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The blend strength and spirit: Vivekananda and Bose

Two personalities, born 34 years apart, on the same land of revolutionaries, both having an English education, and proved their mettle thereto, being conferred with silken-convocation gowns of western philosophies. Hailing from families where they had all, material and spiritual, yet in order to know to understand to imbibe the spirit of Bharata, renounced the gross. While one was a soldier in the robes of a sanyasi, the other was sanyasi in the attire of a soldier, the perfect amalgamation of strength and spirit were these two embodiments of idea called Bharata: Swami Vivekananda and Netaji Bose.

“The longest night seems to be passing away, the sorest trouble seems to be coming to an end at last, the seeming corpse appears to be awaking and a voice is coming to us — away back where history and even tradition fails to peep into the gloom of the past, coming down from there, reflected as it were from peak to peak of the infinite Himalaya of knowledge, and of love, and of work, India, this motherland of ours — a voice is coming unto us, gentle, firm, and yet unmistakable in its utterances, and is gaining volume as days pass by, and behold, the sleeper is awakening! Like a breeze from the Himalayas, it is bringing life into the almost dead bones and muscles, the lethargy is passing away, and only the blind cannot see, or the perverted will not see, that she is awakening, this motherland of ours, from her deep long sleep. None can desist her anymore; never is she going to sleep anymore; no outward powers can hold her back any more; for the infinite giant is rising to her feet.” These words from Swamiji were like a thunder amidst the prevailing obscurity on this part of the globe and incidentally these were spoken on 25th January, 1897, just a couple of days after the Netaji was born.

Netaji too had a great admiration towards the ‘Ramkrishna- Vivekananda order’. He said “It is under their (Ramakrishna and Vivekananda’s) sacred influence that my life got first awakened. Like Nivedita I also regard Ramakrishna and Vivekananda as two aspects of one indivisible personality. If Swamiji had been alive today, he would have been my guru, that is to say, I would have accepted him as my Master. It is needless to add, however, that as long as I live, I shall be absolutely loyal and devoted to Ramakrishna- Vivekananda”. Netaji loved to describe himself as spiritual son (Manas Putra) of Swamiji.

With Vivekananda, religion was the inspirer of nationalism. He tried to infuse into the new generation a sense of pride in India’s past, of faith in India’s future and a spirit of self-confidence and self-respect. Though the Swami never gave any political message, everyone who came into contact with him or his writings developed a spirit of patriotism and a political mentality. So far at least as Bengal is concerned, Swami Vivekananda may be regarded as the spiritual father of the modern nationalist movement. He died very young in 1902, but since his death his influence has been even greater.

Swamiji said, “My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions. I have formulated the idea and have given my life to it. If I do not achieve success, some better one will come after me to work it out, and I shall be content to struggle.” Subhash happened to be just one of many examples, who, taking the que from this monk quivered his era.

Swamiji was a full-blooded masculine personality-and a fighter to the core of his being. He was a worshipper of Shakti and gave a practical interpretation to the Vedanta for the upliftment of his countrymen. He wanted Men with capital ‘M’, the muscles of iron and nerves of steel, inside which dwells a mind of the same material as that of which the thunderbolt is made. SubhashBabucompletely fitted in this mould; the courage of a general, devotion of bhakta and the renunciation of an ascetic.

Both these men were proud of India’s past, but were not blind to the ills that had crept into the society. Netaji was overwhelmed by the success of socialism in Soviet Russia in solving the problems of poverty, illiteracy and backwardness but he did not like the dogmatic approach of the Soviet system which treated man as a machine. But he, like Swami Vivekananda, believed that every human being is a manifestation of Brahman – the supreme soul.

Bose felt India should evolve her own path and model for achieving a socialistic character. He supposedly wanted to incorporate Marxian economic principles but was not interested in Marx’s dialectical materialism. Bose wanted Vivekananda’s value-based humanistic social condition where everyone would have the opportunity to grow, equality of man and woman and no discrimination on caste and creed in the economic upliftment of society.

