Comprehensive Biography of Subash Chandra Bose



The history of freedom movement of India is replete with stories of sacrifice and valour of galaxy of individuals. Though Mahatma Gandhi was the driving force of the movement, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad and many others played the supporting role.

Among all of them Subash Chandra Bose represents a distinct trend and symbolizes different perspectives so far as the national liberation movement in India is concerned. His role and philosophy evoke a critical pursuit by scholars.


Nemal Sadhan Bose has aptly commented; “Subash Chandra Bose’ this grand scheme of India’s liberation and the high idealism of the I.N.A. movement inspired the people of India in an unprecedented manner. The organization of the Azad Hind forces and their exploits are a milestone in the history of the Indian struggle for independence.”


The career of Subash Chandra Bose can be discussed under the following heads, early career (1897-1921), as a member of congress party (1921-1939) and finally founder performance Forward Bioc and organizer of INA (1939-1945)

Early Career (1897-1921):


Subhas Chandra Bose was born on 23rd January, 1897 at Cuttack. He was the son of Janakanath Bose, a prominent advocate of Cuttack. He started his primary education at Cuttack and passed matriculation in flying colour from Ravenshaw Collegiate School.

Under the strict supervision and guadance of Benimadhav Das, Head Master of Ravenshaw Collegiate School, Subash developed himself as an ideal, intellegent and self respecting student.

As a student of the school his service to the Cholera affected people of Cuttack not only won for him admiration but also astonished his father. After completing school education he joined the Presidency College of Calcutta. Calcutta at that time was the hotbed of nationalism and the young mind was involved by that spirit.

The speeches of Vivekananda and writings of Aurobindo also influenced his thought and he became a great nationalist. Already during his college career he had shown what he was going to be. Subhas formed a group to protest the discriminatory attitude of college teachers. The English teachers jointly presented many fabricated charges against subhas.


He had been charged for beating an Englishman black and blue for his having criticised the culture of India. Subhas was ultimately expelled from the college. Later on he was graduated from Calcutta University and was placed in first division. To fulfill the desire of his father subhas went to England to compete for I.C.S. examination and studied in Cambridge University. On 1920 he took the I.C.S. examination in England and stood fourth in order of merit.

The spark of nationalism within himself refused to express oath of allegiance to the British, a pre-condition for joining into the most lucrative office. The horrible memory of Jallianawalla Bagh massacre had also deep imprint on this young mind which forced him to resign from British office.

The call of motherland prompted him to resign from I.C.S. and return to India.Subhas returned to India in 1921 and decided to take part in the struggle for freedom. His early education and culture had already fashioned his mind to accept wider challenges in the greater interest of motherland.

Subhas Bose and Congress Movement (1921-39):


On return from England Subhas met Mahatma Gandhi. On his advice he came into contact with Chitta Ranjan Das. Subhas became his ardent disciple from 1921-25 and Bengal was his field of activities. Subhas organised the congress party being attracted by the Non-cooperation movement.

He also served as a Principal of National College established by Deshbandhu Chitta Ranjan Das at Calcutta. Subhas though took active in the Non-cooperation movement, was not satisfied with Gandhi’s ways and supproted Motilal and C.R. Das in organising the Swaraj Party. As a result of his efforts Swaraj Party became very strong and in the elelction of Calcutta cooperation the party got a majority and subhas was appointed the chief executive officer of the cooperation. Subhas edited “Forward”, English daily and stabilised the Swaraj Party.

The progressive activities of subhas and the Successful conduct of boycott to Prince of Wales when he visited Calcutta, soon invited the displeasure of the Government. He was deputed to Mandalay, but his countrymen showed him their gratitude and elected him to Bengal Legislative Council in his absence.

In the prison subhas was taken ill and had to be released because the Government was afraid of consequences of his death in custody. After regaining his health subhas again took active part in the political life interest nation. Subhas Chandra Bose held mahatma in high esteem but differed from him in many ideological and strtaegical aspects. Subhas along with Jawaharlal Nehru represented the left and progressive views inside congress. These two leaders became the symbol of change in the congress.


