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Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose (; January 1897  unconfirmed) byname Netaji (Hindi: Respected Leader ) was an Indian revolutionary who led an Indian national force against the Western powers during World War II. Bose was one of the most prominent leaders in the Indian independence movement and is a legendary figure in India today.

He is presumed to have died "in absentia" on 18 August 1945 from injuries sustained in an alleged aircraft crash in Taihoku (Taipei). However, no actual evidence of the death of Subhas Chandra Bose on that day has ever been officially authenticated and many committees were set up by the government of India to investigate the mystery of his presumed death.[1]

Contents


Ideology and philosophy

Bose advocated complete unconditional independence for India, whereas the All-India Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through Dominion status. Finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress adopted Purna Swaraj (complete independence) as its motto. Gandhi was given rousing receptions wherever he went after Gandhi-Irwin pact. Subhas Chandra Bose, traveling with Gandhi in these travels, later wrote that the great enthusiasm he saw among the people enthused him tremendously and that he doubted if any other leader anywhere in the world received such a reception as Gandhi did during these travels across the country. He was imprisoned and expelled from India. Defying the ban, he came back to India and was imprisoned again.

Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms, but had to resign from the post following ideological conflicts with Mohandas K. Gandhi and after openly attacking the Congress' foreign and internal policies. Bose believed that Gandhi's tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence, and advocated violent resistance. He established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. He was imprisoned by the British authorities eleven times. His famous motto was: "Give me blood and I will give you freedom".

His stance did not change with the outbreak of the Second World War, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness. At the outset of the war, he left India, travelling to the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, seeking an alliance with each of them to attack the British government in India. With Imperial Japanese assistance, he re-organised and later led the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA), formed with Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from British Malaya, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British forces. With Japanese monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance, he formed the Azad Hind Government in exile, and regrouped and led the Indian National Army in failed military campaigns against the allies at Imphal and in Burma.

His political views and the alliances he made with Nazi and other militarist regimes at war with Britain have been the cause of arguments among historians and politicians, with some accusing him of fascist sympathies, while others in India have been more sympathetic towards the realpolitik that guided his social and political choices. It is also believed among a section of people in India that if Subhas Ch. Bose could win the freedom of India himself the face of today's Indian sub-continent would have been different.

Early life

Subhas Chandra Bose was born in a Bengali family on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa, to Janakinath Bose, an advocate and Prabhavati Devi. His parents' ancestral house was at Kodalia village (near Baruipur; now known as Shubhashgram, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal). He was the ninth child of a total of fourteen siblings. He studied in an Anglo school (Stewart School) at Cuttack until the seventh standard as that time Stewart School functioned till seventh standard and then shifted to Ravenshaw Collegiate School. From there he went to the Presidency College where he studied briefly. His nationalistic temperament came to light when he was expelled for assaulting Professor Oaten for his anti-India comments. Bose later topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province in 1911 and passed his B.A. in 1918 in philosophy from the Scottish Church College under University of Calcutta. Subhas Chandra Bose left India in 1919 for England with a promise to his father that he would appear in the Indian Civil Services Examination. He was selected in his first attempt, but he did not want to work under an alien rule. He resigned his civil service job and returned to India. Bose went to study in Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and matriculated on 19 November 1919. He was a non-collegiate student. He studied Philosoe newspaper Swaraj and took charge of publicity for the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee. His mentor was Chittaranjan Das who was a spokesman for aggressive nationalism in Bengal. In the year 1923, he was elected the President of All India Youth Congress and also the Secretary of Bengal State Congress. He was also Editor of the newspaper "Forward", founded by Deshabandhu. Bose worked as the CEO of the municipal corporation of Calcutta for Das when the latter was elected mayor of Calcutta in 1924. In a roundup of nationalists in 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to prison in Mandalay, where he contracted tuberculosis.

National politics

Mohandas K. Gandhi at the Indian National Congress annual meeting in 1938 when Subhas Chandra Bose was President of Congress party.

In 1927, after being released from prison, Bose became general secretary of the Congress party and worked with Jawaharlal Nehru for independence. Again Bose was arrested and jailed for civil disobedience; this time he emerged to become Mayor of Calcutta in 1930. During the mid-1930s Bose travelled in Europe, visiting Indian students and European politicians, including Mussolini. He observed party organization and saw communism and fascism in action.[2] By 1938 Bose had become as leader of national stature and agreed to accept nomination as Congress president.

