Subash Chandra Bose

Highlights

Subash Chandra Bose, popularly known as Netaji, occupies an honoured place in the history of the Indian Independence Movement.He was a man of great courage, a single-minded and dedicated leader who burned with patriotism.

Subash Chandra Bose, popularly known as Netaji, occupies an honoured place in the history of the Indian Independence Movement.He was a man of great courage, a single-minded and dedicated leader who burned with patriotism.

He wanted to free India from British yoke, not by peaceful agitation or petitioning, but by waging open war. Subash Babu was born on January 23, 1897 in a Bengali family in Cuttack as the sixth amongst eight sons and six daughters.

His father Jankinath Bose was a lawyer by profession and his mother was a stern disciplinarian. Bose had his early education in the Baptist Mission and Ravensha Collegiate schools of Cuttack.

After his scholastic career, Subash joined the Presidency College, Calcutta where he chose philosophy as his subject. That made him go in search of a Guru in 1914.
Disillusioned in this search, he turned his attention to his other love. He started a debating club in his college saying that India, in her forthcoming struggle, would need great debators and parliamentarians. The first turning point in his life came when he was expelled from his college for taking a leading part in assaulting an English professor of his college.

India was passing through turbulent times in those years and Subash’s father did not want his young son to be affected by it. So he sent him to England to compete for the ICS examination, in which Bose qualified himself in 1920, securing a high place. The family had high hopes on their brilliant son.

It was at this time that Mahatma Gandhi had started his non-cooperation movement with a call to all patriots to renounce all British titles.The Mahatma’s call attracted Bose so much that he resigned from the ICS. However, Bose found that the Mahatma’s non-violence movement was too tame a programme for national liberation and he went to Calcutta to work under the great leader Deshabndhu Chitta Ranjan Das. For two years he served political apprenticeship under him.

When the Prince of Wales visited Calcutta at which there was general resentment. Bose led the volunteers protesting against the visit, for which he was arrested and sentenced to six months imprisonment. His leader CR Das was also sentenced and the two lived together in jail where Bose served his leader humbly. From this time Bose considered CR Das as his Guru. When the Deshbandhu became the Mayor of Calcutta, Bose became its chief executive at the age of 21. While holding this office Bose freely mixed with revolutionaries which made the Government arrest him and deport him to Mandalay Jail in Burma for two years. Bose had now time to think for himself and he decided on the path of open revolution.

Subash returned to India in 1927, being released on grounds of health and plunged into the mainstream of the Indian National Congress of which he soon became the General Secretary along with Jawaharlal Nehru and later, its President twice, in 1938 and 1939.

As a result of differences with Mahatma Gandhi, he started the Forward Block within the Congress Party. He was subsequently expelled from the Congress for three years for rebellion against its policies.

When the clouds of World War II appeared over the Indian frontier and the British were threatened by the Axis powers Bose saw his opportunity.He forced his release from prison by threatening to starve unto death.

He slipped from the country by disguising himself as a Muslim and later, as a deaf-mute and escaped to the Russian frontier from where he flew to Germany in March 1941.

He coined the term ‘Jai Hind’ as a greeting for his legion who called him Netaji or the revered leader.Netaji met the war leaders Hitler and Mussolini, besides their commanders from whom he sought help for the liberation of India. He wanted them to make a joint declaration against the British in India but did not succeed. He founded India Centres in Rome and Paris.

Already a band of patriots headed by Indian exile Rash Behari Ghosh had collected an army of Indian prisoners of war in the Far East and urged Bose to lead them against the British in India. With the assistance of the Japanese, he proclaimed a provisional Government of India and called the army Azad Hind Fouj or the Indian National Army. Its flag was the Indian National flag with the figure of a springing tiger in the place of the charka.

"Delhi Chalo" was its battle-cry; Subash was its supreme commander. It was Bose’s plan to make this Indian army to spearhead the attack on the British in India. But fate proved otherwise. The Japanese were defeated in the war and the INA personnel suffered heavily as a result.

In August 1945, when Japan was negotiating for surrender; Bose left for Tokyo to ascertain the future of the INA. He took off on August 17 from Bangkok in a bomber and reached Formosa on the following afternoon. After lunch and re-fuelling, his plane resumed the journey, but within minutes it met with disaster, dived headlong and burst into flames. Bose was picked up badly burnt and bruised. He was taken to a hospital but by 8 or 9 pm his end had come.

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