We ask students whether they’d go more for Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent methods or Subhas Chandra Bose’s nationalist ways.
Aditya M L, BA Journalism, KLESNC College, Bangalore
There was pin drop silence in the court room during the Great Trial of 1922. Gandhi's words echoed, “Even when I am released I would repeat whatever I have done.” This tenacity displayed by Gandhi against the British makes him the perfect example for a leader. This leader not only bought us freedom, but also taught us how to lead a non-violent life. It is this idea of non-violence or ahimsa which made me follow Gandhi. It is sad or rather disappointing that today’s youth don’t prefer to follow the footsteps of Gandhi. How pitiful is it that we wish to settle everything with fists? Gandhi showed us that non-violence is not weakness but rather a weapon that can be employed by all. He stated that truth and non-violence are as old as the hills. And truth can be found out only through non violent means. In these times of gripping violence across the world, it is high time that we follow the principles of Gandhi and reintroduce his ideal way of life to our social and political lanes to solve our problems and be more humane.
Arindam Nandi, MA English, Calcutta University
Gandhiji displayed more political shrewdness and pragmatism than Bose did with his radicalist ideology during the country's fight for Independence. India at the time was definitely not ready for radicalisation and it was Gandhiji’s idea of the liberal democracy that stood out to be the more feasible of the options. British India had already suffered a lot due to the two world wars and were also preoccupied within its own internal conflicts for Swaraj. Moreover, before independence, it was Gandhi who held more power and influence over the general population of the Indians as well as the British. Subsequently, he also was well recognised by the Cabinet and taken into consideration for his liberal policies. As part of the Indian National Congress he also had the better opportunities to gather the leaders of the country under his own ideals and beliefs. His political temperament was moreover already responsible for mass movements throughout and across the country. Bose, as an extremist could do little in such matters and had to go on political exile, and was for a substantial amount of time, away from India. Gandhi, hence, had more politically direct and viable options open to him to bring about the British retreat from within the insides of the country than Bose who had to resort to power of the military and foreign alliance for support.
Daljit Kaur, Mt Carmel College, Bengaluru
I as an individual would support the thoughts and ideas of Mahatma Gandhi. I believe in non-violence and truth. Instead of blood shedding or killing people, it is better to fright for freedom in a silent manner. I would support Gandhiji with his Satyagraha. His movements like the civil disobedience, salt satyagraha and quit India. helped us to attain freedom without any losses of lives. Attaining freedom in a peaceful manner would only have been possible if we had fought peacefully without arms and ammunitions. And its was only Dharna and the Satyagraha's of Gandhi which helped us to attain it peacefully. Not only in those days even today if we want to attain freedom from a particular thing, or want to pass a law for the welfare of the citizens it is only possible by peaceful protest.
Satyaki Chakraborty. BE in Information Technology, RCC, Institute of Technology, Kolkata
If I were a youth of the Pre-Independence Era, I would have supported Mahatma Gandhi’s methodology. This person held no official political title, he commanded no army and he amassed no great wealth. He did, however, have tremendous influence. This truly exemplary leader derived his power from the conscious citizenry. In India, Gandhi raised his philosophy of non-violence to new levels of sophistication. Gandhi believed that organising non-violent civil resistance, not war, would awaken the consciousness of the British to their unjust domination over India. Gandhi is undoubtedly the greatest leader during the Pre-Independence Era and that can be justified by the three massive movements that he had organised. Gandhi’s mobilisations were so successful that they tarnished Britain’s international reputation and provoked irreversible change in Britain’s policy towards India. One of the strategies that made Gandhi an effective leader was his ability to build bridges between different communities, between upper and lower caste Hindus and among Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Gandhi established a clear relationship with these people by touring across India, leading all the major movements personally and by holding various public meetings repeatedly. He always managed to be accessible to others, just a glimpse of Gandhi was enough for a common man to be connected to this great leader.