In 1928 subhas attended the Calcutta session of Indian National Congress. Subhas-Jawahar group first tested their strength that they opposed the official resolution moved by Mahatma Gandhi and secured 45% vote. In 1929 Jawaharlal became the President of Indian National Congress with the support of Mahatma Gandhi.

However both Jawahar and Subash pushed through the Karachi resolution of 1931, which besides endorsing the Gandhi-Irwin pact included the principle of fundamental rights and national economic programme. Economic plannings, land reforms, basic education, and basic civil liberties were to be the frame work of future congress programme.

The formation of congress socialist party in 1934 did not attract subhas and Jawahar to its fold. They remained within congress and successfully pushed through progressive views. Subhas had a forced stay in Europe from 1933 to 1936. During his stay in Europe he tried to educate the public opinion against barbarism of British imperialism and enriched his knowledge about west. For his radical views subhas suffered harrasment and frequent arrests by the British government.

Even after his return from Europe in 1936 he was imprisoned under Regulation III of 1818. But he was realesed in March 1937. Subhas’s pro-people, progressive and radical attitude, on the other hand, made his popular inside and outside congress. Subhas represented the young and extremist element in the congress and was elected its president in 1938 and again in 1939.

The reelection of subhas at the Tripura Session of congress was against the expressed desire of Mahtma Gandhi. Gandhiji considered Sitaramaya’s defeat as his own defeat and the followers of Gandhiji did not allow Subahs Chandra Bose to function effectively. Subhas had wide difference with Mahatma over the issue of India’s stand on the world affairs,methods of freedom stress on the view, not like by Gandhi, the Indian struggle for independence should start at the sometime as the war broke out in Europe.

Foundation of Forward Bloc and Organisation of INA:

The Tripura session of Indian National congress which were-elected subhas as its president widened the gulf of difference between subhas and Gandhi. A break away from Gandhi Policy and programme was impossible, if not unthinkable for congress. The “Gandhi wing” created a situation of complete deadlock in the organisation.

The left-wing was not well organised to respond to the challenges. Jawaharlal was opposed to the reelection of Bose firstly because he did not want a break with Gandhi, and secondly because he feared that a setback for the real left image arise from its inability to shoulder the responsibility by itself in the event of polarization in the congress.Subhas Bose assessed the situation and observed, “in the absence of an organised and discplined left wing it was impossible to fight Gandhi wing.”Thus Subhas Chandra realised that the primary political need was an organised and disciplined radical party in the congress.

Being very much pragmatic subhas resigned from the presidentship of the Indian National Congress and founded the Forward Bloc in May, 1939. In the words of Subash Bose the forward Bloc was intended to be a “radical and progressive party within the congress, with a view of rallying the entire left wing under one banner.”

The difference between subhas and Mahatma Gandhi was so wide that a compromise was impossible between the two. Very soon the Forward Bloc became a separate independent entity. Forward Bloc under the leadership of subhas launched a vigorous movement against the British Government with the outbreak of World War II.

He was arrested on 2nd July,1940 under Defence of India Rules.He took the decision for a hunger strike and wrote a letter to British Government and stated.” The individual must die, so that the nation may live.

Today I must die so that India may win freedom and glory.” He commenced his fast on November 29, 1940 and on health ground the British Government released him on December 5, 1940. He was put to house arrest in Calcutta and the police kept a keen watch on his movement. Subhas eluded the police vigilance and left Calcutta on 17th January, 1941 with an intention to liberate the country from the misrules of the Britishers through armed revolt. The police came to know of his escape after 10 days, i.e. 27th January, 1941.

The dramatic escape and astounding journey of subhas across several countries have now become a legend. After his escape from India Subhas passed through Peshawar, Kabul and Moscow and reached Berlin on 28th March, 1941. In a false name of Maulavi Ziauddin and keeping long beard he escaped the vigilant eyes of police.

