Thursday, January 23, 2014

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose  (23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945)

Subhas Chandra Bose was born on 23 January 1897 (at 12.10 pm) in Cuttack, Orissa Division, Bengal Province, to Prabhavati Devi and Janakinath Bose, an advocate. He was the ninth child among  a total of fourteen siblings. He was admitted to the Protestant European School like his other brothers and sisters in January 1902. He continued his studies at this school which was run by the Baptist Mission up to the year 1909 and then shifted to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School.  After securing the second position in the matriculation examination in 1913, he got admitted to the Presidency College.  His nationalistic temperament came to light when he was expelled for assaulting Professor Oaten for the latter's anti-India comments. He later joined the Scottish Church College at the University of Calcutta and passed his B.A. in 1918 in philosophy. Bose left India in 1919 for England with a promise to his father that he would appear in the Indian Civil Services Examination (ICS). He went to study in Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and matriculated on 19 November 1919. He came fourth in the ICS examination and was selected, But he  resigned from the Indian Civil Service in 1921, and in that connection he wrote to his elder brother Sarat: "Only on the soil of sacrifice and suffering can we raise our national edifice".He resigned from his civil service job on 23 April 1921 and returned to India and joined Congress in independence movement.

Subhas Chandra Bose  had been a leader of the younger, radical, wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930. He started the newspaper Swaraj and took charge of publicity for the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee.His mentor was Chittaranjan Das who was a spokesman for aggressive nationalism in Bengal. In the year 1923, Bose was elected the President of All India Youth Congress and also the Secretary of Bengal State Congress. He was also editor of the newspaper "Forward", founded by Chittaranjan Das. Bose worked as the CEO of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation for Das when the latter was elected mayor of Calcutta in 1924. In a roundup of nationalists in 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to prison in Mandalay.

He rose in the Congress  party to become Congress President in 1938 and 1939. However, he resigned from Congress leadership positions in 1939 following his differences with Mohandas K. Gandhi. He was placed under house arrest by the British but escaped  from India in 1940. Bose arrived in Germany in April 1941, where the leadership offered  sympathy for the cause of India's independence.  In November 1941, with German funds, a Free India Centre was set up in Berlin, and soon a Free India Radio, on which Bose broadcast nightly. A 3,000-strong Free India Legion, comprising Indians captured by Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, was also formed. During this time Bose also became a father; his wife or companion, Emilie Schenkl, whom he had met in 1934, gave birth to a baby girl.By spring 1942, in light of Japanese victories in southeast Asia,  Bose became keen to move to southeast Asia. Adolf Hitler, during his only meeting with Bose in late May 1942, suggested the same, and offered to arrange for a submarine.Bose boarded a German submarine in February 1943. In Madagascar, he was transferred to a Japanese submarine from which he disembarked in Japanese-held Sumatra in May 1943.With Japanese support, Bose founded the Indian National Army (INA), then composed of Indian soldiers of the British Indian army who had been captured in the Battle of Singapore. To these more were added by enlisting Indian civilians in Malaya and Singapore. The Provisional Government of Free India, presided by Bose, was formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Bose had great drive and charisma—creating popular Indian slogans, such as "Jai Hind,"—and the INA under Bose was a model of diversity by region, ethnicity, religion, and even gender.  In late 1944 and early 1945 the British Indian Army first halted and then devastatingly reversed the Japanese attack on India. Almost half the Japanese forces and fully half the participating INA contingent were killed.The INA was driven down the Malay Peninsula, and surrendered with the recapture of Singapore. Bose had earlier chosen not to surrender with his forces or with the Japanese, but rather to escape to Manchuria with a view to seeking a future in the Soviet Union which he believed to be turning anti-British. He died from third degree burns received when his plane crashed in Taiwan. Some Indians, still,  however, do not believe that the crash had occurred.

Nation remembers Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose


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