Thursday, June 18, 2020

S.A Ganapathy Didn't Break the News of Japan Surrender to Bose - New Evidence Reveals

Based on details found in the Report of the Nethaji Inquiry Committee in 1956, I made an entry to my blog in June 2011, with a presumption that S.A Ganapathy could have delivered the news of Japan surrender to Bose. The article mentioned that one "Mr. Ganapathy" and Dr.Lakshmayya left Singapore with the devastating news. The men broke the news to Bose and his trusted officer S.Ayer in Seremban.

The article indicated that "Mr Ganapathy" was the Acting Secretary of the Publicity Department of India Independence League (ILL) headquartered in Singapore.

As the article did not mention any details of "Mr Ganapathy", premature assumption had been made that S.A Ganapathy would have delivered the message. The colonial papers reported that S.A Ganapathy was serving as an instructor with Indian National Army (INA).

But, a news appeared in The Indian Daily Mail on the 8th April 1946, proves that the presumption was wrong. The news confirms that the said "Ganapathy" was K.E Ganapathy.
The news which generally discussing the mysterious death surrounding Bose, mentioned that the  Malayan Tamil Newspapers reported that Bose was heard broadcasting from Manchuria on the March 17, 1946.

K.E Ganapathy who traveled from Penang produced the Tamil newspaper in Madras and said, "Subhas Chandra Bose is in Manchuria and is doing well"

With this, it is clearer now that S.A Ganapathy did not break the news of Japan surrender to Bose. It was K.E Ganapathy!

Many had taken this presumption (even though I have stated my reservation on the "Ganapathy" in article) and reproduce it in their presentations, speeches and articles that S.A Ganapathy was the person who broke the news to Bose. This was done in the context to project how close was Ganapathy to Bose.

This new evidence shows that Ganapathy was not given a high rank in Indian Independence League (ILL) nor Indian National Army. It is also evident the truth in the confession made by an ex INA member, Sutharman, that Ganapathy was court-marshaled in INA for being a communist.

Intelligent report stated that Malayan Indians from Malayan Communist Party (MCP) infiltrated INA and there was an unique relationship established between the MPAJA and INA. MCP sympathized INA's anti British struggle and wanted to form an alliance with INA after the Japan's defeat. But this alliance was betrayed by a high ranking officer in INA upon advised by the British (see my blog entry on R.G Balan)

Extract form Indian Daily News 8th April 1946

Indian Daily Mail - 8th April 1946e

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Nehru's View on Communist as Terrorist - Dampened Efforts to Save Ganapathy

We have seen in the previous postings that many leaders of Dravida Federation expressed their frustrations for the failure of Indian Government to act promptly in Ganapathy's case. 

If we dwell further into history of leftist oppression in India, we will find the validity in the federation's claim. We shall notice that India was baffling with leftist especially the Communist Party of India and other socialist fronts which were critical of Nehru's administration. 

The communist and socialist fronts continue to remain critical of exploited labour force which were used to serve the British's interest in India. British were still holding huge economic interests in India just like other newly "liberated" British colonies - liberation in the sense that British economy highly depending on these colonies.  Malaya too was serving the British for so many years after independence until Tun Dr. Mahathir called a shot to end this interest with his campaign - Buy British Last. Eventually the nation wide campaign crippled the British's economy. 

Going back to our discussion, Nehru was reported criticizing the CPI in Indian Parliament on the 1st March 1949 - the day Ganapathy was arrested.  Nehru said the CPI "has the past year had adopted an attitude not only of open hostile to the Government but one which can be described as bordering an open revolt."

The House also was made aware of the communist revolts that have taken place in neighbouring countries bordering India. 

"It was presumably in the furtherance of the same policy that attempts were made in India to incite the people to active revolts. 

Nehru's statement which revealed further that Government has taken against those who revolt, clearly show the Congress Government treated CPI as the British would treat the CPI.  

Nehru with Queen 

Malayan Tribune - 1st March 1949
On the 22nd April 1949 (when Ganapathy's appeal against his death sentence was dismissed), Nehru commented on CCP communist victory in China. He said that the victory not only a threat to India but to the whole world. He made this comment in Cairo when on his way to London for the Commonwealth Prime Minister Conference. 
(Note : It is believed that Nehru was still in London attending the conference when Ganapathy was hanged on the 4th May 1949. Yet. we do not see reports of any personal attempts taken by Nehru to meet Lord Listowel or PM Atlee)

Asked whether the Indian Government was fighting the Communism, Nehru replied : "We do not fight Communist, but we fight sabotage and terrorism" 
(Note: We note the similar term Communist Terrorist (CT) was used widely against the communist in Malaya by the British Government in Malaya). 

