Thursday, 15 August 2013
Gandhi VS. Bhagat Singh and other revolutionaries-serious debate-Philosophy of the Bomb
Philosophy of the Bomb. (Hindi)
[In the national struggle for freedom, Gandhiji was always one step ahead of the British government in criticizing the revolutionaries. On the 23rd of December, 1929 the revolutionaries tried to blow up the train of the pillar of British imperialism, the Viceroy; an attempt that failed. Gandhiji wrote a pungent essay ‘Bomb ki Pooja’ (‘Cult of the Bomb’) on this incident in which he referred to the Viceroy as a well-wisher of the country and the youth as the obstacle in the path of freedom. In response to this, Bhagwati Charan Vohra wrote an essay ‘The Philosophy of the Bomb’ Bhagat Singh gave finishing touches to the essay in jail. On the 26th of January 1930, it was distributed all over the country – Editor] According to Virender Sandhu, niece of Bhagat Singh and first compiler of Bhagat Singh’s documents, this document was sent from jail, as per Jitendernath Sanyal, first biographer of Bhagat Singh, who was sentenced to two years imprisonment for writing this biography. However according to Shiv Verma, this was drafted by Bhagwati Charan Vohra and Bhagat Singh’s another family member thinks that it was finalized by Bhagat Singh in jail.
Just consider recent events. Especially, the attempt made to blow up the special train of the Viceroy on the 23rd of December, 1929, the resolution passed by the Congress to criticize the incident, and the essays written by Gandhi ji in Young India make it clear that the Indian Congress are in perfect accord with Gandhi ji and have launched a dreadful agitation against Indian revolutionaries. A constant propaganda is being carried out against the revolutionaries through public speeches and pamphlets. It has been done either deliberately or through ignorance, but misinformation is being spread against the revolutionaries and they have been misunderstood. But revolutionaries are not afraid of criticism of their principles or their activities. They rather welcome criticism as they consider it a golden opportunity to explain to the people the basic principles and noble ideals that are an inspiration and continuous source of strength for them. It is hoped that this essay will help the world to become aware of what the revolutionaries are, and they will be rescued from the canards spread about them.
Let us begin by considering the question of violence and non-violence. In our opinion, these words have been used wrongly, and this is an injustice to the cause of both the parties, because these words do not help elucidate the principles of either of the two parties. Violence means the use of force for injustice but that is not the aim of the revolutionaries, and on the other hand, the commonly understood meaning of non-violence is the principle of spiritual strength. It is used to achieve individual and national rights. It is hoped that causing pain to oneself will cause a change of heart in the adversary.
When a revolutionary accepts certain things as his right, then he demands them; he offers arguments in favour of his demands, aspires to win them with all the energy of spiritual force, endures great agony to procure them; he is present to make the highest sacrifice for them and he uses all his physical energy in its support. You may choose to call his efforts by whatever name you please but you cannot refer to them as violence, because by doing so, you are violating the dictionary meaning given to it. Satyagraha means to ‘aagraah’ that is, plead for ‘satya’ that is, truth. Why call only for spiritual force for its acceptance? Why should physical force not be used for it as well? The revolutionaries believe in the use of both their physical and moral force in attaining liberation, but those who use moral force think that physical force is forbidden. So the question is not whether you want violence or non-violence but whether you are willing to use both physical and moral force or moral force alone, to attain your goal.
The revolutionaries believe that the country can get liberation only through a revolution. The revolution that they are trying for and its form that is manifest before them does not merely mean that there should be an armed struggle between the foreign rulers and their compradors on one side and the revolutionaries on the other; but along with the armed struggle, the doors of a new social structure should be freed for the nation. The revolution will put an end to capitalism, class system and the system that gives greater rights to only a select few. It will enable the nation to stand on her feet and this will lead to a birth of a new nation and a new socieity. The most important thing the revolution will do is that it will establish a rule of the working and the peasant class and finish all socially undesirable elements that have seized the political power in the country.
The revolutionary sees the sprouting of the seed of progressiveness in the nascent generation of today that is shackled by mental slavery and religious obscurantism and in the eagerness of this nascent society to break free of these shackles. As the youth begins to understand his own psychology, the picture of the slavery of the nation will become clearer to him and his desire to free his country will grow stronger. And this chain will continue till the youth becomes a blend of justice, anger and anguish and begins to kill those who perpetrate injustice. In this manner, terrorism will be born in the country. Terrorism is not complete revolution, and even revolution is incomplete without terrorism. It is a vital limb of revolution. An analysis of any revolution that has taken place in history will prove this principle. Terrorism strikes terror in the heart of the oppressor and gives strength to the oppressed people to react. Those who are of unstable) emotions derive strength from it and it builds self-confidence in them. This leads to the true aim of revolution to come before the world, because this is evidence that makes one believe in a keen aspiration for the liberation of the country. As it has been happening in other countries, similarly in India, terrorism will acquire the form of revolution and finally it is revolution that will bring social, political and economic liberation to the country.
