Rediff Logo freedom BANNER ADS Find/Feedback/Site Index


'It was a lucky thing for Gandhiji that he
died; he would have only seen more misery.'

What are the things you feel should have never happened, as far as India is concerned?

Partition should have never happened.

Who do you blame for Partition?

Both the Congress and the Muslim League are to be blamed, the Congress more than the Muslim League.

Do you blame any specific leader?

No, I can't blame any one person. After all, they all must be have consulted with each other. If one person had suggested Partition as a solution, the others should have tried to change his mind. If they could not, they should have stopped him. But they did not.

What kind of relationship did Netaji have with the Congress leaders?

Whatever people may say about the differences between Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji, as far as we were concerned, he would always project Mahatma Gandhi as the father of the nation and the INC as the pioneer fighting force. People here really believed that he meant what he said.

Have you ever met Mohammed Ali Jinnah?

No. Unfortunately, I have never met him.

Do you have an opinion on the kind of person he was?

Jinnah Let us not forget that Jinnah too was an ambitious politician. Besides, the Muslims had not integrated into the mainstream of national politics. Also, Jinnah felt that, in the Congress organisation, as it was, he would have no place. Especially with Gandhiji constantlyharping on the past and on Ram Rajya and khaddar and all that. All this was quite foreign to Jinnah's way of seeing things.

He felt that the only way out for him and like-minded Muslims was to have a separate nation. But he did not envisage Pakistan as it is today. And even he has admitted in his biography that if he had to deal with a person like Subhas Chandra Bose, they would have come to some compromise.

Why is the Indian government not ready to formally accept Netaji's death?

They are much more afraid of Netaji dead than they are of him alive. They know that India is a rudderless nation now. And here was one man who had proved that he could unite all Indians; that he was ready to make any kind of sacrifice to do so. That he was incorruptible. These are the things that are needed in India today. Bringing back a dead man would mean recreating an awareness about Netaji and giving people an ideal they so desperately need.

What is the INA doing to try and make this happen?

See, compared to the population of India, the INA is a very small unit. Secondly, none of us - except for myself, my husband and some of the civilians who joined the Singapore movement - knew anything about Indian politics. Take Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon (one of the three accused at the famed Red Fort trial), for example. He thought the sun rose and set on the Indian empire.

When the soldiers of the INA returned to India, they had already sacrificed so much for their nation. They had suffered tremendously, they had lost so much. They had to start putting their lives together from scratch; they were more involved seeing how to earn a living.

Do you think things would have been different if Netaji had survived?

If Netaji had returned to India, things would have been different.

In what sense? Do you think the Congress would have allowed...

Oh! Who would have bothered about them? And you know the Congressmen, they are the biggest changer of parties in the national political scene.

Do you think Nehru would have given up his post for Jinnah?

Jawaharlal Nehru That was a different scenario altogether.

In what way?

The people of India would have risen in favour of Netaji. The Congress leaders were calmly sitting in jail since 1939. They were totally out of touch with the people. Netaji would have come and inspired the people. The people of India would have demanded Netaji as their leader.

Does this mean that our history books are wrong? After all, they say that India gained Independence mainly because of Nehru and Gandhi?

That impression was created. And Gandhiji must not be brought into it because he was a most disappointed and heartbroken man. I think it was a lucky thing for him that he died when he did because he would have only seen more misery. Gandhiji was definitely against the partition of the nation. He even went to the extent of saying that Jinnah should be made the prime minister of India.

Back Continued