Kolkata: From establishing and leading the Indian National Army to forming alliances against the British during the World War II, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was among the key figures to lay the foundation for the modern Indian state. Netaji Jayanti this year celebrates the 121st birth anniversary of Subhash Chandra Bose. People across the country remember his contribution to the struggle for independence.
Born on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa, Subhash was the ninth child of Janakinath Bose and Prabhavati Devi. Raised among eight brothers and six sisters, his father Janakinath was a renowned lawyer in Cuttack. Growing up, Netaji was a bright student who completed his B.A. in Philosophy from the Presidency College in Calcutta (today known as Kolkata). Sent to England by his father to appear for the Civil Services Examination, Netaji scored the highest marks in English and was placed fourth overall.
Known for his patriotic zeal, in April 1921 he resigned from the Indian Civil Service and returned to India. His frequent run-ins with the authorities earned him notoriety as a rebel by the then-British government in India. Aligned with the Indian National Congress at first, ideological differences between Subhash Chandra Bose and key figures within the party forced him to resign.
Netaji worked under the mentorship of prominent Congress leader Chittaranjan Das who, along with Motilal Nehru, left the Congress Party to form the Swaraj Party in 1922. He started a newspaper called Swaraj and even served as editor of the Forward, a newspaper started by Chittaranjan Das. In 1923, Netaji was elected the President of All India Youth Congress Committee and the Secretary of Bengal State Congress. Subhash Chandra Bose briefly served as the mayor of Calcutta in 1930. He travelled across Europe in the 1930s, and met leaders including Benito Mussolini. Subsequently, he was put under house arrest by the British until his escape from Indian in 1940.
In 1942, he formed the Indian National Army in Southeast Asia with the help of Japan, comprising of Indian soldiers the British Indian army captured in war. Netaji established a provisional government of Free India or Azad Hind in 1943 in Andaman and Nicobar, then captured by Japanese forces. Netaji is believed to have died in a plane that crash shortly after take-off.
Due to the mystery surrounding the circumstances of his death, the Government of India has since set up a number of committees to investigate the case. However, Netaji left behind a legacy that have inspired generations of young Indians over the years. His role in the freedom movement will be celebrated on Netaji Jayanti.