He stood for unqualified Swaraj (self-governance), including the use of force against the British. This meant a confrontation with Mohandas Gandhi, who in fact opposed Bose's presidency, splitting the Indian National Congress party. Bose attempted to maintain unity, but Gandhi advised Bose to form his own cabinet. The rift also divided Bose and Nehru. Bose appeared at the 1939 Congress meeting on a stretcher. He was elected president again over Gandhi's preferred candidate Pattabhi Sitaramayya. U. Muthuramalingam Thevar strongly supported Bose in the intra-Congress dispute. Thevar mobilised all south India votes for Bose. However, due to the manoeuvrings of the Gandhi-led clique in the Congress Working Committee, Bose found himself forced to resign from the Congress presidency. His uncompromising stand finally cut him off from the mainstream of Indian nationalism. Bose then organized the Forward Bloc on June 22, aimed at consolidating the political left, but its main strength was in his home state, Bengal. U Muthuramalingam Thevar, who was disillusioned by the official Congress leadership which had not revoked the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA), joined the Forward Bloc. When Bose visited Madurai on September 6, Thevar organised a massive rally as his reception.

Bose advocated the approach that the political instability of war-time Britain should be taken advantage of rather than simply wait for the British to grant independence after the end of the war (which was the view of Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and a section of the Congress leadership at the time). In this, he was influenced by the examples of Italian statesmen Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini.

His correspondence reveals that despite his clear dislike for British subjugation, he was deeply impressed by their methodical and systematic approach and their steadfastly disciplinarian outlook towards life. In England, he exchanged ideas on the future of India with British Labour Party leaders and political thinkers like Lord Halifax, George Lansbury, Clement Attlee, Arthur Greenwood, Harold Laski, J.B.S. Haldane, Ivor Jennings, G.D.H. Cole, Gilbert Murray and Sir Stafford Cripps . He came to believe that a free India needed socialist authoritarianism, on the lines of Turkey's Kemal Atat rk, for at least two decades. Bose was refused permission by the British authorities to meet Mr. Atat rk at Ankara for political reasons. During his sojourn in England, only the Labour Party and Liberal politicians agreed to meet with Bose when he tried to schedule appointments. Conservative Party officials refused to meet Bose or show him courtesy because he was a politician coming from a colony. In the 1930s leading figures in the Conservative Party had opposed even Dominion status for India. It was during the Labour Party government of 1945 1951, with Attlee as the Prime Minister, that India gained independence. On the outbreak of war, Bose advocated a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest against Viceroy Lord Linlithgow's decision to declare war on India's behalf without consulting the Congress leadership. Having failed to persuade Gandhi of the necessity of this, Bose organized mass protests in Calcutta calling for the 'Holwell Monument' commemorating the Black Hole of Calcutta, which then stood at the corner of Dalhousie Square, to be removed.[3] He was thrown in jail by the British, but was released following a seven-day hunger strike. Bose's house in Calcutta was kept under surveillance by the CID,[4] but their vigilance left a good deal to be desired. With two court cases pending, he felt the British would not let him leave the country before the end of the war.

Escape from British India to Germany & Japan

This set the scene for Bose's escape to Germany, via Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. A few days before his escape, he sought solitude and on this pretext avoided meeting British guards and grew a beard and on the night of his escape he dressed as a Pathan to avoid being identified. Bose escaped from under British surveillance at his house in Calcutta. On January 19, 1941, accompanied by his nephew Sisir K. Bose in a car that is now at display at his Calcutta home.[5][6] Subhas Chandra Bose with Heinrich Himmler He journeyed to Peshawar with the help of the Abwehr, where he was met by Akbar Shah, Mohammed Shah and Bhagat Ram Talwar. Bose was taken to the home of Abad Khan, a trusted friend of Akbar Shah's. On 26 January 1941, Bose began his journey to reach Russia through India's North West frontier with Afghanistan. For this reason, he enlisted the help of Mian Akbar Shah, then a Forward Bloc leader in the North-West Frontier Province. Shah had been out of India en route to the Soviet Union, and suggested a novel disguise for Bose to assume. Since Bose could not speak one word of Pashto, it would make him an easy target of Pashto speakers working for the British. For this reason, Shah suggested that Bose act deaf and dumb, and let his beard grow to mimic those of the tribesmen. Bose's guide Bhagat Ram Talwar, unknown to him, was a Soviet agent.[5][6][7]

