The bell rings and Alex goes to open the door. I hear laughter, greetings,
the exchange of friendly words. And now our friend enters the living room. Again
I feel the aura spreading. A great and rare pleasure takes hold of me : I can't
help admiring the tall upright figure, the reserved posture that suggests great
spiritual discipline, and the extremely intelligent expression of the eyes that
seem to absorb and understand so much more than is usually given to one.
We sit down at the table and enjoy the light meal, the easy talk, the
relaxing half hour. Then our friend produces a small yellow pamphlet bearing the
title: "The Presidential Speech of Sj. Subhas Bose at the Third Indian Political
Conference at Friar's Hall, London, on Saturday, June 10, 1933."
Before he starts reading from it, he makes a few introductory remarks about
the social and political map of India as well as the mechanics of British rule.
Then he explains what India means economically and politically to Britain and,
finally, proceeds to tell us briefly about the beginnings of Nationalism in
"In 1917 Gandhiji called for Swaraj, i.e. complete independence, or
self-rule. Satyagraha, non-violence and non-cooperation, became the chief weapon
of the party. The first nonviolent disobedience campaign was used on a large
scale in 1919... In 1925 Gandhi became the leader. The party took on the aspects of a mass
organization that fought with foresight and decision for self-rule. Satyagraha
proved a most effective weapon of fighting government in order to gain
independence ; likewise home manufacture and the boycott of foreign goods."
(1) With regard to our goal, is a compromise between England and India
(2) With regard to our method, can India win political freedom by following
the path of periodical compromise and without adopting an uncompromisingly
militant plan of action ?
To the first question I say that such a compromise is not possible. A
political compromise is possible only when there is some community of interest.
But in the case of England and India there are no common interests which can make a compromise between the two nations possible and
desirable, as we shall see from the following :
(1) There is no social kinship between the two countries.
(2) There is hardly anything in common between the cultures of India and of
(3) From the economic standpoint, India is to Britain a supplier of raw
materials and a consumer of British manufactures. On the other hand, India
aspires to be a manufacturing country, so that she could become self-contained
in the matter of manufactured goods and could also export not only raw materials
but manufactured goods as well.
(4) India is at present one of the biggest markets for Great Britain. The
industrial progress of India therefore is against Britain's economic interests.
(5) India affords empolyment at present to young Britishers in the army and
in the civil administration in India. But this is against India's interests and
India wants her own children to occupy all these posts.
(6) India is sufficiently strong and has enough resources to be able to stand
on her own legs without the help or patronage of Great Britain. In this respect
the position of India is quite different from that of the dominions.
(7) India has so long been exploited and dominated by Britain that there is a
genuine apprehension that in the event of a political compromise between the two
countries, India will stand to lose and Britain will stand to gain. Moreover,
India has developed an "inferiority complex" as a result of her long servitude,
and this "inferiority complex" will remain as long as India is not completely
independent of Britain.
(8) India wants the status of a free country, with her own flag, her own
army, navy and defence force, and with her own ambassadors in the capitals of
free countries. Without this invigorating and life-giving freedom, Indians will
never be able to rise to the full stature of their manhood. Independence is to
India a psychological, ethical, cultural, economic and political necessity. It
is an essential condition of the new awakening in India. Independence, which
India aspires after to-day, is not 'Dominion Home Rule,' as we find in Canada or
Australia, but full national sovereignty as obtains in the United States of
America or in France.
(9) As long as India remains within the British Empire she will not be able
to safeguard the interest of other Indians who have settled in other parts of
...The basis of a compromise between India and Great Britain
does not exist. Consequently, if the leaders of the Indian people disregard this
fundamental fact and effect a compromise with the British Government, the
arrangement will not last. Like the "Gandhi-Irwin Pact" of March, 1931, it will
be short-lived. The social, economic and political forces working within India
are such that no peace is possible between India and Britain till her legitimate
aspirations are fulfilled.
The only solution of the present deadlock that is possible is through the
attainment of India's freedom. This implies the defeat of the British Government
in India. How India can win freedom for herself, we shall now have to consider.