So this is the ideology of a revolutionary in which he believes and which he wants to attain for his country. To attain this truth he uses both open and covert underground methods. In this manner, the experience of the tussle struggle between the ruler and the people that has been going on for a century in this world, is a beacon to show the path in order to reach that goal. The methods that the revolutionary believes in, have never failed.
What was the Congress doing in the meantime? They have declared a change in their goal from ‘Swarajya’/Self Rule) to ‘Poorna Swatantra’ ‘Complete Freedom’. This declaration will lead anyone to conclude that the Congress has not declared a war against British rule but against the revolutionaries. In this context, the first blow dealt by the Congress was the resolution, in which they denounced the attempt to blow up the special train of the Viceroy on the 23rd of December, 1929. And it was Gandhi ji who prepared the draft of the proposal and bent all his energy into getting the resolution passed. The result was that it could be passed with a majority of only 31 votes in a total strength of 1913 members. Was there any political integrity in this wafer thin majority? In this context, we only present Chaudhrani Sarla Devi’s views. She was a lifelong devotee of Congress. Answering a question related to this issue she said, “I’ve learnt from the talk that I’ve had with Mahatma Gandhi’s followers that they were unable to express their thoughts independently due to their devotion to Mahatma Gandhi and were unable to give their vote to oppose the resolution that Mahatma ji had formulated. As far as the argument of Gandhiji is concerned, we shall discuss it later. Whatever arguments he has put forward are, by and large, an expanded form of the speeches given in the Congress.
In the matter of this unfortunate resolution, there is one important factor that we cannot ignore, that it is self-evident that the Congress abides by the principle of non-violence and has propagated for it for the past ten years. Despite all this, bitter words were exchanged during the speeches made in support of the resolution. They called the revolutionaries cowards and their activities hateful. One of the gentlemen even went to the extent of issuing a threat, saying that if they wanted Gandhi ji to lead them, then they would have to pass the resolution unanimously. Despite all these efforts, the resolution could be passed with only a few votes. This proves without doubt that the people of the country supported the revolutionaries in sufficient numbers. In a way Gandhi ji deserves our congratulations for turning the spotlight on this topic, and in this manner showing the world that the Congress, considered to be a fortress of non-violence is, if not completely, partially at least, with the revolutionaries rather than with the Congress.
The victory that Gandhi ji won in this regard was a failure in a way and now with ‘The Cult of the Bomb’ he made another attack on the revolutionaries. Before saying anything further about this, let us reflect upon this essay. He has highlighted three things in this essay – his faith, his ideas and his point of view. We shall not analyze his faith because there is no place for reason in a matter of faith. However, we shall analyze point by point what Gandhi ji refers to as violence, and against which he has presented his arguments.
Gandhi ji thinks that his assumption that the emotion of violence has not touched a majority of the Indians and non-violence has become their political weapon is a correct one. His travel around the country recently has led him to come to believe this, but the experience of his journey should not let him fall under this illusion. This is certainly true that the (Congress) leader keeps his visit limited to where the mail train can take him comfortably, whereas Gandhi ji has extended the radius of his visit till where the motor car can take him. During this journey he resided at the residences of rich people only. Most of the time during this journey was spent in listening to his own praises being sung in meetings organized by his devotees, occasionally bestowing an audience to the illiterate masses in meetings whom he claims to understand very well, but this very thing goes contrary to his argument that he is familiar with the thoughts of the common people.
No person can understand the thoughts of the common people only by appearing on stages and preaching. He can only claim that he has presented his views on a variety of topics before those people. Did Gandhi ji, in all these years, ever try to enter the social life of the common public? Did he ever, at sundown ever sit in front of a community place(chaupal/sathh) in the heart of any village to listen to the thoughts of a peasant? Did he ever spend an evening with a worker working in a factory to understand his views? But we have done so and we can claim that we know the common people. We assure Gandhi ji that the ordinary Indian, like an ordinary person, does not really understand the spiritual emotion of non-violence and the precept of ‘love thy enemy’. This is the law of nature – you have a friend, you love your friend, sometimes so much that you even give up your life for your friend. You have an enemy; you don’t keep any kind of relationship with him. This principle of the revolutionaries is totally true, simple and straightforward, and this eternal truth has come from the time of Adam and Eve and no one has ever had a difficulty in understanding this. We are saying this from our own personal experience. That day is not far when people will gather in thousands to give a concrete shape to the revolutionary ideology.
