Left wing was addressed by the sharp rejection of the federal scheme, that is, the Government of India Act of 1935. Gandhi was satisfied by the emphasis on nonviolent non-cooperation and because of the explicit omission of other methods that were not nonviolent. The British, in turn, had noticed that Bose spoke exclusively of using legal methods when he declared war on the constitution.

Bose began his presidency as a figure of integration, that is to say, in the role that Gandhi had intended for him. In his Presidential Address of January 25 he criticized principally the British Empire as a “hybrid phenomenon in politics,” tried to uncover the weaknesses of the British, and advocated the goals of the Congress Socialist Party as a party within the Congres. (Bose 1992: 50–53, 68 f.). Three passages of this programmatic speech are particularly significant for Bose and India: z

Bose advocated the goal of a strong centralized government that would grant the minorities and provinces a high degree of autonomy in cultural and political matters. Bose did not mention that

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z

z

the strengthening of the central government could also mean the unavoidable weakening of autonomous regions. The emphasis on a central power should probably also be viewed as a reflection of the criticism Bose and the Congress shared vis-à-vis the federal scheme set forth in the Government of India Act. Nevertheless, the emphasis on a central government cannot be overlooked (Bose 1992: 58). Bose also advocated the combination of Hindi and Urdu as a lingua franca for India. With this, he anticipated his policies as head of government in exile. However, in 1938 he did not yet propose that “Hindustani” be written using the Latin alphabet. Instead, he thought it should be written either in Devnagari (the Hindi alphabet) or in Urdu. Bose’s predilection for centralism was thus underscored even in his linguistic policies. An additional interesting factor is that he advocated the use of a language in which he himself was not fluent (Bose 1992: 58 f.; Gordon 1990: 349). Bose mentioned the political mobility of Soviet Russia. Soviet diplomats did not hesitate to make alliances with non-socialist nations. It became clear in a different section of the speech what direction this argument would take for international flexibility. He said that an institution such as the “Labour Service Corps of the Nazis” deserved to be studied attentively and that, with corresponding changes, it could be advantageous for India as well (Bose 1992: 69 f., 67).

Bose closed his programmatic speech with a bow to the Mahatma: all of India hoped and prayed that the nation would have Gandhi for many years to come—for India’s unity, for the struggle for independence, but also for the humanity of the world (Bose 1992: 72). Of course, Bose’s closing sentences were meant to determine not so much his, Bose’s, policy but rather Nehru’s and the “idealism” of the first years of independent India. “Ours is a struggle not only against British Imperialism, but against imperialism as well. . . . We are therefore, fighting not for the cause of India alone, but for humanity as well” (ibid.). Nehru could have used these same words. But Bose, who wanted to make himself useful to the imperialism of Nazi Germany in 1941 and who, in 1943, would become an ally of imperial Japan—this Bose knew well how to disguise his own internationalism. During Bose’s presidency, the Congress in Haripura passed a resolution that clarified Bose’s understanding of politics in general: the

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Congress condemned the “brutal imperialism” of Japan in China, assured the Chinese people of India’s sympathy, and called for a boycott of Japanese goods (Bose 1992: 81 f.). This strong criticism of Japan’s policy could not prevent Bose from identifying with Japan’s policy on China a few years later. International politics was, for Bose, the handmaiden of national politics. And when necessary, Bose could switch sides very quickly. In this he was—unlike Gandhi and Nehru—very similar to a wide variety of “imperialists,” such as Stalin, Mao, Nixon, or Churchill. A further example for Bose’s surprising flexibility in the area of international politics was the resolution passed on September 28, 1938 by the Working Committee of the Congress under Bose’s leadership during the height of the “Sudeten crisis.” There was mention of the “unabashed attempt” on the part of Germany to rob Czechoslovakia of its independence; also that India was very interested in protecting the freedom of Czechoslovakia (Bose 1992: 97). This was the language of Nehru and Bose—in 1938. One year later, this would still be Nehru’s language, but by then Bose’s would have fundamentally changed. But the circumstances had also changed fundamentally. This did not cause the “idealists” Gandhi and Nehru to change their positions, but it did cause the “realist” Bose to change his. But at the Convention of Haripura in February 1938, that still lay in the future. The beginning of Bose’s presidency was, of any case, a success—for Bose, who was now the first speaker of the Indian independence movement; for Gandhi, who—at first—would see himself proven right. Bose had not polarized the situation in Haripura; instead, he had integrated opposing factions. As president of the Congress, Bose was very concerned with not stepping on Gandhi’s toes. When it was a matter of changing the socialism of the Left wing in a programmatic way, and Bose introduced a National Planning Committee, he emphasized the importance of Nehru not taking the chairmanship of this committee. Bose was aware that the economic modernism that stood behind the notion of this committee was not to the Mahatma’s liking. At the same time, Bose also knew that, as president, he could better carry out his task of integration if he left the potentially polarizing role of committee chairman to Nehru because the latter was, as always, very close to Gandhi (Guha 1986: 61). But Gandhi soon had to realize that Bose would not be content with the presidency of the Congress. Bose’s ability or even willing-

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ness to integrate the entire Congress had its limits. Bose did not move to the center that was influenced by Gandhi. Instead, he tried to move the center toward himself. But that was the challenge Gandhi had to accept. Gandhi demonstrated that he could occasionally be in the minority in the AICC but that, when it came down to it, he was still the heart and brains of the Congress—he was the Congress and the Congress was also Gandhi. But above all, Gandhi had to realize that Bose could not bring about what had been the reason for Gandhi’s agreement to Bose’s election to the presidency of the Congress. In late 1938, the contradictions in Congress were stronger than ever before. The contradiction ignited with the role of the Congress ministers in the provincial governments. Their position became the victim of a conflict that had many dimensions. The rivals of the Congress, particularly the Muslim League, successfully played the part of cooperative, reformfriendly representatives of Indian interests and were, of course, supported in this by the British government and the viceroy. But as soon as the Congress began to fight with the Muslim League over this role and—represented by the pragmatics of the Right wing and supported by the majorities in the provincial parliaments—to enter into negotiations with the governmental powers, the Left wing revolted. The Congress was caught. If it followed the Left wing (and its president, Bose) it would have to watch helplessly as Jinnah and the Muslim League shared the real power with the British. If it followed the Right wing and took on responsibility for the government, there would be protests tantamount to rebellion at the foundations of Congress, whose majority clearly considered the Congress ministers to be collaborators. The result of this lose-lose situation that only left the Congress the choice between two evils—the very choice Gandhi had tried to avoid with Bose’s presidency—was a growing wave of violence (Wolpert 2001: 187). British colonial politics could point to one success, albeit only for the short-term. The policy that had begun in 1931 with the GandhiIrwin Pact and that continued with the Round Table Conferences in London, the Government of India Act in 1935, and the limited parliamentary elections in the provinces in 1937, had maneuvered the Congress into a cul-de-sac that had no outlet. The British policy was too prepared for compromise to be rejected by Congress entirely; and the British policy was, at the same time, not accommodating enough to be accepted by Congress entirely. Gandhi’s policy of find-

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ing—together with the most radical among those prominent in the Congress, including Bose—a president who could have ensured the capability of the Congress to act in its entirety failed due to this situation. The alienation between Gandhi and Bose that began in 1938 had an old and a new cause. The old cause was that while Gandhi and Bose respected one another, they were led by diametrically opposed temperaments; in other words, as personalities, they were too different. Bose did not want to, or could not—in contrast with Nehru, who until the outbreak of war in 1939 took almost the same positions as Bose—cover over his differences with Gandhi using charm and “good son” behavior. In addition, there was the newer cause: the fact that Bose could not fulfill the task Gandhi had set for him, that is, to hold together the Congress, which had begun drifting apart. Bose had by no means refused to take on this task. At an AICC meeting in Delhi in September, for example, Bose had avoided taking the part of the Left wing in his capacity as president when a serious argument broke out between the Left and Right wings of the congressional leadership. Bose disappointed Gandhi, but this was presumably due not to his own intention but to the fact that Gandhi’s expectations were too high. During a conflict with the chief minister of the Central Province (largely identical to today’s state of Madhya Pradesh), the Congress politician N. B. Khare, and the AICC, Bose had to witness himself being called Gandhi’s puppet by Khare, who represented the pragmatics of the Right wing. Clearly, those on the Right saw the relationship between the centrist Gandhi and the Leftist president of the Congress as being very close. Even in his discussions and disagreements with Ali Jinnah, Bose was always able to invoke Gandhi (Gordon 1990: 356–360). The differences with regard to content between Gandhi and Bose were not the reason for Gandhi’s dropping Bose. It was a new strategy on the part of the Mahatma that ended the alliance between the two. Bose had not brought about the result for which Gandhi had accepted, even selected, Bose as president. Gandhi and the center of the Congress now sought alternatives to Bose. But Bose took the risk of conflict. The question was, who could speak for the center of the Congress one year after Haripura—Gandhi still or Bose now? In late 1938, when Rabindranath Tagore tried to advocate Bose’s reelection to the presidency of the Congress, Gandhi made it clear to him that Bose was no longer his candidate. Nevertheless, Bose wanted

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to try it this time without the Mahatma’s blessing (Gordon 1990: 372 f.). Not the “Good Son” In the now open conflict between Gandhi and Bose, the former would at first attain what is known as a classic Pyrrhic victory: a success that carries within it the seed, indeed, the guarantee, of failure. In January of 1939, as the convention in Tripuri approached, which was supposed to take place in March, open conflict broke out among the leaders of the Congress. In the years prior to this, it had been the case that—before the president was officially elected—the Working Committee chose a single candidate internally and this candidate was then elected by the AICC. This had also been the case in the previous year when Bose had been nominated as sole candidate and had been elected. Bose had made it clear before the convention in Tripuri that he would run for reelection against Gandhi’s will. In numerous public statements Bose’s critics announced they were against, and Bose’s supporters announced they were for, the current president (Ralhan 1996: 196–210). Nehru was Gandhi’s choice for candidate; Azad was Nehru’s choice for candidate; but since both Nehru and Azad refused, the anti-Bose majority in the Working Committee agreed on Pattabhi Sitaramayya, who was now purposely introduced by Gandhi and Nehru as a man from the south—he was from Andra Pradesh (Gordon 1990: 372 f.; Ralhan 1996: 204–208). On the eve of the election in the AICC, Bose made another public statement regarding his own position. A strong group in the Congress had, he said, urged him to run for reelection; since the Haripura convention he had acted in the best accord with the other members of the Working Committee; an election between two candidates would be democratic; and he was very much in a position to represent the Congress in its entirety as president (Ralhan 1996: 208–210). Bose had made the right judgment call. In the Working Committee, the uppermost committee in the leadership (a sort of Politburo), he was not able to establish a majority against Gandhi, but in contrast, he was able to establish one in the expanded committee (a sort of central committee). On January 29, 1939 Bose was elected by a small but clear majority—1,580 votes had been cast for him, 1,375 for Sitaramayya (Gordon 1990: 373). On January 31, Gandhi pub-

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lished a statement in which he held fast to his claim of being against Bose’s reelection. Gandhi closed with an ambiguous formulation: “After all Subhas is not an enemy of this country. . . . In his opinion his is the most forward and boldest policy and programme. The minority can only wish it success. . . . The minority may not obstruct on any account” (Ralhan 1996: 211 f.). This was a barely disguised challenge to Bose. Gandhi’s statement that Bose was not an enemy of India’s was an almost poisonous acknowledgement. Gandhi’s challenge to Bose’s opponents not to attempt any obstructionist politics against the reelected president brought the possibility of such a politics into the public consciousness in the first place. Gandhi’s wish for Bose’s success was the pleasant packaging of a gift that was not pleasant at all. At the convention in Tripuri in early March 1939, Bose’s Presidential Address did not sound like the program of someone who had just won a victorious reelection. Bose’s language was pessimistic: “[T]oday the atmosphere within the Congress is clouded and dissentions have appeared.” At the end of his speech Bose invoked the spirit of Deshbandhu Das, Motilal Nehru, and the Swaraj Party, and closed with the following words: “[M]ay Mahatma Gandhi . . . help the Congress out of the present tangle” (Bose 1997 [2]: 226). Gandhi’s ideas about how to help the Congress became clear in Tripuri. Gandhi wanted a Congress whose president was not Bose. Even before the convention, most of the members of the Working Committee—Bose’s opponents—had resigned. Gandhi himself had conspicuously avoided coming to Tripuri. Bose, who had fallen ill in February and was only slowly recovering, was confronted with an assignment from Gandhi’s followers in Tripuri that contained the following formulation: “Gandhi alone can lead the Congress and the country to victory during such a crisis.” There followed the challenge to the president to nominate a Working Committee that would reflect Gandhi’s wishes (Gordon 1990: 378). This resolution drove the conflict to a climax. Either Bose would be de facto deprived of power, or he would be forced to declare himself Gandhi’s opponent, indeed his enemy. This culmination led to even a part of the Left wing—including Jayaprakash Narayan—no longer arguing for Bose in an unlimited fashion. Bose had already lost Nehru’s support. The resolution was accepted—and thus the factual end of Bose’s presidency had arrived. While Bose had won a majority in the AICC against Gandhi, in the actual Congress he had to yield to the

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Mahatma’s tactics. The rug had been pulled from under Bose, the president of the Congress (Gordon 1990: 379–381). Bose was clearly at loose ends after Tripuri. In a very detailed letter to Nehru, dated March 28, 1938, he complained that Nehru was accepting any imaginable reason against him. Nehru was conspiring with Gandhi against him. And Gandhi was avoiding any sort of agreement and leaving Bose to run up against a brick wall. This was the letter of King Pyrrhus who had to realize—after his victory—that he had actually been the loser. Bose, the winner of the election, saw himself forced to make long justifications (Bose 1997 (2): 237–256; Ralhan 1996: 213–232). As early as March 24, the president of the Congress had written a letter to Gandhi that intimated the direction of Bose’s thinking. At first he had asked Gandhi for advice in various questions regarding the organization of the Congress and of the Working Committee; and then he had written almost desperately: “If I am to continue as President, despite all the obstacles, handicaps and difficulties—how would you like me to function?” (Ralhan 1996: 233–235). Bose, then, signaled something like a willingness to surrender. The president of the Congress, who had beaten Gandhi’s candidate in a democratic election, was asking the Mahatma less than two months later how he should carry out his office of president. In addition, he let Gandhi know that he was considering resigning his presidency. Bose had recognized that he could not lead the Congress against Gandhi’s will. This letter was followed by a series of other letters in which Bose appeared as a supplicant seeking Gandhi’s favor (Ralhan 1996: 240–272). But this favor was denied him. Bose’s signs of submission were not accepted. Why? In a letter to Bose, Nehru gave two reasons for his, Nehru’s, opposition to Bose’s presidency. Bose’s reelection had taken place against Gandhi’s will; and Bose’s attitude toward Nazi Germany and Italian Fascism was not clear enough (Gordon 1990: 382). In other words, the resistance against Bose’s presidency was related primarily to the break with Gandhi. Not the substance but rather the style made the difference. One did not campaign against Gandhi’s wishes. But why had the Mahatma withdrawn his blessing from Bose? In late April, the All Indian Congress Committee (AICC) convened in Calcutta. In the political hierarchy, the AICC was located between the small Working Committee and the larger Congress which typically met once a year. The AICC had elected Bose president. But the

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acceptance of the pro-Gandhi and anti-Bose resolution at the convention in Tripuri had clarified the power relations. Bose, having been challenged in Tripuri to build a Working Committee that reflected Gandhi’s wishes, had to report to the AICC that he had not succeeded in doing so. He offered his resignation. Nehru wanted to keep Bose from resigning. But Bose had already resigned inside. Bose now resigned in fact—and Rajendra Prasad was elected acting president to carry out what would have been the rest of Bose’s tenure in office (Gordon 1990: 388 f.). In a statement explaining his resignation, Bose called the cause by name, insofar as it was recognizable on the surface. The Congress had challenged him in Tripura to form a Working Committee according to Gandhi’s wishes. But unfortunately, Gandhi had not seen himself in a position to nominate such a Working Committee (Ralhan 1996: 281–283). Bose had failed because of Gandhi. Gandhi had maneuvered Bose into a hopeless situation and Bose’s resignation was the logical result. But why had Gandhi, the masterful strategist, done this? It is true that the break between Gandhi and Bose was one of diverging viewpoints. But the difference between Gandhi’s and Bose’s viewpoints was not greater, in principle, than that between Gandhi’s and Nehru’s positions. Gandhi, the anti-modernist, the man from the Indian village who represented “back to the simple life,” faced Bose and Nehru, the modernists, the socialists, the advocates of a plan economy, and the industrialization of India. The conflict surrounding Bose’s attempts to bring about a coalition government of various Leftist parties and groups in Bengal in 1938 was an expression of this difference in viewpoints. Gandhi was noticeably reserved, and Bose presumed that Gandhi’s proximity to Indian companies such as G.D. Birla was a reason for the Mahatma’s reservations. The conflict over the government in Bengal was also an interesting bit of proof that Bose’s attitude toward the role of the Congress in the government was by no means fundamentalist (Gordon 1990: 360–369). But such a difference in viewpoints had never led to a break between Nehru and Gandhi. That is to say, substance alone could not be the only reason for Gandhi’s refusal to give Bose the approval he had never denied Nehru, despite their differences. The cleavage between Gandhi and Bose had always been first and foremost one of style and political form. It was the difference between patience and impatience.

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His criticism of Gandhi notwithstanding, Bose had never failed to show the respect toward the Mahatma that Gandhi had been able to count on from the Congress. As president of the Congress, Bose had also tried to portray himself as a figure of integration and had tried to avoid provoking the Right wing or even the center around Gandhi. Bose was no longer a tempestuous young man; he was now an experienced politician. Yet, when Bose was not able to hold the Congress together during the conflicts of summer and fall, 1938, the way Gandhi had expected of him, Gandhi withdrew his favor from Bose. It remains an open question whether any other president of the Congress could have achieved a better integration than Bose. Ganhdi had not accepted or rather, selected, Bose as president of the Congress in October and November of 1937 because he had a particularly close relationship to Bose. Gandhi believed that, after Nehru, a man from the Left wing in the Congress would be able to establish a balance between the pragmatics who were pushing their way into the government offices—and who were for that reason considered part of the Right wing—and the radicals. In 1937 and 1938, Gandhi had needed Bose to overcome the conflict between Left and Right. But in late 1938 and early 1939, Gandhi judged the situation differently. In Gandhi’s opinion, at least, Bose was decried as being too “radical” to be able to serve as a figure of integration. Bose had lost his usefulness. This was Gandhi’s motive for removing him from the leadership of the Congress. And because Bose no longer enjoyed Gandhi’s favor, Nehru also withdrew his support. But there was another motive behind the increasing distance between Nehru and Bose that had played only an insignificant role with Gandhi, if any: Bose’s noticeable tendency to use the international political situation to create alliances with all of Great Britain’s enemies—including Hitler’s Germany in particular. As the president of the Congress, Bose had held back on this strategic option, which is another piece of evidence that he had been willing to work in an integrative manner. After the end of his presidency, Bose no longer had a reason to defer this option. But this difference would not come into play until after September 1, 1939. Until war broke out in Europe and during the months thereafter, Bose was occupied primarily with two tasks: 1. As early as May 3, 1939, that is, directly after his resignation from the presidency of the Congress, Bose announced the found-

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ing of the Forward Bloc, a faction in the Congress, a party within the independence movement. The Forward Bloc was grounded in the tradition of other Leftist groups in the Congress, such as the Swaraj Party and the Congress Socialist party (CSP). The Forward Bloc, however, was meant to be more than just a faction. Bose saw it as an umbrella organization within the umbrella organization; as an alliance of all Leftist organizations within the Congress, including the CSP and the Communist Party of India (Gordon 1990: 390–392). 2. Bose concentrated his activities primarily on Bengal. In the Bengal Province Congress Committee (BPCC), the autonomous regional organization of the AICC, he could count on a different majority than in the AICC itself. In any case, even after his resignation as AICC president, Bose remained president of the BPCC. In Bengal, he also had in his brother Sarat a partner who was particularly experienced in Bengali politics. During Subhas final months in India, his political and personal ties to Sarat were stronger than ever (Gordon 1990: 393–399). Bose’s Forward Bloc was unable to reach the intended goal of becoming accepted as the umbrella organization for all Leftist groups. The Communist Party of India (CPI) did not want to give up its independence and although the Communist perspective and that of Bose came very close to each other after the Hitler–Stalin Pact of August 1939, the CPI insisted on a “class perspective” that was incompatible with Bose’s notion of an all-Indian movement against the Raj. Moreover, the CPI spoke of a “rebellion” against the Raj after the outbreak of war in Europe. Bose saw this not only as unrealistic, but also he did not want to make this final break with Gandhi and the Congress (Das 2000: 351–353). He would not be prepared for such a step until he was in Berlin. The Forward Bloc also had to contend with resistance from the most important representative, next to Bose, from the Left wing of the Congress—Nehru. Clearly, by September of 1939, Nehru no longer viewed the position of the Forward Bloc and thus, Bose’s own position, as a legitimate variant of the traditions of the Left wing of the Congress. Nehru’s resistance made it impossible for Bose to present himself as a representative of the entire Left wing of the Congress. The Forward Bloc remained a faction within the faction. It never became the umbrella organization within the umbrella organization. Moreover, the British prohib-

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ited the Forward Bloc after the beginning of the war (Wolpert 1996: 256). Bose’s course of action against the Congress, which was now clearly and indubitably under Gandhi’s influence, had to have consequences. When the Bengali Congress called for demonstrations against the policies of the AICC on July 9, 1939, the Working Committee of the AICC decided to remove Bose as Bengali president and, beginning in August of 1939, to prohibit him from holding any office in the Congress (Gordon 1990: 399 f.). This was tantamount to a prohibition on any sort of activity in the Congress—this was the break with the Congress. Yet this break was overshadowed by developments in Europe. These developments opened the door for other political engagements for Bose. After September 1, 1939 When Great Britain and France declared war on the German Empire on September 3, 1939, the viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, joined in this declaration in the name of India—without consulting the politicians in the Congress (Wolpert 1996: 256). In so doing, Linlithgow and the British government made it clear how much weight they were giving to the partial autonomy of India that was grounded in the Government of India Act of 1935. There was no longer any doubt that London would make decisions about India, without even the appearance of respect for the Congress, if need be, and thus for India’s independence movement. If London had directed a request for support to India after declaring war on Germany, and if the Chamberlain government had accompanied this request with the offer to extend more liberties to India beyond the scope of the Government of India Act, Nehru would likely have been able to convince the Congress to offer its support for the British war effort. But Chamberlain’s cabinet had other concerns and in late summer of 1939, India was not one of the regions of highest priority for British politics. In September 1939, Czechoslovakia had been a distant country for Chamberlain, of which he openly admitted knowing little. One year later, India had fallen to a subordinate role in the thoughts of the prime minister. The potentially pro-British attitude of the Congress was expressed in the Working Committee’s resolution of September 14: “The Con-

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gress has repeatedly declared its entire approval of the ideology and practice of fascism and Nazism. . . . The Working Committee must therefore unhesitatingly condemn the latest aggression of the Nazi government in Germany against Poland. . . . The Congress has further laid down that the issue of war and peace for India must be decided by the Indian people. . . . Cooperation must be between equals by mutual consent. . . . A free, democratic India will gladly associate herself with other free nations” (qtd. in Wolpert 1996: 256). This was the offer of an alliance. But the British government was not capable of recognizing and appreciating it as such: not under Chamberlain, because until 1940 the British government had no clearly defined military goals and no global perspective; not under Churchill because he would make the very securing of British control over India one of these military goals. British policy had insulted the Congress. And this strengthened Bose, because from the outset, he had not counted on any accommodation from the British, rather he had counted on direct confrontation. This development strengthened Bose’s credibility: had he not always warned about viewing democratic Great Britain differently than any other imperial power that did not care a whit about respecting the values of democracy in and for India? Now Bose saw a weary British imperialism challenged by a dynamic new imperialism. A clear perspective can be heard from his statements about the war in Europe: the dynamics of a new imperialism must be used against the old in the interests of India. “[A] new Imperialist power like Germany has shown far greater dynamism and mobility. Without this dynamism, a revolutionary and unheard-of step like the Soviet-German Pact would not have been possible” (qtd. in Das 2000: 377). Bose did not hide the fact that he admired the dynamism of Hitler’s Germany. “Germany may be a Fascist or an Imperialist, ruthless or cruel, but one cannot help admiring these qualities of hers.” He did add the following distancing remark to his words: “Could not these qualities be utilised for promoting a nobler cause?” (qtd. in Gordon 1990: 410). In view of the British lack of interest in a compromise with the Congress, Bose now set his sights on using the disappointment in Congress to his own advantage. The platform he organized for that purpose was the All-India Anti-Compromise Conference that convened in Ramgarh in Bihar in March of 1940. In his speech, Bose criticized the Right wing of the Congress, Mahatma Gandhi, and the

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“pseudo-Leftists”—Nehru, clearly, because they were still running after the illusion of a compromise with Great Britain. Bose made fun of the Congress—whose resolutions may have impressed the rest of the world, but certainly not the British, who were a “realistic race” (Bose 1997b: 259). Coming from Bose, this was, of course, a compliment of sorts to this “race.” Bose supported his own brand of realism—once again—on the likes of Lenin, Mussolini (not on Hitler!), and de Valera (Bose 1997b: 260 f.). The conference of Ramgarh was part of Bose’s efforts to develop a basis outside the Congress. But the circle of those who confirmed his power grew increasingly narrow. He still had influence in Bengal, to be sure. In 1940, his brother Sarat was still leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party in the parliament of Bengal. Yet the Bengali government, which was supported primarily by the Muslim League and other Muslim parties, followed a policy of cooperation with the British. Jinnah, it must be remembered, wanted to present himself to the British as a reliable partner in order to reach the goal of independence through partition. However, the influence of the Bose brothers was still sufficient to determine the outcome of local politics in Calcutta. Bengali politics in its entirety was already being determined by other Indian politicians and they did not follow the strategy of confrontation but instead one of cooperation with the Raj. The goal was not an independent Indian nation, but a nation of Muslims and a nation of Hindus, a goal that Gandhi as well as Bose, of course, rejected. In his willingness to face a confrontation with the British, Bose could not, in any case, rely on the autonomous government of Bengal (Gordon 1990: 411–413). The military successes of Nazi Germany continued to isolate Bose. In the summer of 1940, Nehru and other leaders of the Congress advocated making the British government an offer of cooperation in the face of the threat of a German victory. The Congress would be willing to participate in an Indian National Government, that is to say, in an emergency government of concentrated powers modeled after the British government in London. But when the response of the British government, now led by Churchill, did not meet the expectations of the Congress, the Congress put its faith in Gandhi’s neutrality again and in the repeated campaign of civil disobedience (Brown 1988: 291). Britain’s lack of flexibility had caused it to miss the chance to secure the support, if limited, of the Congress. Instead of the poli-

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cies that Nehru, the friend of the British Labour Party, represented, the policies of the Congress were determined by Gandhi’s “neutral’ course. But it was not to be the last opportunity that would be missed during the war. Less than two years later, the opportunity opened up by Labour Minister Stafford Cripps would be wasted as well (Voigt 1978: 55–70, 138–147). Bose, who could neither identify with Gandhi’s neutrality nor with Nehru’s willingness to support the British effort with certain limitations, would comment on the failure of the Cripps mission from Berlin. This development served to distance Bose from his former friends in the Left wing of the Congress, above all Nehru. Nehru interpreted his socialism in a primarily anti-Fascist manner, that is to say, his opposition to Hitler and Mussolini was superimposed over his anticolonialism. Bose interpreted his socialism in a primarily nationalistic manner. He would welcome the defeat of Great Britain even if it had to be purchased with the victory of the Axis powers. The war had divided the Left wing of the Congress into two diametrically opposed factions. Nehru stood for one faction, Bose for the other. But Nehru still had access to the center, to Gandhi. Nehru was still what Bose had not become after all—the “good son.” In this conflict between Nehru and Bose, Gandhi stood in the middle in terms of viewpoints. He did not share Nehru’s sense of priority that a German victory was to be avoided at all costs. Nor did he share Bose’s sense of priority that everything possible had to be done to defeat Great Britain. Gandhi differed from Nehru in that he did not share the latter’s distinction between the lesser evil—British rule—and the greater evil—a Nazi victory. Gandhi was still separated from Bose by the fact that he could not accept Bose’s option of openly taking part in the war. Gandhi stood between the two men and thus was in a particularly effective position to determine the political course taken by the Congress. But unlike Bose, Nehru had never really distanced himself personally from Gandhi, the Mahatma. In India, Bose saw himself isolated for the most part, at least from the leadership in the Congress. If he was still able to hope for representing a unified position of the Left wing with Nehru until September 1, 1939 vis-à-vis Gandhi’s centrist position, then after this date, he was further removed from Nehru than he was from Gandhi (Bose 1997a: 385 f.). In late 1940, Bose had hardly any more opportunities to act in a political capacity in India. The British had isolated him. He was further from the mainstream of the Congress than ever

Gandhi’s Friend and Foe 153

before. And so he relied on the notion that he must be welcome to the enemy of his enemy. Bose had gained in stature through the outbreak of war in Europe—theoretically. He was suddenly of great interest again, in both the positive and the negative sense, for all those who thought in global strategic categories. But Bose was not really able to make use of this potential stature in India. He was not able to build a truly broad alternative to the Congress under the increasingly repressive conditions of British rule. And so he could not make use of Gandhi’s and Nehru’s indecision, which was the result of British policy. Increasingly limited by the politics of the Muslim majority in Bengal and alienated from many of his former friends in the Left wing of the Congress because of his strategic sympathies for an alliance with Hitler and Mussolini, Bose had not been able to access the potential in India that the war in Europe and the inflexibility of the British policy on India had actually offered him. Bose was arrested on July 2, 1940. He was more dangerous to the Raj than ever before. The British authorities saw in the Forward Bloc— understandably—a potential “Fifth Column” and in Bose, its leader. Bose thought through his options while in prison in Calcutta. He decided to regain, above all, his personal freedom to act. He threatened the autonomous government of Bengal and the minister responsible for internal security, Khwaja Nazimuddin from the Muslim League, with a hunger strike and in fact, began it on November 29. In response, he was released on December 5, but remained under constant police surveillance in a sort of house arrest and had to assume he could be arrested again at any time (Gordon 1990: 412, 417 f.; Bose 1997a: 386 f.). In prison, Bose had developed a plan of action to break out of his political isolation. Two years later in Germany he represented his decision as the result of a rational deduction: Firstly, Britain would lose the war and the British Empire would break up. Secondly, in spite of being in a precarious position, the British would not hand over power to the Indian people and the latter would have to fight for their freedom. Thirdly, India would win her independence if she played her part in the war against Britain and collaborated with those powers that were fighting Britain. The conclusion . . . was that India should actively enter the field of international politics. (Bose 1997a: 386)

There was nothing false about this calculation—except for the premise. And this premise would accompany Bose from then on to his death and ultimately destroy him. He had based his politics and

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his life on a single foundation: on the defeat of Great Britain. When this premise was falsified by the course of history, Bose was at an end. He concluded that India should enter the field of international politics personally, above all. He wanted to intervene in world politics in the name of India. Bose had his contacts in Germany and Italy. But Fascist Italy, to whose “Duce” Bose had been able to establish a good relationship in 1934 and 1935, was weak. Nazi Germany had not developed a policy on India. The crass racism of Hitler and the entire National Socialist Party was against it. For this reason, Bose had attempted to establish contact with two other nations, whose anti-British politics he could count on: the USSR and Japan (Gordon 1990: 416 f.). The attempts to form a connection with the Soviet Union and the Communist Internationale (Comintern) failed due to Stalin’s caution (Das 2000: 331). But Bose had been in touch with Japanese diplomats since 1938. A colleague of Bose’s, with whom he was close, had traveled to Tokyo in 1940 on Bose’s behalf. The contacts to Japan did not bring about any tangible results. In this way, Bose’s Eurocentrism was strengthened. From his viewpoint in 1940, the potential allies of the Indian struggle for independence were in Europe—the governments in Berlin and Rome, engaged in open war against London, and the government in Moscow that had given up the concept of an “anti-Fascist alliance” in August of 1939 in favor of an arrangement with the Axis powers (Das 2000: 479). Japan, of course, had begun to use the slogan “Asia to the Asians.” Bose’s expectation that Japanese politics would have a positive effect on the cause of Indian independence was understandable. In 1940, from Bose’s perspective, in any case, the Japanese leadership did not make any attempts to intervene directly in the war against Great Britain on the side of Germany and Italy. Thus, Bose’s viewpoint was that the only really decisive opponent of the British Empire was Nazi Germany. So this was where Bose felt compelled to go. In Italy he could have counted on a friendlier reception, but Italy was secondary in the war against Great Britain. He would have preferred the Soviet Union in ideological terms, but the Soviet Union had never responded to Bose’s advances. As an Asian power, Japan would have been a logical partner—but Japanese politics had not yet decided on the strategy that would lead to Pearl Harbor. Immediately following his release from prison in December 1940, Bose began to prepare his escape. The route would lead through

Gandhi’s Friend and Foe 155

Afghanistan and the Soviet Union to Berlin. During the night of January 16–17, 1941, he escaped the eyes of the British-Bengali police surveillance in Calcutta, which was clearly not very effective (Gordon 1990: 418–421). Bose’s escape was an escape from British imprisonment. But it was also an escape from his isolation from Gandhi and the Congress. Bose’s temperament could not accept Gandhi’s strategy, which seemed to be reduced to a passive waiting. Gandhi, in turn, could not accept Bose’s impatience, to say nothing of the result of this impatience, the military option. Bose’s escape was also a break with his fellow travelers and rivals from the Left wing, with Nehru. It was the break between Nehru, influenced by Marxism, social democracy, and Europe, and the Leftist, nationalist Bose. Bose could not accept Nehru’s global perspective because—from Bose’s perspective—it overlooked the crucial opportunity to give the coup de grâce to the Raj. Bose’s nationalism lacked the international dimension that characterized the nationalism of the other proponent of the Left wing, Nehru. And there was a limit to Nehru’s nationalism because he was not in a position to see India’s interests separate from those of China or Poland or democracy in general. But Bose did not completely disappear from the Congress. The break with Gandhi and Nehru was one of principle, but it was not a final break, neither on the part of the Congress, nor on Bose’s part. Rather, Gandhi and Nehru saw in him the prodigal son or brother again; and when the son and brother could no longer return home in 1945, the Congress went out of its way to embrace him, as well as seeing to it that Bose’s legacy could be preserved not outside of, but within the Congress. But Bose did not stop representing himself as someone who was carrying out the policies of the Congress. Particularly between the years of 1942 and 1944, when Gandhi and Nehru were the victims of the (final) repressive phase of the Raj, he virtually inundated them with friendly words and gestures (e.g., in the radio address in Singapore on October 3, 1943 on the occasion of Gandhi’s seventy-fifth birthday [Bose 1946b: 206 f.]). How similar the two images are: in 1932 Bose had turned against Gandhi. Bose’s criticism of the Gandhi–Irwin Pact signaled a deep rift between the Mahatma and the political adoptive son of C. R. Das. Bose was detained by the British government of India—not because of his opposition to Gandhi but because he was a part of the leadership of the Congress. Bose’s health worsened. The British of-

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fered him a way out—the trip to Europe, to Vienna. In early 1933, then, the stage was set. The Raj was rid of Bose, at least for a few years. And Bose was able to distance himself—spatially and politically, above all from Gandhi. In 1939 and 1940, Bose had presented himself publicly as an opponent of Gandhi’s—at first as the Mahatma’s opponent within the Congress. Since Bose had not been able to establish a majority in the Congress—at least, not outside of Bengal, he tried to overcome his isolation by founding the Forward Bloc: one party in the Congress, one opposition to the Congress. Once again, the British detained Bose. And once again Bose escaped this internment by fleeing to Europe. This time he fled not with the approval of the British; rather, he fled from the British and, indirectly, also from his isolation within the Congress. In 1932, a Bose in Europe was preferable to a Bose in India for the British. In 1940, a Bose in Europe was more dangerous to the British than a Bose in India, because in the meantime, war had broken out. And Bose had left no doubt that he would use for his own purposes the troubled situation the British found themselves in due to the war, which for him were India’s purposes. Bose had challenged Gandhi twice. Each time he had not been accepted as the “good son” by the father of them all (Übervater). Each time after the rejection, he had escaped from the Übervater by fleeing from him. For Gandhi, the prodigal son had lost his way again. But unlike the situation after his first departure in 1933, this time the son would not return.

8 No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? Ramakrishna Hedge, the former chief minister of Karnataka from the ranks of the Janata Dal, entitled his contribution to the volume India at 50 “Egos, Not Parties.” Hedge recounts India’s successes in the first fifty years of independence: agriculture, industry, education, and many other sectors. But in one area, he wrote, India has failed: “half a century since India became free, there is yet no stable party system” (Hedge 1997: 49). Indeed, India’s party system has been characterized since the beginning by the hegemony of a single party surrounded by smaller parties that proved no real competition—similar to the party systems of Japan, Italy, and Mexico at that same time. For decades in Japan it was not possible to build a majority without the Liberal Democratic Party; in Italy between 1948 and the early 1990s the Democrazia Cristiana was necessary for a parliamentary majority; and in Mexico the Party of the Institutionalized Revolution—the PRI— controlled the central political system as the permanent party of government until the year 2000, despite the existence of other parties. The Indian party system was similar during the period 1947–1977: in the beginning was the Congress Party, then came the Congress again; all other parties were of tertiary importance. The hegemony of the Congress Party can be explained primarily in terms of the history of the independence movement. The Congress Party shares direct continuity with the National Congress. The Congress founded the state; the Congress defined the political identity of India. This was the basis for the hegemony of the Congress Party during the first thirty years of the history of Indian democracy. This continuity is symbolized by the dynasty of Jawaharlal Nehru, who was able to draw on his appeal as the direct successor to Gandhi. 157

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Before 1947 the Congress was the only real force that could speak for India, not just for a segment of India’s population. For decades thereafter the Congress Party was the only relevant party that could not be reduced to a certain region or religion. Two Catch-All Parties and Many Regional Parties The time of the dominance of the Congress Party has passed. But the hegemony of the Congress Party has not made way for a balanced two- or multi-party system—although the rise of the BJP has demonstrated the potential for a two-party system. After more than fifty years the party system in India has become a vague two-block system with so many small parties, so many alliances in a constant state of flux, so many changing loyalties, that Hedge’s “Egos, Not Parties” becomes understandable. The Lok Sabha elections in 1996, 1998, and 1999 made the deconcentration of the party system evident: the two large parties together, the Congress and the BJP, always received approximately 50 percent of the votes. The second half of the votes were distributed among a multitude of parties, none of which even came close to garnering 10 percent of the votes. Yet some of these parties—as regional parties—constitute a major party within a particular region in one state (deSouza 2000b: 214). The Lok Sabha elected in 1999 is characterized by this splintering and the block system it reflects: the governing alliance, led by the BJP, holds 302 seats—182 held by the BJP, 29 by the regional TDP, the other seats being distributed among thirteen other parties. The opposition alliance, led by the Congress Party, holds 136 seats— 114 held by the Congress itself, while five other parties hold the remaining seats. A series of other parties together form the Left Front, a further development of the United Front. The largest of these are the CPM with 33 seats and the Samajwadhi Party (SP) with 26 seats (Ahuja 2000: 303). The development of the party system reflects the following trends: z

The Congress Party is on the decline but is not disappearing completely as a major party. After the change from Nehru to Indira Gandhi it was weakened by a crisis of succession, but it withstood this crisis, just as it withstood the change from Rao to Sonia Gandhi. However, the Congress Party does not appear strong enough to rule by itself at any time in the near future.

