'Differences between Gandhi & Bose highly exaggerated'

'Differences between Gandhi & Bose highly exaggerated'

Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Photo credit: Commons.wikimedia.org

"The differences between Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose is highly exaggerated by the people of India and more particularly by the people in Bengal. The parting that took place in 1939 was a temporary one and if we study the relationship between Gandhi and Netaji, we will find that it was one the marked with deep mutual love, affection and respect," said Sugata Bose, the noted historian and grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose while delivering a lecture at Gandhi-founded Sabarmati Ashram here.

The Harvard professor, while delivering the fifth Sabarmati lecture organised by Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, that manages the Ashram, on Friday evening said "the way both Mahatma Gandhi and Bose were prepared to respect culture difference including religious differences and by according that respect were able to rise above that differences in order to forge an overarching unity of the country."

In 1939, Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress by defeating Pattabhi Sitaramayya who had been supported by Gandhi himself. "This was the first time in the past two decades that Gandhi's authority had been challenged within the Indian National Congress," Bose said in his lecture which lasted for nearly an hour. As a Congress president, Bose had to resigned following disputes in the party.

Citing numerous written by Bose to Gandhi during the freedom struggle, the Harvard professor said that Bose hailed Gandhi as "greatest Indian" who aroused the mass towards freedom movement. He referred to many instances showing both the leaders had respect with each other. Gandhi also acknowledged the contribution of Bose in changing the loyalty of Indian soldiers towards Indian freedom rather than Britishers. Gandhi also responded to Bose's Azad Hind Fauz where he built "cultural intimacy" among religious communities and broke down barriers by allowing his soldiers belonging to different religions to dine and live together.

Sugata Bose, who represented West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress in Lok Sabha between 2014 to 2019, regretted that at present people in the country have become "unthinking worshippers of state power," instead of loving the country as taught by Gandhi and Bose.