With regard to the second question�namely, the question of the method we
should adopt�I may say that the country has already rejected the path of
periodical compromise. The support which the country gave to the Indian National
Congress was due to the fact that the Congress promised to win independence for
India and promised to fight on and on till this was accomplished. Therefore, in
determining our future policy and plan, we should rule out, once for all, the
prospect of periodical compromise.
The Congress hoped to win political freedom for India by paralysing the Civil
administration of the country through non-co-operation and Civil Disobedience.
It is necessary now to analyse the causes of our failure in doing so in order
that we may be more successful in future.
The position of the British Government in India to-day in relation to the
Indian National Congress can be compared to a well-armed and well-equipped
fortress standing in the midst of territory which has suddenly become hostile.
Now, however well-equipped a fortress may be, it requires for its safe existence
for all time a friendly civil population living around and near it. But even if
the surrounding population become hostile, the fortress has nothing to fear in
the immediate future, so long as the people round about it do not make an active
attempt to seize the fortress. The objective of the Indian National Congress is
to get possession of the fortress now occupied by the British Government.
Towards this end the Congress has succeeded in winning over the sympathy and
support of the population living round about and near the
fortress. This is the first stage of the campaign from the Indian side. For the
next stage of the campaign, either or both of the following steps can be taken :
(1) A complete economic blockade of the fortress, which will starve into
submission the army occupying the fortress.
(2) An attempt to capture the fortress by force of arms.
In the history of war both these methods have been tried with success. In the
last great war Germany was the victor from a military point of view, but she was
starved into submission through the economic blockade of the Allies. This
blockade was possible because the Allies had control over the seas and over the
lines of communication leading into Germany.
In India no attempt has been made to storm the enemy's citadel by force of
arms, as the Congress policy has been pledged to nonviolence. The economic
blockade, though attempted in a general way by the Congress, has failed for
(a) All the external communications leading to India are controlled by the
(b) Owing to defective organization inside India the lines of communication
from the seaports to the interior and from one part of the country to another
are not controlled by the Congress, but by the Government.
(c) The machinery for collecting revenue�on which depends the existence of
the British Government in India�has not been seriously impaired. There have been
deficits in most provinces, no doubt, but the Government have been able to make
up either by increased taxes or by borrowing.
It should always be remembered that a nationalist movement can succeed in
paralysing a foreign Government only when either or all of the following steps
(1) Prevention of tax and revenue collection.
(2) Adoption of measures whereby help from other quarters�whether financial
or military�may not reach the Government in times of distress.
(3) Winning over the sympathy and support of the present supporters of the
British Government in India�that is, of the Army, the Police and the Civil
Servants�so that orders given by the Government for crushing the movement will
not be carried out.
(4) Actual attempt to seize power by force of arms.
The last step has to be ruled out, because the Congress is pledged to
non-violence. But it is nevertheless possible to paralyse the present
administration and compel it to submit to our demands if we can adopt the
following measures :
(1) Prevent collection of tax and revenue.
(2) Through labour and peasant organization prevent all kinds of help from
reaching the Government when they are in difficulty.
(3) Win the sympathy and support of the Government's own supporters by means
of our superior propaganda.
If these three measures are adopted, the Governmental machinery can be thrown
out of gear. In the first place, they will have no money to meet the cost of
administration. In the second place, the orders they may issue will not be
carried out by their own officers. And, lastly, help sent to the Government from
other quarters will not reach them.
There is no royal road to success in winning political freedom. The above
three measures have to be adopted in part or in whole if victory is to be
achieved. The Congress has failed, simply because it has not succeeded in giving
effect satisfactorily to any of the above three measures.
The peaceful meetings,
processions and demonstrations that have been held during the last few years, in
spite of the official ban, show a spirit of defiance no doubt and also cause
some annoyance to the Government, but they do not yet menace the very existence
of the Government.
In spite of all our demonstrations and in spite of seventy
thousand persons having gone to prison since January, 1932, the Government can
(1) That their army is quite loyal;
(2) that their police forces are quite loyal;
(3) that the Civil administration (collection of revenue and taxes,
administration of law courts and of prisons, etc.) is still unimpaired; and
(4) that the life and property of Government officials and of their
supporters are still quite safe.
