worldfuturefund.org // Fascism in India – Although he is less well known in the western world than Mahatma Ghandi, Subash Chandra Bose was no minor figure in the history of India’s path to independence from the British Empire. He was twice elected President of the Congress Party.
In contrast to the non-violent message of Ghandi, however, Bose advocated a militaristic approach to liberating India. Bose proposed unifying Hindus under the flag of an Indian National Army and compelling the British to quit India using armed force if necessary. To accomplish this goal, Bose argued that Hindus should use any means necessary, even if this meant relying on the support of the Axis Powers, Germany, Italy, and Japan, the extreme nationalist ideologies of which Bose found attractive. Despite subscribing to extreme nationalism, Bose’s personal ideology appears to have been marked by an amalgamation of communist and fascist influences. This is apparent in his radically leftist political activities before the Second World War, but also in comments he made praising fascism.
Following his birth in 1897, Bose attended a foreign missionary school, where he demonstrated an early inclination toward being a free thinker. When he graduated in 1919, Bose went to England to qualify for the Indian Civil Service. He accomplished this by 1920 he had returned to Calcutta, where he worked under Chittaranjan Das, a Bengali independence activist. From 1921 on, Bose actively opposed British rule in India. This led to him being arrested no fewer than three times by the British authorities over the course of the decade.
At this time Bose formed close ties with the radical left and in the late 1920s Bose commonly could be heard calling for the formation of a parallel government in India based on the centralized mobilization of peasants and workers. In September 1930, Bose was elected Mayor of Calcutta. British authorities, however, would not tolerate his constant agitation for Indian self-rule. Bose was therefore exiled to Europe in 1933. His appearance in Europe at this time was fortuitous for his ideological development. In Europe, Bose was a traveling spokesman for his countrymen and he met with many important figures, including Benito Mussolini, Alfred Rosenberg, and Czech President Edvard Beneš, in order to promote his cause.
Upon returning to Indian public life in 1937 he was twice elected president of the Indian National Congress. A central part of Bose’s platform was calling for national economic planning and the “socialist reconstruction” of India.