The Liberator of India-Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
This motivational story is about Mother India’s favorite son, who was born on 23rd January 1897.
Yes, I am referring to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He was born in Cuttack under the Bengal presidency.
Students all over India and the World will be inspired to hear the story of Subhas Chandra Bose.
Bose was born in an affluent family and having tremendous academic records. But he preferred his motherland over his own comfort.
The early life of little Subhas :
When Subhas was 5 years old, he was admitted to Protestant European School (P.E. School) run by the Baptist Mission.
On the first day of school, he along with 2 other kids from his family ran for the carriage that was supposed to take them to school. But he slipped, fell down and hurt his head.
As referred by Netaji himself in his book “An Indian Pilgrim”, some pros and cons of studying in P.E. School:-
Behavior & manners
No unhealthy emphasis on studies
Systematic way of education
More individual attention of the teachers on students compared to Indian schools. Hence, no separate preparation for exams
Standard of English much higher than in Indian schools
Too much stress in imparting lessons on Bible
Students were made to learn more about the history & geography of Great Britain than India.
No Indian languages were taught and hence the mother tongue was totally neglected.
From the above points, it seems that many of the points are so pertinent even today.
Most importantly, I would like to highlight point 3 in Cons and would like to discuss in brief.
We are an independent nation for 73 years+ but to date, our history books do not highlight the major achievements of Netaji.
Netaji’s academic records are well-known facts and will briefly touch the same.
But would like to highlight some major achievements which are unknown to many of us in the latter part of the writing.
Academic records of Netaji :
Matriculation examination – Stood 2nd
BA examination (Philosophy Hons) – Stood 1st class 2nd
ICS (Indian Civil Service) examination – Stood 4th
He stood 4th in the Indian Civil Service examination from England. He could have spent the rest of his life lavishly. Instead, he decided to return to India and spend his life for the liberation of the motherland.
Events that scripted the 2nd frontier :
1. 1938, Haripura session of Congress:
The Presidential Chair was passed on to the youngest leader – Subhas Chandra Bose from Jawaharlal Nehru.
2. In his address, for the first time in Indian political history, Netaji stressed the need for a planning commission and family planning. In his speech, he stressed the need for trained manpower. Hence expressed his willingness for the training of the population. The training to happen in line with the British Summer School and Labour service Corps of the Nazis.
3. 1939, Subhas Bose wanted to put in place the unfinished works in his first term from 1938-1939. Hence wanted to contest the elections for the second time. The Congress high command mainly Gandhi wasn’t in favor. He wanted Subhas Bose to hand over the presidential post to Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Bose was determined to contest the elections since he felt there was a fraction in Congress who were particularly soft on the British. The softness is delaying the process of independence.
4. The election was fought and Subhas Chandra Bose won by over 200 votes. Nobody before Bose had the guts to challenge Gandhiji. Gandhi remarked, ” The defeat is more mine than Sitaramayya ‘s”.
5. Bose made the biggest political ‘blunder’ by challenging Gandhiji. Within a few days, with Gandhi’s provocation, everyone started turning against Subhas. Mass resignation followed in a few month’s time…
6. 1939 Tripuri Congress:
Bose was physically too ill to deliver his address. In a short and concise address, he said that time has come to serve an ultimatum to the British. The majority did not accept his ideas. Instead, he was humiliated by a big majority from Gandhi’s lobby.
7. Netaji tried to reconcile and discussed with Gandhi for a resolution but Gandhi was adamant. Finally, Netaji decided to resign from the post. In a letter to his nephew Amiya he wrote “Nobody has done more harm to me personally and our (the Leftist) cause in this crisis than Pandit Nehru.” because of the indifference shown by Nehru at that point.
After many years, Nehru said –
“I had realized that, at that stage, whatever one’s view might be about the way India should develop, Gandhi was India. Anything that weakened Gandhi weakened India. So I subordinated myself to Gandhi, although I was in agreement with what Bose was trying to do.”
