Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was a real hero for his defiant patriotism in India’s freedom struggle. Undoubtedly, many patriots like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Abul Kalam Azad etc., were wholeheartedly involved in the freedom struggle through the Non-violence movement. Yet, Netaji had a unique identity in the freedom struggle because of his dedicated and audacious patriotism.
Initially, Netaji also followed the Non-Violence movement under Gandhiji and was able to become the President of the Indian National Congress for two terms consecutively but had to leave the highest post as he had some ideological differences with Gandhiji. He also lost his political mentor Desbandhu Chittaranjan Das when he was in Mandela Jail in Burma (now Myanmar). Netaji was arrested several times and consequently released on health grounds.
Netaji also had a significant contribution to Assam. Muslim League was formed by one of the prominent leaders of the freedom struggle, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, to make an independent country called Pakistan on religious grounds. When Muhammad Sadullah Government ruled Assam, the Muslim League tried to include Assam in future Pakistan. When Netaji, President of the National Congress, heard about the secret planning of the inclusion of Assam with Pakistan, he immediately sent a senior leader like Abul Kalam Azad to chalk out the situation and solve the problem. Azad returned and reported to Netaji that the possibility was significantly less and unable to solve it. In this state of affairs, Netaji was bound to come to Assam to tackle the crisis.
At first, Netaji assembled all the political leaders of the congress and selected Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi as the Prime Minister (Chief Minister was then known as Prime Minister) under united Congress Ministry. He repeatedly advised Bordoloi not to bow down at any condition and to continue the ministry. It is only because of Netaji, for whom Assam remained an integral part of India till today, and Muslim League planning failed to include Assam with Pakistan. The people of Assam should be proud of Netaji for his courageous decision as the President of the Indian National Congress. We are all enjoying the benefit of being an integral part of India. Later on, under Gopinath Bordoloi, the congress members met Gandhiji for the same purpose, and Gandhiji also advised them to follow per Congress President’s advice.
When Muhammad Sadullah Government ruled Assam, the Muslim League tried to include Assam in future Pakistan. When Netaji, President of the National Congress, heard about the secret planning of the inclusion of Assam with Pakistan, he immediately sent a senior leader like Abul Kalam Azad to chalk out the situation and solve the problem. Azad returned and reported to Netaji that the possibility was significantly less and unable to solve it. In this state of affairs, Netaji was bound to come to Assam to tackle the crisis
Netaji was a brilliant student in his school days, and he was fascinated by the philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and tried to follow his path in various ways. He tried to help the poor, and sometimes he even offered his school Tiffin to the beggars. He learned three languages, i.e. English, Sanskrit and Bengali, with equal importance and stood 2nd in the High School Leaving examination. He studied B.A. with a major in Philosophy at Presidency College. Still, he was compelled to leave the college as he questioned the anti-Indian attitude of professor E.F. Otten who taught them history.
Later, he got admitted to Scottish Church College and completed his degree with 1st class. After that, he left England and appeared ICS examination and stood in 4th position with only seven months’ preparation. But he left the job on the ground that he would not serve under the British and instead dedicated his life to India’s freedom struggle.
After returning from England, he directly met Mahatma Gandhi, and as per his advice, he started to work under Desbandhu Chittaranjan Das. Netaji was arrested several times by the Britishers and time to time, released from jail. In 1928 at the National Congress session in Calcutta (now Kolkata), Netaji raised the voice of “Total Independence”. Later on, in the Lahore session, he decided to celebrate Independence Day on January 26, 1930, where Jawaharlal Nehru also supported his decision. After the Independence of India, January 26 is celebrated as republic day from 1950 onwards.
Two times elected President of the National Congress of India had some ideological differences with Mahatma Gandhi. As a result, he left India on January 16, 1941, at midnight, when he was under house arrest. After a detailed journey from Kabul, he fled to German and subsequently met Adolf Hitler to liberation of India from British rule. On February 19, 1942, his first speech was broadcasted from Berlin as ‘I’m Subhas Chandra Bose speaking from Azad Hind radio from Berlin….’. With the help of a prisoner of war in a German or Indian army, he organised a force called ‘Azad Hind Fauj’. The military of Azad Hind Fauj started to call him ‘Netaji’. Irrespective of caste and creed, everyone started to give a slogan, ‘Jai Hind,’ which is still pronounced by the people of independent India. Hitler did not extend his support to Netaji in his mission.
On the other hand, in Japan, under the leadership of Rash Bihari, Bose formed a group called Indian National Army (INA). Japan had already occupied Singapore and also thrown out the British army from Burma. Rash Behari Bose invited Netaji to shoulder the leadership of INA, and after passing through two oceans in a submarine, he reached Japan with the only companion of Abid Hassan. When Netaji left Berlin, then his daughter was only two months.
Azad Hind Fauj hoisted the Indian flag in Japan and declared Provisional Government of free India at Singapore on October 20, 1943. Consequently, he hoisted the Indian flag in Andaman and Nicobar Island on December 29, 1943. He even introduced Indian currency, postal stamp etc., under the Provisional Government, and seven countries recognised it. Azad Hind Fauj and the Japanese army entered Indian Territory through Burma by defeating the British army.
Azad Hind Fauj reached Moirang of Manipur and hoisted Indian National Flag in 1944. British army called some additional forces from another country to fight against Azad Hind Fauj, and as a result, Azad Hind Fauj had to retreat because of the scarcity of food and heavy flood in those areas. Moreover, Japanese armies could not extend their support due to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American authorities during the Second World War.
Netaji had to move backwards and went to Russia for help in India’s freedom struggle. With this mission, Netaji left for Manchuria along with the only companion of Habibur Rahman. As per reporting of the Japanese Government, when the aircraft landed to refuel at Formosa and just after the takeoff, the craft crashed, and as a result, Netaji died on the spot. Independent India Government constituted three commissions until now, but no one could give us the fact of Netaji’s death.
But, the Mukherjee commission confirmed that there was no plane crash on that very day as per their investigation. The mysteries of Netaji’s death persist in the mind of Indian people. People of India still believe today that if Netaji and his Azad Hind Fauj had reached India properly, there would not be any separation of our country like India and Pakistan. We should adore and remember the birth anniversary of ‘Maha Nayak’ for his sacrifice of life for the liberation of India from British colonial rule.
(The writer is secretary, Vidya Bharati Purbottor Kshetra)