Subhash Chandra Bose
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|Subhas Chandra Bose|
|January 23, 1897 – August 18, 1945 (disputed)|
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
|Place of birth:||Cuttack, Orissa, India|
|Place of death:||Taiwan (disputed)|
|Movement:||Indian Independence movement|
|Major organizations:||Indian National Congress, All India Forward Bloc, Indian National Army|
Subhash Chandra Bose, (Bangla: নেতাজী সুভাষ চন্দ্র বসু Shubhash Chôndro Boshu) (January 23, 1897 – presumably August 18, 1945 [although this is disputed]note), also known as Netaji, was one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement against the British Raj and was a prominent supporter of the Axis as a counterweight to European imperialism during the Second World War. He formed the Azad Hind Government in exile, and regrouped and led the Indian National Army to battle against the allies in Imphal & Burma during the World War II.
Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms. However, he had to resign from the post in the face of a motion of no-confidence, stemming from ideological conflicts with Mahatma Gandhi. Bose felt that Mahatma Gandhi's tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence, and advocated violent resistance. He established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. His stance did not change with the outbreak of War, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness.
He was imprisoned by the British authorities 11 times. At the outset of World War II, in a daring act of escape from the eyes of the British, he fled from India, and reached Germany by a lengthy and dangerous route. He sought an alliance with the Axis powers with the aim of attacking the British in India from the Northwest.
When this plan was foiled by the Nazi invasion of the USSR being pushed back, he headed for Japan and helped to organise—and later lead—the Indian National Army, put together from Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from Malaysia,Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British forces during the Second World War.
His political views and the alliances he made with Nazi and other militarist regimes opposed to the British Empire have been the cause of arguments among historians and politicians, with some accusing him of Fascism and of Quislingist actions, while most others in India largely sympathetic towards his inculcation of realpolitik as a manifesto that guided his social and political choices. He is believed to have died on 18 August 1945 in a plane crash over Taiwan, however, contradicting evidence exists regarding his death in the accident.
 Early life
Subhas Chandra Bose was born in 1897 to an affluent Bengali family in Cuttack, Orissa. His father, Janakinath Bose, was a public prosecutor who believed in orthodox nationalism, and later became a member of the Bengal Legislative Council. Bose was educated at Ravenshaw Collegiate School, Cuttack, Scottish Church College, Calcutta and Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University.
In 1920, Bose took the Indian Civil Service entrance examination and was placed fourth with highest marks in English. However, he resigned from the prestigious Indian Civil Service in April 1921 despite his high ranking in the merit list, and went on to become an active member of India's independence movement. He joined the Indian National Congress, and was particularly active in its youth wing.
Still, Bose's ideals did not match those of Mahatma Gandhi's belief in non-violence. He therefore returned to Calcutta to work under Chittaranjan Das, the Bengali freedom fighter and co-founder (with Motilal Nehru) of the Swaraj Party.
In 1921, Bose organised a boycott of the celebrations to mark the visit of the Prince of Wales to India, which led to his imprisonment. In April 1924, Bose was elected to the post of Chief Executive Officer of the newly constituted Calcutta Corporation, where Chittaranjan Das was mayor. Though Subhas was entitled to Rs 3000/month as salary but he decided to take only half of that amount, i.e. Rs 1500/month - still a very generous amount, considering that a schoolteacher earned less than Rs 50/month in those days. He used most of this money for charitable and relief work and for enhancing the volunteer level participation of the Swaraj Party. During this period he also monetarily supported the activities of the National Council of Education, Bengal (the future Jadavpur University) and the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, by helping them recruit teachers, occasionally taking classes and helping them in their administrative efforts.
In October that year, Bose was arrested on suspicion of terrorism. At first, he was kept in Alipore Jail and later he was exiled to Mandalay in Burma (where earlier Tilak had spent 6 years in prison). On January 23, 1930, Bose was once again arrested for leading an "independence procession", protesting against British rule in India. After his release from jail on September 25, he was elected as the Mayor of the City of Calcutta.