The Indian Daily News reported the Indian Prime Minister who was a key-man of London conference told correspondence : "We are friendly to everybody. We want to cooperate."
Interesting to note that this conference will determine the fate of India as the member of the Commonwealth Nation. India being a Republic did not fit into the criteria of the member of the Commonwealth Nation. The conference was paramount to determine the fate of India. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Commonwealth leaders, taken at the 1960 Commonwealth Conference, Windsor Castle.

Indian Daily News - 22 April 1949

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Banish Me to India - Sambasivam

Sambasivam requesting the Malayan Government to sent him to Malaya even though he was not born in India. According to Sambasivam's family, he was born in South Africa in 1923. His father, Narayasamy married a South African Tamil and brought his family - wife and with two children to India in 1925/26. Later due to some misunderstandings, Sambasivam's wife left her husband and migrated to Malaya with her children. Sambasivam would have been around 2 or 3 year old and had an older sister. They migrated and settled down in Sitiawan, Perak.
Sambasivam Narayanasamy 
The Malaya Tribune dated 3rd April reported that Sambasivam a 27 year old Tamil trade unionist, who escaped the gallows when he has set free by the Privy Council in London on the 30th March 1950.
The Officer-In-Charge of CID Johore C.K.S. Bovell said Sambasivam was arrested under the Emergency Regulations and will remain under detained. The police yet to applied for warrant for banishment. He added the future of Sambasivam will be decided by the Federal Government.

3rd April 1950

Sambasivan Rearrested - "The Hindu" Wanted Repatriation

Sambasivam was found innocent and was released by the Privy Council. Yet, he was rearrested without any warrant. The idea was to force repatriation of Sambasivam to India, so that Malaya could get rid of "the trouble makers." This had been a sheer violation of human rights. But, many including Indians in India, felt that repatriation was only to save Sambasivam.

Sambasivam Narayanasamy 
The Indian Daily Mail published a news based on Hindu editorial published in India on the 16th April 1950, with regards to Sambasivam's rearrest after release.

The Hindu hoped that the Representative of Indian Government to Malaya, Thivy will successfully 
repatriate Sambasivam to India. 

"It is gratifying to find that Mr. Thivy is continuing to find good work in the case of Sambasivam" and recall how Mr. Thivy's strenuous efforts had won a last minute reprieve when the labour leader was about to be executed for alleged offence against Emergency Regulation. 

"Sambasivam had consistently maintained that he was only a trade union worker and not connected with the Communist terrorist. On top of that there was the fact that he had been in 
prison for the last two years and could not possibly have had any contact with lawless elements. But Malayan authorities' object in re-arresting him is presuming to prevent the possibility of his associations with terrorist once he is free. 

We can see no warrant for this assumption. Anyhow if they think it would involve too great a risk to allow Sambasivam to go about freely in Malaya, they should have no objection to his reparation which has been in case of certain other Indians." 

The Indian Daily - 17th April 1950

Friday, May 1, 2020

Nehru Sold the Nation by Joining the Commonwealth - CPI

Questions raise why India kept her efforts not focused and intense in Ganapathy's case. But we see the efforts intensified in the case of Sambasivam. For the first time after Ganapathy was hanged, Privy Counsel was engaged to save Sambasivam from death. In Sambasivam's case, not only the voices of opposition were heard in India but in Malaya the local newspaper and reporters were very critical on how the British used force to get rid of trade unionists.

All though the voices of opposition raised in India against outcome of Ganapathy's appeal, the Indian Congress Leaders such as Nehru and Patel were not very concern as they have their own problem to dealt with, especially the communist and socialist movement in India. The communist and socialist parties were against of India's view to join Commonwealth. India in other hand needed commonwealth support to help in their Kashmir issues. The Commonwealth seen as huge association which India needed to get rid of their communist "trouble-makers."

