Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945) is one of the most celebrated freedom fighters of India. In 1942, he earned the honorific title ‘Netaji’ (meaning “Respected Leader” in Hindi), in Germany by the Indian soldiers of the Azad Hind Fauj or the Indian National Army and by the German and Indian officials in the Special Bureau for India in Berlin.
Subhas Chandra Bosewas born on 23 January, 1897, in Cuttack, Orissa Division, Bengal Province, to Prabhavati Dutt Bose and Janakinath Bose, an advocate. He belonged to a well to do family and was the ninth of 14 children.
Bose studied at Presidency College, Calcutta where he was later expelled for attacking a professor making racist remarks towards Indians. He then joined the Scottish Church College and earned his B.A in Philosophy. In 1919, under pressure from his father, Bose headed to London to give the Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination, he came fourth and was selected. Bose, however, resigned from Civil Services as he believed he could not side with the British.
When Bose returned to India, he took over as the elected President of Congress in 1938, he stood for unqualified Swaraj (self-governance) and the use of force against the British which then combated against Mahatma Gandhi and his views.
Bose soon resigned from the presidency and formed the All India Forward Bloc, a faction within the Indian National Congress. He aimed at consolidating the political left, but was arrested again, and released following a seven-day hunger strike. Bose’s house in Calcutta was kept under surveillance by the CID.
Some Of his facts:
- Netaji came up with the slogan ‘Jai Hind’ and was also the one to chose Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Jana gana mana’ as his preferred national anthem for the free India. He suggested ‘Hindustani’ to be India’s national language.
- He was good in academics. Netaji stood second in his matriculation exam in 1913 and fourth in Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination. However, he resigned from his ICS job in 1921 as he did not want to work under the British government. He then came back to India from England which effectively acted as his initiation into India’s struggle for freedom.
- He became politically active by joining Bengal Provincial Congress Committee which eventually led him to be at the forefront of the young workers who looked up to him. He started “Swaraj” newspaper and also became the editor of “Forward”, another newspaper founded by his mentor Chittaranjan Das.
- He was arrested during the Civil Disobedience Movement. Later on, Netaji became the Mayor of Calcutta in 1930.
- Netaji wrote a book “The Indian Struggle”, which covered India’s independence movement between 1920–1934. It was published in London in 1935 but the British banned the book out of fears that it would encourage unrest in the colony.
Subhas Chandra Bose’s death has been one of the biggest Indian mysteries. He is said to have died from third-degree burns on 18 August 1945 after his overloaded Japanese plane crashed around Taiwan. However, his supporters had refuted the news immediately after and the conspiracy theories have lived since.