And the Government can still boast that they do not care if the general
population in India today are passively hostile. As long as the people do not
actively menace the Government and their supporters, either with arms or through
an effective economic blockade, the present Government can continue to exist for
an indefinite period, in spite of our non-cooperation and civil disobedience.
During the last decade there has been an unprecedented awakening
all over India. The placid self-complacence of the people is gone. The whole
country is throbbing with new life and is yearning for freedom. Fear of official
frowns, of imprisonment, and of baton charges has disappeared. The prestige of
the British has reached its lowest ebb. There is no question of goodwill on the
Indian side towards the British Government. The moral basis of British rule has
been demolished, and it rests today on the naked sword and on nothing else. And
India has managed to capture the imagination of the world.
But the fact has to be faced that "free India" is still a thing of the
future! The intentions of the British Government with regard to Indian
aspirations as embodied in the recently published White Paper show clearly that
they are not yet prepared to part with an iota of real power.
British Government think that they are strong enough to resist successfully the
demand of the Indian people. And if they are strong enough to resist us, it
clearly shows that the most strenuous efforts of the Indian people since 1920
have failed to bring us appreciably nearer to our goal of "Swaraj".
India therefore must resolve to launch another fight on a bigger and more
The intellectual and practical preparation for this must be
scientific and must rest on objective foundations. The intellectual preparation
for this task will entail the following measures :
(i) A scientific examination of the strong and weak points of British Rule in
India in relation to the Indian people.
(ii) A scientific examination of the strong and weak points of the Indian
people in relation to British Rule in India.
(iii) A scientific examination of the rise and fall of empires in other parts
of the world.
(iv) A scientific examination of the history of freedom movements in other
lands and a study of the gradual evolution of freedom in all its aspects in this
When this study is completed�and not till then�shall we be able to form a
conception of the magnitude of the task that awaits us.
Our next requirement will be a party of determined men and women who will
take upon themselves the task of delivering India�no matter what the suffering
and sacrifice involved may be. Whether India will be able to free herself and to
live once again as a free nation will depend on whether she can produce the
requisite leadership. Her ability to produce the requisite leadership will be
the test of her vitality and of her fitness for "Swaraj".
(Thereafter) Our next requirement will be a scientific plan of action and a scientific
programme for the future. The method of action beginning from to-day and right
up to the conquest of power will have to be visualized and planned out in detail
as far as humanly possible. The movement of the future must therefore be made to
rest on an objective and scientific foundation in keeping with the facts of
history and of human nature. Hitherto, too much appeal has been made to "inner
light" and to subjective feeling in guiding a political campaign which is after
all an objective movement.
Besides a plan of action which will lead up to the conquest of power, we
shall require a programme for the new state when it comes into existence in
Nothing can be left to chance. The group of men and women who will assume
the leadership of the fight with Great Britain will also have to take up the
task of controlling, guiding and developing the new state and, through the
state, the entire Indian people. If our leaders are not trained for post-war
leadership also there is every possibility that after the conquest of power a
period of chaos will set in and incidents similar to those of the French
Revolution of the 18th century may be repeated in India. It should therefore be
clear that the generals of the war-time period in India will have to carry
through the whole programme of post-war reform in order to justify to their
countrymen the hopes and aspirations that they will have to rouse during the
fight. The task of these leaders will not be over till a new generation of men
and women are educated and trained after the establishment of the new state and
this new generation are able to take complete charge of their country's affairs.
The party of the future will have to part company with the erstwhile leaders
of the Indian people, because there is no possibility that the latter will be
able to adopt the principles, programme, policy and tactics that will be
required for the next phase of the grim fight with Great Britain. Rarely in
history�if ever at all�do we find the leaders of one epoch figuring as the
leaders of the next. And it is no discredit to them if they fail. The times
always produce the required men, and this will happen in India also.