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 159 z

z

The Communist Party, which had seemed to be the only opposition to the Congress in the first two decades became a marginal phenomenon on the national level—in part as a result of its division into the pro-Congress CPI and the rather anti-Congress CPM. However, it has maintained relevance as a large regional party in at least two states: West Bengal and Kerala. Beginning in 1989 the BJP became the second main political party, in part due to its role as heir to the anti-Congress coalition of the Table 8.1 Results of the Lok Sabha Elections: Seats in the Lok Sabha1 Congress Party (INC)

BJP and (until 1971) BJS

Communist Party or Parties

Other

1952

364

3

16

106

1957

371

4

27

92

1962

361

14

29

80 2

1967

283

35

42

1971

352

22

48 2 2

3593 1294

1977

154



29

1980

353



47 2 2

160 96

1984

415

2

28

1989

197

85

45 2

97 2025

2

1205

1991

232

120

49

1996

140

161

41 2

2016

2

1796 2116

1998

141

182

41

1999

114

182

36 2

1. The entire number of seats in the Lok Sabha varied between 489 (in 1952) and 543 (in 1998 and 1999). 2. In 1967 the Moscow-oriented CPI had a larger mandate than the Peking-oriented CPM. Starting in 1971 the CPM enjoyed greater success than the CPI primarily due to its strong position in West Bengal. In 1999 the CPM held 32 seats (of those, 21 from West Bengal, 8 from Kerala) and the CPI held 4. 3. In 1977 more parties—the BJS among them—had come together to form the antiCongress alliance BLD under the leadership of the Janata Party. The BLD received a mandate of 295, i.e., the absolute majority, but collapsed before the end of the legislature period. 4. Among these were 72 seats belonging to the two successor parties to the BLD, namely, the JPS and JP. 5. Among these were primarily the seats of the Janata Dal (JD): in 1989 the JD held 143 seats, in 1991 it held 59. 6. Primarily seats of the regional and Leftist parties that had come together to form the United Front in 1996. Source: Ahuja 2000: 271.

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broad alliance BLD of 1977. But historically, the BJP has not been large enough to govern by itself. Like the Congress Party, it is dependent on alliances with small regional parties. The most important trend is the rise of regional parties that are very successful in one particular state. However, by definition they have influence on a national level only in the form of relatively loose alliances. The regional parties and their growing importance are the reason that a two-party system has not been able to develop, despite the continued existence of a weakened Congress Party and the rise of the BJP (Brass 1995: 89–94).

The parties of the Indian political system can be divided into four groups: The Congress Party, the BJP, other nationally significant parties, and the significant regional parties. 1. The Congress Party: This party is firmly rooted in the Nehru tradition. It is the continuation of the Indian National Congress, the all-inclusive association of the independence movement. In its origins it was an umbrella movement on the national level. This characteristic still distinguishes it from the BJP—although this trend is on the decline since the BJP has gradually become a rival to the Congress Party for this role. The Congress Party’s claim of being the party of the Indian nation and the protector of the philosophy of secularism is also expressed in its all-Indian character, despite all the setbacks. That is to say, with the exception of Haryana, the Congress Party won seats in all the larger states of India in the Lok Sabha election in 1999. The Congress Party, then, is still represented in the north and the south, the east and the west. It is noticeable, of course, that the setbacks are the most obvious in the Hindi-speaking center of the north. Not only in Haryana, but also in the territory of Delhi, the Congress was unsuccessful in any of the voting districts in 1999. And in Uttar Pradesh—easily the most populous state, which was also the basis for the Nehru–Gandhi dynasty—the Congress Party was able to gain a majority in only 10 out of a total of 85 voting districts. The BJP was also able to gain only 29 seats in UP, whereas the majority of seats went to regional parties, primarily the SP and the BSP, which together were able to gain 40 seats in UP. This only goes to show that the rise of the BJP has not stayed in step with the decline of the Congress Party (Ahuja 2000: 275–280). For a long time, the Congress Party was dependent on the personal qualities of Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and her son

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 161

Rajiv Gandhi. But this dependence became a burden. The politics of the individual that characterized the Congress resulted in a leadership vacuum at the top levels of the Congress Party after the deaths of Indira’s sons, Sanjay in 1980 and Rajiv in 1991. The internal disputes after the defeat in the elections of 1996, which ultimately led to the takeover of the party’s leadership by Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, Sonia, underscored these weaknesses. In other words, the Congress had been the party of Nehru, his daughter, and his grandson for too long. The party could not liberate itself from the dynasty. The power to integrate, which had originally been the party’s greatest strength, had suffered because of this. 2. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): This party sees itself as the spearhead of an Indian nationalism of the majority. It is therefore disapproving or at least skeptical of the claims of different minorities and their advocate, the Congress Party. The BJP has primarily two roots: Hindu fundamentalism and the general protest against the unlimited hegemony of the Congress Party during the era of Nehru and Indira Gandhi. The rise of the BJP to the status of a major political party had a precondition: namely, that the BJP widens its attraction for Hindus and Hindu nationalists to include other sectors of Indian society—and also that it be in a position to do so. The very exclusive message of the BJP had been strengthened by the role of the party in 1992 when the mosque of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was destroyed. Minorities, primarily Muslims, considered themselves threatened by this form of nationalism (Brass 1995: 87 f.; Varshney 2002: 81f.). But the BJP succeeded in portraying itself as more inclusive, and in weakening the impression that its policies were a declaration of battle against minorities. During the election of 1998 the Hindu nationalist tradition of the party (“Hindutva”) was rescinded and in its stead, an inclusive form of Indian nationalism was presented: “Come all who dare.” In this way, the BJP became a “catch-all” party of India. The Lok Sabha election of 1999 confirmed the BJP as the second all-Indian party. The BJP captured seats in all the larger states and in the territory of Delhi, with the exception of Kerala (Ahuja 2000: 275–280). This underscores the fact that the BJP is no longer just a party of Hindu fundamentalists traditionally anchored in the “Hindi belt” of the north and west. Atal Bihari Vajpayee embodies the two most important roots of the BJP. Even as a young man already well-known as a journalist

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and poet, he was one of the founders of the nationalistic Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS). He made a name for himself primarily in foreign policy as a member of Parliament representing this party which was, at first, hardly successful. In 1977, the BJS joined forces with the broad alliance of the Janata Party, directed against Indira Gandhi. After their combined successes in the election, Morarji Desai, who as one of many dissidents from the Congress became premier, named Vajpayee foreign minister. The BJP was one of several successor parties that arose in the wake of the collapse of the Janata Party. The BJP aligned itself with the tradition of the BJS—with Vajpayee as president of the party. Vajpayee attempted to reconcile the Hindu traditionalism of the BJP with the secularism of the Indian constitution and to establish the all-Indian character of his party through regional alliances—with increasing success. As a governing party, the BJP is clearly not in a position to realize the particularly controversial platform of its pro-Hindu politics, nor is it willing to do so (Jalan 1999). 3. Of the other national (all-Indian) parties, those that are significant include the two Communist parties of India, the Janata Dal, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, and the Samajwadi Party. Of these parties, only the Communists and the Janata Dal have succeeded in attaining success in more than one state. For a long time, the Communist Party of India (CPI) was the most important opposition party in the Lok Sabha. In 1957 the CPI became the most powerful party in Kerala. For a number of years, the government of Kerala was considered an example of a Communist government that had come to power through democratic elections. But the divisions in world Communism had effects in India as well. For example, in 1962 a party arose that oriented itself toward Peking, calling itself the “Communist Party of India (Marxist)” (CPM). Whereas the CPM was on a steep collision course headed for Congress, the CPI was more sympathetic toward the governments of Nehru and Indira Gandhi and their relative proximity to the USSR due to reasons of foreign policy. (In 1962 troops from the People’s Republic of China occupied Indian territory in the Himalayas.) In recent years, the CPM was clearly more successful than the CPI, particularly in West Bengal. From 1996 to 1998 the CPM was part of the United Front minority government. In 1999 the CPM won 33 seats in the Lok Sabha (21 in West Bengal and 8 in Kerala), whereas the CPI won only four (Ahuja 2000: 223–226).

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 163

The Janata Dal (JD) developed from socialist groups from the Janata Party that had been victorious in 1977. It primarily tries to articulate the interests of the “backward communities,” that is to say, the lower castes and the Dalits. For a short time in 1989, V.P. Singh, as a representative of the JD, was the premier of a coalition government directed against the Congress. The JD had its base primarily in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, and Karnataka. It was the most important superregional element of the United Front that governed from 1996 to 1998 as minority government—tolerated by Congress. Gowda and Gujral, the two premiers of the United Front came from the JD. But internal conflicts and divisions reduced the significance of the JD. In 1999, two groups within the JD campaigned against one another, with the result that one group, the JD(U) won 21 seats and the other only one (Ahuja 2000: 226–228). The Janata Dal served as fertile soil for an entire series of parties that had their origins in the United Front or the JD and were able to attain political significance within certain regions. Among these were the Rashtriya Janata Dal, which sought to combine the social protest of the lower castes and the Dalits with that of the Muslims, and which formed the government in Bihar in the 1990s under Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav (Ahuja 2000: 229 f.). The Samajwadi Party (SP) was also among those parties that split off from the JD. This party, which also seeks to represent both the lower castes and the Dalits, is particularly successful in Uttar Pradesh. For instance, in 1999 the SP won the majority in 26 out of 151 voting districts (Ahuja 2000: 231). The Bahuja Samaj Party (BSP), which claims one of the fathers of the Indian independence movement and the Constitution as part of its heritage—B. R. Ambedkar—is also firmly entrenched in Uttar Pradesh. The BSP seeks to represent an alliance of Dalits and Muslims (Ahuja 2000: 228). What all of these parties have in common is their inability—at least until the present—to realize their all-Indian claims. With the exception of the two Communist parties, they are primarily based on the appeal of individuals. This extreme attention to the individual leads to constant divisions. India’s party system beyond the Congress and the BJP is so amorphous that the third parties have a massive influence on the stability of the Lok Sabha while being themselves incapable of offering alternatives. Even the government of the United Front, which was essentially an alliance of these third parties and regional parties, only existed because the Congress Party tolerated it.

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4. Of the regional parties, it is primarily those from the south and from Punjab that are of any great significance, particularly the Telugu Desam party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and the Akali Dal. The two latter parties can look back on a long tradition, whereas the TDP is a relatively young party. Overall, with the exception of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, it was specifically regional parties that were successful in all the larger states in 1999 (Ahuja 2000: 19). The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is the dominant regional party in Andra Pradesh. Founded by a film star (N. T. Rama Rao), the TDP quickly attained the majority in the state parliament but became the victim of divisions caused by personality conflicts. In the Lok Sabha election in 1999, the TDP was united with the BJP in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and is currently a coalition partner in Vajpayee’s cabinet (Brass 1995: 91 f.; Ahuja 2000: 229). The Dravida Munnhetra Kazhagam (DMK) is the dominant regional party in Tamil Nadu. Its history goes back to the time before independence when the Tamils in the southernmost state of India came together against the threat of hegemony on the part of the Congress Party, identified with the north. After numerous divisions, the DMK, like the TDP, is an important partner of the BJP and a part of the coalition government under Vajpayee (Brass 1995: 89–91; Ahuja 2000: 232). The Akali Dal represents the interests of autonomy on the part of the Sikhs in Punjab. After various divisions, primarily in the context of the radical independence movement that had a “Khalistan” as its goal, the Akali Dal controlled the politics of the state. On the federal level, the Akali Dal is a viable coalition partner. For example, it has enjoyed an alliance with the BJP since 1997, and since 1998 it has been a coalition partner of Vajpayee’s (Brass 1995: 92 f.; Ahuja 2000: 233 f.). These three parties are only the three most important and relatively stable examples of the constantly changing constellation of regional parties. This constant state of change makes it difficult to have an overview of the sheer multitude of these regional parties. On the state level, the same pattern holds as for the national level. That is to say, factions oriented toward individuals divide over and over, establish their own parties, create alliances that are typically short-lived, and thus hardly allow a lasting image of the party landscape beyond the Congress Party and the BJP to emerge. But it is precisely the NDA, carried by Vajpayee and the BJP, that demon-

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 165

strates that governing in India is only possible when specific regional interests are taken into consideration and are then represented by these parties. Politics as Personalization The all-Indian character of the Congress Party made a decisive contribution to the integration of the many partial identities during the first decades of Indian democracy. The long hegemony of the Congress Party was also due in part to the fact that no other party was able to rise to any level of significance in all-Indian terms. Only in the 1990s was the BJP successful in this—due largely to the shift from exclusivity to inclusivity. In this way, a second people’s party, or a catch-all party, was able to provide competition for the Congress Party. What the BJP was successful at, that is, the development of a collective party, has hitherto not been possible for other parties. This is not due to the demands of the parties. The Janata Dal, above all, had set its sights on becoming the all-Indian people’s party. And in the late 1950s, the CPI was not so far from reaching this goal. But the complexity of Indian society is clearly an impediment for the development of stable parties that seek to be more than just regional parties. A further impediment for the development of stable all-Indian parties is the noticeable weight that individuals within the party system receive. Parties appear to be more like loose associations around a certain person rather than solid parties of the masses with an identity based on traditions and platforms instead of individuals. The tendency to tie political loyalties to individual persons also played an important role in the biography of Subhas Chandra Bose. In early 1942 in Southeast Asia, Japan wanted to recruit an army from the Indian troops of the British Army that had become prisoners of the Japanese. Japan was counting on the political and financial support of the Indian minority in Singapore, Malaysia, and Burma, but these efforts were soon paralyzed by strong internal conflicts between various individuals in Indian exile. Not until the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in Southeast Asia in spring of 1943 did an organized and potentially powerful unit emerge from the divisive and thus ineffective and—from the point of view of the Japanese war machine—useless group of men. Bose’s arrival saved the Japanese and Indian (in exile) concept of an Indian army directed against

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Democracy Indian Style

the British, armed by Japan but under the political control of Indian nationalists (Sahgal 1997: 44–46). Bose was able to use the personality factor to his own advantage. He was able to make use of loyalties that were directed not only to his program but above all to his own person. This particular tendency toward a politics of the individual can be seen within the Congress Party even more clearly from 1947 onward; also within the alliance that dealt the Congress its first election defeat in 1977. This politics of the individual accompanied the decline of the Janata Dal and the rise of the BJP. And the regional parties in particular are defined by this sort of politics. The focus on the individual both enables and destroys the alliances that have governed as minority or majority coalitions since 1989. And Hedge has this politics of the individual in mind when he views Indian politics as being defined by egos and not by parties. The strong connection of loyalty with individuals within Indian politics can also be derived from the early history of the Indian National Congress. The integrative power of Mahatma Gandhi played a role in establishing this politics of the individual. Jawaharlal Nehru also possessed this integrative power. But the conflict over his successor showed that the roles of Mahatam Gandhi and Nehru could not simply be bequeathed. Indira Gandhi’s rise to the top of the party and the government was confirmed by an impressive election victory, but her rise to power caused a series of crises and divisions within the party. This became clear in 1977 when the victorious Janata Party was led primarily by former Congress politicians. The alternative to a government by the Congress Party under Indira Gandhi was an alliance in which prominent dissidents from Nehru’s generation in the Congress played an important role. Through intra-party divisions the Congress had prepared its own defeat: z

Morarji Desai was the first premier of India who did not become head of government as a candidate of the Congress Party. But his career was that of a politician from the Congress: for decades he was a member of the leading team of the National Congress and of the Congress Party. He was considered one of the most significant representatives of the more conservative wing and was for many the logical successor to Nehru—and that was his ambition (Wolpert 1996: 488 f.). When he did not attain this goal after Nehru’s death, he left the Congress—or, rather, he founded an anti-Con-

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 167

z

gress party. But the founding of this party remained unsuccessful—until 1977 when a broad alliance of all of those hurt by Indira Gandhi’s authoritarian emergency regime focused on Desai as premier. Jagjivan Ram had played a prominent role in the the Congress Party during the first two decades after 1947. As the most visible representative of the Dalits, he had held the position of minister in several departments. Under Indira Gandhi his last position had been in the Ministry of Defense. Shortly before the Lok Sabha election in 1977, Ram left the Congress Party and joined the Janata Party. The fact that the most important representative of the “untouchables” (whose total number in 1977 was estimated to be 100 million) threw his weight against the Congress contributed significantly to the defeat of Indira Gandhi. Ram became a minister under Desai. But with the collapse of the Janata Alliance, Ram’s influence was at an end (Wolpert 1997: 404, 410).

These are only two examples from Indira Gandhi’s era for the history of the constant conflicts between egos and for the decisive influence that individuals had on the development of the Indian party system. The dealignment and realignment of the Indian party landscape largely followed—and continues to follow—a politics of clans: groups led by one person and obliged to this one person, shift their loyalty according to the career moves of the “egos.” Everything that happened around the succession of Nehru regarding the “egos” was repeated when the Congress sought a charismatic leader after the death of Nehru’s grandson and the defeat of 1996. For the Congress Party, 1998 and 1999 were a time of desertion: many leading “egos” left the party, recognizing that the Congress could no longer meet the expectations of individual politicians and their respective constituencies as it had done before. When Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, decided to follow the suggestion of one part of the party leadership and step into a leadership role herself, this gave rise to a further wave of divisions. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), founded in 1999 by the leading Congress politicians Sharad Pawar and P. A. Sangma, campaigned against the Congress Party led by Sonia Gandhi, attaining considerable success particularly in Maharashtra (the home state of Pawar) and in Meghalaya (the home state of Sangma). This split was significant in the defeat of the Congress in 1999 (Ahuja 2000: 20 f., 236).

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This division of the Congress in 1999 offers insight into the internal structures of Indian parties. Pawar and Sangma were both able to carry over a large part of the Congress Party in each of their states into the new party. In the Lok Sabha election in Maharashtra in 1999, the Congress won ten seats, the NCP six. In the parliament of the state of Maharashtra the Congress Party is represented with 75 seats, the NCP with 58. Pawar deprived the Congress Party of one third of its seats in Maharashtra. In the small state of Meghalaya the inroads were even greater, relatively speaking. In 1998, the Congress had won both of the state’s Lok Sabha seats, whereas in 1999 it had to relinquish one seat to the NCP. This seat was from the electoral district of Sangma, who, like Pawar, was reelected. (Ahuja 2000: 142 f., 146 f.). The loyalty of the Congress Party was (and is) just as much directed toward individuals as it is toward the party—and this commitment to individuals is a phenomenon that causes no end of trouble, and not only for the Congress Party. The tendency toward a politics of the individual and divisions along personal lines is by no means limited to the national level. The regional parties are similarly affected by this phenomenon. One example for the extreme unpredictability of the party system due to the politics of the individual is the TDP. Unlike the Akali Dal in Punjab and the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh is a relatively young regional party. In Andra Pradesh the need for regional demarcation from the central government and from the Congress was traditionally less pronounced than in the more southerly Tamil Nadu and in the northwestern state of Punjab. The TDP was not established until the 1980s—as the party of the film star N. T. Rama Rao. This crossover politician was able to win the majority of votes in his state in a short period of time and to make himself a sought-after political partner on the national level. But his death in 1996 provoked a conflict of the pre-modern sort: his widow and his son battled each other for the leadership of this large regional party. When it seemed that the son was winning this battle, the widow founded a rival party that remained fairly unsuccessful. In 1999 the TDP became the most important coalition partner for the BJP on the national level (Ahuja 2000: 63). Behind the rise of the TDP we can see not only the prominence of a film star and the willingness of millions of voters to prefer a nonpolitician over the known politicians. There is a societal conflict hidden behind this phenomenon that cannot be found in the official

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 169

data of voting behavior. This is the conflict between the castes. The TDP mobilized primarily the caste of the Kammas, whereas the Congress traditionally supported itself largely on the caste of the Reddys (Ahuja 2000: 63). Both castes represent the landowning “higher” social strata. Along these lines of cleavage the TDP mobilized a majority of voters who belonged to neither the one nor the other of these castes. The TDP owes its rise to a film star—and to a societal conflict along the lines of York and Lancaster or the Capulets and Montagues. These conflicts, articulated by individuals and directed toward individuals, cannot simply be seen as the expression of an uncontrolled egomania that determines India’s political culture. Social tensions are at work behind the scenes, and the volatility of the Indian party system does not only give the “egos” a stage. Rather, this unpredictability serves as a safety valve that the heterogeneity of Indian society clearly needs. Table 8.2 Voting Turnout in the Elections to the Lok Sabha Election Year

Election Districts

Eligible Voters

Percentage of Eligible Voters Who Voted

1952

489

173,213,635

45.7%

1957

494

193,652,069

47.7%

1962

494

216,372,215

55.4%

1967

520

249,003,334

61.3%

1971

518

274,094,493

55.3%

1977

542

321,174,327

60.5%

1980

542

355,590,700

57.0%

1984

542

399,816,294

64.1%

1989

543

498,906,429

62.0%

1991

543

514,126,380

56.7%

1996

543

592,572,288

57.9%

1998

543

602,340,382

1999 1.

543

620,400,000

Estimated: Ahuja 2000: 16

Source: deSouza 2000(2): 210; Ahuja 2000: 281, 324.

62.0% 1

60.0%

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Democracy Indian Style

One example for the visibility of the social cleavages at work behind the “egos” is the Trinamool Congress, a regionally very successful branch of the Congress Party. This party, led by Mamta Banerjee is the result of “cross cutting,” that is, lines of conflict that cross each other. Mamta Banerjee was a leading Congress Party politician in West Bengal. In this state she and the Congress opposed the CPM government under Chief Minister Jyoti Basu that had long been in power. This opposition on her part was in agreement with the decades-old pattern of constant conflict between the Congress Party and the CPM, a conflict that can, of course, be seen in the context of the division of the CPI and the originally international dimension of the division. That is to say, India under Nehru, Shastri, and Indira Gandhi was oriented more toward the USSR and was supported in this by the CPI. As a party originally oriented toward Peking, the CPM was strongly opposed to the Congress and the Congress was equally opposed to the CPM. Yet this constellation had changed in 1996—on the national level. The Congress decided to support the minority government of the United Front, primarily in order to keep the rising BJP out of the government. But the CPM was part of the United Front. This shift in perspective was one of the Union and not of the state of West Bengal, where the CPM, as a major regional party and as the party of government, had long encountered their strongest opposition from the Congress Party. Thus, the logic of the political configuration of West Bengal did not allow an alliance between the Congress and the CPM, whereas the logic of the political configuration of the Union demanded such an alliance. As a result, a part of the Congress Party of West Bengal left the party and founded a new party, the Trinamool Congress. In 1988 this branch displaced the Congress Party in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal to a great degree. Even in 1999 it remained, after the CPM, the second strongest party in this state (Ahuja 2000: 191). This division had also set another logic in motion: after Mamta Banerjee had distanced herself in this way from the Congress, she became of interest to the BJP. In this way, the Trinamool Congress became a coalition partner of Vajpayee’s government—and Mamta Banerjee became railway minister of the Union. As a candidate of the Trinamool Congress, Shrimati Krishna Bose was also elected to the Lok Sabha as a representative of an electoral district in Calcutta. She sees to it that the name Bose is alive and well

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 171

in Indian and in Bengali politics. She is Sarat Chandra Bose’s daughter-in-law. The game of the “egos” cannot be seen solely as arbitrary personal will and excessive vanity. It is also part of the context of the heterogeneity of Indian society. A disciplined two-party system like that of the British offers too few safety mechanisms for the colorful diversity and contradictory nature of Indian society. The series of divisions and new parties being founded, of regional peculiarities and personal ambitions clearly corresponds to a social need and has thus not seriously threatened the stability of Indian democracy. The politics of the individual has perhaps (or probably) promoted this stability. Elections, the Electoral System, and Electoral Behavior The characteristic that identifies India as a stable democracy is the regular return of free and competitive elections and the fact that every government of India has been the product of fair elections. Indian democracy derives its character first and foremost from the process of parliamentary elections and its quality of fairness. Certain hallmarks characterize Indian elections: z

z

z

The active and passive right to vote is guaranteed from the age of 18 regardless of religion, language, or gender. What is significant in this country that has such a high percentage of illiteracy among its voters is that this circumstance causes no limitations regarding the right to vote. Election to the lower house of the Union (the Lok Sabha) and to the parliaments of the individual states is characterized by the phenomenon of “reserved seats.” In this way, traditionally disadvantaged groups—Dalits, socially “backward” classes, and certain ethnicities (tribal aborigines)—are guaranteed parliamentary representation. The electoral system that is valid for all levels of the Indian political system is that of the relative (or simple) majority election—the election of one person in a voting district on a single ballot (“firstpast-the-post”). In this way, the concentration of the party system is promoted—particularly the strongest or the two strongest parties receive an additional bonus that is designed to simplify the building of a majority in Parliament.

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Democracy Indian Style

All of these characteristics are pieces of the “puzzle” that Arend Lijphart sees in Indian democracy (Lijphart 1996). These characteristics are steered by political means and are the result of conscious changes in strategic direction primarily during the years 1947–1950. The general right to vote is carried out in India to an extent that more or less corresponds to that of Western democracies. Since the 1970s, the percentage of the voting public that actually goes to the polls is higher than for the presidential elections and elections to the Congress in the United States and is higher than for the National Council elections in Switzerland. But the percentage of Indian voters who actually vote is less than that of those who vote in parliamentary elections in Germany, France, and Italy. The percentage of eligible voters who actually went to the polls increased with the reduction of the hegemony of the Congress Party— and with the reduction of illiteracy. The fact that approximately 60 percent of eligible voters actually go to the polls demonstrates, in any case, that in a country that still has a high rate of illiteracy the democratic process neither passes these people by, nor is it in any way negatively affected by their inclusion in the process. The fact that 60 percent of more than 600 million eligible voters—that is, almost 400 million men and women—participate actively in the democratic process speaks for the fact that democracy is firmly rooted in Indian society. Amendments to the Indian Constitution specify for certain states a number of seats for scheduled tribes (aborigines) and scheduled castes. In the year 2000, 39 seats in the Lok Sabha were reserved for scheduled tribes—of those, 9 were for Madya Pradesh, 5 for Bihar, and 5 for Orissa. Seventy-nine seats were reserved for scheduled castes (Dalits and socially weak castes)—of those, 18 were for Uttar Pradesh, 8 for Bihar, and 8 for West Bengal (Ahuja 2000: 45–48). This policy of guaranteeing parliamentary representation for certain historically and currently disadvantaged ethnicities and social groups is an important characteristic of the political culture in India. It stands in opposition to the official secularism of India: in order to reserve seats in Parliament for certain groups, voters must register as members of a certain caste or social group. This is the only way of being certain that Dalits can vote for Dalits and that certain ethnic minorities can vote for their own representatives. This tension is inherent in the pattern of “reversed discrimination.” That is to say, in order to achieve more social equality, those

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 173

who are “different” must be treated differently. In order to approach the goal of a society that is neutral with regard to caste, color, and creed—the goal of secularization—those who are disadvantaged in the society which is, after all, not blind to these disadvantages, must be supported and encouraged. However, in order for such support to be possible, the disadvantaged must declare themselves members of their disadvantaged group. In this way, the very thing that, according to the founding philosophy of democratic India is not supposed to exist, becomes visible: castes. There is a similar tension concerning the specific civil law for Muslims. In order to integrate Islam, which has its own legal tradition, Muslims must be granted their own legal norms in a broad sense, but particularly as regards family law. At least, this is the consequence as it pertains in India. Taking into consideration the tradition of Islam results in conflicts with feminist groups who view this special status as discrimination against women. It also results in conflicts with the interpretation of nationalism as it is represented by the BJP and particularly by the Shiv Sena Party, which is especially successful in Maharashtra (Bhargava 2000). The Indian electoral system is firmly rooted in the British tradition. The traditional assumption would thus be that this electoral system also has similar consequences: the concentration on two parties and the indirect exclusion of smaller parties. This has not happened in India. In the Lok Sabha elected in 1999 there are thirty-six parties represented. In addition, there are fifteen representatives who could not be aligned with any particular party (Ahuja 2000: 303). The average percentage of votes controlled by each of the thirty-six parties is thus almost exactly 3 percent. In most democracies with proportional representation, this percentage would not be enough to clear the legislated hurdle (e.g., in Germany it is 5 percent). In no other stable democracy is there such a splintering of the party system. In any case, the Indian electoral system does not have the effect that is generally ascribed to majority rule: the concentration of the party system (Lijphart 1986). Rather, the electoral system in India has an effect that is viewed as the result of an ideal, perfect system of proportional representation with no prohibitive clauses, no percentage of votes that must be reached to win seats. This effect is the splintering and deconcentration of the party system. The explanation that Lijphart gave for this phenomenon in 1996 lies with the regional parties (Lijphart 1996: 261). They present, to

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Democracy Indian Style

be sure, no serious competition to the Congress Party or the BJP on a national level, but they do present competition on a regional level. For example, when the TDP in Andra Pradesh was able to win twentynine seats in the Lok Sabha with more than 13 million votes, it meant that the TDP as a party that campaigned in only one state, receiving only 3.7 percent of all votes, gained 5.3 percent of the entire mandate (543 seats total). In a system of proportional representation with a prohibitive clause requiring 5 percent of votes to be won, the TDP would never have made it into Parliament. It would have failed to cross this hurdle. India is therefore probably the only democracy in which the introduction of proportional representation with even the slightest prohibitive clause would result in a significant concentration effect. If one submits the 1999 Lok Sabha election results to the rules of proportional representation with a 5 percent clause, only three parties would have received seats: the Congress, the BJP, and the CPM. If one assumes a 4 percent clause, the BSP would have been a fourth party admitted to Parliament. A 3 percent clause would have increased the represented parties by three—SP, TDP, and JD(U). Simply concluding that introducing proportional representation with a 5 percent clause would reduce the number of parties in the Lok Sabha to three is, of course, not possible, because the splintering of the party system is accompanied by certain agreements made between parties. These agreements, can, for example, lead to one party ceding voting districts to another party in the context of an Table 8.3 Percentage of Votes by Party, 1999 Parties with more than 5 percent of the vote Congress Party

28.42 %

BJP

23.70 %

CPM

5.38 %

Additional parties with more than 3 percent of the vote BSP

4.23 %

SP

3.79 %

TDP

3.70 %

JD (U)

3.05 %

Source: Ahuja 2000: 307.

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 175

alliance. That is to say, the first party does not even campaign in that particular voting district. Such a strategy is the product of majority rule and cannot be transferred to proportional representation. Yet this strategy is also the reason that the BJP, which won fewer votes than the Congress (85.2 million voted for the BJP, whereas 102.2 million voted for the Congress) clearly won a larger mandate (182 as compared to 115). The BJP had campaigned in only 339 voting districts, whereas the Congress had campaigned in 453. The BJP, whose alliance in 1999 comprised more parties than that of the Congress, ceded more voting districts to its partners than the Congress did—or could (Ahuja 2000: 307). Yet, the introduction of proportional representation would greatly reduce the splintering of the party system and bring about a concentration effect, even if the extent of such an effect cannot be projected onto proportional representation by the simple transference of results arising from elections based on single member districts. The concentration effect in any case would constitute a burden felt by the regional parties. That would doubtless be a plus in terms of the clarity and predictability of the party system. What remains doubtful is whether that would also be a plus for the integration capability of Indian democracy. The function of the regional parties as a safety valve would be greatly reduced. The percentage of Indian women who exercise the right to vote and the representation of women by women correspond in general terms to the experiences of other liberal democracies. The number of women in the Lok Sabha has risen in the long run—it has more than doubled since 1952. And yet, at 10 percent, this number is relatively small. However, if one compares this percentage with the percentage of women in Parliament who are also elected in singlemember voting districts, the representation of women in the Indian Parliament is by no means small: single-member voting districts are less advantageous vis-à-vis the percentage of elected women than proportional representation with lists whose emphasis is on parties rather than candidates. A comparison with the U.S. Congress makes this clear: in the U.S. House of Representatives elected in 1996, 53 of the 435 elected representatives were women—that is, approximately 12 percent (Schultz and Assendelft 1999: 278). This is not vastly different from the percentage of women in the Lok Sabha. In both legislatures (the U.S. Congress and the Lok Sabha) the number of female representa-

176

Democracy Indian Style

tives has been on the rise over the years. And in both legislatures the percentage of women is less than in the parliaments of Western Europe that are elected by proportional representation. Of the forty-nine women elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999, fifteen were candidates from the BJP, fourteen were candidates from the Congress Party, and twenty represented other parties. The percentage of women who voted in 1999 was 55.4 percent, somewhat less than the overall number of eligible voters who went to the polls— 60 percent (Ahuja 2000: 324). The splintering of the party system signifies a stiffening of the competition for votes in the individual electoral districts. The number of candidates per voting district increased greatly during the 1980s and reached a highpoint in 1996: 13,952 women and men campaigned for the 543 seats in the lower house—more than twentyfive per electoral district on average. This number declined noticeably in 1998 as a result of the increased number of special agreements within the alliances built around the BJP, the Congress, and the United Front (deSouza 2000b: 210). Due to this competitive situation, but also due to the size and complexity of the country, it is particularly important that the rules guaranteeing the fair and thus democratic character of the election process be upheld. Set forth by the Constitution, the Election Commission safeguards this aspect of the election process. The Election Commission rules on the demarcation of the voting districts, the acTable 8.4 Women in the Lok Sabha Year

Total Seats

Number of Women

Year

Total Seats

Number of Women

1952

489

22

1984

542

42

1957

494

27

1989

542

27

1962

494

35

1991

543

39

1967

520

30

1996

543

39

1971

518

21

1998

543

43

1977

542

19

1999

543

49

1980

542

28

Source: Ahuja 2000: 323.

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 177

ceptance into the election lists, the recognition of political parties and their symbols, the acceptance of candidates, and the appointment of special election tribunals that rule on matters of election process and election results when conflicts arise. As the highest legal authority, the Election Commission has great importance. Recruiting members for the Commission is therefore a delicate matter. The members of the Commission are named by the president of the republic. (Ahuja 2000: 27–29). “Anarchy” as—or Instead of—Democracy In the Introduction to their book India at 50, V. N. Narayanan and Jyoti Sabharwal summarized the essence of their findings: “Anarchy! Yes, but It Functions” (Narayanan and Sabharwal 1997: IX– XVIII). They divide the history of the first fifty years of Indian democracy into four stages: 1. Nehru’s Era (194–1964), characterized by the secular nationalism of the Congress Party that was able to integrate all of India’s subsocieties (classes, castes, language groups, religions) by means of its hegemonic position. 2. Indira Gandhi’s Era (1965–1984), in which the Congress Party was able to maintain its hegemony only with increasing efforts. The orientation toward the (female) party leader took the place of secular nationalism, particularly within the Congress Party itself. Populism replaced integrative nationalism—and provoked resistance on a regional level and within the different sectors of the society. 3. The Post-Indira Era (1984–1996), in which the Congress Party under Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao lost its ability to attract voters across the nation and began increasingly to address special interest groups. The Congress Party went from being the protector of national Indian identity to being a collective party that sought to unite the interests of various sectors of Indian society. 4. The Era after 1996, in which the heterogeneity of a caste society that had been integrated, or rather covered over, by secular nationalism erupted completely. Parties make use of a direct appeal to the castes and thereby achieve an importance that carries significant weight vis-à-vis the existence of governments in the volatile party landscape at the turn of the millennium.

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Democracy Indian Style

In view of the instability of the party system and thus, of the system of government, so apparent since 1996, M. L. Ahuja poses the question whether India’s democracy is not a “farce” and then goes on to articulate the following points of criticism: the politicization of the caste system by means of parties that appeal to particular castes; a growing apathy on the part of eligible voters; the rapidly increasing importance of political funding (often introduced illegally); the explosion of the costs of the democratic process through increasingly shorter legislative periods; and finally the feeling of helplessness that, more and more, seizes the “common man” (Ahuja 2000: 3–16). These complaints can be applied almost across the board for all liberal democracies. With the exception of the politicization of the caste system, each of these points of criticism could be formulated for almost every other democracy. In this sense, Indian democracy is completely normal: (almost) everything that can be criticized about the state of Indian democracy can also be said about the state of democracy in the United States, in Great Britain, Italy, or Japan. The specificity of Indian democracy lies not in the general developments of these criticizable factors. The specificity of Indian democracy lies rather in the fact that it exists at all—in direct contrast to the experiences that other “third world” societies with similar circumstances have had with democracy. The specificity of Indian democracy can also be seen in the fact that the end of Nehru’s era and the predictable, stable majority of his party, which is largely equated with the independence movement on a national level, did not lead to the end of democracy. In a comprehensive comparison of the development opportunities for democracy in 172 countries, Tatu Vanhanen concludes that democracy in India is actually more secure than we might otherwise expect, according to the variables he uses. He writes that the level of democracy is much higher than it should be, given his own assumptions. This does not necessarily contradict his theoretical model. But in his statement that democracy in India should not be as well off as it actually is, we can read Vanhanen’s amazement at the fact that India’s democracy is better than a careful comparison with other political systems would lead us to believe (Vanhanen 1997: 143). Indian democracy has some features of anarchy. Violence often takes place between religions and castes. The background for the explosion of the year 1947, when the partition of British India led to

No Parties—Or Too Many Parties? 179

a human catastrophe of immense proportions, is still a given. And these preconditions share consequences: in the conflicts that are tantamount to a civil war between the castes in Bihar; between separatist Sikhs and the central government in Punjab; between Hindus and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Democracy in India has not brought any permanent interior peace, or an external one: the guerilla war that has been going on for decades over Kashmir constitutes the internationally (between India and Pakistan) articulated form of the Indian potential for violence. John Kenneth Galbraith once called Indian democracy a “functioning anarchy” (qtd. in Narayanan and Sabharwal 1997: XI). In so doing, Galbraith addressed something that Narayanan and Sabharwal would later make one of their central conclusions: India is anarchical—but democratic. The anarchy of the Indian political system is manifested in the high level of political violence—the murders of Nehru’s daughter and Nehru’s grandson, the violent conflicts in the various states and regions, the everlasting explosions in the relationship between Hindus and Muslims. Democracy cannot allow such an intensity of violence—or so goes a traditional assumption (Weiner 1989). Yet, India is a democracy—although the Indian political system demonstrates characteristics that—seem to—make the country unsuitable for democracy. But Indian democracy lives. Anarchy functions in India.

9 Interlude in Berlin Bose arrived in Berlin on April 2, 1941. The adventurous journey via Peshawar, Kabul, Samarkand, and Moscow had the active support of the Italian diplomatic service, which had issued him a false diplomatic passport in Kabul. Bose’s trip was tolerated by the Soviet Union, whose territory he, of course, had to traverse. Bose could not hope for more than tolerance from Stalin—not even at this time, when Stalin was rejecting every overture from Churchill, counting instead on Hitler’s good behavior. From the beginning, the attitude of the German government toward Bose was one of tolerance rather than active support. That is to say, German politics could not bring itself to see in Bose an actual partner in the struggle against Britain. But Bose viewed himself as just such a partner (Chand 1946; Sareen 1996: 62–71; Das 2000: 432–434). Bose wanted to go to Berlin to gain the support of the anti-British alliance for the cause of Indian independence. In early 1941 this alliance seemed on the brink of military victory over an isolated Great Britain. Bose wanted to offer the Indian independence movement as an ally to the Axis powers. He did not assume at all that Hitler and Mussolini had any affection for him and his vision of a free India. But he did assume that the German (and Italian) leaders were driven by rational tactics similar to his own: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. If the outbreak of revolt in India had to hit the British Empire hard, then the Axis powers had to embrace with open arms the individual who—in conjunction with German and Italian (and later, Japanese) military powers—had been able to bring about this revolt. Bose knew that, for reasons of racial prejudice, the leadership of Nazi Germany was not particularly inclined toward bringing any 181

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real degree of understanding to a meeting with the representatives of the Indian independence movement. In his visits to Germany beginning in 1933, Bose had experienced firsthand (and criticized) the day-to-day racism of the Nazi regime. He had also been forced to realize that Hitler and the German government had no interest in taking him seriously as a partner in negotiations or talks, or even to receive him—unlike Mussolini who met with Bose numerous times beginning in 1933 (Das 2000: 223–227; Martelli 2002). What Bose did not know about, or did not want to know about, was the intensity of Hitler’s dislike for all independence movements. According to Hitler’s crude concepts, independence movements were a matter for the slave races, not the master races. What Bose could also not have known about was the famous statement by Hitler to Halifax in November, 1937 which Halifax conveyed to Eden and which was then published in the latter’s memoirs. Hitler had declared to the representative of the British government and the former viceroy of India how he would deal with Gandhi and the National Congress. Hitler’s advice appears in Eden’s notes as follows: “All you have to do, is to shoot Gandhi. If necessary, shoot more leaders of Congress. You will be surprised how quickly the trouble will die down” (qtd. in Das: 2000: 317). Bose, then, owed his life to the fact that the imperfectly repressive Great Britain and not the perfectly repressive German Empire ruled over India. For the radical Bose would surely have been the first one Hitler would have had shot, had he and not Lord Irwin or even Churchill been in charge of India. But Bose knew nothing of Hitler’s advice to the decadent British. And he tended to ignore the qualitative differences between the European powers. Bose’s attitude toward Nazi Germany was not uncritical, but noticeably insensitive. He did not view the totalitarian character and the regime’s racial politics of extermination as decisive hallmarks, or he did not want to see them as such. Why? Because his tactical strategy regarding an anti-British alliance, intended to include the Soviet Union as well, needed the concept of equality between all imperial systems. Mission Impossible Sitanshu Das believes that by 1935, Bose was of the opinion that there was no “qualitative difference” between imperial Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy (Das 2000: 317). This claim should probably be expanded: Bose did not want to see the qualita-

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tive difference between the British system that did not simply execute Gandhi (and Bose), and the system in Nazi Germany. And there were two reasons for this selective perception: z

z

Bose was insensitive regarding questions of democracy. Even with regard to the Soviet Union, which, regardless of tactical and strategic considerations, was actually closer to him than Nazi Germany, he saw no reason for critical distance due to the obvious deficit of democracy, even when he made critical remarks about the religious intolerance of the Soviet Union (Bose 1997: 352). Bose had to show himself as being insensitive concerning the declared racism of the German regime—against his better judgment. Because only if he ignored this decisive hallmark of Hitler’s Germany as much as possible could he formulate his offer of a strategic alliance. He had to operate under the assumption that the enemy of his enemy was not, in principle, morally worse than the enemy.

