About Subhash Chandra Bose Essay About Myself

Not to be confused with N. S. Chandra Bose.

Subhas Chandra Bose
BornSubash Chandra Bose
(1897-01-23)23 January 1897
Cuttack, Orissa Division, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died18 August 1945(1945-08-18) (aged 48)
Taihoku, Japanese Taiwan
EducationRavenshaw Collegiate School, Cuttack
Alma materUniversity of Calcutta
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Known forFigure of Indian independence movement
TitlePresident of Indian National Congress (1938)
Head of State, Prime Minister, Minister of War and Foreign Affairs of Provisional Government of Free India based in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1943–1945)
Political partyIndian National Congress (1921–1940),
Forward Bloc faction within the Indian National Congress (1939–1940)
Spouse(s)or companion,Emilie Schenkl
(secretly married without ceremony or witnesses in 1937, unacknowledged publicly by Bose.)
ChildrenAnita Bose Pfaff
Parent(s)Janakinath Bose (father)
Prabhavati Devi (mother)
RelativesBose family

Subhas Chandra Bose (23 January 1897 – 18 August 1945)[a] was an Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India,[b][c][6][d] but whose attempt during World War II to rid India of British rule with the help of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan left a troubled legacy.[e][f][g] The honorific Netaji (Hindustani: "Respected Leader"), first applied in early 1942 to Bose in Germany by the Indian soldiers of the Indische Legion and by the German and Indian officials in the Special Bureau for India in Berlin, was later used throughout India.[h]

Bose had been a leader of the younger, radical, wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s, rising to become Congress President in 1938 and 1939.[i] However, he was ousted from Congress leadership positions in 1939 following differences with Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress high command. He was subsequently placed under house arrest by the British before escaping from India in 1940.

Bose arrived in Germany in April 1941, where the leadership offered unexpected, if sometimes ambivalent, sympathy for the cause of India's independence, contrasting starkly with its attitudes towards other colonised peoples and ethnic communities. In November 1941, with German funds, a Free India Centre was set up in Berlin, and soon a Free India Radio, on which Bose broadcast nightly. A 3,000-strong Free India Legion, comprising Indians captured by Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, was also formed to aid in a possible future German land invasion of India. By spring 1942, in light of Japanese victories in southeast Asia and changing German priorities, a German invasion of India became untenable, and Bose became keen to move to southeast Asia.Adolf Hitler, during his only meeting with Bose in late May 1942, suggested the same, and offered to arrange for a submarine. During this time Bose also became a father; his wife, or companion,[j]Emilie Schenkl, whom he had met in 1934, gave birth to a baby girl in November 1942. Identifying strongly with the Axis powers, and no longer apologetically, Bose boarded a German submarine in February 1943. In Madagascar, he was transferred to a Japanese submarine from which he disembarked in Japanese-heldSumatra in May 1943.

With Japanese support, Bose revamped the Indian National Army (INA), then composed of Indian soldiers of the British Indian army who had been captured in the Battle of Singapore. To these, after Bose's arrival, were added enlisting Indian civilians in Malaya and Singapore. The Japanese had come to support a number of puppet and provisional governments in the captured regions, such as those in Burma, the Philippines and Manchukuo. Before long the Provisional Government of Free India, presided by Bose, was formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands.[k] Bose had great drive and charisma—creating popular Indian slogans, such as "Jai Hind,"—and the INA under Bose was a model of diversity by region, ethnicity, religion, and even gender. However, Bose was regarded by the Japanese as being militarily unskilled,[l] and his military effort was short-lived. In late 1944 and early 1945 the British Indian Army first halted and then devastatingly reversed the Japanese attack on India. Almost half the Japanese forces and fully half the participating INA contingent were killed.[m] The INA was driven down the Malay Peninsula, and surrendered with the recapture of Singapore. Bose had earlier chosen not to surrender with his forces or with the Japanese, but rather to escape to Manchuria with a view to seeking a future in the Soviet Union which he believed to be turning anti-British. He died from third degree burns received when his plane crashed in Taiwan.[n] Some Indians, however, did not believe that the crash had occurred,[6][o] with many among them, especially in Bengal, believing that Bose would return to gain India's independence.[p][q][r]

The Indian National Congress, the main instrument of Indian nationalism, praised Bose's patriotism but distanced itself from his tactics and ideology,[s] especially his collaboration with fascism. The British Raj, though never seriously threatened by the INA,[t][u] charged 300 INA officers with treason in the INA trials, but eventually backtracked in the face both of popular sentiment and of its own end.[v]

Early life: 1897–1921

Subhas Bose, standing, extreme right, with his family of 14 siblings in Cuttack, ca. 1905. 

