Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

There were many great heroes born at the time of the freedom movement. Each with his own method of attaining one goal - Independence for India. Some believed in non-violent means, whereas others did not. One such hero was Subhash Chandra Bose, popularly known as 'Netaji'.

Netaji's Background

Known as Netaji (leader), Mr. Bose was a fierce and popular leader in the political scene in pre-independence India . He was the president of the Indian National Congress in 1937 and 1939, and founded a nationalist force called the Indian National Army. He was acclaimed as a semigod, akin to the many mythological heroes like Rama or Krishna, and continues as a legend in Indian mind.

Subhas Chandra was born on January 23rd 1897 in Cuttack (in present day Orissa) as the ninth child among fourteen, of Janakinath Bose, an advocate, and Prabhavatidevi, a pious and God-fearing lady. A brilliant student, he topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province and passed his B.A. in Philosophy from the Presidency College in Calcutta. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda's teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. His parents' wishes kept him away from the Indian freedom struggle and led him into studies for the Indian Civil Service in England. Although he finished those examinations also at the top of his class (4th), he could not complete his aprecentship and returned to India, being deeply disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre. He came under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Indian National Congress (a.k.a. Congress). Gandhiji directed him to work with Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, the Bengali leader whom Bose acknowledged as his political guru.

Bose was outspoken in his anti-British stance and was jailed 11 (eleven) times between 1920 and 1941 for periods varying between six months and three years. He was the leader of the youth wing of the Congress Party, in the forefront of the trade union movement in India and organized Service League, another wing of Congress. He was admired for his great skills in organization development .

Indian National Army

Arriving in Tokyo in May 1943, Bose attracted the attention of the Japanese high command, including Hideki Tojo, Japan's premier. The Japanese agreed to cooperate in founding an Indian National Army (INA) in Southeast Asia. Bose was flown to Singapore and became commander of the INA and head of the Free India provisional government. The INA included both Indian prisoners of war from Singapore and Indian civilians in Southeast Asia. The strength of INA grew to 50, 000 and fought Allied forces in 1944 inside the borders of India at Imphal and in Burma. For Bose any means and any ally were acceptable in the struggle to liberate India. By the end of World War II none of Bose's Axis allies had helped, and Bose then turned to the Soviet Union. Three officers of the INA were tried after the war in Delhi; the trial attracted so much popular sympathy (including statements by Nehru and Gandhi that the men were great patriots) that the British decision to withdraw from India followed. Bose indirectly and posthumously achieved his goal of Indian independence.

Disappearance and Alleged Death

Officially, Bose died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo on 18 August 1945. It is believed that he was en route to the Soviet Union in a Japanese plane when it crashed in Taiwan, burning him fatally. However, his body was never recovered, and many theories have been put forward concerning his possible survival. One such claim is that Bose actually died in Siberia, while in Soviet captivity. Several committees have been set up by the Government of India to probe into this matter.

In May 1956, a four-man Indian team (known as the Shah Nawaz Committee) visited Japan to probe the circumstances of Bose's alleged death. The Indian government did not then request assistance from the government of Taiwan in the matter, citing their lack of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

However, the Inquiry Commission under Justice Mukherjee, which investigated the Bose disappearance mystery in the period 1999-2005, did approach the Taiwanese government, and obtained information from the Taiwan Government that no plane carrying Bose had ever crashed in Taipei. The Mukherjee Commission also received a report originating from the US State Department, supporting the claim of the Taiwan Government that no such air crash took place during that time frame.

The Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry submitted its report to the Indian Government on November 8, 2005. The report was tabled in Parliament on May 17, 2006. The probe said in its report that Bose did not die in the plane crash and the ashes at the Renkoji Temple are not his. However, the Indian Government rejected the findings of the Commission.

Mysterious Monk

Several people believed that the Hindu sanyasi named Bhagwanji, who lived in Faizabad, near Ayodhya and died in 1985, was Subhas Chandra Bose in exile. There had been at least four known occasions when Bhagwanji said he was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The belongings of the sanyasi were taken into custody after his death, following a court order in this regard. These were later subjected to the inspection by the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry. The commission refuted this belief, in the absence of any 'clinching evidence'. The independent probe done by the Hindustan Times into this case had provided hints that the monk was Bose himself. The life and works of Bhagwanji remain a mystery even today.

Political Views

Bose's earlier correspondence (prior to 1939) also reflects his deep disapproval of the racist practices of, and annulment of democratic institutions in Nazi Germany. He also, however, expressed admiration for the authoritarian methods (though not the racial ideologies) which he saw in Italy and Germany during the 1930s, and thought they could be used in building an independent India.

Bose had clearly expressed his belief that democracy was the best option for India. The pro-Bose thinkers believe that his authoritarian control of the Azad Hind was based on political pragmatism and a post-colonial recovery doctrine rather than any anti-democratic belief. However, during the war (and possibly as early as the 1930s) Bose seems to have decided that no democratic system could be adequate to overcome India's poverty and social inequalities, and he wrote that an authoritarian state, similar to that of Soviet Russia (which he had also seen and admired) would be needed for the process of national re-building. Accordingly some suggest that Bose's alliance with the Axis during the war was based on more than just pragmatism, and that Bose was a militant nationalist , though not a Nazi, nor a Fascist,for he supported empowerment of women, secularism and other democratic ideas; alternatively, others consider he might have been using populist methods of mobilisation common to many post-colonial leaders.


  • “You give me your blood and I will give you Independence!”
  • “One individual may die for an idea; but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives. That is how the wheel of evolution moves on and the ideas and dreams of one nation are bequeathed to the next’”
  • “Freedom is not given, it is taken'”



Ratings Result

Score: 0.0, Ratings: 0

website statistics