The Indian Daily Mail reported on the 12th May 1949, on view raised by Communist Party of India (CPI) condemning the Prime Minister Nehru for "signing on the dotted line" of the latest Commonwealth declaration.
The statement claimed that Nehru had sold the interest of the Indian people and the independence and the sovereignty of the country to Anglo-American imperialists"
Another  opposition voice in India the All India Forward Block, which once was lead by Subhas Chandra Bose, had also criticized the London accord on India's new link with Commonwealth.
Its General Secretary K.N Joglekar appealed to leftist forces to form "United Committee of Action" to express disapproval of the "Nehru Deal."
K.N Joglekar
Why the leftist was concern of the deal that Nehru forged with Commonwealth? We will discuss this in future postings.

Note on Joglekar
K.N. Joglekar was born at Uttarpradesh. He was involved in the Meerut Conspiracy Case - controversial court case, in which several trade unionists, including three Englishmen were arrested for organizing Indian Rail strike. The Sessions Court in Meerut awarded stringent sentences to the accused in January 1933. Out of the accused, 27 persons were convicted with various duration of ‘transportation’. Joglekar and his comrades were each awarded transportation for a period of 12 years.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Deportation - Easy Way Out to Keep Malaya "Clean".

Deportation had been another tool used by the British in fighting against the communist insurgency in Malaya, beside the well known "New Village Plan" to relocate the peasants and farmers from the rural area of Malaya to a-hell-like closed guarded compounds in semi-urban area.

Deportation does not take the centre stage of discussion in the fight against communist insurgency in Malaya. The British was not open about this policy and kept a very vague record of deportation from Malaya.

Deportation has been regarded as inhumane by many scholars. Families are destroyed in deportation.  A father been forced to leave his family in Malaya and deported to China. Many of those deported were second generation Malayans who were born in Malaya. They had been deported forcefully to a foreign land which they are not familiar with.

The intention of the post is to analyse and understand the impact of deportation exercise against the trade unionists who were considered as "trouble-makers" to the Malayan Government.

Since the declaration of Emergency in June 1948, many unionist who had no association with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) were arrested and deported to China and India. The Malayan Chinese outnumbered the Indians. Many of them were genuine unionists who stood against capitalist oppression policies towards the labourers.

On the 27th October 1949, the Indian Daily Mail reported that Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones told the British parliament that 870 bandits killed in Malaya since the beginning of Emergency - June 1948. One of the Conservative Party MPs said there was a fairly general impression in Britain that the people were not being kept informed of the situation in Malaya. The Conservative MP also questioned the fact that since the end of July the situation in Malaya had deteriorated.
The Colonial Secretary replied :
"No,  the situation had not deteriorated. In some months the difficulties are greater than in other months but I think the authorities are pursuing the problem and pressing their operation with full vigour."
Another Conservative MP, Walter Fletcher questioned whether was there any difficulty arising in getting "rid of bandits who are due to deportation since Amoy (now known as Xiamen) and Swatow (now known as Shantou) were no longer ports which bandits can be deported.
The Colonial Secretary replied, " We have to some extent been obligated to abandon the policy which we had hoped to pursue, but alternative measure have been taken in respect of squatters who have been detained.

Even though in the British Parliament, the Colonial Secretary said the Malayan Government obligated to abandon the policy, but we do see records of Malayans deported after 1949. Deportation was a easy way out to keep Malaya "clean".
Indian Daily Mail - 27 Oct 1949

Sunday, April 26, 2020

"The Hindu" Urges Indian Government to Act

The Hindu editorial strongly urged the Government of India to intercede with Whitehall in order to obtain reprieve for Ganapathy. It reported Ganapathy is under sentence of death by Malayan court for illegal possession of a revolves.
The plight of the Indian labourer's in Malaya's turmoil is of great concern to us, declared the paper adding the labourers are caught in the terror campaign of the communist. agitators and strong-hand, t methods of the Foreign Administration. The labourers "should not feel that have been orphaned by the storm. To their credit, they have managed to keep out from the conflict in the spite if pressure form those challenging the authority of the Rulers," the paper reported.
"But there is some danger of the Rulers succumbing to the pressure from the planting interest to exploit disturbance for suppression of legitimate labour movements" 
The paper continued :
"The risk of one or more Indian falling victims unwillingly to the rough justice now administered in Malaya by the regime which seeks to crush the revolt in very real. We are concerned with question of the rights of the Malayan Government to take drastic measure to restore law and order. But we are very concerned to see that in the process no innocent Indian's life is placed in jeopardy. Specifically we would like the case of Ganapathy to be examined by the Government of India before the death sentence is carried out by the Malayan Government.
"The decision to charge a man under ad hoc capital without even an allegation that he was actually connected with murder gang or terrorist organisation takes on an ominous significance in the light of the fact that Ganapathy was the ex-President of the Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions which was since been banned."
The editorial concluded :
"The Representative of the Government of India should not spare any effort to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice. But the Government of the India to whom the people of Ganapathy's native village in South India have already submitted an appeal on his behalf. should make urgent representations to Whitehall to reprieve Ganapathy."

