“Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”
The Ousting of Netaji Subhas Bose, Part II
Hi, Everyone! Subhas Bose was put in a very precarious position now that the Working Committee had shown their true colors. The Tripuri Congress session was coming up. Though seriously ill, Bose would have to attend or be a pushover for the Gandhian Congress members so determined to oust him.
At this time, Gandhi began a two-pronged fast on March 3, 1939, just days before the Tripuri Congress session. One goal of the fast was to compel the Thakore of Rajkot to buckle under and redeem his pledge made to the people, and the other was to divert the attention from the Congress session and keep it riveted on his health.
He had used his “poor” health and fasts countless times before to get his way!
Keer writes in Mahatma Gandhi, Political Saint and Unarmed Prophet (page 661-663):
The Tripuri Congress was held from March 10 to 12, 1939, under the presidency of Subhas Bose who was seriously ill. . . . On the eve of the session, Gandhi had sent a message asking Subhas not to defy the medical advice and desiring him to regulate the proceedings from Calcutta!
By his fast unto death, Gandhi had riveted the Congress workers’ attention on him, created consternation among his opponents and anguish in his sympathizers and followers.
In his presidential address, Bose desired the Congress to give an ultimatum to the British Government. Although seriously ill, Bose tried in vain to control the Congress, but at the eleventh hour the socialists, Royist and other leftists did not support him.”
[All the Congress members knew very well what was the fate of one who opposed the will of the Mahatma. We have seen it too, in the last so many posts. And so no one wanted to reveal their identity while voting.]
“A large number of All-India Congress Committee members said that if they openly voted against the wishes of Ministers [most of whom were Gandhist] they would get into trouble. So they wanted a secret ballot.
The suggestion was turned down. The result was that the Congress expressed its confidence in the members of the Working Committee who had resigned.
It [Working Committee] stifled Subhas Bose and resolved, overruling its constitution, that Subhas Bose, the President, must form his Working Committee in accordance with the wishes of the Mahatma. . . .
Subhas Bose returned to Calcutta with body and hopes shattered.
Bose thereafter wrote to Gandhi and tried to win his support in forming the Working Committee, but Gandhi did not respond to his appeals. Nehru tried half-heartedly to bring about a compromise between Gandhi and Bose. He wrote to Gandhi: ‘You should accept Subhas as President. To try push him out seems to me to be an exceedingly wrong step.’
Yet the Mahatma was ruthless. It was Gandhi’s dictum that however you repair it, a rift is a rift. Another of his dictums was that to forgive is not to forget. . .
Bose had to resign. He was the first Congress President to do so.”
There are many more tales to tell of Gandhi and Congress machinations, the most relevant being the ruthless way—discarding all principle of nonviolence and truth—the Congress annihilated any chance the Hindu Mahasabha had of winning the 1945 elections. That saga is given in detail in my novel Burning for Freedom. I shall not be posting on it just yet.
Tomorrow we shall see how Gandhi overturned the decisions of the Working Committee of the Congress that did not suit him!
Mahatma Gandhi Facts: Gandhi Revealed