The new party will have to play the role of the fighters and leaders in the
"national" campaign against Great Britain and also the role of the architects of
new India, who will be called upon to undertake the work of post-war social
reconstruction. The Indian movement will have two phases. In the first phase the
fight will be a "national" fight against Great Britain�though the leadership
will be in the hands of the "party of the people" representing Indian labour and
inter-class fight under the leadership of the same party, and during
this phase of the campaign�all privileges, distinctions and vested interests
will have to be abolished, so that a reign of perfect equality (social, economic
and political) may be established in our country. India will be called upon to
play an important role in world-history in the near future. We all know that in
the seventeenth century England made a remarkable contribution to
world-civilization through her ideas of constitutional and democratic
Government. Similarly, in the eighteenth century, France made the most wonderful
contribution to the culture of the world through her ideas of liberty, equality
and fraternity. During the nineteenth century Germany made the most remarkable
gift through her Marxian philosophy. During the twentieth century Russia has
enriched the culture and civilization of the world through her achievement in
proletarian revolution, proletarian government and proletarian culture. The next
remarkable contribution to the culture and civilization of the world, India will
be called upon to make.
It is sometimes urged by our British friends that the British public have an
open mind on the Indian question and that we would gain much if we could win
their sympathy by means of our propaganda. I do not, however, think that the
British public have an open mind on the Indian question.
It is not humanly
In India, administration and exploitation go hand in hand, and it is
not exploitation by a group of British capitalists and financiers, but the
exploitation of India by Great Britain as a whole. The British capital that has
been invested in India has not come from the upper classes alone, but also from
the middle classes, and probably to some extent from the poorer classes as well.
Further, even the working classes of Great Britain cannot afford to see the
Indian textile industry thrive at the expense of Lancashire. That is why India
has not been made a party question by the great political parties in Great
Britain. That is why the policy of brutal repression and persecution was
continued in India even when there was a Labour Government in power in London.
know that there are individual members in the Labour Party who rise above
selfish consideration and who are sincere in their desire to do justice to
India. But however much we may admire them and however cordial our personal
relations with them may be, the fact remains that they are not in a position to
influence party decisions. And, judging from our past experience, we may say
that we cannot expect any improvement in the Indian situation through a change
of Government in Downing Street.
Since politics and economics are inextricably bound up together in India�and
since British Rule in India exists not only for political domination but also
for economic exploitation�it follows that political freedom is primarily an
economic necessity to us.
The problem of giving bread to our starving millions�the problem of
clothing and educating them�the problem of improving the health and physique
of the nation�all these problems cannot be solved so long as India remains
in bondage. To think of economic improvement and industrial development
before India is free politically, is to put the cart before the horse. We
are frequently asked as to what will be the internal condition of India when
British Rule disappears from our country.
Thanks to British propaganda, India has been portrayed before the world
as a country full of internal conflicts in which peace has been preserved by
the might of England. India certainly had her internal conflicts in the
past, as every other country has. But these conflicts were solved by the
people themselves. That is why Indian history from the most ancient times
abounds in instances of mighty empires like that of Asoka the Great, under
the aegis of which peace and prosperity reigned throughout the land. But the
conflicts of to-day are permanent in character and they are artificially
engineered by the agents of the third party in the country. And I have no
doubt in my mind that real unity among the Indian people can never be
achieved as long as British Rule exists in India.
Though we cannot expect anything from any political party in England,
it is exceedingly important and necessary for our purpose that we should
organize international propaganda on behalf of India.
This propaganda must be both positive and negative. On the negative side
we must refute the lies that are told about India consciously or
unconsciously by the agents of Great Britain throughout the world. On the
positive side we must bring to the notice of the world the rich culture of
India in all its aspects as well as India's manifold grievances. It goes
without saying that London must be an important centre for this
international propaganda. It is to be regretted that till quite recently the
Indian National Congress did not realize the value and the necessity of
international propaganda. But we now hope that our countrymen in the days to
come will realize in an increasing degree the value of international
There is probably nothing which I admire so much about the Britisher as
his skill in propaganda. A Britisher is a born propagandist, and to him
propaganda is more powerful than howitzers. There is one other country in
Europe which has learnt this lesson from Britain, and that is Russia. And it
is not surprising that Britain cordially dislikes Russia and is even afraid
of her for having discovered the secret of her (Britain's) success.
There is so much of hostile propaganda carried on in this world against
India by British agents that if only we could state the real condition of
India and her grievances against Britain�we would at once get a large
measure of international sympathy. I will now mention some of the points in
connection with which active propaganda is necessary throughout the world:
(1) Ill-treatment of political prisoners in India and the transportation
of long-term political prisoners to the unhealthy Andaman Islands, where
recently two of them died as a result of hunger strike.