Supporters of the Aga Khan III helped him across the border into Afghanistan where he was met by an Abwehr unit posing as a party of road construction engineers from the Organization Todt who then aided his passage across Afghanistan via Kabul to the border with Soviet Russia. After assuming the guise of a Pashtun insurance agent ("Ziaudddin") to reach Afghanistan, Bose changed his guise and traveled to Moscow on the Italian passport of an Italian nobleman "Count Orlando Mazzotta". From Moscow, he reached Rome, and from there he traveled to Germany.[5][6][8] Once in Russia the NKVD transported Bose to Moscow where he hoped that Russia's traditional enmity to British rule in India would result in support for his plans for a popular rising in India. However, Bose found the Soviets' response disappointing and was rapidly passed over to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count von der Schulenburg. He had Bose flown on to Berlin in a special courier aircraft at the beginning of April where he was to receive a more favorable hearing from Joachim von Ribbentrop and the Foreign Ministry officials at the Wilhelmstrasse.[5][6][9]

In Germany, he instituted the Special Bureau for India under Adam von Trott zu Solz, broadcasting on the German-sponsored Azad Hind Radio. He founded the Free India Center in Berlin, and created the Indian Legion (consisting of some 4500 soldiers) out of Indian prisoners of war who had previously fought for the British in North Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces. The Indian Legion was attached to the Wehrmacht, and later transferred to the Waffen SS. Its members swore the following allegiance to Hitler and Bose: "I swear by God this holy oath that I will obey the leader of the German race and state, Adolf Hitler, as the commander of the German armed forces in the fight for India, whose leader is Subhas Chandra Bose". This oath clearly abrogates control of the Indian legion to the German armed forces whilst stating Bose's overall leadership of India. He was also, however, prepared to envisage an invasion of India via the USSR by Nazi troops, spearheaded by the Azad Hind Legion; many have questioned his judgment here, as it seems unlikely that the Germans could have been easily persuaded to leave after such an invasion, which might also have resulted in an Axis victory in the War.[8]

In all 3,000 Indian prisoners of war signed up for the Free India Legion. But instead of being delighted, Bose was worried. A left-wing admirer of Russia, he was devastated when Hitler's tanks rolled across the Soviet border. Matters were worsened by the fact that the now-retreating German army would be in no position to offer him help in driving the British from India. When he met Hitler in May 1942 his suspicions were confirmed, and he came to believe that the Nazi leader was more interested in using his men to win propaganda victories than military ones. So, in February 1943, Bose turned his back on his legionnaires and slipped secretly away aboard a submarine bound for Japan. This left the men he had recruited leaderless and demoralized in Germany.[8][10]

Bose spent almost three years in Berlin, Germany from 1941 until 1943, during which he married Emilie Schenkl and a daughter Anita Bose Pfaff was born to them in 1942.

The crew of the Japanese submarine I-29 after the rendezvous with the German submarine U-180 300 sm southeast from Madagascar. At bottom left is the Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose. Date : 28 April 1943

After being disillusioned that Germany could be of any help in liberating India, in 1943 he left for Japan. He traveled by the German submarine U-180 around the Cape of Good Hope to Imperial Japan (via ). This was the only civilian transfer between two submarines of two different Navies in World War II.[5][6]

Taking over leadership of Azad Hind Fauj and later events

The Indian National Army (INA) was originally founded by Capt Mohan Singh in Singapore in September 1942 with Japan's Indian POWs in the Far East. This was along the concept of and with support of what was then known as the Indian Independence League, headed by expatriate nationalist leader Rash Behari Bose. The first INA was however disbanded in December 1942 after disagreements between the Hikari Kikan and Mohan Singh, who came to believe that the Japanese High Command was using the INA as a mere pawn and propaganda tool. Mohan Singh was taken into custody and the troops returned to the prisoner-of-war camp. However, the idea of a liberation army was revived with the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in the Far East in 1943. In July, at a meeting in Singapore, Rash Behari Bose handed over control of the organization to Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose was able to reorganize the fledgling army and organize massive support among the expatriate Indian population in south-east Asia, who lent their support by both enlisting in the Indian National Army, as well as financially in response to Bose's calls for sacrifice for the national cause. At its height it consisted of some 85,000 regular troops, including a separate women's unit, the Rani of Jhansi Regiment (named after Rani Lakshmi Bai) headed by Capt. Lakshmi Swaminathan, which is seen as a first of its kind in Asia.[11][12]

