If I were asked to choose the most fascinating Indian personality from the galaxy of great men of India, I would definitely choose Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the great patriot of India. To me, he stands as the finest soul ever produced by India- the symbol of patriotism and vibrant nationalism. Netaji’s name today evokes admiration, love and high esteem from all.
Subhas Chandra Bose was born at Cuttack in Orissa, on 23rd Jan. 1897. He completed his early studies in his hometown. He was a brilliant student. He passed the matriculation examination in 1913 and graduated from Presidency College, Kolkata in 1919, with a First Class honours in Philosophy. Thereafter, he went to England to compete for the Indian Civil Service Examination which he passed securing fourth position.
But Subhas Chandra Bose was not destined to serve the British Empire as an I.C.S. officer. When he returned from abroad, he was appalled to see the miserable condition of his fellow countrymen and the ill-treatment meted out to them by the British. His outlook towards his life underwent a change and he decided to plunge himself whole-heartedly into the nationalist movement which was then going on under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
On the advice of Gandhi, he joined hands with another patriot known as Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das. In 1937, Subhas Chandra Bose was elected the Mayor of Kolkata and he became the President of Indian National Congress in 1938 and in 1939. But due to difference of opinion with Mahatma Gandhi he was compelled to leave the congress party in 1939. Later, he formed his own party known as ‘Forward Bloc’.
By this time Second World War had broken out. Bose realised that this was the golden chance to drive out the British from the Indian soil. But the congress under Gandhiji believed that Gandhi’s policy of non-violence, satyagraha, non-cooperation, etc. could bring them independence.
Therefore, in 1941, thinking that he could do nothing further in India, Subhas fled from India and reached Germany and later Japan and sought the Axis power’s help in driving out the British from the Indian soil.
Japan, which had an eye on India, offered him all the help and gave him the captured British soldiers of Indian origin. Enkindled by the fire of patriotism, he organised these men into an army called ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ or ‘The Indian National Army’ and gave them the slogan ‘Delhi Chalo’ and the war cry ‘Jai Hind’.
He instilled into his men the fire of nationalism with words such as, “Give me blood and I will give you freedom” and “Arise youth! Awake! Our motherland beckons you-can you refuse?” The Indian national Army fought along with the Japanese on the Eastern frontier of India and reached as far as Kohima, the capital of Nagaland.
However, the sudden defeat of Axis power in 1945 ended all hopes of INA liberating India from the British yoke. We do not know what happened to Subhas Chandra Bose thereafter. Some say he died in a plane crash in 1945 itself, but many in India still doubt the truth of the story.
Dead or alive Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose remains as a source of inspiration for all and an example of finest patriotism. He will be remembered by posterity, for stirring the hearts of India’s youth with his vibrant nationalism.
He stands as the brightest star in the galaxy of Indian freedom fighters who laid down their lives for the cause of the motherland. He is the most glittering and the most sparkling gem ever born in our land.
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