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Indian History

Subhash Chandra Bose

  • 05 Oct 2020
  • 8 min read

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was a fierce nationalist, whose defiant patriotism made him one of the greatest freedom fighters in Indian history. He was also credited with setting up the Indian Army as a separate entity from the British Indian Army - which helped to propel the freedom struggle.


  • Subhas Chandra Bose was born on 23rd January 1897, in Cuttack, Orissa Division, Bengal Province, to Prabhavati Dutt Bose and Janakinath Bose.
  • After his early schooling, he joined Ravenshaw Collegiate School. From there he went to join Presidency College, Calcutta and was expelled due to his nationalist activities. Later, he went to University of Cambridge, U.K.
  • In 1919, Bose headed to London to give the Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination and he was selected. Bose, however, resigned from Civil Services as he believed he could not side with the British.
  • He was highly influenced by Vivekananda's teachings and considered him as his spiritual Guru. His political mentor was Chittaranjan Das.
  • In 1921, Bose took over the editorship of the newspaper 'Forward', founded by Chittaranjan Das's Swaraj Party.
  • In 1923, Bose was elected the President of the All India Youth Congress and also the Secretary of Bengal State Congress.
  • He was also sent to prison in Mandalay in 1925 due to his connections with revolutionary movements where he contracted Tuberculosis.
  • During the mid-1930s Bose travelled in Europe. He researched and wrote the first part of his book, The Indian Struggle, which covered the country’s independence movement in the years 1920–1934.
  • After his return, Bose took over as the elected President of Indian National Congress in 1938 (Haripur) and stood for unqualified Swaraj (self-governance) and the use of force against the British which then combated against Mahatma Gandhi and his views.
  • Bose was re-elected in 1939 (Tripuri) but soon resigned from the presidency and formed the All India Forward Bloc, a faction within the Congress which aimed at consolidating the political left.
  • He died on 18th August 1945, in a plane crash in Japanese-ruled Formosa (now Taiwan).

Contribution to Freedom Struggle

  • Association with C.R Das: He was associated with C.R. Das' political endeavour, and was also jailed along with him. When C.R. Das was elected Mayor of Calcutta Cooperation, he nominated Bose as the chief executive. He was arrested for his political activities in 1924.
  • Trade union movements: He organised youth and promoted trade union movements. In 1930, he was elected Mayor of Calcutta, the same year he was elected the President of AITUC.
  • Association with congress: He stood for unqualified swaraj (independence), and opposed Motilal Nehru Report which spoke for dominion status for India.
    • He actively participated in the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 and vehemently opposed the suspension of Civil Disobedience Movement and signing of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in 1931.
    • In the 1930s, he was closely associated with left politics in Congress along with Jawaharlal Nehru and M.N. Roy.
    • Because of the endeavour of the left group, the congress passed very far reaching radical resolutions in Karachi in 1931 which declared the main Congress aim as socialization of means of production besides guaranteeing fundamental rights.
  • Congress presidentship: Bose won the congress presidential elections at Haripura in 1938.
    • Next year at Tripuri, he again won the presidential elections against Gandhi's candidate Pattabhi Sitarammayya.
    • Due to ideological differences with Gandhi, Bose left congress and found a new party, 'the Forward Bloc'.
    • The purpose was to consolidate the political left and major support base in his home state Bengal.
  • Civil disobedience movement: When World War II began, he was again imprisoned for participation in civil disobedience and was put under house arrest.
  • Indian National Army: Bose manages to escape to Berlin by way of Peshawar and Afghanistan. He reached Japan and from there to Burma and organised the Indian National Army to fight the british and liberate India with the help of Japan.
    • He gave famous slogans 'Jai Hind' and 'Dilli Chalo'. He died in a plane crash before realising his dreams.

Azad Hind

  • Indian Legion: Bose founded the free India centre in Berlin and created the Indian Legion out of the Indian prisoners of war who had previously fought for the British in North Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces.
    • In Europe, Bose sought help from Hitler and Mussolini for the liberation of India.
  • In Germany, he was attached to the special bureau for India which was responsible for the broadcasting on the German sponsored Azad Hind Radio.
    • On this radio, Bose on 6th July 1944, addressed Mahatma Gandhi as the 'Father of the Nation'.
  • Indian National Army: He reached Japanese-controlled Singapore from Germany in July 1943, issued from there his famous call, ‘Delhi Chalo’, and announced the formation of the Azad Hind Government and the Indian National Army on 21st October 1943.
    • The INA was first formed under Mohan Singh and Japanese Major Iwaichi Fujiwara and comprised Indian prisoners of war of the British-Indian Army captured by Japan in the Malayan (present-day Malaysia) campaign and at Singapore.
    • The INA included both, the Indian prisoners of war from Singapore and Indian civilians in South-East Asia. It's strength grew to 50,000.
    • The INA fought allied forces in 1944 inside the borders of India in Imphal and in Burma.
    • However, with the fall of Rangoon, Azad Hind Government ceased to be an effective political entity.
    • In November 1945 a British move to put the INA men on trial immediately sparked massive demonstration all over the country.
  • Impact: The I.N.A. experience created the wave of disaffection in the British Indian army during the 1945-46, which culminated in the great Bombay naval strike of February 1946 and was one of the most decisive reasons behind the British decision to  make a quick withdrawal.
  • Composition of I.N.A: The I.N.A. was essentially non-communal, with Muslims quite prominent among its officers and ranks, and it also introduced the innovation of a women’s detachment named after the Rani of Jhansi.
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