Jankinath Bose, Subhas Bose's father, was a prominent and wealthy lawyer in Cuttack. 

Bose's parental home in Odia Bazar, Cuttack, now converted to a birthplace museum. 

Subhas Bose (standing, right) with friends in England, 1920 

Bose as a student in England preparing for his Indian Civil Service entrance examination, ca. 1920. Bose ranked fourth among the six successful entrants. 

Subhas Chandra Bose was born on 23 January 1897 (at 12.10 pm) in Cuttack, Orissa Division, Bengal Province, to Prabhavati Devi and Janakinath Bose, an advocate belonging to a Kayastha[w] family. He was the ninth in a family of 14 children. His family was well to do.

He was admitted to the Protestant European School (presently Stewart High School) in Cuttack, like his brothers and sisters, in January 1902. He continued his studies at this school which was run by the Baptist Mission up to 1909 and then shifted to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School. Here, he was ridiculed by his fellow students because he knew very little Bengali. The day Subhas was admitted to this school, Beni Madhab Das, the headmaster, understood how brilliant and scintillating his genius was. After securing the second position in the matriculation examination in 1913, he got admitted to the Presidency College where he studied briefly. He was influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna after reading their works at the age of 16. He felt that his religion was more important than his studies.

In those days, the British in Calcutta often made offensive remarks to the Indians in public places and insulted them openly. This behavior of the British as well as the outbreak of World War I began to influence his thinking.

His nationalistic temperament came to light when he was expelled for assaulting Professor Oaten(who had manhandled some Indian students) for the latter's anti-India comments. He was expelled although he appealed that he only witnessed the assault and did not actually participate in it. He later joined the Scottish Church College at the University of Calcutta and passed his B.A. in 1918 in philosophy. Bose left India in 1919 for England with a promise to his father that he would appear in the Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination. He went to study in Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and matriculated on 19 November 1919. He came fourth in the ICS examination and was selected, but he did not want to work under an alien government which would mean serving the British. As he stood on the verge of taking the plunge by resigning from the Indian Civil Service in 1921, he wrote to his elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose: "Only on the soil of sacrifice and suffering can we raise our national edifice."

He resigned from his civil service job on 23 April 1921 and returned to India.

With Indian National Congress: 1921–1932

Bose at the inauguration of the India Society in Prague in 1926. 

Bose at his residence in Calcutta in the late 1920s. 

Subhas Bose, General Officer Commanding, Congress Volunteer Corps (in military uniform) with Congress president, Motilal Nehru, taking the salute. Annual meeting, Indian National Congress, December 29, 1928. 

Subhas Chandra Bose with Congress Volunteers, 1929 

He started the newspaper Swaraj and took charge of publicity for the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee. His mentor was Chittaranjan Das who was a spokesman for aggressive nationalism in Bengal. In the year 1923, Bose was elected the President of All India Youth Congress and also the Secretary of Bengal State Congress. He was also editor of the newspaper "Forward", founded by Chittaranjan Das. Bose worked as the CEO of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation for Das when the latter was elected mayor of Calcutta in 1924. In a roundup of nationalists in 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to prison in Mandalay, where he contracted tuberculosis.

In 1927, after being released from prison, Bose became general secretary of the Congress party and worked with Jawaharlal Nehru for independence. In late December 1928, Bose organised the Annual Meeting of the Indian National Congress in Calcutta. His most memorable role was as General Officer Commanding (GOC) Congress Volunteer Corps. Author Nirad Chaudhuri wrote about the meeting:

Bose organized a volunteer corps in uniform, its officers being even provided with steel-cut epaulettes ... his uniform was made by a firm of British tailors in Calcutta, Harman's. A telegram addressed to him as GOC was delivered to the British General in Fort William and was the subject of a good deal of malicious gossip in the (British Indian) press. Mahatma Gandhi being a sincere pacifist vowed to non-violence, did not like the strutting, clicking of boots, and saluting, and he afterwards described the Calcutta session of the Congress as a Bertram Mills circus, which caused a great deal of indignation among the Bengalis.

