Difference of Ideologies between Bose and Gandhi

Everyone knows Netaji’s ideologies differed from Mahatma Gandhi’s approach to oust the British rule in India. But do you know Gandhiji once called Netaji “ patriot of patriots”. They did have some differences in their approach, but their mission was the same. Netaji was a soldier, while Gandhiji was a spokesperson. However some experts say Netaji’s skills were more radiated at the negotiations table, than the battlefield. There could be no comparison between these two leaders. One believed in the practical approach, the other believed in his philosophical view. Both of them were like the two poles of a magnet, but they had the same goal to attract freedom. Netaji Subhashchandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi’s standpoint can be clearly viewed during the time of Quit India Movement, the difficulties bose had to face because of the popularity of Gandhi’s decision. There is no doubt that both were respected, but it is clear cut that when it came to Indian National Congress the strings were in the hands of Gandhiji. Bose admired M.K Gandhi and called him Bapu, and considered him as a symbol of Indian Nationalism and Patriotism.


An important leader of Freedom struggle, Subhas has got attention due to his disagreements with Gandhi, his re-election to the Indian National Congress presidency against the explicit wish of Gandhi and his astounding escape to Germany when he was under house arrest at Calcutta. Subas was an intellectual, during his time in England he took political science studies, as he thought it would be beneficial, but in reality modern European history were his special subjects as it enabled him to understand international politics and their policies. He was a selected applicant for the coveted Indian Civil Services at London, where he declined to join and came to India to join the Indian National movement. At the time, Indian National movement’s mainstream was the Indian National Congress(INC). thus, Subhas joined the Indian National Congress to bring self-sufficiency and transparency within the Nation.

However he had disagreements with Gandhi on his political ideologies. He found “ a deplorable lack of clarity in the plan which Mahatma Gandhi had formulated”.Bose was increasingly critical about Gandhi’s conservative economics and his less confrontational  approach. Subhas Chandra Bose was a nationalist whose ideals were Tilak, Aurobindo and not Gandhi. Subhas’s mentor was C.R Das who won the 1924 calcutta election under the swarajists party. C.R das was elected as the Mayor and Subhas Chandra Bose as the chief executive officer. Swarajists were the party who wanted to establish a self-governance, which Bose could define through his National Spirit and ICS efficiency. In 1930 Subas Became the Mayor of Calcutta corporation and in his mayoral speech he illustrated the positive features of fascism and socialism. During the light of poltical prisoners, Gandhi and Bose had a big disagreement, Bose wanted hundreds of Bhagat singh to come to fight for the freedom of India, while Gandhiji considered extremist like Bhagat Singh as his enemy much like the Indian Governments. At many occasions, of the nationalist movement Bose believed in Negotiations and actions, he believed that religions, politics and economics went hand-in-hand. In 1938, Bose was elected as the president of National Congress which resulted to his speeches at the time of Calcutta elections. A lot of them were related to the soviet – five year plan and its policies were introduced in this planning commission, in all it was a notable achievement of Subhas Chandra bose  which brought him the seat of presidency.

On the other hand, during October 1938 the responsibility of re-election of the president came, Tagore suggested Bose, in turn Bose suggested a leftist Narendra dev, which Gandhiji did not accept. Surprisingly to all the members of the party in the end even after the opposition of Gandhi, Bose defeated Gandhiji’s candidate sitaramayya by 1580 to 1375 votes. After the Victory, pressure from Gandhi and His followers compelled Bose to resign from the presidency and led to a war between both. This guided Bose to create the forward bloc within the National Congress. This has been greatly emphasized in the history books as Tripuri Crisis of 1939 which led to historical change in the Indian National Congress. The forward Bloc was created to challenge the radical elements of National politics in the congress.

 After the signing of the Munich pact Netaji was convinced about the war which could start between the axis and the allied nations, therefore he started propogating his slogan  “ Britian’s difficulty is India’s Opportunity”. Bose also tried to convince gandhiji to give a six-month ultimatum to the Imperialists to quit India and launch a mass agitation against the British, as they would not be able to settle both crisis at once.

