Monday, February 14, 2011

Subhas Chandra Bose was born in a well-to-do Bengali family of Cuttack, Orissa,
on January 23, 1897. He was the ninth child of his advocate father Janakinath
Bose and mother Prabhavati Devi. The upright character of both of his parents
had a profound impact on the mental make-up of Bose. A brilliant student, Bose
completed his intial studies at a missionary English school in Cuttack and then
at the Ravenshaw Collegiate School there. It was his close contact with the
headmaster at the latter institution that filled him the idea of a free India.
In 1911, he topped the matriculation examination of Calcutta province and in
1918, passed with a B.A. degree in Philosophy from the Scottish Church College
of the University of Calcutta.

On his father's persuasion, Bose went to
England to appear in the Indian Civil Service (ICS) exams. Though he passed the
exams very well and was offered an ICS role, he resigned from it and came back
to Calcutta to establish the National College of which he became the

But the revolutionary inside Bose ever wanted to express
itself and it was his meeting with the great Bengali leader C.R. Das that
inspired him to fight for the freedom of the country. Mahatma Gandhi's famous
Khadi Movement greatly interested him and he began to sell "khadi" (cloth made
of homespun cotton) on the streets of Calcutta, an action that was seen as
anti-government and landed him in prison. He continued to work with the Congress
along with the Mahatma but the ideals of the latter slowly disillusioned him and
the condescending attitude of the Britishers towards the Congressmen frustrated
him and made him realize that only an organized armed struggle could overthrow
the British Government. He joined the National Volunteer Corps and later was
appointed as its Commander-in-Chief.

He also launched his own party, the
All India Forward Bloc.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Netaji
(as Subhas Bose began to be called by his countrymen) undertook a perilous
journey by submarine and landed in Germany where he met up with Hitler and other Italian and Japanese leaders to seek their
assistance in his fight for India's freedom. He was ably supported. The great
leader waged a war against the British Government in India. His own outfit, the
Indian National Army (INA), fought bravely against the allied forces in Burma
and eastern front of India. Netaji's army captured several key posts and would
have made inroads to India but the monsoon crushed his plans. Lack of training,
inability to cope with the rain in the hills, inadequate ration supplies by
Japanese forces and many other factors forced the INA to retreat.

Officially, Bose died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to
Tokyo on 18 August 1945. But the remains of his body was never recovered which
prompted the British Government to set up a commission to investigate his death.
The Inquiry Commission under Justice Mukherjee obtained clear information from
the Taiwanese Government that no plane crash was reported on the said date and
it also made it clear that the reported ashes of Netaji at the Renkoji temple is
not his. His mysterious disappearance further adds to the enigma that Netaji was
in his lifetime and the search for the great patriot is still on.