Subhash Chandra Bose
|Given Name||Subhash Chandra|
|Born||23 Jan 1897|
|Died||18 Aug 1945|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Subhas Chandra Bose was born in Cuttack, Orissa, India. Because of His influential father Janakinath Bose, a wealthy public prosecutor, he was able to attend Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, Britain. In 1920, he entered public service in India, but resigned only a year later due to his belief that India should gain her independence from Britain. Not entirely agreeing with Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent protests, he joined Chittaranjan Das' Swaraj Party in Calcutta, India. Later in 1921, he was arrested for organizing a boycott of the celebrations for the visit of Prince of Wales. In the 1920s, he was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for organizing against British rule, but on 25 Sep 1930 he was able to become elected as the mayor of Calcutta. In the 1930s, he was exiled by the British to Europe, where he took the opportunity to push forth the notion of an independent India. In late 1930s, he returned to India and was elected in the Haripura Indian National Congress and then the Tripuri Congress Session, but because of political differences with Gandhi, both men eventually resigned. He established an independent party, All India Forward Bloc, to further his political goals. Although his political viewed differed greatly than Gandhi, the two Indian leaders had a mutual respect for each other; in 1942, Gandhi was quoted in calling Bose the "Patriot of Patriots", and in 1944 Bose returned the respect by calling Gandhi the "Father of Our Nation".
With Britain distracted by WW2, Bose believed the time to fight for independence had come. In his eyes, the British were highly hypocritical: while fighting a war under the banner of freedom and democracy, Britain was at the same time refusing to give India the most basic of rights. He first called for a mass civil disobedience after Britain's decision to have India declare war on the Axis powers without consulting the Indian people. Then, believing that foreign aid must be found to support the Indian independence movement, he slipped out of the country in Jan 1941 by means of a dramatic journey across Afghanistan and Russia. After stops in Moscow and Rome, he reached Berlin and was reunited with his wife of German ethnicity, Emilie Schenkl. In Berlin, he continued his struggle for a free India; he created the Indian Legion out of the 4,500 Indian Commonwealth soldiers captured by German and Italian forces in North Africa, and the legion was officially under the German chain of command. When the British learned of his intentions to ally with the Germans, they were so alarmed that the Special Operations Executive plotted a failed assassination attempt on Bose. Bose's plan to persuade German leaders to back an independent India did not bear fruit, however, and the disillusioned Bose returned to Asia via German and Japanese submarines around the Cape of Good Hope. In Singapore, he found support from the Japanese, and was given by Rash Behari Bose control of the 85,000-strong Indian National Army fighting under the banner of the Provisional Government of Free India. Some of his troops fought alongside the Japanese in battles in Burma and northeastern India, including the siege of Kohima and Imphal. With a Japanese loss in the campaign for India, Bose's dream to establish a foothold in India also diminished. In 1945 when Japan surrendered to the Allies, Bose and his Indian National Army also surrendered.
The public opinion on Bose greatly differed. On one hand, he was a patriot who fought for the independence of his people, but at the same time, he also sought collaboration with Germany and Japan, none of which had truly shown respect toward their collaborative states. Post-war, Gandhi 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". None could argue that he had a passion in what he set out to do, however. "Give me blood and I shall give you freedom", he said in Jul 1944.
In Aug 1945 it was announced that, while flying over Taiwan, his aircraft crashed and Bose was assumed dead. Later, many believed no such crash had taken place, and instead he had fled to Russia. Whether he had gone into hiding or indeed died in an air crash is still unknown today.
On 23 Aug 2007, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe hailed Bose during a visit to Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India. "Many Japanese have been moved deeply by such persons of strong will and action of the independence of India like Subhas Chandra Bose", said Abe in a speech.
Sources: New York Times, Wikipedia.
Subhash Chandra Bose Timeline
|23 Jan 1897||Subhash Chandra Bose was born.|
|1 Feb 1941||Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan.|
|2 Apr 1941||Subhash Chandra Bose arrived in Berlin, Germany.|
|8 Feb 1943||Subhash Chandra Bose departed Germany for Japan via submarine.|
|11 May 1943||Subhash Chandra Bose arrived in Tokyo, Japan.|
|2 Jul 1943||Subhash Chandra Bose arrived in Singapore.|
|4 Jul 1943||Subhash Chandra Bose took command of the Indian National Army and assumed the leadership position of the Indian Independence League.|
|30 Dec 1943||Subhas Chandra Bose declared an independent India at Port Blair, Andaman Islands; his Azad Hind government was heavily reliant on Japan.|
|8 Jul 1945||Subhash Chandra Bose attended the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Indian National Army War Memorial in Singapore.|
|18 Aug 1945||Subhash Chandra Bose boarded a Japanese passenger aircraft at Matsuyama Airfield (now Songshan Airport) at Taihoku (now Taipei), Taiwan for a trip to Japan. The aircraft crashed immediately after takeoff and Bose was seriously burned. He was rushed to a military hospital near the airfield, but the doctors were not able to save him.|
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Winston Churchill, 1935