India Wednesday

Pioneer of the Indian National Army 

Subhash Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist and not a political philosopher in the traditional sense. He was deeply involved in national politics of colonial India and concentrated all his energy in overthrowing British rule from India. His prime goal was the achievement of freedom. This influenced his political ideas to revolve around national freedom and create a brighter future of India. Although he was a hero among Indians, his wartime alliances with Germany and Japan left a disputed legacy. The spontaneity in his political thinking cannot be separated from his hectic political life. 

Early Life 

Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897 in a Bengali family at Cuttack. Out of 13, Subhas was the 9th child in the family. His father, Janakinath Bose was a self-made man and a successful lawyer. Subhas joined the Baptist Mission's Protestant European School in January 1902. In 1909, he followed his brothers to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School in Cuttack. He secured the second rank in his matriculation under the University of Calcutta. He joined the Presidency College in 1913 in Calcutta. At the Presidency College, emotional ties grew stronger between Subhas and his friend, Hemanta Kumar Sarkar. In the meantime, he studied Swami Vivekananda's philosophy which influenced him deeply and led him to identify spiritualism with social service. He was supported financially and emotionally by his elder brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, who was a lawyer and politician. 

In 1916, the Indian students at Presidency College were extremely angry with their History teacher, E.F. Oaten's arrogant behavior and rude remarks about Indian culture. Oaten was slapped and beaten up in the college premises. An enquiry committee was constituted and a college servant named Subhash Bose as 9ne of the assailants. Subhas was suspended and rusticated for the University of Calcutta. In 1918, he graduated with honors in Philosophy from Scottish Church College. He sat in the most prestigious competitive examination of Indian Civil Services in England. He wanted to take admission at the University of Cambridge. In November, 1919, he entered the register of the University and prepared for the I.C.S. examination. However, he had doubts about taking the final examination and finally, in 1921, he decided to remove his name from the list of probationers in the I.C.S. After this decision, he gave his Cambridge examinations and elected another Indian student to pursue his diploma. Thereafter, he plunged into the national struggle wholeheartedly. 

Indian National Congress 

In the meantime, Subhas had been in contact with Chittaranjan Das, a lawyer by profession, who encouraged him to return to Calcutta. In 1921, Bose met Mahatma Gandhi after reaching India and joined the non-cooperation movement. Gandhi advised Subhas to work under C.R. Das who proved to be a better leader for Subhas. Bose was elected the President of All India Youth Congress in 1923. He took over the editorship of a news daily 'Forward' started by C.R. Das's Swaraj Party. When Das was elected Mayor of Calcutta Municipal Corporation, he

nominated Bose as the Chief Executive Officer in 1924. He was arrested for his political activities in 1924 along with Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi and other leaders. In 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to Mandalay prison due to suspicion of connections with secret revolutionary movements. On his release, he got the news of Das's death and was made the President of Bengal Congress. He, along with Jawaharlal Nehru, became the general secretary of the Congress Party. 

During the civil disobedience movement, Bose was arrested for his connections with the Bengal Volunteers, an underground revolutionary group. In 1930, he was elected Mayor of Calcutta while in prison. In the mid-1930s, Bose was released from prison due to ill-health and went to Europe. In such conditions, he wrote his book 'The Indian Struggle' in which he described the independence movement of India between 1920 and 1934. He returned to India in 1936, taken into custody and was released in 1937. In the year 1938, Bose won the Congress presidential election at Haripura with the backing of leftists. His policy of broad industrialization was not in harmony with the Gandian thought of using the country's resources. As a result, re-election took place in 1939 when Bose again won the presidential election against Gandhi's candidate Pattabhi Sitarammayya. However his differences with Gandhi became very wide and due to lack of Gandhi's support, he left the Congress party. He founded a new party 'The Forward Bloc' but was arrested and put under house detention in July 1940. He went on fast to death and was finally released. In 1941, he escaped from his home and went to Germany. 

Bose in exile 

In 1939, the second world war broke out. Bose felt that the adversaries Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan of the main enemy of India, i.e. British imperialism, be utilized to the maximum advantage possible. Therefore, he jumped with full vigor in this last battle for freedom. In Germany, he came under a Special Bureau for India. In Berlin, he, along with other Indians, made regular broadcasts from Azad Hind Radio in different languages like English, Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, etc. In 1942, the German army was mired in Russia and Bose was keen to move to Southeast Asia. Adolf Hitler arranged a submarine for Bose. In May 1943, Bose was transferred to a Japanese submarine and he disembarked in Japanese-held Sumatra. With the help of the Japanese, he formed an army, named Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj). The army included Indian prisoners of war of the Indian army who were captured in the Battle of Singapore. 

Subhas Chandra Bose declared a provisional government of free India on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The INA was to fight the British and to liberate India with the help of Japan. Bose gave famous slogans 'Jai Hind' and 'Dilli Chalo'. They advanced to Rangoon and reached India on 18 March, 1944. At a rally in Burma in 1944, he gave the most famous quote - "Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom". In the month of July, Bose addressed Mahatma Gandhi as the 'Father of the Nation'. In the battle, the Indian National Army came out as a liberation army. However, Bose's fortunes ended when Japan got defeated in the battle. Japan announced its surrender in August, 1945 which forced Bose to flee from Southeast Asia. He decided to escape to Manchuria and join hands with the Soviet Union. However, Bose could not make it to

Manchuria as his plane crashed. He breathed his last in a Japanese hospital in Taiwan on 18 August 1945. His body was cremated in Taihoku crematorium on 20 August, 1945. The INA personnel were deeply affected by his death and faced an uncertain future. 