Indian  Daily Mail - 15th April 1949

Tamil Daily Viduthalai Claimed Indian Leaders Failed to Save Ganapathy

Upon learning the death of Ganapathy, Periyar (EV Ramasamy) the President of Dravidian Federation in Tamil Nadu, India signed a statement to the federation's Tamil Daily "Viduthalai" on the 12th May 1949 strongly condemned the Malayan Government authorities for the execuion of S.A Ganapathy. He also added if the Government of India had made greater efforts in the early stages, Ganapathy might have been saved.

What and where it went wrong? We know from the newspaper reporting that efforts had been made by local leaders in Tamil Nadu by sending petition to Tamil Nadu Congress leader, Kamaraj to intervene with the Ganapathy's case.

Based on the pressure, Thivy decided to meet Gurney on the 15th of April 1949. Nothing was reported on outcome of the meeting. Later, we learnt the High Commissioner of India to UK, met with Lord Listowel on the 3rd of May 1949 on Ganapathy's case. There rest is history.   

At this point we kind of agree with Periyar's view on the inertness of Indian politicians and leaders to save Ganapathy. For a second though, why Indian leaders as would want to save Ganapathy in the midst of India and Congress leaders like Nehru and Vallabhai Patel were raging war against the communist in India.

The Indian Daily Mail 14th May 1949

Monday, September 23, 2019

Challenging Colonial Power – Indian Labour Struggle Indian Migration - Janarthani Arumugam

I am so honoured to have an avid researcher on Malayan labour movement struggle, Janarthani Arumugam, contributing to this blog. I drive most of my inspiration to maintain this blog through our discussions. It is my honour to have her articles published at this site. 

Challenging Colonial Power – Indian Labour Struggle Indian Migration by Janarthani Arumugam

The British colonial economy was built on the backs of oppressed people from all parts of its dominions. Indian migration started as early as 1870s with the expansion of sugar plantations in Province Wellesley and Perak which demanded cheap, accessible and pliable labour from South India[i]. This dependence on plantation labour by colonial capitalists had a profound impact on colonial Indian subjects, specifically from Southern India. This is reflected in the four million journeys undertaken from 1840 – 1940[ii]. By 1957, Indians constituted roughly 11 percent of the population of Malaya and Singapore in 1957[iii].
Indian Population in the Straits Settlements and the Federated States in Malaya 

1901  - 120,000 
1947 - 600,000 
1957 - 820,000 
Source: Rajeswary Ampalavar 

According to Ampalavar, Indian migrants were characterized as transitory; they were expected to return to India once their indenture ended. In addition to this, the fragmentation based on caste, class and ethnic lines was a serious deterrent to collective politicization among community.

The Self-Respect Movement

The ‘Self-Respect’ political movement gained prominence and popular support among South Indians of Tamil descent in Malaya since the 1920’s. E. V. Ramasamy ‘Periyar’ promoted ‘no god; no religion; no Gandhi; no Congress; and no Brahmins’ in his movement[iv] after disillusionment with the Indian National Congress’s failure to abolish casteism.

His visit to Malaya in 1929 brought about the establishment of ‘Tamil associations, dedicated to moral, religious, and social reform’ led by journalists, teachers and kanganies (labour supervisors on plantations) in Malaya[v]. Newspapers such as Munnetram (1929), Sreethirutham (1931) and Tamil Murasu (1935) propagated writings on ‘anti-casteism, hegemony of Brahmanism, educational and health improvement, abolishment of religious rituals such as ‘kavadi’ bearing and firewalking, promoting monogamous Hindu marriages and the emancipation of women.’ 

