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Saturday, 10 December 2011

49) Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (Shubhash Chondro Bosh ,in Bengali); Honouring a Prominent Revolutionary Leader during India’s Freedom struggle 23.01.1897 to 18.08.1945 (alleged date of his passing away).

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (Shubhash Chondro Bosh ,in Bengali);
Honouring a Prominent Revolutionary Leader during India’s Freedom struggle
23.01.1897 to 18.08.1945 (alleged date of his passing away).

He was born into a well-to-do Bengali family in Cuttack (Orissa, India) on 23.01.1897. His father was a Public Prosecutor and he had his early education in prestigious Educational Institutions, both in India and in England viz., Scottish Church College, Calcutta(present day Kolkata), which was affiliated to the Calcutta University and Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University. There is a famous incident, when, while studying at Presidency College, Calcutta, he was expelled for assaulting his British Professor for making derogatory anti-Indian remarks.
Participation in India’s Freedom struggle:
  He joined the prestigious Indian Civil Services (ICS), securing fourth position in the Entrance examination, but was very keen to participate in  the Civil Disobedience Movement which was raging like a fire across the length and Breath of India, at Mahatma Gandhi’s call. He was deeply moved by the British atrocities in the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre and dropped his Indian Civil Services Apprenticeship midway to return to India in 1921.
He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal even as a student.
An accomplished orator and having distinguished leadership qualities/skills, he joined the Youth Wing of the Indian National Congress party and swiftly moved up in the party hierarchy. As the leader of the Youth Wing of the Indian National Congress Party (INC), he was in the forefront of the Trade Union Movement in India for which activity he organized the “Service League”.
He worked with Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das whom he looked upon as his political mentor/guide/guru. He became the Editor of the newspaper “Forward” which was founded by Chittaranjan Das and also took up assignment as the Chief of the Municipal Corporation of Calcutta when Chittaranjan Das was elected Mayor of Calcutta in 1924.
The first time when he went to prison was in 1921 itself shortly after his participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Over the next two decades since he joined India’s Freedom struggle, he was imprisoned by the British India Government eleven times for his outspokenness against the British Rule in India. During 1924, he was exiled to Mandalay in Burma.
In 1928, the Motilal Nehru Committee propounded the concept of giving India a “Dominion status”, which was strongly opposed by Subhas Chandra Bose along with other leaders who favoured nothing less than complete Independence for India. At the historic Lahore Convention of the INC, the INC adopted the motto “Poorna Swaraj” (complete freedom), as its motto largely due to his initiative.To achieve this end, he, also, announced the formation of the “Independence League”. 
In 1930, he was elected Mayor of Calcutta. He was arrested and imprisoned for his anti-British agitation and oratory, but later released in 1931 after the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed. He protested against the Gandhi-Irwin Pact and wanted the Civil Disobedience Movement to continue, particularly, after Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his friends were martyred. He was rearrested after he protested against the infamous Bengal Regulation, and was deported to Europe where he stayed from 1933 to 1936. Even in Europe, he initiated measures to develop cultural ties between various European countries and India as he envisioned it.
In 1937 he was married to his former Secretary Emillie Schenkl.
He returned to India defying the ban on his re-entry into the country and was promptly rearrested by the British India Government and jailed for a year.
Shortly afterwards, he was elected to the post of President of the Indian National Congress twice – in 1937 and 1939 (in the second instance defeating Gandhiji’s nominee, Pattabhi Sitaramayya).  In 1939, he introduced a Resolution before the INC that a period of six months should be allowed to the British to hand over the reins of the Government in India to Indians failing which there would be a Revolt. Following irreconcilable differences on several issues, including this one, with Mahatma Gandhi, he resigned his position as President of the INC and formed a separate political entity called the ‘Forward Bloc”.
At the Head of the “Azad Hind Fauj”(Indian National Army):
He launched another Civil Disobedience Movement  when the then Viceroy committed the Indian Nations resources to the Allied War effort during World War II in 1939 against the Axis Forces. He was imprisoned and later placed under House Arrest.
He was helped by his cousin brother Sishir Bose to escape and travelling through several war-hit countries, he reached Germany. Here, in Berlin, he made regular radio broadcasts for arousing sentiment in India for overthrowing the British Rule. He wanted to enlist the help of the Nazi Leadership on the premise that “an enemy’s enemy is a friend”, however, he was disappointed with the indifferent attitude of Hitler and the Nazi leadership , but later, found that Japan was willing to help him in his war-effort against the British Government in India , and helped train and arm the Indian National Army (INA) or the “Azad Hind Fauj”  created by Rash Behari Bose which was mainly raised in Singapore from Indian Prisoners of War (POWs) captured by the Japanese. Netaji coined the legendary motto for his troops during a rally at Burma in July 1944 - “Tum Mujhe Khoon Do; Main Tumhe Azadi Doonga” (Give me Blood and I will give you Freedom). A Provisional Government by the name of “Azad Hind Government” was constituted on 21st October 1943. His other famous slogans are “Dilli Chalo” (onwards to Delhi – while rallying his troops for battle), “Inquilab Zindabad” and “Jai Hind” (Glory/Victory to India), the latter having been adopted by the Indian Armed forces and Govt. of India for their official salute.
The INA (which at one time had more than 85000 regular soldiers within its ranks, including a separate unit for women called the “Rani of Jhansi Regiment”, met with limited successes, liberating the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from the British and then spearheading armed action in Manipur, Nagaland in the North-East, but with the War going against the Japanese, he retreated to Malaya when it was clear that the war effort of the INA would not succeed in liberating India from British Rule.

