Subhas Chandra Bose was one of the illustrious sons of India. He was born on January 23rd, 1897 in Cuttack. His father was a leading lawyer and he came form a well-to-do family. Subhas Chandra Bose was a brilliant student at school. He was well build and physically strong. Passing his matriculation examination from Cuttack, he joined the Presidency College, Calcutta where he passed his degree examination. Later he went to England and studied at Cambridge. He sat for the I.C.S. examination and came out successful. He was appointed as Presidency Magistrate, Calcutta (now Kolkata), and a post which no Indian occupied earlier.
Subhas Chandra Bose came under the spell of Swami Vivekananda, even as a student at school. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ramakrishnan Paramahamsa, Sri Aurobindo and Tagore also influenced the shaping of mystic idealism in Subhas Chandra Bose. He developed faith in God, which stood un-wavered till the last.
The freedom movement had already taken its roots in India under the leadership of great leaders like Talak, Gokhale and Gandhiji. Subhas Chandra Bose was a born rebel and never tolerated injustice. It is said that he once beat a European Professor and was punished for it. It was natural for this born rebel to get attracted by the freedom movement. He resigned from I.C.S. and joined the freedom struggle where he proved to be an uncompromising revolutionary.
After Frits World War, the Imperial British rule in India was challenged by Congress. Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi believed in the path of non-violence, non-cooperation and civil disobedience. Subhas Chandra Bose believed in the saying ‘Sword for Sword’ in the fight against British. Subhas Chandra Bose was elected as President of the India National Congress at Tripura. As he could not agree with the views of Gandhiji he resigned from the President-ship of the Indian National Congress and organized the Forward Block in 1939.
In September, 1939, the Second World Was broke out. Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested by the British government along with many other Congress leaders in July, 1940 under the Defence of India Rules. Subhas Chandra Bose undertook a fast unto death in the prison against continued detention. He was released but interned in his residence with round the clock vigil. Bose nevertheless escaped in January 1941 and reached Berlin in April 1941 travelling through Peshawar, Kabul and Moscow.
His purpose in going to Berlin was to enlist the help and support of Hitler for the freedom struggle in India. That was sot easy. Bose submitted a memorandum explaining his cause to the German ruler, Adolf Hitler. But it was only the fiery personality of Bose and his un-wavering conviction of purpose that ultimately made Hitler to agree to his proposal.
Subhas Chanbdra Bose knew that there were many Indians in exile in Germany. Many Indian prisoners of was captured by Axis powers in North Africa were brought to Germany. There were a few eminent Indians like Habibur Rehman. W.G. Ganapuley, N.G. Swamy, M.R. Vyas and A.C.N. Nambiar whom Bose could gather together. With their assistance Bose established a Free India Centre in November 1941. This centre gave birth to Azad Hind Movement.
The Azad Hind Movement gave to us the war cry ‘Jai Hind’ which is now adopted by us as an Indian form of greeting. Bose received the title “Netaji” during this time. Netaji with the help and cooperation of Indian youth and prisoners of war in Germany raised the ‘Indian Legion’ a national militia to struggle for India’s freedom. He christened the Legion as “Azad Hind Fauz”. The Legion was trained by the German Army in various fields of war.
In India, the Quit India Movement was started in August 1942. The Japanese were making advance against Allied Forces in Far East. The Japanese conquered Singapore on February 15, 1942. The British fleet suffered a death blow. The Japanese were advancing towards Burma and it was occupied in March, 1942. These events forced a change of strategy and plan. The Japanese considered that Netaji’s presence in the Far Fast may be helpful Rash Bihari Bose, a revolutionary for the transference of Netaji from Europe to Asia.
Leaving the command of Azad Hind Fauz in the hands of A.C.N. Nambiar, Netaji left Germay on his onward journey to Japan. He covered the 25,000 Kms. By see route. By then, Rash Behari Bose had established, in September 1941, the Indian National Army (INA) with the help of Captain Mohan Singh and others. The arrival of Netaji gave added impetus to Indian Naztional Army. Netaqji organized the I.N.A. and the number went up to 30,000 men. A women’s regiment was also raised in the name of Rani Jhansi regiment. The I.N.A. formed a separate unit with a command of its own and functioned in the battle field along with Japanese.
The Indian National Army, in its struggle for freedom, attacked India from the side of Assam. The Arkhan and Imphal battles were not successful. There was dearth of provisions. The monsoon added to their difficulties. So the bold attempt made by Netaji to win freedom by force could not succeed.
The attack unnerved the British. They realize that they cannot thereafter rely on Indian Army to defend British rule in India. This change of mind helped India to achieve Independence much earlier. Netaji was not to accept defeat. He planned to go to Russia to fight for freedom from there. But destiny willed otherwise. He was last seen on August 17, 1945. Later it was heard that the plane in which he travelled had crashed.
His centenary birthday celebrations wee held all over India on January 23rd 1997. Netaji was a passionate lover of peace and he had immense faith in spirituality. The following words of his address to the men of his army testify the same.
‘I cannot give you anything but hunger, hardship and death. Give me your life. I promise freedom to you”. “A true soldier needs both military and spiritual training”. The I.N.A. instilled the spirit of patriotism in us by its flag song. “Vijay Viswa Tiranga Pyara”, “Jhanda Ucha Rahe Hamara”. Netaji died as a martyr serving the cause of Mother India and no Indian can afford to forget this great leader of our Nation.