23 January 2020
Bhubaneswar: As India pays tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 123rd Birth Anniversary, here are some lesser known facts about the vibrant leader.
Born in Cuttack on January 23, 1897, Netaji was the ninth among 14 children of Prabhavati Dutt Bose and Janakinath Bose, a lawyer. One of his siblings is Sarat Chandra Bose, a barrister and activist in India’s freedom movement.
A brilliant student in both school and university, Netaji had topped the matriculation examination and graduated with a first class in Philosophy from Calcutta’s Scottish Church College in 1918.
He was working as an apprentice after securing fourth position in the Indian Civil Service Examination in England in 1920, however, resigned on April 23, 1921, in view of the Indian independence struggle.
Netaji later joined the Indian National Congress and rose to become its President in 1938 and 1939. He advocated complete unconditional independence for India and was jailed several times between 1921 and 1941 for his belief.
After being ousted from Congress leadership in 1939, following differences with Mahatma Gandhi, he was also placed under house arrest by the British. He later escaped India in 1940 and arrived in Germany in April 1941 via Peshawar and Kabul.
During the Second World War, in November 1941, he set up a Free India Centre in Berlin and later a Free India Radio with the help of Nazi Germany. He took active part in the formation of the Free India Legion or the Indian Legion (Indische Legion).
In 1942, he was honoured with the title ‘Netaji’ in Berlin, by Indian soldiers along with German and Indian officers of the Indische Legion and Special Bureau for India respectively.
In July 1943, after reaching Singapore from Germany, he revived the Indian National Army (INA) also known as Azad Hind Fauj that fought along with the Imperial Japanese Army against the British and Commonwealth forces.
Of all the speeches he made, none was more popular than “Tum mujhe khoon do, mein tumhe azadi doonga” (Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom) speech that he made in Burma in 1944 to members of the Indian National Army.
It was after the British Indian Army halted and devastatingly reversed the Japanese attack on India in 1945, the INA was driven down the Malay Peninsula and surrendered with the recapture of Singapore.
Netaji chose not to surrender but escape seeking cooperation from Soviet Union for his struggle. While some say he died in a plane crash in Taiwan, many are yet to believe this notion of his death.