One of the most famous and inspiring slogans of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, “Tum mujhe khoon do, mein tumhe azaadi dunga”, still sends shivers down our spine.
January 23 marks the 124th birth anniversary of the national hero and the country will be celebrating the day to recognise Netaji’s supreme sacrifice and his role in the freedom struggle of India. One of the prominent Indian freedom fighters, Subhas Chandra Bose, will always be remembered as a fighter who gave India’s freedom movement all his sweat and blood. To mark his 124th birth anniversary, also called Netaji Jayanti, here’s everything you need to know about the patriot.
Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897, to Janakinath Bose and Prabhavati Devi at Cuttack in Odisha. As a child, he was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekanand’s teachings, and that’s where it all began.
Raised with 3 other children, he was a bright kid and scored top ranks throughout his study in school and university. Subhas Chandra Bose went on to complete his BA in Philosophy with a first-class score, after which he was sent to England by his father to appear for Civil Services Examination. The brilliant man that he was, Netaji scored the highest marks in English and was placed fourth overall in 1920.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose resigned from his civil service job on April 23, 1921, after he heard about India’s struggle for freedom, and he was unstoppable after that.
After returning to India, he joined the Indian National Congress and started working under Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, who he respected as his political mentor. Netaji started a newspaper called Swaraj and served as an editor of Forward, a newspaper started by Mr Das.
In 1923, Netaji was elected as the President of the All India Youth Congress Committee and Secretary of Bengal State Congress. In a roundup of nationalists in 1925, Bose was arrested and sent to prison in Mandalay, where he contracted tuberculosis. After he was released from prison in 1927, he became the General Secretary of the Congress party and worked with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, rising to become Congress President in 1938 and 1939. But following the differences between Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress high command after Netaji attacked Congress’ foreign and internal policies, Bose decided to resign from the party in 1939. Bose believed that Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent tactics weren't enough to secure independence.
During the period of 1921-1941, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose went to prison eleven times due to his stand for complete independence.
At the outset of the Second World War, Netaji travelled to a lot of countries including Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. He went in order to seek an alliance so as to attach the British government in India. With the help of Imperial Japan, he formed the Azad Hind Fauj/Indian National Army in 1942 with Indian prisoners of war and plantation workers from Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia.
The Provincial Government of Free India or simple Azad Hind Government was established in 1943 by Netaji in Andaman and Nicobar. Bose’s death was seen as the end of of the entire Azad Hind Movement.
Netaji is believed to have died on August 18, 1945, in a plane crash but there are so many conspiracy theories around his mysterious death.
It’s been 74 years since Bose was declared dead but the mystery behind his death still exists. There are several conspiracy theories behind his death and here are four of them.
One of the most common and widely believed conspiracy theory is that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died on August 18, 1945, in a plane crash in Taiwan along with Japenese General, Tsunamasa Shidei. It’s said that he was cremated the same day and his ashes were sent to a Buddhist Temple in Tokyo.
And this theory led to other theories.
According to Maj Gen G D Bakshi’s book, Bose: The Indian Samurai - Netaji and the INA Military Assessment, Netaji dying in a plane theory was spread to make his escape to the Soviet Union easier. The book said that Netaji died during the torture by the British in a prison.
According to French historian JBP More, the reports from the French Secret Service once said that Bose was still alive in 1947. The report added that Netaji was the ex-chief of the Indian Independence League and also a member of a Japanese organisation.
There was this theory that stated that Bose returned to India and lived under an alias in Faizabad in Oudh till 1985.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is the creator of the slogan ‘Jai Hind’, which went on to become patriotic salutation in the country. Just like this one, there are many quotes by Subhas Chandra Bose that don’t fail to inspire and move us. Here’s a list of some of the inspiring freedom quotes.
1. "Freedom is not given - it is taken."
2. "We should have but one desire today - the desire to die so that India may live - the desire to face a martyr's death, so that the path to freedom may be paved with the martyr's blood."
