Both Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose were stalwarts of Indian freedom struggle. Both Gandhi and Bose were members of Indian National Congress and both of them had their own ‘political and social weight’ with the party and in society in general. During 1938 and 1939 Netaji Bose had actually won the election. However, because of the anti-party activities of a few congressmen (J M Nehru), he resigned from the party and formed his own political party, ‘Forward Block.
’Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose differed in their approach and had a different understanding of political reality:
- Subhash Chandra Bose adopted violent means for the liberation of India and thus led Indian National Army. Gandhi, on the other hand, was a firm believer of non-violence and led peaceful mass protests.
- Ideologically Gandhi subscribed to the socialist pattern of society where fruits of labour were evenly distributed and favoured trusteeship pattern of relation between Capitalist and labourers. Subhash Chandra was a keen follower of radical leftist ideology and organized trade unions.
- SCB wanted to grab the opportunity provided by second world war for India’s freedom, thus approached Germany, Japan while Gandhi saw fascism and Nazism a greater danger to Indian polity and society thus co-operated with British. Thus they had a different understanding of the same event.
- Religious teachings had great importance in the life of Gandhi while Subhash Chandra Bose was a leftist and rationalist.
- Gandhi’s idea of freedom was based on self-rule and rule over self. Bose viewed freedom not only in terms of the political self-rule but also freedom from socioeconomic inequalities, casteism, intolerance etc.
Gandhi and Bose both enjoyed the immense popular support and displayed immense respect for each other.
Comparison between Mahatma Gandhi & Bose Ideology
During 1904 Lokamanya Tilak told Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad (Badoda) that India cannot get political independence on own strength and therefore, has to take help of a stronger enemy Britain. Till 1933–34 there was no such person on the world map. Adolf Hitler was the first person who had guts and power to arrest the increasing influence of Britain. Probably, with this thought, Netaji Bose approached Adolf Hitler for support, which Gandhi & Co., would not have digested.
Both Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi were infallibly dedicated to the cause of Indian freedom. They were loved by the masses and feared by the Raj. But between themselves, these two icons of India’s freedom movement shared a rather frosty relationship and history is replete with instances of trenchant differences between them.
Although Subhas Chandra was a follower of Gandhi during the initial days, the latter part of the 1930s witnessed a growing radicalization of his thoughts and Bose became increasingly frustrated with the lack of momentum in the independence movement. As Bose started to assert his bold stance in various party forums, it led to a polarization in the Congress party ranks.
Bose found himself frequently at loggerheads with Gandhi and their differences often came out in the public. All these bickerings reached a climax when Subhas Chandra Bose became Congress President for a second term in 1939 defeating Gandhi-nominated candidate Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Unable to hide his displeasure, Mahatma commented: “Subhas’ victory is my defeat.” But this unhealthy environment within the party made Bose’s tasks all the more difficult and soon he resigned from his post.
Subhas Chandra Bose and Gandhi also disagreed over their visions for the post-Independence Indian state. Bose was influenced by the success of the five-year plans in the Soviet Union and he advocated for a socialist nation with an industrialized economy. Gandhi was opposed to the very concept of industrialization.
In spite of all the differences in ideologies, both these great men admired and respected each other. In 1942 Gandhi called Subhash Bose the “Prince among the Patriots” for his great love for the country. Bose too admired Gandhi and in a radio broadcast from Rangoon in 1944, he called Mahatma Gandhi “The Father of Our Nation.”