Remembering Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

“It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom. Give me blood and I will give you freedom”— Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945)

We are celebrating the 122nd birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose today. A great leader and an inspiring nationalist with defiant patriotism for the country, Netaji led the Indian National Army to form alliances against the British during the World War II. On this occasion, we bring you some interesting facts about him.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was born in Cuttack, to Prabhavati Dutt Bose and Janakinath Bose. His father Janakinath Bose was an affluent and successful advocate. Netaji was the ninth child among fourteen children in the family.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose studied in a Protestant European School (presently Stewart High School) in Cuttack in 1902 and then shifted to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School. He secured the second position in the matriculation examination in 1913 and thereafter went to the Presidency College. He was expelled from the Presidency College due to nationalist activities in 1916. Thereafter, Netaji joined the Scottish Church College at the University of Calcutta where he completed graduation in philosophy in 1918.

During his student days, Netaji was deeply influenced and inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings. Netaji was known for his patriotic zeal even while he was a student.

In 1919, Netaji went to the Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge to prepare for the Indian Civil Services Examination. Though he bagged the 4th place in the examination, he refused to work under the British government.

After hearing the turmoil in India, he came back and started the Swaraj newspaper for the promotion of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee.

Netaji joined the non-cooperation movement begun by Mahatma Gandhi. Netaji was advised by Gandhiji to work with Chitta Ranjan Das, who was a politician in Bengal. Thereafter Netaji became a journalist, and commandant of the Bengal Congress volunteers.

In December 1921, Netaji was arrested and imprisoned for organising a boycott of the celebrations to mark the Prince of Wales’ visit to India.

In 1924, Netaji was appointed as the chief executive officer of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, and Das as a mayor. Netaji was then deported to Myanmar since he was suspected of connections with secret revolutionary movements.

In 1927, after Netaji’s return from Burma, he found Bengal Congress affairs in disarray after the death of Das, and was elected as the president of the Bengal Congress. Soon Netaji and Jawaharlal Nehru became two general secretaries of the Indian National Congress.

In 1938, Netaji was elected as president of the Indian National Congress. He then formulated a policy of broad industrialisation which didn’t fall in sync with the Gandhian economic thought, that the country’s cottage industries could benefit from the use of the country’s own resources.

Netaji was removed from the Congress leadership positions in 1939 due to the differences between Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress high command.

On January 26, 1941, Netaji escaped from Kolkata residence and, travelled via Kabul and Moscow, and reached Germany in April.

In Germany, Bose came under the protection of a newly created Special Bureau for India. Netaji and other Indians in Berlin made regular broadcasts in different languages from the Azad Hind Radio sponsored by Germany. Through the broadcasts, he urged his countrymen to rise against the British rule.

Netaji met and fell in love with Emily Schenkl, while he was in Berlin and got married in 1937 in a secret Hindu ceremony. The couple had a daughter Anita Bose in 1942.

Netaji was given the honorific ‘Netaji’ by German and Indian officials in the Special Bureau for India in Berlin.

In wake of Japanese victories in Southeast Asia and changing German priorities, Bose was keen to move to Southeast Asia. Adolf Hitler, during his only meeting with Netaji suggested the same, and offered to arrange for a submarine. Netaji arrived to Tokyo in 1943. He took up the leadership of the Azad Hind Army or Indian National Army from Rash Behari Bose who was also a nationalist.

One of the INAs’ Brigades advanced with the Japanese army up to the frontiers of India. However with the retreat and defeat of the Japanese, the INA collapsed.

Netaji is said to have succumbed to third-degree burns on August 18, 1945 after his overloaded Japanese plane crashed in Taiwan.

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