There is an ongoing debate for an honourable place in the history of Singapore for Subhas Chandra Bose of the Indian National Army. Some Indian nationalists wanted to erect a statue of Bose somewhere prominent to honour his role in fighting for the Independence of India. Under most circumstances this is a call that would be appreciated by many who fought against British colonialism.
Bose was using Singapore as a base for his uprising against the British Raj in India. The main reservation against such a proposal was that Bose was working with the Japanese invading army that inflicted horrendous pain and torture on the local citizens. No one is questioning if Bose and his army had any part in the aggression against the local citizens. But for being on the side of the inhuman murderers was enough to rule him out for a place of honour in our country and history. Bose was honoured by the Japanese with a statue in a temple in Japan. Think he held the rank of a general in the Japanese Army.
The Indians, especially those in India, rightly must honour this nationalist that set up a resistance against the British. To the Indians, he was undoubtedly a national hero. To Singaporeans, he was on the wrong side of our history. The pain and suffering of the locals under the Japanese Occupation is an indelible scar in the minds of our forefathers. I don’t think Singaporeans would want to honour him for working with the Japanese that tortured and killed our forefathers, raped our women, with a bust in any part of Singapore.
Let Subhas Chandra Bose be honoured by the beneficiaries of his nationalism. If only he was not on the side of the brutal Japanese, Singaporeans would have no issue with his place in our history.