Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose : Greatest Indian Freedom Fighter !!

Subhash Chandra Bose was one of India’s greatest freedom fighter. He was the founder of the Indian National Army, popularly known as ‘Azad Hind Fauj’. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had visited London during pre-independence period to discuss the future of India, with the members of the Labor party. His sudden disappearance from Taiwan, led to surfacing of various theories, concerning the possibilities of his survival.

Subhash Chandra Bose was born on 23 January, 1897 in Cuttack (Orissa) to Janakinath Bose and Prabhavati Devi. Janakinath Bose was one of the successful lawyer in Cuttack and received the title of “Rai Bahadur”. He, later became a member of the Bengal Legislative Council. Subhash Chandra Bose was a very intelligent and sincere student but never had much interest in sports. He passed his B.A. in Philosophy from the Presidency College in Calcutta. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. He also adored Vivekananda as his spiritual Guru and was deeply influenced by Bhagvad Geeta. He felt India needed spiritual essence.

Subhas Bose standing extreme right with his large family of 14 siblings in Cuttack, 1905.

Subhas Bose standing extreme right with his large family of 14 siblings in Cuttack, 1905.

Bose decided to take revenge, after reading so many incidents about the exploitation of the fellow Indians by the British. In 1916, Subhash reportedly beat and thrashed one of his British teachers E F Otten. The professor made a racist remark against the Indian students. As a result, Bose was expelled from the Presidency College and banished from Calcutta University. The incident brought Subhash in the list of rebel-Indians. In December 1921, Bose was arrested and imprisoned for organizing a boycott of the celebrations to mark the Prince of Wales’s visit to India.

His home: Cuttack, Odisha, where he was born and grew up, now a beautiful museum.

His home: Cuttack, Odisha, where he was born and grew up, now a beautiful museum.

Subhash Chandra Bose’s father wanted him to become a civil servant and therefore, sent him to England to appear for the Indian Civil Service Examination. Bose was placed fourth with highest marks in English. But his urge for participating in the freedom movement was so intense that in April 1921, Bose resigned from the coveted Indian Civil Service and came back to India. Soon, he left home to become an active member of India’s independence movement. Netaji had a phenomenal  knowledge  of  Indian history  and culture,  an  aspect that made him  reach  out  to  every  region  in India.  Immensely  proud  of  his  Bengali  heritage  and culture, yet  at  the same  time, he  recognized the  unique  cultural  synthesis  of  India, where  each and every  region, drew  something  from another  region.

Bose, later joined the Indian National Congress. Bose worked under the leadership of Chittaranjan Das, an active member of Congress in Calcutta. It was Chittaranjan Das, who along with Motilal Nehru, left Congress and founded the Swaraj Party in 1922.

Bose, Congress and Gandhiji:

In freedom struggle congress was large organisation. Subhash Chandra Bose became a strong leader in Congress and he made brave attempt to mould the entire party differently. After Gandhiji, if there was any other leader, who was able to rouse the masses, it was Netaji himself, such was his appeal. Netaji appealed to youth, the working class, women sections and those too who were not exactly impressed by INC. Congress party was always lenient and never in a position to oppose. Chittaranjan Das, Motilal Nehru, N.C.Kelkar were among the Congress members, who opposed  Gandhiji’s suspension of the Non Cooperation movement in 1923, over the Chauri Chaura  incident, creating a division between them and those who supported Gandhiji’s  decision.   Subash Chandra Bose, along with Vithalbai Patel  was becoming  increasingly  dissatisfied with the tactics of  the Congress Party, with  both  of  them  favoring an increasingly  militant  and aggressive approach. Saubhash babu out rightly opposed this behavior. This opposition was against Gandhi‘s philosophy.

Deshbandhu’s  death in 1925, saw a weakening of  the Swaraj  Party and  Netaji  losing  his  political mentor, which  however did not deter him from action. Already elected  twice Mayor of  Kolkata,  Netaji  toured  extensively  in Europe  during the 30’s  visiting  Mussolini among the other  leaders,  and  that had an influence  on  his  ideology too. The  major  difference  that  caused  a split  between Netaji  and the Gandhi  faction in the Congress,  was  the approach towards  total boycott.  Netaji  felt  that  with the mood of  the nation, totally  for  a boycott,  it made  no  sense to enter the Councils,  it  was the best  time  to exert  pressure on the  British.   He  believed  it  made no  use,  for Indians  to  go to the  Round Table  conference  unless,  they were  given full powers.   He quoted  the example of  the pact  between Britain and  South Africa,  where  the  former  had to  agree  to accept  the  S.African  constitution in full, with  no  changes,  which  is  what  he  sought too.  He  wondered why  the  British had  to send in the  European  Chambers  of Commerce, Ruling  Chiefs  etc, when  this  was  clearly  a matter to be worked  out  between  the  British Govt  and  the  Indian  representatives.