Gandhi ji declares that through ahimsa or non-violence and torturing one’s own self, he hopes to one day change the heart of the foreign rulers and convert them to his way of thinking. Now he has dedicated his life to this magical social message of love. He propagates this with unfailing faith, just as some of his devotees have done. But can they tell us how many of India’s enemies have they been able to convert to friends of India? How many O’Dwyers, Dyers, and Reading and Irwin have been converted into friends of India? If not even one of them, then how can India accept this ideology that he would be able to convince England through ahimsa non violence to grant freedom to India?
If the bombs had exploded in the proper manner under the train of the Viceroy, then one of the following two things would have definitely happened – either the Viceroy would have been grievously wounded, or died. In such a situation, the meeting between the Viceroy and the leaders of the political parties would not have taken place, this attempt would have come to naught, and this would only have benefited the nation. The contemptible attempts of the leaders hovering around the Viceregal House to beg for Home Rule even after the challenge in the Calcutta Congress would have failed. If the bombs had exploded properly, then one enemy of India would have been given just punishement. Those who filed the Meerut and Lahore Conspiracy Cases, and of the Bhusawal Conspiracy/Case, can appear in a friendly light only to the enemies of India. Irwin succeeded in destroying the united opposition in the entire nation against the Simon Commission only after the political sagacity of Gandhi and Nehru. Today Congress is internally divided. Who but the Viceroy or his sycophants/ are responsible for our misfortune? Despite this, there are people in our country who think of them as India’s friends.
There would also be people in this country who have no allegiance to the Congress or have no hopes from the Congress. If Gandhi ji counts the revolutionaries amongst this group, then he does them an injustice. They are well aware that the Congress has done significant work in creating awareness among the people. It has given rise to a desire for freedom in the common people, but it is their firm belief till there are people of ‘extraordinary’ calibre like Sen Gupta in the Congress, who talks of the hand of the secret service/ in the bombing of the Viceroy’s train, and people like Ansari, who don’t have any understanding of politics and use illogical and irrational arguments instead of offering cogent arguments and say that no nation has won freedom through a bomb – till the time such ideas dominate the decisions of the Congress, till then the country can expect very little from it. The revolutionary is lying in wait for a day when this fad of ahimsanon violence will come to an end in the Congress and they will stand shoulder to shoulder with the revolutionaries towards the collective goal of complete freedom. This year the Congress has accepted this principle that the revolutionaries have believed in for the past 25 years. We shall hope that next year they will also support their methods of attaining freedom.
Gandhi ji argues that whenever violence was used, military expenditure went up. If he is pointing towards the activities of the revolutionaries for the last 25 yers, then we challenge his words and de..mand that he back his words with facts with statistics. On the other hand we feel that the consequence of their experiments with ahimsa non violence and satyagraha, which cannot be equated with the freedom struggle, has affected the beaureaucraticeconomy. The consequences of frequent agitations be they violent or non-violent, successful or unsuccessful, will be felt on India’s economy. .
We fail to understand why Gandhi ji unnecessarily involves us in the various constitutional reforms. He never took the least bit of interest in the Morley-Minto Reforms, Montague Reforms, or several other reforms, nor ever agitated for them. It was before the agitators that the British government threw these constitutional crumbs so that they could be misguided from the right path. This was a bribe offered by the British government to them to cooperate with them, to destroy the revolutionaries from roots. Gandhi ji demands for them these, as he refers to them, toys for India, to amuse people who agitate from time to time, Home Rule, Self-Rule, Responsible Governemnt, Full Responsible Government/, Colonial Self-Rule, and other constitutional epithets, that are all slavery. The aim of the revolutionaries is not reform of the government; they raised the level of freedom high long ago, and they are offering sacrifices for this unhesitatingly for the attainment of this goal. They claim that their sacrifices have transformed the thinking of the common masses. With their efforts, they have taken the country far ahead on the path to freedom, and even those who differ from them in the political field, accept this as true.
According to Gandhi ji, violence obstructs the path of progress and postpones the day of attaining freedom, and in response to this we can give several such examples, where nations that used violence became socially progressive and achieved political independence. Let us take the example of Russia and Turkey. Both used violent methods and attained power only through an armed revolution. Even afterwards, due to the social reforms, the people there made rapid progress. Only by the example of Afghanistan, can one not prove a political premise/.That is an exception.
In Gandhi ji’s views, the awareness created among the public during the Non-Cooperation Movement was the result of the message of ahimsa non violence, but this belief is flawed, and to credit ahimsa non violence for it, is a mistake, because wherever there has been a raising of public consciousness, it has been through directaction. For example, it is through powerful public agitation that the peasants and workers were made aware in Russia. No one had preached ahimsa non violence to them; in fact we will go so far as to say that it is because of ahimsa non violence and Gandhi ji’s policy of compromise that caused those powers to crack that had been united with the slogan of a collective front. This is arguedthat battling political injustice with the weapon of ahimsa non violence is possible, but one can only sum up one’s views on this topic and say that this is a strange idea which hasnever not been put to test yet.
