NETAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE
“Give me your blood and I promise you freedom,” these famous lines said by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose remains in the memory of the nation and most Indians remember him as the dynamic leader who fought for India’s freedom using military power and efficient organizational efforts.
Subhash Chandra Bose was born on 23 January 1897 to Janakinath Bose, an able advocate and Prabhavati Devi, a pious and spiritual lady. Subhash Chandra was a brilliant student topping his matriculation examination in the province of Calcutta and passed his B.A. in Philosophy from the Presidency College in Kolkata. In order to keep him away from the freedom struggle, his parents sent him to England to study for the Indian Civil Service. However, in spite of performing brilliantly in the examination, he did not complete his apprenticeship and instead returned to India as he became deeply influenced by the political upheavals that India was facing at the time.
Bose joined the Indian National Congress and under the directions of Gandhiji worked with Deshbandhu Chittanjan Das, the freedom fighter from Bengal. He was elected as the leader of the youth wing of the Congress Party. He showed immense organizational skill and was actively involved in the Trade Union movement and the Service League of the Congress. Between 1920 and 1941, he went to prison eleven times for his anti-British stance. He was elected twice as the President of the Indian National Congress, in 1937 and in 1939.
On the eve of the World War II, afraid of losing Indian men and material to a war that was not theirs to fight; Bose gave an ultimatum of six months to the British to give India back to the Indians. His rigid demand made him unpopular within the Congress and he resigned in 1939 to form his own progressive group called the Forward Block in 1939.
With the advent of the World War II, the British government declared India as a warring state and true to Bose’s fears Indian men and resources were being sacrificed for the sake of the British imperial and colonial powers. Bose started a mass movement against this exploitation by the British and accordingly he was put under arrest. He, however, managed to escape from India and reached Germany and sought the help of Hitler.
Netaji received military training from the Germans for two years and was able to raise the Indian National Army from amongst the Indian prisoners of war. He also approached Japan and raised an army there including Indians from the Far East. His revolutionary speeches, his determination and organizational skills gave high morale and discipline to his army.
He began to attack the British government from the eastern side of India. However, the fall of Germany and Japan disturbed his military ventures and he had to flee to Japan in the year 1945. Unfortunately, his journey was never completed and he disappeared without any trace, leaving his followers disheartened and lost without a leader. Many speculate he died in an air crash though no evidence was found of the same.
Though Subhash Chandra’s philosophy on the freedom fight continues to generate a lot of debate even today, his continuous efforts to free India from the British does go on to prove that he was an undying patriot who loved India and her freedom.