Over a span of 20 years, Bose was incarcerated eleven times by the British, either in India or in Rangoon. He spent many years in various capacities as the Chief Executive Officer of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, and later as Mayor himself. Along with Jawaharlal Nehru, he was one of the radical left wing leaders of the Congress Party. During the mid 1930s he was exiled by the British from India to Europe, where he championed India's cause and aspiration for self-rule before gatherings and conferences.
After his father's death, the British authorities allowed him to land at Calcutta's airport only for the religious rites, which would be followed by his swift departure. He traveled extensively in India and in Europe before stating his political opposition to Gandhi. During his stay in Europe from 1933 to 1936, he met several European leaders and thinkers, including Benito Mussolini, Edvard Beneš, Karl Seitz, Eamon de Valera, Romain Rolland and Alfred Rosenberg. He came to believe that India could achieve political freedom only if it had political, military and diplomatic support from outside, and that an independent nation necessitated the creation of a national army to secure its sovereignty. Subhash Chandra Bose married Emilie Schenkl, an Austrian born national, who was his secretary, in 1937. According to Schenkl, she and Bose were secretly married in Bad Gastein on 26 December 1937. They had one daughter, Anita, born in 1942. Bose wrote many letters to Schenkl during the period 1934–1942, of which many have been published in the book Letters to Emilie Schenkl, edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose.
Bose became the president of the Haripura Indian National Congress in 1938, against Gandhi's wishes. He was elected for a second term in 1939 in the Tripuri Congress Session; Gandhi had supported Pattabhi Sitaramayya and commented "Subhas' victory is my defeat" after learning the election results. Although Bose won the election, Gandhi's continued opposition led to the latter's resignation from the Working Committee, and the possibility that the rest of the CWC would resign. In the face of this gesture of no-confidence, Bose himself resigned, and was left with no alternative but to form an independent party, the All India Forward Bloc. Bose also initiated the concept of the National Planning Committee in 1938.
 Actions during the Second World War
Bose advocated the approach that the political instability of war-time Britain should be taken advantage of—rather than simply wait for the British to grant independence after the end of the war (which was the view of Gandhi, Nehru and a section of the Congress leadership at the time). In this, he was influenced by the examples of Italian statesmen Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini.
His correspondence reveals that despite his clear dislike for British subjugation, he was deeply impressed by their methodical and systematic approach and their steadfastly disciplinarian outlook towards life. In England, he exchanged ideas on the future of India with British Labour Party leaders and political thinkers like Lord Halifax, George Lansbury, Clement Attlee, Arthur Greenwood, Harold Laski, J.B.S. Haldane, Ivor Jennings, G.D.H. Cole, Gilbert Murray and Sir Stafford Cripps . He came to believe that a free India needed Socialist authoritarianism, on the lines of Turkey's Kemal Atatürk, for at least two decades. Bose was refused permission by the British authorities to meet Mr. Ataturk at Ankara for political reasons. It may be noted here that during his sojourn in England, only the Labour Party and Liberal politicians agreed to meet Bose when Bose tried to schedule appointments with them. Conservative Party officials refused to meet him or show him the minimum courtesy due to a politician coming from a colony. It may also be observed here that it was during the regime of the Labour Party with Mr. Attlee as the Prime Minister, that India became free in 1947.
