Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897, in Orissa, Bengal division. He is considered as one of the most esteemed freedom fighters of India who was the mastermind behind raising the Azad Hind Fauj. The honorific Netaji (“Respected Leader”), first applied in early 1942 to Bose in Germany by the Indian soldiers of the Indische Legion.
Bose left India for Europe in 1919. He had made a promise to his father to prepare and appear for the Indian Civil Services examination. He came fourth in the ICS examination and was selected, but he did not want to work under an alien government which would mean serving the British.
He started the newspaper Swaraj and took charge of publicity for the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee. His mentor was Chittaranjan Das.
In the year 1923, Bose was elected the President of All India Youth Congress and in 1924, he was elected mayor of Calcutta and also the Secretary of Bengal State Congress. He wrote a book ‘The Indian Struggle’, which covered the country’s independence movement in the years 1920–1934.
He was married to an Austrian origin woman named Emilie Schenkl. They have also a daughter Anita Bose who is a renowned German economist.
By 1938 Bose had become a leader of national stature and agreed to accept nomination as Congress President. He stood for unqualified Swaraj (self-governance), including the use of for against the British. This meant a confrontation with Mohandas Gandhi, who in fact opposed Bose’s presidency, splitting the Indian National Congress party.
During the period of 1921-1941, he was imprisoned eleven times in various jails due to his stand for complete independence.
At the outset of the Second World War, he had travelled to a number of countries, including Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, so as to seek alliance with each and to attack the British government in India. Later, he re-organised with Imperial Japanese assistance and led the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA), formed with Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from British Malaya, Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, against the British forces.
Subhas Chandra’s death has been one of the biggest Indian mysteries. He is said to have died from a third-degree burn after his overloaded Japanese plane crashed around Taiwan. Although, his supporters had refuted the news immediately after, and the conspiracy theories have lived since.