We are becoming unthinking worshippers of state power: TMC MP Sugata Bose
Today, so many people in India have become “unthinking worshippers of state power” and forgotten to love their own country as taught by Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sugata Bose, grandnephew of the Bengali freedom fighter said, delivering a lecture on Friday. The Harvard professor was at Sabarmati Ashram, delivering the lecture, ‘Mahatma and Netaji: Understanding A Special Relationship’, when he made the remarks about the current state of affairs in the nation.
“These (Gandhi and SC Bose) are great leaders who have taught us how to love our country, how to feel empathy for our fellow human beings. And that is the lesson we need to learn today,” Sugata Bose said. “Because so many people in India have forgotten how to love our own country. We are becoming unthinking worshippers of state power.” Gandhi and SC Bose were prepared to respect cultural differences, and accordingly they could rise above their differences in order to forge an overarching unity in the country, the professor said, touching upon various aspects of the relationship between the two leaders who had parted ways politically in 1939 after SC Bose resigned as president of the Indian National Congress.
A professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University, United States, Sugata Bose is also the joint editor of the twelve-volume Collected Works of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. “It’s very important to recognise that many people in India, particularly in Bengal, hugely exaggerate the differences (between Gandhi and SC Bose) that took place in 1939. If there was a parting of ways, it was a temporary one. And if we study the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in its entirety, then we will find that it was one that was marked by deep mutual affection and respect,” he said.
In 1939, SC Bose was elected president of Indian National Congress, winning against a candidate nominated by Gandhi and posing a challenge to the authority of the latter in the party for the first time in two decades.
Sugata Bose narrated a number of instances on how the two leaders had mutual respect for each other while going about achieving the goal of India’s independence their separate ways. He said Gandhi made the biggest contribution by arousing the Indian masses against British rule, transforming the Indian National Congress from a club of elites to a country-wide organisation. At the same time, he added, SC Bose was able to destroy the loyalty of Indian soldiers to the Britishers and replaced it with a new loyalty – to the cause of India’s freedom struggle.