 The Escape
On the outbreak of war, Bose advocated a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest against the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow's decision to declare war on India's behalf without consulting the Congress leadership. Having failed to persuade Gandhi of the necessity of this, Bose organised mass protests in Calcutta calling for the 'Holwell Monument' commemorating the Black Hole of Calcutta, which then stood at the corner of Dalhousie Square, to be removed. A reasonable measure of the contrast between Gandhi and Bose is captured in a saying attributable to him: "If people slap you once, slap them twice". He was thrown in jail by the British, but was released following a seven-day hunger strike. Bose's house in Calcutta was kept under surveillance by the CBI, but their vigilance left a good deal to be desired. With two court cases pending, he felt the British would not let him leave the country before the end of the war -Bose, This set the scene for Bose's escape to Germany, via Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. Bose had never been to Afghanistan, and could not speak the local tribal language (Pashto). Bose escaped from under British surveillance at his house in Calcutta. On January 19, 1941, accompanied by his nephew Sisir K. Bose, Bose gave his watchers the slip and journeyed to Peshawar. With the assistance of the Abwehr, he made his way to Peshawar where he was met at Peshawar Cantonment station by Akbar Shah, Mohammed Shah and Bhagat Ram Talwar. Bose was taken to the home of Abad Khan, a trusted friend of Akbar Shah's. On 26 January 1941, Bose began his journey to reach Russia through India's North West frontier with Afghanistan. For this reason, he enlisted the help of Mian Akbar Shah, then a Forward Bloc leader in the North West Frontier Province. Shah had been out of India en route to the Soviet Union, and suggested a novel disguise for Bose to assume. Since Bose could not speak one word of Pashto, it would make him an easy target of Pashto speakers working for the British. For this reason, Shah suggested that Bose act deaf and dumb, and let his beard grow to mimic those of the tribesmen.
Supporters of the Aga Khan helped him across the border into Afghanistan where he was met by an Abwehr unit posing as a party of road construction engineers from the Organization Todt who then aided his passage across Afghanistan via Kabul to the border with Soviet Russia. Once in Russia the NKVD transported Bose to Moscow where he hoped that Russia's traditional enmity to British rule in India would result in support for his plans for a popular rising in India. However, Bose found the Soviets' response disappointing and was rapidly passed over to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count von der Schulenberg. He had Bose flown on to Berlin in a special courier aircraft at the beginning of April where he was to receive a more favorable hearing from von Rippentrop and the Foreign Ministry officials at the Wilhelmstrasse.
 Assassination Attempts
In 1941, when the British learned that Bose had sought the support of the Axis Powers, they ordered their agents to intercept and kill Bose before he reached Germany. A recently declassified intelligence document refers to a top-secret instruction to the Special Operations Executive (SOE) of British intelligence to murder Bose.
The decision was extraordinary, unusual and rare, and it seemed that the British took Bose much more seriously than many had thought. In fact, the plan to liquidate Bose has few parallels, and appears to be a last desperate measure against a man whose uncompromising radicalism had seriously worried the leadership of the British Empire.
 In Germany
Having escaped incarceration at home by assuming the guise of a Pathan insurance agent ("Ziaudddin") to reach Afghanistan, Bose traveled to Moscow on the passport of an Italian nobleman "Count Orlando Mazzotta". From Moscow, he reached Rome, and from there he traveled to Germany, where he instituted the Special Bureau for India under Adam von Trott zu Solz, broadcasting on the German-sponsored Azad Hind Radio. He founded the Free India Centre in Berlin, and created the Indian Legion (consisting of some 4500 soldiers) out of Indian prisoners of war who had previously fought for the British in North Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces. The Indian Legion was attached to the Wehrmacht, and later transferred to the Waffen SS; its members swore their allegiance to both Hitler and Bose to secure India's independence. At a time, when no one in Germany dared criticise Hitler, Bose was openly critical of Hitler's treatment of Jews, the destruction of democratic institutions in Germany and the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. He was also, however, prepared to envisage an invasion of India via the U.S.S.R. by Nazi troops, spearheaded by the Azad Hind Legion; many have questioned his judgment here, as it seems unlikely that the Germans could have been easily persuaded to leave after such an invasion, which might also have resulted in an Axis victory in the War.
The lack of interest shown by Hitler in the cause of Indian independence eventually caused Bose to become disillusioned with Hitler and he decided to leave Nazi Germany in 1943. Bose had been living together with his wife Schenkl in Berlin from 1941 until 1943, when he left for south-east Asia. He travelled by the German submarine U-180 around the Cape of Good Hope to Imperial Japan (via Japanese submarine I-29), which helped him raise his army in Singapore. This was the only civilian transfer across two submarines of two different navies in World War II.
