Netaji’s Early Life

In the history of India’s struggle for freedom, one man stands out in all distinctiveness and a class by himself. In physique and mental constitution, in manner and life style, in ideology and in action packed with drama and daring unmatched in contemporary annals, Subhas Chandra Bose is in his total personality a unique phenomenon of twentieth century India. The story of Subhas Chandra Bose needs to be told and understood in the context of the long march of the Indian people to independence from 1857 to 1947. His birth in 1897 marked the mid-point of that crusade. With the Renaissance behind him, he grew up in harmony with the evolution of India’s national movement, responding and reacting to it positively since his early childhood. Even as a schoolboy in a foreign missionary school, he found the milieu foreign to his nature and was thus already a rebel at heart.

In the course of his school and college career, he was in turn a pure humanitarian, a Paribrajaka and social reformer in the manner and spirit of Vivekananda, and finally a political activist. When Bose graduated in 1919 and set out for England to qualify for the Indian Civil Service, he already had a formed personality and his sense of mission was not in doubt. That overpowering sense of mission – India’s salvation from political, economic, social and spiritual slavery – rendered all other pursuits of life and career purely incidental. That mission admitted of no retreat. Therefore, when in early twenties Subhas Chandra Bose called his countrymen to his side, there was promise of nothing more than privation, sacrifice, forced marches and death.

Bose’s acceptance of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das as his political Guru was a surrender to a man who was similarly and totally dedicated to the cause of India’s deliverance. But the apprenticeship was short as the mentor passed away before his time.

Netaji as Leader of Congress

The exile in Burma from 1924 to 1927 was the first major turning point In Subhas’s public career in that it saw the transformation of a lieutenant to a leader. In the late twenties, Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru, despite fundamental differences in mental constitution and ideological foundations, emerged as the two ambassadors of youth and the spokesmen of the rising Left in national politics. Bose’s appearance at the Calcutta Congress in 1928 in resplendent military uniform was not so much a spectacle as a vision of the future. His sponsoring the Independence resolution at that historic meeting in opposition to Mahatma Gandhi was the first demonstration of his being ahead of his times and of his contemporaries. He went a step further at Lahore in 1929 by his call for a parallel government and mobilization of peasants and workers.

The second major turning point in his public career and development came during his enforced exile in Europe from 1933 to 1936. It was the transformation of the leader into a statesman who parleyed with world leaders on equal terms and who judged his country’s prospects and interests in terms of the interplay of world forces in peace or at war. What is more, Subhas Chandra Bose, by his work in Europe in the thirties and his battlesacross the world during World War II, marked out the guidelines and principles on which foreign relations of Free India should be based. By the time Bose returned to active public life in 1937 after the sojourn in Europe and a spell in prison, he had admittedly attained full political maturity and was ready with his political ideology, programs and plan of action. He marched ahead of the national leadership by his call for national planning and socialist reconstruction of India at Haripura in 1938, for an ultimatum to British imperialism to quit India at Tripuri in 1939, and for left consolidation at Ramgarh in 1940. He sounded the final battle cry of ‘all power to the people’ at Nagpur the same year. History thus records that since 1928 Subhas Chandra Bose represented the only distinctive, independent and alternative current in India’s national politics competing with the major current led by Mahatma Gandhi.

Netaji as Leader of the INA

The Great Escape from India in 1941 was natural, logical and ultimate step in the development of netaji’s programme of action to the final arnmed assault on Briitish imperalism. he planned the attack first from the northwest in keeping with traditional historical precedent. But when the inexorable course of events made this impossible, he re-planned the assault form the non-traditional direction, the northeast. To lead this assault,he was called upon to undertake ajourney under the sea which, in its originality, planning, execution and daring is unequalled in the world’s military annals. The indian National Army rose under his leadership to knock out the basis of the British in the Indian subcontinent by supplanting the loyalty of the british Indian Army to its enslavers by the new loyalty to their country’s freedom. Netaji and the INA achieved much more- they paved the way to the liberation of Southeast Asia by destroying the most vital instrument of colonial subjugation of the region, the British Indian Army. The Provisional Government of Azad Hind gave to the Indian people the frist experience of independent statehood after two centuries of servile existence.

When the Second World War ended in 1945, the indian indepndence movement was at its lowest ebb. Defeatism and frustration gripped the nationnalist ranks as never before. At the crucial moment of history the shadow of a man descended on the indian stage like a colossus. Rarely, if ever, has one man- in absentia – commanded history thus and transformed an entier historical situation. Who dares question today that if, by sime chance, he had returned to India then, he wouid have carried everything before him and that if, by some chance, he had returned to India then, he would have carried everything before him and that the history of sub-continent would have taken a complelely different direction? NETAJI was no mere appellation- it was an assignment of history.

In the current state of uncertainty in national affairs, needs to rediscover Subhas Chandra Bose. We need to remind ourselves of the messianic faith of this dedicated national revolutionary experiments across the world. The samyavada that Netaji was seeking meant for him a new alterntive. Even as a human being and thinker, he was seeking a new ethical conception in himan affairs. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was at once deeply involved in the spiritual heritage of india and actively concerned with the most modern social and and techonological advances anywhere in the world. His sense of mission did not admit of compromises and reservations. He sought to inspire his compatriots with the same dedication to the cause. In this he succeeded in a large measure and thus remains an example in leadership Let India rediscover Subhas Chandra Bose and, in his own words, ” deliver to the world the message that has been her heritage though the past ages.”