Subhas Chandra Bose, popularly known as Netaji was really a towering personality in the political scene of freedom movement, as all other leaders look pygmies before his patriotism.
So what Mahatma Gandhi described him as the patriot of patriots really suits him. He was a man of great courage and wanted to free India from the British rule by waging open war. That’s why the founded a nationalist force in 1939, called the Indian National Army and hailed the people of India to give him blood, so that he would give them freedom. So we can say that, if Mahatma Gandhi was the brain behind the freedom movement of India, Subhas was no doubt the brawn.
Subash was born on 23rd January, 1897, 1897 in Cuttack as the ninth child of Janakinath Bose, a pleader and Prabhavati Devi, a pious and orthodox lady. As a student he was very brilliant and topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta Province and graduated in Philosophy from the Presidency College of Calcutta. Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy and teachings hammered his mind and his patriotic zeal was arisen. His parent’s wish sent him England away from the Indian freedom struggle, to prepare for the Indian Civil Service. Although he stood 4th in the examination, he left his apprenticeship and returned to India being deeply disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre. He came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Indian National Congress and worked with Desbandhu Chittaranjan Das, his political Guru in the direction of Gandhiji.
Subhas was outspoken and uncompromising in his anti-British stance and was jailed eleven times between 1920 and 1941 for periods varying between six months and three years. He was the leader of the youth wings of the Congress Party and admired for his great skills in organization development. He advocated complete freedom for India as the earliest, whereas the Congress Committee wanted it in phases through a Dominion status. Many younger leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru supported his idea and the Congress was compelled to adopt ‘Poorna Swarja’ as its motto at the historic Lahore Congress Convention. Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom and the inability of the Congress leaders to save his life infuriated Bose and he started a movement opposing the Gandhi-Irwin Pact for peace. He was imprisoned and expelled from India but his love for the motherland and his daring nature could not hold him back; he came down to India defying the ban and was arrested again.
Clouds of World War II was heading for a critical state and Bose was against dragging India into the war because he knew about the untold suffering and losses India could incur. So, when he was elected the President of National Congress in 1939 for the 2nd term defeating Gandhi’s nominee, he brought a resolution, a kind of ultimatum, to give the British six months to hand over the administration of India to the Indians, failing which there would be an open revolt. Many opposed his rigidness and he resigned from the post of Congress President and formed the Forward Bloc in 1939 and just as predicted by Netaji, the Governor General declared India as a warring state without taking Indian leaders into confidence. Subhas was utterly against it and stared a mass movement and spoke dauntlessly against the shedding of Indian blood and utilization Indian resources for the imperialistic setup. There was tremendous response to his call and the British promptly imprisoned him. He took to a hunger-strike and when his health deteriorated the 11th day of fasting, he was freed and place under house arrest.
Subhas suddenly disappeared in the beginning of 1941 and it was not until many days the authorities realized that he was not inside the house they were guarding. He traveled on foot, by car and train and resurfaced in Kabul, only to disappear once again. All of a sudden his voice heard on German radio baffled the British but it thrilled the hearts of the teaming millions and revitalized the sprit of the people who realized that their leader was working on a master plan to free their motherland.
The Axis countries Subhas and gave assurance of military and other help to fight the British He made the alliance with Germany and Japan to form an Indian National Army and conducted an invasion of India by way of Burma (Myanmar). It was India’s first national army that planted its tri-color flag on the freed soil of Manipur and Kohima and formed a government named ‘Azad Hind government’ on 21st Oct., 1944, INA freed the Andaman and Nicobar islands and renamed them as ‘Swaraj and Shaheed’ islands. INA marched through Burma and occupied Coxtown on the Indian Border. War cry ‘ Delhi Chalo’ rent the air. Subhas with his army was inching towards success just then Japan had to bow before the might of Atom Bomb. Subash was in Singapore at that time and planning to go to Tokyo to give practical shape to his next line of action. From that point he really disappeared and there was no trace of him. He was only 48 and his death has been the greatest mystery till today. It is believed that he died in a plane crash.
Subhas was brave to the hilt and his courage knew no bounds. He renounced all comforts and remained bachelor to fulfill a mission for which he had taken birth. Actually he followed ardently but on some point he disagreed and revolted. He had the guts which others lack.