 Indian National Army
The Indian National Army (INA) was originally founded by Capt Mohan Singh in Singapore in September 1942 with Japan's Indian POWs in the Far East. This was along the concept of- and with support of- what was then known as the Indian Independence League,headed by expatriate nationalist leader Rash Behari Bose. The first INA was however disbanded in December 1942 after disagreements between the Hikari Kikan and Mohan singh, who came to believe that the Japanese High Command was using the INA as a mere pawn and Propaganda tool. Mohan Singh was taken into custody and the troops returned to the Prisoner-of-War camp. However, the idea of a liberation army was revived with the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in the Far East in 1943. In July, at a meeting in Singapore, Rash Behari Bose handed over control of the organisation to Subhash Chandra Bose. At its height it consisted of some 85,000 regular troops, including a separate women's army unit named after Rani Lakshmi Bai (the women's combat army unit was the first of its kind in Asia). These troops were under the aegis of a provisional government, with its own currency, court and civil code, called the "Provisional Government of Free India" (or, the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind), and recognised by nine Axis states—Germany, Japan, Italy, the Independent State of Croatia, Wang Jingwei's Government in Nanjing, Thailand, a provisional government of Burma, Manchukuo and Japanese-controlled Philippines. Recent researches have shown that the USSR too had recognised the "Provisional Government of Free India". Of those countries, five were puppet states established by Axis occupation. This government participated as a delegate or observer in the so-called Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
As the Japanese pressed forward through Burma towards India, some of the INA's troops assisted in the Japanese victory over the British in the battles of Arakan and Meiktila, along with the Burmese National Army led by Ba Maw and Aung San. A year after the islands were taken by the Japanese, the Provisional Government and the INA were established in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, part of the British Indian Empire under Japanese occupation, which he renamed Shaheed (Martyr) and Swaraj (Self-rule). Bose visited the islands on just one occasion late in 1943, when he was carefully screened from the local population by the Japanese authorities, who at that time were torturing the leader of the Indian Independence League on the Islands, Dr. Diwan Singh (who later died of his injuries, in the Cellular Jail). The islanders made several attempts to alert Bose to their plight, but apparently without success.
On the Indian mainland, an Indian Tricolour, modeled after that of the Indian National Congress, was raised for the first time in the town in Moirang, in Manipur, in northeastern India. The towns of Kohima and Imphal were placed under siege by divisions of the Japanese, Burmese and the Gandhi and Nehru Brigades of I.N.A. At the time of the Great Bengal Famine of 1943, during which millions died of starvation as a consequence of British inefficiency and indifference, Bose had offered (through radio) to provide Burmese rice to the victims of the famine. The British authorities in India (and in the UK) refused the offer, arguing that it was made for propaganda purposes.
Bose had hoped that large numbers of soldiers would desert from the Indian Army when they would discover that INA soldiers were attacking British India from the outside. However, this did not materialise on a sufficient scale. Instead, as the war situation worsened for the Japanese, troops began to desert from the INA. At the same time Japanese funding for the army diminished, and Bose was forced to raise taxes on the Indian populations of Malaysia and Singapore, sometimes extracting money by force. When the Japanese were defeated at the battles of Kohima and Imphal, the Provisional Government's aim of establishing a base in mainland India was lost forever. The INA was forced to pull back, along with the defeated Japanese Army. Japan's surrender also led to the eventual surrender of the Indian National Army.
Spoken as a part of a motivational speech for the Indian National Army at a rally of Indians in Burma on July 4, 1944, Bose's most famous quote was "Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!" (which in Hindi translates to तुम मुझे खून दो, मैं तुम्हे आज़ादी दूँगा!). In this, he urged the people of India to join him in his fight against the British Raj. Spoken in Hindi, Bose's words are highly evocative and are considered an important milestone in the Indian freedom struggle.
His other famous quote was,"Delhi chalo", meaning "On to Delhi!". This was the call he used to give the INA armies to motivate them. "Jai Hind(जय हिन्द!)", or, "Glory to India!" was another slogan used by him and later adopted by the Government of India and the Indian Armed Forces.