(Un)fortunate for both, or to say for this land, they were never accepted or appreciated by their own people. None realized the spiritual zeal of Narendranath, he measured the edges of this ‘puya-bhumi’ as he used to call this land, but was never understood. It was only after the world Parliament of Religion, at Chicago, on the auspicious 9/11 of the 19th century that made the world witness the roar of the spiritual treasure of India, in the frame of Vivekananda. On the same footing, despite being the President of Indian National Congress, and a supportee of a huge public admiration, Subhash was never bestowed what was owed to him, nor he could find the men who would be his soldiers for the free India in this colonized part. It was his tireless journey, circumferencing the whole globe that made him ‘the prime soldier of the East’. As the fate would have had it, the west culled-out and derived Vivekananda from Narendranath and Netaji out of Subhash, but that, didn’t produced even an iota of decrease in love for their motherland. As Sister Nivedita said about Swamiji, “Throughout these years in which I saw him almost daily, the thought of India was to him like the air he breathed”.

The harmony of all religions which Ramakrishna Paramahansa accomplished in his life’s endeavor, was the keynote of Swamiji’s life. And this ideal again is the bed-rock of the nationalism of Future India. Without this concept of harmony of religions and toleration of all creeds, the spirit of national consciousness could not have been build up in this country of ours full of diversities”. “AsSubhashBabu said “The foundation of the present freedom movement owes its origin to Swamiji’s message. If India is to be free, it cannot be a land specially of Hinduism or of Islam—it must be one united land of different religious communities inspired by the ideal of nationalism “

And that was reflected not only in the words, but in the modus operandi of Netaji during his tenure as the commander of the Azad Hind Fauj where policy forming body was formed with Lt. Col J.R. Bhonsle , Lt. Col. Shah Nawaz Khan as Chief of General Staff, Major P.K. Sahgal as Military Secretary, Major Habib ur Rahman as commandant of the Officers’ Training School and Lt. Col. A.C. Chatterji (later Major A.D. Jahangir) as head of enlightenment and culture. The depth of the well of faith and rituals was minute in front of boundless ocean of patriotism that he held beneath him.

Both of these RoyalTigers from Bengalassumed various names during the different phases of their lives. Vivekananda was Vireshwar, Biley, Narendranath, Noren, Vividishananda and Sacchitananda. Subhash was Raja, Rangakakababu, Netaji, Ziauddin, Mazzotta, Matsuda, Kata Kana, Chandra, etc. This was just a portrayal of the fact that never for anypublicity that they worked. As swamiji instructed: “Calm and silent and steady work and no newspaper humbug, no name-making, you must always remember”. The idea for which they worked was the prime aspect, not their own self. Netaji used to say that one individual may die for an idea but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself into thousand lives. Swamiji, used to say something, and was often quoted by the former President Kalamsahab, ‘Not my name be made, but my ideas should be made prominent’.

The pride of the past glory of India and Pain of the present, evolved a Vision for the Future, and immense strength for the action to achieve the same, which exploded in form of these two stalwarts. Youth United for Vision and Action (YUVA) commemorates the birth anniversaries of Swami Vivekananda and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose ,and plans to initiate a campaign from 12th-23rd January to kineticize the potential of the youth of this nation . YUVA calls the YOUTH of Bharat to get UNITED with the eternal VISION and a perpetual ACTION to make a strong Bharat.

This Special Edition of Campus Chronicle embarks upon the great lives of Swamiji and Netaji, and how, even in the contemporary times they are as relevant as they were. We are grateful to Swami Shantatmanandaji, Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, who generously agreed to write a column for this special edition. Prof. Amita Singh from JNU who kindly accepted our invitation to address the youth on the occasion of National Youth Day, through the professors’ column in this edition. This edition also embarks upon the 150th Birth Anniversary of Sister Nivedita, the Western Disciple of Swami Vivekananda who gave her all for India.

Swami Vivekananda used to say, if I have 100 such men and women who work but without any selfishness, and the world would be shaken… One such man was Netaji, and indeed swamiji’s prophecy was correct, the world was indeed shaken by the courage of this Youth. Could you be the next one???

I hope the insights from this edition inspires youth to carry the legacy Strength and Spirit, for which Bharata has always been known for.

Happy Reading!

Nitish Rai Parwani

Nitish is a Law student at GGS, Indraprastha University. A renowned name in mooting, he has deep interest and expertise in disciplines of constitutionalism, philosophy and criminal law. A disciple of Swami Vivekananda, he is also an active Member of Vivekananda Youth Forum, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi.

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