(2) Extreme vindictiveness displayed by the Government in the matter of
issuing passports to Indians. (It is not known outside India that
innumerable Indians have been refused passports for going out of India,
while Indians living abroad have been refused passports for returning to
(3) The systematic practice of aerial bombing in India, particularly in
the North-Western Frontier, for terrorizing helpless villagers.
(4) The strangling of India's indigenous industries�including the
ship-building industry�by Great Britain during her rule in India.
(5) The popular and widespread oppcsition in India to any scheme of
Imperial Preference, including the Ottawa Pact. (The world should be
informed that India never accepted the Ottawa Pact, but that it was forced
down our unwilling throats.)
(6) The popular opposition in India to any proposal for a tariff truce,
since India urgently wants protection for her infant industries.
(7) The fixing of the exchange rate arbitrarily by England in a manner
that is prejudicial to India's interests. The world should know how Great
Britain has robbed India of crores of rupees merely through the manipulation
of the exchange rate.
(8) Further, the world should be told that Great Britain has ,saddled
India with a heavy public debt for which Indian nationalists refuse to
accept any responsibility. As early as in 1922 the Indian National Congress
at its Gaya session gave notice to the Government that it would refuse to
accept any responsibility for this public debt. It is a matter of common
knowledge that the debt was incurred not for India's benefit, but for the
interests of British imperialists.
It is exceedingly important and necessary that some propaganda should be
conducted on behalf of India at the World Economic Conference and the
Disarmament Conference. A carefully prepared memorandum stating the economic
grievances of India against Great Britain and giving expression to the real
voice of India on economic questions should be placed before every member of
the World Economic Conference.
With regard to the Disarmament question, India should tell the world that
British sincerity should be put to the test by making India a test case. In
a land where the people have been disarmed for nearly 80 years, where the
entire population is altogether emasculated, what justification is there for
spending more than 50 per cent of the central revenues over military
I feel sure that if all the facts in this connection are brought to the
notice of the world, there will be an unanswerable case against England.
Whenever the question of India is brought up before a World Congress or a
World Conference the usual plea raised by the protagonists of Great Britain
is that India is a domestic question so far as the British Empire is
concerned. This is a position which Indians should refuse to accept any
longer. If India is a member of the League of Nations, surely she is a
nation and has all the rights and privileges of a nation. I know that we
shall have to fight hard and fight strenuously before we can alter the
present status of India in international affairs. Nevertheless it is
imperative that the attempt should begin without delay.
It is not necessary for me to go into a detailed consideration of the
contents of the White Paper, as they do not deserve such an examination. I
shall only say that the proposal of Federation with the Princes is an
impossible and unacceptable proposition. We shall certainly work for the
unification of the whole of India for a federation of the Indian people. But
we cannot accept the present proposal of substituting the Princes for the
present official bloc in the Legislatures, in order to satisfy the whims of
Mr. Ramsay MacDonald or of Lord Sankey. And it is futile to talk of
"freedom" and "safeguards" in the same breath. If we are to have freedom
there can be no safeguards, for freedom itself is the only safeguard that we
can have. To talk of "safeguards in the interest of India" is but a species
It is not possible to say to-day when we shall get a constitution which
will give some substantial power to the people. But there can be no doubt
that when we do get that power the people will insist on having the right to
bear arms. They also will say to the world and particularly to the British
Government: "Disarm, or we shall arm."
While voluntary disarming is a great blessing to this
sorrow-stricken world, the forcible disarming of a conquered people for
nearly 80 years, as we see in India, is one of the greatest of curses. And
the much-vaunted Pax Britannica which we see in India is not the peace of a
healthy life, but peace of the graveyard.
I have already referred to the dual role which the new party will be
called upon to play if it is to justify its existence. In order to be able
to seize political power and thereafter use it for the creation of a new
social order, it is necessary that our people should be trained for the task
from today. I have no doubt in my own mind that in solving the problems of
our national life, when India is free, original thought and fresh experiment
will be necessary, if we are to achieve success. The experience of the older
generation and of the teachers of the past will not be of much avail.
