Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (23rd January 1897 - 18th August 1945)

Prabhavati Bose and Janakinath Bose welcomed Subhas Chandra Bose into the world on January 23, 1897, in Cuttack. At age 14, Prabhavati gave birth to her first of 13 children. The sixth boy and the ninth child were named Subhas. Successful barrister and government advocate Janakinath was devoted to the British Indian government and meticulous in his observance of the letter and spirit of the law. Subhas enrolled in the Protestant European School of the Baptist Mission in Cuttack in January 1902.

The bulk of the students were European or Anglo-Indians with mixed British and Indian ancestry, and English was the only language of instruction used in the school. The only Indian languages that were taught were English - properly written and spoken - Latin, the Bible, courtesy, British geography, and British history. Janakinath made the school decision because he wanted his sons to have perfect intonation and flawless English because he thought that would help them communicate with the British in India. Subhas Bose, then 12 years old, attended Cuttack's Ravenshaw Collegiate School alongside his five siblings in 1909.

Sanskrit and Bengali were also taught here, along with concepts from the Vedas and Upanishads and other Hindu texts that were not typically learned at home. He continued to receive a western education, but he started dressing in Indian attire and having a conversation about religion.

He penned lengthy letters to his mother demonstrating knowledge of the writings of Bengali mystic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, and the then-popular novel Ananda Math by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. Despite the distraction, Subhas was able to show that he had the ability to concentrate on his studies and perform well in exams. He placed second in the matriculation test held in 1912 under the direction of the University of Calcutta.


Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (23rd January 1897 – 18th August 1945)

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (23rd January 1897 - 18th August 1945)

Also Read: 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Indian National Congress(INC)

In 1913, Subhas Bose returned to Presidency College in Calcutta.  Bose was accused of planning and participating in an episode involving E. F. Oaten, a professor of history at Presidency, in February 1916. The students claimed that Oaten had insulted Indian culture before the incident and had grabbed and assaulted a few of them because, in his words, they were creating an unbearably loud noise outside his class. On February 15, some students approached Oaten on a staircase, surrounded him, and thrashed him with sandals before fleeing. A committee of investigation was established.

Oaten, could not recognize his attackers, a college servant attested to seeing Subhas Bose among those fleeing, verifying for the investigators what they had determined to be the rumour among the students. Bose received a rustication from the University of Calcutta and was kicked out of the institution. The event devastated Bose's family and shocked Calcutta. Later, he enrolled in Scottish Church College, where he earned his B.A. in 1918 with honors in philosophy, ranking second.

In 1919, he travelled to England to apply for the Indian Civil Services in order to fulfil the desires of his parents. He took the 1920 competitive test for the Indian Civil Service in England and finished fourth on the merit list. However, Subhas Chandra Bose was extremely disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre and abandoned his apprenticeship for the Civil Services in the middle of it in 1921 to go back to India.

Subhas Bose firmly decided not to sit for the ICS final exam in April 1921. He wrote to Sarat to inform him of this choice and express his regret for the hurt he would cause to his mother, father, and other family members. "I desire to have my name removed from the list of probationers in the Indian Civil Service", he wrote in a letter to Secretary of State for India Edwin Montagu on April 22, 1921.


1921-1932: Stepping into Politics

On the morning of July 16, 1921, 24-year-old Subhas Bose set out to schedule an appointment with Mahatma Gandhi as soon as he set foot on Indian soil in Bombay. Gandhi, who was 51 years old, was the head of the non-cooperation movement, which had swept through India the year before and would later develop to secure its freedom.

In their first encounter, Gandhi and Bose had different views on the issue of means: for Gandhi, nonviolent means to any objective were indisputable; for Bose, all measures were appropriate if they served anti-colonial goals. They disagreed on their ideology; Gandhi detested authoritarian political systems, while Bose was drawn to them.

Bose discovered the leader he was looking for in C. R. Das. In comparison to Gandhi, Das was more adaptable and receptive towards the extremism that had drawn idealistic young men like Bose to Bengal. Bose was introduced to nationalist politics by Das. For nearly 20 years, Bose would operate within the confines of Indian National Congress politics while attempting to alter its direction. He founded the publication Swaraj and was the Bengal Province Congress Committee's publicist. Chittaranjan Das, a Bengali proponent of virulent nationalism, served as his instructor.

Bose was chosen to serve as both the Secretary of the Bengal State Congress and the President of the Indian Youth Congress in 1923. Additionally, he served as director of "Forward," a publication started by Chittaranjan Das. When Das was chosen mayor of Calcutta in 1924, Bose served as Das' chief executive officer of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

He was arrested and imprisoned that same year while heading a protest march in Calcutta alongside Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi and other leaders. Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose opposed the Domination Status proposal made by the Motilal Nehru Committee, which the Congress had appointed, and both stated that they would be content with nothing less than full independence for India.

