I should like to point out, rather emphatically, one fact, which was responsible in a very high degree, for our failure and which was the doing of our leaders. This was the international bias towards the issue of the war. The ‘democratic’ West (that is, the interested parties of the Allies) told us that it was a struggle between the fascist forces on the one side and democratic forces on the other, on an international scale, irrespective of national boundaries. Moscow endorsed it. The nationalist leaders of Marxist tradition accepted it. Indian communists alienated themselves completely from the Indian struggle for freedom. In fact, they opposed it. The Indian struggle for freedom lost all its meaning - and, in fact, became harmful, at a time when world fascism (I do no know the meaning) was being fought by the world people (again I do not know the meaning). Intellectually the Congress also accepted the same mischievous interpretation of the war - thanks to the confusion and efforts of Jawahar Lal - with a proviso. They accepted that it was a democratic war. They accepted that Britain was fighting for such a war. They were convinced of that. What remained was that they wanted to know how those principles of democracy for which war was being fought would be applied to India.
But this proviso was unimportant. The fact remains that we accepted the moral validity of our enemy’s position. This was the major ideological defeat we suffered at the hands of Britain. Why is Leftism a force in the whole world of today? It is because it had won its battle against the philosophers of status quo and reaction, on the intellectual plane first. We had on the other hand, in our battle, accepted the intellectual analysis of the war by our enemy and so, consequently, we also accepted the ideological validity of their position. From such a step, inefficiency, unpreparedness and confusion in practice were natural corollaries.
After the acceptance of such a view towards the war, the question of Indian freedom became a second-rate question, of a future importance, to be bothered about when Democracy, the first-rate question, of immediate importance, had been solved.
Such an analysis of the war and its issues was totally wrong and greatly harmful. It threw the national question in particular and the colonial question in general out of a true and advantageous perspective.
Congress leadership, and not the nationalist people, and particularly Jawaharlal were responsible for all this international fuss. “We hate imperialism but we hate fascism more,” which was the usual theme, was untrue both as a matter of fact, as far as people were concerned, and as a matter of reading, as far as analysis was concerned.