For this reason, Bose came to the wrong city when he came to Berlin. He had to realize that the strategic value of his presence in Berlin was drastically reduced for his plans when the German invasion of the Soviet Union excluded any possibility of an active India policy on the part of Germany. But he closed himself off to the perception that, regardless of the strategic perspective that had changed due to the attack on the USSR on June 22, 1941, the Nazi regime could not be an ally for the Indian independence movement. In his letter to Thierfelder of March 25, 1936, Bose had very critically expressed his disappointment over the attitude of Nazi Germany and criticized Hitler’s racism in general, accusing him of “the glorification of the white races and the German race in particular” (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 166). And nothing had changed since then except that the German Empire had provoked a declaration of war from Great Britain. That had activated a tactical strategy on Bose’s part that covered over his criticism of the Nazi regime. Bose was a modernist. He remained, even in Berlin, a representative of the Left wing of Congress. His vision of India was that of a nation state that should modernize rapidly. Modernization constituted education—and primarily education based on a post-Enlightenment understanding of science. For Bose, modernization, that is to say, industrialization was not the return to an imaginary, pre-colonial idyll of a rural India. Modernization for him meant orienting

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India toward a European model, similar to the way Japan had done (Chatterjee 1999b). Bose repeatedly referred to Soviet economic policy as his example. In his book The Indian Struggle, he gave the reasons why he did not see a Communist India in the future. These were primarily the lack of understanding of nationalism on the part of the post-Lenin Soviet regime but also the lack of sensitivity Marxism showed for religion— but he specifically excluded Soviet economic policy from this distancing (Bose 1997a: 352 f.). It was no coincidence that he repeatedly invoked a synthesis of (European) Fascism and (European) Communism when asked to describe his concept of the future of India (Bose 1997a: 351 f.; Das 2000: 210–227). Bose did not want India to develop fundamentally differently from the European powers. The anti-British nationalist Bose wanted a very European-style India. Bose arrived in Germany with his notions of modernism only to encounter an anti-modern regime. National Socialism made use of modern technology, of course, and its social policies had a thoroughly modernizing effect. The results, such as the increased presence of women in the workplace as a direct result of German war policy, were not actually intended; in fact, they were directly opposed to the Nazi ideals of what people and their society should be like. Nazi Germany wanted to use modern technology to return to an idealized past. The peasant was to be the focus of this past—not the blue collar worker or those working in the new technological fields. And women had their place as well—not in Bose’s sense of men’s companions in the struggle, but as the protectors of home and hearth. The German Empire was not meant to be one power among other equal powers—the constellation Bose desired for India. In Hitler’s model of Albert Speer’s visions of Germania, Germany was supposed to be the power center of the world to which the other nations, more or less transformed into slave states, would have to subordinate themselves with varying degrees of submissiveness (Speer 1970). This image was totally foreign to Bose; indeed, it was diametrically opposed to his own ideas. His brand of nationalism looked forward. Hitler’s nationalism looked backward. But Bose could not see this distinction clearly—or he could not allow himself to do so. Otherwise, he would not have been able to come to Berlin in 1941. But Bose was to feel the impact of this distinction quite rapidly.

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Whereas the practitioners of Realpolitik in the Foreign Office in particular, but also in the German Armed Forces, saw in Bose a not insignificant partner, those who truly wielded power viewed him not even as a disruptive factor, but quite simply as “not of interest.” In the images Hitler and Goebbels created for themselves, a “colored man” fit in only as a slave, not as a partner. This was the reason that the failure of Bose’s mission to Berlin was a foregone conclusion. This contradiction between National Socialism and Indian nationalism as represented by Bose was overlooked by those who took the Aryan myth of Nazism literally and constructed an intellectual connection between Indian nationalism and National Socialism. Radical Hindus saw in the swastika—an ancient Indian symbol—and in the talk of the “Aryan culture” a sign that Nazi Germany would represent the interests of all “Aryan” peoples and thus also those of India. In Germany, some individuals, such as Savitri Devi, tried to propagate the mythology of Hinduism and the mysticism of National Socialism as a common cultural foundation linking a German–Indian alliance (Goodrich-Clarke 1998). But this approach was based on a complete misunderstanding of National Socialism. For instance, the German government made a pact with the “non-Aryan” country of Japan, the one extra-European state that the Nazis did not treat with condescension. They encouraged the nationalism of “Semitic” Arabs because it could be implemented not only for anti-British but also for anti-Jewish gains. In the case of “Aryan” peoples such as the Poles or the Russians, Nazi war policies brought first the eradication of their educated elite, then the status of slaves. And the “gypsies,” who—due to their origins in India—were the most Aryan of all Aryan peoples, were threatened with complete annihilation in the Holocaust. The policies of Nazi Germany were determined to a great degree by racial prejudice, but these prejudices were implemented with mind-boggling inconsistency. Racist myths were completely foreign to Subhas Chandra Bose. His criticism of Hitler in his letter to Thierfelder was quite clear in this regard: “I am saying this (the criticism of Hitler’s racism, A.P.) not because I stand for the domination of one people by another. . . . It therefore pains us that the new nationalism in Germany is inspired by selfish and racial arrogance” (Bose 1994, Vol. 8: 166). Bose’s nationalism was not that of Hitler but that of Mazzini. Bose himself was evidently free of nationalist and racist prejudices. When such

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prejudices appear in Bose’s case, they are more like concessions to the prejudices of Indian society. This is probably why Bose kept his relationship with Emilie Schenkl a secret in India: the “Netaji” presented himself as a bachelor in the years 1943–1945. His closest associates in the INA had no inkling that Bose was married and had a daughter (Sahgal 1997). In this way he did justice to his leadership role. That is to say, he had a duty not to a specific person, but only to his country. The notion that behind the secrecy of his marriage lay the idea that the “Netaji” could not be married to a European woman is at least plausible. The fact that the “Netaji” was silent on the matter of his “Aryan” wife only underscores the insignificance the Aryan myth held for Bose. Bose spent just short of two years in Germany and these years were very important, both for him and for our understanding of him. He developed an intense level of activity, from which we can make certain conclusions regarding his understanding of politics, and which were to be a sort of dress rehearsal for the more than two years Bose would spend as the head of the Indian exile government in Southeast Asia. Bose’s worldview became permanent, and it narrowed, as well: he was aware that he had not burned all bridges leading back to the Congress and to Gandhi, but that from the perspective of the British government, he had committed high treason. For this reason, his attitude toward Great Britain became more pointed and his lack of sensitivity toward questions of democracy became more noticeable. His attacks on British imperialism were expanded in Berlin to include attacks on American imperialism. The possibility of playing a decisive role for India after the war had reduced itself to one assumption: Great Britain and the United States had to lose the war— and Hitler’s Germany had to be victorious if Bose were to have a political future. Between the years 1941 and 1943, Bose lived with his wife Emilie in Berlin. One expression of the personal happiness he experienced was the birth of a daughter, Anita. However, only months after the birth of his daughter, he undertook a journey that would take him thousands of miles from his wife and daughter. Bose was of course aware that when he took leave of his family in February 1943, he could be doing so for the last time. And so he made provisions such that in the case of his death, his family would receive the appropriate recognition. He left with his brother Sarat a letter for his wife, written in Bengali, in which he declared Emilie to be his wife and

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Anita his daughter, and in this letter he called upon his brother to look after them in the case of his death (Bose 1994, Vol. 7: 228). In Exile—A Second-Class Head of Government On April 9, 1941, several days after his arrival in Berlin, Bose stated in a memorandum to the Foreign Office the goals he wanted to achieve during his stay in the German capital: (Sareen 1996: 74– 86) z z

z z

z z

z

Formation of an Indian exile government Agreements with the Axis powers regarding a guarantee of Indian independence Propaganda in the form of radio broadcasts for India Establishment of a communications center in Kabul in order to have contact with India and to prepare military advances toward India Secret propaganda activities in India Sending a German (or German-Italian) contingency of 50,000 soldiers to India Financing for the activities of the Indian exile government in the form of a loan

What is noticeable about these goals is that on the one hand, Bose is clearly casting a wide net; on the other hand, he has not named a goal soon to become very important to him. Bose demanded a good deal from the German government—primarily that the Germans agree to Indian independence, which was not at all in line with Nazi ideology, and that they commit to a strategic military goal that threatened to overstretch the limits of the German and Italian resources. However, Bose did not reveal what was to occupy him in the next several years: the establishment of an Indian army that was to fight on the side of the Axis powers—beginning in 1943 on the side of the Japanese (Hartog 1991: 39 f.). Of course, in spring of 1941 it was not so clear to outsiders that the German leadership was not orienting itself toward the Middle East and thus toward the south of Asia, but rather toward Russia. Operation Barbarossa—Hitler’s order to attack Russia—had long since been worked out. But Barbarossa was highly confidential and Bose, of course, knew nothing of it. Bose had reason to believe that the advance of German and Italian troops in North Africa, along with the administration in Syria (friendly toward Axis powers thanks

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to Vichy France), in conjunction with the anti-British tendencies in Iraq could soon make possible the geopolitical springboard that would serve Bose’s purposes. German troops in Syria and Iraq would have paved the way to Afghanistan and thus to India. But the German ambitions failed, the leader of Iraq’s anti-British government, Rashid Ali, quickly found himself back in exile in Germany, along with ElHusseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Unlike Bose, however, Rashid Ali was already at the end of his political path (Hartog 1991: 49, 55). Bose attempted to convey to the Axis powers a strategy that would encompass the Arab nations and India. He saw the opportunity to bring India, and thus himself, into the picture due to the anti-British Vichy administration in Damascus, which was sympathetic to the Axis powers, as well as the anti-British nationalistic government in Baghdad. He portrayed the entire Arabian region and India as a zone in which one spark could be enough to use the widespread unrest for a complete displacement of Great Britain out of the Middle East and southern Asia. Germany was to deliver the spark—and in return, it would be rewarded with the rise of a chain of pro-German states from North Africa to Japan (Sareen 1996: 100–102). Germany’s attack on Russia pulled the rug from under Bose’s strategic plan. German energies were now committed to Eastern Europe. German leadership could no longer develop any options in Syria, Iraq, Iran, or Afghanistan, and therefore, a separate policy on India was out of the question. The land between Suez and India— and thus India itself—had ceased to be of interest for Germany. From Bose’s perspective, it was crucial that the Soviet Union was now no longer on the side of a potential anti-colonial alliance, but was now firmly on the side of a real, anti-Fascist alliance. Bose’s sympathies for the Soviet Union were well known to the German government and significantly weakened his status after June 22, 1941 (Sareen 1996: 127–129). Bose, whose early attempts to gain favor with Soviet leaders was also an expression of admiration for Lenin’s non-liberal concept of social and, particularly, industrial development, had placed his bets in vain on Soviet policy and thus, indirectly, (also in vain) on the policies of Nazi Germany. Only a few weeks after his arrival in Germany, he was now in a political cul-desac—in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong partner. Bose’s goal of convincing the German Empire to make a positive statement about Indian independence failed, just as did his attempt

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to establish an Indian exile government on German soil. The Foreign Office financed (and controlled) Bose’s propaganda activities. But this did not make Bose head of government in exile. The single substantial success that—in part—showed him to be the head of a de facto exile government was the Indian Legion. It gave Bose’s activities the appearance of international importance. Bose lived in Berlin in a villa in Charlottenburg provided to him by the Foreign Office. He had personnel at his disposal and he enjoyed quasi-diplomatic status (Gordon 1990: 452). But this status gave the appearance of a significance that did not correspond to reality. Bose had good contacts in the special office concerned with India at the Foreign Office but beyond that, he was isolated. And even Trott and Werth, the diplomats who were sympathetic to his cause, could not bring him the success he had hoped for in Berlin. Considering the background of Germany’s refusal to issue any sort of binding policy regarding India, the creation of the Indian Legion on German soil was absurd. If the task of the Legion was to fight for a free India, then the 22nd of June, 1941 had destroyed any possibility of that. The Legion was therefore doomed to a shadow existence. It was a tiny cog in the German war machine that had no India-related strategy, just as the German government had no Indiarelated policy. Bose had first mentioned his plans for the establishment of an Indian troop whose members were to be recruited from prisoners of war to the German foreign minister, Ribbentrop, in a conversation in Vienna on April 29, 1941 (Sareen 1996: 89–99). These plans were actually nothing new. In Italy, Mohammed Iqbal Shedai, an Indian Muslim, had already tried for quite some time, with moderate success, to organize an Indian military unit that would fight on the German-Italian side (Sareen 1996: 368–370). Shedai also reached India via radio. But Shedai’s efforts were clearly impeded by the fact that he did not have Bose’s authority as the former president of Congress, and by his being identified more with Muslims than with all of India (Hartog 1991: 52–55). There were some talks between Shedai and Bose in 1941, but nothing came of these meetings. Shedai and Bose tried to coordinate their efforts, but they did not view themselves as a unit. Shedai and Bose were de facto rivals. Shedai remained—for the German government—the man for the Italians. And in Rome Shedai attempted to portray Bose as the man for the Germans (Sareen 1996: 130–132, 138–143, 160 f., 172–174).

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As president of the Free India Center whose office, financed by the Germans, opened in Berlin on November 2, 1941, Bose had developed a style that corresponded to that of a head of government in exile. He was addressed as “Excellency” and used an automobile that was paid for by the German Foreign Office, just as were his office and his radio propaganda (Harbich 1970; Hartog 1991: 41). But Bose lacked the political weight necessary to face the German government. The German government did not take what was, from Bose’s viewpoint, the next logical step. It neither responded to Japanese and Italian advances, nor did it officially recognize Bose as head of an exile government. As the unlimited authority of politically active Indians in Nazi Germany, Bose demonstrated political emphases that would later characterize his activities as head of the exile government in Singapore and Rangoon. At his direction, a national hymn played on official occasions (one that would become the national anthem of independent India in 1947) and the Indian tricolor was raised (Hartog 1991: 43). He saw to it that the language of command for the Indian units on German soil was “Hindustani”—that combination of Hindi and Urdu written in the Latin alphabet (Hartog 1991: 119 f.). This same language would become the language of command for the INA in Southeast Asia in 1943. Bose wanted primarily to use this to send a signal of his commitment to secularism and nationalism. In the Indian units in Germany (and later in Southeast Asia) there was supposed to be no separation between the languages and religions of India. The consequence was, of course, linguistic complications of a special variety: the recruits were used to English as the language of command in the British Indian army. Even if a good portion of them spoke Hindi or Urdu or at least understood one of these languages—many, whose mother language was Punjabi or one of the other languages of India, and who understood English as an army language and as a lingua franca, now had to learn a new language of command. With regard to communication within Indian troops and with the German agencies and offices, “Hindustani” brought with it considerable difficulties. In the Thick of German Politics The formation of the Indian Legion was the single real success of Bose’s activities in Hitler’s German Empire. All of his plans, as he had set them down in his memorandum of April 9, 1941, remained

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unattainable, or they were imperfect patchwork, like the radio broadcasts he produced, the crucial prerequisite for which was missing. That is to say, Bose could not speak as head of a free India because Hitler prevented the alliance he controlled from declaring an independent India as a military goal. The crucial point of Bose’s memorandum was the formulation of a German policy on India that was unambiguously directed toward Indian independence. Japan and Italy were prepared to make just such a policy but the German government hesitated again and again. Not until after Bose had arrived in Southeast Asia would the Nazi government take on this military goal indirectly, after recognizing Bose’s exile government. But then, of course, it was too late for Bose’s activities in Germany. After 1943, the India policy of the Axis powers was determined primarily by Japan. The Germans had missed the opportunity to create a common India policy for all three Axis powers. After 1943, Hitler’s influence on the Japanese-dominated India policy of the Axis was almost nonexistent—as was Mussolini’s. The Nazi regime had missed its chance. On April 3, one day after his arrival in Berlin, Bose revealed his plans in the Foreign Office. Central tenets of these plans were to convince the Axis powers to declare themselves in favor of India’s independence, and to create an exile government. The notion that Bose was said to have used the example of the Polish exile government in London in his appeal to German diplomats is a sensitive one. In his conversation with the German diplomat Ernst Woermann, Bose formulated his concept of an Indian army that would consist of defectors from the British Indian army and that was supposed to contribute greatly to India’s liberation from British rule. The internal German report that records this conversation also expressed the German position of the coming months: Woermann assured Ribbentrop he had remained “noncommittal” with regard to Bose’s suggestions. He had recommended that Bose not push too quickly for an appointment with the German foreign minister (or even count on such an appointment) and that he should first work out his ideas on paper (Sareen 1996: 72 f.). Just a few days thereafter—on April 9—Bose was in a position to submit his extensive memorandum (Sareen 1996: 74–86). This was forwarded to the German foreign minister three days later. The diplomat’s recommendation to Ribbentrop left nothing to be desired in terms of clarity: Germany would have nothing to gain from

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recognizing Bose as head of an exile government (Sareen 1996: 87 f.). Ribbentrop then followed this advice in his conversation with Bose in Vienna on April 29. Ribbentrop indulged in generalities: Germany, he said, would clarify its conflict with Great Britain once and for all. Ribbentrop proceeded to lecture Bose on precisely how Hitler would do this within the space of a year. The lecture’s main content, of course, was the supposed hopelessness of the British position. The words with which Ribbentrop addressed the Indian situation were clear enough in their vagueness: one had to exercise “caution,” action could be taken only one step at a time and “not too hurriedly” (Sareen 1996: 89–99). Ribbentrop, of course, did not betray the fact that during Molotov’s visit to Berlin in November 1940 the German government had offered India to the Soviet Union as a zone of expansion and influence—in the style of the very imperialistic policies that Bose struggled against with Great Britain. Ribbentrop demonstrated his visionary acumen when he told Bose that the United States was uninteresting as a world power. Japan would win any naval war between Japan and the United States with odds of 10 to 1. Furthermore, the United States was nothing but “the greatest bluffer” in world history, incapable of helping the British Empire at all, which was already defeated anyway (ibid.). This pattern of conversation—a polite Bose who wants to convince the minister of the common interests that link India and Germany; and a condescendingly pedantic, completely uncommitted foreign minister—repeated itself at the two men’s second meeting on November 29, 1941 in Berlin. Ribbentrop declared, among other things, that Churchill knew that the British had lost the war. Given the German advances in the Soviet Union, Rippentrop could imagine an Indian Propaganda Center under Bose’s direction in Tiflis (!) (Sareen 1996: 163–167). It is hard to believe that Bose could have taken such superficial and arrogant prattle seriously. Bose likely perceived as early as their first meeting that he had placed his fate in the wrong hands. But certainly after the second meeting, Bose must have realized how little Germany cared about India and, particularly, how unwilling the Germans were to aid Bose in meeting his urgent goal: to commit German foreign policy to India’s independence and to recognize an Indian exile government with Bose at its head.

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Bose probably had no other choice at first than to be a stubborn lobbyist for India’s independence. He repeatedly bombarded the Foreign Office with suggestions that always circled around the declaration of India’s independence as a German military goal. As early as May 1941, he wrote a draft of a declaration to the government of the German Empire (Sareen 1996: 115 f.). This draft was obviously not even worthy of comment from the Foreign Office. In May and June of 1941, the government of the German Reich had other worries: Operation Barbarossa , which had been delayed by the war in the Balkans, was finally set in motion. With this operation, Germany signaled that German expansionism was directed toward Moscow, not Baghdad. Once again, on March 3, 1942, Bose delivered to the Foreign Office a draft of a mutual German–Italian–Japanese declaration of India’s independence. This draft, too, met with silence on the German side (Sareen 1996: 248 f.). The German attack on the Soviet Union had further reduced Bose’s position in Germany. The ideas he had formulated in his memorandum of April 9 regarding a Communications Center in Kabul and the first military actions from the Afghan region into India had now lost whatever basis in reality they might have had in connection with German policy toward Syria and Iraq. On May 20, 1941 Bose had sent a message to his Indian friends via the German legation in Kabul or via Tokyo, from the Japanese embassy in Berlin. These were the channels open to Bose for communication with India (Gordon 1990: 448, 477). The content of this message is of tragic proportions in light of Bose’s failures in Germany: “Big events will happen soon in sphere of international politics which will help the overthrow of British Imperialism. . . . I am expecting from the Axis Powers within a fortnight an open declaration regarding Indian Independence” (Sareen 1996: 103). The “big events” that were still in store did not include the declaration of an India policy on the part of the Axis powers, rather the beginning of war between the Germans and the Soviets. Thus, the precondition for the strategy that had brought Bose to Germany in the first place was gone. Bose expressed this to the Foreign Office with open criticism: the attitude in India regarding the German attack on the Soviet Union was “unfavourable,” he wrote on July 5 (Sareen 1996: 125). Bose was referring, of course, to his own attitude. The conclusion drawn by the Foreign Office was that Bose was under Soviet influence (Sareen 1996: 128). We can well imagine the sort of influence Bose

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now had within the circles of the German government after June 22, 1941, given that he was not unjustifiably written off as “Sovietfriendly.” Propaganda, Not Weapons Bose actually remained in Germany after June 22, 1941 only to lick the emotional and political wounds he realized intellectually were due to the mistake he had made with this trip to Germany— and to find a way out of a situation that appeared to be hopeless. In 1942, Japan would offer him the way out. But when Japan began the offensive that was supposed to lead Japanese troops to the Indian border within the space of a few months, Bose was thousands of miles away in the capital of a world power whose government was incapable of developing a policy on India due to its own ideological blindness. Japan’s attack on the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands in December 1941 gave Bose renewed hope. From Bose’s perspective, Japan had attacked the correct opponent, unlike Germany six months earlier. Bose’s final attempts to gain the support of the German leaders for his goals—with the help of Italy—failed in May of 1942. From then on, his thoughts were more than likely somewhere else—in Southeast Asia. At first, Bose had placed great value on keeping his stay in Europe secret. For example, he traveled to Rome as Signore Orlando Mazzotta, obviously with the false Italian diplomat’s passport he’d received in Kabul in February of 1941. The letters and telegrams he sent to his wife, addressed to “Miss Emilie Schenkl” were signed “O. Mazzotta” (Bose 1994: Vol. 7, 177–227). Bose had reasons for keeping his whereabouts secret. Clearly, he was waiting for the “big events,” for the declaration that would not come, and for the establishment of the exile government that could not occur. But when the wrong events occurred instead of the right ones, from Bose’s perspective, and when Bose’s hopes for a change in the German position grew ever smaller, he gradually gave up his secrecy. He concentrated on the two activities that were still possible for him in Germany: the formation of the Indian Legion and radio propaganda. Bose now sought out public appearances—as Bose, not as Mazzotta. These included the opening of the Free India Center in Berlin on November 2, 1941, the interview with Popolo d’Italia on April 19, 1942, and the declaration before the world press on

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June 12, 1942 in Berlin (Gordon 1990: 483; Sareen 1996: 273– 276). At first, Bose’s whereabouts remained hidden from the world and, above all, from the British government. When Bose had already begun broadcasting his radio messages, George Orwell speculated as late as May 1942: “Cripps considers Bose is in German territory. He says it is known that he got out through Afghanistan” (Orwell 1970: 481). Cripps, a member of the war cabinet, a good acquaintance of Nehru and, as labor minister, entrusted with the special India mission since 1942, also had a specific opinion of Bose. When Orwell described Bose to Cripps as pro-Fascist, Cripps modified the statement: “He’s pro-Subhas . . . he will do anything he thinks will help his own career along” (ibid.). Bose’s radio programs, broadcast by German stations, had confused many people at first. Where was Bose broadcasting from? Where was he? In his first radio speech of February 19, 1942, he had only announced: “This is Subhas Chandra Bose speaking to you over the Azad Hind Radio.” There was not the slightest clue in the text of the speech to betray the fact that Bose was in Germany (Sareen 1996: 244 f.). Only later did he let it be known that he was speaking from Berlin (Sareen 1996: 311). For that reason, people were at first puzzled over his whereabouts. His flight from Calcutta had remained a mystery to many. As early as 1942, he was said to be in Southeast Asia. But a lot can be said for the fact that having the same last name as Ras Behari Bose contributed to this confusion. Ras Behari Bose had held the key position in Indian exile in the area under Japanese command before Subhas Chandra Bose (Orwell 1970: 490, 503). A report by the BBC on March 25, 1942 had also contributed to the confusion. This report stated that Bose had perished in a plane crash in East Asia (Gordon 1990: 482). This false report would strengthen the opinion of many in 1945 and thereafter that the renewed report of his death due to a plane crash in Taiwan in August of 1945 was also false—the product of a British conspiracy. In his first radio broadcasts from Germany, Bose did not explicitly state that he was speaking on German soil. But he did not shy from expressions of appreciation for the policies of the Axis powers. The orientation of his broadcasts was clear: he wanted to declare to the Indian public that Great Britain had already lost the war. In his radio address of March 13, 1942, he used the surrender of Singapore

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as an occasion to quote the German Foreign Minister with approval: “The prophecy which the German foreign minister made on November 26, 1939, is proving true. How prophetic were his words when he said that Britain would lose her military bases one by one! The British stand threatened in every quarter. The flame of British glory is flickering. Their days are numbered” (Bose 1962: 127). In his anti-British propaganda, Bose also became anti-American. In his broadcast of May 1, 1942, he declared: “The British Empire has been sent into compulsory liquidation by the Masters of the White House and Wall Street, and the latter are now doing everything possible, to gradually take over the British Empire, even while the war is going on” (Sareen 1996: 261). With this anti-American turn of phrase, Bose’s speech was consonant with the sentiments of the German and Japanese leadership. But with such a coarse choice of words, he precluded any insight on his own part that the United States might be a partner for the Indian independence movement after a victory by the Allies. Bose could not allow himself to consider the possibility of such a victory. In his last radio address from Germany on December 22, 1942, Bose demonstrated a somewhat greater ability to make distinctions. He spoke of the two voices that could be heard in the United States. One of these voices, he said, was very clear in the American public—and this voice was “genuinely interested in Indian independence” and openly sympathized with the cause. But Roosevelt’s government was the second voice—and this was the voice that determined policy (Sareen 1996: 313). This separation between a forward-thinking public on the one hand and an imperialist establishment on the other could have been a first step for Bose from which he could then, in a second step, address the anti-colonialist tradition of the United States. But Bose did not take such a second step. A second step would also not have helped an openly declared partner of Hitler’s Germany. Bose had already burned his bridges behind him. A policy that would have attempted to play American anti-colonialism against British imperialism was no longer possible for him. In a radio address of August 31, 1942, he encouraged Indian men and women to follow the fifteen precisely formulated points of his resistance program. In so doing, he made himself the speaker of the Gandhi–Nehru leadership in the Congress that as a response to the failure of the Cripps Mission and the “Quit India” slogan had landed

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once again—for the last time—in British prisons. “There is no need to be depressed, because the leaders have all been thrown into prison. On the contrary, their incarceration should serve as a perpetual inspiration to the entire nation” (Sareen 1942: 291–303). Bose was ready to honor Gandhi and Nehru—and to succeed them. It is difficult to estimate the effect of Bose’s radio propaganda in India itself. Obviously it reached only very few people. Yet it was important that Bose was able to speak over the radio at all. This kept up his reputation as a consistent nationalist and also strengthened his role as the one representative of the Indian independence movement who was least likely to compromise. When Bose left Europe in a German U-boat in February of 1943, A.C.N. Nambiar took over the direction of the radio propaganda and of the Free India Center. Nambiar was also the official representative of India in Europe in the cabinet Bose named as part of his exile government (Gordon 1990: 523–525). Bose had not summoned Nambiar to Berlin from France until 1942 (Gordon 1990: 448; Das 2000: 436). Nambiar had long been considered a Communist sympathizer and had once, in 1933, been deported from Germany. He had strong contacts, particularly to Trott. Presumably he was informed about the latter’s involvement in the German resistance movement. Of all of Bose’s closest associates, Nambiar had perhaps the most interesting career after 1945: he became India’s first ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany (Hartog 1991: 85; Sareen 1996: 434–448). Germany without Realpolitik Nazi Germany had no policy on India. The German government did not pursue any goal that might have directly affected India in any way. Indirectly, of course, India was indeed affected by German politics, as outlined below. z

z

The German war against Great Britain endangered British rule in India. A German victory would necessarily have consequences for India. And it had to be in the interests of the German Empire to weaken British rule in India. National Socialist politics was determined by an image of a naturally given hegemony of Germany in Europe and of Europe in the world. These ideological premises were necessarily a negative influence on German policy toward India.

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German politics, as Bose had to become aware, wavered between these two poles. Bose and certain diplomats placed their bets on the first assumption. But when pressed, the politics of the German Empire was determined by ideological premises. The result of this diffuse situation was that German foreign policy by no means wanted to commit itself to a definite military goal with respect to India. Hitler’s offer was still on the table—made after France surrendered in the early summer of 1940, namely, the guarantee of the British World Empire. A peace of compromise between Germany and Great Britain would constitute a strengthening, not a weakening of the Raj. While Churchill’s rejection of Hitler’s offer had made it obsolete, Hitler’s antipathy toward an independent India as well as his admiration for British colonialism were a sufficient basis for German politicians and diplomats to be skeptical toward an Indian nationalist who was betting on the contradiction between German and British interests. Bose threw himself with typical aplomb into German politics. He tried to take advantage of the diffuse, contradictory situation characterized by the lack of a policy toward India. He was counting on the realists in the Foreign Office. Among these were Adam von Trott zu Solz, and Alexander Werth who worked in the Special Department for India, assigned to Home Secretary Wilhelm Keppler (Gordon 1990: 445). Trott and Werth recognized that it was in Germany’s interest to promote Bose. The financial support for Bose’s Free India Center came from the Special Department for India. Trott and Werth saw to it that Bose had a certain amount of freedom, and that he was able to have the lifestyle of an unofficial ambassador or a head of government in exile. They also saw to it that he was able to stay in touch with his contacts—under the watchful eye of the Foreign Office, of course—in the Japanese and Italian embassies, and also directly with the Italian government (Werth and Harbich 1970). But Bose remained of little interest to those who actually held power, beyond the professional diplomats in the Foreign Office. He was even considered a potentially disruptive factor. The German leadership did not really approve of the contacts that Bose had established in 1933 to Mussolini and that he tended carefully between the years 1941–1943. Bose was virtually courted by Fascist Italy. The Fascist newspaper Popolo d’Italia published an interview on April 19, 1942 that

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was very flattering to Bose. He was, it was said, something like a Buddha. He was said to have superior intelligence and to represent a sort of Asian nobility. It was something of a contradiction when it was claimed that Bose could almost be considered a European, were it not for his bronze-colored skin. The newspaper underscored the fact that Bose still spoke of Mahatma Gandhi with admiration (Gordon 1990: 483). It is difficult to imagine the newspaper Der Völkische Beobachter ever putting a positive spin on any politician with the term “Asian nobility.” People of bronze skin color were not among those usually prominently featured in Der Völkische Beobachter. Bose had regular contact with Mussolini. The Italian dictator had met with Bose for talks as early as the 1930s, after all. The German leadership had ignored all of Bose’s attempts to forge contacts at that time. As far as the Nazis were concerned, Bose was clearly one of those crazy fakirs Hitler had written about so condescendingly in Mein Kampf. Bose had already gained a positive impression of Mussolini before he met him personally for the first time—in late 1933 or early 1934. In Bose’s view, Mussolini followed in the tradition of Mazzini and Garibaldi, the European figures with which Bose identified. In March 1940, he had found words of admiration for the German war victories at a conference organized by the Forward Bloc, but had added a question that betrayed a sense of distancing on his part: “Could not these qualities be utilised for promoting a nobler cause?” And he had named not Stalin and Hitler, but Lenin and Mussolini as the two models for political leadership that could have a positive influence on the fate of their country (Gordon 1990: 410). During Bose’s visit to Rome in May and June of 1941, Galeazzo Ciano, the Italian foreign minister, had responded to Bose’s push for a declaration in favor of Indian independence by referring to the hesitant attitude in Berlin (Gordon 1990: 449). When Bose returned to Rome in 1942, the situation had not really changed: Mussolini did, in fact, advocate such a declaration, and he informed Hitler of his opinion (Gordon 1990: 483). But Ciano was skeptical, and rightly so, about whether Mussolini had any influence with Hitler on this matter. Ciano’s diaries reveal which power was truly pushing for this declaration: Japan. On April 21, 1942 Ciano complained that Japan’s drive for a declaration on the part of the three powers in favor of

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Indian independence had not even received a response from Germany. On May 4, Ciano wrote that Bose was bitterly disappointed by this when Ciano told him about this delay during his visit to the Italian Foreign Office. Ciano himself seemed surprised, then, when Mussolini expressly advocated a declaration to Bose on the very next day—one that would make Indian independence a military goal for Italy, Japan, and Germany. Ciano’s comment in his diary reads as follows: “I feel Hitler will not agree to it very willingly” (Ciano 1947: 473–482). Another entry in a different diary demonstrates that Ciano’s skepticism was not misplaced. On May 11, 1942 Joseph Goebbels wrote: Additional confidential information reveals that Mussolini had a discussion with the Indian nationalist leader Bose in which he (Mussolini—A.P.) argued for a stronger role for Bose and suggested, above all, that Bose establish a counter government. This does not fit in well with our plans at the moment because we do not consider that the time has come for such a political operation. The Japanese, however, appear to set great store by proceeding in this way. (Goebbels 1999, Vol. 4: 1792 f.)

Goebbels gives only a hint as to why Ciano’s suggestion did not “fit in well with [his] plans.” He wrote that “emigrant governments [should] not live all too long in a vacuum” (ibid.). The attitude of the German Reich was fundamentally different from that of Japan and Italy. The allied partners of the Nazi regime judged Bose much differently than did Hitler and Ribbentrop. For Fascist Italy and for Japan, the time had come—Japanese troops were positioned at the eastern border of India and German troops were drawing near to the Caucasus. But the time would never be right for recognizing Bose, as far as the Nazi leaders were concerned. The reason: Hitler, Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and the others were more colonial than the colonial rulers. Their racism was more genuine that the patriarchal racism of the “Raj.” The racism of the Nazi regime had no place for “colored” partners—excluding the one-time exception of Japan. With this genuine narrow-mindedness, National Socialism sacrificed the opportunity to destabilize British colonialism. In Berlin, Bose viewed himself as paralyzed. The one power in Europe that signaled an interest in cooperating with him was too weak to follow up words with deeds, namely, Italy. The power that would have been strong enough—Germany—was not in a position to concretize its potential interest in a cooperative effort against Great Britain due to ideological reasons. And the power that would have been strong enough to realize its own interests, which lay openly on

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the table for all to see, had stationed its troops many thousands of miles away from Bose—in Burma and Malaysia. As early as 1933, Bose had tried in vain to gain an interview with Hitler. After his arrival in Berlin in April 1941, he continued with these attempts. More than a year later, on May 27, 1942, this discussion took place. The following individuals were also present at this conversation: the foreign minister of the Reich, Joachim von Ribbentrop, the home secretary in the Foreign Office, Wilhelm Keppler, Ambassador Walter Hewel, and the interpreter P.O. Schmidt—who composed a detailed report of what was said. This discussion was quite expressive in terms of its banality: Hitler avoided committing himself one way or another regarding Germany’s policy on India; he indulged in general anti-Briticisms and “permitted” Bose finally to travel to Japan in order to continue his anti-British activities there. Hitler’s statement that the “unification” of India after the elimination of British influence would probably take one to two hundred years is characteristic of the deep gulf separating the two men (Sareen 1996: 263–270; Gordon 1990: 484). At the latest, Bose must have been convinced during this conversation with Hitler that he could expect nothing from this Germany. Bose, to whom Gandhi’s perspective as well as the “Quit India” policy of Congress were not energetic enough, must have perceived the empty words of “one to two hundred years” as either scorn or as a sign that Hitler had no idea what he was talking about. Hitler’s “permission” did not quite solve the logistical problem of traveling from Germany to Japan. Between the German army in Russia and in North Africa and the Japanese armies in Burma and Malaysia lay a landmass of incredible proportions—under the control of Soviet and British troops. Iraq was firmly under British control, whereas Iran was under the combined control of the Soviets and the British. How was the leader of the Indian liberation movement, having been invited to Japan and expected there, supposed to travel from Europe to Asia? The idea of traveling by plane was aired. In and of itself, this would have presented no technological problems—politicians of the Allied forces traveled by plane around the world. In 1943 Roosevelt and Churchill flew to Teheran. Italian and Japanese diplomats discussed the possibility of transporting Bose to East Asia in an Italian aircraft (Sareen 1996: 290, 318). Yet ultimately, a flight that would have necessitated two stops and taken him across thousands of miles

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of enemy territory was deemed unfeasible by all concerned. Thus, it was decided that a U-boat under the control of both the German and Japanese marines would take Bose to East Asia. One of the ideas aired during the planning stages of the flight to East Asia constituted a bizarre variation. Since Japan was not at war with the Soviet Union, the Japanese government had sought permission to fly an aircraft over Soviet territory with Bose on board. This Japanese advance was answered in the negative by the Soviet government. Stalin was not about to make things difficult for his British allies when it came to India. The Soviet refusal was one more in a long series of rejections Bose experienced at the hands of Moscow. In early November of 1942, when Bose visited Rome again, the decision against air travel and thus for overseas passage had been made (Sareen 1996: 39). Sitanshu Das argues that the delay of Bose’s departure for Southeast Asia can be traced back to sabotage. Adam von Trott zu Solz, the diplomat in the Foreign Office responsible for Bose’s contacts, could have consciously delayed Bose’s departure—as an agent for the Allies. The motive? In Germany Bose was harmless; in the Japanese sphere of influence he would have been a danger to the Allies (Das 2000: 561 f.). There is no evidence for sabotage of this kind. Trott was a man of the resistance—but not a British agent. And in the Foreign Office he would have advocated a declaration to the advantage of Indian independence, contrary to the Nazi ideologues at the head of the ministry. He was Bose’s confidant and he tried to gain favor for Bose’s idea, which would hardly have been in the interests of the British government in 1941 and 1942 (MacDonogh 1989: 188–191). In the Foreign Office Trott was considered Bose’s man. Trott’s opponents actually viewed him as a mouthpiece for Bose’s politics (MacDonogh 1989: 197). Trott fought through the thicket of German politics for Bose’s goals. And this does not fit in with the image of a British agent. Another possible explanation for the conspicuous delay of the trip is indecisiveness on the part of the Japanese. The Japanese government seemed to be considering whether Gandhi would be the optimal partner in a Japanese policy on India. Gandhi had, after all, confronted the Raj with his “Quit India” slogan in 1942. In this case, the presence of Bose as “Netaji” in Burma could have interfered with an agreement with Gandhi and the Congress (Sareen 1996: 36 f.).

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T.R. Sareen sees the most important cause for the noticeable delay of Bose’s departure in the contradictory nature of German politics. On the one hand, the Germans were happy to be rid of Bose; on the other hand, they were unwilling to release the “trump card” of Bose to the hands of the Japanese. And so the German government did not arrange for Bose’s trip decisively enough. In conjunction with logistical problems, one delay followed another. Up until November of 1942, after all, the idea of flying as opposed to other forms of transportation was the focus of discussion, in accordance with Italy’s suggestion (Sareen 1996: 38 f.). Whatever other reasons might have contributed to the delay, there was still a period of nine months between Hitler’s “permission” and the start of Bose’s trip. This was an additional reason for Bose’s arrival in Asia being viewed as “too late,” because unlike the situation in May of 1942, the military dynamics in Asia in the spring of 1943 were no longer determined by Japan (Das 2000: 556–579). Looking back on Bose’s experiences in Germany, Emilie Bose summarized that time as follows: “They (the German foreign office) wanted to put him into a corner and keep him quiet” (qtd. in Das 2000: 562). Bose had nothing to offer this Germany; and he had to realize that this Germany also had nothing to offer him. Epilogue: The Fate of the Indian Legion The Indian Legion that was formed in Germany beginning in 1942 was never even to approach the dimension of the INA, the Indian National Army, formed in Southeast Asia. The following conditions were too disadvantageous: z

z

The leadership in Germany organized the formation of Indian troops at best half-heartedly. The desire to recruit soldiers for German military goals from the ranks of Indian units of the British army who were now prisoners of war was diametrically opposed to the distaste on the part of the political leadership regarding “colored” soldiers and non-German soldiers (or at least those not from Western Europe) in general. The motivation of Indian prisoners of war to fight on the German side was diminished from the outset by the fact that the notion of participating in a war of liberation in India from the perspective of European prison camps was much less realistic than from the perspective of prison camps in Malaysia and Burma.

