The enemy of an enemy is a friend

“This is Subhash Chandra Bose, who is still alive speaking to you over the Azad Hind Radio…” the date was March 1942 ,the middle of World War 2. Bose was in Berlin where he launched his ‘Azad Hind’( free India ) Radio broadcast over Radio Berlin. It was a particularly strange phrase to have used in a public radio address.

” who is still alive….”

One seldom addresses a congregation by saying

“This is so and so…. Who is still alive” .

What a strange affirmation to make….. you could hardly say

“This is so and so who is still not alive !!” .

But Bose had a point to make and the remark was aimed at various British propaganda agencies who had issued reports about his death . Bose reacted to these rumors in a vindictive way especially as it proved to him that he had actually outwitted the British again.

Subhash Chandra Bose believed in a very simple premise that “an enemy’s enemy is a friend”. So inorder to remove the stranglehold that the British had over India he tried to convince the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler to help him to fight against them. Coming to Berlin had not been easy . He had to escape house arrest in Calcutta by the British – escaping unnoticed stealthily. It had been a formidable journey and that too in incognito. He had traveled on foot , by truck or by bus via Kabul (Afghanistan) and finally reached Berlin. His spirit exhausted but not defeated .

With the help of a few Indian supporters Subhash Chandra Bose was able to establish base in Berlin. His attempts to convince Hitlers officers to give him support against their common enemy were successful ! People were amazed with his ability to negotiate with the Third Reich. The manner in which he dealt with the Germans was amazing and he was able to achieve diplomatic status for his free India movement – ‘ The Azad Hind’ movement .

“Ever since I left India last year, British propaganda agencies have from time to time given contradictory reports about my whereabouts… The latest report about my death is perhaps an instance of wishful thinking. I can imagine that the British Government would, at this critical hour in India’s history, like to see me dead since they are now trying their level best to win India over to their side for the purpose of their imperialistic war”. Subhash continued in his articulate manner. He spoke fine English like an educated well bred and well educated Bengali gentleman with a slight Bengali accent in which the v’s became b’s .

Finally his broadcast from the German radio sent shocked the British. It also had its desired effect on hundreds of Indians who were further highly motivated and encouraged that Subhash Chandra Bose was working on a master plan to free their motherland. Indians logged onto the radio program from all over the world. To be addressed by your own countryman from Germany was indeed heartening !

Bose knew that every broadcast he made would be transmitted to the British powers . The British were his enemy. Every statement he made was targeted against them. Bose was not always supportive of Gandhiji’s passive resistance movement . But when Gandhi gave a call for Britishers to “Quit India” in August 1942 and coined the logo “Do or Die” for Indians he had a lot of support. Subhash Bose gave his full support to this call through his Radio Broadcast from Germany.

Once Bose was asked whether he was not scared of being caught by the Gestapo and being but into prison? Bose retorted that ” Had I been scared of going to prison, I would have stayed back in India . The British officers are brutal and cruel to Indian freedom fighters torturing them and giving them inhuman punishments. ”

People in India today have forgotten that the ‘ Azad Hind’ also known as Indian Infantry Regiment 950 with 3500 men in 4 battalions took an oath of loyalty to Hitler, Bose and “free India” in September 1942. The Legion was paraded on 6th November 1943 at a ceremony at the Hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin announcing the creation the Indian National Government.

Eventually Bose had to leave Berlin to seek the support of the Japanese.


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