Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

Subhash Chandra Bose, one of the tallest leader in Indian history was born on January 23rd, 1897 in Cuttack to a wealthy and prominent lawyer Janakinath Bose and Prabhabati Devi. A great patriot and a determined freedom fighter of India, his contribution to the freedom struggle made him a hero in India. He is presumed to have died “in absentia” on 18 August 1945 from injuries sustained in an alleged aircraft crash in Taihoku (Taipei). However, no actual evidence of the death of Subhas Chandra Bose on that day has ever been officially authenticated.

Education and early years

He spent his early years in Cuttack, Odisha and studied at the Stewart School, Cuttack until the seventh standard and then shifted to Ravenshaw Collegiate School. After his matriculation, he went to the Presidency College where he studied briefly. His nationalistic temperament came to light when he was expelled for assaulting Professor Oaten for his anti-India comments. He passed his B.A. in 1918 in philosophy from the Scottish Church College under University of Calcutta. He qualified the I.C.S Examination with a brilliant record. But he gave up the service to join in the Non-Co-operation Movement in 1921. He was advised by Gandhiji to work under Chittaranjan Das, (known as Deshbandhu), a prominent political leader in Bengal. There he became a youth educator, journalist in a Bengal weekly ‘Banglar Katha’, and commandant of the Bengal Congress volunteers. He also worked as the Principal of National College established by C.R Das.

Public life and freedom movement

He was then jailed for six months in 1921-1922 because of his political activities. Immediately upon his release, the 25-year-old Bose organized and presided over the All-Bengal Young Men’s Con­ference. As a result of his remarkable leadership abilities and ambition, he advanced quickly through nationalist ranks. He was soon elected General Secretary of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee (BPCC). In 1924, at the age of 27, Bose was elected the Chief Executive Officer of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, which effectively put him in charge of the second-largest city in the British empire. As a result of his close ties with nationalist terrorists, in late 1924 he was detained by British authorities and held, without trial, for three years in prison. In 1928, the 31-year-old Bose was elected president of the BPCC. He became the Mayor of Calcutta in 1930 and looked after the affairs of the Bengal Congress after the death of D.R Das.

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s stint at Indian National Congress

He was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive years in 1938 and 1939. During 1938, when Subhash Chandra Bose was its president the Congress set up a National Planning Committee under the chairmanship of Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1939 Subhash Chandra Bose had been re-elected President of the Congress even though Gandhiji had opposed him. Following political difference with Gandhiji, he resigned from the Congress. Subhash Chandra and many of his left-wing followers then founded the Forward Bloc. When he gave a call for an all Indian protest on 9th July an AICC resolution, the working committee took disciplinary action against him, removing him from the president-ship of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee and debarring him for holding any Congress office for three years.

Azad Hind Fauj – Indian National Army (Netaji’s idea of the freedom movement)

Subhash Chandra Bose’s ideas for liberation were radically different. He was a Swarajist, but he belonged to the extremist faction of the Congress. In 1940, Subhash was again incarcerated for his rebellious activities through the Forward Bloc. On 26 January 1941, he escaped in disguise from India. He travelled through Kabul, Moscow, Japan and Germany. It Germany, along with some Indians, he made regular broadcasts from a German sponsored Azad Hind Radio. Subhash Chandra knew many foreign and Indian languages. He used to make patriotic speeches in English, Hindi, Bengali, Persian, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Pastu.

In 1943, Subhash moved to East Asia and organized the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army). He went to Tokyo and Prime Minister Tojo declared that Japan had no territorial designs in India. Bose returned to Singapore and set up the Provisional Government of free Indian on 21st October, 1943. He proclaimed a free Provisional Government with Andaman and Nicobar as its territory.

In 1945, the Indian national Army invaded India and occupied Imphal and Kohima. Subhash Bose set up two INA head-quarters, in Rangoon and in Singapore and began to reorganize the INA. Recruits were sought from civilians, funds were gathered, and even a women’s regiment was formed in the  name of Rani Jhansi. But unfortunately, Japan was defeated in the World war II. So INA also lost Japanese support. In August 1945, while Bose was fleeing South-east Asia, it is believed that, his plane crashed.