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Even before the Japanese advance, there was already a quantitatively relevant sub-society of “exile Indians” in Southeast Asia who could serve as the foundation, in financial and social terms, for an Indian army. There was no such sub-society in Europe.

The attempts on Bose’s part as well as on the part of the Germans to gain soldiers for the Indian Legion were only moderately successful. That is to say, the total number of Indian prisoners who applied to the Legion after what were quite intensive attempts at recruitment was recorded only at levels of 20–25 percent. In February 1943, at the time of Bose’s departure form Europe, there were 2,000 recruits. By the end of the war, this number would rise to slightly over 3,000. At the beginning, the entire corps of officers and noncommissioned officers in the Legion were Germans. Gradually, however, Indians were able to advance within the ranks. By the end of the war, the Legion had ten Indian officers and a large number of Indian noncommissioned officers (Hartog 1991: 61–75). The soldiers of the Indian Legion swore allegiance to Adolf Hitler and to Subhas Chandra Bose (Harbich 1970: 55). The oath to Hitler was the precondition for their integration into the German Armed Forces. German officers and noncommissioned officers were responsible for the training. As a military unit, the Indian Legion was always under German command. After training was concluded in April of 1943, the Legion was transferred to the coast guard in the Netherlands. At this point there were conscientious objectors. The Legionnaires had realized that they were being deployed not for the liberation of India, but for the defense of Germany. The German Armed Forces did not find the conscientious objectors guilty of mutiny, and thus it imposed not the death penalty, but rather jail and prison sentences (Hartog 1991: 89–91). There were similar episodes of objections in Italy in November of 1942 when the Indians recruited by Shedai refused to go to the Libyan front instead of being deployed for the liberation of India. The result of this protest was that the Italian government put an end to Shedai’s activities in Italy (Sareen 1996: 370). After guarding the coast of the Netherlands, the Legion was then transferred to guard the coast of southwest France, near the border with Spain. The fact that the German government deployed the In-

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dian Legion near Bordeaux makes it clear that the leaders in Germany did not place much trust in the Legion. The likelihood of the Allies landing in the extreme south of the west coast of France was next to nothing. The Allied advance from Normandy to the east and from southern France to the north forced the hurried return of the Legion to Germany in the summer of 1944. In the process, it became involved in evidently minor struggles with the French Resistance and with American troops (Sareen 1996: 408 f.). This document clearly gives a greatly exaggerated account of the fighting, with the obvious intention of constructing a heroic myth. For a more realistic depiction, see Hartog 1991: 142–154). In November of 1944, the Legion was put under the command of the SS and was then called “Indian Legion in the Waffen-SS” (Hartog 1991: 163). In late April and early May the units of the Legion became prisoners of war of the Allies in the Allgäu region near Lake Constance. The end of the INA is a part of the myth of Indian independence. The trial of Bose’s leading officers, the “Red Fort” trial in Delhi at the end of 1945, made heroes of the surviving INA members and integrated their history into that of the Indian independence movement. The INA had made history, too—it had made a major contribution to the final Japanese offensive in Southeast Asia and it had given added weight to the claim of Bose’s exile government that it spoke for India. In comparison to the INA, the fate of the Indian Legion is one of tragic meaninglessness. The Legion was unable to play any sort of recognizable role in the war at any time. It held no political significance after Bose’s departure from Europe, if not earlier. The fate of the Indian Legion was not the stuff from which heroic myths are made. The Allies treated the Legionnaires like soldiers of the INA, that is to say, not as traitors. The Legionnaires were not to become martyrs. Unlike the soldiers of the INA, the Legionnaires had not fought any battles and their claim to have truly fought for India was not very credible. Most officers of the Legion were still Germans, after all. And the end of the Legion as a part of the SS was also not one that India wanted to be proud of after 1945 (Hartog 1991: 192 f.). The insignificance of the Legion underscores Bose’s political failure in Berlin. Hitler and National Socialism were not able to, nor did they want to, take Bose seriously, although Japan and Italy had been

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prepared to do so. Hitler had only scorn and derision for the Indian Legion. History records Hitler’s statement on the situation on March 23, 1945: The Indian Legion is a joke. There are Indians who wouldn’t hurt a flea. Confronting them with the English is nonsense as far as I’m concerned. (qtd. in Hartog 1991: 198)

10 India—One, Two, or Many Nations? India’s national identity can best be understood by a close consideration of India’s antithesis: Pakistan. The idea of Pakistan contradicts the idea of an India that views itself not only as a geographical and cultural unity, but as a political one as well. Pakistan contradicts Indian national identity. In 1932 the British government used the framework of the Round Table discussions to seek a compromise that would meet the demands of the Indian independence movement halfway and still keep India for the British Empire. This was the context in which the concept of Pakistan was invented in Cambridge by Muslim students from India (Wolpert 1984: 131–133). This context is significant because the environment of the British universities had itself been an important factor in the political socialization of the leaders of the Indian National Congress and thus for the idea of a secular Indian nation. The university environment also encouraged the contradiction of this idea—Pakistan—and thus the concept of the partition of India. The name Pakistan derives from the first initials of the regions of northwest British India: Punjab, Afghan (Northwest) Province, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan. (Wolpert 1984: 131). Bengal was evidently not a consideration for those who invented the idea of a Muslim state. The partition of Bengal, however, was to become the greatest problem in the emergence of Pakistan next to that of Punjab, as well as the most difficult factor in the history of Pakistan until 1971. The notion of a separate Muslim state developed from the provinces and principalities rather than being part of an independent allIndian state appealed greatly to two different sets of interests. 207

208 z

z

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British colonial policy tried, unsurprisingly, to take advantage of every fault line that contradicted the right of the Congress to represent all of India. For that reason, it was the policy of the British to deploy the princes against the Congress repeatedly; and now they could introduce the Muslims as a separate party into the mix as well—or at least those Muslims who had not integrated themselves into the Congress. The Muslim League, founded in 1906 as a primarily apolitical representative body of Muslim notables, had developed under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah into a rival organization of the Congress. The idea of a separate state corresponded to the interest of Jinnah the Muslim politician in emancipating himself from a Congress dominated by the leadership of Gandhi.

Pakistan was a political instrument of the British and the Muslim League. But Pakistan was not a coincidence. The subcontinent had been subject to religious conflict long before India became British India, particularly the conflict between Muslims and Hindus, but later also between Muslims and Sikhs. The Indian State, which before the unification of India under British rule had come closest to the goal of an all-Indian state, was a state of Muslims—the empire of the Mughals. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries this empire controlled what is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with the exception of the deep south. With the retreat of European (mostly British) colonialists from the eighteenth century onward, it was from its beginning an empire of Muslim rulers. The majority of Hindus turned against the political hegemony of Islam and there arose a resistance movement against this hegemony that conceived of itself as a religion: that of the Sikhs. This background helps to understand the deep sense of unwillingness on the part of Hindus and Sikhs to live in an Islamic state defined by Muslims. On the other hand, it also helps to understand the unwillingness of many Muslims who feared an all-Indian state as a sort of revenge on the part of the Hindus for centuries of Islamic dominance. Against this historical background Jinnah pleaded for the idea of two nations, each characterized by an identity defined in religious and cultural terms. For Jinnah there was no united India. For him there was a Muslim and a Hindu India. There was Pakistan and Hindustan.

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The India of the National Congress, which was the India of Gandhi and Nehru, has, however, never been Hindustan. It is not simply the flip side of Pakistan. It is a nation that does not have the lines of conflict, the “cleavages” of history and of the present as hallmarks of its national identity. It has not developed along these lines of conflict but rather beyond them. India is a nation intended as a bridge across these “cleavages.” Nation Building and Consociational Democracy The model that the British took, not as an example precisely but certainly as an experience of which to be mindful of, during the partition of India was the division of Ireland in 1922 (Mansergh 1976). This model was also one of the bases for the Palestine policy of Attlee’s government and the UN Resolution of 1947 which advocated a partition of the British region of mandate into an Arab (Palestinian) and a Jewish state (Segev 2000: 487–520). The partition of Ireland was possible because large segments of both the Catholic and Protestant populations were able to accept such a solution, at least for the interim. The partition of Palestine failed because no one on the Arab side was willing to accept this solution. The partition of India was the goal of the Muslim League and had the (reluctant) support of the Congress. The partition contradicted the concept of a single Indian nation but it was the price for independence that the leadership in Congress was willing to pay. Subhas Chandra Bose had always admired Eamon de Valera for not wanting to accept the partition of Ireland. During the negotiations of 1920–1921, de Valera had already opposed making a trilateral conflict of the already existing British–Irish bilateral one. Ireland’s Protestants should be treated as a minority but not included as a partner, he thought (Mansergh 1976: 46). The Muslim League had not succeeded with a similar exclusionary tactic: Jinnah’s position was too strong for that. The negotiations regarding the end of British colonial rule were trilateral because India spoke with two voices: that of Jinnah and that of Congress. Congress had, of course, never stopped laying claim to the role of speaker for Indian Muslims. Muslim politicians had always played a role in Congress, according to Maulana Azad, who became president of the National Congress after Bose (Wolpert 1984: 181). But the elections of 1937 had shown that in the provinces decisive for the relationship between Hindus and Muslims—Bengal, Punjab, but also in the United Provinces (later

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Uttar Pradesh)—the majority of Muslim votes went to the League and not to the Congress. Jinnah’s claim of speaking for India’s Muslims, then, had a credible foundation. The partition of British India created a homogeneous Pakistan in accordance with the criteria of the Muslim League, which saw religion as a major factor in the founding of the nation. But the partition produced a religiously heterogeneous India in which as many Muslims lived as in each of the two parts of Pakistan created in 1947. The demographic and geographic circumstances and the politics of refugeeism and expulsion practiced by both India and Pakistan created a Pakistan that corresponded to Jinnah’s notion: a homogeneous state of Muslims. But at the same time, an India emerged that corresponded to Gandhi’s and Nehru’s ideas—not a homogeneous state of Hindus, but a state of religious (and linguistic) diversity. The consequence of this Indian heterogeneity is that democracy and nation building cannot proceed from a homogeneous nation from the outset, but rather from a coexistence of minorities. India is a country of minorities. India gains its identity from this state of affairs. It is telling that the concept of minorities in and of itself is not understood in an ethnic or linguistic sense. Tamils and Bengals are not considered minorities. The minorities are the religions outside of Hinduism, as well as the “scheduled castes” and the “scheduled tribes.” Ethnic and linguistic groups that are dominant in one of Table 10.1 Minorities in India, 1996 Minority

Size in absolute numbers

Percentage of population

Dalits (scheduled castes)

145,360,000

15.8%

Muslims

104,880,000

11.4%

Adivasis (scheduled tribes) including Nagas

69,000,000 700,000

7.5% 0.1%

Christians

22,080,000

2.4%

Sikhs

13,000,000

1.4%

Kashmiris

8,600,000

0.9%

Buddhists

6,440,000

0.7%

Other minorities listed but not quantified: Jews, Anglo-Indians, Andaman Islanders Source: World Directory of Minorities 1997: 554.

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India’s states (such as Tamils or Bengals) are not minorities in this sense. This list of India’s minorities seems at first glance, at least, arbitrary and inconsistent. For example, listing Kashmiris, who are primarily Muslims, as a minority means that they are counted twice as a minority: once as members of the minority of Muslims and simultaneously as members of an ethnic-linguistic group. As such, they dominate the states of Jammu and Kashmir and should not actually be judged a minority, if the same criteria apply to them as apply to Tamils and Bengals. Sikhs, on the other hand, appear only as Sikhs and are not counted again as Punjabis. The example of Kashmir demonstrates that the concept of a minority in India is particularly ambivalent. It does not so much express an objective demographic reality as it does a subjective political one: a minority is whoever counts as a minority. The fact that the Muslim Kashmiris are counted twice reflects the political significance of the Kashmir problem, not a unified standard of the concept of minority. This indicates a peculiarity of the concept of minority in India: while the concept of minority in Pakistan has a clear content from the outset—a minority is anyone who does not share the hallmark that defines Pakistan, namely, Islam—the concept of minority in India has many layers and shimmers with contradictions (Weiner 1999). Thus, the concept of minority is also contradictory; and alongside the concept of minority, the concept of democracy takes on layers of meaning. Democracy is always associated with rule of the majority. Yet the simple interpretation that democracy is equivalent to “the majority rules” does not stand up to critical inspection (Lijphart 1999: 31). For in addition to the legitimization of every form of rule by a majority, democracy also needs respect for the rights of minorities. Above all, the concept of rule of the majority leaves open the question of how a majority is formed. In the case of Indian democracy the rule by the majority has two primary dimensions that are at once interconnected but independent from one another. z

The majority in Parliament, in the Lok Sabha, legitimizes the government; and thus, a majority decision by the voters legitimizes— indirectly, in the tradition of Westminster democracy—political rule.

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The ruling majority is formed by minorities whose interests are considered not only from a tactical perspective on the part of those who rule, but also systematically, and for the long term.

The nature of Indian democracy is characterized not simply by the rule of a “natural” majority of Hindus. Instead, it is the fact that in India a majority that includes minorities, or that must, in fact, be viewed solely as an alliance of minorities, must be created anew again and again in complex intra- and inter-party agreements. Above all, the reality of the castes destroys the notion of a given Hindu majority. The specificity of the castes makes of the concept “Hindus” a multitude of partial concepts, such that one could even argue there is no majority in India and that among the minorities, the Muslims are the largest (Weiner 1999: 242). Indian democracy is the sharing of power between minorities who thus become a politically defined—and not “naturally” given—majority. As such, Indian democracy corresponds to the consensus model of democracy. It is a special form of “consociational democracy” (Lijphart 1996; Lijphart 1999: 31–47). Thus, the political culture of India—independent from the constitution modeled on the British Westminster model—is a contribution toward the development of national identity. For in this way, the minorities are included in the majority rule, whereas they would otherwise have to feel excluded in the case of a simple transposition of majority rule. The Indian nation is therefore not “Hindustan.” Rather, the Indian nation is a nation of religious, linguistic, and social diversity. This diversity is expressed not only demographically, but also in the written rules of the political system and in the unwritten rules of the political culture. Respect for diversity in the political culture of India means a certain understanding of secularism. In general, Muslims are represented by Muslims, Bengals are represented by Bengals, and Dalits are represented by Dalits. Indian democracy is not—as an idealized version of secularism might perhaps imply—blind to the real divisions between religions, language groups, and castes. Indian secularism as a crucial prerequisite for democracy and nation building is “sectorally additive.” That is to say, the individual religious, linguistic, and socially defined subgroups of society represent themselves, but they do not segregate themselves. The answer to Jinnah’s “two nations” was and still is: a single Indian nation. In this nation,

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subnations enjoy territorial and (or) personal autonomy and are represented by individuals of their own choice on a national level. A different notion of secularism competes with this notion of “secularism with sectoral autonomy.” Hindu nationalism, at the root of the BJP, does not contradict the fundamental principles of secularism. But this sort of Hindu nationalism has a different understanding of secularism—not as the addition and integration of autonomous units, but as blindness and neutrality toward the differences in religion, language, and caste. It is precisely this variant of secularism that caused the fear on Jinnah’s part that such an India would end up being a dictatorship of the “natural” majority over the minorities. But when the BJP came to power, the secularism of national homogeneity it stood for was not so different from the secularism of the autonomy of heterogeneous parts of society that had been developed by the Congress. The Division among Religions The division that overshadowed everything from the very beginnings of Indian democracy was the opposition between Hindus and Muslims. This historical and ongoing conflict, of course, delivered the basis for Jinnah’s concept of two nations. The promise to tame this conflict democratically was the first and crucial basis for the India that Gandhi and the Congress had in mind. Religion is a determining factor for Indian society. In the sixth decade of its independence, India is secular because the Indian state and its constitution separate religion and politics. In Indian society, however, religion is a decisive factor that functions as a driving force in all societal developments, including those in politics (Kaviraj 1999: 293–364). In this regard, Larson speaks of the “religionization” of India and of the growing significance of religion as a politically mobilizing factor. In this way, the tension between the secular state and non-secular society intensifies. Groups that feel like victims of this tension criticize deficits in the way in which secularization is implemented. However, the fact that this happens from viewpoints strongly opposed to one another speaks, in turn, for the secularization of a political system within a society so greatly defined and motivated by religion. The BJP has called the system created by Congress “pseudo-secular”; Muslims see in it a veiled repression on the part of Hindus; and still others speak of a rule by the upper Hindu castes

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that is hidden, but nonetheless recognizable behind the curtain of official secularization (Larson 1995: 281–285). These voices are not raised against the postulate of secularization per se. Rather, they are directed toward supposed or factual deficits in the way this postulate is implemented. The political integration of Muslims has always been the most important task of integration faced by Indian democracy. Through the very existence of Pakistan (and Bangladesh), the Muslims have a concrete alternative to secular identity right next door: a national identity based on religion. The second most important task of integration faced by Indian democracy on a religious level is that regarding the Sikhs. To be sure, they do not have a concrete alternative in view, but they do have a potential one: the idea of Khalistan, a sovereign Sikh state on the soil of the Indian state of Punjab (Oberoi 1999). The division between Hindus and Muslims is also bound up with a geographical concept: Kashmir. The partition of Jammu and Kashmir through a line of cease-fire into separate sectors controlled by Pakistan and India (and since 1962 also China) is for India a bitter memory of the fact that the division of British India was unavoidable. The ongoing guerilla warfare in Kashmir prevents the relationship between India and Pakistan from becoming stabilized, and it disrupts India’s role in the international arena. From the point of view of India’s founding philosophy, the behavior of all India’s governing bodies—the Congress Party, the United Front, and the BJP—has been thoroughly consistent with regard to the Kashmir conflict. India, of course, has never recognized the principle that Pakistan appeals to, namely, that a majority defined in religious terms decides on the membership to one of the successor states to British India. India has recognized this principle of partition only as an expression of a reality created against the will of Congress. That is to say, had there been no agreement to this partition, there would have been no independence, at least no independence in 1947. As a principality, Kashmir was, at first, not affected by the partition. In the case of the principalities, the princes were to decide whether to belong to Pakistan or India. The Maharaja of Kashmir, a Hindu, opted for India, despite the obvious Muslim majority in Kashmir—a decision welcomed by Nehru’s government at the time. This same government answered the Nizam of Hyderabad’s claim to this same option—that of a Muslim prince in a state populated by a ma-

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jority of Hindus—with a military invasion and the annexation of Hyderabad (Wolpert 1997: 352–355). The policies of Indian governments—from Nehru to Vajpayee— has, to be sure, made people realize that the violent conflict in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be viewed as a conflict with “the” Muslims. Muslim politicians have always been partners in the Congress, or rather, of the Congress; and they are also partners in the coalition led by the BJP. But India’s trust in achieving a majority among Kashmir’s Muslims for India and against Pakistan in free elections does not run very deep. The ongoing military conflict is the most important sign that the division between Hindus and Muslims has, in fact, been relativized by Indian democracy but not eliminated (Larson 1995: 244–256). The division between Hindus and Sikhs on the one hand, and Muslims on the other has a clear geographical name: Punjab. Sikhs, as a religious group, are of course distributed throughout India, but Punjab is where they have their center. Here, in Indian Punjab, is their holy city: Amritsar. During the partition of Punjab, the Sikhs opted for India—and became both victims and perpetrators on the side of the Hindus in the expulsions of 1947. But the attempts of the Sikhs to create a national identity was prevented until 1966 by the fact that in the Indian state of Punjab, within the boundaries created after the partition, the Sikhs were a minority vis-à-vis the Hindus. To detract from the momentum of the fundamentalist movement for an independent Khalistan, Punjab was divided in 1966 into two successor states: Haryana, with a clear Hindu majority, and the now smaller Punjab, with a Sikh majority. A smaller part of (the old) Punjab was also attached to the state Himachal Pradesh (Larson 1995: 234–244). None of this served to eliminate the division between the Sikhs and the Hindu majority. The violent conflicts that climaxed in the murder of Indira Gandhi by Sikh soldiers in her own corps of bodyguards in 1984 and in the excesses against the Sikhs that took on the proportions of a pogrom only serve to prove this point. But through their majority in Punjab, “moderate” Sikhs have the incentive to use Punjab as a power base from which to carry out their own agenda— within India and Indian political culture, not against India. The ability to defuse an ethnic or religious conflict through partition is one of the instruments of “consociational democracy.” A few years after the partition of Punjab, this same technique was applied

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to the largely German-speaking canton of Bern in Switzerland. With the creation of the new canton Jura, the French-speaking minority of the canton Bern gained a new canton in which it represents the clear majority. This technique of creating a regional majority from a regional minority and thus—within the framework of federalist structures—vesting it with power, is a characteristic of a political culture that defines “majority” and “minority” as flexible terms (Lijphart 1977: 94–96). With the exception of the states of Jammu and Kashmir and the tiny territory of Lakshadweep (a group of islands off the coast of Kerala) there is no large regional unity with a Muslim majority. India’s Muslims cannot, in general, be defined in regional terms. This is why the model of political integration through assigning power within the framework of territorial autonomy is not applicable to them. This is precisely the reason why India has developed a model of political integration through personal autonomy. An important part of the identity transmitted through Islam is a certain understanding of gender roles and families. This stands in clear contradiction to the claims of the Indian constitution to guarantee the same civil rights to all citizens, male or female. In practice, Muslims have their own laws concerning marriage, inheritance, and family life. All attempts to do away with this peculiarity in the sense of a special, uniform civil law that would also apply to Muslims, have failed. Furthermore, Indian courts assume that special regulations corresponding to Islamic tradition should apply to Muslims. A Supreme Court decision in the 1980s questioned this assumption, however, when the traditional Islamic divorce law was successfully overturned. This decision in favor of a woman and against Islamic tradition was welcomed by feminists as well as by Hindu nationalists. The ruling party in Congress under Rajiv Gandhi felt the need to assuage its own Muslim supporters, unsettled by the ruling, with a law passed in 1986. This law, in turn, reconfirmed the special status of Muslims with regard to civil rights that had been threatened by the Supreme Court ruling in the concrete case of divorce. The secular Congress had seen to it, then, that the tradition of a special law for a certain religiously defined group remained in effect. The governing Congress gave priority to the defense of the special status of the Muslim votes important for the majority in Congress over a consistent interpretation of the constitution (Larson 1995: 256–261).

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Of course, this recent confirmation of a traditional legal inequality provoked new conflicts. But regardless of the fact that the conflict over the interpretation of the secularization postulate continues to focus on the special civil law for Muslims, there is an entire series of arguments not necessarily for the concrete status quo but quite definitely for the basic idea of a special legal status for Muslims. Since the Muslims are historically and currently the most important minority in India with a separate identity, their integration into Indian society demands concessions to this specific identity. The values corresponding to Islamic tradition in India cannot, therefore, simply be sacrificed to the commandment of equal treatment under the constitution in the interest of integrating the Muslims. It is not simply a matter of protecting the rights of individuals but also of protecting the rights of groups (Bhargava 2000: 191 f.). The civil rights of Muslims can be reformed, particularly in the interest of improving the rights of Muslim women. But the basic idea of a particular legal status of a certain group strong enough to destabilize the political system corresponds to the political culture of India. It lends a personal autonomy to the most important minority in the country that, because it is distributed throughout all the states, cannot enjoy territorial autonomy by means of a vertical separation of powers. Indian Muslims carry these special rights with them, whether they live in Gujarat or Kerala. This personal autonomy is the equivalent of territorial autonomy that provides power to minorities who are, in certain regions, majorities—the Sikhs in Punjab, the Tamils in Tamil Nadu, the Bengals in West Bengal. This opportunity does not exist for Muslims. With the exception of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Muslims live in regions that do not allow a state to have a Muslim majority, even with the most artificial zoning. For this reason, if they are to be granted power and thus allowed to participate in the power structures, Muslims must be accorded personal autonomy. This personal autonomy comes at a price. Under certain circumstances (for example in the concrete case of marriage and family law this is a certainty) it is at odds with the universal notions of equality that are based on individuals, not on groups; and this concrete personal autonomy cannot help but be a provocation, especially for feminists. However, the notion of personal autonomy can also be further developed, particularly with regard to the status of women, without autonomy being cancelled out. Such a cancellation

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would carry a high price indeed—the very basis for Muslims’ identification with Indian democracy would be put into question. Around 1900, when the conflict among nationalities in AustroHungary threatened to destroy the fabric of the Habsburg monarchy, Austrian social democracy developed a concept that was meant to meet the interests of all the different language groups halfway, namely, the concept of personal (not territorial) autonomy (Kann 1950; Mommsen 1963). The background of this reform idea was the same as the background for the personal autonomy of Muslims in India: in some regions of the monarchy, particularly in Bohemia and Moravia, the individual nationalities could not be accorded territorial autonomy due to the lack of any clear linguistic borders without creating new minority problems. For this reason, the demands for a separate school system and other institutions were not supposed to be connected with a specific territory. Instead, it was thought that groups should be able to create them in any of the regions. This concept of reform was not realized in Austria-Hungary. In India it has been realized, at least in part. The fact that this reform has been realized has, in turn, been beneficial to the stability of India’s democracy. In this way, the more than 100 million Indian Muslims can identify with India. They are less susceptible to the temptation that carries the name of Jinnah: to feel themselves to be a separate nation under the rule of another nation. In addition to the personal autonomy that serves the integration of Muslims, they also, as the most important minority in India, participate in power. Individual Muslims have traditionally filled highly visible positions in India’s government. Even before 1947, Congress attached great importance to having Muslims in leadership roles. And the governments during the times of hegemony by the Congress have preserved this tendency. This is one of the factors that have been labeled “pseudo-secular” by the opposition, for instance, by the BJP. However, even the BJP-led governments take into account the necessity of including Muslims in the highest levels of political representation. Shiv Sena, with its Hindu fundamentalist tendencies, was quite successful in Maharasthra, and was also part of the coalition government of Vajpayee formed in 1999, along with other parties. There are also different regional splinterings of the Congress represented, for example from Jammu and Kashmmir. This party, the Jammu and Kashmir National Congress, is represented in the government by a state minister for trade and industry. His name:

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Omar Abdullah. His religious affiliation: Islam (Ahuja 2000: 318). In 2002, the BJP-led ruling majority in Parliament elected a Muslim to the presidency of India: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. In addition, the government led by the BJP goes out of its way to take the interests of the Sikhs into consideration. The Shiromani Alkali Dal is a member party of the coalition formed in 1999 by Vajpayee. Sukdev Singh Dhindsa represents this party as a member of the cabinet—as Minister for Youth and Sports. His home state: Punjab He is a Sikh. (Ahuja 2000: 314). The earlier critics of the “pseudo-secularism” of Congress have made use of the same technique of political rule as the Congress. That is to say, in order to stabilize the political system, all social sectors that could conceivably experience conflict must participate in the government, even when this appears to contradict the postulate of secularization, as in the case of the conspicuous participation of individual Muslims or Sikhs. The Division between Linguistic Groups India is a nation without a national language. There is no one language spoken by the vast majority of Indian men and women. The language that, according to the Constitution, is the official state language is Hindi—the language of the largest minority. Hindi, written in the Devanagari alphabet, is the language of the Hindus in the north. Hindi is dominant in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh. Hindi has a multi-layered, competitive relationship with other languages (Brass 1995: 158–169). The following three points illustrate the tensions in this relationship: 1. In these states in the north, Urdu continues to function as the language of the north Indian Muslims. In some districts it is even designated as a second official language. Urdu is a variant of Hindi written using the Arabic alphabet, and it is the official language of Pakistan. Taking Urdu into consideration alongside Hindi is a means by which to integrate Muslims in the north of India. 2. In other states of the north, the northeast, and the northwest, other Indo-European languages related to Hindi are dominant. This linguistic kinship is based on common roots in Sanskrit. Among these languages are Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, and Bengali. These

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languages are by no means dialects; rather, they are standard languages with their own alphabets whose degree of relatedness with Hindi is approximately comparable to that among the romance languages of Europe. 3. In the south, the Dravidian languages are dominant: Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, and Malayalam. The population of the four states in which the Dravidian languages predominate—Andra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala—numbers approximately 200 million. The multitude of languages is responsible for a number of lines of conflicts. That is to say, the tension between Hindi and Urdu reflects the conflict between Hindus and Muslims. The tension between Hindi and the Dravidian languages expresses the age-old opposition between north and south. The empires of the north, in other words, were never in a position to control all of the south. The tension between Hindi and the other languages related to Hindi is characterized by conflicts of a different sort: Punjabi, for example, is the language of the Sikhs and draws its political status from this relationship. Bengali and Marathi are the languages of the two centers that have historically been and continue to be rivals to Delhi: Calcutta and Mumbai (Bombay), and they express the self-esteem of Bengal and Maharashtra. Both of these states have a combined population of more than 150 million people. Democracy in general and the orientation toward consensus specifically are what allow the various interests that stand in opposition to the hegemony of Hindi to summon enough pressure together to counterbalance the implementation of the official postulate—Hindi as the official language of India. In this process, English takes on an essential role: it functions as a language of discourse in all of India, in competition with Hindi. The political order of India takes into account the linguistic heterogeneity of the country in two ways: z

Hindi and English coexist as languages of discourse. Hindi is the dominant language of the north. It is the language spoken in the largest states in the north, the northwest, and in central India. English is the language of elite communication in all of India and the language non-Hindi speakers prefer to speak with one another as well as with Hindi-speakers. Indian politics makes allowances for this coexistence. For example, English is still accepted as a lan-

India—One, Two, or Many Nations? 221

z

guage for entrance examinations for public service on the federal and state levels (Brass 1995: 167 f.). The borders between the states outside of the Hindi-speaking belt in the north were determined according to linguistic criteria after independence. Thus, the province of Bombay, established by the British, was divided in 1960 into the state of Maharashtra, dominated by Marathi-speakers, and the state of Gujarat, dominated by speakers of Gujarati. The division of Punjab in 1966 followed the same principle. The most important language groups were supposed to acquire their “own” state in which they could determine the official language (Brass 1995: 169–174).

In this way, ethnic identity, transmitted through language, becomes a basis for political power. Each of the large and thus important language groups acquires “its” state. The power was not in the possession of one group; it was distributed among several. Thus, the hegemony of Hindi, the official language of the union, was significantly counterbalanced. The fear on the part of other language groups that Hindi dominance would go unchecked was removed. They were allowed participation in power: first, vertically through the possibility of themselves dominating on the state level; and second, de facto through the possibility of participating in the government overall of India. This would take place at the national level in the form of regional ethnic parties or in the form of autonomous organizations of the national parties (Congress Party, BJP, JD, CPM). The political autonomy of India’s large language groups is one equivalent of “self-policing.” In other words, each group looks after the order in its own area using general rules as a framework (i.e., the Constitution and the political culture of all of India). Each of these groups has instruments of power at its disposal—and thus it feels included, not excluded. In this way, India’s ethnic and linguistic diversity is integrated (Varshney 2001: particularly 391–395). The pattern of vertical and horizontal power sharing among language groups is, of course, not a recipe for avoiding ethnic and linguistic conflicts. The language groups that do not dominate in any states (Urdu is the largest among these) are not placated by the vertical distribution of power. Urdu as the language of the Muslims in the north gains political weight at the national level—by means of the representation of Muslims by Muslims—and has also attained the status of a second official language in certain districts of Uttar

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Pradesh and Bihar. However, other, smaller language groups do not feel at all like beneficiaries of any form of power sharing. Among these are the linguistic minorities in the Hindi-speaking north as well as in the states not dominated by Hindi. The policies of Indian governments follow a certain pattern due to the conflicts that result over and over from the situation described above (Brass 1995: 172–174). z

z

z

z

The demand of ethnic and linguistic groups not for autonomy but for secession is met with police and military force. Separatist Sikhs in Punjab as well as secessionist Hindus in Assam have had this experience. But when the demand for secession is substituted by the demand for autonomy, the pattern shifts. Instead of the deployment of police or military force, political negotiations take place, the results of which include participation in the power structures. The demand for territorial autonomy by religious groups is not accepted by any Indian government. Indian secularism excludes the formation of a state based on religion. The de facto participation in power on the part of religious minorities follows a different pattern than that of linguistic minorities. Punjab is in this respect something of an exception because the group consisting of Punjabispeakers is essentially the same as the group consisting of Sikhs. The demand for territorial autonomy based only on objective numbers, not supported by a broad political movement, is ignored. Certain language groups in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have already experienced this, for instance, when their desire for official recognition was simply ignored. This was the case because there was not sufficient pressure from voters behind the issue. The demand for a shift in borders between states is successful primarily when it reflects the desire of not only one, but all parties affected. The partition of the former province Bombay into Maharashtra and Gujarat only became a political possibility when the Gujarati-speaking population in the northwest part of the original state of Bombay could be convinced of the idea, not only the Marathi-speaking population of the south and southeast.

Indian political culture allows language groups to participate in power under the condition that they recognize secularism and the fact that they belong to India. Only those language groups that possess a correspondingly strong ability to mobilize their forces will

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enjoy power sharing, along with those who are capable of finding a consensus with the other groups involved. Linguistic policy in India does not mean a dictatorship on the part of the central government on the basis of an abstract dogma or a constitution. Linguistic policy in India is the reaction of the political system to social pressure while preserving a national context in the framework of a general orientation toward consensus. This linguistic policy can serve as an example. Like the European Union, India is a federation in which, unlike the United States, there is not one single dominant language, but many important, albeit not equally important, languages. In this regard, David Laitin speaks of the formula “3+ or –1.” In other words, those members of the educated elite who are interested in climbing the social ladder must have a working command of several languages. If they come from a Hindispeaking state, then “3 minus 1” suffices; that is to say, the command of Hindi and English. If they come from a state not dominated by Hindi, then the formula “3” applies. In West Bengal, for example, working knowledge of Bengali, Hindi, and English are necessary for a successful career. And the formula “3 plus 1” applies to members of language groups that constitute a minority in one state, for example, the large minority of Marathi speakers in Karnataka. Their mother language is Marathi, but their official language is Kannada and the two languages of the union, Hindi and English, are the basis for careers (Laitin 1997: 282–286). Of course, this model of “3+ or –1” will not apply precisely to other multilingual federations. But supposing, realistically, that careers in the EU, for example, had as a prerequisite working knowledge of English and French (under certain circumstances, German could substitute for French), a model of multiple languages emerges that does not value all official languages in the same way. The formula “3 plus 1” would mean for the Swedish minority in Finland that they would need to know Swedish as their mother language, Finnish as the official language, and English as lingua franca. The obvious suggestion would be that they learn French (or German) in order to know a second of the most important European languages. Bose did not have a model for the linguistic diversity of India; rather, he had a recipe. He had proclaimed “Hindustani” as the general language for the Indian Legion, organized in Germany beginning in 1941, and then particularly for the INA in southeast Asia. Hindustani was a combined form of Hindi and Urdu written in the

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letters of the Latin alphabet (Hartog 1991: 119–125). This attempt at a solution speaks for Bose’s secularism and nationalism: he wanted, above all, to bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims. And with the use of the Latin alphabet, he wanted to make the transition to modernity easier for India. This recipe would surely not fit in with India at the turn of the millennium, at least not beyond the military. The recipe lacks the sensibility for the delicate task of integration vis-à-vis the other language groups. Bose wanted to integrate Hindus and Muslims. And his concept of “Hindustani” was, of course, directed primarily against the predominance of English. The likelihood is not very great, for example, that the Tamils in an independent India would have identified with this India without taking part in power sharing by means of territorial autonomy. Nehru and the Congress and all of Nehru’s successors accepted this. India’s diversity demands that linguistic diversity be answered not with a homogeneity ordained from above, but with political recognition and thus the recognition of this diversity. Caste Differences During the time before India’s independence, Congress tended to downplay the fragmentation of Indian society in castes. Castes were—even according to Bose (Bose 1997: 6)—seen as a sign of India’s backwardness, but one that would disappear on its own. The modernists of Congress in particular, one of whom was Bose, viewed the caste system with some degree of embarrassment. The mere existence of this peculiar institution that divides human beings into groups based on the coincidence of their birth—a categorization from which there is no escape—was a thorn in the side for modernists. Their goal, after all, was a mobile Indian society, and the caste system with its commandments regarding professions and prohibitions against certain marriages was the absolute opposite of the social mobility they desired. Gandhi, whose attitude was somewhat opposed to modernism, clearly had fewer difficulties accepting the realities of the caste system. In the tension between “tradition” and “modernity” that pervades the history of the Indian independence movement, Gandhi was on one side and Bose and Nehru were on the other (Chatterjee P. 1999; Kothari 1999). The modernists were ashamed of the existence of the castes, whereas the traditionalists continued to accept the realities of the caste system.

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Belonging to a particular caste is not an easy thing to appreciate objectively. Gerald James Larson proceeds based on the following categorizations of Hindu society for the time of the division of British India (Table 10.2). The quantification of castes is easiest at the upper and lower ends of the traditional hierarchy. The policies of the Congress at the beginning of independence were also characterized by a sort of alliance, or quid pro quo, between the highest and lowest castes in the societal hierarchy. The scheduled castes and tribes participated in the power structure through certain representatives and were included in assistance measures, particularly in public service. This was the price for their integration into a political system whose social basis was characterized by extreme inequality. Even before independence, individual representatives of different castes as well as the casteless (the untouchables, or Dalits) were featured prominently within the Congress in order to underscore the inclusive character of the Congress. This practice was also continued in the Nehru era. In this way, Jagjivan Ram’s influence was because as a Dalit he could guarantee the votes of other Dalits for Congress. His decision to switch from the Congress to the Janata Alliance in 1977 was not an insignificant factor in the defeat of Indira Gandhi. He was not only considered a representative of Dalits, he was also believed to have the ability to set millions of voters in motion—and to take them with him from one party to the other (Brass 1995: 109). Ram symbolized the quid pro quo. That is to say, the disadvantaged castes and the Dalits can be included in the political system determined by Congress—and their leaders are endowed with a visible distribution of power (Larson 1995: 200). Table 10.2 Categorization of Hindu Society According to Castes, Mid-Twentieth Century Forward or High Castes (Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs, Marathas, Jats,Vaishya-Banias, Kayasthas, etc.)

Percentage of the population: 17.6%

Other Backward Classes (OBCs)

Percentage of population vaguely estimated at 25–52%

Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes

Percentage of population 22.5%

Source: Larson 1995: 209.

