Subhas Chandra Bose taking birth in a prosperous middle class Bengali family on 23th January 1897, started his career as an ICS officer and subsequently entered into public life as a member of the Congress Party.
This born fighter played a leading role in the national movement.
Except Tilak, no great political leader suffered as much as Bose in the history of freedom movement. He was imprisoned ten times and was in jail for a period of eight years. He was very uncompromising in his attitude and devoted his entire life for the realization of Indian freedom.
He was a dynamic man of action whose entire energy, thought and action was directed for a single cause i.e. the independence of India. Resigning from the lucrative I.C.S. Service, he joined in Gandhian Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921. But when Gandhiji suspended the movement after the Chauri Chaura incident, he was shocked. He became a “Swarajist” along with C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru and lost his sympathy with the Gandhian programme.
He became attracted with the political ideas of C.R. Das who appointed him as the Principal of National College. When C.R. Das was elected as the Mayor of Calcutta Corporation, Subhas was appointed as the Executive Officer. When the Prince of Wales visited Calcutta, he could successfully organised the boycott of the visit.
After the death of C.R. Das in 1927, he again returned to the fold of the Congress organisation. He was elected as the President of the National Congress at Haripura Session in 1938. Next year, he was again elected as the President at Tripura, after defeating the nominee of Gandhi Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. He was an active member of the left wing of the Indian National Congress and differed from the ideology of right wing Congress.
Despite the personal respect for Gandhiji, Subhas differed both strategically and ideologically from him. While the Nehru Report of 1928, proposed for a Dominion status for India, Subhas proposed for complete independence. Along with the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi, he wanted the incorporation of certain socialist programmes in the Congress scheme of action. When he was elected as the President of the Congress for the second time, he wanted to give an ultimatum to the British Government if the demand of complete independence was not accepted within a specific period. But he was compelled to resign from the Congress president ship due to the passage of the “Pant Resolution”. It required him to select the members of the Congress.
Working Committee in consultation with Mahatma Gandhi. He regarded it as a naked interference in the freedom of the President. He formed a new party known as the Forward Block in 1939 by organizing the leftist forces. He could have divided the Congress at that time, but he never wanted to weaken the Indian National Congress at a time of international crisis when the Second World War was going on. Under the leadership of Subhas, the Forward Block campaigned to create public opinion against India’s cooperation in support of the British War efforts.
It was a matter of coincidence that Congress also took the same decision at Wardha against India’s participation in war. Bose attended the session as a special invitee even though he had already resigned from the Congress. He advocated that war had given the golden opportunity to India. By taking the advantage of the moment, India should start struggle for independence. He was not ready to make any sorts of compromise and openly criticized the stand of Congress.
In March 1940, he organised “All India Anti-Compromise Conference” under the banner of the Forward Block at Ramgarh where the congress party also was having its conference. The stand of Subhas appeared as a challenge to Congress for which he was expelled from it. But the same goal of the Forward Block was subsequently adopted by the Congress Party when it launched the Quit India Movement in 1942.
During the Second World War, when Subhas was under house arrest in Calcutta, he escaped surprisingly from his residence on 17th January 1941 and reached Kabul and from Kabul to Berlin through Russia. He realised unless the mighty of British imperial power was wrecked from outside with the help of Axis Power, realisation of India’s freedom would be difficult. Subhas tried hard to impress both Hitler and Mussolini to make a tripartite declaration along with Japan in favour of Indian independence.
He formed Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj in 1941 consisting of Indian soldiers taken as prisoners of war by Germany in African War. From Berlin Radio, he advised the people of India to rise in arms against the British Government. Subhash planned to invade India through Russia and Afghanistan with the Indian army. But when Germany attacked Russia, his plan proved futile. But the entry of Japan in war and its conquest of Singapore provided him with another opportunity.
In Japan, Ras Behari Bose, one of the leading Indian revolutionaries had organised an “Indian Independence League” to help for the cause of Indian independence. Subha- Bose was invited to lead the movement in South East Asia In the mean time, Azad Hind Fauj had already been raised by Captain Mohan Singh with a small group of soldiers who had surrender to the Japanese. Thus, prior to the arrival of Subhas Bose in Japan, Indian National Army had already been raised. When he reached there in 1943, he was handed over the leadership of the independence government and also the command of INA. Bose formed a provisional government of free India and declared war against Britain.
In a broadcast from the Rangoon Radio, he hailed Gandhiji as the “Father of our Nation” and sought his blessings in the war of India’s liberation. His provisional government was accorded recognition by Japan, Germany, Italy, Burma, Thailand, Philippines, Manchuria, Croatia etc. Proceeding towards India, he reached Imphal, at the border of Assam. In November 1943, Japan handed over Andaman and Nicobar Islands to Bose to make the island the Headquarters of his Provisional Government.
His clarion call—”Give me blood, I will give you freedom” inspired not only the soldiers of INA, but also the common man of India With the slogan “Delhi Chalo” or “March to Delhi” and ‘Jai Hind, this militant nationalist could instill new spirit and vigour in the minds of people.
In the meantime, the Indian National Congress under the leader 4u, of Gandhiji had declared Quit India Movement. Subhas extended all “orts of support to this ‘”do or die” movement. Subhas reached Kohima a on the Indian border where the tricolor flag of India was unfurled.
But fortune changed suddenly. Japan was defeated by the Allies and INA soliders were forced to surrender. While leaving Bangkok for Tokyo, it is said that the aero plane of Subhas was crashed in Formosa (Taiwan) and he died. But his death has remained as a mystery for the people.
In the galaxy of freedom fighters of India, Subhas Bose has remained as a firebrand patriot and a progressive militant nationalist. He gave his life for the cause of Indian independence. The subsequent trial of INA soldiers by the British Government as prisoners of war created a widespread mass movement. Subhas was not alive to see the freedom of India. But his martyrdom and the sacrifice of the soldiers of INA had not gone waste. Their efforts contributed towards the independence of India.