However, the efforts of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose along with Gandhiji’s Quit Indian Movement resulted in India’s freedom. Subhash popularly called as ‘Netaji’ was a great patriot and a determined fighter. His attempts for India’s independence were unique among all the freedom fighters. Once he said, “I have not found one single instance when freedom has been won without foreign aid”. Therefore, he sought help from the enemy countries of Britain.

Netaji was a patriot to the last drop of his blood. In his passionate love for the motherland, he was prepared to do anything for the sake of liberating his country. In a speech, he once mentioned “All my life, I have been the servant of India, and until the last hour of my life, I shall remain one. My allegiance and loyalty has very been and will ever be to India alone, no matter in what part of the world I live”.

Netaji had no formal training. But he was a great organizer and was one of the greatest orators of the freedom struggle. He gave the nation the famous salutation and slogan of “Jai Hind“. He have the INA, the rousing war cries of ‘Delhi Chalo’ (March on to Delhi) and ‘Total Mobilization’. He inspired the Indian soldiers with the world – “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”. He himself was inspired by the courage of Rani  Lakshmibai of Jhansi. Hence, he formed a Rani Jhansi battalion. This battalion consisted only of women and proved an impressive asset for the freedom struggle.

Bharat Ratna for Netaji Subash Chandra Bose

Netaji indeed, was a dedicated, devoted and dynamic hero of the Indian National Movement. He is the pride of India. In a proposal in 1992, Netaji was posthumously awarded with the ‘Bharat Ratna’. But since his death is yet, a controversy, and keeping in view the sentiments of his family members and public, the Government of India cancelled the proposal.

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s personal life

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose married was married to an Austrian, Emilie Schenkl (1910–96) in 1937. Their only daughter, Anita Bose Pfaff born in 1942, is an economist associated with the University of Augsburg.

Mystery surrounding Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s death

Subash Chandra Bose is alleged to have died in a plane crash Taihoku (Taipei), Taiwan, on 18 August 1945. Allegedly the Mitsubishi Ki-21 he was travelling on had engine trouble and when it crashed Bose was badly burned, dying in a local hospital four hours later. His body was then cremated, and a Buddhist memorial service was held at Nishi Honganji Temple in Taihoku (Taipei). His ashes were taken to Japan and interred at the Renkōji Temple in Tokyo. This version of events is supported by the testimonies of a Captain Yoshida Taneyoshi, and a British spy known as “Agent 1189.

But the absence of his body has led to many theories being put forward concerning his possible survival. One such claim is that Bose actually died later in Siberia, while in Soviet captivity. The Govt of India has set up several commitees to investigate this matter. However nothing conclusive evidence was recovered eitherof his death or survival. One such enquiry commission under Justice Mukherjee, which investigated the Bose disappearance mystery in the period 1999–2005, did approach the Taiwanese government, and obtained information from the Taiwan government that no plane carrying Bose had ever crashed in Taipei, and there was, in fact, no plane crash in Taiwan on 18 August 1945 as alleged. The Mukherjee Commission also received a report originating from the U.S. Department of State supporting the claim of the Taiwan Government that no such air crash took place during that time frame.

There is a view among Indians that – “Due to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s immense popularity and acceptance among Indians some highly positioned political figures of National Congress of India , with the help of the British rulers at that time conspired and successfully designed the death of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.” That’s why the Indian Govt. will keep the death of Netaji as a closed secret.The report of Justice Mukherjee Commission regarding the Netaji’s death was ignored tactfully.

Many in India believe that Netaji was not given the due respect that he deserved. India would have prospered much more had Netaji been a part of the post independence nation building.

In the book The Last Years of British India, Michael Edwardes, the distinguished British historian of the Raj, wrote of Bose: “Only one outstanding personality of India took a different and violent path, and in a sense India owes more to him than to any other man.”

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