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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

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Subhas Chandra Bose popularly known as Netaji, considered as one of the greatest Freedom fighter, helped India to get rid of British rule and attain freedom.

Subhas Chandra Bose was born on 23 January 1897 in CuttackOrissa Division, Bengal Province, to Prabhavati Dutt Bose and Janakinath Bose. He did his schooling from Stewart High School in Cuttack, and then shifted to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School. After securing the second position in the matriculation examination in 1913, he was admitted to the Presidency College where he studied briefly.

He was expelled for assaulting Professor Oaten (who had manhandled some Indian students) 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.

He came fourth in the ICS examination and was selected, but he did not want to work under an alien government which would mean serving the British.

He started the newspaper Swaraj and took charge of publicity for the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee.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 the 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 1938 Bose stated his opinion that the “INC”should be organized on the broadest anti-imperialist front with the two-fold objective of winning political freedom and the establishment of a socialist regime.By 1938 Bose had become a leader of national stature and agreed to accept nomination as Congress President. He stood for unqualified Swaraj (self-governance), including the use of force against the British.

After rift with Nehru and Ganhiji, Bose was forced to resign from the Congress presidency.

On 22 June 1939 Bose organized the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Indian National Congress.

On the outbreak of war (World War II), Bose advocated a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest against Viceroy Lord Linlithgow‘s decision to declare war on India’s behalf without consulting the Congress leadership. Having failed to persuade Gandhi of the necessity of this, Bose organized mass protests in Calcutta. He was thrown in jail by the British, but was released following a seven-day hunger strike. Bose’s house in Calcutta was kept under surveillance by the CID,however he escaped to Germany, via Afghanistan and Soviet Union, where he subsequently tried to collaborate with German armed forces to build an army to fight against the British rule in India. 

In 1943, after being disillusioned that Germany could be of any help in gaining India’s independence, Bose left for Japan. There he revived the idea of an independence army and strengthened the Indian National Army(INA) with the support from Rash Behari Bose and other expatriate Indian population in south-east Asia.INA had a separate women’s unit, the Rani of Jhansi Regiment (named after Rani Lakshmi Bai, which is seen as a first of its kind in Asia.

INA fought valiantly against British Army but could not match with their weaponry and experience. Even when faced with military reverses, Bose was able to maintain support for the Azad Hind movement. Spoken as a part of a motivational speech for the Indian National Army at a rally of Indians in Burma on 4 July 1944, Bose’s most famous quote was “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!” In this, he urged the people of India to join him in his fight against the British Raj. After the Japanese defeat at the battles of Kohima and Imphal, Bose’s Provisional Government’s aim of establishing a base in mainland India was lost forever.Still the INA fought in key battles against the British Indian Army in Burmese territory, However, with the fall of Rangoon, Bose’s government ceased to be an effective political entity.A large proportion of the INA troops surrendered under Lt Col Loganathan. The remaining troops retreated with Bose towards Thailand. Japan’s surrender at the end of the war also led to the surrender of the remaining elements of the Indian National Army. The INA prisoners were then repatriated to India and some tried for treason.

In the consensus of scholarly opinion, Subhas Chandra Bose’s death occurred from third-degree burns on 18 August 1945 after his overloaded Japanese plane crashed in Japanese-ruled Formosa (now Taiwan).

Though INA lead by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose could not attain its goal of India’s Independence, but the valiant sacrifices made by them, weakened the determination of British policy makers to continue their rule in India which eventually led to India’s independence.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be remembered by all patriotic Indians for ages to come as a true national hero.

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