8. Everyone thought that Subhas Bose’s political career had received a tremendous setback. But within 3 days of his resignation, he formed his new party ” Forward Bloc”. He started a weekly journal fiercely attacking the Right-wing of Congress and the British imperialism. He moved all over India and spread his doctrine for an all-out struggle against the British.
9. 1940: Hitler overpowered Belgium & France; Mussolini joined the war. The world outside was burning and Subhas time and again requested Gandhi to call out for an ultimatum from the British. British were in a pressure cooker situation on account of the Nazis; but, Gandhi didn’t agree.
10. Subhas Bose called for the demolition of Holwell monument in Calcutta. It stood for 150 yrs of India’s slavery to Brits. A day before the event, he was arrested for the 11th time under section 26 which implied permanent imprisonment.
11. In Presidency jail, he wrote to his brother Sarat Bose on 31st October –
“The more I think of Congress politics, the more convinced I feel that in future we should devote more energy and time to fight the High Command. If the power goes into the hands of such mean, vindictive, unscrupulous persons when Swaraj is won, what will happen to the country?”
12. Britain was now involved in a life and death struggle and hence the opportunity was knocking at India’s door. He decided to escape the jail he was in… But the section under which he was arrested, getting out of the jail was a remote possibility. With deep thinking and prayers for 3 months, he finally decided to FAST UNTO DEATH since it was the only option that could bring him Out. He started the Fast on 29th Nov and on 5th December, he anticipated that the jail authority might use force for feeding him. So, he wrote to the CM and Governor of Bengal that if any kind of force is used for feeding him, he would commit suicide. Estimating and fearing the impact of death in jail, the same day they released him. But the British did not withdraw the prosecutions against him.
The Great Escape
13. 17-Jan 1941: a car left Elgin road, Calcutta, and Netaji disguised as Md Ziauddin, an insurance man reached Dhanbad. From there he was driven to the railway Gomoh.
14. On 19th January he reached Peshawar and he was attended by Akbar Shah and Bhagat Ram Talwar of Forward Bloc in NW frontier.
15. 26th January: in India, the news about his disappearance was flashed. In Peshawar, Md Ziauddin (Netaji) along with Bhagat Ram Talwar left Peshawar for Afghanistan. The team covered difficult terrains and mountains. Finally, the exhausted team reached the first village in Afghan territory on 28th January.
16. 30th January: in the bitterly cold morning of January, they set out for Kabul and finally reached the unknown destination on 31st January.
17. 1st Feb 1941: They tried to contact foreign embassies since they had to leave Kabul at the earliest possible. They first approached Soviet Union but were turned deaf ears. They were slowly but falling under the suspicion of the Afghan police. Bose had to change his stay to Uttam Chand’s house. Between Bose succeeded in establishing contact with the German legation.
A meeting with the Italian minister
18. 23rd February: Bhagat Ram arranged a meeting with Italian minister Alberto Quaroni. The meeting between Bose and Quaroni lasted the entire night.
19. Bose was clear on his agenda. He needed support to form a Free India Govt and an army comprising of the Indian prisoners of war of Germany and Italy. During this time, the German and Italian governments jointly took up the question of Bose’s transit through Russia with the Soviet government.
20. The Soviet answer came after nearly four weeks. An agreement was reached between the 3 governments. It was decided that Bose would travel across Russia on an Italian diplomatic passport. He would be impersonating a clerk at the Italian Legation in Kabul, Orlando Mazzotta. The Afghan government was asked to issue a courier visa.
Getting ready for the departure
About a week before Bose’s actual departure from Kabul, Mrs. Quaroni brought the important message to Uttam’s shop. Arrangements were made to take Bose’s photograph. The photograph to replace Mazzotta’s on the original passport and to get his clothing ready. The Italians collected Bose’s suitcase on 16 March and Bose himself shifted to Crescini’s house the next day. He handed over to Bhagat Ram many documents which he was to carry back to India according to instructions. It was arranged with the Italians that Bhagat Ram would be the link between India and Kabul. They would provide the means of communication between Bose and Kabul.
