The Forgotten Hero?
On Independance day, Indian TV channels run obligatory patriotic films on prime time and pretty much through the day as well. I'm guessing its a money spinner. Some are your old classics like Border, Gadar, Sunny Deol Kills a Lot of Pakis and Yells in The Process, and some are the new wave of period patriotic cinema, including but not limited to every single person playing Bhagat Singh. I had the misfortune to catch parts of an incredibly bad movie about well...an incredibly daft individual. Bose, the forgotten hero.
I tied it back to my trip to Manila, just before I had returned back home for my holidays. Over there. Talking to the local junta, and indeed Singaporean Junta sitting along with, there's a hell of a lot of continuing animosity against the Japanese. If you follow the news you'll know that their otherwise charming president has got himself into a hell of a lot of trouble with the Chinese by visiting old war shrines. See, here's why everyone has a problem. The Japanese imperial army was at the time some of the most vicious bunch of sick individuals walking the planet. They had in very simple terms no respect for human rights whatsoever. To say that carnage ensued where they went is putting it lightly. The population was tortured, the women were raped and/or forced into prostitution and everyone else was generally put through hell. In China, mass graves of over 100,000 were found. This is a ground army, may I remind you. Not an atomic bomb. 9.3 Million Chinese prisoners are estimated to have been killed, and only the relatively lower population of places like Singapore, Hawaii and Philipines kept that number lower over there. Horrific is a pleasant word for this. It puts even Hitler's Holocaust to shame, though seems to get far less publicity. Lets just say the Jews seem to market themselves better.
So here's the thing. The last thing any sane sensible person would want to do, especially an ASIAN sane sensible person during the world war is to invite the Japanese army to help take over your country. I mean, agreed the Brits at the time weren't the best thing going, but hell I don't think the UPA is any better in terms of securing my rights but seriously, the Japanese and the Germans weren't exactly popularity plus in the world at the time. So what does our Netaji do? He flees to Germany. Why? Cos they're at war with Britain, and anyone against the mother country can't be all that bad, right?
Before 500 angry bengalis attack me and tell me the times were different, I agree with you. They were. The entire asian region was petrified of having the Japanese anywhere near them for very obvious reasons. The rest of the freedom movement in India was against the idea of asking for Axis help too. I may bitch about Nehru, but even he stepped up and spoke against the facist rise in Spain, Italy and Germany. Stupid yes, but sane at least.
But here we have Netaji, who decides that he needs blood spilled for freedom (Hmm...I wonder who that sounds like now....oh whoops I forgot that the times have changed). We have a man who literally went and begged the Gerries and Japs to come and help him take over the country, and naive enough to believe that they'd just march right out afterwards. We had an insane fool at best, and a vicious facist supporter at worst. Both options don't seem pretty appealing. As far as his heroism goes, he managed to get himself killed and matryed, like everyone elses favourite insane mass murderer, Che Guevera.
I think its funny that if I mention to a Filipino, Chinese or Korean that in our country, we have a national hero who ran off, wanted to march in with Axis Support, and trained his army using Japanese help, they might even consider boycotting us, or generally issuing statements of distaste. But such are our heros. He was a great patriot, and that seems to be enough.
They say the Hezbollah are quite patriotic as well.