Suchithra Suriyamoorthy, Cert. in Supply Chain Management, LIBA
Well, Netaji, the name is as unique as him and more powerful than any leader could be. It’s in the definition of how a selfless leader could be.
A true revolutionary, visionary, selfless leader who stood up for his people during their hardship.
Others may have many followers but all Netaji had was true patriots willing to give their blood for Independence.
The INA (Indian National Army) formed by him threatened the British empire and it became a nightmare for them.
He was the key reason for the red letter day to arrive and we celebrate that as our independence day. His courage, his ferocious words, his patriotism, his selflessness, the sacrifices he made him to become an inspiration for generations to come and I am no exception to it. So, If I would have lived in the Pre-Independence era, I would like to be Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.
Elisha Elizba George, B Com Professional, St Francis College for Women, Hyderabad
One, a nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India and the other was the architect of a non-violent civil disobedience that influenced the world. While one’s words ignited fire in Indian minds, the other’s ideas stirred nationwide protests that formed the face of the Indian Independence Movement. While both Gandhi and Bose were leaders like no other and endeavored towards the same end: freedom for India and her citizens, the two of them represented two completely different ideologies. Though a lot of people think otherwise, I firmly believe that Bose in many ways is a better leader, a better visionary and a better executor than Gandhi was.
Bose was a man of swift action combined with extraordinarily brilliant leadership skills. The formation of an army, devising battle plans, launching an offensive against the British Indian Army, all stand testimony to the larger than life form that this man assumed. His ideals advocated armed struggles and uprisings yet he opposed targeting civilians. We must also not forget that it was Netaji who was responsible for the uprising of the soldiers from within the British Indian Army, which finally led to the British Government having to reconsider their long term plans for India. This happened at a time when most leading freedom fighters including the Mahatma opposed Bose’s mutiny. And in spite of Gandhi’s much lauded doctrine of non-violence, it was only because of the mutiny of the armed forces combined with the taxing aftermath of the WWII on the British economy that India eventually attained freedom.
Coming to the philosophies of Bose, though he advocated armed struggles, bloodshed was never the path he adopted to achieve glory. Even when the more prominent freedom fighters like Gandhi were hostile to the notion or abstraction of an industrialised India and vehemently opposed the idea of an upheaval in the Indian Industrial Scene, Subhas Chandra Bose was very much in favour of an industrial revolution. He saw it as a one stop solution to rid India of it’s ailments and there is no denying the fact that his foresight was every bit right. Subhas Chandra Bose was in every way a fiery leader whose call to action created ripples in the Indian minds.
For a man who preached and lived by such values, for a man who became the face of the Indian Extremist Movement, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is hardly appreciated. His contribution to the Indian Freedom Struggle was perhaps the greatest, yet he is hardly recognised for his undying efforts and his indomitable spirit. His exploits are often overshadowed by his troubled legacy but that in no way makes his contribution any less worthy. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Our Nation, the face of Satyagraha, for his part left behind a debatable aftermath as well, which many choose to conveniently ignore.
Apoorva Subramanian, MBBS, CMC Vellore
Netaji’s ideals about India’s Independence revolved around self-rule and highlighted the need for violent resistance against the British Raj. “Give me blood and I will give you freedom,” he said, and this appealed to a large population of the country’s youth. His political beliefs were raw, and he created a fresh wave within the freedom struggle. Gandhi, on the other hand, lived by ahimsa or non-violence. Never before had one man managed to bring together a country so vast and diverse in all its qualities for a cause which seemed unfathomable at that time. In fact on one of his tours, Bose commented that he was very inspired by Gandhi and his prowess of capturing the crowd with his words. My opinion is this — Netaji’s life ignited that much-needed spark in the young blood. It set things in motion. Bapu taught us how to persevere. Both were splendid in their own ways. And neither are completely flawless. But in truth — India required her share of both. Only when we lose one thing to gain another do we know the value of what we possess and wish to possess.