The Independence League's establishment has also been declared by Subhas. In 1930, Subhas Chandra Bose was imprisoned as part of the civil disobedience campaign. Following the signing of the Gandhi-Irwin agreement, he was freed in 1931. When Bhagat Singh and his allies were hanged, he protested the Gandhi-Irwin pact and resisted the cessation of the civil disobedience campaign.1933–1937

Bose visited Benito Mussolini and Indian students while on a trip to Europe in the middle of the 1930s. He watched party structure and witnessed both fascism and communism in operation. He also conducted research for and wrote the first manuscript of The Indian Struggle, the first of his books that would cover the country's independence struggle between 1920 and 1934. The British government forbade the book in the colony despite the fact that it was published in London in 1935 of concern that it would incite unrest. The Indian Central European Society, established in Europe by Otto Faltis of Vienna, provided Bose with financial assistance.


1937-1940: Indian National Congress

According to Bose, the Indian National Congress (“INC”) "should be structured on the broadest anti-imperialist front with the dual goal of winning democratic freedom and establishing a socialist regime," as he put it in 1938. He advocated for unrestricted self-government (Swaraj), which included using force to oust the British. For the Indian National Congress party, this meant a conflict with Gandhiji, who in reality rejected Bose's presidency. In 1938, he was chosen to preside over the Haripura Congress Assembly. He discussed planning in detail while serving as Congress President, and in October of that same year, he established a "National Planning Committee".

The Tripuri Congress session's presidential election was held in the early days of 1939, at the conclusion of his first tenure. Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, who had received support from Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress Working Committee, was defeated in Subhas Chandra Bose's reelection bid. He introduced a resolution to give the British six months to turn over control of India to the Indians, failing which there would be a rebellion, as the clouds of World War II were gathering. He resigned as president and founded the Forward Block, a progressive organisation, in response to the strong resistance to his rigid stance.

Subash Chandra Bose was arrested again soon after, this time under the infamous Bengal Regulation. After a year, he was released for medical reasons and had gone to Europe. He took steps to establish centres in various European capitals in order to promote political and cultural connections. Subash Chandra Bose returned to India and was taken into custody for a year. For at least two decades, he developed the opinion that an independent India required socialist authoritarianism along the lines of Turkey's Kemal Atatürk.

The British authorities refused Bose permission to meet Atatürk in Ankara for political reasons. When war broke out, Bose called for a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest Viceroy Lord Linlithgow's decision to declare war on India without consulting Congress's leadership. After failing to persuade Gandhi of the importance of this, Bose organised mass protests in Calcutta calling for the removal of the "Holwell Monument," which stood at the corner of Dalhousie Square in memory of those who died in the Black Hole of Calcutta. The British imprisoned him but released him after a seven-day hunger strike.


1941: Russian Hope

The arrest and subsequent release of Bose paved the way for his escape to Nazi Germany via Afghanistan and the Soviet Union.  To avoid detection, he disguised himself as a Pathan on the night of January 17, 1941, Bose escaped from his Elgin Road home in Calcutta, which was under British surveillance. Bose disguised himself as an Italian nobleman named "Count Orlando Mazzotta" and travelled to Moscow on his passport.

He flew from Moscow to Rome, and from there to Nazi Germany. He hoped that once in Russia, Russia's historical hostility to British rule in India might give rise in support for his plans for a popular uprising in India. However, Bose was dissatisfied with the Soviet response and was quickly transferred to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count von der Schulenburg. He had Bose flown to Berlin in a special courier plane in early April for a more favourable hearing.


1941-1943: Germany Chapter

In Germany, he was assigned to Adam von Trott zu Solz's Special Bureau for India, which was in charge of broadcasting Azad Hind Radio. He established the Free India Center in Berlin and formed the Indian Legion (consisting of approximately 4500 soldiers) from Indian Captives of war who had fought wars for the British in North Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces. Because Bose was unpopular in comparison to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, the Germans were reluctant to form an alliance with him. The German army was trapped in the Soviet Union by the spring of 1942.

Bose, dissatisfied with Nazi Germany's lack of response, was eager to relocate to Southeast Asia, where Japan had recently won quick victories. He did, however, expect formal status from Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler turned down Bose's requests during their only meeting in late May 1942, instead facilitating him with a submarine voyage to East Asia.

Bose  boarded a German submarine to travel to Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia via transfer to a Japanese submarine. In total, 3,000 Indian Captives of war enlisted in the Free India Legion (Azad hind fauj). Instead of being overjoyed, Bose was concerned. He was a left-wing supporter of Russia who was devastated when Hitler's tanks crossed the Soviet border. The fact that the retreated German army could not assist him in driving the British out of India made matters worse. His fears were confirmed when he met Hitler in May 1942, and he eventually realized that Nazi leader was more interested in using his men to win propaganda victories than military ones.


