ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Religion and Nationalism

provincial assembly. But the proposed induction of Sarat Chandra Bose in the council of ministers, and that too in charge of the home department, was out of the question. He was therefore conveniently arrested under the Defence of India Rules and put away. His followers went into the government along with Huq and Mookerjee; Mookerjee was designated the finance minister. His diaries narrate in expansive detail the hollowness of so- called provincial autonomy: the ministers were little more than dummies; British civil servants, directly advising the governor and in turn directly advised by him, conducted the administration much according to their own whims. Apologists on behalf of the imperial rulers might argue that since a war was on, and the Japanese were knocking at Bengal's borders, no risk could be taken and ministers carried away by narrow patriotic emotions had to be restrained. Be that as it may, these diaries somewhat come to life while describing the tension that steadily built up on the issue. Matters were brought to a head by the wholesale arrest of Congress leaders in August 1942 and the subsequent mass upsurge all over the country. The Bengal ministers belonging to the 'progressive coalition' government watched helplessly as the police went on the rampage, picking up indiscriminately young men and women

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