left

Even when faced with military reverses, Bose was able to maintain support for the Azad Hind movement. Spoken as a part of a motivational speech for the Indian National Army at a rally of Indians in Burma on July 4, 1944, Bose's most famous quote was "Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!" In this, he urged the people of India to join him in his fight against the British Raj. Spoken in Hindi, Bose's words are highly evocative. The troops of the INA were under the aegis of a provisional government, the Azad Hind Government, which came to produce its own currency, postage stamps, court and civil code, and was recognised by nine Axis states Germany, Japan, Italy, the Independent State of Croatia, Wang Jingwei regime in Nanjing, China, a provisional government of Burma, Manchukuo and Japanese-controlled Philippines. Recent researches have shown that the USSR too had recognised the "Provisional Government of Free India". Of those countries, five were authorities established under Axis occupation. This government participated in the so-called Greater East Asia Conference as an observer in November 1943.

Greater East Asia Conference in November 1943, Participants Left to right: Ba Maw, Zhang Jinghui, Wang Jingwei, Hideki T j , Wan Waithayakon, Jos P. Laurel, Subhas Chandra Bose

The INA's first commitment was in the Japanese thrust towards Eastern Indian frontiers of Manipur. INA's special forces, the Bahadur Group, were extensively involved in operations behind enemy lines both during the diversionary attacks in Arakan, as well as the Japanese thrust towards Imphal and Kohima, along with the Burmese National Army led by Ba Maw and Aung San.

Japanese also took possession of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1942 and a year later, the Provisional Government and the INA were established in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with Lt Col. A.D. Loganathan appointed its Governor General. The islands were renamed Shaheed (Martyr) and Swaraj (Independence). However, the Japanese Navy remained in essential control of the island's administration. During Bose's only visit to the islands in early 1944, when he was carefully screened from the local population by the Japanese authorities, who at that time were torturing the leader of the Indian Independence League on the Islands, Dr. Diwan Singh,who later died of his injuries, in the Cellular Jail. The islanders made several attempts to alert Bose to their plight, but apparently without success. Enraged with the lack of administrative control, Lt. Col Loganathan later relinquished his authority and returned to the Government's head quarters in Rangoon.[13][14]

On the Indian mainland, an Indian Tricolour, modeled after that of the Indian National Congress, was raised for the first time in the town in Moirang, in Manipur, in north-eastern India. The towns of Kohima and Imphal were placed under siege by divisions of the Japanese, Burmese and the Gandhi and Nehru Brigades of INA during the attempted invasion of India, also known as Operation U-GO. However, Commonwealth forces held both positions and then counter-attacked, in the process inflicting serious losses on the besieging forces, which were then forced to retreat back into Burma.

When Japanese funding for the army diminished, Bose was forced to raise taxes on the Indian populations of Malaysia and Singapore . When the Japanese were defeated at the battles of Kohima and Imphal, the Provisional Government's aim of establishing a base in mainland India was lost forever. The INA was forced to pull back, along with the retreating Japanese army, and fought in key battles against the British Indian Army in its Burma campaign, notable in Meiktilla, Mandalay, Pegu, Nyangyu and Mount Popa. However, with the fall of Rangoon, Bose's government ceased to be an effective political entity. A large proportion of the INA troops surrendered under Lt Col Loganathan when Rangoon fell. The remaining troops retreated with Bose towards Malaya or made for Thailand. Japan's surrender at the end of the war also led to the eventual surrender of the Indian National Army, when the troops of the British Indian Army were repatriated to India and some tried for treason.