Neta Ji Subhas Chandra Bose, the president-elect of the INC, arrives in Calcutta on 24/01/1938.

Neta Ji Subhas Chandra Bose, the president-elect of the INC, arrives in Calcutta on 24/01/1938.

Gandhiji, Bose and Patel ... Nehru was not even in scene then.

Gandhiji, Bose and Patel … Nehru was not even in scene then.

The way Netaji was ousted by Gandhiji and his coterie from the post of INC president at Tripura was a disgrace. Netaji was overwhelmingly voted as President of INC against Gandhiji’s hand-picked candidate B.P. Sitaramaiyah. Gandhijee took this defeat of Sitaramaiah as his own, and refusing to accept Netaji as INC President, went on a hunger strike. With Gandhiji refusing to accept Netaji as INC President, he was ultimately forced to resign, it was sheer humiliation.

12/8/1939-Bose punished 4 Grave act of indiscipline. Disqualified 2 be member of Elective Congress Body

12/8/1939-Bose punished 4 Grave act of indiscipline. Disqualified 2 be member of Elective Congress Body

In order to acknowledge outside support and get freedom he went till Germany, Japan when it was period of 2nd world war! He decided to induce soldiers from outside to get freedom. Nehru at that time said   “If Subhash would bring soldiers from outside and enter India, then I would be the first person to take sword in hand and oppose him.”  This was Nehru’s disgust against Subhash primarily to butter Gandhijee.

Formation of Azad Hind Fauj

Netaji was against rendering any kind of help to the British during the World War II. He warned them so. As predicted by Bose, India was declared as a warring state (on behalf of the  British) by the Governor General, without consulting Indian leaders. The Congress party was in power in seven major states and all state governments resigned in protest.

Bose now started a mass movement against utilizing Indian resources and men for the great war. To him, it made no sense  to further bleed  poor Indians for the sake of colonial and imperial nations. There was a tremendous response to his call and the British promptly imprisoned him . He took to a hunger-strike and then was freed and placed under house arrest. It was in 1941, that Netaji suddenly disappeared. He traveled by foot, car and train and resurfaced in Kabul (now in Afghanistan), only to disappear once again.  In November 1941, his broadcast from German radio sent shock waves among the British and electrified the Indian masses who realized that their leader was working on a master plan to free their motherland. It also gave fresh confidence to the revolutionaries in India who were challenging the British in many ways.

The crew of Japanese submarine with Subhash Chandra Bose.

The crew of Japanese submarine with Subhash Chandra Bose.

Neta Ji Subhas Chandra Bose in Greater East Asia Conference, Nov 1943.

Neta Ji Subhas Chandra Bose in Greater East Asia Conference, Nov 1943.

The Axis powers (mainly Germany) assured Netaji military and other help to fight the British. Japan by this time had grown into another strong world power, occupying key colonies of Dutch, French, and British colonies in Asia. Netaji Bose had struck alliance with Germany and Japan. At one stage he traveled 400 miles in a rubber dingy to reach a Japanese submarine, which took him to Tokyo. He was warmly received in Japan and was declared the head of the Indian army, which consisted of about 40,000 soldiers from Singapore and other eastern regions. These soldiers were united by another great revolutionary Rash Behari Bose. Rash Behari handed over them to Netaji who addressed the army like this:

A rare photograph of Subhas Chandra Bose addressing his troops.

A rare photograph of Subhas Chandra Bose addressing his troops.

“I have said that today is the proudest day of my life. For an enslaved people, there can be no greater pride, no higher honour, than to be the first Soldier in the Army of Liberation. But this honour carries with it a corresponding responsibility and I am deeply conscious of it. I assure you that I shall be with you in darkness and in sunshine, in sorrow and in joy, in suffering and in victory. For the present, I can offer you nothing except hunger, thirst, privation, forced marches and death” – Singapore, 1943.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose inspects the notorious Cellular Jail on Andaman Island - 1944.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose inspects the notorious Cellular Jail on Andaman Island – 1944.