With the help of Italian embassy subhas in the name of Orlando Majjota got a passport to reach his destination in Germany.He started his anti-British activities in Germany in consultation with the Chief Adviser of Hitler.

He tried there to raise an India relegion. India community in Germany responded to his effort. Subhas was designated as Netajee and was greeted with the slogan “Jai Hind.” He despatched his anti-British message through Berlin Radio urging his countrymen to rise against British. In Europe Bose founded the free centres in Rome and Paris and raised a force of volunteers to the strength of 3,000.

The victory of Japan in the middle of the Second World War tempted subhas to change his field of activities. He felt that South-East Asia would be a more suitable ground for his grand scheme of raising a national army to free India from the British yoke. The oppurtunity came when Rash Behari Bose invited Subhas Bose to attend Bangkok conference.

The revolutionaries led by Rasa Behari Bose had already formed one “Indian Independence League” at Tokyo with the object of helping the end of Indian National Army (Azad hind Fouz) under Captain Mohan Singh. At a moment when the treacherous attitude of Mohan Singh had created a crisis in INA, the leadership of Subhas Bose arrived in Tokyo in June 1943.

The Japanese assured independence of India after the war. He then proceeded to Singapore where subhas was given a rousing reception. Rash Behari handed over to Subhave the leadership of Indian National Army and the Presidentship of Indian Indepedence league amidst great Jubilation and enthusiasm, on 4th July, 1943. It was Rash Behari who prepared the ground for subhas in East and South-East Asia.

With the leadership of Subhas Indian National Army surged forward with a battle cry “Delhi Chalo” and “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”. Subhas Bose came to be popularly designated as “Netajee”, the supreme leader of Azad Hind Fouz. The INA comprised of a number of units including a women battalion called the Rani Jhansi battalion.

It was led by Captain Laxmi Swaminathan on 21st October, 1943. Bose declared in Singapore the formation of a provisional Azad Hind Government and he became the president. Within a few days nine world powers – Japan, Germany, Italy, Burma, Thailand, nationalist China, the Philippines and Manchuria recognised the Government. The Provisional Government acquired its first stretch of territory in free India when Japan handed over Andaman and Nicobar Island to it on 6th November, 1943.

The territories were named as “Shahid” and “Swaraj” island respectively. The object of forming Provisional Government was “to launch and to conduct the struggle that would bring about the expulsion of the British and of their allies from the soil of India.” It called upon the Indian people “to struggle for India’s freedom” and “launch the final struggle against the British and all their allies in India.

INA became the instrument to fulfil the dreams of subhas. Subhas Bose with the Japanese air cover and sound battle – cry of “Delhi Chalo” of the patriots of INA brigade- Azad,Gandhi and Subhas-advanced upto the frontiers of India. The Indian national flag was hoisted in Kohima in March, 1944. With the defeat of Japan in the war during 1944-45, the INA to meet reverses after reverse. The army was badly hit by casualities, disease and dejections.

They were demoralised and broken. The surrender of Germany on 7th May, 1945, bombing over Japanese city Hiroshima and Nagashaki on 6th August 18, 1945 on his way to Tokyo liquidated the forces of INA. The INA was disarmed and many of its officers were made prisoners. The patriotic upsurge of Indians abroad under the leadership of subhas ended, but it left a great imprint in the history of Indian struggle for independence.

The roles of Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA in the course of India’s struggle for independence have been appreciated by many historians.

He was regarded as Netajee for his selfless patriotism and rock-like resolute determination for the realisation of his pious objectives. It was true in the Gandhian phase that his leadership was not accepted by many congress leaders. But all had definitely appreciated his constructive steps and his attempt to strike at colonialism.

The dedication of the INA will remain a chapter of lasting value in the history of Indian National Movement. The multi dimensional activities of subhas in the thirties of 20th century constitute a significant part of the struggle of the Indian Nationalists against the colonial masters.

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