Earlier, in a speech broadcast by the Azad Hind Radio from Singapore on July 6, 1944, Bose addressed Mahatma Gandhi as the "Father of the Nation" and asked for his blessings and good wishes for the war he was fighting. This was the first time that Mahatma Gandhi was referred to by this appellation.[15][16]

His famous quote/slogan was " ; " (Give me blood and I will give you freedom). His other famous quote were, " (Dilli Chalo)", meaning "On to Delhi!" This was the call he used to give the INA armies to motivate them. " (Jai Hind)", or, "Glory to India!" was another slogan used by him and later adopted by the Government of India and the Indian Armed Forces. Other slogan coined by him was Ittefaq, Etemad, Qurbani. INA also used the slogan Inquilab Zindabad, which was coined by Maulana Hasrat Mohani[17][18][19][20][21]

Disappearance and alleged death

Bose is alleged to have died in a plane crash Taihoku (Taipei), Taiwan, on 18 August 1945 while en route to Tokyo and possibly then the Soviet Union. The Imperial Japanese Army Air Force Bomber (Mitsubishi Ki-21) he was travelling on had engine trouble and when it crashed Bose was badly burned, dying in a local hospital four hours later. His body was then cremated, and a Buddhist memorial service was held at Nishi Honganji Temple in Taihoku (Taipei). His ashes were taken to Japan and interred at the Renk ji Temple in Tokyo.[22] This version of events is supported by the testimonies of a Captain Yoshida Taneyoshi, and a British spy known as "Agent 1189."[23]

The absence of his body has led to many theories being put forward concerning his possible survival. One such claim is that Bose actually died later in Siberia, while in Soviet captivity. Several committees have been set up by the government of India to probe into this matter.

In May 1956, a four-man Indian team known as the Shah Nawaz Committee visited Japan to probe the circumstances of Bose's alleged death. However, the Indian government did not then request assistance from the government of Taiwan in the matter, citing their lack of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

However, the Inquiry Commission under Justice Mukherjee, which investigated the Bose disappearance mystery in the period 1999 2005, did approach the Taiwanese government, and obtained information from the Taiwan government that no plane carrying Bose had ever crashed in Taipei, and there was, in fact, no plane crash in Taiwan on 18 August 1945 as alleged.[24] The Mukherjee Commission also received a report originating from the U.S. Department of State supporting the claim of the Taiwan Government that no such air crash took place during that time frame.[25]

Renkoji temple (Japan)

The Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to the Indian government on November 8, 2005. The report was tabled in Parliament on May 17, 2006. The probe said in its report that as Bose did not die in the plane crash, and that the ashes at the Renkoji Temple (said to be of Bose's) are not his. However, the Indian Government rejected the findings of the Commission, though no reasons were cited.

Several documents which could perhaps provide lead to the disappearance of Bose have not been declassified by the Government of India, the reason cited being publication of these documents could sour India's relations with some other countries.

Recently Netaji's grand nephew Sujata Bose in his book "His Majesty's Opponent" claimed that the founder of the Indian Independence League in Tokyo, Rama Murti had hidden a portion of alleged cremated remains of Bose as "extra precaution" in his house and secondly, this portion has been brought to India in 2006 and Prime Minister was informed about the development. But Prime Ministers Office has refused the word issued a statement "As per records, no such information exists."

Bose was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award in 1992, but it was later withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the "posthumous" nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence on Bose's death and thus the "posthumous" award was invalidated. No headway was made on this issue however.[26]

Bose's portrait hangs in the Indian Parliament, and a statue of him has been erected in front of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

Mysterious monk

There are two people who believed to have been Subhas Chandra Bose.

Several people believed that the founder of the "Shaulmari Ashram in North Bengal" was Netaji though he himself publicly refrained from making such statements. Dr.Suresh Padhye has documented his associations with "Shri Baba" of Shaulmari Ashram from 1966 until Shri Baba's death in January 1977. Dr.Padhye had gone before the Justice Khosla Commission in 1971 but refrained from giving a deposition at the last minute because he was advised by the Bose Family lawyer, Mr. Niharendu Dutt Mazumdar that giving deposition to the commission appointed by the then government will mean backstabbing Subhas because the truth will never see the light of the day. Dr. Padhye gave a very extensive testimony to the Mukherjee Commission in 2004. He also gave testimony that the ashes at Renkoji Temple in Japan are not that of Subhas Chandra Bose which also corroborated with similar testimonies from two other sources. According to Dr.Padhye, Subhas Chandra Bose died at Deharadun on January 2, 1977 and was cremated on April 19, 1977 at Rishikesh on the banks of the river Ganges. Though all attempts by Dr.Padhye, his associates and ex-INA workers failed to give a national funeral to Netaji, there was tremendous government interest & security and 135 armed guards surrounded the funeral pyre. Dr.Padhye has published his daily diaries from his associations along with arm chair research that was deposited to the Mukherjee Commission on his website http://netajibosemysteryrevealed.org.

