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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose vs Mahatma Gandhi, who do we owe our freedom to?

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By Gaurav  Sharma

While popular opinion says that the freedom that we enjoy today is the result of the efforts of the Father of the Nation, would it be a delirious thought if Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had more to do with ousting the British than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi?

Let’s have a look at what Netaji did for us.

Even ahead of Gandhiji’s Quit India Movement, Bose had pressed that the Congress serve a six month ultimatum to the British during the Second World War. It was an apt opportunity that Bose thought could be taken advantage of in 1939. But the party spearheaded by Gandhiji refused to act.

Notably, the gearing of the Indian National Army to combat with the British Indian Army coincided with the start of Gandhiji’s Quit India Movement in 1942. The movement fizzled out a few months after it was crushed in three weeks time.

While the argument still remains whether either were effective in affecting the retreat of the British, what needs primacy here, is Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar’s interview with BBC’s Francis Watson in February 1955.

Ambedkar pondered as he recalled the then British Prime Minister’s move to retreat from India in 1947 , “I don’t know how Mr Attlee suddenly agreed to give India independence,” and he went on to say, “That is a secret that he will disclose in his autobiography. None expected that he would do that,” he added.

In the BBC interview he also affirmed that from his “own analysis” he had come to understand that “two things led the Labour party to take this decision” [to free India].

Ambedkar  explained: “The national army that was raised by Subhas Chandra Bose. The British had been ruling the country in the firm belief that whatever may happen in the country or whatever the politicians do, they will never be able to change the loyalty of soldiers. That was one prop on which they were carrying on the administration. And that was completely dashed to pieces. They found that soldiers could be seduced to form a party — a battalion to blow off the British.”

A year after his interview in October 1956, two months before Ambedkar passed away, the very secret was disclosed by Clement Attlee  in a confidential talk. This talk came out in the open only after two decades.

What Ambedkar had foreseen only became more consolidated from records and data from credible authorities such as Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor and Major General GD Bakshi.

Excerpts of an observation in a secret report (Nov 1945) by Sir Norman Smith, Director, Intelligence Bureau, only reinforces the impact of the INA on British move to transfer power: “The situation in respect of the Indian National Army is one which warrants disquiet. There has seldom been a matter which has attracted so much Indian public interest and, it is safe to say, sympathy… the threat to the security of the Indian Army is one which it would be unwise to ignore.”

In 1976, an interesting observation made by Lt General SK Sinha, former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir and Assam, one of the only three Indian officers posted in the Directorate of Military Operations in New Delhi in 1946, is worth a mention: “There was considerable sympathy for the INA within the Army… It is true that fears of another 1857 had begun to haunt the British in 1946.”

To add to it all British MPs met Atlee in 1946 and warned him that, “There are two alternative ways of meeting this common desire (a) that we should arrange to get out, (b) that we should wait to be driven out. In regard to (b), the loyalty of the Indian Army is open to question; the INA have become national heroes…”

So while it is true that Netaji was sidelined and eventually ousted from the Congress, it cannot be denied that he did erect an army that made the colonialists question their power over India.

Much buzz circulates in the country of his disappearance but little is acknowledged of his crucial role in delivering a powerful blow to the British Raj.

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An Indian Origin Woman Minister in the Government of British Columbia

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

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British Columbia, the Canadian province that is a leader in technology and has one of the fastest growing tech ecosystems in the world
British Columbian Flag.Wikimedia commons

From Canada, that boasts of a first Indian-origin Defence Minister in Harjit Singh Sajjan, here is the story of another Indian-origin woman migrant who has risen to become a minister in the government of the British Columbia — the Western-most province of the country known for its tech prowess globally.

Meet Jinny Jogindera Sims, who was born in Jalandhar in Punjab and migrated at age nine to England where she got a B.Ed degree at the University of Manchester.

Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens’ Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.

In a conversation with IANS, when asked about Canada’s inclusive nature and how emigrants like her can make it to the top in different fields including political power, pat came her reply: “If you ask me is there more we can do, my answer will be absolutely. We need to do more on aboriginals and the nations’ ethnic communities”.

“We need to do more. Inclusivism and racism is not a one-time issue. We need to do more for their education and other issues. We need to do it all the time”.

Asked about Indians and attracting the talent in the growing tech sector of British Columbia, Sims said Indians have made a name for themselves in the tech and other sectors and are in the forefront.

“I have been to India as an MP to various cities, including Bengaluru and Kolkata. Looking at the skills and talent and amazing companies, India is important in the tech sector. We are looking at new cooperation with Indian tech companies,” she emphasised.

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens' Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.
Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011. Pixabay

Asked about her ministry’s work, Sims said her department has gone more digital in delivering services to citizens and that has brought its own problems.

Cyber crime, fake news and other related problems faced by the countries across the world are also her main problems.

“Digital economy is growing. More and more people are getting sophisticated and trying to commit cyber crimes. We are engaged more with businesses that are worried that more people are trying to get information online through Internet bandits.

“We are telling businesses to build extra layers of security. It is like when we construct a home, we have doors and windows which we close for security. Likewise, businesses have to build layers of security like Next-Gen anti-virus solutions and firewalls,” the minister stressed.

She said her ministry is very agile on cyber security and has become smarter with time.

“They (cyber-criminals) have got technology and are, all the time, trying to get into our systems. Nearly 300,000 systems were affected which is mind-boggling. It also shows we have to be extra-cautious, building firewalls and constantly monitoring them,” Sims said.

Asked about the problem of data stealing and stalking over social media platforms, Sims said the government’s role in this is limited.

As a mother and a grandmother, she would only advise that schools and parents have to tell children on the newer risks arising from the use of Internet.

“Parents can limit the children from accessing Internet. We can teach and guide them on cyber security. Businesses also have a responsibility,” Sims added.

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The identity cards issued by her government for accessing citizens’ services have high-security features and cannot be breached for extracting personal details.

“Our ID cards, personal details are never shared with anyone. There is nothing that goes out from our portal,” she noted.

Asked if she was aware of the controversy surrounding the Aadhaar card in India, the minister said, “a little bit”. (IANS)