Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the mystery of his death lives even after 75 years
Subhas Chandra Bosewas born 123 years before on this same day.
- He is India’s most famous as well as controversial freedom fighter who founded Azad Hind Fauz.
- He continues to intrigue curious minds after his mysterious disappearance on a cold winter morning.
Kabir Khan’s The Unforgettable Army Azaadi Ke Liye on Amazon Prime Video which will be released on January 24, will pay homage to his heroics. The story will revolve around the formation of Bose’s National Army after British failed to defeat Singapore in World War II.
Here’s a look back at his life:
AdvertisementBose had always been a fighter — he quit a lucrative job to liberate India
Bose was born in Cuttack, Odisha on January 23, 1897. He was a brilliant student who went to England to study — where he was also preparing for Indian Civil Services. He got selected in the ICS in 1920, but chose not to work for an alien government.
He came back to India at the time when the country was fighting for freedom against the British government. He met Deshbandu Chitranjan Das, the editor of newspaper ‘Forward’, and Bose became the editor later.
For Bose, the meaning and purpose of life was very simple: to seek freedom from bondage of every kind.
From journalist to congress president
After becoming the editor of Forward, apart from writing against the Raj, he organised a boycott in Calcutta during Prince of Wales’ visit. This landed him in prison.
AdvertisementA year later, he criticised Mahatma Gandhi for cancelling the non-co-operation movement after the Chauri Chaura incident. During the incident, Indians set fire to a police station killing many Indians and Britishers alike.
Bose kept moving from jail to jail between 1924 and 1938. In 1930, Bose became the mayor of Calcutta even as he was jailed. He was released after he got sick and needed to travel abroad for treatment. That is when he took his call for freedom to other shores.
The most controversial political leader of his time
In January 1938, he became the president of the Indian National Congress. And at Tripuri session 1939, he defeated Gandhi’s candidate, Patabi Sitharam Iyer, to win a second term. However, he distanced himself from Congress after the party’s ideology didn’t match his own.
He formed the Forward Bloc to carry on his struggle. He started looking for allies outside India — and for that he escaped his house arrest in Calcutta and fled to Europe again. He met a Nazi leader who is known to have promised him assistance to weaken the British in India.
Bose believed India could attain freedom if they fought against Britain during World War II. Following his idea, he freed several Indian freedom fighters in Europe to form a Mukti Sena.
The Azad Hind Fauj and Bose
The Azad Hind Fauz was formed in 1941 in Berlin and comprised of Indian prisoners of war from Europe and North Africa. In December, Japan marked the beginning of World War II in Asia after it attacked Pearl Harbour. The fall of Singapore during that time shook the foundation of British Raj across the world.
Meanwhile, the Indian freedom struggle was at its final round after Gandhi called for the Quit India Movement in 1942.
AdvertisementIn 1943, Bose became the commanding officer for Azad Hind Fauz — the army which attacked Britishers a year later. His army was able to free several Indian areas including Parel and Tihim from the British.
In September 1944, his famous dialogue “Tum mujhe khoon do mein tumhe azadi dunga” (Give me your blood, I’ll give you your freedom) triggered a new wave of patriotism. He established a provisional government of Azad Hind in 1944 with a slogan ‘Chalo Delhi’.
Mysterious death and controversy behind it
Amidst all this melee, just a few years before India became independent, Bose vanished. Japanese Domei news agency said Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died on August 18 in a plane crash at the Japanese-controlled Matsuyama military airport in Taihoku (now Taiwan). The incident left many Indians in a state of shock and disbelief.
Even after 75 years, the controversy surrounding the death of Bose refuses to die down. A few believe that he did not die during the accident. Other theories say that he spent his last days in Uttar Pradesh while some say he lived abroad.
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