 Disappearance and alleged death
Officially, Bose died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo on 18 August 1945. However, his body was never recovered, and many theories have been put forward concerning his possible survival. One such claim is that Bose actually died in Siberia, while in Soviet captivity. Several committees have been set up by the Government of India to probe into this matter.
In May 1956, a four-man Indian team (known as the Shah Nawaz Committee) visited Japan to probe the circumstances of Bose's alleged death. The Indian government did not then request assistance from the government of Taiwan in the matter, citing their lack of diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, as far back as 1956, the Government of Formosa, as Taiwan was then called, informed a British investigation that no air crash had occurred in that country between August and October 1945. Details are available in the book "Netaji - Dead or Alive?" by Indian ex-MP, late Shri Samar Guha and in the book "Back From Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery" by journalist Anuj Dhar. The G D Khosla Commission (1970-1974) too could not reach to any conclusion as it failed to take inputs from Taiwan. Published in 1978, Guha's book is the first-ever and easily the most comprehensive compilation on the Netaji disappearance mystery, which effectively trashes the Taihoku air crash story. On the basis of this book, Mr. Morarji Desai, the then Prime Minister of India, rejected the G D Khosla Commission report in Parliament in 1978.
However, the Inquiry Commission under Justice Mukherjee, which investigated the Bose disappearance mystery in the period 1999-2005, did approach the Taiwanese government and obtained information from the Taiwan Government that no plane carrying Bose had ever crashed in Taipei . The Mukherjee Commission also received a report originating from the US State Department, supporting the claim of the Taiwan Government that no such air crash took place during that time frame .
There are theories of political effort to classify information on the death mystery. In fact, according to some, Nehru did not wish to unveil the mystery behind Bose's disappearance and led to hushing of some important documents. It has been reported that a conversation reportedly took place between Josef Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov in 1946 about whether Bose should remain in the Soviet Union, although he is supposed to have died the year before. There are theories that Bose had kept contact with the Soviets after the defeat of the Axis powers became apparent, and traveled to Manchuria instead of Taiwan (Manchuria was occupied by the Soviets in the final days of the war).
The Mukherjee Commission submitted its report to the Indian Government on November 8, 2005. The report was tabled in Parliament on May 17, 2006. The probe said in its report that Bose did not die in the plane crash and the ashes at Renkoji temple are not his. However, the Indian Government rejected the findings of the Commission, amid speculation that accepting it would "harm Nehru's image".
 Political views
At the time the Second World War began, great divisions existed in the Indian independence movement about whether to exploit the weakness of the British to achieve independence. Some felt that any distinctions between the political allegiances and ideologies of the warring factions of Europe were inconsequential in the face of the possibility of Indian independence, given the fact that the British themselves showed so little respect for democracy or democratic reforms in India. Others felt that it was inappropriate to seek concessions when Britain itself was in peril, or else that pressure was better applied within India and in peaceful fashion, and found that their distaste for Nazi Germany and Japan outweighed any possibility that an alliance with them would bring India's independence closer.
 See also
- Indian National Army
- Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind
- Legion Freies Indien
- Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon
- Lakshmi Sehgal
- Emilie Schenkl
- Anita Bose Pfaff
- Angami Zapu Phizo
- All India Forward Bloc
- All India Netaji Revolutionary Party
- Axis Powers
- List of people who have disappeared
- ^ Kurowski, The Brandenburgers - Global Mission, p. 136
- ^ Bhaumik S, British "attempted to kill Bose" BBC news. 15 August 2005. URL accessed on 6 April 2006
- ^ Rudolf Hartog The Sign of the Tiger (Delhi: Rupa) 2001 pp159-60
- ^ Sen, S. 1999. Subhas Chandra Bose 1897-1945. From webarchive of this URL. URL accessed on 7 April, 2006.