A little later, Bose was again arrested and jailed for civil disobedience; this time he emerged to become Mayor of Calcutta in 1930. During the mid-1930s Bose travelled in Europe, visiting Indian students and European politicians, including Benito Mussolini. He observed party organisation and saw communism and fascism in action.[citation needed] In this period, he also researched and wrote the first part of his book The Indian Struggle, which covered the country's independence movement in the years 1920–1934. Although it was published in London in 1935, the British government banned the book in the colony out of fears that it would encourage unrest. By 1938 Bose had become a leader of national stature and agreed to accept nomination as Congress President.

Illness, Austria, Emilie Schenkl 1933–1937

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Bose convalescing in Bad Gastein, Austria, after surgery in early 1933. 

Bose in Himalayan resort Dalhousie (June 1937), convalescing, and receiving Mirabehn, center, emissary of Gandhi; others are Dr. N. R. Dharamvir (Bose's physician) and Mrs. Dharamvir. 

Bose, INC president-elect, center, in Bad Gastein, Austria, December 1937, with (left to right) A. C. N. Nambiar (Bose's second-in-command, Berlin, 1941–1945), Heidi Fulop-Miller, Schenkl, and Amiya Bose. 

With Indian National Congress 1937–1940

Bose, president-elect, INC, arrives in Calcutta, 24 January 1938, after two-month vacation with Schenkl at Bad Gastein,[x] and secret marriage on 26 December 1937.[y] 

Congress president Bose with Mohandas K. Gandhi at the Congress annual general meeting 1938. 

Bose at the Lahore City Railway Station on 24 November 1938. 

Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel in 1938 

Bose arriving at the 1939 annual session of the Congress, where he was re-elected, but later had to resign after disagreements with Gandhi and the Congress High Command. 

He stood for unqualified Swaraj (self-governance), including the use of force against the British. This meant a confrontation with Mohandas Gandhi, who in fact opposed Bose's presidency, splitting the Indian National Congress party. Bose attempted to maintain unity, but Gandhi advised Bose to form his own cabinet. The rift also divided Bose and Nehru. Bose appeared at the 1939 Congress meeting on a stretcher. He was elected president again over Gandhi's preferred candidate Pattabhi Sitaramayya.U. Muthuramalingam Thevar strongly supported Bose in the intra-Congress dispute. Thevar mobilised all south India votes for Bose. However, due to the manoeuvrings of the Gandhi-led clique in the Congress Working Committee, Bose found himself forced to resign from the Congress presidency.[citation needed] On 22 June 1939 Bose organised the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Indian National Congress, aimed at consolidating the political left, but its main strength was in his home state, Bengal. U Muthuramalingam Thevar, who was a staunch supporter of Bose from the beginning, joined the Forward Bloc. When Bose visited Madurai on 6 September, Thevar organised a massive rally as his reception. When Subash Chandra Bose was heading to Madurai, on an invitation of Muthuramalinga Thevar to amass support for the Forward Bloc, he passed through Madras and spent three days at Gandhi Peak. His correspondence reveals that despite his clear dislike for British subjugation, he was deeply impressed by their methodical and systematic approach and their steadfastly disciplinarian outlook towards life. In England, he exchanged ideas on the future of India with British Labour Party leaders and political thinkers like Lord Halifax, George Lansbury, Clement Attlee, Arthur Greenwood, Harold Laski, J.B.S. Haldane, Ivor Jennings, G.D.H. Cole, Gilbert Murray and Sir Stafford Cripps. He came to believe that an independent India needed socialist authoritarianism, on the lines of Turkey's Kemal Atatürk, for at least two decades. For politically reasons Bose was refused permission by the British authorities to meet Atatürk at Ankara. During his sojourn in England Bose tried to schedule appointments but only the Labour Party and Liberal politicians agreed to meet with him. Conservative Party officials refused to meet him or show him courtesy because he was a politician coming from a colony. In the 1930s leading figures in the Conservative Party had opposed even Dominion status for India. It was during the Labour Party government of 1945–1951, with Attlee as the Prime Minister, that India gained independence. On the outbreak of war, 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. Having failed to persuade Gandhi of the necessity of this, Bose organised mass protests in Calcutta calling for the 'Holwell Monument' commemorating the Black Hole of Calcutta, which then stood at the corner of Dalhousie Square, to be removed. He was thrown in jail by the British, but was released following a seven-day hunger strike. Bose's house in Calcutta was kept under surveillance by the CID.