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This balance between the highest and lowest parts of the hierarchy of castes was perceived by the “other backward classes” (OBCs) as a disadvantage. The Indian constitution had provided in general terms for these sorts of supportive measures. Provisions for certain disadvantaged castes positioned within the hierarchy between “high” and “scheduled castes” were somewhat longer in coming, however. A commission introduced under Nehru brought no results. Not until the commission introduced by Desai in 1979 under the direction of B.P. Mandal were there any political effects. After her election in 1980, Indira Gandhi took up the commission’s recommendations in order to introduce specific provisions for the “other backward classes” (Larson 1995: 261–266). The Mandal Commission recommended expanding the policy of “reversed discrimination” as it applied to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to include the OBCs. Above all, there were supposed to be certain quotas reserved within the domains of higher education and public service, as was already the case for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The implementation of these measures by the governments after Indira Gandhi led to explosive unrest that contributed to the fall of the Singh government in 1990. The provisional measures for Dalits, for other groups being discriminated against, and for ethnic minorities (“scheduled tribes”) signifies, of course, a redistribution of opportunities in life. The resistance to change of this scale on the part of the upper castes is, then, an unavoidable consequence. The Mandal Commission had gone to a great deal of trouble to develop criteria according to which membership in the OBCs was to be determined. That reflected the tradition of Hindu society which acknowledges a relative degree of clarity regarding membership in the highest and lowest castes (or the casteless), but which cannot easily convey the external features of membership in the middle castes. The Mandal Commission proceeded under the assumption of a combination of different features: (Larson 1995: 264 f.) z

z

z

Social factors: estimation of “backwardness” by others; dependence on manual labor; marriage at an age significantly below average; percentage of women in the work force Educational factors: number of years spent in school and in higher education Economic factors: personal wealth and ownership of residence, water supply, dependence on credit

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The measures taken by the government after the report issued by the Mandal Commission to benefit the OBCs have led to intense conflicts, particularly in the northern states. Regional parties that declare themselves either for or against assistance measures played an increasingly greater role in the party system, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the 1990s. This is shown by the results of the policies aimed at helping not only the scheduled castes (Dalits) but also other socially disadvantaged segments of the population. The upper castes suddenly see themselves as losers, and the pressure they exert is answered by counter pressure. The 1990s exposed the fault lines between the castes that had been more or less hidden until that time. The example of Uttar Pradesh demonstrates the consequences of this emancipation of the caste conflict from the tradition of integrating everyone into the Congress. Newly-founded parties, mostly groups that had splintered off from Congress, the BJP, or the JD openly appealed to special caste interests. These parties also reflected the growing tension between urban and rural interests—a tension that had been covered over for a long time by Nehru’s agricultural policies. During the Lok Sabha elections in 1999 only 39 of the 85 seats in Uttar Pradesh went to the two superregional integration parties, the BJP (29) and the Congress (10). The majority of seats went to other parties that openly represented caste interests and thus, from the outset, did not present themselves as integration parties. These parties included the Samajwadi Party (founded as a party of the Yadav caste: 26 seats) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (founded as a party of the Dalits: 14 seats) (Ahuja 2000: 183–188; Varshney 1995: 81– 145). The phenomenon of caste parties is primarily a phenomenon of the north: Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In the southern states, the fault line between the castes is covered over in ethnic and linguistic terms and integrated. For example, the caste conflict in Tamil Nadu is covered over by parties that consider themselves (like the DMK) representatives of the special interests of all Tamils. The drive toward integration on the part of the ethnic and linguistic parties of the south, which is, of course, directed against a factual or even supposed dominance of Hindi, is lacking in the Hindi belt of the north. The explosive quality of the caste conflicts does not lead to an outbreak of violence in places where the ethnic-linguistic conflict is at its greatest.

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But even the caste parties of the north that take advantage of the emancipation of the caste conflict are forced to show progress in terms of integration—as long as they remain within the boundaries of the political system, that is, the Constitution and democracy. To attain majorities at the state level, they have to join coalitions. In the 1990s the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, represented the Samajwadi Party (SP). In order to attain his majority, he also represented the special interests of the Muslims—and not only those of his caste. In order to have a voice at the national level, the SP was a partner in the United Front coalition that ruled in New Delhi from 1996–1998 (Ahuja 2000: 231). The development of the Bahujan Samaj Party also evinced the need for coalition and thus for integration. In the 1990s, Mayawati, a woman (and Dalit), represented the BSP as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. For this she needed the approval of the BJP. This approval hinged on certain conditions and was rescinded shortly thereafter. In the context of the emancipation of caste conflicts, caste parties have attained a significant position. But in order to take part in the political process, the need to form coalitions is very strong, and for this, they need to integrate. In this regard, a special significance falls to the educated elite of the Dalits (and other “backward classes”) because they are the primary beneficiaries of the politics of “reversed discrimination” and the primary representatives of a politics based on a caste identity of the Dalits. The most important representative of the Dalits in the early days of the Congress, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, supported the goal of creating a classless society in India. This was the reason he spoke in favor of “reversed discrimination.” During the 1990s in Uttar Pradesh, the BSP justified its position by referring to Ambedkar. However, the goal of the party is not the abolishment of the caste system but the perpetuation of “reversed discrimination” and thus the perpetuation of the castes (Ahuja 2000: 228). Integration through Autonomy Lijphart’s central argument, which he uses to explain the success of Indian democracy, is power sharing in the political system built up by Nehru and the Congress. Power is distributed among the different groups within the dominant party, with which individual segments, that is to say, territorial or other sorts of minorities, can identify. The representatives of these groups guarantee the loyalty of the

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various social groups of India through their participation in power (Lijphart 1996). This form of consociational democracy does not share power among parties but within one dominant party whose hegemony is legitimized through the process of democracy. This power sharing takes place horizontally as well as vertically, as outlined below. z

z

Horizontally: Representatives, for example, of Muslims and Dalits, that is, of social groups not defined in territorial terms, participate in power largely at the national level, both in terms of visible persons (e.g., as cabinet members in government or in the office of the presidency) and in terms of special programs (e.g., reversed discrimination for the Dalits and a special civil law for Muslims). In this way, the political system is not presented as the rule of the majority over the minority but rather as the alliance of minorities within the majority party. Vertically: The autonomy of the states is used to provide autonomous power on the regional level to the most important territorially defined groups, that is to say, to the language groups or ethnicities (and, in the case of Punjab, the religiously defined Sikhs). Thus, for example, Bengals and Sikhs, who could be defined on an all-Indian level as a minority (and in the case of the Sikhs, they are so defined), form a clear majority in the states of West Bengal and Punjab and can thus fully identify with the state power below the national level.

With the decline of Congress, the rise of the BJP (which is opposed to the hegemony of Congress and the political culture associated with it), and the development of a labile two-bloc-system, this form of consociational democracy is forced to make compromises. Lijphart describes the consequences from the perspective of 1996, that is to say, before the lessons learned when the BJP came to power. “As consociational theory would have predicted, Indian democracy has remained basically stable, but the weakening of power sharing has been accompanied by an increase in intergroup hostility and violence” (Lijphart 1996: 266). Further conclusions can be drawn from the first set of experiences with BJP-dominated governments. First, power sharing has, to be sure, taken on other forms since the time of the Nehru dynasty. Second, power sharing exists under changed parameters in new variations and thereby fulfills a central function of integrating the various

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Indian sub-societies and incorporating various potential nations— whether in territorial or non-territorial terms—into the Indian nation. The rise of the BJP was a challenge to the political culture of power sharing, of the cancellation of the terms majority and minority, and of consociational democracy. The attitude of the BJP, for example, in the context of its role in the destruction of the mosque of Ayodhya in 1992 and its opposition to Muslim civil law, had to appear threatening to Muslims, but also to other segments of Indian society that did not view themselves as part of a Hindi-speaking society of Hindus (Varshney 2000). But the BJP government does not act any differently than the Congress. The BJP does not act as a majority because as a party it has no majority. The splintering of the party system that has accompanied the fall of the Congress also guarantees the fact that the BJP must share its power. This power sharing has, of course, taken other forms since the time of the Nehru dynasty. It does not take place exclusively within the ruling party, but primarily between the primary governing party (the BJP since 1998) and the small parties whose support is necessary for the survival of the government. In this way, however, the special interests of the Hindi-speaking regions or the interests of certain castes or even of certain regions obtain a portion of the power. The basic rule of consociational democracy—the sharing of power even independent of the majority—continues even into the twenty-first century. The process of integrating the different special interests has changed in a fundamental way. Even under the last premier of Congress, P.V. Narasimha Rao, the Congress Party had to come to an agreement with regional and other smaller parties in order to govern; and the government of the United Front presupposed interparty agreements in the years 1996–1998. This has been the case particularly since 1998. In order to govern, the BJP has to make interparty concessions that until 1989 were made within the Congress. The form of power sharing has been “Europeanized.” That is to say, it corresponds more to the model of Swiss democracy in which power is shared between the parties representing the individual subsocieties and not among the groups of a single party (Lijphart 1977). As a party, the BJP does not have the social bandwidth of the Congress—at least not the Congress of the Nehru dynasty. The BJP as a governing party has to take into account the interests of other parties whose sum corresponds to the bandwidth of the Congress at the time of its hegemony.

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The result of the variant of power sharing that functioned up until 1989 and the result of the variant observable since 1989, when the lack of parliamentary majorities forced interparty agreements and coalitions, cover the same ground. Power sharing produces the prerequisite for an all-Indian political identity. The sharing of power is what creates the Indian nation in the first place. A culturally and geographically determined India thus becomes a politically defined India. The sharing of power in the sense of the political culture of India is what has made it impossible for Jinnah’s notion to establish itself after 1947. The existence of Indian democracy falsifies the idea that a modern nation presupposes homogeneity. This would likely have also been Subhas Chandra Bose’s problem had he been able to participate concretely in the construction of an independent India after 1945. His connection to the tradition of the Congress was clear. In opposition to Jinnah, Bose always stood on the ground of a secular India meant to integrate within a single national political identity the separate identities of Hindus and Muslims, Hindi speakers and Tamil and Kannada speakers, Dalits and Brahmans. This connection to secularism singles Bose out as one of the founding fathers of modern India. Whether Bose would have been sensitive to the complexities of the process of power sharing must be left an open question. His failure as president of the National Congress in 1939 demonstrates the consequences of his “politics of impatience.” He irritated too many special interest groups; he provoked too much resistance within his own ranks—and this alliance of special interests became the doom of Bose in his role as president of Congress. As head of government in exile he practiced a noticeable sharing of power when he—sensitive indeed to India’s heterogeneity—offered the various segments and various identities figures with which they could identify: generals of various religious affiliations, and a woman as minister and as commander of a regiment. But Bose acted as if sharing power were bestowed from above. As a de facto military dictator by the grace of Japan he showed a certain sensitivity— but within the parameters he himself defined. This is not to say, of course, that after 1945 Subhas Chandra Bose would not have found a place as a democrat in democratic India. His brother, Sarat Chandra Bose had found such a place—but in contradiction to Nehru’s line, beyond the power sharing as defined by Congress within the majority party (Bose, S.Ch.: 1968). But Bose’s

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noticeable impatience and his difficulties in making concessions, particularly when he felt himself to be in the right—difficulties that caused his presidency to fail—all of this would more likely than not have provoked resistance after 1945. Subhas Chandra Bose stands for secular India, but not necessarily for the political culture of power sharing. Bose, who went out of his way to win over Muslims using prominent Muslims, and Sikhs using prominent Sikhs, was a man of the traditional secularism within the Congress. But would he really have accorded the Muslims and the Punjabis and the Dalits and the Biharis autonomy even without the guarantee that the results of this autonomy would correspond to what he imagined? It is doubtful whether the Bose of the years 1943 to 1945 would have been capable of summoning up the conviction to take this position. Yet for decades A. B. Vajpayee’s career was also in no way characterized by a political culture in which he called for the territorial and regional autonomy of minorities. Vajpayee became head of the party and head of government because he seemed to offer an alternative to the culture of power sharing to those who viewed themselves as part of the “natural majority” of India. In practice, Vajpayee’s government shows that a consistent alternative to the political culture of India within the framework of democracy is evidently not possible. Vajpayee changed because he had to. Nothing speaks against the assumption that Bose could have changed as well—under the circumstances of Indian democracy. India is a nation of contradictions, a nation that owes its existence to the rejection of homogeneity. As such, India came into being as an antithesis to Jinnah’s Pakistan. India is a nation because it is a democracy. Pakistan seems to have difficulties with democracy because it is a nation. The Indian nation is the product of a particular Indian variant of democracy. Pakistani democracy is having problems developing itself beyond the given Pakistani nation. The Indian nation is based on democracy. The Pakistani nation exists without there necessarily having to be a democracy. The Indian nation is the result of contradictions, of the countervailing powers of Indian society. The desire to use these contradictions rather than smoothing them out is the formula behind Indian democracy; and this is the model of the Indian nation. In 1947 the sort of nation India should be was not a given, nor was the notion of what democracy should mean for India. The Con-

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gress had no ready model for its constitution or its democracy—this was also an expression of its heterogeneity (Khilnani 1997: 15–60). India approached both tasks pragmatically: the building of a nation that had to allow room for many potential nations, and the creation of a democracy that should not be exclusive but rather inclusive. Indian democracy embraced the different ethnic and linguistic groups, many of which could have been great nations themselves in the European sense. Indian democracy embraced the different castes and the “untouchables” whose opposition could have paralyzed Indian society. Indian democracy embraced the different religions— and invited them to enjoy religious freedom under the label of secularism without deriving a political program from their religion. Indian democracy has proven its integrative power many times: in 1947, when it succeeded in building a political system with democratic qualities that did not exclude the different separate identities but rather included them. In 1977 when India (and Indira Gandhi) resisted the temptation to authoritarianism. In 1989 when the end of clear parliamentary majorities did not lead to the collapse of democracy but to its further development, and in 1998 when the government of the BJP did not mean the end of secularism but rather its confirmation. A politically defined India—an Indian nation—exists because there is Indian democracy.

11 At the Right Place—At the Wrong Time Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian companion, Major Abid Hasan, began their journey on the German U-boat U-180 on February 8, 1943. On April 24, U-180 encountered the Japanese U-boat I29 in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. On May 6, they reached the Japanese marine base on the island of Saban and were greeted by Captain Yamamoto, the former Japanese military attaché in Berlin. They continued by airplane, and after numerous stops, Bose reached Tokyo in the middle of May. Bose met General Tojo, the Japanese prime minister on June 10. Tojo committed to Indian independence as a Japanese military goal during this first conversation. On June 16, Tojo declared before the Japanese Parliament, in Bose’s presence: “We firmly resolve that Japan will do everything possible to help Indian independence” (Gordon 1990: 489–493; Toye 1984: 81 f. Qtd. in English translation from the Japanese in Gordon). Tojo’s declaration before the Diet, the Parliament, was by no means a first step. Beginning in early 1942, he had already addressed the liberation of India. Without it, he said, prosperity in East Asia of any duration was unimaginable (Lebra 1977: 22). Bose, then, was encountering a partner whom he did not need to convince. What a difference compared to Berlin, where Bose had had to wait for more than a year for an audience with Hitler; where he had had to present himself more or less as a supplicant to Ribbentrop and, especially, to Hitler. Hardly had he arrived in Tokyo when he had already achieved what he had not been able to achieve in two years in Germany. Japanese politics placed its bets on Bose—justifiably. Only a few days after Tojo’s declaration in Parliament, Bose declared at a prominent press conference in Tokyo that the war was the ideological struggle between the supporters and opponents of 235

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the status quo. A victory by the Axis powers would secure India’s freedom. For that, Indians must seize their swords: “Only if a large number of Indians undergo this baptism of fire can they . . . get the reward of freedom” (ibid.). Finally, Bose was able to present himself not as a patient exile politician of the third rank due to his “color,” but as a partner who was taken seriously. In order to fulfill the expectations others had of him, he had to travel from Tokyo to Southeast Asia, to where an organization and an army were already waiting to accompany him through the “baptism of fire.” On July 3, Bose arrived in Singapore. A Japanese honor guard received him (Fay 1993: 202; Sahgal 1997: 47–49). Bose as Head of State and Head of Government Bose was expected, and not only by the military, whose advance in 1942 had faltered—approximately 40,000 Indian soldiers were waiting for Bose. The politically organized Indian exiles of Southeast Asia were also awaiting him. The history of the political organization of Indian exile is closely tied to the history of Rash Behari Bose. Rash Behari was not related to Subhas Chandra Bose. Like Subhas Chandra, Rash Behari was a Bengali from the generation that had already attempted before World War I to fight against the Raj using force. In 1912, Rash Behari Bose had been involved in an assassination attempt against the viceroy in New Delhi. He had found refuge in Japan as a political refugee and had lived for decades in Japan, finally as a Japanese citizen. But when Japan began the war against the United States, he tried to win over the Japanese leaders to the cause of Indian independence. After a conference in Tokyo attended in March of 1942 by representatives of the Indian minority in Southeast Asia and those of the Indian military from the British Indian Army who were willing to cooperate, Rash Behari Bose traveled to Singapore in April of 1942 (Fay 1993: 90 f.). The intention of the Japanese leaders was to place the officers and soldiers of the British Indian Army who were prepared to fight Great Britain—prisoners of war in Burma and Malaysia, including Singapore—under one Indian organization to be controlled by Japan. This organization was founded in April of 1942—the All-Malayan Indian Independence League. In June of 1942, the Indian Independence League was founded at a conference in Bangkok. Its president was Rash Behari Bose (Toye 1984: 191–203).

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However, Rash Behari Bose was clearly not suited to be an integration figure for Indian exiles. After decades of living in Japan, he had become too Japanese for many people (Sahgal 1997: 49 f.). His reputation as a freedom fighter from the time of the First World War meant little to the young generation. He could claim neither proximity to Gandhi, nor could he claim having resisted Gandhi. He thus had nothing of what Subhas Chandra Bose had: a mythos. Japan’s policy in Southeast Asia focused on an ethnic division: while the Chinese minority was treated demonstratively poorly (Sahgal 1997: 30–33), Japan committed relatively early to gaining the Indian minority for itself. This minority included more than three million people in East and Southeast Asia (Sahgal 1997: 35 f.). The Indians lived for the most part in Malaysia (including Singapore), Burma, and Thailand. At the same time, the Japanese army began to recruit for an anti-British army allied with Japan the Indian soldiers that had fallen into Japanese hands while in British uniform. In order to be as successful as possible at this, they bestowed high ranks on the Indian officers willing to cooperate. In this way, Mohan Singh, who had the rank of Captain in the (British) Indian Army, was promoted to General by the Japanese (Sahgal 1997: 36 f.). This treatment was significantly different from the way in which Indian prisoners of war were treated in Germany. The recruited Indian officers were taken into the Indian Legion at first as simple soldiers who all stood under the command of German officers and enlisted men. Only gradually, after many months, were some Indians able to attain officers’ ranks (Hartog 1991). In contrast, Japan created incentives and thus, the number of Indian prisoners of war who were willing to cooperate was much higher than in Germany. Of those Indian prisoners of war in Southeast Asia who were willing to cooperate, more than half agreed to join the Indian National Army (INA). Originally, as many as three-quarters of the perhaps 55,000 (that is, close to 40,000) Indian prisoners of war were recruited. The internal conflicts before Bose’s arrival reduced this number. Not until Bose’s arrival and after the recruitment of the soldiers from the Indian civilian society did the INA reach numbers higher than 40,000 (Fay 1993: 242 f.). But the INA and the Indian Independence League could not fulfill Japan’s expectations. Internal quarrels paralyzed the civilian and military branch—and the relationship with the Japanese authorities was often extremely tense (Ghosh 1969: 93–121; Lebra 1971: 75–

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101; Fay 1993: 148–150). The Japanese government saw that the mobilization of an Indian army that would be prepared to strike could not be advanced effectively enough. For this reason, Japan was highly interested in gaining a person who would be able to create a political and military force from the potential that was paralyzed by internal disputes. This person would be Subhas Chandra Bose. As early as July 4, 1943, one day after Bose’s arrival in Singapore, Rash Behari transferred the leadership of the Indian Independence League to Subhas Chandra Bose (Sahgal 1997: 50). This transferal was apparently unanimous. The divisive Indian League and the INA saw in Subhas Chandra Bose the “Netaji,” the leader who would show them the way out of the morass of petty disputes. Bose’s frantic activities began immediately. He negotiated with the Japanese military personnel. But primarily he sought to transform the Indian Independence League (IIL) into a government. In this way, he could build upon the structure of the IIL that had been given a constitution at the conference in Bangkok in 1942. This constitution provided for a parliament of sorts—the Committee of Representatives, and a government of sorts, the Council of Action. Elected representatives from the civilian Indian exile community (from Burma to Japan) and representatives of the INA would work together in the Committee of Representatives. This constitution demonstrated that the Indian exile community was clearly beginning to organize itself in democratic form under Japanese occupation (Toye 1984: 193–201). Bose wanted to form his government as a representative body— quite in accordance with the constitution of the IIL. There was no thinking of elections under Japanese occupation, however. In the cabinet he formed in October of 1943 were civilians who had already played a leading role in the IIL in Singapore before Bose’s arrival, such as the minister for propaganda, S.A. Ayer, as well as representatives from the INA. Mohan Singh, who had lost the trust of the Japanese authorities during the disputes before Bose’s arrival, was not a member of the cabinet. Bose appointed Lakshmi Sahgal as minister for women’s affairs (Sahgal 1997: 61 f.). Sahgal represented women directly, but indirectly she also stood for the ethnic-linguistic interplay within the civilian Indian exile community. Her family was from the south of India, she spoke Malayalam and Tamil (the languages of Kerala and Tamil Nadu), and had studied in Madras before emigrating to Singapore. The per-

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centage of Tamils among the Indians in Southeast Asia was quite high, particularly in Malaysia. In contrast, the INA depended primarily on the North Indian soldiers and officers—the result of the traditional recruitment policies of the British—among them a high percentage of Sikhs and Muslims. The composition of the government demonstrates that Bose—in a departure from the constitution of the IIL—viewed his government as a sort of unity of parliament and executive branch. He himself functioned as “Head of State, Prime Minister, Minister for War and Foreign Affairs.” Of the other twenty-three members of the provisional government, only three had a definite jurisdiction—Lakshmi Sahgal presided over the Ministry of Women’s Affairs while Ayer led the Ministry of Public Works and Propaganda, and A. C. Chatterjee headed the Ministry of Finance. Eleven members of the government were expressly nominated as representatives of the INA. Interestingly, none of them was beneath the rank of a lieutenant colonel. The remaining nine members, civilians, had vague job descriptions, such as “supreme advisor” (Rash Behari Bose), “advisor,” and “legal advisor.” The diffuse job descriptions were also part and parcel of the probably unavoidable tensions between the various individuals in the government (Ayer 1997: 49; Sivaram 1967: 174 f.). Most of the members of the government, then, were chosen as representatives of the two most important elements that stood behind Bose’s government. They represented the military, largely recruited from the British Indian Army. In addition, they represented the civilian Indian minorities of Southeast Asia. They represented— without administrating a particular department. In this way, they fulfilled more the function of members of parliament rather than that of ministers. This, of course, expressed the reality of who was running the government. Bose’s opportunity to “govern” was only a partial given, for he governed in a territory that was under the control of the Japanese military government. It was in the interest of Japan for Bose to transform the INA into an army capable of fighting on Japan’s side as quickly as possible and of lending credibility to Japan’s strategic and political claims. This was why the departments of War and Foreign Affairs made sense. The Department of Finance gave voice to Bose’s desire to commit the Indian civilian society to paying taxes that would benefit the INA. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was, in turn, Bose’s conspicuous signal that he was mobilizing the female

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half of the population. But Bose could not establish a department that, as a police department, would be responsible for domestic security. If he did that, he would be in immediate conflict with Japanese interests in Malaysia and with Burmese and Japanese interests in Burma. The structure that Bose established for his government thus expresses the provisional character of authority that, because it is in exile, can fulfill the functions of government only in a very limited way. But this structure also expresses Bose’s interest in integrating the military and civilian segments of society—as well as his interest in using the political and military potential of women. Bose officially announced the formation of his government on October 21, which was also immediately recognized by Japan. Recognition soon followed from Germany, Italy, Croatia, Manchukuo, the Chinese satellite government in Nanking, the Philippines, Thailand, and Burma. De Valera sent personal congratulations, which Sahgal transforms in her memoirs into an official recognition on the part of Ireland. (Gordon 1990: 502; Sahgal 1997: 63) The first act of government was the declaration of war against Great Britain and the United States. Bose had insisted on declaring war on the United States as well—against the better judgment of some of the members of his government. Bose argued that it was the United States that was keeping Great Britain alive (Sahgal 1997: 63 f.). In the declaration of war, dated October 24, Bose formed his government in the tradition of all Indian states and movements that had ever offered resistance to European colonial rulers. He invoked Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress. He mentioned the difficult blows dealt to the enemies of India by Germany and Japan. And, in the name of God, he called upon the Indian people to stand behind the government “Azad Hind” (Free India) (Bose 1946: 146– 152). Bose introduced a National Integration Committee. Its task was meant to be the overall planning for the integration of all of India. The first decision of this committee: Hindustani, that is, the combination of Hindi and Urdu written in the Latin alphabet, should be the national language of India (Sahgal 1997: 64). Bose had already brought to Singapore the idea of the Indian Legion he had developed in Germany. But Mohan Singh had already decided on Hindustani as the language of command for the INA even before Bose’s arrival in Singapore (Fay 1993: 232).

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For Bose, this orientation was a rejection of “communalism”; a rejection of those interests that primarily viewed India from the point of view of individual identities—either as Bengali, Tamils, or other identities. As president of the Congress, Bose had declared his support for Hindustani in Haripura in 1938 (Fay 1993: 232 f.). But Hindustani was also the attempt to loosen the hold of English, the language of the enemy, as language of command on the officers and soldiers of the INA who were used to English from their time in the British Indian Army. Moreover, a language of communication had to be chosen that was suited to communicating between the various groups of Indian civilians. Lakshmi Sahgal, who also commanded the women’s regiment, in addition to carrying out the functions of her office, reported that Hindustani was successfully implemented within the INA within a short period (Sahgal 1997: 64). But the “Rani Jhansi” regiment, which is likely the basis for Sahgal’s experience, was atypical of the INA as a whole. The female soldiers were recruited from Indian civilian society, primarily in Malaysia. The mother language of most of these female recruits was Tamil (Fay 1993: 233). Hindi and Urdu (and thus, Hindustani) was foreign to them, but they were also not used to English as a language of command, unlike the soldiers of the allmale units who had been recruited from the British Indian Army. The financing of the military armament and preparation for the offensive against the British, by far the most important of Bose’s governmental activities, lay in the hands of Japan. There was tension occasionally, because the Indian units felt disadvantaged compared to the Japanese (Sahgal 1997: 73 f.). But Bose was basically happy with the arrangement, which, of course, also underscored the dependence on Japanese leadership. On the one hand, it was very important to Bose not to give the impression that he was Japan’s puppet and therefore he often neglected to mention Japan’s dominant role. On the other hand, he made it clear, particularly in domestic affairs, that he was quite conscious of this dominance—and he was thoroughly prepared to recognize this fact. One example of Bose’s public attitude is his declaration on November 8, 1943, when the Japanese government decided to subordinate the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to Bose’s government— the only territory of British India that was conquered by Japanese troops. This was only a symbolic act because the one group of is-

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lands that was strategically important for the Japanese Navy remained occupied by Japanese troops (Fay 1993: 213). But Bose’s statement reads as though INA units had liberated the islands single-handedly. The role and presence of Japan was simply ignored. Bose celebrated the islands as the first territory to be liberated from the British yoke (Bose 1962: 211). The internal workings under Bose were perceived quite differently, however. For some Indians in exile, Bose was acting as if his hatred of Great Britain had made him blind to Japan’s intentions. On April 22, 1944, the Japanese authorities arrested one of these critics, K. P. K. Menon, who was originally active in the IIL (Toye 1984: 115; Fay 1993: 222). Japan granted space to Bose and the entire Indian exile community only under the conditions dictated by Japan and the Japanese war effort. And these did not permit democracy. Bose also had sources of income not directly dependent on the Japanese authorities. He managed to arrange things such that the Indian civilian society in Malaysia and Burma supported the activities of his government to a large degree—for reasons of political conviction and/or using the pressure of personal connections. Since these activities hardly consisted of non-military activities, the quasitaxation of the Indian civilian population in exile benefited particularly the provisioning of the INA (Sivaram 1967: 173; Fay 1993: 241). Bose did not let up the moral pressure in all of this. Immediately after forming his government, Bose stated on October 26, 1943, that he was expecting payments in the amount of 10 percent of all of Indian wealth in Malaysia. He backed up this announcement by reminding his people that the lower classes were willing to sacrifice. In addition, he quoted the Hindu ideal of Sanyasis as well as the Muslim tradition of fakirs (Bose 1962: 209). The success of his appeal for self-taxation seemed to surprise Bose. In 1944, he said that his government had taken in more donations than expected (Bose 1962: 214). When Bose opened the first training camp for the first 156 women of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment in Singapore in 1943, he did not call to mind the women’s movements of Europe and America, but the tradition of India. The greatness of Indian femininity lay, he said, in the culture of Sanskrit (Bose 1946: 104–109). This harkening back to mysticism was an attempt at legitimization. He had sent a broad signal that was viewed by his Japanese allies as a senseless waste

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(Geraldine Forbes in: Sahgal 1997: XXIX). Bose had taken a step that separated him from all of his allies. However, he legitimated this step, which brought him closer to the Soviet Union or to Israel than to the Axis powers, with Indian tradition. Bose did not act as the head of a democratic government. But this would also not have been possible under the circumstances with which he was confronted. However, he did manage to gain substantial approval among the Indians of South Asia for his exile organization that had been erected on Japanese bayonets. How great this approval was cannot be said, due to the lack of a democratic process. But Bose was perceived by many—including, presumably, most of the Indians in Southeast Asia—not to be a puppet of the Japanese. This is the only way to explain Bose’s success in his attempt to mobilize troops and funds for the INA. Bose acted primarily as a figure of integration in his capacity as head of government. He followed the tradition of the Congress and placed his bets on secularism, not communalism, and he wanted to mobilize the half of Indian civilian society in Southeast Asia that traditionally remained out of the picture in terms of politics: women. But circumstances that were beyond his control did not permit either democracy or plurality. As head of government, Bose was reduced to mobilizing militarily. As far as he was concerned, this lay in the interests of India, but it also lay primarily in the interests of Japan. The Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere Bose had hardly formed his government on October 21, 1943 and made his first decisions in the days thereafter when he flew—on October 29—to a summit meeting in Tokyo as the representative of India. Tojo wanted to show that the Japanese military goal was not a colonial empire but an alliance of Asian nations under the leadership of Japan. To this end, the representatives of the allies or satellites of Japan were supposed to appear as partners. Bose’s participation was meant to signal that India was meant to be not an object but a subject in the “Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” planned by Japan (Lebra 1975). Bose arrived in Tokyo on October 30 and made a statement to the press regarding his gratitude to the Japanese government for recognizing his government and for inviting him to the summit meeting (Bose 1992 [2], Vol.1: 140). This meeting, to which representatives from Burma, Manchukuo, (Nanking) China, Thailand, and the Phil-

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ippines were also invited, took place on November 5 and 6, 1943 in the Japanese Parliament, the Diet (Gordon 1990: 503). Of these representatives, Bose was closest to the president of Burma, Ba Maw. Like India, Burma had been a British colony. As far as Ba Maw was concerned, the same logic held for him as for Bose: one should not be pro-Japanese, but anti-British. This logic did not hold for the other representatives. z

z

z

The Philippines had been granted independence by Japan, releasing the country from American colonial rule, but the United States had already publicly committed to Philippine independence before the Japanese attack. The Japanese attack had hit the Philippines during the transition phase toward independence. Japan’s claim to anti-colonialism was, therefore, less credible in the case of the Philippines than in the case of India and Burma (Agoncillo 1975). Thailand had never been a colony. Thailand had been drawn into the Japanese sphere of influence due to its geographical location (it had been surrounded by Japanese armies since early 1942) and was careful not to disturb Japanese interests. Thailand did not consider itself to be at war, however. Thailand knew how to escape from Japanese pressure: unlike Japan’s other partners, it not only did not declare war on Great Britain and the United States, but the Thai Premier Phibun Songkhram did not attend the conference in Tokyo. He sent a representative in his stead, the sole head of government of the invited countries to do so (Goto 1996: 292 f.). Manchukuo and (Nanking) China were the contradiction to Japan’s claim of advocating Asian interests against European and American imperialism. Manchukuo was a province violently torn from the Republic of China that had been held by Japan since 1931 as a satellite and a bastion against China and the Soviet Union. (Nanking) China, on the other hand, was the product of the Japanese attack on China of 1937. The government under Wang Ching Wei was not taken seriously by anyone. It did not even attempt to hide the direct rule of Japan over most of the densely populated areas in the eastern part of China (Tuchman 1981).

Certain parties were conspicuous by their lack of an invitation to the summit: Indonesia, for example. Japan’s policy of installing a government for the military support of the occupying forces had not progressed far enough tere. Indochina was not invited because

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Japan’s interest in maintaining a modus vivendi with Vichy France was stronger than Tokyo’s anti-colonial orientation. As for Korea— this country was viewed by Tokyo as an integral part of Japan (Lebra 1975: 107–112, 136–140; Toland 1971: 518 f.). Bose’s status at the conference was officially that of an observer. Unlike the other invited heads of state and heads of government, he did not control the territory of his country (Goto 1996: 288). This special status was hardly noticed. In any case, the official photograph of the summit shows Bose standing in a line with the representatives of the other countries (Gordon 1990: 310 f.). The atmosphere of the summit meeting was praised by the participants—and not only for the press. Ba Maw and Laurel, the representatives from the Philippines wrote memoirs after 1945 that cast a positive light on Tojo’s conciliatory approach. Ba Maw writes: “Tojo not only gave wonderful impressions to C. Bose and me, but all other Southeast Asian leaders who met him were likewise deeply impressed” (qtd. in Goto 1996: 292). Japan’s claim to anti-colonialism was nowhere so credible as in the case of Burma, and nowhere so unbelievable as in the case of China. Burma had put an end to British colonial rule with the help of the Japanese. China, on the other hand, had sunk to the state of a de facto colony due to Japanese aggression—at least in the regions where Wang’s government and de facto the Japanese occupying forces were in control. When Japan advanced into Burma in early 1942, the Burma Independence Army had fought on the side of the Japanese under Aung San. After the victory over the British, Japan reduced the size of the Burmese army, now called the Burma National Army. Japan did not want a large, effective army in the territory it controlled. On August 1, 1943, in agreement with Japan, Ba Maw declared Burma to be an independent country. Ba Maw functioned as head of state and head of government; Aung San was minister of defense (Fay 1993: 242). Burma declared war on Great Britain and the United States. Bose, who was in Rangoon when independence was declared, took Burma as his example (Bose 1962: 193–195). The preparation for the offensive in 1944 made it necessary for Bose to move most of his activities from Singapore to Rangoon. But he would have a bitter experience with the Burma National Army: Aung Sang switched sides after the failure of the Japanese–Indian– Burmese offensive of 1944, and on June 15, 1945, he marched his

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troops side-by-side with the British into Rangoon. In contrast, Ba Maw remained—like Bose—on the side of the Japanese until the bitter end. He and Bose fled with the Japanese troops from the British (and Burmese) advancing troops (Fay 1993: 368–373). Unlike Bose, however, Ba Maw had the chance after the war to cast a critical eye on his wartime experiences as a partner of Japan (Ba 1975). Bose apparently saw in Ba Maw a figure parallel to himself, that is, his own double. He had recognized that his own credibility was similar to Ba Maw’s. Bose’s credibility vis-à-vis China, however, was not a given. Like the entire leadership of the Congress, Bose had condemned the Japanese war of aggression on China that began in 1937. Bose’s sympathies clearly lay with Chiang and Mao (Gordon 1990: 329 f.). At an event on January 11, 1938 in London, Bose named three countries in his mention of the struggle for freedom, democracy, and socialism that deserved his solidarity (as future president of the Indian National Congress) and the solidarity of India: China, Spain, and Abessinia (Gordon 1990: 347). At the convention in Haripura, which would elect Bose president soon after this speech in London, a resolution was passed that explicitly condemned Japan’s aggression against China and that called for a boycott of Japanese goods (Gordon 1990: 352). But none of this was valid any longer in the moment when Japanese troops began to advance against British possessions in Southeast Asia in December of 1941. Bose’s sympathies for Chinese resistance—that of Chiang’s national Guomintang and that of the Communists—were as if erased. Suddenly Bose saw the legitimate representative of China in the Wang government installed by Japan. Bose had not simply repressed his earlier sympathies. He still admitted to them. But his change in attitude toward Japanese aggression in China was a reason for George Orwell to call Bose a Quisling of the dimension of Laval or Wang. In a press release of December 12, 1943—after his visit to Nanking—Bose called to mind the sympathies of the “Indian people” with China during its conflict with Japan. But he added: “I cannot help asking Marshal Chiang Kaishek and his government in Chungking for what purpose they prolong the conflict with Nippon” (Bose 1992b, Vol. 1: 161 f.; Orwell 1943: 8 f.). The fact that a large portion of Chinese territory was occupied by Japanese troops and that these troops were responsible for systematic human rights violations was no longer a topic for Bose.

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Bose’s role in the “prosperity sphere” controlled by the hub of Tokyo did not venture beyond that of a dependent player in the periphery. Yet the message of the images that were broadcast to London, Berlin, and Washington, was significant: there stood an Indian politician alongside other heads of state and heads of government and who seemed to be conducting world politics. In any case, Bose’s role as a player in the concert of Japanese superpower politics announced India’s claim to changing from the status of an object of world politics to that of a subject. The signal could not remain hidden: while a British viceroy installed by the British government acted in the name of India in New Delhi, an Indian nationalist was competing with him for this role in Singapore and Rangoon. As a player in the Greater Asian Prosperity Sphere, Bose turned a blind eye to the often evil game played by Japan. Officially, Bose recognized only the anti-colonial speeches and actions of Tokyo. Of course, he noticed the striking contradictions—but he knew the limits of his role. Bose acted as an Asian nationalist and thus as an anticolonialist. Although he had had a critical attitude toward Japanese expansionism in the 1930s, thus viewing the evil of colonialism not only in Europe and in the United States, he did not officially take note of the negative sides of Japanese imperialism because of his alliance with Japan. Bose’s moral rhetoric in the interplay that existed among Japanese satellites was typical of the time. A few examples offer evidence of this: z

z

Globally: Roosevelt set aside his anti-colonial moralism when it began to disturb his relationship to Churchill; and Roosevelt’s liberalism was never a measuring stick of his Soviet policy. Churchill, on the other hand, assumed that the freedoms of the Atlantic Charter formulated by Roosevelt but shared by Churchill were valid only for the European victims of the Axis powers—but in no way for the “colored” victims of European colonialism. Nationally: Bose openly set the example for what Nehru’s government and the Congress governments that followed him would imitate somewhat more secretively. Nehru’s international moralism largely ignored Soviet expansionism. And the liberalism that Nehru advocated in theoretical terms and—with regard to India— in practical terms, clearly did not apply to the illiberal regimes of his partners in the non-alignment movement: Tito, Nasser, and Sukarno.

