Friday, January 24, 2014

Remembering India's Netaji on 117th birth anniversary

Today marks the 118th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chadra Bose, a defiant patriot and the leader of Indian National Army. Bose was born in Cuttack district of erstwhile Bengal Province in 1897. A very brilliant student, he cleared Civil services in 1921, but resigned soon as if he didn't want to work under an alien government. His next tryst was with Indian National Congress. He rose to the top position of All India Youth Congress and subsequently became the general secretary of Congress. He was more radical in approach while most of the senior Congress leaders wanted to resolve issues through dialogues. After he had strong difference in opinion with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, he split away from Congress to form his own faction 'All india Forward Bloc' in 1939. After he protested the British government's decision to declare war on India's behalf without informing the Congress leadership, Bose organised huge protests in Kolkata. This landed him in jail and later, he was kept under house arrest in Kolkata. However, he managed to escape from India. What makes Bose a 'forgotten'hero', whose contributions to the Indian freedom struggle lay largely neglected? It was Bose' alleged friendship with Nazi army in Germany that made him subject to huge criticism. Bose went to Germany after 1941, where he formed Indian Legion, which had the support of Nazi Army, led by Adolf Hitler, the German autocrat. But later Bose was disillusioned and left Germany secretly, abandoning the Indian Legion. In 1943, Bose reorganised Indian National Army in Japan, braving several odds. To realise his dream of leading a military attack on British army in India, he had to struggle so much, finding funds, ammunition and cadets. His army marched to Eastern India from Japan, often without food and necessary requirements, and occupied Manipur border. It was Bose' impeccable leadership that kept the army in united. But soon after the fall of Japanese army and Burma government, INA weakened. World doesn't know much about Bose' death. While many believe that he died in a plane crash in Taiwan, many refute this version. Several others believe that Bose survived the plane crash, but never returned to India. Bose walked away into oblivion, leaving a number of conspiracy theories on his death.

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