In Nazi Germany: 1941–1943

Bose and Himmler and other Nazi officials in discussion over refreshments. 

Subhas Bose meeting Adolf Hitler 

An official celebration in Berlin in November 1943 on the occasion of the founding of the provisional Indian National Government by Bose in Asia.[z] 

Bose's arrest and subsequent release set the scene for his escape to Germany, via Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. A few days before his escape, he sought solitude and, on this pretext, avoided meeting British guards and grew a beard. Late night 16 January 1941, the night of his escape, he dressed as a Pathan (brown long coat, a black fez-type coat and broad pyjamas) to avoid being identified. Bose escaped from under British surveillance from his Elgin Road house in Calcutta about 01:25AM on 17 January 1941, accompanied by his nephew Sisir Kumar Bose in a German-made Wanderer W24 Sedan car, which would take him to Gomoh Railway Station in then state of Bihar, India. The car (Registration No. BLA 7169) was bought by Subhash Chandra Bose's elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose in 1937. The car is now on display at his Elgin Road home in Calcutta, India.[56]

He journeyed to Peshawar with the help of the Abwehr, where he was met by Akbar Shah, Mohammed Shah and Bhagat Ram Talwar. Bose was taken to the home of Abad Khan, a trusted friend of Akbar Shah's. On 26 January 1941, Bose began his journey to reach Russia through British India's North West frontier with Afghanistan. For this reason, he enlisted the help of Mian Akbar Shah, then a Forward Bloc leader in the North-West Frontier Province. Shah had been out of India en route to the Soviet Union, and suggested a novel disguise for Bose to assume. Since Bose could not speak one word of Pashto, it would make him an easy target of Pashto speakers working for the British. For this reason, Shah suggested that Bose act deaf and dumb, and let his beard grow to mimic those of the tribesmen. Bose's guide Bhagat Ram Talwar, unknown to him, was a Soviet agent.[56]

Supporters of the Aga Khan III helped him across the border into Afghanistan where he was met by an Abwehr unit posing as a party of road construction engineers from the Organization Todt who then aided his passage across Afghanistan via Kabul to the border with Soviet Russia. After assuming the guise of a Pashtun insurance agent ("Ziaudddin") to reach Afghanistan, Bose changed his guise and travelled to Moscow on the Italian passport of an Italian nobleman "Count Orlando Mazzotta". From Moscow, he reached Rome, and from there he travelled to Germany.[56] Once in Russia the NKVD transported Bose to Moscow where he hoped that Russia's traditional enmity to British rule in India would result in support for his plans for a popular rising in India. However, Bose found the Soviets' response disappointing and was rapidly passed over to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count von der Schulenburg. He had Bose flown on to Berlin in a special courier aircraft at the beginning of April where he was to receive a more favourable hearing from Joachim von Ribbentrop and the Foreign Ministry officials at the Wilhelmstrasse.[56]

In Germany, he was attached to the Special Bureau for India under Adam von Trott zu Solz which was responsible for broadcasting on the German-sponsored Azad Hind Radio. He founded the Free India Center in Berlin, and created the Indian Legion (consisting of some 4500 soldiers) out of Indian prisoners of war who had previously fought for the British in North Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces. The Indian Legion was attached to the Wehrmacht, and later transferred to the Waffen SS. 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 Subhas Chandra Bose". This oath clearly abrogates control of the Indian legion to the German armed forces whilst stating Bose's overall leadership of India. He was also, however, prepared to envisage an invasion of India via the USSR by Nazi troops, spearheaded by the Azad Hind Legion; many have questioned his judgment here, as it seems unlikely that the Germans could have been easily persuaded to leave after such an invasion, which might also have resulted in an Axis victory in the War.