21. On 18 March early in the morning Bose left in a car for the Soviet frontier accompanied by a German engineer of the Todt organization and two others. It was arranged that he would spend two nights on the way in German houses. They traveled through the high passes of the Hindu Kush and the dead expanse of the Afghan steppes. Then they crossed the Oxus at the Afghan frontier post at Pata Kisar until they reached the fabled city of Samarkand.
Bose reaches Berlin
22. 20th March they left Samarkand by rail for Moscow from where they flew to Berlin arriving there at the beginning of April 1941.
23. On the evening of 31 March 1941, Bhagat Ram met Sarat Bose at the Calcutta house of the latter at 1, Woodburn Park. He handed over 3 documents of Netaji:-
A personal letter from his brother in Bengali,
The thesis ‘Forward Bloc — Its Justification’
‘Message to My Countrymen from Somewhere in Europe’ dated 22 March 1941.
24. After two months and eleven days of adventure, suspense, and anxiety since leaving home, Bose arrived safely in Berlin. He reached Berlin in his new Avatar as ‘Signer Orlando Mazzotta’.
Bose’s journey from Calcutta to Berlin is one of the sensational escapes. He made the escape for the liberation of his motherland through British spies & policemen
Another Heroic journey begins
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose met führer Adolf Hitler. The Axis powers were already at war with the British. Hence Netaji wanted to use the opportunity in India’s war of independence.
8-Feb 1943 :
Several rounds of discussions happened between Netaji’s men and the German officials. Finally, it was decided that Netaji would be traveling in a submarine accompanied by one. The next destination was the Far East. On the mentioned date, Bose set sail from Germany.
Netaji and Hassan struggled against the surging waves & death fear at every moment. Finally, they were transferred to a Japanese submarine.
Netaji reached Sabang islands
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose met Japanese Premier General Tojo.
Final Heroics of Netaji
The liberator of India-Netaji met many influential leaders in the Far East. He influenced them for supporting the Indian independence movement. The notable ones were :
Pibulsonggram (PM of Thailand)
Dr. Ba Maw ( Head of State of Burma)
Lt. General Nakamia (Chief of Japanese Forces in Thailand)
Rasbehari Bose handed over the responsibilities of the leadership of INA to Netaji.
The Liberator of India-Netaji gave the army its battle cry: “Chalo Delhi”
On 21-October 1943, the Provisional Government of Free India was set up. It had its HQ at Singapore.
The Provisional Govt was recognized by :
- Govt of Germany, Japan, Italy, Burma, Philippines, Thailand, Croatia, China & Manchuria
Formation of the Women unit of Army ” The Rani of Jhansi regiment” :
On 22-October, the training camp was formally opened for training. Within 4 months, the strength increased to 500 from 100 when the training had started.
Finally, the INA (Indian National Army) began the Imphal Campaign to oust the British out of India.
The IMPACT of INA :
In the intense battle, the British Indian Army overpowered INA. Many INA soldiers were captured and were to be court-martialled. Three major names –
1. Shah Nawaz Khan, a Muslim
2. Sahgal, a Hindu
3. Dhillon, a Sikh.
But, Congress was never in support of INA. This was because :
- INA was against the basic principle of Ahimsa
- Their opposition towards Axis powers.
The political climate in India was dull
In 1945, the situation in India changed drastically. Abul Kalam Azad was the Congres President. According to Abul Kalam Azad, the majority of Congress members including Gandhiji was of the opinion that :
Congress should withdraw from the political field
Concentrate on social work
They believed that there was not much hope on the political plane.
This was 1945 and there was no major issue that could arouse public sentiment like in the Quit India movement of 1942 in India.
