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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Subhas Chandra Bose: Valiant Fighter for Freedom

This freedom struggle icon valiantly tried to free India from the clutches of British rule during World War II, with military might, which he built with the help of Germany and Japan.

inspiring-lives Updated: Aug 14, 2019 11:57 IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Subhas Chandra Bose’s famous slogan, ‘Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi dunga’ - sparked patriotism in the hearts of many Indians during the fight for independence,  and continues to inspire people even today.
Subhas Chandra Bose’s famous slogan, ‘Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi dunga’ - sparked patriotism in the hearts of many Indians during the fight for independence, and continues to inspire people even today. (Illustration: Biswajit Debnath)
         

Born in Cuttack, Orissa on January 23, 1897, to eminent lawyer Janakinath Bose and Prabhavati Dutt Bose, Subhas Chandra was the ninth among 14 children. He was enrolled at the Protestant European School in Cuttack in 1902 and later shifted to a school run by the Baptist Mission, where he continued till 1909. This was followed by a stint at the Ravenshaw Collegiate School.

Young Genius

On Bose’s first day at the institution, headmaster Beni Madhab Das realised that he was a genius. After securing second position in matriculation, he joined Presidency College. His parents enrolled him at the University of Cambridge to prepare for the Indian Civil Service. He cleared the civil services exam in 1920 but resigned from his post the next year and returned to India to join the freedom movement.

Multiple Roles

Bose joined the non-cooperation movement launched by Mohandas K Gandhi. He was imprisoned in December 1921. Three years later, he was appointed chief executive officer of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation. The government suspected that he had links with revolutionaries and deported him to Burma. He was released in 1927.

When the civil disobedience movement was launched in 1930, Bose was detained for association with the revolutionary Bengal Volunteers. While in prison, he was elected the mayor of Calcutta. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis, he was allowed to travel to Europe. In exile, he wrote The Indian Struggle on the quest for independence. Elected the Congress president in 1938, he formed a national planning committee which advocated industrialisation.

Different Path

In 1939, he left the leadership in the Congress due to his differences with Gandhi. Bose founded the political party Forward Bloc. He was imprisoned in July 1940 and went on a fast unto death, after which he was released. Though under surveillance, he escaped from his house in Calcutta on January 26, 1941, in disguise and, travelling via Kabul and Moscow, arrived in Germany which was then under Nazi rule. Bose made broadcasts from the German-sponsored Azad Hind Radio. In 1943, Bose boarded a Japan-bound submarine. During his earlier visit to Germany in 1934, he had met Emilie Schenkl, the daughter of an Austrian veterinarian whom he married in 1937. The couple had a daughter named Anita Bose.

Bose’s Army

He arrived in Tokyo in May 1943. Soon, he assumed leadership of the independence movement in East Asia and proceeded, with Japanese aid, to form an army of 40,000 troops in Southeast Asia. On October 21, 1943, he formed the provisionally independent Indian government. His Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) advanced to Rangoon and reached India in 1944. They moved into Kohima and Imphal. The Indian and Japanese forces were defeated. When Japan was defeated in World War II, he could no longer continue his struggle. After Japan surrendered, Bose fled South-East Asia and reportedly died in Taiwan after the aircraft he was travelling in crashed.

Interesting Facts:

1. An incident Subhas Chandra Bose was involved in during his days as a student at Kolkata’s Presidency College reflected his strong sense of patriotism. Enraged by the negative comments against Indians made by Professor E F Oaten, who taught history, Bose and his classmates had an altercation with him. After the incident, Bose was rusticated from the Presidency College. He graduated from Scottish Church College in philosophy.

2. Bose’s famous slogan, ‘Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi dunga’ - sparked patriotism in the hearts of many Indians during the fight for independence. These words continue to inspire people even today.

3. In 2007, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visited the Bose memorial hall in Kolkata. He said to Bose’s family: “Japanese are deeply moved by Bose’s strong will to lead the Indian movement for independence.”

4. For Bose, Bhagavad Gita was a source of inspiration. Swami Vivekananda’s teachings on universal brotherhood, nationalism and emphasis on social service and reform also helped develop his ideology.

Sources: wikipedia, britannica

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 11:54 IST

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