In all, 3,000 Indian prisoners of war signed up for the Free India Legion. But instead of being delighted, Bose was worried. A left-wing admirer of Russia, he was devastated when Hitler's tanks rolled across the Soviet border. Matters were worsened by the fact that the now-retreating German army would be in no position to offer him help in driving the British from India. When he met Hitler in May 1942, his suspicions were confirmed, and he came to believe that the Nazi leader was more interested in using his men to win propaganda victories than military ones. So, in February 1943, Bose turned his back on his legionnaires and slipped secretly away aboard a submarine bound for Japan. This left the men he had recruited leaderless and demoralised in Germany.

Bose lived in Berlin from 1941 until 1943. During his earlier visit to Germany in 1934, he had met Emilie Schenkl, the daughter of an Austrian veterinarian whom he married in 1937. Their daughter is Anita Bose Pfaff. Bose's party, the Forward Bloc, has contested this fact.

In 1943, after being disillusioned that Germany could be of any help in gaining India's independence, he left for Japan. He travelled with the German submarine U-180 around the Cape of Good Hope to the southeast of Madagascar, where he was transferred to the I-29 for the rest of the journey to Imperial Japan. This was the only civilian transfer between two submarines of two different navies in World War II.[56]

In Japanese-occupied Asia 1943–1945

Main articles: Azad Hind Fauj and Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind

The crew of Japanese submarine I-29 after the rendezvous with German submarine U-180 300 sm southeast of Madagascar; Bose is sitting in the front row (28 April 1943). 

Bose meeting Japanese prime minister Hideki Tōjō in 1943 

Bose speaking in Tokyo in 1943. 

Greater East Asia Conference, November 1943, Hideki Tōjō (centre) with heads of Japan-supported regimes, l. to r.: Ba Maw (Burma), Zhang Jinghui (Manchukuo), Wang Jingwei (Republic of China, Nanjing), Tojo, Wan Waithayakon (Siam), José P. Laurel (Second Philippine Republic), Bose (Provisional Government of Free India). 

The Indian National Army (INA) was the brainchild of Japanese Major (and post-war Lieutenant-General) Iwaichi Fujiwara, head the Japanese intelligence unit Fujiwara Kikan and had its origins, first in the meetings between Fujiwara and the president of the Bangkok chapter of the Indian Independence League, Pritam Singh Dhillon, and then, through Pritam Singh's network, in the recruitment by Fujiwara of a captured British Indian army captain, Mohan Singh on the western Malayan peninsula in December 1941; Fujiwara's mission was "to raise an army which would fight alongside the Japanese army." After the initial proposal by Fujiwara the Indian National Army was formed as a result of discussion between Fujiwara and Mohan Singh in the second half of December 1941, and the name chosen jointly by them in the first week of January 1942.

This was along the concept of—and with support of—what was then known as the Indian Independence League, headed by expatriate nationalist leader Rash Behari Bose. The first INA was however disbanded in December 1942 after disagreements between the Hikari Kikan and Mohan Singh, who came to believe that the Japanese High Command was using the INA as a mere pawn and propaganda tool. Mohan Singh was taken into custody and the troops returned to the prisoner-of-war camp. However, the idea of an independence army was revived with the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in the Far East in 1943. In July, at a meeting in Singapore, Rash Behari Bose handed over control of the organisation to Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose was able to reorganise the fledgling army and organise massive support among the expatriate Indian population in south-east Asia, who lent their support by both enlisting in the Indian National Army, as well as financially in response to Bose's calls for sacrifice for the independence cause. INA had a separate women's unit, the Rani of Jhansi Regiment (named after Rani Lakshmi Bai) headed by Capt. Lakshmi Swaminathan, which is seen as a first of its kind in Asia.