Some people also believed that the Hindu sanyasi named Bhagwanji or 'Gumnami Baba', who lived in the house Ram Bhawan in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh at least until 1985, was Subhas Chandra Bose. There had been at least four known occasions when Gumnami Baba reportedly claimed he was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.[27] The belongings of the sanyasi were taken into custody after his death, following a court order. These were later subjected to inspection by the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry. The commission came down against this belief, in the absence of any "clinching evidence". Some people believe that Gumnami Baba died on 16 September 1985, while some dispute this. The story of Gumnami Baba came to light on his death. It is alleged that he was cremated in the dead of night, just under the light of a motorcycle's headlamp, at Faizabad's popular picnic spot, on the bank of River Saraju, his face distorted by acid to protect his identity. Faizabad's Bengali community still pays homage at the memorial built at his cremation site on the anniversary of his birth. However, the life and activities of Bhagwanji remain a mystery even today. Memorial built at the site of the cremation of 'Gumnami Baba' alias 'Bhagvan ji' in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Museum, Cuttack

Personal life

Bose married his Austrian secretary Emilie Schenkl (1910 96) in 1937. Their only daughter, Anita Bose Pfaff born in 1942, is an economist associated with the University of Augsburg.

Political philosophy

Subhas Chandra Bose believed that the Bhagavad Gita was a great source of inspiration for the struggle against the British.[28] Swami Vivekananda's teachings on universalism, his nationalist thoughts and his emphasis on social service and reform had all inspired Subhas Chandra Bose from his very young days. The fresh interpretation of the India's ancient scriptures had appealed immensely to him.[29] Many scholars believe that Hindu spirituality formed the essential part of his political and social thought through his adult life, although there was no sense of bigotry or orthodoxy in it.[30] Subhas who called himself a socialist, believed that socialism in India owed its origins to Swami Vivekananda.[31] As historian Leonard Gordan explains "Inner religious explorations continued to be a part of his adult life. This set him apart from the slowly growing number of atheistic socialists and communists who dotted the Indian landscape.".[32] Bose's correspondence (prior to 1939) reflects his deep disapproval of the racist practices of, and annulment of democratic institutions in Nazi Germany.[33] However, he expressed admiration for the authoritarian methods (though not the racial ideologies) which he saw in Italy and Germany during the 1930s, and thought they could be used in building an independent India.[3]

Bose had clearly expressed his belief that democracy was the best option for India.[34] The pro-Bose thinkers believe that his authoritarian control of the Azad Hind was based on political pragmatism and a post-colonial recovery doctrine rather than any anti-democratic belief. However, during the war (and possibly as early as the 1930s) Bose seems to have decided that no democratic system could be adequate to overcome India's poverty and social inequalities, and he wrote that a socialist state similar to that of Soviet Russia (which he had also seen and admired) would be needed for the process of national re-building.[35] Accordingly some suggest that Bose's alliance with the Axis during the war was based on more than just pragmatism, and that Bose was a militant nationalist, though not a Nazi nor a Fascist, for he supported empowerment of women, secularism and other democratic ideas; alternatively, others consider he might have been using populist methods of mobilisation common to many post-colonial leaders.[3] Bose never liked the Nazis but when he failed to contact the Russians for help in Afghanistan he approached the Germans and Italians for help. His comment was that if he had to shake hands with the devil for India's independence he would do that.

