On his 121st birth anniversary, a tribute to the man who not only survived the epochs but appeared even stronger with each passing one
One of India’s most prominent freedom fighters, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897, in Cuttack, Orissa. He was the ninth child born to Janakinath Bose and Prabhavati Devi.
He dedicated his life to the cause of independence from the colonial rule. An extraordinary visionary, he took over the reins of a dilapidated Indian National Army (INA) and formed military alliances with the Axis Powers, namely Germany, under Adolf Hitler and Japan, under Emperor Hirohito against the British during the World War II.
Subhas was part of the young, radical faction of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s from where he went on to become Congress President in 1938 and 1939.
He developed differences with Mahatma Gandhi due to his extreme views and hence left Congress leadership positions in 1939. He was placed under house arrest by the British but escaped from India in 1940.
In April 1941, Subhas went to Germany where the Nazi leadership welcomed and supported his endeavours to oust the British from India and in November 1941 Free India Centre was set up in Berlin with German funds.
Soon, Free India Radio came upon which Subhas would broadcast every night. He met Adolf Hitler in late May 1942.
Subhas was a bright student who went to England for the Civil Services Examination. He scored the highest marks in English and was placed fourth overall.
Subhas revived the Indian National Army (INA) also known as Azad Hind Fauj in 1943, an armed force comprising of Indian PoWs of the British-Indian Army captured by Japan.
The INA was declared army of Bose's Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (the Provisional Government of Free India). INA fought along with the Imperial Japanese Army against the British and Commonwealth forces in the campaigns in Burma, Imphal, and Kohima.
August 18, 1945, is the date on which Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose boarded an overloaded Japanese plane that crashed in Taiwan, so is the official account, but, for his supporters, especially in Bengal, his death and disappearance are mysteries which refuse to wane off.
His legacy is a powerful one, so overwhelming that it has been inspiring generations of young Indians.