Even when faced with military reverses, Bose was able to maintain support for the Azad Hind movement. Spoken as a part of a motivational speech for the Indian National Army at a rally of Indians in Burma on 4 July 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.[citation needed] Spoken in Hindi, Bose's words are highly evocative. The troops of the INA were under the aegis of a provisional government, the Azad Hind Government, which came to produce its own currency, postage stamps, court and civil code, and was recognised by nine Axis states—Germany, Japan, Italy, the Independent State of Croatia, Wang Jingwei regime in Nanjing, China, a provisional government of Burma, Manchukuo and Japanese-controlled Philippines. Recent researches have shown that the USSR too had diplomatic contact with the "Provisional Government of Free India". Of those countries, five were authorities established under Axis occupation. This government participated in the so-called Greater East Asia Conference as an observer in November 1943.[citation needed]

The INA's first commitment was in the Japanese thrust towards Eastern Indian frontiers of Manipur. INA's special forces, the Bahadur Group, were extensively involved in operations behind enemy lines both during the diversionary attacks in Arakan, as well as the Japanese thrust towards Imphal and Kohima, along with the Burmese National Army led by Ba Maw and Aung San.[citation needed]

Japanese also took possession of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1942 and a year later, the Provisional Government and the INA were established in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with Lt Col. A.D. Loganathan appointed its Governor General. The islands were renamed Shaheed (Martyr) and Swaraj (Independence). However, the Japanese Navy remained in essential control of the island's administration. During Bose's only visit to the islands in early 1944, when he was carefully screened, by the Japanese authorities, from the local population who[clarification needed] at that time were torturing the leader of the Indian Independence League on the Islands, Dr. Diwan Singh, who later died of his injuries, in the Cellular Jail. The islanders made several attempts to alert Bose to their plight, but apparently without success. Enraged with the lack of administrative control, Lt. Col Loganathan later relinquished his authority and returned to the Government's headquarters in Rangoon.

On the Indian mainland, an Indian Tricolour, modelled after that of the Indian National Congress, was raised for the first time in the town in Moirang, in Manipur, in north-eastern India. The towns of Kohima and Imphal were placed under siege by divisions of the Japanese, Burmese National Army and the Gandhi and Nehru Brigades of INA during the attempted invasion of India, also known as Operation U-GO. However, Commonwealth forces held both positions and then counter-attacked, in the process inflicting serious losses on the besieging forces, which were then forced to retreat back into Burma.

When Japanese funding for the army diminished, Bose was forced to raise taxes on the Indian populations of Malaysia and Singapore. When the Japanese were defeated at the battles of Kohima and Imphal, the Provisional Government's aim of establishing a base in mainland India was lost forever.[citation needed] The INA was forced to pull back, along with the retreating Japanese army, and fought in key battles against the British Indian Army in its Burma campaign, notable in Meiktilla, Mandalay

Subhas Chandra Bose's political views were in support of complete freedom for India at the earliest, whereas most of the Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through a Dominion status.[1] Even though Bose and Mohandas K. Gandhi had differing ideologies, the latter called Bose the "Prince among the Patriots" in 1942. Bose admired Gandhi, recognising his importance as a symbol of Indian nationalism; he called him "The Father of Our Nation" in a radio broadcast from Rangoon in 1944, in which he stated, "I am convinced that if we do desire freedom we must be prepared to wade through blood",[2] a statement somewhat at odds with Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence. Thus, although they shared the goal of an independent India, by 1939 the two had become divided over the strategy to achieve Indian Independence, and to some degree the form which the post-Independence state should take: Gandhi was hostile to industrialisation, while Bose saw it as the only route to making India strong and self-sufficient (in this he may have been influenced, like many other Indian intellectuals of the time, by reports of the success of the Sovietfive-year plans). Jawaharlal Nehru disagreed with Gandhi on this point as well, though not over the tactics of protest.

Bose was accused of collaborating with the Axis, after he fled to Germany in 1941 and offered Hitler an alliance. He criticized the British during World War II, saying that while Britain was fighting for the freedom of the European nations under Nazi control, it would not grant independence to its own colonies, including India. It may be observed that along with Nehru, Bose had organized and led protest marches against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, and of China itself in 1938, when he was Congress president[citation needed]. In 1937 he published an article attacking Japanese imperialism in the Far East, although he betrayed some admiration for other aspects of the Japanese regime.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] Nevertheless, Bose's tenure as Congress Party President (1938–39) did not reflect any particular anti-democratic or authoritarian attributes. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Anton Pelinka and Leonard Gordon have remarked that Bose's skills were best illustrated at the negotiating table, rather than on the battlefield.