Unconfirmed Death and Legacy:
 He is said to have passed away in a plane crash over Taiwan while flying to Tokyo on 18th August 1945 (Two years before India became Independent. He was affectionately called “Netaji” (Respected Leader of the people). Though Mahatma Gandhi  (who fell to an assassin’s bullets) was credited with a major contribution in securing India’s Freedom , nevertheless, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s contribution to India’s Freedom struggle was in no way less than Gandhiji’s or Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s and till today , the efforts/exploits  of the Indian National Army and Netaji  commitment and sacrifices to the cause of Indian Independence are remembered with pride by every Indian and Netaji has acquired an almost legendary status in the struggle for Indian Independence.
Although, there remains a controversy whether he had actually passed away in the plane crash over Taiwan (Formosa) in August 1945 or it was a ploy to remain incognito, to avoid persecution and harassment by the British Government, the issue is a matter of much debate, several commissions have investigated into the issue of his alleged passing away and several films/movies having been made on the controversy.
The infamous Red Fort trials of INA Generals and Officers met with country-wide protests against any punishments being meted out to them, when it was realized by patriotic Indians, that the INA was a full fledged “Nationalist Fighting Force” committed to Indian Independence, inspired by Netaji’s vision. Faced with an open rebellion within the country, the British Government declared a general amnesty for all the INA personnel.
Subhas’s name and exploits are mentioned in many legends , that are carried by the Freedom Fighters and the soldiers/personnel who fought with him in the INA, and his memory lives on eternally in Indian patriotism.
A chair belonging to Netaji is on display as a National Heritage in the Red Fort at Delhi.
Birth Centenary celebrations/Commemoration:
The Reserve Bank of India, to commemorate the birth centenary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, has brought out a two rupee coin in 1997 to celebrate for general circulation. (Also, a Proof/uncirculated set of three coins in the denomination of 100, 50 and 10 rupees was brought out for the occasion).
The coin issued for general circulation is made of Cupro-Nickel (CN), having 75% Copper and 25% Nickel content. It is hendecagonal (11 sided) in shape and has a diameter of 26mm and weight of 6gms.
The obverse of the coin has the Lion Capital in the centre together with the words “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth always Prevails) which together form the emblem/Coat of Arms of India. The numeral “2” denoting the denomination of the coin is below the emblem. On the left periphery are the words “Bharat” and “Rupiye” in Hindi and on the right periphery are the words “India” and “Rupees” in English.
On the reverse of the coin is a portrait/image of Netaji, with his name “Subhas Chandra Bose” spelt out both in Hindi and English. The words “Janamshati” in Hindi and “Centenary” in English are also engraved on the coin. This coin was minted at Mumbai mint. Notice the “diamond” mint mark below the year of issue, 1997.

Posted on 23.01.2017:

Today is the 120th Anniversary of the birth of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. @Don Toxique (on Twitter)  has sent me an image of the following First Day Cover (FDC)  issued on 23.01.1964:

The picture on the left hand bottom is that of INA soldiers marching in formation, enthused in their resolve for an armed struggle against the British occupation of India with the emblem  of the INA with its motto on a scroll below the logo "Ittefaq, Ethad, Kurbani". On the top right are two stamps of the denomination of 15 Naye Paise and 55 Naya Paise both depicting Netaji with a firm commitment to the cause of Indian Iindependence. The Cancellation hand-stamp is of Netaji Bhawan, Calcutta (present day Kolkata) and is dated "23.01.1964"


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