His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle Against Empire by Sugata Bose

03 May

His Majesty's Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle Against Empire

His Majesty’s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s Struggle Against Empire by Sugata Bose

My Rating★★★☆☆

One attempt too many at defending political decisions and one slur too many at the other leaders (Nehru, Gandhi, Patel among others), all the while trying to portray Bose as a visionary who alone had the true picture of world politics and the future, makes this a bit of a propaganda book. At many times it resorts to ‘if’s to wonder about what Bose might have done or speculates on how he could have influenced various momentous events. At other times it is a string of ‘but’s to explain all the questionable affiliations and decisions that plague Bose’s legacy. In the end Bose’s own statement is what truly reflects his impact on the politics of the day: ‘Subhas felt like “a political Rip Van Winkle.”

With Bose being a distant absentee during almost all the major turns in the play, the author had to resort to some questionably speculative tricks to make him the star actor. The ‘biography’ is all the worse for the fact that it spends most of its pages trying to follow Bose in his meandering journeys rather than trying to understand his political/ideological progress that culminated so historically.

There is no doubt that Bose was a man of high integrity and as true a son of Mother India in those turbulent times as any of the other celebrated leaders. He deserves to be on as high a pedestal as any of them does. They were strong men and hence had strong ideals and also individual tendencies. All of them could not be right and none of them could be right all the time, there is no need for an apology to be composed for any of them, same being the case with Bose. Four of Five stars to the Protagonist; Two of Five for the Biography.

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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Book Reviews, Books


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