Monday, June 25, 2012

True-False Exercise June 25

Read the passage and answer the question that follows.

Studies on Subhas Chandra Bose's flirtation with the Axis powers, first Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy and next Tojo's Japan, vary a lot in their approach from the denunciatory to the apologetic and hagiographic, so typical of Indian nationalistic writings. Some have emphasised his activities in South-East Asia – with its Azad Hind government and the rest, which the brilliant advocate Bhulabhai Desai so ably described at the Indian National Army (INA) trial in the Red Fort in New Delhi – to the neglect of the crucial phase in Germany, which preceded it.Romain Hayes' work, based on massive research, deserves wide readership in India because it is scrupulously fair and richly nuanced. It covers the background to Bose's adventure – his outlook on democracy and/differences with Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. All of which explain, but do not justify, why he sought and took help from the fascists. The author's emphasis on Bose's sturdy independence is writ all over the book. He was incapable of being anybody's stooge; only an opportunistic, albeit fierce, nationalist. That said, the author is unsparing in his censures of Bose's moral blindness to the crimes of his deliberately chosen allies.There is a record of such opportunism and not in India alone. The Irish patriot, Sir Roger Casement, was tried for treason and hanged. The Italian scholar Marzia Casolari has revealed, on the basis of archival evidence, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh's (RSS) links with and admiration for Mussolini's fascist regime (“Hindutva's foreign tie-up in the 1930s”, Economic & Political Weekly, January 22, 2000. One wonders when her studies will emerge in book form). At one time, Churchill expressed his admiration for Mussolini.So did Gandhi. Indeed Bose and Gandhi's mistakes fed on each other. Were it not for Gandhi's shabby treatment of Bose – forcing an elected Congress president to vacate his office and then treating him with scorn – Bose would not have left India in December 1940. “Bose left no doubt that the attitude of Gandhi had been central to his leaving India.” Maulana Azad noted with some astonishment that Gandhi's “admiration for Subhas Bose unconsciously coloured his view about the whole war situation”, especially on Cripps' proposals of March 30, 1942, for a settlement of India's political impasse.As early as in 1941, “Sardar Patel felt convinced that the Allies were going to lose the war” (K.M. Munshi; Pilgrimage to Freedom, 1967; page 75). Singapore fell to Japanese arms on February 15 and Rangoon on March 7, 1942. However, on June 22, 1941, Hitler attacked the Soviet Union and on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbour bringing the “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, the United States, into the war. Historians are agreed that by mid-June 1942 “the limit of Japanese power [was] reached”.Nirad C. Chaudhuri had a poor opinion of Nehru's and Bose's understanding of international affairs. He analysed the 1942 episode in detail in an article in The Times of India of February 28, 1982, aptly titled, “They were ignorant of International Politics”. This was a reference to “the two Cambridge men” in the Congress, Nehru and Bose, “who were always talking about the international situation. They were also regarded by their political colleagues as expert authorities on international affairs… (but) their ideas on international politics were only a projection of their nationalism, which prevented their seeing any international situation for what it was.” This is true also of Indian writers on foreign affairs.The failing persists, still. South Asia has produced world-class economists, historians, scientists and diplomats. It has not produced a single world-class scholar on international affairs. Nationalist self-absorption is no help in scholarly pursuits. The myopic outlook on world affairs was laid bare in all its unreality at a historic meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) in Allahabad from April 27 to May 1, 1942.On the first day, Gandhi's draft resolution declared: “Britain is incapable of defending India…. Japan's quarrel is not with India. She is warring with the British Empire.… If India were freed her first step would probably be to negotiate with Japan.” Nehru disagreed. “Gandhiji's draft is an approach which needs careful consideration. Independence means, among other things, the withdrawal of British troops. It is proper; but has it any meaning, our demanding withdrawal? Nor can they reasonably do it even if they recognise independence. Withdrawal of troops and the whole apparatus of civil administration will create a vacuum which cannot be filled up immediately.“If we said to Japan that her fight was with British imperialism and not us she would say, ‘We are glad the British army is withdrawn; we recognise your independence. But we want certain facilities now. We shall defend you against aggression. We want aerodromes, freedom to pass our troops through your country. This is necessary in self-defence.' They might seize strategic points and proceed to Iraq, etc. The masses won't be touched if only the strategic points are captured. Japan is an imperialist country. Conquest of India is in their plan. If Bapu's approach is accepted we become passive partners of the Axis powers. This approach is contrary to the Congress policy for the last two years and a half. The Allied countries will have a feeling that we are their enemies…. “The whole background of the draft is one which will inevitably make the world think that we are passively lining up with the Axis powers. The British are asked to withdraw. After the withdrawal we are to negotiate with Japan and possibly come to some terms with her. These terms may include a large measure of civil control by us, a certain measure of military control by them, passage of armies through India, etc…. Whether you will like it or not, the exigencies of the war situation will compel them to make India a battleground. In sheer self-defence they cannot afford to keep out. They will walk through the country. You can't stop it by non-violent non-cooperation. Most of the population will not be affected by the march. Individuals may resist in a symbolic way. The Japanese armies will go to Iraq, Persia, etc., throttle China and make the Russian situation more difficult…. But the whole thought and background of the draft is one of favouring Japan. It may not be conscious. Three factors influence our decisions in the present emergency: (i) Indian freedom, (ii) sympathy for certain larger causes, (iii) probable outcome of the war; who is going to win? It is Gandhiji's feeling that Japan and Germany will win. This feeling unconsciously governs his decision. The approach in the draft is different from mine” (emphasis added throughout). (Congress Responsibility for the Disturbances 1942-43, Government of India, 1943, page 43.)

On the basis of the passage state whether the following statements are True or false.

1) ‘Unsinkable aircraft carrier’ title has been used for Japan.
2) Nirad C Chaudhari had a poor opinion about Nehru’s and Gandhi’s understanding of international affairs.
3) Nehru was not in favour of immediate troop withdrawals by the British.
4) Nehru felt that in case of British withdrawals, the Japanese would exploit Indian for their strategic pursuits.
5) Gandhiji opposed the British in favour of Japan and Germany as he thought that the latter were morally superior.
6) RSS, Churchill and Gandhiji are known to have expressed admiration for Mussolini. 

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