On August 23, 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Subhas Chandra Bose memorial hall in Kolkata.[36][37] Abe said to Bose's family "The Japanese are deeply moved by Bose's strong will to have led the Indian independence movement from British rule.[36] Netaji is a much respected name in Japan."[37] However in India many believe, including Infosys Technologies founder-chairman NR Narayana Murthy, that Netaji was not given the due respect that he deserved. According to him, India would have prospered as the second largest economy in the world by now had Netaji, a part of the post independence nation building.[38]

Bose's legacy

In the book The Last Years of British India, Michael Edwardes, the distinguished British historian of the Raj, wrote of Bose:

"Only one outstanding personality of India took a different and violent path, and in a sense India owes more to him than to any other man"

After reviewing INA parade at Singapore on July the 5th, 1943. His concluding words were:

"I have said that today is the proudest day of my life. For an enslaved people, there can be no greater pride, no higher honour, than to be the first Soldier in the Army of Liberation. But this honour carries with it a corresponding responsibility and I am deeply conscious of it. I assure you that I shall be with you in darkness and in sunshine, in sorrow and in joy, in suffering and in victory. For the present, I can offer you nothing except hunger, thirst, privation, forced marches and death. But if you follow me in life and in death, as I am confident you will, I shall lead you to victory and freedom. It does not matter who among us will live to see India free. It is enough that India shall be free and that we shall give our all to make her free. May God now bless our Army and grant us victory in the coming fight."

Bose's chair at Red Fort

The following words are inscribed on a brass shield in front of the chair which is symbolic to the sovereignty of the Republic of India, and also add to enthusiasm of the Armed Forces of India. The chair rests in a glass case and is a symbol of pride as well as national heritage.

"Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in order to free India from the shackles of British imperialism organized the Azad Hind Government from outside the country on October 21, 1943. Netaji set up the Provisional Government of Independent India (Azad Hind) and transferred its headquarter at Rangoon on January 7, 1944. On the 5th April, 1944, the "Azad Hind Bank" was inaugurated at Rangoon. It was on this occasion that Netaji used this chair for the first time. Later the chair was kept at the residence of Netaji at 51, University Avenue, Rangoon, where the office of the Azad Hind was also housed. Afterwords, at the time of leaving Burma, the British handed over the chair to the family of Mr.A.T. Ahuja, a well-known businessman of Rangoon. The chair was officially handed over to the Government of India in January 1979. It was brought to Calcutta on the 17th July, 1980. It has now been ceremonially installed at the Red Fort on July 7, 1981."

Artistic depictions of Bose

Films
Books

See also

Notes

Further reading

  • Indian Pilgrim: an unfinished autobiography Subhas Chandra Bose; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Oxford University Press, Calcutta, 1997
  • The Indian Struggle, 1920 1942 Subhas Chandra Bose; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Oxford University Press, Calcutta, 1997 ISBN 978-0-19-564149-3
  • Brothers Against the Raj A biography of Indian Nationalists Sarat and Subhas Chandra Bose Leonard A. Gordon, Princeton University Press, 1990
  • Lost hero: a biography of Subhas Bose Mihir Bose, Quartet Books, London; 1982
  • Jungle alliance, Japan and the Indian National Army Joyce C. Lebra, Singapore, Donald Moore for Asia Pacific Press,1971
  • The Forgotten Army: India's Armed Struggle for Independence, 1942 1945, Peter W. Fay, University of Michigan Press, 1993, ISBN 0-472-08342-2 / ISBN 81-7167-356-2
  • Democracy Indian style: Subhas Chandra Bose and the creation of India's political culture Anton Pelinka; translated by Ren e Schell, New Brunswick, New Jersey : Transaction Publishers (Rutgers University Press), 2003
  • Subhas Chandra Bose: a biography Marshall J. Getz, Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., USA, 2002
  • The Springing Tiger: Subhash Chandra Bose Hugh Toye : Cassell, London, 1959
  • Netaji and India's freedom: proceedings of the International Netaji Seminar, 1973 / edited by Sisir K. Bose. International Netaji Seminar (1973: Calcutta, India), Netaji Research Bureau, Calcutta, India, 1973
  • Correspondence and Selected Documents, 1930 1942 / Subhas Chandra Bose; edited by Ravindra Kumar, Inter-India, New Delhi, 1992.
  • Letters to Emilie Schenkl, 1934 1942 / Subhash Chandra Bose; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Permanent Black : New Delhi, 2004
  • Japanese-trained armies in Southeast Asia: independence and volunteer forces in World War II Joyce C. Lebra, New York : Columbia University Press, 1977
  • Burma: The Forgotten War Jon Latimer, London: John Murray, 2004

External links

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