By Sampa Kundu:
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the greatest souls of India, still lives in our heart because of his bravery, confidence, love and sacrifice for the nation. We even remember him as a mystery as his death account remains partially uncovered even today. Few people remember him as a person having faith on women’s power in the 20th century India. Here is an attempt to show how Netaji viewed women and their role in the freedom struggle of our motherland. In different places he has delivered numerous speeches to encourage common people to join the War of Independence. Amongst all his speeches, I could read some of his speeches from a book called Selected Speeches of Subhas Chandra Bose where he was trying to motivate women to be involved in the movement.
Here are presented selected excerpts from his speeches…
In his address to the women’s section of the Indian Independence League, Singapore on July 12, 1943, Netaji said,
“ … During the past many years of our national movement, women have been equal to men in undergoing suffering with joy and courage … When I express my confidence that you are today prepared to fight and suffer for the sake of your motherland, I do not mean only to cajole you with empty words. I know the capabilities of our womanhood well. I can, therefore, say with certainty that there is no task which our women cannot undertake and no sacrifice and suffering which our women cannot undergo … Therefore, sisters, you too must take your share in the coming struggle … Many brave women like the Rani of Jhansi were required in our Last War of Independence also … the time has come for every Indian- man and woman, boy and girl – to come forward and make great sacrifices for liberating India.”
Again in his speech during the opening of Rani of Jhansi Training camp for the Women’s Section of I.N.A on October 22, 1943 Netaji said,
“ … The opening of the Rani of Jhansi regiment training camp is an important landmark in the progress of our movement in East Asia. We are engaged in the great task of regenerating our nation. And it is only in the fitness of things that there should be a stir of new life among our womenfolk.
Our past has been a great and glorious one. India could not have produced a heroine like Rani of Jhansi if she did not have a glorious tradition. In the same way, as we have figures like Maitreyi in the ancient days, we have inspiring examples of Ahalyabai of Maharashtra, Rani Bhawani of Bengal, and Razia Begum and Noor Jehan who were shining administrators in recent historic time prior to the British rule in India. I have every confidence in the fertility of the Indian soil. I am confident that India, as in the past, will surely produce the best flowers of womanhood.”
Women in India have great participation in every sphere of life starting from managing a home to managing a nation. In spite of that, there are people who think that women are not capable enough to carry out responsible tasks. This article is an attempt to show that men who have belief on women’s power are counted as great heroes for decades and centuries. And, societies that distribute equal power to men and women are blessed with peace and progress.