Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is most remembered for his heroic deeds and for leading the Indian National Army against the forces of imperialism during World War II.
Although he spent many years in Europe and Asia as well as in British India, he never hesitated to accept the extraterritoriality of American and Soviet citizens in war-time China.
Early life and political activity
Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa Division, Bengal Province which is now part of the Republic of India.
The famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore, gave him the title Netaji (Respected Leader). He was the ninth child of his parents.
His father, Janakinath Bose , was an affluent and successful lawyer in Cuttack. His mother, Prabhavati Devi, was the daughter of Anandamohan Bosu, a prominent businessman in Cuttack.
Bose’s first name meant “Compassionate” or “Merciful” in Sanskrit while his surname “Chandra”, like that of his elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose, was taken from the moon.
When he was two years old, his parents separated due to strained circumstances after his father came under suspicion by the British police for alleged misappropriation of funds at a chit fund company which he managed.
Subhash and his elder brother, Sarat, were raised in their maternal grandparents’ house in Cuttack. Later he was admitted to the Protestant European School (Presidency College at Calcutta) where he studied briefly. His nationalistic temperament was evident even when he was young.
Subhas Chandra Bose attended Ravenshaw Collegiate School of Cuttack (then affiliated with University of Calcutta), and later went to Presidency College, Calcutta where he graduated with a B.Sc in natural science.
He then attended Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and pursued studies in natural sciences, but took a keen interest in history and politics.
Bose later decided to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manchester, but withdrew in the first term.
While in London, he befriended expatriate Indians and explored the possibility of making a living by providing news from India to local newspapers through telegraphs.
Subhas Chandra Bose told his friend, “Terrible as this may seem to you I suspect that secretly you are all sinning against your motherland.”
To his friend’s astonishment, Bose cut short his studies and headed for India without even taking a final examination.
Subhas Chandra Bose left England in April 1921. After a brief halt in Germany, where he acquired a fake Portuguese passport under the alias “Rodrigues,” he reached Bombay on 8 May 1921.
During this time he made a conscious decision to sacrifice relatively comfortable life in Europe to immerse himself amongst the masses in India who were reeling under severe economic distress and political unrest.
Surprisingly, this decision was criticized by his elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose. Though Sarat extended financial help to Subhash earlier, he now admonished him saying that Subhash was sacrificing a brilliant future in Europe for an uncertain life in India.
A falling-out with Gandhi
Bose’s father was a prominent member of the Indian National Congress and one of its few Hindu leaders, but Subhas did not join politics at that time.
He attended the 1922 session of Congress as a spectator, interested particularly in Mohandas Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. Mahatma Gandhi took notice of Bose and later described him as “a young man with an iron will and body”.
By the end of 1922, Subhas Chandra Bose was in charge of Youth wing of this organization, but after disagreements with the acting president, he withdrew from Congress leadership positions.
He rejoined soon afterwards but resigned once again due to Congress adopting the goal of “Swaraj” (self-government) as its main aim, which he considered an “absurdity”.
Subhas Chandra Bose returned to active politics in 1924. He was first arrested for civil disobedience in 1930. At that time he became a disciple of Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das, and with Das’s help first became Mayor of Calcutta in 1924 and then won a parliamentary seat from the Hooghly district in 1929 as an independent candidate.
Bose worked as the chief executive of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation for Das when the latter was mayor.
He developed it as a model city during his tenure (1924–1927). He was jailed for civil disobedience in 1930 but came to be released within six months.
Subhas Chandra Bose then joined the Indian National Congress and actively participated in public works at Kolkata, as well as taking part in the Salt Satyagraha of 1931 and Civil Disobedience movement of 1932.
Bose was arrested during the Salt Satyagraha, tried and imprisoned for six months. The trial opened a rift between Bose and Gandhi.
Dissatisfaction with Gandhi’s leadership led to the formation of the All India Forward Bloc in 1939, at the Tripuri session of the Indian National Congress.
Bose was elected Congress President in 1938 (against Gandhi’s nominee), and again in 1939 (this time against Gandhi’s wishes).
Subhas Chandra Bose visited Europe in 1936, when he met Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolph Hitler in Germany.
Hitler was not impressed with Bose, according to Bose the reason for that was “Hitler had a very arrogant attitude towards India. He wanted to conquer the world, and thought Indians would be willing to help him.”
Bose believed in struggle but not through violence. He did not want India to get freedom at the cost of millions of lives.
He did not support British reforms or their methods; he was against working with the British on any issue.
In his own words: “In Europe I witnessed the powerful countries partitioning and ruling the weaker ones. This experience convinced me that colonization is essentially evil.”