- ^ N. Iqbal Singh The Andaman Story (Delhi: Vikas Publ.) 1978 p249; Jayant Dasgupta Japanese in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Red Sun over Black Water (Delhi: Manas Publications) 2002 pp67, 73-5. With reference to this it is interesting to note that during the 1970s the leader of the Communist Party in the Lok Sabha, Samar Guha, proposed renaming the Islands once again as Shaheed and Swaraj, as Bose would have wanted. This was strongly opposed by K.R. Ganesh, a Minister in Indira Gandhi's Government, and the one prominent Indian politician to have hailed from the Andamans, on the grounds that Bose had failed the people of the islands in 1943. When asked in debate by Guha whether atrocities had been committed before or after Bose's visit, Ganesh replied "Before, during and after" Dasgupta Red Sun over Black Water p77
- ^ Bose, Subhas Chandra. Speech at a mass rally, Singapore, 9 July 1943. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose & India's Independence. Tanilnation.org. URL accessed on 7 April 2006
- ^ Toye, H. "The Springing Tiger", pp. 112, 113, 115. Collected from Montgomery, A. Subhas Chandra.... JHR.
- ^ Namboodiri, U. Despite Formosa probe, Nehru closed chapter on Netaji. The Pioneer. URL accessed on 7 April 2006
- ^ Subhas Chandra Bose.Itihas.sify.com. URL accessed on 7 April 2006
 Reading List
- Indian Pilgrim: an unfinished autobiography / Subhas Chandra Bose; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Oxford University Press, Calcutta, 1997
- Netaji - Dead or Alive? / Samar Guha; 1978
- Back from Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery / Anuj Dhar, Manas Publications, New Delhi; 2005
- The Indian Struggle, 1920-1942 / Subhas Chandra Bose; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Oxford University Press, Calcutta, 1997
- A WILL FOR FREEDOM: Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian Independence Movement in Southeast Asia" / Romen Bose, V.J. Times, Singapore, 1993
- Brothers Against the Raj—A biography of Indian Nationalists Sarat and Subhas Chandra Bose / Leonard A. Gordon, Princeton University Press, 1990
- Lost hero: a biography of Subhas Bose / Mihir Bose, Quartet Books, London; 1982
- Democracy Indian style: Subhas Chandra Bose and the creation of India's political culture / Anton Pelinka; translated by Renée Schell, New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers (Rutgers University Press), 2003
- Subhas Chandra Bose: a biography / Marshall J. Getz, Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., USA, 2002
- The Springing Tiger: Subhash Chandra Bose / Hugh Toye : Cassell, London, 1959
- Netaji and India's freedom: proceedings of the International Netaji Seminar, 1973 / edited by Sisir K. Bose. International Netaji Seminar (1973: Calcutta, India), Netaji Research Bureau, Calcutta, India, 1973
- Correspondence and Selected Documents, 1930-1942 / Subhas Chandra Bose; edited by Ravindra Kumar, Inter-India, New Delhi, 1992.
- Letters to Emilie Schenkl, 1934-1942 / Subhash Chandra Bose; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Permanent Black : New Delhi, 2004
- Japanese-trained armies in Southeast Asia: independence and volunteer forces in World War II / Joyce C. Lebra, New York : Columbia University Press, 1977
- Jungle alliance, Japan and the Indian National Army / Joyce C. Lebra, Singapore, Donald Moore for Asia Pacific Press,1971
- The Forgotten Army: India's Armed Struggle for Independence / Peter Ward Fay, Calcutta: Rupa & Co., 1994
- Burma: The Forgotten War / Jon Latimer, London: John Murray, 2004
 External links
- BBC:Mystery over India freedom hero - May 2006
- Website on Subhash Chandra Bose
- Speeches of Netaji
- Biography in Banglapedia
- Biography in Kamat's Potpouri
- Excerpts from Mihir Bose's "The lost hero: A Biography of Subhas Bose" in Tamilnation.org
- Subhas Chandra Bose in Sify itihaas
- Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian National Army, and the War of India's Liberation by Ranjan Borra
- Brief biography in vandemataram.com
- Subhas Chandra Bose in lokpriya.com
- Free Indian Legion
- Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle for Independence by Andrew Montgomery
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