At the Tripura Congress session of 1939, he demanded giving the British Government a six-month deadline for granting independence and of launching a mass civil disobedience movement if it failed to do so. He believed that "... the country was internally more ripe for a revolution than ever before and that the coming international crisis would give India an opportunity for achieving her emancipation, which is rare in human history."[6]

Bose's judgment in allying with the Japanese has been questioned, as many argue [7] that he would have been unable to ensure an independent India had he ridden to power on Japanese bayonets, and was in danger of becoming a puppet ruler similar to the fate that befell Puyi, the last Chinese Emperor of Manchuria. In 1943 Rash Behari Bose had urged this on him during his last visit to Subhas Bose in Singapore, pointing out that the Japanese had claimed right of conquest in Manchuria and would do so in India, while Quit India had shown that this would not be accepted by the Indian Nation.[8]

Nevertheless, given the Indian National Army's (INA) overwhelming dependence on Japanese military support, he would have been in a weak position. Bose also seems to have ignored the appalling treatment meted out by the Japanese to the Asian inhabitants of the lands they conquered as part of the Greater East Asian Co-prosperity sphere, which included the forcible recruitment of labour from the overseas Indian population to build projects such as the Burma Railway, and massacres of Malayan Chinese in Singapore where he spent most of the war.[9]

Bose has been branded as a fascist in some quarters.[who?] Others believe that Bose had clearly expressed his belief that democracy was the best option for India.[10][dubious– discuss]

Had either of the alliances he forged during the war resulted in Indian independence in the manner he envisaged, it would have been at the cost of an Allied defeat in the Second World War, a price that some Indians would argue is too high: Gandhi himself, in the immediate aftermath of the war, said that Bose had been "foolish in imagining, that by allying himself with the Japanese and the Germans, who were not only aggressive Powers, but also dangerous Powers, he could get Indian freedom".[11] The alternative of non-violent protest within India espoused by Gandhi and the rest of Congress ultimately led to British withdrawal, albeit at the expense of the partition of the country along communal lines. Even before 1939, Congress had secured political concessions from the British in the form of elected provincial assemblies, and an agreement that the British taxpayer would foot the bill for Indian re-armament.[12] Although it was rejected by Congress at the time, the 1942 Cripps mission's offer of full independence after the war could be considered the point at which the British departure became inevitable.[13] Britain's weakness after the war, and domestic political pressure on the Labour Government also made British withdrawal more likely. Publicly at least, Bose never believed that this would happen unless they were driven out by force: as late as 1944, three years prior to independence, he announced that "I am honestly convinced that the British Government will never recognise India's demand for independence."[14]

Nirad Chaudhuri considered it a backhanded tribute to Bose that the Congress tricolour and the Muslim League green flag flew together for the last time during the mutiny of the Indian navy in Bombay unleashed in 1946 partly at anger within the Navy at the trial of INA officers by the British.[15]

Judith Brown argues that the Mutiny of the Indian Navy was a minor factor in the British decision to leave compared to domestic political pressure, American hostility to any continuation of the Raj, and the breakdown of almost all networks of support and collaboration brought about by thirty years of Congress agitation. By 1946 over 50% of the members of the Indian Civil Service were Indians, and even Churchill recognised that the offer of independence made by the Cripps Mission in 1942 could not now be withdrawn.[16] In this interpretation concerns over the loyalty of the military were only one factor among many amid the general breakdown in authority: nor, it could be argued, did all this necessarily stem from the activities of Bose and the INA. The prospect of communalism infecting the armed forces worried the British just as much.[17]

Bose was considered a patriot even by some of his rivals in the Congress. Gandhi himself wrote that Bose's "... patriotism is second to none",[18] and he was moved to proclaim after Bose's death that he was a "prince among patriots"—a reference, in particular, to Bose's achievement in integrating women and men from all the regions and religions of India in the Indian National Army.[19] Bose wanted freedom for India at the earliest opportunity, and to some extent, he didn't care who he had to approach for assistance.[5]