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Bose’s moral selectivity, which was strategically and tactically but not substantively grounded was, of course, particularly provocative due to wartime circumstances. His declaration in November of 1943 in Nanking—the city where the worst Japanese war crimes were carried out—to Japan’s puppet, the government of Wang, is surprisingly ignorant of any morality at all: “There is only one condition which will make possible the national reconstruction and the end of war in China, and that is the destruction of the Anglo-American influence” (Bose 1992 [2], Vol. 1: 148). Clearly, the Japanese government could have dictated this statement to him. Bose and the United States The ease with which Bose tied the declaration of war on Great Britain with the declaration of war on the United States reflects, of course, Japanese interests. As far as the leadership in Japan was concerned, the main enemy was the United States. The war against Great Britain was only a secondary conflict from the point of view of Japan. But it provided Japan with a propagandistically useful justification—Japan could thus adopt the role of liberator of Asia from European colonial rule. Japan had also done this with the Philippines, which had still been under American administration in 1941. But the traditional colonial powers were Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands. The regions in Southeast Asia that were ruled by these countries had been “liberated” according to the official Japanese perspective. The governments installed as a result of this liberation were Japan’s allies—or satellites. This anti-colonial push had given Japan access to the Dutch islands in Southeast Asia, along with their oil reserves, which were desperately needed by Japan. Nevertheless, Japan’s energy was primarily directed toward the United States. Japan saw in the United States the only real opponent in the struggle for primacy in the Pacific. Bose had a different view. For Bose, the main enemy was Great Britain. The United States fit into Bose’s image of the enemy only as an ally of the British Empire. However, it is striking that the alliance between London and Washington caused Bose’s declaration of war against the United States, but that London’s alliance with Moscow did not cause a similar declaration on Bose’s part vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. This difference, too, reflects Japanese policy: Japan wanted to avoid Hitler’s mistake at almost any price and not provoke a war on two fronts. Therefore, the Japanese government had every reason to

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create as healthy a relationship as possible with the Soviet Union. But Bose’s approach toward the Soviet Union was not only the result of the Japanese position—it was also the result of his genuine sympathy for Leninism. There were no declarations of aggressive intent toward the Soviet Union in any of Bose’s statements, particularly in his radio addresses, but also in his conversations with the Foreign Office. Bose had often attacked U.S. policies as “imperialist” from his position in Berlin (Sareen 1996: 311–317). This could only please his German partners—but they would have been just as pleased by attacks on the Soviet Union. Bose’s anti-Americanism was genuine, but it was secondary. Bose’s image of America was a cloudy one. He had recognized that there was a basic sympathy for the Indian independence movement in American public opinion (Sareen 1996: 313), but Bose assumed that this basic sympathy was not really capable of prevailing. Bose was both right and wrong in this view. z

z

z

Bose was right because the United States had tried several times to bring the British government to a more flexible attitude concerning the Indian independence movement. But Roosevelt was not willing to risk a serious conflict with Churchill over India. After the failure of the Cripps mission in 1942, the United States soon found itself in tow with Great Britain—at the latest in 1943—with regard to its policy on India. The United States accepted, albeit reluctantly, a policy whereby India was included in the British sphere of influence—a policy, incidentally, that the Soviet Union also accepted until the end of the war. Bose was also right because the forces at work in the American public that rejected British colonialism and advocated India’s independence were clearly not prepared to accept the consequences that Bose had accepted. On the contrary, the American lobby for India argued for Indian independence in order to win India from the Axis powers. Any hope on Bose’s part for understanding for his alliance with Germany and Japan was not going to be found in the pro-Indian circles in the United States. However, Bose was wrong because he underestimated the potential of anti-colonial sentiment in the United States in the time after the end of the war. The basic liberal tendency in the United States, which determined the foreign policy of the country until the outbreak of the Cold War, had its beginnings in the end of colonialism in 1945. This had consequences for the Philippines, which

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was granted independence, a state of affairs that already been promised before 1941. And it had consequences for India—the rapid withdrawal of the Attlee government in complete agreement with the U.S. view of the matter. In the United States, particularly within Roosevelt’s Democratic Party, there had been a skeptical attitude toward the tradition of British colonialism. At first, Roosevelt’s India policy represented a sharp contrast to that of Churchill. While the British prime minister operated under the assumption of the status quo ante as a military goal, particularly in Asia, Roosevelt desired the end of European—including British—colonialism. When Roosevelt formulated this to Churchill, the latter reacted with a harshness that was unusual, given the typically good conversational rapport between the two (Tuchman 1981: 307). Some weeks later, in connection with a visit by Chiang Kai-shek in India, Roosevelt again posed the question of whether an agreement regarding the independence movements in South and Southeast Asia was in the interest of Allied policies. Churchill’s reaction was again dismissive. However, Churchill directed his anger toward Chiang, who had come to India to mobilize the Congress against Japan (Churchill 1948–1953, Vol. 4: 206; Tuchman 1981: 331 f.). Churchill’s imperialist and Eurocentric instinct was influenced by his aversion to the possibility of an alliance between the Chinese and the Indians, hinted at by Chiang (Tuchman 1981: 437). Roosevelt’s anti-colonial instinct had, of course, a rational argument: Japan presented itself as an advocate for national independence movements—in the Philippines, in Burma, and in Indonesia. The Allies would respond to this claim on Japan’s part not by holding onto the colonies but by granting them independence. However, Roosevelt did not gain any concessions from Churchill. Churchill’s distrust of the Indian independence movement ran so deep that in 1943 and 1944, when actual starvation threatened India, he denounced the transportation by the Allies of emergency food supplies to the subcontinent as an “appeasement” of Indian nationalists (Ziegler 1986: 257). The combination of principle and strategy that Roosevelt represented also corresponded to the prevailing opinion in the United States. Gandhi was a symbol of justice in the United States. Public opinion sympathized with the Congress because there were clear

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parallels to the American Revolution. In early 1942, when Roosevelt was still trying to influence Churchill’s India policy, senators from both parties demanded of the state department that an immediate promise be required from the British government that India would be granted self-government after the war. The senators felt they were on firm ground. Having an argument directed against European colonialism, which could also take a strategic trump card from the hands of the Axis powers, combined both virtue and advantage. Such a combination of morality and usefulness is particularly inviting for politician. (Report in the Washington Star, Feb. 26, 1942. National Archives: 845.00/1288-7/8). At the same time in the United States various initiatives emerged that attempted to influence public opinion to the advantage of India’s independence and to exert pressure on the Roosevelt administration. Particularly the mainstream, which strongly supported Roosevelt and his military policy vis-à-vis Germany and Japan, had no sympathy whatsoever for the racist undercurrent in Churchill’s policy on India. In a letter dated September 27, 1942 to President Roosevelt— signed by approximately 300 notables from Christian and Jewish circles, the Afro-American civil rights movement, Hollywood, and other sectors of cultural life—Roosevelt was urged to speak out for Indian independence. In this way, the potential of the Indian people in the war would be used—on the side of the Allies (Hoover Institution, Archives, 77015 – 8 M 37, Box Robert Norton 1). The American Round Table on India in New York had initiated this letter and included such members as the political scientist Carl J. Friedrich, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and politician Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (Hoover Institution, Archives, Box Robert Norton 2). This circle published a position paper on India by author Pearl S. Buck dated September 4, 1942. Pearl S. Buck had also signed the letter to Roosevelt dated September 27. In her position paper, Buck invoked the tradition of the United States: “The position of the Indian people is supported by our own Declaration of Independence” (ibid.). Buck urged Roosevelt and Chiang Kai-shek to exert pressure on the British government and the Indian National Congress to reconsider the negotiations that had been blocked since the Cripps mission. On October 29, 1942, the New York Times reported on the lobbying activities of the American Round Table on India (ibid.).

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had also initiated similar actions. In a letter to President Roosevelt dated May 4, 1942, the secretary of the NAACP, Walter White, argued that racism in the United States and its military forces was just as beneficial to Japanese propaganda as the British hold on colonial rule in India. White sent a copy of this statement to the chair of the American Round Table on India, Guy Emery Shipler, dated October 9, 1942, and marked “for your confidential information” (ibid.). The activities of the Round Table were also coordinated with the India League of America as a letter of October 26, 1942 from that organization’s president, J.J. Singh, to Shipler indicates (Hoover Institution, Archives, Box Robert Norton 3). Shipler used the following argument: the United States had to face Japan’s propaganda of “Asia for the Asiatics”—and this could only happen effectively if the United States had an active policy on India whose goal was an agreement to be reached within the United Nations on a free India (Letter to the editor in the New York Times, August 4, 1944). In late September 1942, another Free India Committee organized in New York had brought a flyer, “I am wearing The Gandhi Cap,” to cities across the United States for distribution. The basic tenor was: “Write President Roosevelt Today . . . Free India Now!” (ibid.). The public relations work of the Round Table and others in the United States caused the British government to bring to the attention of the American public British efforts against hunger in India (Press release of the British Information Service in New York, October 22, 1943, ibid.). Within the United States, flyers that were distributed and mailed, clearly produced by the British, indicate certain facts that were intended to mitigate the impression of forced British rule over India: “India’s Army—1,500,000 strong—is the largest volunteer army in the world! A third of this army is now on active service overseas” (ibid.). It was, then, a broad alliance of the liberal intelligentsia that sought to exert pressure on Roosevelt. And this intelligentsia was also working together with the Indian National Congress. Krishna Menon, who had represented the interests of the Congress and, particularly, Nehru during the war in London, clearly had contacts with the American Round Table on India (Hoover Institution, Box Robert Norton 2). This liberal intelligentsia was strong enough to provoke the British government into initiating a campaign of enlightenment in the United

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States. Churchill knew that he could not afford to have the whole of American public opinion against him if he wanted to maintain control over the Allied policy on India. But this liberal intelligentsia was ultimately dependent on the good will and the opportunities presented to Roosevelt. The Round Table and the other initiatives had to argue that the victory over the Axis powers was at stake, that India’s independence was not only morally but also strategically the best formula—for the United States. Therefore, the liberal intelligentsia had no other choice but to invoke Roosevelt when dealing with Roosevelt. They could not bring into play the alternative represented by Bose: to place their bets against British colonial rule—if need be with the enemies of the British. Bose, in turn, could not take advantage of this liberal intelligentsia. First, unlike Nehru, he had not maintained any contact with this group since his escape in January of 1941; second, he had lost any sympathies he might have had as a representative of the Indian independence movement by opting to join the Axis powers. The United States rendered any and all of these considerations moot because Washington began to yield to British pressure—and not to the pressure of the liberal intelligentsia at home. Until 1942, Roosevelt had formulated his own policy on India and had sought to implement it. American agents gathered information in India without always talking this over with the British authorities (Stafford 1999: 206–211). Even the idea of installing Chiang Kai-shek as the representative of an Asian government for the American policy on India and against the British policy corresponded to this line of thinking. Churchill’s annoyed reaction to the friendly talks Chiang had in India with the leadership of the Congress in early 1942 only demonstrates how irritated Churchill was with the American initiatives (Tuchman 1981: 331 f.). Precisely because Churchill was highly irritated, he prevailed. Roosevelt had to recognize that a separate American policy on India would unduly burden relations between himself and the British prime minister. In 1943, Churchill reached an agreement such that no further American agents would be sent to India without prior clearance with the Allied (i.e., primarily British) military authorities. This was tantamount to a British veto on any separate American gathering of information (Stafford 1999: 220 f.). Following the conference in Quebec in 1943, an American journalist named Helen Ogden Mills Reid, well known for her critical

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view of British colonialism, spoke at a dinner with Roosevelt and Churchill. Churchill reacted with the sharp irony characteristic of him: “Are we talking about the brown Indians of India, who have multiplied alarmingly under benevolent British rule? Or are we speaking of the red Indians who, I understand, are almost extinct?” This comment caused Roosevelt to erupt into a long bout of hearty laughter. This, in turn, was taken as a sign that Roosevelt had given up on insisting to Churchill that the United States have a separate American policy on India (ibid.). This same conclusion emerges from the secret correspondence between Roosevelt and Churchill. In two letters—dated March 10, 1942 and April 11, 1942—Roosevelt had tried to convince Churchill that it was in the interests of the Allies to hold out the prospect of India’s independence after the war to the Indian National Congress (Roosevelt and Churchill 1975: 191 f., 202 f.). Churchill evaded the question, or rather, refused to accede to Roosevelt’s suggestion. In so doing, his deep dislike of the Congress was clear—as in his letter of July 31, 1942: “The Congress party in no way represents India and is strongly opposed by over ninety million Mohammedans, forty million untouchables, and the Indian states . . . Congress represents mainly the intelligentsia of nonfighting Hindu elements, and can neither defend India nor raise revolt” (Roosevelt and Churchill 1975: 230). When the Raj was at stake, Churchill was not only willing to set Indian Muslims and Indian princes (“the Indian states”) against the Congress, he also became the interpreter of the interests of the untouchables. Churchill prevailed with his unyielding position. After his first letter of July 31, 1942, India disappeared from the correspondence between him and Roosevelt. Roosevelt had accepted that his alliance with Great Britain demanded that he respect Churchill’s volatile sensitivity regarding India. Not even when the last offensive of Japan and the INA in spring of 1944 advanced into Indian territory, and the possibility arose that Bose could make Imphal—a not insignificant Indian city—the seat of his government, did the matter find mention in the strategic exchange of ideas between Roosevelt and Churchill. In any case, when Bose came to Asia in the spring of 1943, the die had been cast on the internal relations of the Allies. The United States had agreed to waive any separate American policy on India. But the U.S. government was well informed about the relations within

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India, and it was particularly well informed about Subhas Chandra Bose. The American Consulate in Calcutta regularly had conveyed to the State Department secret reports on Bose—beginning with Bose’s election to the presidency of the Congress in January of 1938 (National Archives: 845.00/958). In this first report, Bose is described as a man of the Left wing of the Congress, of whom one could assume that he would continue the course of his predecessor, Nehru. Bose’s reelection in January of 1939 and his now clear conflict with Gandhi caused the consulate in Calcutta to issue further reports that were followed by detailed analyses of Bose’s politics and personality (National Archives: 845.00/1055; 845.00/1056). It is remarkable that Bose’s position is not only identified with his “Leftist” politics, but also with his status as a Bengali: “simply as a Bengali he bears a tremendous handicap, and . . . the other Leftist leaders appear no more to trust him fundamentally than do the members of the Old Guard” (National Archives: 845.00/1106: 4). While Bose’s various messages from Berlin were being debated in India in 1942, the State Department demanded a detailed report on its workings from the United States representative in New Delhi— and received an analysis in the form of a telegraphically transmitted secret report (National Archives: 845.00/1301A; 845.00/1302). At this time, the United States was still acting upon an India policy independent of Great Britain. However, when Bose suddenly appeared in Asia, placed himself at the head of an army, and founded an exile government, the independence of the American policy on India was already history. The United States had plenty of material to be able to judge what Bose’s role as an official partner of Japan could mean. But, in the meantime, the United States had left India to the British sphere of influence for the duration of the war. If the Roosevelt administration had followed an independent policy on India, Bose’s fate would still have been bound up irrevocably with that of Japan due to his declaration of war on the United States. What held for his government was what held for the Japanese government: the Allies refused to conduct politics with these governments. The Allies demanded unconditional surrender. In so doing, the United States had robbed Bose and the INA of any capacity to conduct politics. If anything, Gandhi, Nehru, and the Congress, but also Jinnah and the Muslim League, would have become political partners of the United States—if the United States

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had not by early 1943—but for all practical purposes after the failure of the Cripps mission—yielded to Churchill’s rancor. During the war, then, Churchill controlled what the Allied policy was to be in India and regarding India. However, for the post-war period, it was clear that the United States would not simply back the old imperialism. Then the Congress would have been the partner of the United States—if, again, Churchill’s defeat and Attlee’s policy on India, which corresponded more or less to American expectations, had not essentially absolved the United States from any responsibility toward India. Bose could never have become a partner of the United States—he had moved too clearly into the Axis camp for that to happen. However, Bose had never even attempted to have any particular relationship with the United States. When he was in Germany, he already viewed the United States as an extended arm of Great Britain. In his first radio address in Tokyo on June 21, 1943, after his trip halfway around the world, he spoke only of the Anglo-Americans (Bose 1946 [2]: 54–58). The inability to differentiate between British and American interests would remain true for Bose to the bitter end. In his radio address on the German capitulation, given in Singapore on May 25, 1945, he criticized German leaders for not taking Bismarck’s warning to heart. Instead, with the attack on the Soviet Union they had started a war on two fronts. He did not criticize the German declaration of war on the United States; he did not even mention it in this analysis. Rather, he set all of his hopes upon the Soviet Union: “If there is one man in Europe today, who holds in his hands the destinies of the European nations for the next decades, that man is Marshal Stalin.” In contrast, Bose expected nothing of the United States: the United States “will never succeed in controlling the affairs of Europe from across the Atlantic” (Bose 1946 [2]: 79–81). An attitude like this corresponded, of course, to the national interests of Japan, whose government hoped for Soviet neutrality and continued to view the United States as the main enemy. But this refusal to see the United States as more than just an imperialist and capitalist power like Great Britain genuinely corresponded to Bose’s way of thinking: z

In accordance with his socialist attitude, he always viewed the Soviet Union as a potential partner, never the capitalist United States.

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His strategic slogan, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” had led him to the side of Germany and Japan—and had served to doubly alienate the United States. The United States was now the enemy of his friends as well as the friend of his enemies. His lack of sensitivity for questions of democracy had blinded him to the insight that American pluralism in connection with the legacy of anti-colonialism could have made the United States an interesting partner for India.

The fact that the United States had no political use for Bose and that Bose had no political use for the United States was the result of Bose’s escape from India and of his alliance with Japan and Nazi Germany. With these two steps, he had—unlike Nehru—cut himself off from the segment of the American public that, as a potential lobbying force for India, would have been the logical partner for the Indian independence movement: the liberal intelligentsia. Bose in no way underestimated the military and economic power of the United States. In the discussion that had preceded the declaration of war on the United States, Bose had stated that the United States would be the most powerful imperial power after the war (Sahgal 1997: 63 f.). He had, of course, meant this in the case of a defeat on the part of the Axis powers. But this reasoning also betrays the inability or the lack of desire to distinguish between “British imperialism” and “American imperialism.” For him, the only politically relevant difference between the imperial powers was that of their direct, military usefulness for India’s freedom. He did not want to, nor could he think beyond that—because then he would have had to engage seriously with what a Japanese defeat would mean for him, his INA, and his exile government. Bose’s anti-American rhetoric was often similar to that which would be used later by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In a radio address of July 6, 1944 he spoke of the “ruling clique” of the United States, which openly strove to rule the world, and he spoke of an “American Century.” This “ruling clique” even called Great Britain the forty-ninth state of the Union (Bose 1962: 216). Here, in Bose’s language, the United States even takes over from Great Britain the role of the first and most important villain. The development of the war had clearly shown Bose that the United States could not simply be dismissed as an instrument of British imperialism. But this insight remained rooted in a cliché-ridden anti-Americanism.

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The certainty with which Bose had cast his lot with the Axis powers also corresponded to his intellectual disinterest in the United States. In the narrowest sense, his publications are Eurocentric—they refer to German philosophers (principally Hegel), Italian nationalists (Mazzini and Garibaldi), Irish Republicans (de Valera), and Russian Bolsheviks (Lenin). The United States remained out of the picture in terms of Bose’s thinking about the direct military aspect. And by ignoring the United States, Bose ignored liberal democracy. Bose as Commander-in-Chief Bose’s objective role in Southeast Asia was concentrated from the beginning on the military—even reduced to this role. Japan did not want him as the educator of India, Japan did not need him to be the conqueror of Indian communalism—the fault lines between castes and languages and religions. Japan did also not install him as a diplomatic instrument in order to break through the alliance of opponents. Japan saw in Bose a useful military instrument. For this reason, Japan had clearly handled the Indian exiles in Southeast Asia better than the Chinese exiles (Sahgal 1997: 30–33). This was why it had allowed, even encouraged, the establishment of the IIL and the forming of the INA even before Bose’s arrival in Singapore. This was why Bose was recognized as head of government and courted at the summit in Tokyo in November of 1943. Bose’s usefulness had to prove itself in military terms—or else he possessed no usefulness. Bose did not play himself up as a military commander. He did wear a uniform for public appearances but he contented himself with outlining the general political strategy for the INA—and that was the preparation for attacking the British army in the border area between Burma and India. The prerequisite for this strategy was close cooperation with Japan, that is, incorporating Japanese interests. Bose accepted—unlike Hitler—the fact that he could not intervene in the strategic planning of the INA without an officer’s training. But he also accepted—had to accept—that Japanese military personnel ultimately controlled the strategic planning (Fay 1993: 268). Bose did not only conduct politics outside the INA, he also conducted politics within that organization. He pursued two recognizable goals:

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1. He used the INA to underscore his claim to Gandhi’s legacy. He named one regiment of the INA the Gandhi Regiment, another the Azad Regiment, and a third the Nehru Regiment (Fay 1993: 262 f.). In this way, he aligned the INA with the tradition of the Congress—in light of Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolent resistance a rather daring undertaking, in intellectual terms. But at this time the leaders of the Congress were in British internment. The Congress seemed to be without a leadership. Bose was sending a signal to India: he wanted to define what the Congress and its tradition stood for. 2. When filling the military leadership positions within the INA, Bose strove noticeably for a religious balance. As a Hindu, he showed that he respected the specific military tradition of the Muslims and Sikhs; and that the image of his army and his government conveyed a peaceful balance among Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. The three generals of the INA that stood before a military tribunal in late 1945 in Delhi reflected Bose’s politics of balance: a Hindu (Prem Kumar Sahgal), a Muslim (Shah Nawaz), and a Sikh (Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon) (Fay 1993: 323). The Japanese leadership was presumably fully indifferent to these political emphases set by Bose. They accepted Bose’s political signals, just as they accepted the female Rani of Jhansi Regiment. The latter they accepted rather reluctantly because armed women did not fit into the tradition of the Japanese army. The cooperation between Bose and the Japanese government as well as the top levels of the Japanese army functioned smoothly. One level below this, however, experienced a series of tensions, particularly during the offensive. These tensions were caused by cultural differences: many of the Japanese officers tended to view the officers of the INA as deserters from the British Indian Army and to despise them as such. In addition, many Japanese officers had a tendency toward racism—they accepted their non-Japanese allies’ help, but did not view them as partners per se (Lebra 1971: 136– 141; Gordon 1990: 509 f.). Bose’s entire policy was directed toward the offensive against the British forces on the Indian–Burmese border. His success was dependent on whether or not he was able to hoist the Indian flag in an important city within Indian territory. Then, or so he assumed, he would be able to incite a rebellion in all of India against British rule. His slogans and those of the INA were completely directed toward

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this offensive: “Chalo Delhi” (“On to Delhi”), “Jai Hind” (Victory for India”) (Fay 1993: 203). The offensive planned for the spring of 1944 had a pre-history that went back to the year 1942. Japan’s advance into India was, at the time, part of the strategic logic of the Axis powers. And this is what frightened the British (Ghosh 1969: 166–175; Lebra 1971: 149– 162). Two years later, the danger of a two-pronged attack on India from German and Japanese armies was moot: the Soviet advance into Eastern Europe and the Allied victories in North Africa had robbed this perspective of any realism. But in 1944, political considerations had largely replaced military and strategic ones for the Japanese. Unlike the situation two years earlier, Japan could count on an alliance not only with the Burmese government and its army, but also an alliance with the Indian exile government and its army (Lebra 1971: 168–173). For Bose it was more—it was the catalyst behind his entire activities since his return to Asia. The offensive of the Japanese–Indian–Burmese troops began in March of 1944. It was supposed to bring the decisive victories before the Monsoon rains expected in June. At first, the offensive brought successes for the Japanese-led alliance. The INA troops advanced into Indian territory along with the Japanese and Burmese. They laid siege to Imphal, the capital of Manipur. Imphal was supposed to serve Bose as a temporary capital. From Imphal, Bose wanted to direct his appeal to the Indian people to rise up against British rule. But Imphal resisted the siege. In June, the INA was forced to withdraw, along with the Japanese and Burmese troops. The last great Japanese offensive of the war had failed—it was also the first and last offensive of the INA (Sivaram 1967: 201–217; Ghosh 1969: 166–197; Lebra 1971: 174–193; Toye 1984: 103–123; Fay 1993: 273–304). The causes for the failure of the offensive, on whose success Bose’s entire victory depended, were many: z

z

The military situation had turned against the Axis powers and thus against Japan. Since the second half of 1942, the momentum of battle had been on the side of the Allies. The Japanese forces and those allied with them were no longer in a position in Southeast Asia in 1944 to mount a successful large-scale attack in the face of this situation. The situation of the advancing Japanese, Indian, and Burmese armies in terms of supplies was soon catastrophic. Particularly the

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INA troops under the command of Shah Nawaz complained about discrimination at the hands of Japanese leaders. Shah viewed this as a conscious policy on the part of Japanese military personnel who wanted to prove that the INA was not a legitimate army in its own right (Lebra 1971: 176–179). In addition, the monsoons came, making military maneuvers much more difficult beginning in June. Bose’s expectation that the mere advance into Indian territory would lead to massive desertions in the British Indian Army and thus to its collapse were unrealistic. In fact, when the siege of Imphal failed, entire units of the INA defected to the British side (Roy 1946: 34 f.; Fay 1993: 293–296). The INA as an army remained intact, however. Unlike the Burmese army, it did not simply switch sides (Lebra 1971: 178 f.). But the clear superiority of the Allies did not produce an undertow to the advantage of the INA, rather to its detriment.

The defeat at Imphal had caused the collapse of Bose’s entire political framework. The remaining months of his time were influenced by one withdrawal after another. Nevertheless, he continued to spread his optimism: the next advance to India would surely come. But it was something more like wishful thinking that Bose articulated—as during his third and final visit to Tokyo in October of 1944. At this meeting, to which Bose traveled together with Ba Maw, Bose’s partner in the talks was not Tojo again but the new Japanese premier, General Koiso (Ghosh 1969: 192–194; Toye 1984: 128–131). In light of the withdrawal in Burma, Bose’s demand for a new offensive was unrealistic. In April of 1945, the INA was forced to leave Burma for good, in the wake of the Japanese troops. In addition to the military setbacks, there were political setbacks as well. The successful defense of the Japanese–Indian–Burmese offensive had made political action possible for the British government. These actions enabled them to escape from the political culde-sac in which the British policy on India had been ensnared since the failure of the Cripps mission and the start of the Quit India movement of the Congress. After their military success, the British played the political card (Voigt 1978: 259–296). During the second half of 1944, the British government had made negotiations the primary instrument of the policy in India, rather than repression. The threat of an advance on the part of Japanese

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troops and the INA had not existed in real terms since the summer of 1944. This evidently facilitated the decision to release Gandhi and Nehru from internment. Still in prison, Gandhi had written a letter to Jinnah on May 4, 1944 (Burke and Quraishi 1995: 404). The British government was now allowing a trilateral process—even advancing the same—that three years later would lead to the end of the Raj: negotiations between the Congress, which was once again acting freely in political terms, the Muslim League, and the British government. This constellation completely shut out Bose. Even in spring and summer of 1944 he had hoped to place himself at the head of an Indian revolution after the advance into India. Shortly thereafter, he was forced to watch a political process unfold in which he had no part. The negotiations with the Muslim League, as Bose argued on September 12, 1944 from Burma, would ultimately end with the partition of India. Bose had correctly recognized the inner logic of this process (Bose 1962: 223–225). The offer by the British government, formulated by Viceroy Lord Wavell (“Wavell’s Offer”) was sharply rejected by Bose. This offer, Bose believed, only amounted to instrumentalizing India and Indian troops for the war efforts of the Allies. But Bose had no other choice than to warn the Congress politicians —he could not influence them (Bose 1962: 232–237). He had fallen back into the role of the outsider from the opposition—as in 1939 and 1940 at the time of the Forward Bloc. Bose had to recognize that he had become fully superfluous for this politics of negotiation. Gandhi, Jinnah, and Wavell could conduct politics as if Bose and the INA did not exist. With the defeat of Imphal and the collapse of the Japanese stronghold in Burma, Bose had ceased being a direct factor in Indian politics. What a change within a short amount of time: in November of 1943, Bose had appeared on the stage of international politics, while Gandhi and Nehru were condemned to political passivity from their positions within British internment. Bose could afford to praise Gandhi and Nehru—because it appeared as though he alone held the monopoly on representing India. In the summer of 1944, the situation had changed completely: Bose had wasted his military card. He had lost importance for Japan, lost the capacity to threaten the British, and forfeited the role of heir to the Congress. Now it was time for Gandhi and Nehru to spread friendly phrases about Bose.

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The defeat at Imphal had weakened him decisively—he was no longer a factor. But Gandhi and Nehru wanted to win his reputation back for themselves in order to reintegrate him into the Congress. Bose had now lost everything he had built up. His army was beaten, it had ceased to exist as a military force. His government was factually incapable of action. Bose and the INA had to retreat step-bystep; finally, nothing remained but escape. And for this, Bose was more dependent on Japan than ever before. The Netaji, the head of state and head of government of Free India, had to content himself with being a passenger in the aircraft of Japanese officers during the retreat. In the end, Bose had by no means given up thinking in political terms, and his energy had not left him. He wanted to keep up the fight. He continued to hope. And he already had a new enemy of his enemy in mind as a new friend: the Soviet Union. He set his hopes on the Soviet Union the way he had previously set them on Germany and Italy, and then on Japan. He saw the conflict between East and West coming; he longed for it. In a radio address from Singapore on May 25, 1945, Bose offered commentary on the German surrender, the meeting of the Allies in San Francisco, and the founding of the United Nations: “[T]he collapse of Germany will be the signal for the outbreak of an acute conflict between the Soviets and AngloAmericans” (Bose 1962: 230). The precise circumstances surrounding Bose’s death serve to illuminate the contradictory nature of Japanese politics—and thus Bose’s politics as well. Bose wanted to fly in a Japanese aircraft to Manchukuo, whose government was allied to him. But he did not hope for the aid of his allies—the puppet government of the empire of Manchukuo was in a state of collapse after the Japanese surrender. Apparently Bose wanted to establish contact with the Red Army in Manchuria which was in the process of destroying the dummy existence of Manchukuo. After the defeat at Imphal, the inconsistency of the entire political framework that Bose had tried to use to his own advantage became painfully obvious. Bose’s willingness to ally himself with anyone and everyone—if it meant going against the British—had come to its logical conclusion.

12 A World Power Waiting in the Wings There was an Indian foreign policy before there was an independent India. During the Second World War, India declared war on the Axis powers and was, in 1945, one of the founding members of the United Nations (Wolpert 1997: 329; Cohen 2001: 67). It was the government of the viceroy that took these steps in the name of India. But the viceroy was the longer arm of the British government— de facto and de jure. Everything that happened in the name of India on the world stage until 1947 was only an echo of British policy. India adopted the instruments of foreign policy and national security policy from the Raj. The civil servants of independent India, including the diplomatic service, came to a large extent from the Indian Civil Service, which the British had developed. In 1947, the Indian armed forces were essentially those sections of the British Indian Army that had not opted for Pakistan. In accordance with British tradition, the Indian foreign policy and national security has always been able to draw on a professional and apolitical (in the narrow sense) corps of civil servants and officers (Cohen 2001: 71–83). The British tradition of an apolitical officers’ corps that was subordinate to any legitimate government was continued in full in India and not at all in Pakistan (or Bangladesh). In each of the Islamic successor states to British India, the military intervened more and more directly into politics. In India, on the other hand, the civil controls on the military have been uninterrupted since 1947. Nehru’s government had clear ideas about the way in which India’s international role should be formed. The goal was global peacemaking beyond traditional power politics. India was prepared for a global presence. Indian foreign policy was intended to be clear—clearly different from that of the traditional powers. 265

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The Creation of Indian Foreign Policy The beginnings of Indian foreign policy were characterized by clear points connected to the person of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and that founded the Nehruvian tradition, determining the first phase of Indian foreign policy (Cohen 2001: 36–43). Nehru took over the office of the “Vice President” of the provisional government of India on September 2, 1946—a function that was transformed almost seamlessly into that of the prime minister after the declaration of independence. The Foreign Ministry and the Commonwealth Ministry he had also taken over in this provisional government, which— in agreement with the British Labour government—was intended to pave the way for independence. It was also Nehru who, on the eve of independence, cut through the Gordian knot of India’s relations to the Commonwealth, which, for decades, had seemed insoluble. Independent India was to be a member of the Commonwealth, but was not to allow any foreign power to make use of military bases in India (Wolpert 1996: 373, 398). In this way, Nehru had given a new meaning to India’s membership in the British Commonwealth, now called the Commonwealth of Nations. That is to say, India would not accept the slightest limitation on its sovereignty. Thus, membership in the Commonwealth was reduced to a symbolic component. At the same time, Nehru had formulated the crucial emphasis on Indian nonalignment that would soon differentiate India from the U.S.-oriented Pakistan. Nehru was prime minister and foreign secretary of India for seventeen years. He seemed at times quite happy to leave the morass of domestic policy to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Morarji Desai (Wolpert 1996: 433). In this way he, the man of the Left wing, was able to integrate the Right wing, represented by Patel and Desai. And he could concentrate fully on what he clearly saw as his primary personal task: to define India’s position in the world. The orientation of Nehru’s foreign policy was characterized by the following factors: z

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The rejection of traditional superpower politics, expressed in the rejection of the alignment policies of the Cold War, thus grounding the role of India as a leader within the nonaligned movement. The continued existence of some elements of the Gandhi tradition in the form of a distrust toward the military components of na-

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tional security policy. For decades, India was a relatively undermilitarized country. Political support of anti-colonial movements and, a consequence of Nehru’s socialist ideals, skepticism concerning the concept of free global trade.

This orientation corresponded to an “idealism” that was largely removed from the typical patterns of explaining foreign policy decisions: national interests, balance of powers, geopolitics, reflection of domestic policy. Nehru and the tradition he founded approached international politics with a missionary understanding. In this sense, India had no—traditional—foreign policy because India did not claim to make politics for its own national interests but for a better world. In a study carried out during Nehru’s tenure, the foreign policy establishment as well as the national security establishment, that is to say, the top levels of diplomacy and the armed forces, were found to be very qualified professionally and largely immune to corruption. This was connected to a sort of Puritanism that expressed a particularly elite self-image (Cohen 2001: 71). This Puritanism was also visible in the international presence of India during the Nehru era. The Indian government (particularly Nehru himself) and the Indian diplomats tended to get on the nerves of their partners in conversation and negotiation from different countries with their moralizing tone. However, this moralizing tone, which also came from the Gandhi tradition, was put to a difficult test from the beginning: India had to wage war. Pakistan challenged India and India reacted in a traditional way to this traditional challenge: with weapons. The war with Pakistan and the conflict of principles that underlay it served to relativize from the outset India’s claim of being different than the others, particularly in its global politics. Pakistan was also the antithesis of India in terms of global politics—and this contradiction forced the Nehru government to modify India’s moralizing tone. India could rationalize the contradiction to Pakistan with its sense of being different; the means with which India had to carry out this contradiction were not different, however; they were highly traditional. Relations with Pakistan overshadowed India’s foreign policy from the beginning. The migration or expulsion of millions of Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and of millions of Muslims from India had left behind deep wounds. Kashmir gave the conflict between the

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two rival powers a further, territorial dimension. The position of the United States and Great Britain in the Kashmir conflict was also the first time where India visibly distanced itself from the West on a matter of such importance (Wolpert 1996: 433 f.). The war that India and Pakistan fought over Kashmir in 1948 ended with a weapons cease-fire that brought the de facto partition of Kashmir, with the central region of the Kashmir valley and the capital of Srinagar falling to India. But the fact that India fought a war—or, from Nehru’s perspective, was forced to fight a war—was in direct conflict with Gandhi’s tradition and brought about a tension with Nehru’s moralizing tone. Presumably, Nehru’s uncompromising attitude vis-à-vis the conflict over Kashmir was also a result of this insight: Pakistan was in the process of disturbing—and potentially destroying—Nehru’s far-reaching, international vision. Nehru was able to realize this moralizing tone primarily outside the South Asian subcontinent. In so doing, he based his actions on the position of the Congress, which in its convention of 1938 in Haripura (where Subhas Chandra Bose had been elected president) had refused to take sides by passing a resolution on the eve of World War II. “India was resolved to maintain friendly and cooperative relations with all nations and avoid entanglement in military and similar alliances which tend to divide up the world in rival groups and thus endanger world peace” (qtd. in Singh 1997: 119). This “neutral” position of India during the most intense phase of the Cold War was viewed differently by the United States and the Soviet Union respectively. The United States tended to see India’s nonalignment as “immoral,” as John Foster Dulles had once expressed it (Cohen 2001: 271). But particularly because the United States distrusted India’s policy of nonalignment, the Soviet Union went out of its way to be friendly. Especially during the Khruschchev era, the nonalignment movement allowed India to attain a new mobility vis-à-vis Soviet policy (Singh 1997: 121 f.). Thus, a new pattern of international politics was established that would become even more solidified through the conflict between Moscow and Peking. Pakistan was an ally of the United States and soon became a strategic partner of China. Neutral India, in contrast, soon saw itself increasingly on the side of the Soviet Union. The perception on the part of the West, particularly the United States, that India’s foreign policy corresponded to the interests of the Soviet Union despite Nehru’s intentions was also underscored

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by India’s position during the Korean War, the French Indochina War, and the Vietnam War (Singh 1997; Cohen 2001: 271–275). Particularly within the United Nations, Nehru and India advocated positions that, from the U.S. perspective, were almost always proSoviet. This also had to do with the fact that de-colonization in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean was taking place during the Nehru era— and the United States was viewed as being mostly on the side of the colonial powers who were departing more or less willingly. Nehru’s anti-imperialist sentiments were directed more against European colonialism and less against the Soviet drive toward hegemony— sentiments that would have major effects on the nonalignment conference. The beginning of the nonalignment movement was the conference in Bandung in 1955. The host country, Indonesia, played a leading role, as did India. India had also taken it upon itself in Bandung to introduce the People’s Republic of China into the circle of the movement developing around Asian, African, and Latin American countries (Cohen 2001: 258). But the Chinese–Indian conflict destroyed Nehru’s good neighbor policy. Beginning in 1962, the nonalignment movement was controlled by India, Indonesia (until 1966), Egypt, and Yugoslavia. Thus, Nehru’s foreign policy had set a clear emphasis: in the alliance among those free of alliances, India had no compunctions about joining dictators. Nehru’s foreign policy was not oriented toward the quality of democracy and human rights. Rather, it was oriented toward distancing India from the politics of the superpowers and their bloc systems. Among the crucial powers at the nonalignment conference, India was the only stable democracy. The Cold Wind of Realpolitik The cold wind that blew in from the north withdrew the very foundation from the Nehruvian tradition—and, at the same time, prepared its demise. It was an end that not everyone wanted to accept, at least not immediately. In 1962, Chinese troops advanced in Ladakh, in that sparsely populated, mountainous region of the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, the majority of whose inhabitants were Buddhist (Cohen 2001: 212). The Indian army was completely helpless in the face of the Chinese army. With no particular difficulty, China assured itself victory over the region of Ladakh it had claimed. Nehru was discouraged: his demonstrative friendliness toward the govern-

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ment in Peking had not been answered with friendliness but with a gesture that insisted on the right of the stronger military power. Nehru was forced to request immediate military aid from the United States and Great Britain—a bitter pill for the advocate of nonalignment (Singh 1997: 123). But it was not the fact that India now had to lean militarily on one of the blocs that brought an end to Nehru’s foreign policy. It was the end of an illusion that hit the very center of India’s claim to being different, to being morally superior. India had to act as if it were any other country that had been attacked by its neighbor. Nehru was forced to realize that his vision of special relations between countries of the “third world,” his world of peace according to Nehru’s morals à la Gandhi was not the world of Communist China—and presumably not the world of Egypt, Indonesia, or Yugoslavia. Nehru’s world did not correspond to reality. No aggression on the part of Pakistan could have revealed this. But it was revealed by the aggression of Communist China, which had been more or less courted by Nehru. The short-term rapprochement between India and the West was soon overlaid by the Chinese–Pakistani rapprochement and then by the rapprochement between China and the United States, and this strengthened the commonality of interests between India and the Soviet Union. But this very commonality was one of the interests: India developed a tendentious, pro-Soviet foreign policy because the Soviet Union was the only power that opposed India’s enemy— Pakistan. It was Bose’s spirit that aided in understanding the political parallels between Moscow and Delhi. It was not Gandhi’s nonviolence and not Nehru’s socialism that could have explained these parallels. In 1962 and thereafter, Nehru would have gladly accepted American aid, not only for the short term, but also for the long term. But the geopolitical landscape did not allow this option for the long term. The end of Nehru’s foreign policy also signaled the end of the Nehruvian tradition and the beginning of Realpolitik made in India. This Realpolitik and the turn it signaled toward the superpowers and their bloc system—the short-term partnership with the West in 1962 and the strategic partnership with the Soviet Union that followed—corresponded to a highly traditional understanding of international politics. It was the result of thinking in terms of balance, of staking out zones of influence, of sober calculations about immediate usefulness. Gandhi’s inspiration had yielded to Bose’s. And at the end of the specifically Indian approach to international politics

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stood the approach of Henry Kissinger (and Metternich and Bismarck) (Kissinger 1994). Realpolitik was not entirely foreign to Nehru. The annexation in 1961 of the Portuguese colonies on the Indian subcontinent—Goa, Damao, Diu—without the use of military force but with military pressure, could be rationalized as the liberation of these regions from colonial rule. But the technique of threatening with military force was, in any case, not one that could be rationalized in the name of Gandhi. Beginning in 1962, Nehru had to rely on support from those whom he abhorred and whose role he originally had minimized: the armed forces. Nehru had the negative view of the military that was typical for a European-style Leftist intellectual of his generation. For him, soldiers and officers were actually the henchmen of an authoritarian system (Cohen 2001: 128). Beginning in 1962, he was told that India’s existence would depend on these soldiers and officers; and that he, Nehru, had already gambled with this existence because he had so grossly neglected the military side of his foreign policy and national security policy. In other words, Nehru had to accept the accusation that he and his tendentious, pacifist, moralizing foreign policy were responsible for the disaster of the war of 1962. But it remained the task of Nehru’s successors Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi to take the decisive step that led India away from the Nehruvian tradition: z

z

z

The two wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 confirmed India’s will and capability of enforcing its interests even by military means (Wolpert 1997: 374 f., 389–391; Cohen 2001: 133–136). The Indian protectorate Sikkim was annexed in 1972—an action that approximated the annexation of Goa in 1961—however, without the justification of liberation from colonial rule (Cohen 2001: 137). In response to China’s open detonation of an atomic bomb in 1964, India had developed its own nuclear capabilities by 1974. In 1998, India also demonstrated its nuclear capabilities by means of a demonstrative explosion before a global audience (Cohen 2001: 157– 197).