Bose’s position on Europe had a lot do with him being anti-colonial. His position on Germany and Italy was not so much of admiration as it was a plan to use fascist powers to help free India from British rule.
Subhas Chandra Bose had an ambition to turn colonial India into a federation where power was not given back to the British after the war.
Bose founded a paramilitary organization called the All India Forward Bloc in May 1939, and gave it the responsibility of protecting Congress leadership. The idea was not received well by Gandhi, Nehru, or Abul Kalam Azad.
Bose’s position on the Second World War started with “Nehru’s naivety” and ended with “a leader of men at war”.
By 1940, differences between the Congress and Bose had become so acute that he chose to resign from the party. He was succeeded by Subhas Chandra Bose as president in September 1939.
Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested by the British in 1940 and sentenced to prison for six years, but was released after serving only a little over two years.
In February 1941, Bose organized the Indian Legion in Germany to take part in the war against the British.
There were approximately 4600 Indian prisoners of war who were taken to Germany following the defeat in North Africa.
The Legion was formally a part of the German Army, but Bose tried to secure a separate agreement with the Nazi government. He stressed that he was heading a foreign legion and not a propaganda tool for the Germans.
Subhas Chandra Bose was also accompanied by the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, an all-woman unit commanded by Captain Lakshmi Swaminathan.
A total of about 3000 Indian prisoners of war signed up for the Free India Legion.These men were inducted into three battalions, with a squadron of armored cars and a Divisional Ammunition Column attached.
On 5 June 1944, Bose declared in a speech that his objective was not the freedom of India only, but that of the whole Asian continent. He started Azad Hind Radio with the help of German radio technicians.
Subhas Chandra Bose was also said to be behind the organization of a 50,000-strong INA Volunteer force who aimed to reach India as a fighting force to aid the Indian National Army in its liberation of India.
The INA was initially pushed back from India by British forces, and pushed back further to the Thailand-Burma border. The British army took Imphal on 18 July 1944, and a second battle was fought at Kohima.
Britain sent more than 200,000 soldiers to defeat the Indian National Army and the Rani of Jhansi Regiment.
After this, the Japanese government offered to send additional troops. To end that goal he formed Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army with the help of the Japanese.
He wanted to reach India as a fighting force to aid the Indian National Army in its liberation of India.
As the chance of a Japanese victory grew slim, Bose became desperate. He escaped from Malaya to Bangkok by submarine, with his establishment of Azad Hind and its army.
He narrowly escaped death when the Royal Navy intercepted the submarine in the Gulf of Siam, but he was rescued by the Japanese.
He reached Tokyo on 8 June 1943. Bose proclaimed Azad Hind (Free India) and declared war against Britain and the USA.
He sent the Indian National Army under Mohan Singh to the front in March 1944. Japan gave him 12 divisions for his task of an army of Indians.
Subhas Chandra Bose advocated that the primary objective of Japan’s war should be to liberate India from British rule. He was willing, therefore, to accept Japanese aid in the form of arms, supplies, and air support.
He expected Japan to return the favour by declaring India’s independence when the war ended.
On 15 February 1942, Bose began a speech in Kolkata which he would later consider to be one of his finest.
In it, he said:
“I am aware that the attempt may invite certain dangers and that too at a time when very cordial relations exist between the Axis powers and Britain. It need not therefore, surprise you that if such an occasion had presented itself for showing your sympathy for our cause, there would have been no hesitation on our part in resorting to methods involving risks of a similar nature.
“We are equally desirous of retaining our independence and if we are compelled to choose the latter, I can assure you that it would not be a moment’s hesitation on our part. In fact, it is the brave soldiers of the Indian Army who have been fighting for their motherland and not a few political refugees who have been giving their blood for that cause.”
On 17 July 1943, Bose’s Japanese-sponsored Provisional Government of Free India broadcast a declaration of war against the United Kingdom and the United States.
He believed that after the fall of Singapore, Japan would join hands with Germany to rid India of British rule.
He went on to say that this task could be easily accomplished if all the forty or fifty million Indians would join together, with the help of Japan and Germany, to throw the British out.
Who gave the title Netaji to Subhas Chandra Bose??
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is a title given by his Indian National Army subordinates. The Honorific Netaji means “Respected Leader”.
Who is Shubh Subhas Chandra Bose?
Shubh means “Good”. Subhas Chandra Bose as a normal person name.
Why Subhash Chandra Bose is famous?
Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian politician who led the Indian National Army – an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 to fight the British Raj.
|Are you an
Entrepreneur or Startup?
Do you have a Success Story to Share?
SugerMint would like to share your success story.
We cover entrepreneur Stories, Startup News, Women entrepreneur stories, and Startup stories