Who was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was a revolutionary freedom fighter and leader with indomitable courage and vigour. With his undaunted efforts he moulded himself as one of the most promising leaders during the Indian freedom struggle. Casting his influence on several Indians spread all over the world, he moved ahead with his meticulous plans to wage a war against the British. He had a very unique style of attracting masses to participate in the freedom struggle. His name will be permanently inscribed in the annals of Indian history. Bose was a devout Hindu and influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.
Early Life of Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhash Chandra Bose was the ninth child among fourteen children born in a wealthy Hindu Kayastha family in Orissa. Janakinath Bose and Prabhavathi Devi were his parents. His father was an advocate. His initial schooling was done in Cuttack and later he completed his matriculation in Calcutta. In 1918, he was awarded B.A. degree by the University of Calcutta.
To pursue higher studies, he left for England in 1919. In the Indian Civil Service examination, he was among the toppers. Though he got selected to the elite ICS, out of resentment against the British he resigned his job and came back to India.
Initial years of political association
Bose was influenced by prominent Bengali political leader, Chittaranjan Das and joined in the India’s freedom struggle. He started a newspaper “Swaraj” to express his views. Bose vehemently opposed the British and took active interest in Indian politics. He was made in charge of the publicity for The Bengal Provincial Congress committee. His active participation was the reason he was made the President of All India Youth Congress and Secretary of Bengal State Congress. He was elected as the Mayor of Calcutta Municipal Corporation in 1924. His association with the Congress and freedom struggle became a reason for arresting him in 1925. Later he was released in 1927.
Involvement with Indian National Congress
Bose was elected as the general secretary of the Congress party in 1927. To study various party organizations and varieties of government, he visited several countries in Europe in 1930s. He was exposed to different types of political parties with different theories and he also met Mussolini. With his hard work and commitment he gradually rose to become a prominent figure in Indian politics and he was also nominated as the President of Congress party.
His political views were different from those of other important leaders like Gandhi and Nehru. He differed in his opinions and ultimately it lead to his disassociation with Congress. This move has led to the formation of Forward Bloc by Subhash Chandra Bose in 1939. Bose was of the opinion that India should take advantage of the Second World War in which Britain also participated. He thought that British should grant independence in return to the help Indians will give Britain in the war. But prominent leaders like Gandhi and Nehru differed with him. He was house arrested for his moves against the British.
His getaway to Germany and Japan
He escaped house arrest in a disguise and first went to Peshawar in 1941. He wanted to go to Russia. On the way he crossed Afghanistan and reached Soviet Russia on an Italian passport. Though he expected Russia to support his revolt plans against British, he was disappointed by their response. He received support from Germany. With 4500 soldiers, Bose formed the Free India Center in Berlin. But when Hitler raided Russia, he was taken aback and came to know that Germany will not be helping him in his endeavours. With no other option, he had to leave Germany and visit Japan for garnering support for his plans against British.
He met Emilie Schenkl, an Austrian citizen and married her in 1937. A daughter named Anita Bose Pfaff was born in 1942.
Formation of Azad Hind Fauj
In 1943, he left for Japan from Germany. Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj was founded by Captain Mohan Singh in 1942 in Singapore. Bose was successful in reorganizing the unit and increased the strength of the unit to almost 85000 soldiers in 1943. His fleet of army had the support of expatriate Indians who lived in South East Asia. Azad Hind Fauj was under the aegis of a provisional government and had its own currency, court, civil code and postage stamps. This provincial government was recognized in Germany, Japan, China and Philippines. In India, a separate flag of Azad Hind Fauj was hoisted in Manipur. Both Japan and Germany were defeated in the Second World War and it resulted in the disorganization of the Indian National Army in July 1944. Bose spoke in the Azad Hind Radio that was broadcast from Singapore and praised Mahatma Gandhi and sought his blessing for his efforts. Bose coined the famous slogan “Give me blood and I will give you freedom”.
After disbanding of Azad Hind Fauz, Bose planned to visit Russia and made a plan enroute Tokyo, but on his way the flight crashed at Taihoku in Taiwan and he died in a local hospital on 18th August 1945. This was the testimony given by a Japanese Captain Yoshida Taneyoshi. But no one had a glimpse of his body, there are several rumors that Bose was not died at that time but much later in 1977 in Dehradun. Several Indian governments formed several committees but none of them came out with any valid evidence of his death. Even today his disappearance is a mystery to the world.
Bose’s philosophy and legacy
Subhash Chandra Bose was a staunch believer in religion. Bhagavad Gita inspired him to plan the course of action against the British. He drew lot of inspiration from Swami Vivekanada’s teachings. Spirituality was an essential part of his political thoughts which led to the fight against British.
He always believed that India should be a totally democratic country. But later during the period of war he changed his stand and felt that India should be modeled on the lines of a socialist state like Soviet Russia. Bose was liberal in his thoughts, supported secularism. His approach towards freedom struggle was unique in the sense that most of the time he planned all his actions outside India. Whatever the struggle he has undergone, he will always be remembered as a revolutionary leader who is inseparable in the freedom struggle of India. He is fondly remembered as Netaji.