Subhash Chandra Bose was born to a Bengali family on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack. His parents were Janakinath Bose who was a well reputed advocate and Prabhavati Devi. He was the ninth child of a total of fourteen siblings.
Subhash Chandra Bose’s nationalistic temperament first came to light at the Presidency College, Calcutta where he studied briefly, when he was rusticated for assaulting Professor Oaten for his anti-India comments in his classroom to all his pupils. Bose later went on to top the matriculation examination of Calcutta province in 1911 and passed his B.A. in 1918 in philosophy from the Scottish Church College.
In 1923, he was elected President of the All India Youth Congress as well as Secretary of Bengal State Congress. He also worked as an editor for Deshbahdhu Das’s newspaper “Forward.” In a roundup of nationalists in 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to prison in Mandalay, where he contracted tuberculosis. After spending two years in prison, Bose was released and was appointed the General Secretary of the Congress party and worked closely with Jawaharlal Nehru for Independence.
During the mid-1930s Bose travelled in Europe, visiting Indian students and European politicians, including Mussolini. He observed party organization and saw communism and fascism in action. By 1938, he had become a leader of national stature and agreed to accept a nomination for Congress president. He stood for Swaraj (self-governance), as well as using force against the British but this however meant a confrontation with Gandhi, which also created a rift between him and Nehru.
On the outbreak of World War II, Subhash Chandra Bose advocated a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest against Viceroy Lord Linlithgow’s decision to declare war on India’s behalf without consulting the Congress leadership. Bose organized mass protests in Calcutta calling for the ‘Holwell Monument,’ which then stood at the corner of Dalhousie Square, to be removed. Bose was thrown into jail, but was released following a seven-day hunger strike.
Bose’s house in Calcutta was kept under surveillance by the CID. With two court cases pending, he felt the British would not let him leave the country before the end of the war. Subhash Chandra Bose planned an escape with the help of his nephew Sisir K. Bose in a car, dressed as a Pathan sporting a long beard which he grew overnight. This car which he used to escape is displayed at his home in Calcutta.
Subhash Chandra Bose escaped to Germany, via Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. In Germany he founded the Indian Legion consisting of 3000 soldiers out of Indian prisoners of war who had fought for the British in North Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces. Its members swore the following allegiance to Hitler and Bose: “I swear by God this holy oath that I will obey the leader of the German race and state, Adolf Hitler, as the commander of the German armed forces in the fight for India, whose leader is Subhash Chandra Bose.”
Instead of being delighted, Subhash Chandra Bose was worried. An admirer of Russia, Bose was devastated when Hitler’s tanks rolled across the Soviet border. Matters worsened when the now-retreating German army would be in no position to offer him help in driving the British from India. So, in February 1943, Bose turned his back on his legionnaires and slipped secretly away aboard a submarine bound for Japan. Travelling onboard the German submarine U-180 around the Cape of Good Hope he reached Imperial Japan (via Japanese submarine I-29). This was the only civilian transfer between two submarines of two different Navies in World War II.
The idea of a liberation army was revived with the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in the Far East in 1943. Bose took control of the Indian National Army (INA) and was able to reorganize the fledgling army and organize massive support among the expatriate Indian population in south-east Asia. At its height the INA consisted of some 85,000 regular troops, including a separate women’s unit headed by Capt. Lakshmi Swaminathan, which was seen as a first of its kind in Asia.
Even when faced with military reverses,Subhash Chandra Bose was able to maintain support for the Azad Hind movement. The INA along with the Japanese fought in key battles against the British Army of India. Spoken as a part of a motivational speech for the Indian National Army at a rally of Indians in Burma on July 4, 1944, Bose’s most famous quote was “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!” In this, he urged the people of India to join him in his fight against the British Raj.
The INA’s first commitment was in the Japanese thrust towards Eastern Indian frontiers of Manipur. The INA and the Japanese also took possession of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1942 and a year later, the Provisional Government of the INA was established in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The islands were renamed Shaheed (Martyr) and Swaraj (Independence). On the Indian mainland, the Indian tricolour, modelled after the Indian National Congress, was raised for the first time in the town of Moirang, in Manipur.
It was the battle of Kohima and Imphal which had a significant impact on the Indian National Army. The Japanese could no longer fund their armies, and eventually surrendered. The INA were no match for the British troops, without the help of the Japanese, and therefore surrendered to the British as well.
Mystery still surrounds the disappearance and eventual death of Subhash Chandra Bose though he is alleged to have died in a place crash in Taipei, Taiwan, on 18 August 1945 while en route to Tokyo. The Imperial Japanese Army Air Force Bomber he was travelling on had engine trouble and when it crashed Bose was badly burned, dying in a local hospital four hours later.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Speech for Kids, visit: http://mocomi.com/netaji-subhash-chandra-boses-speech/