The weapon of ahimsa non violence proved unsuccessful in winning the justifiable rights that Indians in South Africa deserved. It even proved unsuccessful in winning self-rule for India whereas a huge army of National Congress volunteers kept striving for it and more than a crore&quarter rupees was spent on it. In the recent Bardoli Satyagraha the inefficacy of it, has been proved. On this occasion, the leaders of the Satyagraha, Gandhi and Patel were unsuccessful in securing even the minimum rights which they had assured the peasants of achieving. Apart from these, we are not aware of any other national agitation. Till now this ahimsa non violence has won only one blessing and that is of failure. In such a situation it is hardly surprising that the country has refuted their experiment. In fact, the form of Satyagraha that Gandhi ji is promtoing is a kind of agitation, an opposition, for which the natural consequence is compromise, as has been witnessed first hand. So the sooner we understand that there can be no pact between liberation and slavery, the better it would be.
Gandhi ji believes that we are entering a new age. But in the constitution of the Congress, this is mere word-play, that is, to call Swarajya, ‘complete freedom’ does not start a new age. That will actually be a great day when the Congress will decide to start an all-India agitation, with universally accepted revolutionary ideals as its basis. Till such time it is laughable to hold the banner of freedom. In this issue, we are in agreement with Chaudhrani Sarla Devi’s views that she expressed in an interview with a newspaper correspondent. She said – ‘To unfurl the flag of freedom at one minute past midnight on the night of the 31st of December, 1929 is strange. The G.O.C, Assistant G.O.C, and the other people knew well that the decision to unfurl the flag of freedom hung in the balance till midnight, because if the Viceroy or Secretary of State had sent the message that India had been grantecolonial/ self-rule, then even at 59 minutes past 11 the situation could have changed.” This makes it evident that the goal of attainment of complete freedom was never the heart-felt desire of the leaders, but like the tantrum of a spoilt brat. What would have been appropriate for the Indian National Congress was to have first attained freedom and then to make the announcement. The truth is that now instead of colonial swarajya/, the Congress spokespersons will beat the drum of complete freedom before the public. Now they will tell the people that they should be ready for the struggle, in which one side will offer punches but the other will only just endure them till the time he is so badly beaten that he can no longer get up. Can this be called struggle and can this win the freedom of the country? For any nation it is good to keep the aim of complete attainment of goals, but it is also necessary along with it that to reach this aim, those methods should be used that are able, and those have been used before, otherwise we face the danger of becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of the world.
Gandhi ji has urged all intellectuals to stop supporting the revolutionaries and to criticize their activities so that they can understand the harm that has been caused by the violent actitives of such neglected patriots. How easy it is to insult people and call them votaries of trite arguments, in the same way, to criticize them and tell the public not to support them, so that they are forced to scatter and postpone their activities, all this become easy, to do especially for such a person, who enjoys the confidence of some of the influential people of the public. Gandhi ji all his life interacted with masses, but it is a sad fact that he neither understands the psychology of the revolutionaries, nor wishes to do so. The principle that is dear to the revolutionaries is a priceless one. A person who becomes a revolutionary carries his head on his palm and is ready to lay down his life in an instant and not for fun. He makes a sacrifice and renunciation not to win the sympathy and applause of the public. He follows this path because his conscience encourages him to do so; his soul inspires him for this.
A revolutionary places the maximum belief in reason. He believes in logic and nothing but logic. Any swear words or criticism, even if it comes from the highest source, cannot deflect him from striving for his chosen aim. It is sheer foolishness to believe that he would abandon his goal if the public does not support him or if his work is not appreciated. Several revolutionaries, whose work has come in for heavy criticism from the constitutional agitators, did not care two hoots and went to the gallows. If you want the revolutionaries to postpone their activities, then what should happen is that you should prove the truth of your logic through argument. This is the one and only way, and no one should have any doubt regarding any other thing. Revolutionaries are definitely not going to surrender to threats.
We request every patriot to join us in all seriousness in this war. Let no man use psychological experiments like ahimsa non violence and other such strange methods and play with the freedom of the country. Freedom is the breath of the country. Our slavery is shameful for us, who knows when we will have the wisdom and the courage to rid ourselves of it and become free? Of what use are our ancient civilization and a glorious heritage if we don’t have pride in our own self any more to prevent ourselves from bowing to foreign slavery, a foreign banner and emperor?
Is it not a crime that Britain has imposed an immoral rule over India? Made us beggars and sucked the blood out of us. In the name of one rac and of humanity, they have humiliated and exploited us. Do the people still want us to forget our humiliation and forgive the British rulers? We shall avenge this; and this will be a fitting revenge of the people upon the rulers. Let cowards turn their backs and cling to a policy of appeasement in the hope of peace. We don’t seek mercy in alms from anyone; nor shall we forgive anyone. Our war shall continue till either victory or death. Long live the revolution!