O P Sharma
Subhas Chandra Bose, also popularly known as Netaji, was one of the most prominent and popular leaders who relentlessly fought for India’s independence. He is particularly icon of the youth. His birth anniversary is celebrated on January 23 every year with fervour and enthusiasm as a valiant fighter of the freedom struggle. The nation is paying him rich tributes and remembering him fondly.
It is worthwhile to mention that during his long freedom struggle, Subhas Bose was imprisoned 11 times and also remained twice Congress president but following some differences, he opted out from the party in 1939.
The story of his escapades in early 1941 from house arrest in Kolkata forms the stirring chapter of the Indian history. He dramatically managed to escape on January 19, 1941 in disguise from India to Afghanistan and then onwards to some European countries seeking support for freedom struggle against the British rule in India.
He turned to the Axis powers for support in gaining India’s freedom from foreign yoke. Later, he organized the Indian National Army (INA) and experimented with setting up a Provisional Government of Azad Hind. Bose’s effort, however, was short lived. During 1945, the British forces ultimately drove Bose’s INA to surrender in Singapore area. The trials of the INA soldiers at Red Fort, Delhi, in late 1945 caused huge public response across the country.
Subhas Chandra Bose was born in a Bengali family on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa ( then a part of Bengal Presidency) to Janaki Nath Bose, an advocate and Prabhavati Devi.
Courage of Conviction
He was a bright student and secured second position in Matriculation during 1911 and then got admitted to the Presidency College where his nationalistic temperament came to light when he was expelled for assaulting Prof Oaten for the latter’s anti-India comments. Subsequently, he joined Scottish Church College under University of Calcutta and passed his B.A. in 1918, later after a year, Subhas Chandra Bose left India in 1919 for England with a promise to his father that he would appear in the Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination. He fulfilled his word by standing 4th in the ICS examination but he declined to serve the alien British Government. After returning to India, he started a newspaper Swaraj and also associated himself with noted Congress leader Chittaranjan Das.
Bose was elected as the President of All India Youth Congress and also the Secretary of Bengal State Congress in 1923. Bose became editor, ‘Forward’, founded by Chittaranjan Das. In a roundup of nationalists in 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to prison in Mandalay. After being released from prison during 1927, Bose became general secretary of the Congress party and worked with Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. Again Bose was arrested and jailed for civil disobedience; this time he emerged to become Mayor of Calcutta in 1930. During the mid-1930s Bose travelled to Europe, visiting Indian students and European politicians.
He stood for unqualified Swaraj (self-governance), including even the use of force in struggle against the British. This meant a confrontation with Mahatma Gandhi, who in fact opposed Bose’s presidency candidature in 1939 but ultimately, Bose was elected Congress president again. After a short while, Bose resigned president-ship of the Congress party.Subsequently he established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc on June 22, 1939. Netaji always continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule.
However, when Bose met Hitler in May 1942, his suspicions were confirmed, and he came to believe that the Nazi leader was more interested in using his men to win propaganda victories than military ones. So, in February 1943, Bose turned his back on his venture and slipped secretly away aboard in a submarine bound for Japan. Bose had spent almost three years in Berlin, Germany from 1941 until 1943.
The idea of a liberation army was mooted by Subhas Chandra Bose in July, 1943 and the INA was reorganized with the massive support of the Indians on Bose’s calls for sacrifice for the national cause. INA had a separate women’s unit, the Rani of Jhansi Regiment (named after Rani Lakshmi Bai). On July 6, 1944, in a speech broadcast by the Azad Hind Radio from Singapore, Bose addressed Mahatma Gandhi as the “Father of the Nation” and asked for his blessings and good wishes for the war he was fighting. This was the first time that Gandhi was referred to by this appellation. Then Netaji’s most famous quote was “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!”
His other famous quotes were Dilli Chalo (On to Delhi) and also Jai Hind (Glory to India) which Government of India has now adopted. Other slogan coined by Bose was “Ittefaq, Etemad, Qurbani”. INA also used the slogan “Inquilab Zindabad”.
It was reported that Bose “died” in a plane crash in Taiwan. But this has been disputed and the mystery of his death is still not fully solved or set at rest despite some Commissions setup to probe into his death. Bose was reported to have “died” in a plane crash at Taihoku (Taipei), Taiwan, on August 18, 1945. But a deep mystery surrounded about his death. But all said and done Subhas Chander Bose still lives in the hearts of millions of people in India and across the globe for his outstanding contribution in attainment of freedom, his wide vision and matchless bravery as also sacrifices.
(Starline. syndicate. service@ gmail.com)
O P Sharma