1943-1945: Japanese way

The Indian National Army (INA) was inspired by the ideology of Japanese Major (and post-war Lieutenant-General) Iwaichi Fujiwara, head of the Japanese intelligence unit Fujiwara Kikan. Fujiwara's mission was to "raise an army to battle alongside the Japanese army." He first met Pritam Singh Dhillon, the president of the Indian Independence League's Bangkok chapter, in December 1941, and through Pritam Singh's network recruited a captured British Indian army captain, Mohan Singh, on the western Malayan peninsula.

In the second half of December 1941, Fujiwara and Mohan Singh discussed the formation of the First Indian National Army. This was in accordance with the idea and support of what was then known as the Indian Independence League, which was led from Tokyo by expatriate nationalist leader Rash Behari Bose.

The first INA, however, was disbanded in December 1942 due to disagreements between Hikari Kikan and Mohan Singh, who became convinced that the Japanese High Command was employing the INA as a pawn and propaganda tool. However, with the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in the Far East in 1943, the idea of an independence army was revived. Rash Behari Bose handed over control of the organisation to Subhas Chandra Bose during a meeting in Singapore in July.

Bose was able to reconfigure the newly formed army and start organizing significant support among the expats Indian population in South-East Asia, who lent their support both financially and physically in responding to Bose's calls for sacrifice for the independence cause. The INA had a separate female's unit, the Rani of Jhansi Regiment (named after Rani Lakshmi Bai), which was led by Capt. Lakshmi Swaminathan and was a first in Asia.  On the Indian mainland, the first Indian Tricolor, modelled after that of the Indian National Congress, was raised in Moirang, Manipur, in north-eastern India.

The adjacent towns of Kohima and Imphal were then encircled and sieged by Japanese Army divisions working in collaboration with the Burmese National Army and INA Brigades known as the Gandhi and Nehru Brigades. The Axis codename for this attempt to conquer the Indian mainland was Operation U-Go.  On July 6, 1944, in a speech broadcast from Singapore by Azad Hind Radio, Bose addressed Mahatma Gandhi as the "Father of the Nation," asking for his blessings and good wishes for the war he was fighting. This was the first time Gandhi was referred to in this manner.

The protracted Japanese assault on these two towns depleted Japanese resources, with Operation U-Go ultimately failing. Despite the Japanese onslaught on these two towns for several months, Commonwealth forces remained entrenched. Commonwealth forces then launched a counter-attack, inflicting heavy losses on the Axis-led forces, forcing them to retreat into Burmese territory. Following the defeat of the Japanese at the battles of Kohima and Imphal, Bose's Provisional Government's goal of establishing a base in mainland India was forever lost.

With the fall of Rangoon, however, Bose's government ceased to be a viable political entity. Under the command of Lt Col Loganathan, a huge percentage of the INA troops surrendered. The remaining troops either withdrew with Bose to Malaya or fled to Thailand. When Japan surrendered at the end of the war, the remaining elements of the Indian National Army also surrendered. The INA detainees were then repatriated to India, where some were tried for treason.


18th August 1945: Death

Bose passed away in a plane accident on August 18, 1945, for unknown reasons. His death is still a source of contention, and numerous theories have been proposed to clarify the events surrounding his death. Despite his short life, Bose is remembered for being among the most iconic and highly regarded figures in Indian history. He is remembered for his unwavering dedication to Indian independence and his indefatigable efforts to galvanise the masses in opposition to British rule. His legacy continues to inspire future generations of Indians, and he is widely regarded as one of the country's greatest freedom fighters.


Quotes by Subhas Chandra Bose

Here are some inspirational quotes and messages by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose:-

  • “It is our duty to pay for our liberty with our own blood.”
  • ” Life loses half its interest if there is no struggle - if there are no risks to be taken.”
  • “It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom. Give me blood and I will give you freedom”
  • “One individual may die for an idea, but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives.”
  • “Freedom is not given, It. Is taken”
  • “Reality is, after all, too big for our frail understanding to fully comprehend. Nevertheless, we have to build our life on the theory which contains the maximum truth”
  • “Never lose your faith in the destiny of India. There is no power on Earth that can keep India in bondage. India will be free, that too, soon.”



Subhas Chandra Bose's life was marked by his unwavering commitment to the cause of Indian independence. He was a charismatic leader who inspired thousands of people to join the struggle against British colonial rule. Bose's formation of the Forward Bloc and the INA were significant milestones in the Indian freedom movement, and his legacy continues to inspire generations of Indians to this day. Despite his controversial tactics and associations, Bose remains an important figure in Indian history, a symbol of the country's struggle for independence, and a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world.

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