Bose's idea of history 

Subhash Chandra Bose interpreted Indian history and that India has passed through various vicissitudes of fortune. An individual or a nation cannot have uninterrupted progress and prosperity. This is the case of India which has been characterized by a high level of culture and civilisation. Bose summarized Indian history as a period of rise followed by a period of decline to be followed again by an upheaval. To regain its lost glory, Bose suggested the regeneration of energy in India. Subhash believed that a spirit of militant nationalism was required to rejuvenate Indians to achieve freedom. Addressing the students at Amravati and Berar, he said, "we shall have to change some of our existing ideas of values with regard to good and evil." For nation building Bose asserted the need of 'Swadeshi'. According to Bose, nationalism is not only a political movement but an ethical movement as well. It is reflected in the adoption of Swadeshi which was to be practiced religiously. Swadeshi was considered far better than the protection of the native industry. Thus, Swadeshi combines sacrifice for the nation and ensures improvement in the indigenous industry. 

Subhas Chandra Bose believed in socialism and asserted that he wanted a 'Socialist Republic of India'. He addressed the Bharatiya Naujawan Sabha in 1931 and said, "If we undertake a comparative analysis of different social and political ideals that have inspired human endeavor and activity throughout the ages, we shall arrive at certain common principles that should form the basis of our collective life. These are justice, equality, freedom, discipline and love." He believed that economic or political bondage robs men of their freedom and leads to inequalities of various kinds. Hence, it is necessary to get rid of bondage to ensure equality. Other than these fundamental principles, Subhas believed that the highest principle is love. Hence, according to Bose, the cardinal principles of socialism are justice, equality, freedom, discipline and love. Social and political institutions cannot be built by ignoring history. He could not agree with the communists in India as well. However, the ideal of socialism could not be achieved without social change and Bose had a specific view about it. He asserted that social reforms and the movement for national freedom were strongly related. 

Guerrilla Warfare 

In a broadcast over Azad Hind Radio, Bose explained his methodology of national struggle. He defined the campaign going on in India as a non-violent guerrilla warfare. According to him, the objective of this warfare was to destroy war production in India and paralyze the British administration. For this purpose, all the people of India should participate in the struggle. He suggested the non-payment of taxes which could affect the revenue of the government. The workers should go on strike or try to hamper production by conducting a go-slow campaign inside the factories. Students were advised to organize secret guerrilla bands for carrying on sabotage in different parts of the country. Other ways should be invented to annoy the British

authorities. This included the burning of stamps in post offices, destroying British monuments, etc. Women were advised to do underground work as secret messengers. The servants of the Britishers were asked to create trouble for the masters by demanding higher salaries, cooking bad food, etc. 

The general public was suggested to boycott British goods and burn British stalls and stores. They were advised to hold demonstrations in spite of official prohibition and publish secret bulletins. Bose wanted everyone to demand the departure of the Britishers from India by hampering the administration. He arranged to punish police officers and prison officials who oppressed and persecuted people. He advised them to begin erecting barricades in the streets where there is a likelihood of attack from the police. The public was provoked to set fire to government offices and factories which were working for war purposes. They disturbed the postal,telegraph, telephone and communication as frequently as possible. Whenever there was a possibility of hampering the transport of soldiers or war materials, railways, bus and tram services were interrupted. The police stations, railway stations and jails were destroyed in isolated places. 

Bose and Fascism 

Fascism means organizing a society in a way where the lives of the people are controlled by a dictator and they have no say in the government. Bose has been called a believer in fascism from the fact that he wanted to associate India's freedom struggle with Second World War politics. In his book 'The Indian Struggle', he wrote, "In spite of the antithesis between communism and fascism, there are certain traits common to both. Both communism and fascism believe in the supremacy of the state over the individual. Both denounce parliamentary democracy. Both believe in Party rule. Both believe in the dictatorship of the party and in the ruthless suppression of all dissenting minorities. Both believe in a planned industrial reorganization of the country. These common traits will form the basis of the new synthesis. The synthesis is called 'Samyavada'." Bose believed that it will be India's task to work out this synthesis. 

Subhas Chandra Bose asserted that it is for India's good to be ruled by a dictator immediately after the end of the colonial rule. However, he could not be branded as a fascist because he never sanctioned the extreme tenets of fascism which sanctioned imperialistic expansion and believed in racialism. Although he took help from the fascist powers of Europe and Asia, and organised a national army for India's liberation, he did not preach the ideology of fascism. On 1 January, 1941, his party, The Forward Bloc, summarized its dominant guiding principles which included complete national independence and uncompromising anti-imperialist struggle for attaining it, a modern socialist state, scientific large-scale production for economic regeneration, social ownership and control of both production and distribution, freedom for the individual in the matter of religion, equal rights for every individual, linguistic and cultural autonomy for all sections, and the principle of equality and social justice in building up a new India.

Subhas Chandra Bose's political philosophy has a close link with his political life. He stood for militant nationalism for achieving India's freedom. He believed that freedom and equality are interrelated. So freedom could be achieved only with socialism. According to him, there are four bases of socialism-

1) national freedom,

2) economic equality, 

3) social equality and 

4) equality of sexes. 

He deeply felt that India should have its own indigenous socialism, and there was no need to imitate others or their ways of life. Although Bose sought the help of the fascists for national struggle, he himself did not believe in fascism. National freedom and national construction were the core of his political ideology.


There is no comments.

Cinque Terre

Manya Arora