The war between India and Pakistan in 1971 was the beginning of India’s relative dominance in South Asia. The fact that a military

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victory on the part of India and a military defeat on the part of Pakistan led to this result only serves to underscore the extent to which the paradigm shift of Indian exceptionalism and Nehru’s brand of idealism had already progressed to the paradigm of Indian normalcy in terms of Realpolitik. India’s role was defined by Nehru’s daughter in a form that was not averse to using military force to restrain decisively the influence of Pakistan. The moralizing tone was not (yet) gone, but it was overlaid with a strong dose of traditional, military national security policy. The victory of 1971 brought with it new parameters for India’s global and regional position: z

z

Ali Jinnah’s concept of two nations had failed; the concept of Gandhi, Nehru, and Bose had prevailed. The notion of an Islamic nation on British Indian soil was proved wrong by the separation from East Pakistan. The factor of Islam had not been able to integrate the western part of Pakistan, dominated primarily by Punjab and Sind, and the eastern, Bengali part of Pakistan. Nation building on the basis of religion was clearly a failure—at least in the allIndian version advocated by Jinnah. The defeat and partition of Pakistan ended the virtual balance that had characterized the two successor states to British India. The balance between India and Pakistan yielded to Indian hegemony. Pakistan was able to limit and modify, but not really prevent, India’s dominance in Kashmir. India’s dominant role in the creation of Bangladesh did not, however, prevent the clear need for distance on the part of Bangladesh with regard to Indian claims (Cohen: 2001: 235–237). But this very role underscored India’s ideas of regional power.

Indira Gandhi’s atomic bomb still had the moralistic flair of her father. In 1972, she ordered a nuclear test that fulfilled the function of a trial explosion of an atomic bomb. However, she refused to call India’s atomic weapons capacity by name and to introduce the next step, which would make sense of the first step: the transformation of atomic weapons capacity into an atomic weapons program (Singh 1997: 124). The Vajpayee administration undertook this step in 1998—knowing full well that it would cause Pakistan to declare its atomic weapons capability as well. The ultimate rejection of Gandhi’s and Nehru’s tradition, brought about by the Indian atomic bomb, had not been able to change any-

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thing about one particular factor that had accompanied Nehru’s foreign policy from the outset: the explosive opposition of Pakistan. Beginning in 1971, Pakistan was clearly the weaker partner in the conflict between the two successor states to the Raj. But Pakistan has always had a pawn with which to exert control in the conflict with the more powerful country of India: Kashmir. The Kashmir Conflict In the conflict that has been a burden to India’s international position, the problematic tension between India’s exceptionalism and its normalcy becomes very clear. In the military dispute with Pakistan, India represents the older, moralizing, Nehruvian tradition as well as the position of a regional superpower defending its sphere of influence in terms of Realpolitik against neighboring rival nations. Both traditions—the older one of Indian exceptionalism as well as the more recent one of Indian normalcy—strengthen one another, but by strengthening one another they reveal the hopelessness of the conflict over Kashmir all the more clearly. This hopelessness in which India and Pakistan have ensnared themselves may, in fact, present a greater economic burden to the smaller country of Pakistan. In political terms, there can be no doubt that the conflict presents a greater burden to India than to Pakistan. Every Pakistani government, whether civil or military, can make use of the conflict over the largely Muslim region of Kashmir to legitimate its own power. The conflict is functional for Pakistan. It not only corresponds to the claims of an Islamic state, it also strengthens unstable democratic or non-democratic governments. In contrast, the conflict is largely disadvantageous for India. That is to say, India’s global potential, which is far greater than that of Pakistan, is, to a certain degree, tied up in Kashmir. India’s image as the world’s largest democracy suffers due to the human rights violations that are apparently an unavoidable side effect of constant guerilla warfare and the fight against terrorism. If Pakistan is accused of human rights violations, it has little to lose—not, in any case, the reputation as a model of democracy. However, if the same accusation is made of India, it touches on the very substance of Indian self-understanding. The conflict between India and Pakistan has a number of dimensions:

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The Kashmir conflict is the possible confirmation or refutation of the thesis that democracies do not wage war against one another (Russett 1993). The Kashmir conflict gives voice to the contradiction between the principle on which India’s nationhood is based, and the principle that is the foundation for Pakistan. The Kashmir conflict reflects the superpower role that India de facto lays claim to in South Asia and that is being followed suspiciously by India’s neighbors.

The Kashmir conflict must also be viewed as a constant conflict between a stable democracy and a country that, since its founding, has oscillated between having democratically elected governments and military governments. The three wars over Kashmir and the constant guerrilla warfare in Kashmir give no clear answer as to whether Russett’s thesis is correct, namely, whether democracies can only wage war against non-democracies. Of the three wars between India and Pakistan, the first, in 1948, cannot really be considered a meaningful example. Neither India nor Pakistan can be described in the first months after their founding as stable democracies. The war of 1965, which was a war over Kashmir, and the war of 1971, which was a war over the status of East Pakistan although it also had immediate repercussions on the status of Kashmir (Chadda 2000: 196 f.), were wars between a democratically elected government and a military dictatorship. This piece of evidence could support Russett’s thesis. However, the circumstances surrounding the Kashmir conflict as a whole support the thesis only to a limited degree. The conflict over Kargil, which almost led to a war in 1999, does more to refute the thesis than to support it. In 1999, the Sharif government, which was supported by a clear parliamentary majority and could thus be considered democratic, stood behind the Pakistani advances. Sharif’s failure in Kashmir, that is to say, the actual defeat of Pakistan in Kargil, contributed greatly to the military putsch in October of 1999 (Chadda 2000: 210 f.). But however one views the experience of Pakistan’s advance and withdrawal in 1999 in terms of Russett’s thesis, Pakistan cannot be viewed as a stable democracy due to the series of democratically elected governments interspersed with military dictatorships. If Russett’s thesis cannot be viewed as a momentary snapshot of what-

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ever government happens to be in power— that is to say, if it is exclusively geared toward whether or not Nawaz Sharif was able to count on a democratic majority in 1999—in other words, if Russett’s thesis is to be viewed as a long-term set of circumstances, then the thesis is not refuted by the example of the Kashmir conflict. The wars over Kashmir are wars between India as a democracy and a Pakistan that either happens to find itself in a phase of unstable democracy or in a phase of military dictatorship. Kashmir also represents the collision between Jinnah’s thesis of the nation-building power of Islam and the perspective of an India, represented by Gandhi, Nehru, and Bose, that stands above all religious creeds. According to the national principle upon which Pakistan was founded, it is only consistent that every Pakistani government insist on Kashmir’s belonging to Pakistan and that it also claim something that the military dictatorships under Ayub Khan, Zia-ul Haq, and Parvez Musharraf could not claim for themselves: democracy. As a solution to the Kashmir conflict, Pakistan promises democracy—democracy as a result of the assumption that the clearly Muslim majority of Kashmir would choose with a clear majority to belong to Pakistan in a free election. For India, the resolution of the Kashmir conflict also signifies democracy, a democracy that grants Kashmir territorial autonomy within the secular Indian federation and guarantees the different segments of society in Jammu and Kashmir (particularly the Muslims and the Hindus) a voice in the power structure. The formula for democracy advocated by Pakistan for Kashmir is that of the principle of majority rule and self-determination. The formula for democracy advocated by India for Kashmir is that of power sharing and autonomy. But the reality of the conflict prevents democracy—even, or especially, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The centers controlled by India, particularly the Kashmir valley where the capital of Srinagar is located, are under a constant state of emergency. The democratic process in this state has been in a de facto state of collapse for years. The consequences of constant military conflict—the guerrilla war against the Pakistani-supported units penetrating into Kashmir from the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan—threaten the democratic credibility of India. The series of human rights violations caused by the conflict does not destroy India’s claim to being the “world’s largest democracy,” but it is a clear weakening of the quality of Indian democracy (Chadda 2000: 215 f.).

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Developments before and after the summer of 1999, when volunteers supported by Pakistan penetrated far into the territory of Kashmir controlled by India and provoked a battle all around Kargil, confirmed the stability, but also the immobility of India. The BJP and thus Vajpayee’s government as well were firmly rooted in the tradition of Hindu nationalism, which, with the greatest self-assurance, views Kashmir as the “natural” possession of a strong, centralist India. The fact that Vajpayee acted just as we would have expected the two previous administrations of the Congress to have acted during the Kargil conflict—in a stubborn, but non-expansionist manner—speaks for the strength of Indian democracy. The BJPled government was forced not to follow its extremist, expansionist rhetoric with action. The cause for this moderation: the complex majority that supported Vajpayee. A Kashmir policy that would have actually corresponded to the BJP tradition would have entered into a further war with Pakistan but would not have had a majority in the Lok Sabha. The specific form of Indian democracy that allows political decision-making only in terms of a compromise between minorities took the edge off an expansive, nationalistic Kashmir policy from the BJP-led government (Chadda 2000: 210). Unlike the wars of 1965 and 1971, India did not have to rely on a reluctant attitude on the part of the United States during the Kargil conflict. For the first time, in 1999, the U.S. policy conveyed understanding for the Indian position in the ongoing conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir (Cohen 2001: 155, 268–283). But regardless of the fact that, with the end of the Cold War, the Kashmir conflict can no longer be misunderstood as a conflict between representatives, in which Washington and Peking stand behind Islamabad, and Moscow behind Delhi, the paralysis in Kashmir interferes with India’s role as a regional power and a potential superpower. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives are all members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, founded in 1985 (Cohen 2001: 232). India is tied to these countries in a variety of ways. It is tied to Bangladesh through the common history under the Raj. India has the Bengali bridge in common with Bangladesh: West Bengal and Bangladesh are the two separate parts of Bengal, divided in 1947, that remain tied to one another through a common language and through a long, shared border—as well as through the aid given to Bangladesh by India in 1971 when the former East Pakistan separated from West

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Pakistan. India is tied to Sri Lanka by the problematics of the Tamil rebellion on Sri Lanka. India became involved in the Sri Lankan civil war in 1987 when India wanted to take on the role of a peacemaking regional power. The military presence of India in Sri Lanka was ended by India’s withdrawal in 1990—and the murder of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 was directly associated with India’s unsuccessful military intervention. However, India’s position as a regional power experienced a clear confirmation through India’s intervention in the Maledives in 1988 and through an agreement with Bhutan, which officially subordinated the army of the Himalayan state to the Indian army. In Nepal, the Indian influence, which is similar to that of a center on a periphery, is occasionally confronted with the attempt on China’s part to remove Nepal from the Indian sphere of influence (Cohen: 232–241). However, only Pakistan seriously doubts the position of India as a regional power in South Asia, by means of the conflict over Kashmir. This conflict binds India, and enables Pakistan to act as a counter pole, thus allowing the other nations of the subcontinent to withdraw from Indian dominance more and more. The conflict over Kashmir is the millstone around the neck of India, the regional power. But India’s potential is more than that of a regional power on the South Asian subcontinent. This became very clear when the Vajpayee administration went public with the declaration of India’s atomic capabilities in May of 1998, which had existed since the time of Indira Gandhi’s government. The detonation of the atomic bomb in India, which was, not unexpectedly, followed immediately by the detonation of an atomic bomb by the Pakistanis expressed India’s claim of adopting a role in world politics corresponding to that of China—and not simply presenting itself as a dominant referee in Sri Lanka or Nepal or in the Maldives. From a Regional to a Global Power? The decision on the part of India and Pakistan to enter the circle of countries with atomic weapons led to the short-term isolation of both countries. But despite the sanctions imposed by the United States, the latter signaled an interest in an improvement of IndianAmerican relations. The United States made it clear that it was prepared to accept the reality of India’s nuclear potential. India became a potential strategic partner of the United States, particularly in terms of the tensions in Chinese-American relations. The pro-Indian posi-

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tion of the United States during the Kargil conflict confirmed this shift in position (Cohen 2001: 285–287). The increased attention paid to Southwest and South Asia due to the “war against terrorism” was of particular use to Pakistan in the short term. The government in Islamabad was suddenly of geopolitical interest again as a partner to the U.S.-led alliance. But the conclusions drawn from this by the U.S. clearly also benefit India— as, for example, the sanctions declared in 1998 due to the nuclear policies of both nations. Unlike the time of the Cold War, particularly during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the United States made it clear that there would be no preferential treatment of Pakistan on the part of the United States. For this very reason, India is able to bring into play the strengths that are recognizable in even the most perfunctory comparison with Pakistan: z z z z

a a a a

stable democracy as opposed to Pakistan’s instability clearly stronger and also more rapidly growing economy clearly larger military potential possible balance to an all-Asian dominance on the part of China

The rules of global behavior have not yet been written in stone in the new world order (or disorder) since the end of the Cold War. The clear global hegemony of the United States has been the single stable factor since the end of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. It is clear that other factors—other circumstances—will enter the equation as well. Of the various concepts regarding global order, some pose a threat to India, others are more inviting: z

z

Samuel Huntington’s finding that religion is the primary factor in conflicts between civilizations threatens India’s very existence. The possibility outlined by Huntington of a collision between Islamic and Hindu fundamentalism would destroy India and render superfluous any consideration of India as a global power (Huntington 1996). In contrast, Francis Fukuyama’s vision of a convergence of all political systems in the direction of peace-making liberal democracies corresponds to the basis of Indian democracy and strengthens the assumption of India’s growing importance—first in the region, then in the world. In a tendentious, peaceful concert of

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liberal democracies, India’s voice must be given greater significance (Fukayama 1992). Henry Kissinger’s image of a return to a quasi-natural, multi-polarity also accommodates India’s position in a fundamental way. Assuming that Indian democracy will continue to be stable and that the Indian economy will continue to grow, there is an indication that India is growing into the role of the superpowers—as Asia’s third global power, after China and Japan (Kissinger 1994: 807f.).

In any case, the possibility of India as a global power has shifted to the foreground. Such a role, of course, depends on a number of factors of both a formal and informal nature, including the possible problem of restructuring the UN Security Council. Through the year 1998, the statement that the five permanent members would not only represent the status quo ante but also the nuclear weapons club was able to justify its structure, which had been fixed in 1945. In 1998, this rationalization lost all meaning. In view of the sensitivity surrounding any real reform of the structure of the UN, it cannot be expected that India will easily become the sixth permanent member of the Security Council. This is contradicted not only by Pakistan but also by the claims of Germany and Japan, and particularly the U.S. interest in not allowing any (further) disruptive factors into the workings of the UN (Cohen 2001: 296). India’s role as a global power is thus to be expected less in terms of a formal confirmation—such as through a corresponding new structuring of the UN Security Council—rather, it is to be expected in terms of the actual role that India is prepared to play, and its position to do so. Of course, as long as the Kashmir problem continues to make India distrustful of global politics from the outset, India’s engagement on a global level is blocked. India distrusts global politics because it could serve as a justification of intervention into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, which is rejected by India, but propagated by Pakistan (in the case of Kashmir). Only the resolution of this Kashmir blockade and the ensuing normalization of relations with Pakistan could free India for a global role. In any case, India has created the necessary prerequisites for this through the gradual turn away from the rejection of traditional foreign policy, a rejection that had its roots in Gandhi’s idealism. The development of such a foreign policy, including its military dimen-

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sion, had already begun under Nehru, was continued by his daughter and his grandson, and is carried on by the BJP-led government of the turn of the millennium. There was probably no other field in which Bose presented such an effective political pattern for independent India than in the area of foreign policy. In 1947, India became a player on the stage of international politics, albeit one that rejected this position more or less, at least in the beginning. In Gandhi’s tradition, there was actually no provision for an Indian national interest, the representation of which would have been the task of an Indian government. Gandhi wanted to cause the British to see the injustice of colonialism and to withdraw from India. Gandhi’s reactions to the politics of national interests on the part of the superpowers on the eve of and at the beginning of World War II show that the Mahatma did not at all think in the sorts of categories that moved these powers (Brown 1988). A sort of moralizing refusal of power prevailed in Nehru’s foreign policy—at least until 1962 and the crucial experience with Chinese foreign policy. Nehru tended to stylize India as a power morally superior to the others—because India’s foreign policy, according to Nehru’s vision, was not, or not primarily, driven by national interests (Singh 1997). India’s foreign policy, at the beginning, was not actually a foreign policy. India laboriously felt its way to a position that did not make India appear as the world’s moralizing know-it-all; instead, India also appeared as a power driven by certain interests with certain corresponding claims. The conflict with China and the two wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 were steps along this path. The preparation of the atomic bomb under Indira Gandhi was a further step. The role as regional superpower that India played directly with Sikkim and indirectly vis-à-vis Bhutan and Nepal and that fell to India in Sri Lanka and in the Maledives were further experiences along the path from an “idealistic, Nehruvian” to a “realistic” foreign policy (Cohen 2001: 232–244). Bose had demonstrated what sort of consequences such a foreign policy brought with it. Alliances must also be accepted with powers whose moral quality is abhorrent, if the motto of “the enemy of my enemy” is correct. Foreign policy must have a military component; otherwise it will not be taken seriously by friend or foe. Moreover, loyalties arise from common interests, also from making oneself useful.

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Bose wanted to make himself useful. The fact that this intention of Bose’s remained unsuccessful during 1941 and 1943 in Berlin due to the refusal of the German leadership to declare a policy on India, does not speak against this particular pattern. Bose’s desire to prove himself useful to the Soviet Union also remained unfulfilled due to different priorities on Stalin’s part, but this does not speak against this pattern either. The power that had accepted Bose’s offers was Japan. Japan made use of Bose’s offer by being useful to Bose. This had no “ideological” background. Bose had no sympathy for Japanese imperialism in Korea, Manchuria, or China. But he had retracted his criticism of the Japanese advance into China the moment Japan appeared in his calculations as a potential partner whose course of action came more and more into conflict with the British. Chiang and Mao were “out” for Bose and Tojo was “in.” Bose was a calculating rationalist in terms of his foreign policy. But Gandhi and Nehru, at least at the outset, were not. Yet India’s foreign policy at the beginning of the twenty-first century is determined by this very position: led by national interests, India calculates which other international players can be of use to these interests—and how India can prove itself useful to these players. Bose’s behavior on the field of international politics was clearly in a world apart from the leadership of the Congress during the years 1941–1945. This is true less in terms of content: even the Congress conceded the priority of anti-British orientation with the motto “Quit India,” beginning in 1942. It is true, however, in terms of form: according to Bose, India’s self-presentation in international politics should have nothing to do with morals and only to do with India national interests. Over fifty years later, India’s behavior in this arena has clearly been neither “Gandhian” nor “Nehruvian”—rather, it has corresponded to Bose’s understanding. Bose’s approach to international politics was not at all original. Bose’s originality consisted in his view of India’s normalcy in terms of foreign policy and national security. This perspective was diametrically opposed to the claim of Gandhi and Nehru that India should in no way conduct politics like the others. Bose was original in his rejection of the notion that India must be original, different from the others. Bose’s refusal of a special role for India on the international stage can be seen in Indian foreign policy, which has gradually been dis-

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tancing itself from Nehru’s legacy. This emancipation from the morally defined beginnings of Indian foreign policy of course has its roots in the changes of the political landscape of the world. The Soviet Union no longer exists; the Cold War is over. With that, the nonalignment alliance has lost all meaning. The People’s Republic of China has long been carrying out a foreign policy that holds itself demonstratively aloof from specifically moral claims. Closing ranks with the America of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger demonstrates this. Maoist China saw its interests in a cooperation with the “imperialist” Washington rather than in a working relationship with Moscow, which—like Peking—invoked Marx and Lenin. The sobriety with which Peking interpreted its relationships anew, beginning in 1971, has something of Bose’s sobriety. Bose was prepared to sacrifice Chiang (and Mao) to Japanese imperialism as soon as it would serve Indian interests. A sobriety of this nature was completely foreign to Gandhi, and Nehru’s foreign policy was also driven by different premises. This sobriety was also provocatively cynical, at least from the point of view of Gandhi and Nehru. The policy that served one’s own interest was the policy that was followed. The interests of the others had to wait. Such a “cynical” understanding of politics was similar in nature to British, and Japanese, and, in general, any sort of imperialism. Yet Gandhi’s and Nehru’s morality gradually loosened its hold over India. It has been driven out of India: on the high plains of Ladakh, in the civil war in Sri Lanka, in the ongoing conflict over Kashmir. And India was also not able to resist the temptation—or the maelstrom—of incorporating Goa, annexing Sikkim and pushing Bhutan (occasionally Nepal and Bangladesh as well) into the periphery of its own sphere of influence rather than viewing them as sovereign partners. In many respects the regional foreign policy and national security policy of India is identical to the politics of hemisphere conducted by the United States. Like the claim expressed in the Monroe Doctrine of the United States, namely, that of defining the interests of the entire region, India’s regional foreign policy and national security policy is ambivalent. It serves to distance itself from interests that do not come from this region. But it also serves to view the other states of the region as periphery and one’s own country, one’s own nation, as the center.

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This politics of strategy based on national interest instead of global visions, this politics that Bose and Mao, Nixon and Kissinger practiced: this strategy has become the hallmark of India’s foreign policy and national security policy, albeit late. In this way, India has created the background that will allow it to be recognized by the other players in world politics as an equal partner. The India that does not hold all other nations to its own morals; rather the India that recognizes and respects the interests of others out of self-interest, so that Indian interests are also recognized and respected: this India stands on the threshold of being a global power.

13 Bose—The Myth Lives On Now that Bose was dead he could not longer act, politically speaking. In particular, after his death Bose could not prevent politics from being conducted in his name. The dead Bose became an object of politics. Two interests stood behind the instrumentalization of Bose: z

z

The Congress, which, beginning in July of 1945, faced a British government that had decided to grant freedom to India. From the moment it received word of Bose’s death, the Congress was interested in placing Bose’s memory within the context of the Congress as a whole. That is to say, not to portray Bose as Gandhi’s and Nehru’s opponent, but as their friend and follower who shared a common goal with them despite occasional differences of opinion about the means. The (Indian) rivals of the Congress who attempted to set Bose’s legacy against the Congress. They wanted to keep the memory of the “Netaji” alive as proof that the Congress did not have a monopoly in terms of speaking for all of India. This set of interests is the basis from which the difference between the INA and the “Quit India” movement, between active participation in war on the side of the Axis powers and passive neutrality must be emphasized. Only in this way could Bose’s radicalism be placed in opposition to the moderation of the Congress leaders.

It corresponded to the second position to keep Bose’s popularity as alive and vital as possible. The first position was concerned with relativizing and reducing his popularity. It is also understandable from the perspective of the second position that for many people in India, Bose remained literally alive—that the news of his death was 285

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dismissed as a manipulative attempt to obscure the truth and that people believed in the possibility that he would return to India. It corresponded to the first position to confirm Bose’s death as irrefutable fact. The dead Bose was the good Bose—particularly for Gandhi. Bose’s patriotism was, Gandhi said, “second to none.” Bose and the INA embodied “self sacrifice, unity irrespective of class and community, and discipline.” What concerned Gandhi, in fact, was his closing remark about General Shah Nawaz: this officer of the INA, he said, would stand in the ranks of the Congress as a simple soldier of nonviolence (Gordon 1990: 551). The dead Bose was not the good Bose—for Gandhi’s opponents. For this reason, he had to be alive, in order to prevent the cooptation of Bose’s legacy as well as that of the INA by Gandhi and Nehru. This motivation spawned the legend that Bose was not really dead and would soon come to India to complete his work. Netaji Is Alive To whom does Bose “belong”? Who can claim his memory for his own and use it politically? The trial that the government of British India pursued against the leading officers of the INA—Sahgal, Dhillon, Shah Nawaz—between October and December of 1945 in the Red Fort in Delhi would give an important answer to this question. As officers of the (British) Indian Army, the accused had, of course, switched sides in the middle of the war and fought with Japan against their former army. A movement emerged in defense of the accused. The Congress decided to place itself at the head of this movement in order to avoid the possibility of this movement turning against the Congress itself. Nehru reversed the political intention of the trial. The trial against deserters and traitors became a trial against British colonial rule. In public announcements and as a lawyer defending the accused before the military tribunal, Nehru acted as if he were Bose’s heir (Fay 1993: 465–492; Ghosh 1969: 308–330; Kalam 1997: 110– 112). The trial did not make martyrs of the accused. They were found guilty—and released shortly thereafter. The judgment suited the taste of the British government, which did not want any new victims of the Raj. But the judgment also suited the Congress—the military alternative to the nonmilitary course taken by the Congress was de-

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nied to the martyrs; and the fact that the defendants were released could be attributed to Nehru’s engagement. The Red Fort trial was the beginning of the political struggle for Bose’s legacy. Should Bose be viewed as a part of the greater independence movement represented by Gandhi and Nehru and Patel— or should Bose serve as a representative of the protest against the inadequacy and half-heartedness of this same movement? The Red Fort trial had underscored the claim of the Congress: notwithstanding the distance, in principle, that had existed between Bose and Gandhi, and Bose and Nehru, the Congress was not willing to leave Bose to the others. Following the Red Fort trial, the Congress took the occasion of Bose’s birthday on January 23, 1946 to carry out celebrations throughout all of India. In Bombay this led to disturbances that cost eleven people their lives (Bose 1992b, Vol. 3: 17–43). The Congress had declared Bose its hero. The Congress had taken possession of Bose, the dead man. But while the Congress celebrated Bose’s birthday in Bombay, the critics of the Congress were celebrating in Calcutta. Sarat Bose had a special guest of honor—Shah Nawaz, the general from the INA and the defendant at the Red Fort trial, the same Shah Nawaz whom Gandhi was laying claim to for his nonviolence movement (Fay 1993: 502). The course of the Red Fort trial was a warning sign to the British: the history of the INA and the memory of Bose were alive and well. The Attlee government and its viceroy could not count on being faced solely with opponents who believed in nonviolent confrontation. Nehru made a point of not excluding the possibility of violent, military intervention. The mutiny on the part of the Royal Indian Navy was a second warning sign. On February 18, 1946, Indian sailors mutinied in the harbor of Bombay. They occupied a large number of war ships anchored in the harbor and raised the flag of the Congress and the Muslim League. Shooting followed between the mutineers and the loyal troops. More than 200 people were killed. Mutinies followed in Calcutta, Madras, and Karachi. After five days the mutineers were convinced to surrender—due, in large part, to the intervention of Nehru and Jinnah, who had acted as negotiators (Burke and Quraishi 1995: 421; Wolpert 1996: 358 f.). The fact that Bose and his exile government were in a position to organize the soldiers who had been prisoners-of-war and the offic-

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ers of the British Indian Army into an army that—more than 30,000 men (and women) strong—drew the British into battle was an alarm to the British. They were in danger of losing a decisive instrument of their rule over India as well as within the country: the loyalty of the British Indian Army and the Royal Indian Navy. The Red Fort trial had shown that the Congress was willing to set the history of the INA against the Raj, as well as being in a position to do so. The mutinies in the navy continued this chain of experiences. The Attlee government, which had already decided to withdraw from India, saw that its intention to end the Raj—as quickly as possible—was, indeed, justified. The time pressure that weighed heavily on the British government was also a result of Bose’s politics and of the history of the INA. This time pressure now worked in the interests of Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League, and the idea of a Pakistan founded on the idea of Islamic identity. Because if the British wanted to withdraw fast from India, and if they needed a quick agreement with India’s representatives in order to do so, then such an agreement was dependent on Jinnah’s veto power. Any rapid end to British rule that would give at least the appearance of an orderly handing over of the governmental power to the Indian independence movement would mean the partition of India. Anything else would have been civil war. What then accompanied and followed the partition was not so different from a civil war. But the consensus between a Jinnah who was triumphant in the end and a Nehru forced to pragmatism was important to the British. Nehru could rely neither on Gandhi in the matter, nor on Bose. The former distanced himself and left the decision regarding the lesser evil to his “good son.” The latter was dead— and could therefore deliver the legitimization for the fundamental opposition directed against the partition. Even better than a dead Bose was one who did not act himself but one whom the self-appointed representatives could claim was alive. This was the background against which the story arose that Bose was alive—and would soon return, just like a savior. And all evil would fall away from India: the partition of the country, the violence associated with that partition, the social miseries both connected to the partition and unrelated to it, the pettiness of everyday politics, and the many disappointments that became so visible to many people immediately following independence.

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This expectation that Bose would return was also connected with a protest against the Congress. It was, after all, Nehru who had agreed to the partition as the lesser evil—against the tradition of the Congress, against Gandhi’s teachings, against his own program. After 1947, Nehru could no longer make demands of the British, could no longer see in British rule the root of all evil. Rather, as prime minister, he had to assume the responsibility for unavoidable disappointments himself. India had to go through a traumatic experience: the realization that independence would not bring about paradise. Instead, independence brought first murder and killing, and war between the two successor states. As far as many people were concerned, there was one person responsible for this deplorable state of affairs: Nehru. And there was one hope that someone might fight against this person responsible: and that was Bose. Bose was needed—as an antithesis to the Realpolitik that the Congress was now forced to conduct. Those who wanted to instrumentalize Bose against the Congress spread the rumors that Bose was still alive. The Congress had taken Bose into its pantheon. The opponents of the Congress declared that Bose was alive. In a dispatch issued on October 13, 1946, Sheelbhadra Yajee, vice president of the Forward Bloc, and as such, advocate of Bose’s tradition, declared that Bose was alive. As proof, Yajee referred to a resolution of the Working Committee of the All-India Forward Bloc, that is to say, the leading members of the party Bose had founded. Yajee concluded that the “masses” could rest assured that their liberator Netaji Bose was “still in flesh and blood.” Several days later, Sardar Sardul Singh, the president of the Forward Bloc, followed suit. Singh stated that members of the Forward Bloc had received secret messages from Bose three months earlier, that is to say, in summer of 1946 (Bose 1992 [2], Vol. 3: 45 f.). These rumors were aimed directly or indirectly at Nehru. Nehru had stated in a press release of October 12, 1946 that there was not the slightest basis to assume that Bose was alive. As proof, Nehru cited the eyewitness account of Habibur Rahman who had been with Bose in the hospital and could personally vouch for the fact that Bose had died (Bose 1992 [2] Vol. 2: 90 f.). But clearly, Nehru knew that the rumors were not gone for good. Because the stories about Bose being alive were not a contribution to contemporary research; rather, they were a form of opposition against India’s breaking away

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from the Raj, particularly against the compromise between the Attlee government, Jinnah’s Muslim League, and Nehru’s Congress. The conflict over whether Bose was dead or alive was a conflict that represented something else. Lakshmi Sahgal offers a less instrumental view of the rumors that Bose was still alive. As a minister in his exile government, she simply did not believe the news of his death in August of 1945. She does not say precisely why she did not at first believe the account heard on Japanese radio—likely it had to do with Bose’s charisma; with the fact that his loyal followers believed him capable of escaping the grasp of the victors after the Japanese surrender; but primarily it had to do with the fact that they could not believe what would have destroyed their belief. However, later, when Bose did not show himself in India after independence, that is to say, after August 1947, they began to accept Bose’s death (Sahgal 1997: 108 f.). The expectation that Bose would return to India soon was widespread, especially in Bengal. Particularly from the Bengali perspective, the main role remained open for Bose: the role of saving Indian unity. For this reason: “we cannot come to any conclusion that Subhas is no more. . . . We shall not be surprised if one fine morning Subhas is standing before us in flesh and blood, to the joy of all. May that happy day come soon!” (Das-Gupta 1946: 246; similar statements can be found in Ghosh 1946: 166–168). But the expectation was not fulfilled. Bose did not return. This did nothing to change the need to know that Bose was alive. And since he was obviously not in India, he had to be somewhere else. In a book published not coincidentally in Bengal in 1956, the attempt was made to prove that Bose had taken part in the Chinese civil war on the side of Mao’s People’s Liberation Army and had now taken on an important task as “General Liu Po-Cheng” in the People’s Republic of China (Nag 1956). This (and other) publications tended to see an all-inclusive conspiracy behind the official version of Bose’s death. This is also underscored by the attempt to read the story of Bose’s marriage as an invention within the framework of an inclusive campaign to destroy Bose’s reputation (Nag 1956: 11–23). To put an end to the rumors, Nehru’s government introduced a committee in April of 1956 to investigate the circumstances surrounding Bose’s death. Shah Nawaz, one of the generals from Bose’s INA, was the chair of the committee. Bose’s brother Suresh Chandra Bose was also a member of the committee (Ayer in: Bose 1962: 28). The

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members of the committee traveled to Tokyo, Bangkok, and Saigon— but due to the lack of diplomatic relations between India and the government of Taiwan, they did not travel to Taipei. All told, the committee interviewed sixty-seven witnesses in India and in Southeast Asia, studied documents, and inspected various papers (Netaji Inquiry Committee 1956: 1–3). Based on this material, the committee determined that Bose had left Rangoon on April 24, 1945; Singapore on August 16; Bangkok and Saigon on August 17, and Tourane (Vietnam) on August 18 and had been the victim of a plane crash that same day in Taipei (formerly Taihoku). “The committee has come to the conclusion that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose met his death in an air crash, and that the ashes now at Renkoji temple, Tokyo, are his ashes. . . . It is time that his ashes were brought to India with due honor, and a memorial erected over them at a suitable place” (Netaji Inquiry Committee 1956: 61). Suresh Chandra Bose did not join the majority opinion of the committee. This opposition to the results of the committee also explains why Nehru’s government did not undertake any efforts to transport his ashes or to establish the memorial recommended by the committee (Ayer in: Bose 1962: 28). For this reason there is an equestrian statue of Bose in Calcutta, but his ashes were never brought to Calcutta. The myth must not die—despite evidence that had even convinced Bose’s General Shah Nawaz. The Function of a Myth Nehru likely had a personal reason for wanting to end the rumors about Bose. For many people who wanted to keep these rumors alive, he was the logical villain in the conspiracy. Nehru had had an interest in seeing his rival, Bose, dead—or so the argument went. That was why he did everything possible to make the Indian people believe that Bose had actually met with a fatal accident in August of 1945. But Nehru had known full well that Bose had escaped to the Soviet Union—so went one variation of the story—and Nehru had conspired with Attlee to suppress the truth (Saini 1993: 188–195). This myth building cannot simply be dismissed as Indian obscurantism. It also fulfilled a function. The construction of this myth was a part of the dispute over who would write Indian history and whose interpretation of India’s path to independence would prevail. Bose has always been the key element for a military interpretation of this history—increasing his importance means attacking the in-

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terpretation based largely on Gandhi. In the foreword to his book which compiles material for the thesis that Nehru headed a conspiracy to suppress the truth about Bose’s death, V. P. Saini calls the motive by its name: “We have been told and made to believe that the nation was liberated through non-violence only. The role of revolutionaries has almost been completely omitted, ignored and eclipsed from the history of independence struggle. . . . It was only Subhas Chandra Bose, the firebrand and most adventurous revolutionary, who could not only effectively challenge and convincingly defeat . . . the positions of the Gandhiites” (Saini 1993: XI). The logic that Nehru (and others among Gandhi’s followers) suppressed the truth in order to secure for themselves the monopoly on the interpretation of India’s history must also hold true for Nehru’s critics. That is to say, whoever questions this monopoly on interpretation also has an interest in interpreting history selectively—and, if need be, to falsify it. In any case, Bose’s death has always been a zone of political conflict. In this dispute, facts are secondary. What is at stake primarily is the instrumentalization of history. Sitanshu Das sought to write a variation of the myth. In Das’s book Subhas: A Political Biography, Bose’s death in Taiwan is not doubted. But Bose’s life is always explained against the background of activities on the part of the British Secret Service; and Bose’s failure is presented—in part—as the result of British intrigue. Das refers primarily to Bose’s time in Germany. From two serious and scientifically undisputed facts, Bose makes an unproven, extremely speculative conclusion. z

z

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The first fact: Bose had very close contact in Berlin to Adam von Trott zu Solz. Trott, of course, was officially responsible for this contact in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Trott supported Bose within the Ministry (Das 2000: 562; Gordon 1990: 445 f.). The second fact: Trott was a man of the German Resistance. He was actively involved in the preparations for July 20, 1944 (MacDonogh 1989). The speculative conclusion: Trott worked as a British agent in order to cancel out Bose’s plans. In this way, Bose was influenced and hindered by the British Secret Service (Das 2000: 542–549).

This tendency to view the British Secret Service as a power capable of disrupting Bose’s politics repeatedly also flows into Das’s

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representation of Bose’s death. Das does not refute the version of Bose’s death that has been confirmed numerous times by the Indian government—but he lists doubts: what was Bose’s real goal in August of 1945? And wouldn’t the British and the United States—who, after all, were able to decode the Japanese wartime radio code—not have sought to prevent Bose’s escape to Manchuria and thus the Soviet sphere of influence (Das 2000: 598–603)? Das answers neither the questions he poses nor those he simply hints at. Rather, he simply states: “The circumstances of Bose’s death thus remain shrouded in several unanswered queries” (Das 2000: 601). This is the technique whereby myths are kept alive. The controversial instrumentalization of Bose’s death takes places on several levels: z

z

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On the level of historical facts: The Congress and the Nehru government needed Bose to be dead, not alive. The opponents of the Congress and of Nehru would have preferred Bose to be alive. However, the facts were clear—and most of Bose’s followers, therefore, ultimately accepted his death as fact. With that, the second position lost a strong base of support. On the level perceived by the Indian freedom fighters: It was very important to the Congress and Nehru’s government to portray the history of the INA and thus Bose’s history as a variation of the struggle that had been determined by Gandhi. This presented a number of problems for the Congress and Nehru because it was not possible to reconcile forming an army and participating in a war with Gandhi’s notion of resistance. On the level of India’s partition: The Congress and the Nehru government saw the agreement to partition in 1947 as an unavoidable consequence of the interplay between Jinnah’s Muslim League and the British government. Their opponents, on the other hand, wanted to label the partition as a grave political error. Bose and his memory were of no use in this—and thus the Congress itself had an interest in determining the way in which Bose’s legacy was defined.

