One evening at Allahabad when I was a Judge there I was at the house of one of the High Court Judges along with some other Judges,chatting before dinner.
I mentioned my view about Subhas Chandra Bose, that he was a Japanese agent. At this one of the High Court Judges who was a Bengali reacted almost hysterically, and started shouting at me, and threatening to walk out. I was taken aback, and became mum thereafter, as I did not want the party to be broken up.
But I have witnessed a somewhat similar reaction by many ( not all ) Bengalis if one speaks against Tagore. It is sometimes impossible to talk rationally with many Bengalis about 'Netaji' and Tagore.
Are Subhas Chandra Bose and Tagore the private property of Bengalis ? Can no one criticize them in their presence ? If Bengalis regard them as public figures, not the private property of Bengalis, then the public surely has the right to assess and criticize them.
I have expressed my views about Bose and Tagore on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in and I do not intend to repeat them in detail.
I regard Tagore as a British stooge who was promoted by Yeats and used by the British to divert literature from the revolutionary direction Sharad Chandra Chattopadhyaya was taking it ( see his novel ' Pather Dabi', which was banned by the British. At one time the price of one copy was the same as that of a Mauser pistol ).
See in this connection my article ' The Role of Art and Literature ' on my blog. I have explained there that there are broadly two theories of art and literature, one is called 'Art for art's sake', and the other is called ' Art for social purpose '. In a poor country like India only the second theory is acceptable. Tagore belonged broadly to the school of ' Art for Art's sake', propagating spiritualism and mystical nonsense ( see ( 'Gitanjali', 'Agni beena Bajao', etc ) and Sharad Chandra to the school of ' Art for social purpose'. The British were scared of the writings of Sharad Chandra, and so they promoted their stooge Tagore.
Am I not entitled to even present my view about Tagore before Bengalis ? Do I not have freedom of expression ?
I regard Bose as a Japanese agent, otherwise why did he give up the struggle against the British in 1945 when the Japanese surrendered ? If he was a real freedom fighter he should have carried on a guerilla war against the British, as the Chinese had done against the Japanese. In a guerilla war one fights with the weapons of the enemy, by snatching them from the enemy.
In fact Bose was only being used by the Japanese Imperialists, who would have bumped him off once his utility was over. Would the Japanese fascists have given freedom to India if they had defeated the British ? No, they would have looted it, and slaughtered a lot of Indians, the way they looted Manchuria and North China under their occupation, and slaughtered tens of thousands of Chinese in Nanking, Shanghai, etc. ( see on Youtube about these massacres ).
I have great respect for Bengalis, many of whom are my close friends. I would only request them to ponder about what I have said, and not treat Bose and Tagore like holy cows