Netaji Bose called it the Indian National Army (INA) and a government by the name “Azad Hind Government”  was declared on the 21st of October 1943. INA freed the Andaman and Nicobar islands from the British and were renamed as Swaraj and Shaheed islands.

A government was established called the “Azad Hind” having ministers an was recognized in by 10 nations. It also had its own postal stamps and currency.
postal tickets currency

 

A Japanese leaflet Honoring Bose: This depicts Bose, backed up by Japanese tanks,cutting the head off a British lion

A Japanese leaflet Honoring Bose: This depicts Bose, backed up by Japanese tanks,cutting the head off a British lion

 Netaji wanted to free India from the Eastern front. Army leadership, administration and communications were managed by Indians only. INA marched through Burma and occupied Coxtown on the Indian Border. A touching scene ensued when the soldiers entered their ‘free’ motherland. Some lay down and kissed, some placed pieces of  mother earth on their heads, others wept. They were now inside India and were determined to drive out the British! Delhi Chalo was the war cry. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the history of mankind. Japan had to surrender.

In strictly black and white terms, the Indian National Army, was a failure. As the dictum goes History is written by the victors and not the vanquished. Leaving aside the merits of Bose’s strategies and his tactics, if we take it on a broader level, the INA, succeeded on many aspects. But more than military victories, the INA, succeeded in winning the hearts of people. Ordinary Indians responded in thousands to his call, people willingly gave money and their gold to him. While all other political leaders just paid mere lip service to cause of women, he raised a woman’s regiment in his army. The INA failed in it’s final assault on Imphal , because of their dependence on Japanese for logistics, and the heavy rain. As also the superior air power of the British.

Effect of Netaji’s earlier visits to England

During his sojourn to England, he met with the leaders of British Labor Party and political thinkers including Clement Attlee, Arthur Greenwood, and Sir Stafford Cripps. Bose also discussed with them about the future of India. It must also be noted that it was during the regime of the Labor Party (1945-1951), with Attlee as the Prime Minister, that India gained independence.

Disappearance

Bharat Mata & NetaJi Subhas Chandra Bose published by Picture Publishing Company, circa 1947.

Bharat Mata & NetaJi Subhas Chandra Bose published by Picture Publishing Company, circa 1947.

Although it was believed that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose died in a plane crash, his body was never recovered. There have so many theories been put forward regarding his abrupt desertion. The evidence, presented by a whistle-blower and now deceased Congress MP and diplomat Dr Satyanarayan Sinha in 1952, throws up too many uncomfortable questions, which could upset the established notion that Bose died in that crash and it is his ashes that rest in Renkoji Temple in Japan. Two inquiry reports by Shah Nawaz Committee and one-man GD Khosla Commission, set up in 1956 and 1970 by the Congress governments led by Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi respectively, concluded that Bose died in a plane crash at Taihoku airport. The reports of Justice Mukherjee Commission, tabled in Parliament on 17 May, 2006 said, “Bose did not die in the plane crash and the ashes at Renkoji temple are not his”.

Signature of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Signature of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

As per the report cited below, if Bose’s death documents are declassified, it may lead to a severe unrest in the country. India’s greatest freedom fighter, Subhash Chandra Bose’s death indicate that he died alone in a Soviet prison in Siberia where over 516,841 perished under Joseph Stalin’s rule probably at the request of ………………. yes you guessed it right !!

JAI HIND !! 

 

 

Acknowledgement :

I have gathered infos from various books and materials and also based of following reads available on the net:

Subhash Chandra Bose Speeches

The Prisoner of Yakutsk

Ratnakar’s Blog

About Shwetank

A chartered accountant by fluke, business strategist by intelligence, a painter by passion, friends call me a joker …. Patriotic Indian soul, typical Bihari, believe in Sanatan dharma !! Fiercely acerbic .. if one bluffs, I bite .. in a fisker of a sec ..
This entry was posted in Personalities and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose : Greatest Indian Freedom Fighter !!

  1. Sumit Kumar says:

    Hi,
    Awesome writeup…Giving tribute to our most brave, and fearless National Independence movement leader…
    We Indians will never forget the sacrifice they have given for the country’s honour…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s