Subhash Chandra Bose was born 23 January 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa. Along with the likes of Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad he is considered one of the most admired revolutionary in India whose legend has lived on even after his presumed death. He is a major figure in India’s struggle for freedom from the British rule. Bose, who once was the president of the Indian National Congress, had great ideological conflict with none other Mahatma Gandhi. Bose believed that the non-violence would never be enough to secure India’s freedom. To attain the goal of Independence, he advocated violent resistance. It was due to this difference in opinion that he resigned from the Congress and became part of what was called the hot faction (as opposed to the soft faction that followed the Mahatma Gandhi’s principles).
In order to realize his dream of the Azad Hind (Free India) Bose organized the Azad Hind Fauz or the Indian National Army (INA) with monetary, military and political help from the Imperial Japan. He also established the Azad Hind Government in exile and became the Head of this government. Subhash Chandra Bose, also known as Netaji, had famously declared Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi doonga (Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom). The INA, led by Bose, undertook the failed military campaigns against the British (and Allied) forces at Imphal and in Burma.
Today’s photograph is an iconic photograph in India. It shows Subhash Chandra Bose in his military uniform as the chief of the INA. His plane crashed in Taiwan on 18 August 1945 and he is presumed to have died in that crash. However, no universally accepted evidence of Bose’s death in that crash has ever been found.
Did you know?
- The INA had about 40,000 soldiers which primarily consisted of the prisoners of war (POWs) from the British Indian Army captured by the Japanese forces in Singapore
- The Rani of Jhansi Regiment of INA, under the command of Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, composed of female volunteers from Malaya and Burma
- The battle cry of the INA was “Jai Hind” –which became a very popular phrase all over the India
- Bose made the famous quote “Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi doonga” on July 4, 1944 while addressing a rally in of Indians in Burma
- In December 1937, Bose married his Austrian secretary Emilie Schenkl. His daughter Anita Bose was born in 1942
- Political party All India Forward Bloc was founded by Bose after quitting Congress
- The Andaman and Nicobar islands were put under the control of the INA by the occupying forces of Japan. But INA’s control was nominal. Bose renamed these islands as Shaheed and Swaraj.
- Bose was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award in 1992. The award, however, 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.
Revolutionaries like Bose and Bhagat Singh fought for the independence of India and eventually laid down their lives in the service of the motherland. Although, the death of Subhash Chandra Bose is still contentious.
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