  1. ^"Subhas Chandra Bose". Sify. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  2. ^"Father of Our Nation" (Address to Mahatma Gandhi over the Rangoon Radio on 6 July 1944) The Essential Writings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Edited by Sisir K Bose & Sugata Bose (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 1997 pp. 301–302
  3. ^"Japan's Role in the Far East" (originally published in the Modern Review in October 1937): "Japan has done great things for herself and for Asia. Her reawakening at the dawn of the present century sent a thrill throughout our Continent. Japan has shattered the white man's prestige in the Far East and has put all the Western imperialist powers on the defensive—not only in the military but also in the economic sphere. She is extremely sensitive—and rightly so—about her self-respect as an Asiatic race. She is determined to drive out the Western powers from the Far East. But could not all this have been achieved without Imperialism, without dismembering the Chinese Republic, without humiliating another proud, cultured and ancient race? No, with all our admiration for Japan, where such admiration is due, our whole heart goes out to China in her hour of trial" The Essential Writings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Edited by Sisir K. Bose & Sugata Bose (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 1997 p. 190
  4. ^Bose to Dr. Thierfelder of the Deutsche Academie, Kurhaus Hochland, Badgastein, 25 March 1936 "Today I regret that I have to return to India with the conviction that the new nationalism of Germany is not only narrow and selfish but arrogant. The recent speech of Herr Hitler in Munich gives the essence of Nazi philosophy.... The new racial philosophy which has a very weak scientific foundation stands for the glorification of the white races in general and the German race in particular. Herr Hitler has talked of the destiny of white races to rule over the rest of the world. But the historical fact is that up till now the Asiatics have dominated Europe more than have the Europeans dominated Asia. One only has to consider the repeated invasions of Europe by Mongols, the Turks, the Arabs (Moors), the Huns, and other Asiatic races to understand the strength of my argument...." The Essential Writings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Edited by Sisir K. Bose & Sugata Bose (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 1997 p. 155
  5. ^ abSatadru Sen (23 September 2000). "Subhas Chandra Bose 1897-1945". andaman.org. Archived from the original on 5 March 2005. 
  6. ^"The Congress Resigns". indhistory.com. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  7. ^Sen, Satadru. "Subhash Chandra Bose 1897-1945". Web Archives. Archived from the original on 5 March 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  8. ^C. A. Bayly; T. Harper (2004). Forgotten Armies. The Fall of British Asia 1941–5. London. p. 327. ; A. M. Nair (1985). An Indian Freedom Fighter in Japan. New Delhi. p. 230. 
  9. ^Nicholas Tarling, ed. (1999). From World War II to the Present. The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia. II. Cambridge. p. 8. 
  10. ^Roy, R. C. (2004). Social, Economic and Political Philosophy of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose(PDF). Orissa Review. pp. 7–8. Archived from the original(PDF) on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 
  11. ^Nirad C. Chaudhuri (December 1953). "Subhas Chandra Bose-His Legacy and Legend". Pacific Affairs. 26 (4): 351. 
  12. ^Keith Jeffery (1999). "The Second World War". The Twentieth Century. The Oxford History of the British Empire. IV. Oxford University Press. p. 312. 
  13. ^Judith Brown (1994). Modern India. The Origins of an Asian Democracy (2nd ed.). Oxford. pp. 293–316, 328. 
  14. ^"Father of Our Nation" (Address to Mahatma Gandhi over the Rangoon Radio on 6 July 1944) The Essential Writings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Edited by Sisir K Bose & Sugata Bose (Delhi: Oxford University Press) 1997 p. 301
  15. ^Nirad C. Chaudhuri (December 1953). "Subhas Chandra Bose-His Legacy and Legend". Pacific Affairs. 26 (4): 349–350. 
  16. ^Judith Brown (1994). Modern India. The origins of an Asian Democracy. Oxford University Press. pp. 325–330.   Quoted from page 326.
  17. ^Brown Modern India p. 325
  18. ^Gandhi, Mohandas K. The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Ahmedabad: The Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, Navajivan Trust, 1972–78), Volume LXXXIII, p. 135
  19. ^"Bose, Sugata - Maximum Leader". India Today. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 

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