Just then Congress realized…why not take up a ready-made issue.
The Indian National Army (INA) symbolized :
Revolution against foreign rule
INA also symbolized a secular character
Estimating the impact, Congress took up the issue and supported in defending the INA officers. All major political parties viz :
supported because of their own agendas supported the cause.
The only ones who opposed were :
- The Communist Party of India :
The alliance of the Soviet Union with the Allies against the Axis explains the cause of CPI
- The Muslim League :
Initially, they were indifferent. Division on the communal ground (formation of Pakistan) was the main agenda of the Muslim league. But later a Muslim in the trial made them change the stance.
A single agenda united the entire country. The agenda was to defend INA and throw away the British. The basic principle that formed their basis for taking up the issue was –
1. Freedom of India
Sad, but true… The liberator of India-Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose formed the Army basis these 2 principles only but then no one extended their support to him.
Nov 21-24 :
Serious riots broke out in Calcutta, Bombay, Karachi, Patna, Allahabad, Banaras, Rawalpindi. In Calcutta, American & British establishments were attacked. Congress and Muslim league flags were cruising side by side.
As reported in the New York Times, INA became an explosive political issue and emotionally charged the entire nation
The correspondent of the New York Times reported:
“Indian Nationalists are working day and night to build up Bose as the ‘George Washington ‘ of India.
Gandhiji wrote in his Harijan: “The hypnotism of the INA has cast its spell upon us”.
Pattabhi Sitaramayya wrote that “INA eclipsed the Indian National Congress”.
The loyalty was shaken from roots
The liberator of India-Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, as a part of his strategy always believed :
The INA soldiers on returning to India would affect the LOYALTY of the Indian ranks in the British Indian Army.
As days progressed, Bose’s foresight started to come true.
The Composition of the British Indian Army changed
The British Indian Army earlier constituted of the martial class. It consisted of Punjabi Muslims, Dogras who were indifferent about political developments.
With the vast expansion of the British Indian Army, many other sections joined. Primarily, the urban educated class joined who were politically oriented.
The popularity of INA, their heroics, and the support of Indians for INA started increasing. This started fragmenting the Indians amongst the British Indian Army.
So, the main advantage of the British – the LOYALTY of the Indian ranks in the army was at stake.
Issues cropped up at Royal Indian Navy and Royal Indian Air Force:
There was rising dissatisfaction among the Royal Indian Air Force and Royal Indian Navy on account of :
Discrimination in pay
Unfavorable service condition
In a few day’s time, the Royal Indian Air Force in Calcutta openly came out against the court-martial of INA officers.
Jan 1946 :
Even after several warnings, confidential information started leaking from the British Indian Army.
Lieutenant General Tuker wrote –
“the INA affair was ….threatening to tumble down the whole edifice of the Indian Army…”
The same month, Royal Indian Air Force went on strike in favor of INA officers along with other agendas.
Royal Indian Navy mutiny :
The Royal Indian Navy mutiny broke out. 78 ships got stationed in Calcutta, Bombay, Karachi, Madras, Cochin, Vizag, Mandapam, and Andaman.
Following these mutinies, the political atmosphere became flared up. It resulted in several mass riots and Govt and European properties were targets of attack.
India became Independent
Finally, the British decided to leave the country and go back. India won her Independence on 15-August 1947.
But do you know, why India got independence?
Please read the extract below :
Learning from Netaji’s life :
Netaji has been my idol since childhood. The above write-up is a short tribute to his 125th birthday. The above write-up is an attempt to bring together the major achievements of Netaji-The liberator of India. His work sphere was huge and not possible to accommodate in a short write-up like this one. But, I have tried to summarize the known side of his life in the best possible way.
Why is reading the workings & achievements of Netaji relevant even today? What can today’s kids or even adults learn from his life?
Below are some major points that summarize the importance :
Someone with a brilliant academic career will rarely sacrifice it for anything else. But Netaji preferred to sacrifice his academic career for ousting the British.
