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Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose

Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose

Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose

Give me blood and I will give you freedom” – Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist whose rebelliousness against British authority in India made him a hero. He is known as Netaji which means “respected leader”. This honorific term was first used in early 1942 in Germany by the Indian soldiers of the Indische Legion and by the German and Indian officials in the Special Bureau for India in Berlin. Subhas Chandra Bose believed that the holy Bhagavad Gita was a great source of inspiration for the conflict against the British. He was also inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s nationalist thoughts, teachings on universalism, and his emphasis on social reform and service. Bose had expressed his belief that democracy was the best option. However, during the war, he seems to have decided that no democratic system could be good enough to overcome India’s social inequalities and poverty.

Early life of Subhas Chandra Bose

Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose
Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose was born on 23 January 1897 in Cuttack, Odisha to Janakinath Bose and Prabhavati Bose. In January 1902, Subhas entered the Baptist Mission’s Protestant European School, Cuttack. The curriculum included English language and British-based subjects; no Indian languages were taught in this school. School and home environments were contrasting as a school taught Latin and Bible and at home, the Bengali language was spoken and stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata were told. Subhas spent his time nurturing his spirit, gardening, helping people in distress, also playing sports with other boys.


In 1909 at the age of 12, Subhas followed his brothers to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School, Cuttack. Here, Vedas, Upanishads, Bengali, and Sanskrit were taught. He was familiar with Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s Ananda Math. In 1912, he secured the second position in the matriculation exam conducted at the University of Calcutta. Next year, he followed his brothers to Presidency College, Calcutta. He chose philosophy as his subject and his reading included Bergson, Kant, Hegel, and other Western philosophers. Subhas got involved in an incident with E.F. Oaten, a Professor of History at Presidency. Oaten made rude comments regarding Indian culture, and collared and pushed students a few days before that. Due to this reason, Bose was expelled from the University of Calcutta.

In 1917, the Syndicate of the University permitted him to return however to a different college. He joined Scottish Church College and received his B.A. degree in 1918 with First Class honours in philosophy.

After his father’s urging, Bose agreed to travel to England to prepare and appear for ICS (Indian Civil Service) examination. In 1919 after arriving in London he readied his application for ICS. He was also eager to gain admission to Cambridge University. He chose the Mental and Moral Sciences Tripos at Cambridge along with it he was preparing for ICS. The completion of his degree was reduced to two years on account of his B.A. degree. Despite getting into the Civil Service, he returned to Calcutta. In June 1921, Bose prepared to sail for India electing a fellow Indian student to pick up his diploma.

Indian Freedom Struggle

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose worked with Jawaharlal Nehru and the two became young leaders of the Congress Party. He advocated Swaraj and was in favor to utilize force to gain it. Netaji had a difference of opinion from Mahatma Gandhi as he was not in favor of non-violence as a tool for India’s freedom. Due to his differences with Gandhi, Gandhi’s supporters were opposed to Netaji becoming the president of the party in 1939, and he had to resign. Bose’s ideology was about leftist authoritarianism and socialism. In 1939 he formed the All India Forward Bloc as a faction within the Congress.

At the beginning of World War II, Netaji protested against the government for not consulting Indians before dragging them into this war. Bose was also arrested for organizing a protest for the removal of the monument memorializing the Black Hole of Calcutta. In 1941 he escaped to Germany via Afghanistan. He met Nazi leaders and hoped to form an army to fight against the British. In 1943, Netaji left Germany for Japan. His arrival revived Indian National Army or Azad hind Fauj which had been created with Japanese help. The headquarters of Azad Hind was in Singapore.

Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose
Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose coined the term ‘Jai Hind’. He authored the book ‘The Indian Struggle’ which encompasses the Indian Independence movement from 1920 to 1942.  The book was banned by the British Government.

Death of Subhas Chandra Bose

According to scholars, Subhas Chandra Bose died due to a third-degree burn after an overloaded Japanese plane crash in Japanese-ruled Formosa. There are several conspiracy theories regarding his death. One of the popularly believed reasons is the aircraft crash in Japan. At around 2:30 pm in Taihoku, as the bomber with Bose on board was leaving the standard path taken by aircraft during take-off, the passengers heard a sound like an engine backfiring. The mechanics saw something fall out of the plane like a part of the portside engine and the propeller. Bose was conscious when they reached Nanmon Military Hospital. Soon, he went into a coma. After a few hours, Subhas Chandra Bose died on 18 August 1945, Saturday, at the age of 48. His body was cremated in the main Taihoku crematorium on 20 August 1945.

The Figgess Report (1946) and the Shah Nawaz Committee (1956) concluded that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died in a plane crash in Taiwan. The 1970 Khosla Commission concurred with the previous reports. However, the Mukherjee Commission (2005) concluded that the reason for Netaji’s death could not be proved. This report was rejected by the government.

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