3. "It is only on the basis of undiluted Nationalism and of perfect justice and impartiality that the Indian Army of Liberation can be built up."
4. "The secret of political bargaining is to look more strong than what you really are."
5. "No real change in history has ever been achieved by discussions."
6. "Give me blood and I will give you freedom!"
7. "One individual may die for an idea, but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives."
8. "When we stand, the Azad Hind Fauj has to be like a wall of granite; when we march, the Azad Hind Fauj has to be like a steamroller."
9. "Forget not that the grossest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong. Remember the eternal law: you must give if you want to get."
10. "It is our duty to pay for our liberty with our own blood. The freedom that we shall win through our sacrifice and exertions, we shall be able to preserve with our own strength."
11. "Soldiers who always remain faithful to their nation, who are always prepared to sacrifice their lives, are invincible."
12. "As soldiers, you will always have to cherish and live up to the three ideals of faithfulness, duty and sacrifice. Soldiers who always remain faithful to their nation, who are always prepared to sacrifice their lives, are invincible. If you, too, want to be invincible, engrave these three ideals in the innermost core of your hearts."
13. "Nationalism is inspired by the highest ideals of the human race, satyam [the true], shivam [the god], sundaram [the beautiful]. Nationalism in India has ... roused the creative faculties which for centuries had been lying dormant in our people."
14. "Reality is, after all, too big for our frail understanding to fully comprehend. Nevertheless, we have to build our life on the theory which contains the maximum truth."
15. "We cannot sit still because we cannot, or do not, know the Absolute Truth."
16. "At this unprecedented juncture in our history I have a word for you. Do not be disheartened by our temporary defeat; be cheerful and optimistic. Above all, never lose your faith in the destiny of India. There is no power on earth which can keep India in bondage. India will be free and, that too, soon. JAl-HIND!"
17. "India is calling Blood is calling to blood. Get up, we have no time to lose. Take up your arms! we shall carve our way through the enemy's ranks, or if God wills, we shall die a martyr's death. And in our last sleep we shall kiss the road that will bring our Army to Delhi. The road to Delhi is the road to Freedom. Chalo Delhi (March to Delhi)."
18. "Comrades! You have voluntarily accepted a mission that is the noblest that the human mind can conceive of. For the fulfillment of such a mission no sacrifice is too great, not even the sacrifice of one's life. You are today the custodians of India's national honour and the embodiment of India's hopes and aspirations. So conduct yourself that your countrymen may bless you and posterity may be proud of you."
19. "I have no doubt in my mind that our chief national problems relating to the eradication of poverty, illiteracy and disease and the scientific production and distribution can be tackled only along socialistic lines. The very first thing that our future national government will have to do is to set up a commission for drawing up a comprehensive plan for reconstruction."
20. "To all of you, I should like to say that in the course of this war you will have to acquire the experience and achieve the success which alone can build up a national tradition for our Army. An army that has no tradition of courage, fearlessness and invincibility cannot hold its own in a struggle with a powerful enemy."
21. "Gird up your loins for the task that now lies ahead. I had asked you for men, money and materials. I have got them in generous measure. Now I demand more of you. Men, money and materials cannot by themselves bring victory or freedom. We must have the motive-power that will inspire us to brave deeds and heroic exploits."
22. "Let me remind you that you have a two-fold task to perform. With the force of arms and at the cost of your blood you will have to win liberty. Then, when India is free, you will have to organize the permanent army of Free India, whose task it will be to preserve our liberty for all time. We must build up our national defense on such an unshakable foundation that never again in our history shall we lose our freedom."
23. "Life loses half its interest if there is no struggle-if there are no risks to be taken."
There have been two full-fledged biopics on Subhas Chandra Bose: 'The Bengali Subhas Chandra' in 1996 and 'Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero' in 2004.
In 2017, a nine-episode web series was released by the name Bose: Dead/Alive.
Netaji’s life was a roller-coaster of arrests and escapes, which allegedly ended at the age of 48. We salute his compassion and love for his country and his words will always continue to inspire us.