The myth of the struggle for freedom that was also fought on a military level is based on a number of facts. On the fact that the mere existence of the INA and thus the most important success of Bose’s politics was a clear alternative to Gandhi’s strategy of nonviolent resistance that was not only conceived but put into action. On the

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fact that the participation of more than 30,000 Indian soldiers in the last offensive against British India had clarified for the British the hopelessness of their undertaking: attempting in the future to govern a country of India’s dimensions with a few tens of thousands of British soldiers and civil servants and teachers, expecting the inhabitants to answer to British rule with “Yes, Sahib.” Bose had, of course, not been able to expel the British from India with his brand of armed resistance—but he had helped to make it obvious that the political strategy of the British government was no longer viable. India could be held no longer. The myth of an undivided Bengal is dependent primarily on Sarat Bose. In opposition to Nehru, he had proposed the notion of a socialist, independent, undivided Bengal—in order to prevent the planned partition of India (and thus of Bengal). Sarat Bose wanted to win over Gandhi and Jinnah to his idea—but in vain (Bose S. 1968: 183–194). The notion that Bengal could escape the partition of British India by seceding from India was ambivalent from the perspective of Indian nationalism. On the one hand, the idea of one nation that did not allow itself to be divided into a Hindu and a Muslim nation should be realized at least in Bengal; on the other hand, Sarat Bose’s position reflected the possibility of Bengali separatism. The thought that Subhas Bose could have prevented the partition at least of Bengal, if not of India itself, came to life again with the founding of Bangladesh in 1971. Mujibur Rahman, the first president of Bangladesh, invoked C. R. Das and Subhas Chandra Bose (Kalam 1997: 114 f.). Mujibur Rahman’s success was also the success of Bose—at least, in any case, the defeat of Jinnah. The founding of Bangladesh was not based on a religious (Islamic) identity, but on a secular, Bengali identity. Yet the idea of an undivided Bengal in which the largely Muslim eastern part of Bengal and the largely Hindu western part would be united was not realized. There was neither a reawakening of Sarat Bose’s concept after 1971, nor was there a relevant political movement to make East Bengal a part of India. Neither myth is without foundation. Neither myth is pure invention. Each myth complements the foundation myths of India that were propagated primarily by Gandhi and Nehru: that Indian independence was fought for using Gandhi’s strategy of nonviolence, and that India’s partition could not have been prevented by Gandhi

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or Nehru or anyone else. The memory of Bose and the INA does not contradict these foundation myths—but it expands, broadens, and relativizes them. The political system and the political culture of India allow for contradictions in order to integrate them. The India of the present is clearly directed against consistency. In this sense, the India of the present is neither that of Jinnah nor that of Subhas Bose. But Subhas Chandra Bose fulfills an important function in this India. This India is his only in a limited sense. But he is part of the same: the memory of him, of his INA, but primarily the memory of his alternative to the political culture created by the Congress, the culture of using ambiguity to integrate opposing forces—which remains dominant even after the end of the Congress’s hegemony. Bose’s longing for clarity fits into India’s ambiguity as a variation of India: his longing, for instance, for one Indian language, for a nationalistically and socialistically determined India whose thinking should come from Europe—influenced by Mazzini and Lenin; for an India that should also be anchored in the specifically Indian (or specifically Bengali) tradition represented by C. R. Das; for an India whose secularism would correspond fundamentally in terms of content if not in terms of form with the secularism that would continue to develop from Nehru to Vajpayee. Bose fulfills the task of an alternative foundation myth that expands the reigning foundation myth— embodied by Gandhi and by Nehru. Bose’s image of India is not that of a traditional nation state. The respect he demonstrated toward India’s religious diversity in theory as well as in practice shows that he accepted a religiously diverse India just as Gandhi had done. The significance he was prepared to accord to the Urdu spoken by the Muslims in the north in his idea of “Hindustani” provides additional evidence for this—but also shows that Bose the Bengali considered the priority of Hindustani, built upon the balance of Hindi and Urdu more important than the role of Bengali and other languages outside the Hindi-Urdu belt of the north. Bose’s vision of India was not opposed to Gandhi’s vision—in terms of content. Bose accepted the ambiguities of India just as Gandhi had done. Bose’s opposition to Gandhi had to do with form, with the way in which he chose to deal with these ambiguities. The essence of India’s political culture is the proximity and the interplay between contradictions. The clarity of the Congress’ hegemony demanded a fundamental opposition. Such an antithesis is

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directed against India itself: this is the idea of Pakistan, personified by Ali Jinnah. A further antithesis is not directed toward India but toward the politics of patience—and remains within the parameters of a secular India. This contradiction is personified by Subhas Bose. There is the complaint that India’s economic development is not progressing as quickly as everyone—at least the modernizers of the “Leftist” Congress tradition—had hoped. This complaint has a name: Bose. It is viewed as an outrage that Indian society continues to be plagued by mass poverty and illiteracy. This outrage has a name: Bose. The fact that communalism in India, that is, the opposition between religions and castes, leads to violent eruptions again and again, makes people angry. This anger has a name: Bose. The fact that India often feels pushed to the periphery in world politics is criticized. This criticism has a name: Bose. Bose represents a vision—and this vision is not fundamentally different from that of Gandhi, if we disregard the notion of modernization. Like the memory of Gandhi, the memory of Bose invites us to feel painfully the distance between reality in India and this vision and to cast a critical eye on it. Partially in line with Gandhi, Bose functions as a yardstick to those who would compare India’s claims with its reality. The Political Culture of Patience Bose’s legacy is the opposition to the political culture of patience— not in terms of content, but in terms of form. Bose—his life and his work—is fundamentally in agreement with the content of India’s political culture as it developed after 1947. Bose represents the integration of the castes and religions and ethnicities into one Indian nation. On the basis of Gandhi’s tradition, Bose always rejected and fought against “communalism.” The political primacy accorded to caste, religion, and ethnicity vis-à-vis the commitment to India was just as anathema to Bose as it was to Gandhi and Nehru. The political substance that characterizes India at the outset of the twenty-first century is also the substance of Subhas Chandra Bose. However, Bose and his legacy distinguish themselves from this India in terms of form: in their understanding of the course of politics. The fact that the integration of the Indian nation also demands substantial concessions from Muslims in the area of civil law; the fact that taking into account the castes that formally do not exist is a necessary prerequisite for holding together Indian society; that the

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primacy of Hindi (Bose’s “Hindustani”) cannot prevail against the resistance of the south and of Bengal: this culture of political compromises was, more than anything, foreign to Bose, and it is foreign to Bose’s legacy. Bose wanted a secular Indian nation—as did Gandhi and Nehru. But the various stages of his life show that he pursued his goal with an energetic impatience that is, more than anything, foreign to the mainstream of Indian political culture. Today, Indians seek to overcome communalism with concessions to a communalism that continues to exist. The Indian political culture of secularism struggles against the tradition of the counterculture of communalism by granting autonomy to India’s subcultures. It accords them liberties—for instance, the freedom to make decisions regarding their civil law, their language, and their political representation. Indian democracy allows communalism in order to tame communalism. Indian democracy makes concessions to the political fundamentalism of Sikhs, the separatism of Tamils, the special interests of castes and Dalits— in order to prevent fundamentalism, separatism, and special interests from destroying India. This culture of opposing forces, the proximity of official secularism in theory and communalism in practice demands patience. This is why it is criticized again and again—by the tradition of Hindu nationalism, but also by the tradition of the secular nationalism represented by Bose. Bose had his successes because he could not accept the politics of patience. He did not want to allow Indian independence the time to mature—to the point at which British public opinion would have forced the withdrawal of colonial rule. He also did not want to wait until a global political constellation that was hinted at in 1939 and certainly visible by 1941 allowed a prognosis in terms of the outcome of the Second World War: the weakening of the British Empire even in the case of a victory over the Axis powers. Bose did not want to wait and could not wait until Indian independence would have fallen into the laps of the Congress as the logical product of global developments. For this reason, Bose conducted a brand of politics that is significant for his impatience—for the politics of impatience: he always burned his bridges behind him. In 1933, when he openly turned against Gandhi from his position in Vienna, he destroyed his chances for the role of crown prince. In 1939, when he pushed through his

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reelection as president of the Congress against Gandhi’s wishes, he destroyed his role as an integrating force in the Congress. In 1941, when he found himself on an adventurous path via Kabul and Moscow to Berlin, he destroyed the possibility of his being accepted by any British government. In 1943, when he—as head of government in exile—declared war against Great Britain and the United States, he destroyed his political future in the case of a Japanese defeat. This politics of impatience drove Bose forward—and made him into an unmistakable player in Indian history. But this politics of impatience would not have fit into the mainstream of India’s political culture after 1947. As the isolation of his brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, after 1945 demonstrated (Gordon 1990: 548–612), he would hardly have been able to cope with the pragmatic forces of Indian politics: with the partition of the country, and later, with the concessions to all the sub-nations that were and continue to be part of the country. Bose would have had to change himself and his style completely—or he would have become an outsider within Indian democracy. The role of the outsider is, of course, part of democracy and particularly, democracy made in India. Particularly since the death of Nehru, India’s history has been influenced by outsiders: (Ahuja 2000) z

z

Outsiders who distance themselves from the center of politics and then find their way back to this center. The example for this is Morarji Desai, one of the prominent members of the National Congress long before independence. Desai had lost to Indira Gandhi in the struggle for succession after Nehru’s death, had founded his own party against Indira Gandhi’s Congress and with this party, the Congress (O), had failed. In 1971, it received only 16 of 518 seats in the Lok Sabha. He seemed to be at an end, politically speaking, until he became prime minister out of the unforeseeable situation of the emergency regime in 1977. Nehru’s most significant intraparty opponent came out of isolation to become his successor after all, even if only as the successor to Nehru’s daughter. Outsiders who begin their careers outside the center and gradually advance from the periphery to the center. The example for this is Atal Bihar Vajpayee. For decades, Vajpayee was an advocate for the minority in India that considered itself a natural minority—for the Hindus who in view of the many special rights of the minorities saw themselves as disadvantaged; who viewed these special rights as an unjustified deviation from a secularism that was sup-

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posed to be represented by an all-embracing Hinduism. Vajpayee struggled against the hegemony and content of the Congress Party, contributed substantially to the elimination of this hegemony, and then, as prime minister, stood for a politics that can largely be described as the continuation of the Congress politics with much the same means. Outsiders who carry out their political activities in a continual change of parties first in the center, then in the periphery, and back again. The example for this is Georges Fernandes from Karnataka, who made Bihar the basis of his socialist politics that was directed toward the mobilization of the lower classes and the Dalits. In prison during the emergency regime of Indira Gandhi, he became a prominent minister in Desai’s cabinet in 1977. As a member of the Janata Dal, which ruled from 1989–1991, he opposed the BJP’s policy of mobilizing the emotions of the Hindus against the Mosque of Babur in Ayodhya. The JD was also part of the United Front government. But Fernandes separated himself from the JD, founded the Samata Party and led this to a coalition with the BJP within the framework of the JD(U). Fernandes became minister of defense under Vajpayee. Outsiders who use their outsider role to play a de facto insider role and thus demonstrate Indian democracy’s ability to integrate. The example for this is K. R. Narayanan. As president of India, he had the prominent, highly symbolic task of signaling political continuity before and after the Lok Sabha elections in 1998 and 1999. As a Dalit, he also demonstrated that Indian society is approaching its goal of being a casteless society—by showing that politicians who are Dalits can make a career out of representing this sub-nation. In this way, he also represented the result of the purposeful promotion of historically and currently disadvantaged groups known as “reversed discrimination.”

Of course, Subhas Chandra Bose could also have been politically active and even successful in India after 1945. The hero of the military chapter of the struggle for Indian independence could have found his role, or any role in the wide field of film stars who, in the populist sense, make political use of the emotions directed against politicians; in the field of romantic heroines who rebel against the social dominance of landowning castes; of the gurus and the saints and the others, the politicians who reflect India’s colorful diversity. For instance, he could have protested against but ultimately accepted the

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partition of India and Bengal—and become the first chief minister of West Bengal, with Nehru’s approval or without it. He could have easily competed against Desai to be Nehru’s successor—choosing either to ally himself with Desai against Indira Gandhi or with her against Desai. But that would have been a changed Bose—one who had accepted that approaching a vision of India can only happen in small steps; one who had experienced the notion that strategy demands tactics; one who had learned that to avoid the greater evil, the lesser evil must be accepted. Bose would have had to show the pragmatic flexibility inwardly that he had always demonstrated outwardly. Above all, he would have had to accept that Jinnah had prevailed with his concept of two nations; he would have had to live with the fact that constant compromises are necessary in the complex interplay of the Congress and of Indian politics in general. Bose had proven himself capable of compromise; he had proven that he saw politics as an exchange and as a cost-benefit analysis in his dealings with Nazi Germany and imperialist Japan. When Bose needed Hitler, he knew that his— Bose’s—critical position toward the racism of the Nazis could not be a topic of conversation. When Bose needed Tojo, it was clear to him that his criticism of Japanese imperialism (for example, in the case of China) would have to be put aside. Bose knew how to conduct politics—for India and with players outside of India. But would he also have been willing to demonstrate this flexibility within India itself? Could he have accepted the partition of Bengal in 1947, could he have accepted the existence of an independent Bangladesh in 1971? Could he have understood the second partition of Punjab into a section dominated by Hindus and a section dominated by Sikhs as a necessary price for integrating Sikh separatism? Could he have found a patient way of dealing with caste parties in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar or with ethno-linguistic regional parties in Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu? Could he have viewed the end of the Indian path toward socialism, an end that Nehru’s grandson Rajiv Gandhi had introduced (against Nehru and Bose’s message) as an interpretation of Indian interests in keeping with the times in the era of globalization? India’s political culture is influenced by the acceptance of diversity and opposing forces. The result is a democracy that relativizes the principle of majority rule by expanding it with another principle: that of minority participation in government. This is the reason that

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politics in India demands patience in order to arrive at balance and compromise. India’s political culture is, above all, inclusive: it includes religious minorities, castes, linguistic groups, and a variety of ethnicities. This is the reason that India’s political culture is also inclusive vis-à-vis the traditions that this inclusivity cannot provide at all, or only in part. The forces that reject the traditional forms of power sharing by the Muslims—for instance, the nonterritorial rights of minorities in the form of Islamic civil law—are also represented in the BJP, as are the forces that represent a nationalism that does not accept any special rights for minorities. In a wide range of states— particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar—parties that were founded on the basis of being caste parties, thus signaling exclusivity instead of inclusivity, have been brought into the political process. The ability of India’s political culture to integrate is expressed when the very opposite of inclusivity is included in the political process. Herein lies the function of the myth surrounding the life and death of Subhas Chandra Bose. His goal was a secular India that could not have been put in the pocket of any one religion or linguistic group, much less a caste. But, as evidenced by his policy on languages, his secularism was oriented less toward power sharing and more toward efficiency. His tendency to reclaim socialism as well as Fascism for India’s future was grounded in his admiration for these oh-so-efficient systems of dictatorship in the Europe of the 1930s. This tendency to view efficiency not as a secondary but as a primary value does not seem to fit into Indian democracy at the turn of the millennium, which is oriented much more toward integration than efficiency. As a party leader or even as a head of state, Subhas Chandra Bose would hardly have fit into Indian democracy in the year 2000. However, his legacy and his myth and the memory of him fit very well into this India, because the political culture in India is characterized by its ability to integrate its own negation. Yet even Mohandas Gandhi is difficult to imagine as a party leader or head of state in the year 2000—of course, for different reasons than are true for Bose. As a consistent representative of an ethics of conviction in Max Weber’s sense, and as a consistently inner-directed person in the sense of David Riesman, the Mahatma would hardly have been suited for the world of everyday politics, for politics with its constant business of exchange. He would hardly have been suited to being forced to

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choose the lesser of two evils; nor would he have fared well with the unavoidability of having to put one’s own convictions aside. It is simply impossible to imagine Gandhi under these circumstances. It was no coincidence that Gandhi distanced himself from these constraints of political office and from having a political role. Bose sought out these very constraints of political office as well as a political role. And so Gandhi did not have to pay the price that Bose paid and was also willing to pay: changing his opinion, his politics—not because of his own convictions but out of a sense of strategic calculation. In 1938, Bose advocated a government in Bengal also advocated by the Left wing of the Congress—notwithstanding the fact that he had spoken out earlier in no uncertain terms against any governmental role for the Congress. In 1940, he spoke with only slightly bridled enthusiasm of the efficiency of Nazi Germany— despite the fact that, as president of the Congress, he had agreed to resolutions that had sharply condemned the aggressive expansionism of the German Empire. In Nanking in 1943, he publicly supported Japan’s policy on China—the same policy he had strongly criticized a few short years before. This ability to shift positions and adapt cannot simply be dismissed with the term “opportunistic.” Bose refused to let yesterday’s politics be a hindrance to today’s politics and this tendency was a result of Bose’s impatience. He wanted to be a hands-on politician; he wanted to form policy. In order to do this, he demonstrated in spades the mobility that Gandhi completely lacked. Bose’s politics of impatience brought him, the man of the Left wing, into sharp conflict with his most important partner in this wing—with Nehru. It brought him, the Soviet sympathizer, to Berlin, to the side of the regime that attacked the Soviet Union with a war of annihilation. It brought him, the unconditional champion of Indian sovereignty to Tokyo—into the circle of satellites controlled by Japanese military forces. Bose’s politics of impatience allowed him to take advantage of every opportunity to act. This was the essence of his charisma, the secret of his dynamic nature. But this impatience had its price—and the living Bose had to pay this price: isolation in the Congress, separation from the Congress. But they—Gandhi and Nehru and the collective memory of free India—were prepared to forgive the dead Bose. Bose lives on—not as someone who can be opposed to India’s political culture of patience, and not as someone who easily fits into

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this political culture. Bose lives on as the memory of a vision. Bose does not stand for the fact that proximity to this vision demands compromises, in other words, patience; that two steps in the direction of the vision could mean constraint, could even mean having to take a step back. Like Gandhi, Bose stands above the morass that is an unavoidable part of Indian politics. Both men—Gandhi and Bose—have fulfilled this function of a myth because they rejected the morass of India’s Realpolitik—consciously or unconsciously, voluntarily or compelled by the course of history. Gandhi left the dirty work of everyday politics to Nehru— and soon thereafter died a martyr’s death. Bose, to whom a conscious decision to abstain from politics would surely have been completely foreign, also died at the right time—the right time for the birth of a myth surrounding his life and his death. Whether the living Bose would have found a role within Indian democracy cannot be known, of course. But the dead Bose has his role.

Sources and Bibliography I. Interviews Bose, Sisir 1999: Interview with Bose’s nephew, Sisir Kumar Bose, in Calcutta, some days in November 1999. Bose, Sugata 2001: Interview with Bose’s great nephew (Sisir Bose’s son), Sugata Bose, in Cambridge, Mass., February 24, 2001.

II. Archives Hoover Institution, Archives, Stanford University. National Archives, Washington D.C. (resp. College Park, MD). Netaji Research Bureau, Netaji Bahwan, Calcutta. Österreichisches Staatsarchiv, Wien: Aktensammlung Subhas Chandra Bose.

III. Publications 1. Subhas Chandra Bose’s Publications Bose 1946a: On to Delhi: Speeches and Writings. Edited by Naryana Menon. Poona (R.J.Deshmuk). Bose 1946b: Testament of Subhas Bose: Being a Complete and Authentic Record of Netaji’s Broadcast Speeches, Press Statements, etc. 1942–1945. Compiled and Edited by “Arun.” Delhi (Rajkamal Publications). Bose 1947: Important Speeches and Writings of Subhas Bose: Being a Collection of Most Significant Speeches, Writings and Letters from 1927 to 1945. Edited by Jagat S.Bright. Lahore (The Indian Printing Works). Bose 1948: Netaji’s Life and Writings. Part One: An Indian Pilgrim or Autobiography of Subhas Chandra Bose, 1897–1920. Calcutta (Thacker, Spinc and Co.). Bose 1952: The Indian Struggle 1935–1942. Calcutta (Chuckervertty, Chatterjee and Co.). Bose 1962 : Selected Speeches of Subhas Chandra Bose. Foreword by B.Gopala Reddi. Biographical Introduction by A. A. Ayer. Delhi (Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India). Bose 1967: An Indian Pilgrim: An Unfinished Biography and Collected Letters 1897– 1921. Calcutta (Asia Publishing House). Bose 1992a: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Correspondence and Selected Documents (1930–1942). Edited by Ravindra Kumar. New Delhi (Inter-India Publications). Bose 1992b: The Selected Works of Subhas Chandra Bose. Three volumes. Chief Editor Ravindra Kumar. New Delhi (Atlantic Publishers and Distributors). 305

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Bose 1994: Collected Works, Vol. 7: Letters to Emilie Schenkl 1934–1942. Vol. 8: Letters, Articles, Speeches and Statements 1933–1937. Edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose. Netaji Research Bureau, Calcutta. Delhi and Oxford (Oxford University Press). Bose 1997a: The Indian Stgruggle 1920–1942. Edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose. Netaji Research Bureau, Calcutta. Delhi and Oxford (Oxford University Press). Bose 1997b: The Essential Writings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose. Netaji Research Bureau, Calcutta. Delhi and Oxford (Oxford University Press). Bose 1998: The Alternative Leadership. Speeches, Articles, Statements and Letters. June 1939–January 1941. Edited by Sisir K.Bose and Sugata Bose. Netaji Research Bureau, Calcutta. Delhi and Oxford (Oxford University Press).

2. Other Publications Agoncillo 1975: Teodoro Agoncillo, Occupation in the Philippines. In: Lebra, op.cit.: 132– 135. Ahuja 2000: M.L.Ahuja, Handbook of General Elections and Electoral Reforms. New Delhi (Mittal Publications). Almond 1970: Gabrie A.Almond, Political Development. Essays in Heuristic Theory. Boston (Little, Brown and Co.) Almond and Verba 1963: Gabriel A.Almond and Sidney Verba, The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton (Princeton University). Appelt and Jarosch 2000: Erna Appelt and Monika Jarosch (eds.), Combating Racial Discrimination: Affirmative Action as a Model for Europe? New York (Berg Publishers). Ayer 1997: S. A. Ayer, Story of the I.N.A. rev.edition. New Delhi (National Book Trust). Ba 1975: Ba Maw, Inversion of Japanese Goals. In: Lebra, op.cit.: 175 f. Bhargava 2000: Rajeev Bhargava, Do Muslims Have a Right to Their Personal Law? In: deSouza, op.cit.: 182–202. Bilgrami 1999: Akeel Bilgrami, Two Concepts of Secularism. In: Kaviraj, op.cit.: 348– 361. Bose M. 1982: Mihir Bose, The Lost Hero: A Biography of Subhas Bose. London (Quartet Books). Bose S. and Jalal 1998: Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy. London (Rutledge). Bose S. Ch. 1968: Sarat Chandra Bose, I Warned My Countrymen: Being the Collected Works 1945– 50. Calcutta (Netaji Research Bureau). Brass 1995: Paul R.Brass, The Politics of India since Independence. Cambridge (Cambridge University). Bright 1947: Jagat S.Bright, Important Speeches of Jawaharlal Nehru: Being a Collection of Most Significant Speeches Delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru from 1922 to 1946. 2nd ed. Lahore (The Indian Printing Works). Brown 1988: Judith Brown, The Mahatma in Old Age: Gandhi’s Role in Indian Political Life, 1935–1942. In: Sisson, Wolpert, op.cit.: 271–304. Campbell 2001: Christy Campbell, The Maharaja’s Box: An Imperial Story of Conspiracy, Love and a Guru’s Prophecy. London (Harper Collins). Calcutta Municipal Gazette 1997: The Calcutta Municipal Gazette, Subhas Chandra Bose Birth Centenary Number. Calcutta (The Calcutta Municipal Gazette). Chadda 2000: Maya Chadda, Building Democracy in South Asia. India, Nepal, Pakistan. Boulder (Lynne Rienner Publishers). Chakrabarty 1989: Dipesh Chakrabarty, Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal 1890 to1940. Princeton (Princeton University).

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Index Abdullah, Omar, 219 Affirmative Action. See Compensatory Discrimination Afghanistan, 155, 188, 195, 278 Ahuja, M. L., 178 Akali Dal Party (ADP), 164, 168 Algeria, 25 Ali Rashid, 188 Almond, Gabriel A., 22 Ambedkar, B. R., 112, 163, 228 Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 241f Atatürk. See Kemal Pasha Attlee, Clement, 1, 75, 96, 138, 209, 250, 256, 287f, 290f Aung Sang, 245 Aurobindo, Sri, 37, 41, 68 Australia, 18 Austria, 81, 83–86, 99, 218 Ayer, S. A., 238f Ayodhya, 124, 161, 230, 299 Ayub Khan, 275 Azad, Maulana, 143, 209, 259

Bhutan, 15, 276f, 280, 282 Birla, G. D., 146 Bismarck, Otto von, 256, 271 Blum, Leon, 87 Bose, Anita, 3, 186f Bose, Asoke, 81 Bose, Emilie. See Schenkl, Emilie Bose, Janaki Nath, 32, 83, 131 Bose, Prabhabati, 32 Bose, Ras Behari, 37, 195, 199, 236–239 Bose, Sarat Chandra, 33, 39, 44f, 49, 53, 79, 129f, 131, 148, 151, 171, 186, 231, 287, 294, 298 Bose, Shrimati Krishna, 170 Bose, Subhas Chandra. Life (overview), 1–14; childhood, 31–33; education, 34–40; beginning of his political career, 43–47; imprisonments, 47f, 50– 53, 55f, 107, 131f, 154f; mayor of Calcutta, 50–2, 55; health problems, 48–52, 81, 83, 132, 144; under surveillance in Austria, 83–86; president of the Congress, 136–146, 231f, 255, 268; in Nazi Germany, 181–203; in Southeast Asia, 235–263; head of government in exile, 238–243; his death, 7–10, 163, 191–293; his afterlife, 285–303. “The Indian Struggle,” 81, 87, 89, 97, 103, 185; “An Indian Pilgrim,” 82; as “Orlando Mazzotta,” 4, 194; as “General Liu Po-Cheng,” 290. Relationship with Gandhi, 4, 45, 49, 51f, 73, 89–94, 133–156. Attitudes toward castes, 60–62, 224, toward linguistic diversity, 13, 34, 139, 189, 223f, 240f, toward partition (of India), 79, toward the European left, 94–97, towardfascism, 97–100, toward Nazism, 100–103, toward Indian democracy, 128–131, toward democracy in general, 183,

Ba Maw, 244–246, 261 Bahuja Samaj Party (BSP), 160, 162f, 174, 227f Baldwin, Stanley, 87 Banerjee, Mamta, 170 Bangladesh, 8, 15, 18f, 31, 208, 265, 272, 276, 282, 294 Basu, Jyoti, 170 Basu, Santosh Kumar, 94f Benes, Edward, 1, 82, 97 Bengal (and Bose), 10, 31f, 40–45, 78f, 148f, 151, 290, 294, 300 Bharatiya Jana Sang Party (BJS), 124, 159, 162 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 11, 13, 27, 114, 120f, 123–125, 158–176, 213– 215, 218f, 231, 227–230, 233, 276, 280, 299, 301 313

314

Democracy Indian Style

toward Indianforeign policy, 270, 280–283. Bose, Suresh Chandra, 290f Brazil, 18, 21 Buck, Pearl S., 251 Bulgaria, 81 Burma, 6f, 12, 21, 28, 48, 165, 201–203, 236–238, 240, 242–245, 250, 258– 262 Castes, caste system, 60–62, 111f, 163, 169, 171f, 177f, 210, 212, 224–228, 233 Chamberlain, Neville, 71, 87, 149f Chatterjee, A. C., 239 Chiang Kai-shek, 106, 246, 250f, 253, 281 China, 7, 11, 15–18, 59, 62, 64, 106, 140, 155, 162, 214, 243–245, 250, 268–271, 277, 279–282, 302 Churchill, Winston, 51, 70f, 75, 103, 140, 150f, 1831f, 192, 198, 201, 247, 249– 251, 253f, 256 Ciano, Galeazzo, 93, 199f Colonialism, 53–56, 58, 64–67 Communism, 21f, 84, 86–88, 97, 99, 107, 126, 184 Communist Party of China (CPI and CPIM), 2, 44, 120, 128, 130, 135, 148, 158f, 162, 165, 170, 174, 221 Compensatory Discrimination, 111f, 133, 172f, 217, 226–229, 299 Congress–Indian National Congress (INC), before independence, 1f, 4, 8, 12, 41–44, 46, 50–52, 64, 66–69, 71– 73, 76–79, 88f, 97, 103f, 111, 130, 131–152, 155–158, 160, 182f, 186, 196, 202, 207–209, 213f, 218, 224, 231, 233, 243, 250–256, 259, 261f, 268, 281, 285–290, 293, 296–398, 302 Congress Party (INC), after 1947, 13, 27, 113f, 120–125, 127, 157–177, 214–216, 218f, 221, 224f, 227–231, 247, 295, 298–300 Congress Socialist Party, 135, 138, 148 Constitution (of India), 109–131 Cortes, Hernan, 7, 64 Cripps, Stafford, 71–73, 138, 152, 195f, 249, 251, 256, 261 Croatia, 240 Curie, Eve, 73

Curzon, Lord, 37 Czechoslovakia, 81f, 140, 149 Daladier, Edouard, 87 Dalton, Hugh, 38 Das, Babu Beni Madahav, 35 Das, Chittranjan (C.R.) Desbandhu, 40– 43, 45–50, 68, 144, 155, 294f Das, Sitanshu, 182, 202, 292 Desai, Morarji, 113f, 118, 162, 166f, 226, 266, 298–300 Devi, Basanti, 43 Devi, Savitri, 185 Dhillon, Gurkbash Singh, 259, 286 Dhindsa, Sukdev Singh, 219 Dollfuss, Engelbert, 86f, 95f Dominion Status (within the British Commonwealth), 2, 49, 75, 104, 128, 266 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Party (DMK), 164, 168 Dulles, JohnFoster, 268 Eden, Anthony, 182 Egypt, 21, 74, 269f El-Husseini, Haj Amin, 188 Elections, Electoral System (of India), 171–177 Ethiopia, 99 European Union, 16, 27, 223 Fascism, 2, 12, 50, 86–88, 96–100, 107, 145, 150, 152, 184, 301 Federalism, 118–122, 127f, 229 Fernandes, Georges, 299 Foreign Policy (of India), 265–283 Forward Bloc, 44, 72, 95, 135, 148f, 153, 156, 289 France, 21, 64f, 74, 81f, 86, 149, 172, 188, 204f, 248 Frank, Lothar, 102 Free India Centre, 190, 194, 198 Free India Committee, 252 Freud, Sigmund, 45 Friedrich, Carl J., 251 Fukuyama,Francis, 278 Galbraith, John Kenneth, 179 Gandhi, Mohandas K. (Mahatma), 1–4, 8, 10–14, 28, 36–38, 40, 42, 44–47, 49–55, 63, 68–79, 88–95. 98, 104, 112, 124, 128, 130, 132–153, 155–

Index 157, 166, 182, 186, 196f, 202, 208– 210, 213, 224, 240, 250, 252, 255, 259, 262f, 266f, 270, 272, 275, 280–282, 285–289, 192–298, 301– 303 Gandhi, Indira, 10, 16, 109f, 113f, 125– 127, 158, 160–162, 166f, 170, 177, 215, 225f, 233, 237, 271f, 277, 298– 300 Gandhi, Rajiv, 11, 23, 113f, 161, 167, 177, 216, 277, 300 Gandhi, Sanjay, 161 Gandhi, Sonia, 158, 161, 167 Garibaldi, Guiseppe, 69, 92, 199, 258 Germany (German Empire), 5f, 9, 22, 37, 48, 73, 81f, 87, 99–103, 140, 145, 147, 149f, 151, 154, 172, 181–206, 223, 235, 237, 240, 251, 256f, 263, 279, 292, 300, 302 Goebbels, Joseph, 185, 200 Government of India Act, 70f, 75f, 89, 132–136, 138f, 141, 149 Gowda, H. D. Deve, 163 Great Britain, 4–7, 21f, 24f, 31, 64f, 71f, 74, 82f, 86, 99, 102, 147, 149–154, 178, 181f, 186, 192, 194f, 197f, 200, 236, 240, 242, 244f, 248f, 254, 256f, 268, 270, 298 Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, 6, 243–248 Greenwood, Arthur, 96 Guaiana, 21 Gujral, Inder Kumar, 163 Gupta, Sen, 50, 55 Halifax, Lord. See Irwin, Lord Hasan, Abid, 235 Haq, Zia-ul, 275 Hedge, Ramakrishna, 157 Hegel, Georg, 258 Hewels, Walter, 201 Hitler, Adolf, 1, 5f, 48, 52, 54, 56, 70, 86f, 90, 96, 100–103, 106, 147f, 150– 154, 181–183, 185f, 191f, 196–199, 201, 203–206, 235, 258, 302 Hobsbawm, Eric, 28 Horthy, Nikolaus, 87 Hungary, 81, 218 Huntington, Samuel, 278 Imphal (battle of), 260f India League of America, 252

315

Indian Independence League (IIL), 23 – 239, 242, 258 Indian Legion, 5, 189f, 194, 203–206, 223, 237, 240 Indian National Army (INA), 6–8, 28, 73, 76, 203, 205, 223f, 237–243, 254, 257–263, 285–288, 293, 295 Indian National Congress. See Congress Indochina, 74, 244, 269 Indonesia, 25, 74, 244, 250, 269f Iran, 188, 201 Iraq, 74, 188, 193, 201 Ireland, 72, 82, 92, 103–107, 211, 240 Irwin, Lord, 1, 50f, 54f, 70, 96, 138, 141, 155, 182 Israel, 123, 243 Italy, 9, 12, 22, 48, 81, 87, 98–100, 154, 157, 172, 178, 181f, 189, 191, 194, 198, 203–205, 240, 263 Jamaica, 20 Janata Alliance (or Party), 113, 122, 124, 159, 162f, 167, 225 Janata Dal Party (JD), 113, 157, 159, 162f, 165, 174, 221, 227, 299 Japan, 4–6, 12, 15, 18, 28, 59, 72–74, 100, 106, 139f, 154, 157, 165f, 178, 181, 185, 188, 191f, 194, 200–202, 205, 231, 235–251, 254f, 257f, 260, 262f, 279, 281, 286, 300, 302 Jinnah, Muhammed Ali, 1, 3, 23, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76–78, 93, 134f, 141f, 151, 208–210, 212f, 218, 231f, 255, 262, 272, 287f, 290, 293f, 296, 300 Joan of Arc, 65 Jordan, 74 Kalam, A.P.J. Abdul, 219 Kashmir, 11, 179, 211, 214–218, 267, 269, 272–277, 279, 282 Kemal Pasha (Atatürk), 2, 22f Kendrick, Thomas J., 83f Keppler, Wilhelm, 198, 201 Khare, N. B., 142 Kissinger, Henry, 15, 271, 279, 282 Koiso, Kuniaki, 261 Korea, 8, 18, 245, 269, 281 Kruschchev, Nikita, 268 Labour Party (British), 3, 8, 70f, 75f, 95f, 129 Ladakh, 269, 282

316

Democracy Indian Style

Laitin, David, 223 Languages and linguistic diversity (in India), 219–224 Lansbury, George, 96 Larson, Gerald James, 213, 225 Laski, Harold, 96, 129, 138 Laurel, José P., 245 Laval, Pierre, 246 Lebanon, 74 LeftFront, 158 Lenin, Vladimir, 48, 50, 95, 99, 129, 151, 184, 188, 199, 258, 282, 295 Leninism, 8, 249 Liaquat Ali Khan, 77f Libya, 204 Lijphart, Arend, 25, 172f, 228f Linlithgow, Lord, 149 Lipset, Seymour Martin, 26 Loewenstein, Carl, 122 Malaysia (Malaya), 6, 12, 20, 165, 201, 203, 236f, 239–242 Maledives, 276f, 280 Manchukuo, 6, 240, 243f, 263 Manchuria, 8, 281, 293 Mandal, B. P., 226 Matteotti, Giacomo, 106 Mao Tse-tung, 9, 93, 140, 246, 281f, 290 Marx, Karl, 282 Marxism, 8, 44, 155, 184 Mayawati, 228 Mazzini, Guiseppe, 68, 92, 185, 199, 258, 295 McCarthy, Joseph, 75 Media (in India), 126f Menon, Krishna, 129, 252 Menon, K.P.K., 242 Metternich, Klemens von, 271 Mexico, 21f, 157 Mill, John Stuart, 23, 53 Molotow, Viacheslav, 192 Montagu, Edwin Samuel, 39 Mosley, Oswald, 38 Musharraf, Parvez, 275 Muslim League, 23, 66, 70, 72, 74, 76, 134, 141, 151, 153, 208–210, 255, 262, 287f, 290, 293 Mussolini, Benito, 1, 48, 50, 52, 82, 86– 88, 90, 93, 96–100, 102–106, 128, 151–54, 181f, 191, 198–200 Nambiar, A.C.N., 197

Narayan, Jayaprakash, 144 Narayanan, K. R., 299 Narayanan, V. N., 177, 179 Nasser, Gamal Abdel, 247 National Associationfor the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 252 National Socialism (Nazism), 2f, 12, 87f, 100–103, 139, 145, 150, 185f, 197, 200 Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), 167f Nazimueddin, Khwaja, 153 Nehru, Jawaharlal (Pandit), 1, 3f, 8–11, 13, 23, 28, 38, 41, 49, 52f, 55, 62f, 69, 71–79, 87f, 91, 95, 97f, 100, 107, 111, 113f, 120f, 128–130, 131–134, 136–140, 142–149, 151–153, 155, 157, 160–162, 166f, 170, 177–179, 196f, 209f, 214f, 224f, 228, 231, 247, 252f, 255, 257, 259, 262f, 265–273, 280–282, 285–297, 300, 302f Nehru, Motilal, 41f, 46f, 49, 144 Nepal, 15, 176f, 280, 282 Netherlands, 6, 82, 194, 204, 248 New Zealand, 18 Niebuhr, Reinhold, 251 Nigeria, 21, 25 Nixon, Richard, 140, 282 Oman, 21 Orwell, George, 5, 195, 246 Ottoman Empire, 37 Pakistan, 3, 8, 11, 15–19, 21, 23–26, 31, 63f, 66, 78f, 93, 111, 179, 207–211, 214f, 219, 232, 265–268, 270–280, 288, 296 Palestine, 74, 209 Partition (of India), 76–79, 293–296 Patel, Vallabhbai, 77, 266, 287 Patel, Vitalbhai, 46, 91, 104 Pawar, Sharad, 167f Philippines, 6, 240, 243f, 248–250 Pilsudski, Jozef Clemens, 87 Poland, 81, 150, 155 Powell, Adam Clayton, 251 Prasad, Rajendra, 146 Quit India Campaign, 72f, 196, 201f, 261, 281, 286 Rahman, Habibur, 289

Index Rahman, Mujibur, 294 Ram, Jagivan, 77, 167, 225 Ramakrishna, Sri, 40 Rani of Jhansi, 65, 67, 130, 241f, 259 Rao, N. T. Rama, 164, 168 Rao, P. V. Narasimha, 114, 158, 177, 230 Rashtriya Janata Dal Party, 162f Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sanghi (RSS), 124 Reid, Helen Ogden Mills, 253 Religious Diversity (in India), 213–219 Reversed Discrimination. See Compensatory Discrimination Ribbentrop, Joachim von, 189, 191f, 200f, 235 Röhm, Ernst, 93 Rokkan, Stein, 26 Rolland, Romain, 91, 98 Romania, 81, 87 Roosevelt,Franklin D., 75, 196, 201, 247, 249–254 Rommel, Erwin, 5 Roy, B. C., 50, 55 Russett, Bruce, 274f Russia (see also Soviet Union), 15, 48, 65, 187f, 201 Sabharwal, Jyoti, 177, 179 Sahgal, Lakshmi, 130, 238–241, 290 Sahgal, Prem Kumar, 259, 286 Saini, V. P., 292 Samajwadi Party (SP), 160, 162f, 174, 224, 228 Sangma, P. A. 167f Sareen, T. R., 203 Schenkl, Emilie, 3, 45, 81–83, 132, 136, 186, 194, 203 Schmidt, Paul O., 201 Schuschnigg, Kurt, 86 Seitz, Karl, 13, 94, 96f Sen, Amartya, 126 Sen, Santosh Kumar, 82 Shah Nawaz, 259, 261, 286f, 290f Sharif, Nawaz, 274f Shastri, Lal Bahadur, 113, 170, 271 Shaw, George Bernard, 129 Shedai, Mohammed Iqbal, 189, 204 Shekar, Chandra, 114 Shipley, Guy Emery, 252 Shiv Sena Party, 173, 218 Sikkim, 271, 280, 282

317

Singapore, 6, 8, 20, 37, 155, 165, 190, 195, 236–238, 240, 245, 247, 291 Singh, Ch. Charan, 113 Singh, Duleep, 65, 103 Singh, J. J., 252 Singh, Mohan, 237f, 240 Singh, Sardar Sardul, 289 Singh, V. P., 113f, 163, 226 Sitaramayya, Pattabhi, 143 Social Democratic Workers Party (of Austria), 94f Songkhram, Phibun, 244 Soviet Union (see also Russia), 7 9, 12, 17, 94, 139, 150, 154f, 162, 170, 182f, 188, 192f, 202, 243f, 248f, 256f, 263, 268, 270, 278, 281f, 291, 302 Spain, 204 Speer, Albert, 184 Sri Lanka, 15, 20, 276f, 280, 282 Stalin, Joseph, 6, 52, 87, 90, 93, 95, 99, 103, 128, 140, 148, 154, 181, 199, 202, 256, 281 Sukarno, 247 Supreme Court (of India), 125f, 216 Swaraj Party, 42–44, 46–48, 135, 144, 148 Switzerland, 81f, 119f, 123, 172, 216 Syria, 74, 187f, 193 Tagore, Rabindranath, 40, 68, 142 Taiwan, 10, 195, 291f Taylor (Consul General), 85 Telugu Desam Party (TDP), 164, 168f, 174 Thailand, 6, 237, 240, 243f Thierfelder,Franz, 101–103, 183, 185 Tito, Josip Broz, 247 Tojo, Hideki, 1, 6, 235, 245, 281, 300 Trinamool Congress Party, 170 Trotsky, Leon, 93, 129 Trott zu Solz, Adam von, 5, 189, 197f, 202, 292 Turkey, 21, 81 United Front, 114, 158f, 162, 164, 170, 176, 214, 238, 230, 299 United States of America, 6f, 15–17, 19, 22, 24f, 119f, 125f, 172, 175, 178, 186, 192, 194, 196, 223, 240, 244f, 247–258, 268, 270, 276–279, 182, 193, 298

318

Democracy Indian Style

Vajpayee, Atal Behari, 11, 23, 114, 161, 164 170, 215, 218f, 232, 272, 276f, 295, 288f Valera, Eamon de, 1f, 49, 68, 82, 88, 90, 97, 102–107, 130, 151, 209, 240, 258 Vanhanen, Tatu, 178 Verba, Sidney, 22 Vietnam, 269, 291 Vivekananda, Swami, 35f, 40 Wang Ching Wei, 244–246, 248 Wavell, Lord, 262

Weber, Max, 301 Werth, Alexander, 189, 198 White, Walter, 252 Wilkie, Wendell, 129 Wilson, Woodrow, 39 Woerman, Ernst, 191 Women in Parliament (in India), 175f Yadav, Laloo Prasad, 163 Yadav, Mulayam Singh, 228 Yajee, Sheelbhandra, 289 Yamamoto (Captain, Colonel), 235 Yugoslavia, 81, 87, 269f