Below are purely my views which are based out of my understanding of not the man but the shibboleths he lived on, the principles he lived by and the word principle. Thus I shall play safe by being very generic and not pin pointing to any particular incident(lest i shall face a lot of fire ...) and try to bring out why a man was feared by the empire and respected by them as well.
Why is it that we always try to question someone's greatness ? Why is it that we pit one great man against the other ? Why is there this undying urge, this incessant need to compare and pass a judgment on someone great, within us ? Why is it that we hardly understand what these people stood for and only seem to know as a fact what they stood for and then use these facts to question the pillars of their strength ? I guess we do so because we are not great, we are just mere mortals..
I have held people like Gandhiji, Bhagat Singh, Azad, Netaji etc in very high esteem even though each one of them took totally different paths for trying to bring India it's freedom. It's not just that their means were different, they were polar! exactly opposite and in complete disagreement with each other. Yet I respect them all ??? Does that mean that I have no set of principles which tell me what is right or what is wrong ? Don't i differentiate between violence and non-violence? Supporting the fascists or fighting the fascists? Ever wondered ???
No! It does not mean any of these things. It just means that I understand that these were men who lived by their principles and compromise was never an option for them. Never! even if it meant turning many hindus against him or many patriots against him or not trying to save the life of a brave patriot or abruptly ending widespread and strong movements over a small violent incident or joining the fascists to drive out the Britishers, Never. You see to me that is the character of a leader and sadly it is this character our pseudo leaders today lack apart from a book of other things.
I beg of people who debate over the actions of such great men, to understand what it means to be a leader. What it means to make the choices a layman cannot make. What it means to bear the blame, to be held culpable for the death of a young brave man. No, i am not asking for their sympathy but quoting that principles demand stern action and rigid stance. They demand to be treated supreme. Nothing stands in front of them, nothing weighs greater. Yes it may seem impossible for us to achieve but then we are not the great ones, are we ??
Having quoted that it is also mandatory to understand that principles are not generic and they surely are "to each his own". It is our duty to live by those principles and if we manage to do that by never compromising we ,even according to lord krishna in Bhagvad gita, attain greatness. Your principle maybe using force or being non violent. The point is you always stick to it.You might question saying that,"Then a terrorist can be justified saying his principle is taking lives of the innocent!". No it can't be because I never attributed a right or wrong to your principles, there come ethics and humanity. It is your actions based on your principles and ethics that will judge you in the end. But if you have truly lived and given up everything for the sake of them as these great people did you are great and I do not have the stature to question your greatness. The jist being that, being principled does not mean you will never do anything wrong, hence their decisions and actions can be questioned but not their greatness. Ofcourse if the person is a total maniac ... things change but then every rule has an exception but for this one ;)
same should be the character of the government - populist and not popular ... As he says in the movie V for Vendetta," A government should be afraid of it's people, not the people of their government". I know i digressed here .. but wanted to put it in here ...
now fire on ...