The socio-economic conditions of free India will be altogether different
from what prevails now. In industry, agriculture, land-tenure, money,
exchange, currency, education, prison administration, public health, etc.,
new theories and novel experiments will have to be devised. We know, for
example, that in Soviet Russia a new scheme of national (or political)
economy has been evolved in keeping with the facts and conditions of the
land. The same thing will happen to India. In solving our economic problem,
Pigou and Marshall will not be of much help.
Already in Europe and in England old theories in every department of life
are being challenged and new theories are taking their places. As an
instance, let me mention the new theory of Free Money, evolved by Silvio
Gesell, which has been put into operation in a small community in Germany
and proved thoroughly satisfactory. The same thing will happen in India.
Free India will not be a land of capitalists, landlords and castes. Free
India will be a social and a political democracy. The problems of free India
will be quite different from those of present-day India, and it will
therefore be necessary to train men from to-day who will be able to
visualize the future, to think in terms of free India and solve those
problems in anticipation. In short, it will be necessary to educate and
train from to-day the future cabinet of free India.
Every great movement starts from small beginnings, and so it will be
in India. Our first task will be to gather together a group of men and women
who are prepared to undergo the maximum sacrifice and suffering which will
be necessary if we are to attain success in our mission. They must be
whole-time workers�"Freedom-intoxicated" missionaries�who will not be
discouraged by failure or deterred by difficulty of any kind and who will
vow to work and strive in the service of the great cause till the last day
of their lives.
When these "morally prepared" men and women are available they must be
given the requisite intellectual training, so that they may be able to
realize the magnitude of their task. They will have to make a scientific and
critical study of the freedom movement in other lands, so that they may
understand how similar problems have been solved in other countries, in
spite of similar difficulties. Side by side with this they must also make a
scientific and critical study of the rise and fall of empires in other ages
and climes. Armed with this knowledge, they should proceed to make a
scientific examination of the strong and weak points of the British
Government in India in relation to the Indian people and a similar
scientific examination of the strong and weak points of the Indian people in
relation to the British Government.
When this intellectual training is completed we shall have a clear
notion of the plan of action that will be necessary for the conquest of
power and also of the programme that should be put into operation when the
new state is brought into existence after the seizure of power. It is thus
evident that we want a party of determined men and women who have
consecrated their life to the great cause, who have had the necessary
intellectual training and who have formed a clear conception of the work
they will have to do before the conquest of power and thereafter.
It will be the task of this party to deliver India from foreign yoke.
It will be the task of this party to create a new, independent and sovereign
state in India.
It will be the task of this party to execute the entire programme of
post-war socio-economic reconstruction. It will be the task of this party to
create a new generation of men and women in India fully trained and equipped
for the battle of life. Last, but not least, it will be the task of this
party to lead India on to her honoured place among the free nations of the
Let this party be called the SAMYAVADI-SANGHA. It will be a centralized
and well-disciplined All-India Party�working amongst every section of the
community. This party will have its representatives working in the Indian
National Congress, in the All-India Trade Union Congress, in the Peasants'
organization, in the women's organizations, in the youth organizations, in
the student organizations, in the depressed classes' organizations, and, if
necessary in the interests of the great cause, in the sectarian or communal
organizations as well. The different branches of the party working in
different spheres and in different places must be under the control and
guidance of the central committee of the party.
This party will work in co-operation with any other party that may be
working towards the same end, in whole or in part. It will not bear enmity
towards any individual or party, but at the same time it will look upon
itself as specially called upon to play the role in history that has been
In addition to the activities of the SAMYAVADI-SANGHA that we have
described above, branches of the SANGHA should be started all over the
country for carrying on a general propaganda about the ideals, aims and
objects of the new party. The SAMYAVADISANGHA will stand for all-round
freedom for the Indian people�that is, for social, economic and political
freedom. It will wage a relentless war against bondage of every kind till
the people can become really free. It will stand for political independence
for India, so that a new state can be created in free India on the basis of
the eternal principles of justice, equality and freedom. It will stand for
the ultimate fulfilment of India's mission, so that India may be able to
deliver to the world the message that has been her heritage through the past