Why did he do so?
It was because he had a goal in mind. And the goal was winning freedom. So, a decent academic career is a means to the end where the end is in winning independence. With a defined goal in mind, Netaji could sacrifice his lavish career.
The way the societal changes are happening, the kids are becoming self-centered. Such inspirational stories might encourage the kids to develop this quality.
“In the world take always the position of the giver. Give everything and look for no return. Give love, give help, give service, give any little thing you can, but keep out barter. Make no conditions and none will be imposed on you. Let us give out of our own bounty, just as God gives to us”.
– Swami Vivekananda
Have clear-cut goals
Netaji-the liberator of India had clear-cut goals in mind. He knew that winning independence was his only goal in life. Such was the grit and determination that it made him open the 2nd frontier. While he was in favor of complete Independence, MK Gandhi was in favor of dominion status. At that time, India and Gandhi were synonymous.
He could have stayed back in India cribbing when there were no takers of his philosophy.
Instead, he analyzed the geopolitical scenario. To meet his goals, he left his home, his motherland. Traveled difficult terrains, encountered tough challenges to meet Adolf Hitler & Gen Tojo.
During that time, people used to tremble in fear just hearing the name of the Fuhrer. But Netaji even took up that challenge for meeting his goal in life.
We spend the least time defining our goals in life.
Looking at Netaji’s life, it is clear that the goal of life should be well planned.
Once the goal is set, nothing on earth should stop us from attaining it.
Netaji met Hitler, Gen Tojo, traveled 90 days in a submarine, set up a provisional Govt. He took leadership of an army & attacked the British, raised the tricolors in Andaman & Moirang. All these he did to meet his goals.
Thinking ahead of time
Netaji-the liberator of India was a visionary.
No plans in ousting the British were succeeding in India. The British rulers were in no hurry to leave the country. Netaji understood that only processions & demonstrations will not succeed in removing the British. For ousting the British, military support was a pre-requisite. He analyzed the geopolitical scenario. Then he prepared his blueprint to go into an alliance with the Axis power.
It is a rarest of rare quality to think ahead of time. When all the leaders could not think of it as an option, Netaji thought ahead of time.
Similarly, everyone should try to imbibe this unique quality in them to break out from the clutter.
Treat everyone equally
Indian National Army was a perfect example of secularism. Men of different religions were a part of INA.
We talk of equality among men and women and execution does not happen in many cases.
Netaji had tremendous respect for women. The respect for women was so high that a separate regiment was formed & named as Rani Jhansi regiment.
The learning that we get from here is that we should be impartial. Everyone should get equal treatment. Every day, in newspapers and AV media, it is a common problem that everyone is not treated equally. And, out of many major issues, this stands as one of the major ones that need to get corrected since early childhood
Netaji was physically very strong. We went to jail 11 times & was tortured by the British. He traveled dangerous mountain terrains, stayed underwater in a submarine for 90 days. He was so focused that nobody could remove his focus from attaining his targeted goals. But he could maintain that focus because he drew his strength from his mental self as well as his physical self.
Youth should also make themselves physically fit so that they can counter any kind of challenges in life.
Tremendous mental strength
Subhas Bose faced opposition from his own people in congress. It takes huge mental strength to counter when your own men go against you. He had that mental strength to handle the same. Additionally, the route that he took for India’s freedom needs huge will power.
The youth of today should draw inspiration from Subhas Chandra Bose for this quality. They should read more about his heroics & implement such will power in their lives.
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- An Indian Pilgrim – Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
- The Indian National Army – K.K. Ghosh
- A Beacon Across Asia – S.K Bose, A.Werth, S.A. Ayer
- Special Thanks to Mission Netaji – Anuj Dhar, Chandrachur Ghose, Sayantan Dasgupta (I would not have known so much unless they did such extensive research on Netaji)