However Gandhiji denied, as it was inhumane to oppose the Britishers further looking at the Humanitarian standpoint. He even wrote a letter on September 5 1939 to the viceroy stating that “his sympathies were with France and England”. At the time Nehru and Gandhiji were not vigilant at the advantage at hand.  Disappointed by this Netaji decided to take action on his own, In 1938 Bose was supposed to be under house arrest. He fled from Calcutta via Kabul via Moscow and eventually to Germany. Netaji subhas Chandra Bose’s escaped made an impression over many leaders. He fled to Germany with his wife, son and 3000 Indian soldiers. He offered a alliance to Hitler. A radio Broadcasting of Bose and Rash Behari Bose, made an impression over Gandhiji that the axis powers were going to win the war. That led Gandhi to believe those grave consequences of the victory of Axis powers and the mistake Netaji would make, if Germany won.

Looking at the conditions, suddenly Gandhiji’s approach to British Imperialism was changed, and the Quit India movement was initiated. Giving it a different look, love, truth and respect is found in both of these personalities, after all they had the same objective of liberating India from British Imperialism. What made Gandhi retreat from his earlier position? The propaganda which Bose had Initiated had a little too much affect on Gandhi’s conscious which may have made him took a confrontational approach to the Imperialists.

Whereby Gandhi decided to withdrew the spontaneous and unconditional co-operation with British in 1939, which gave a kickstart to Quit India Movement in August 1942. Launching a mass struggle against the British became a fruitful ideological option for India. Subhas was also invited to decide the war policies of Congress, Nevertheless he was  again disappointed due to the diligence on the approval of policies by the High command in congress.

A Different Look

 In 1940, at the Forward Bloc conference at Nagpur, Subhas met Gandhi and tried to make a final attempt to change his approach towards British and take a radical perspective of the situations in India.

A touch of sincerity and emotion was to be found  in this conversation between the two leaders. A full record of this conversation is available, in the reminiscences of Nathalal D Parikh who was a close associate of Subhas Chandra Bose.

During the conversations, Bose tried to made a final attempt to Gandhi to launch a freedom struggle and to take the advantage of the opportune moment. Where Gandhi admired his self-sacrifice and sincerity towards his country, however he refused to help him as there were several factors to take into consideration, also he didn’t think it could be the most opportune movement to launch a mass struggle against a country who was fighting for humanity. Moreover he told Subhas that even if England wins or looses, she would be so weak that she won’t have the resources to administer a country like India. The thought of attacking England at such a point contradicted Gandhi morally as well as politically.

Yet, the significance of anti-compromise conference at Ramgarh in 1940 gave a dynamic element to National congress. When it denied the help to British with its employed Indian men, money and resources as no Indian should be a part of the Imperialist war , these were the policies decided by Subhash Chandra bose at Haripura session. When an American journalist asked Gandhi about his drastic change in his view towards giving unconditional support to British, Gandhi said “go and ask Subhas, such a passion for freedom animates us all today”. During the Quit India movement Subhas was in Germany in his quest to gain freedom for India,  Gandhi started this movement as gift to the frenzied enthusiasm of Netaji and his forward Bloc. Abul Kalam Azad in his book “India Wins Freedom” points out that Gandhiji’s admiration for Bose coloured his viewpoint about the war situation and was somewhat responsible for the failure of the Cripps Mission .

Such were the political differences between India’s two greatest leaders Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi. There was tremendious amount of love and respect between them.

From the above research we conclude two different outlook of Gandhi and Bose ideologies. They both were greatest Nationalists India could’ve ever seen. They did have some difference in their ideologies, but in the end they were fighting for the same goal, the freedom for India. Both Gandhi and Bose had different approach towards dealing with Britishers, one had slightly extremists perspective, while the other had a non-violent, non-confrontational approach. However due to their mutual respect they tended to incline over each others opinions, and the same could be seen at the Quit India incident where Gandhi’s opinions were prejudiced under Bose’s ideologies. A Erractic change was developed in Gandhi’s character which led him to withdrew the unconditional support given to the Britian. These things impacted the speed of the process of the freedom struggle, ultimately which occured due to the efforts of both Gandhi and Bose. Bose was idealist who believed that non-violence could be a ideology but not creed. According to him National struggle should be free from violence but if need be, people could resort to arms.

Subhas Chandra Bose died in mysterious circumstances in abroad, his papers not only reveal the  difference between their ideologies, but also the “cult of violence against the non-violence approach” . These papers were supposed to be made public, when a person under the right to Information Act asked for it. However these papers were never produced at the parliament as promised by the BJP  Home Minister  Rajnath Singh who took a U-turn to the promises made. In the cuurent Affairs of India the importance of Indian National Congress is definitely seen to be collapsing. A kind of a Forward Block is in need to challenge the radical decisions made by the BJP government for the development of the Nation.

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