Unfair House

Parliament condemned my statements on Gandhi and Bose without giving me a hearing, writes Markandey Katju.

Written by Markandey Katju | Updated: March 28, 2015 7:57 am
markandey katju, parliament, mahatma gandhi, subhas chandra bose, katju gandhi comment, katju subhas chandra bose news, indian express columns, markandey katju columns “It is a basic principle of natural justice that no one should be condemned unheard,” writes Katju.

Both Houses of Parliament passed unanimous resolutions condemning me for my statements on Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose. It is a basic principle of natural justice that no one should be condemned unheard. But I was not given the opportunity of a hearing. I have called Gandhi a British agent. Gandhi served British interests in two ways. One, since he came back to India in 1915 (from South Africa) till his death in 1948, he kept injecting religion into politics. If one reads The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, one finds that in most of his articles and speeches, Gandhi advocated Ram Rajya, gau-raksha, varnashram dharma, brahmacharya and other Hindu religious ideas, and in many of his public meetings, Hindu bhajans like “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” were sung. Now, a sadhu or swami may say all this to his disciples, but if one enters politics, saying such things publicly is dangerous because it is bound to drive Muslims towards a communal party like the Muslim League. Was this not serving the British policy of divide and rule?

Here is an extract from Jawaharlal Nehru’s autobiography: “Gandhiji, indeed, was continually laying stress on the religious and spiritual side of the movement. His religion was not dogmatic, but it did mean a definitely religious outlook of life, and the whole movement was strongly influenced by this and took on a revivalist character. Even Gandhiji’s phrases sometimes jarred upon me — such as his frequent references to Rama Rajya as a golden age which was to return. But I was powerless to intervene”.

Two, a revolutionary movement had started through the Anushilan Samiti, Jugantar, etc, with great revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Surya Sen, Khudiram Bose, Ashfaqulla, Rajguru, Ram Prasad Bismil, and others. The Britishers became scared of this genuine revolutionary movement, so they made Gandhi into a “Mahatma”. Gandhi, serving as their loyal agent, successfully diverted the freedom struggle from its revolutionary direction to a harmless nonsensical channel called Satyagraha. The real freedom fighters, who were hanged by the Britishers, were treated as mavericks and deviants, and their names relegated in our national historiography to a footnote, while Gandhi was made into the “Father of the Nation”.

Some people say Gandhi gave us freedom. This is false. Can it be seriously believed that the British would have given up their huge empire because of Gandhi’s fasts, salt march and other dramas? No. India became independent in 1947 because World War II considerably weakened Britain, and because of American pressure.

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As regards Bose, I do not deny that he was a brave and honest man. But objectively, he had become a Japanese agent. If he hadn’t, why did he give up the fight against the British when the Japanese surrendered in 1945? If the Japanese had defeated the British and conquered India would they have given us freedom? No, they would have looted and exploited us, as they did China. Bose was only being used by the Japanese.

Parliament should apologise for condemning me without giving me the opportunity of a hearing.

The writer, a former Supreme Court judge, is former chairman, Press Council of India.

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