His visit in Malaya, Ramaswamy took part in several conferences and one of the most important was the All-Malaya Tamils Conference (Akila Malaya Tamiḻar Mānāṭu) where some of the resolutions listed below were made, reflecting Self Respect ideals. Among the resolutions were[vi]:

1. This conference opines that Tamil weddings should be conducted in a thrifty way and should be conducted in the mother tongue;…

2. This conference supports widow remarriage and asks that everyone in Tamil society will too. The Straits Settlements has made this legal, and we will petition the Federated Malay States to follow likewise;…

3. All Tamils in Malaya should, regardless of their country of origin, come together and embrace the Tamil language as one.

Self-Respect marriages were highlighted in Tamil Murasu which reported the first marriage in Penang (1930). These unions allowed ‘people the freedom to restructure their own life around Self-Respect instead of being slaves to the rules prescribed by authoritative Brahmanical tenets’. 

Figure 1: 'Reformed Couples': Pictures of a Couple who were Married under the Auspices of the Self-Respect Movement, TM, 30/6/1936. Source : Dinesh Sathisan (2008)

[i] Amrith, S. S. (2010). Indians Overseas? Governing Tamil Migration to Malaya 1870-1941. Past & Present, 208(1), 231–261.

[ii] Sandhu, K.S. (1965). Indians in Malaya.

[iii] Ampalavar, R. (1981). The Indian Minority and Political Change in Malaya 1945 – 1947.

[iv] Alagirisamy, D. (2015). The Self-Respect Movement and Tamil Politics of Belonging in Interwar British Malaya, 1929–1939. Modern Asian Studies, 50(05), 1547–1575.

[v] Ampalavar, R. (1969). Social and Political Developments in the Indian Community of Malaya, 1920 – 41. MA Thesis. University Malaya.

[vi] Sathisan, D. (2008). The Power of Print: Tamil Newspapers in Malaya and the Imagining of Tamil Cultural Identity, 1930 – 1940. MA Thesis. National University of Singapore.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Petition to Save Ganapathy from Tambikottai, India

Indian Daily Mail March 28, 1949

On 28th March 1949, the Indian Daily Mail reported that people of Tanjovore village of Muthupet from Tambikottai and Jambuvanodai submitted a petition to Governor-General Sri Rajagopalachari also fondly known as Rajaji and Prime Minister Nehru and as well as Premier of Madras O. Ramaswami Reddiar, urging intervention of Indian leaders with regard to the death sentence passed at the Selangor Assizes on A. Ganapathy. Ganapathy was a native of Muthupet.

It is also said that the deputation from the villagers shall be meeting President of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, Mr. Kamaraj Nadar. 

Ganapathy Murdered Says WFTU

Indian Daily Mail - 8th May 1949
On the 8th May 1949, the Indian Daily Mail reported news on Ganapathy's execution. WFTU regarded both Ganapathy and Veerasenan death as inhuman.
The news as follows:

It is Inhuman, Says WFTU

Paris, May 7 - The World Trade Federation of Trade Union last night issued from its Paris headquarters a protest against the execution of Mr. A Ganapathy, Indian trade union leader, under Malaya Government's emergency powers on a charge of carrying arms.
The protest referred to "the assassination by the British authorities of the Chairman of Pan Malaya Trade Union Federation, Ganapathy, hanged on May 4 in the prison at Kuala Lumpur capital of Malaya, and of his successor Veerasenan, slaughtered the following day by a patrol" 
(Mr. P. Veerasenan who succeeded Mr Ganapathy was shot by a Gurkha patrol while felling with a Chinese from a guerilla camp in dense jungle in Negeri Sembilan
The protest said the WFTU had long been aware of "inhuman measures" by the British authorities against Malaya workers. It, therefore, raised its voice against "these flagrant violations of the most elementary rights of man - rights which are universally recognized by all governments, including the British Government" - Reuter

Note: Correction to the report above: Veerasenan was shot dead a day before (3rd May 1949) Ganapathy to be executed.   

Malaya Tribune - 7th May 1949

On the 7th May 1949, Malaya Tribune reported on its first page "Ganapathy Murdered" Says WFTU. A strong message indeed! The contents almost similar to the what was reported in Indian Daily Mail on the May 8th. 

S.A Ganapathy Didn't Break the News of Japan Surrender to Bose - New Evidence Reveals

Based on details found in the Report of the Nethaji Inquiry Committee in 1956, I made an entry to my blog  in June 2011, with a presumpt...