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What Independence meant to Bose?

There are certain aspects of Indian history which are not known to many. One major aspect is that of Netaji and his role in Indian Independence. A lot of us know about his mysterious death but many are not aware of his journey. Netaji, unknown to many, was born in Cuttack which is modern-day Orissa and not West Bengal. Netaji's family was well off. This allowed him to explore multiple avenues and attend multiple colleges such as the Presidency College in Calcutta and the University of Oxford in London. I believe him being from a well off family helped in forming strong views of his own. In fact, leaders such as Gandhi and Nehru were also from well off families.

Netaji wasn't new to the art of escaping. He escaped his home when he was young and that too under the vigil of his parents and hence escaping the British was a cakewalk. His first choice was to move to the Soviet Union and take their help. He believed that Soviets were not too fond of British ruling India and would help him but then Stalin thought otherwise. The Soviets then recommended him to the Nazi's ambassador in USSR (during the initial years of the war, Soviets and Nazi's were kind of allies). Netaji then moved to Germany to take help from the devil himself (as quoted by Netaji), Adolf Hitler. He succeeded and created the Indian Legion consisting of around 4,500 Indian Prisoner of War who swore allegiance to the German Race and Hitler and to Netaji (Netaji was their commander). It essentially means that the Indian Legion was a part of Nazi Germany with Bose as India's leader. This clearly shows the nature of Bose and he wanted freedom at any cost whereas Nehru clearly opined that anyone taking the help of a foreign nation is a traitor. Bose's plan was to reach India via the Soviet Union using Nazi forces but then Hitler had other plans and invaded the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). Thereby, Bose had to finally abandon his plans and then moved to Japan.

Bose took over the Indian Independence League from Rash Behari Bose and with the help of Japanese strengthened the Azad Hind. Even in this expedition of his, Azad Hind was more or less like a Japanese proctored state. But then, this again proves Bose's feeling towards a free India. This time though he succeeded and was able to gain control of Andaman and Nicobar Island, Kohima, and Imphal. Although Bose was able to control Kohima and Imphal only for some time whereas Andaman & Nicobar Islands were held on for longer. Azad Hind's rule (or rather the Japanese) over Andaman & Nicobar Islands was not really great. The Japanese tortured Dr Diwan Singh, leader of the Indian independence movement in the islands. Basically, even the Japanese used the Indian independence moment for their advantage. Operation U - Go, the code name for Axis's (Nazi Germany + Italy + Imperial Japan) India invasion plan, failed when both Imphal and Kohima fell forcing them to retreat. Bose then moved on to Japan and other South-East Asian nations in search of new alliances and resources and the process died.

Netaji after taking over the Indian Legion

The British stated that INA was never detrimental to their empire in India but then I'd beg to differ. Bose inspired people to take up arms against the British which is more important. One leader was able to inflict such huge damage that the British last control over Andaman's, Kohima, and Imphal. Imagine what would have been their condition had other leaders taken up arms at that scale. What if Gandhi ji had told everyone to attack British instead of attacking their goods? What if Dandi March was Lathi march? The fear instilled by Bose played a key role in our independence without an iota of doubt. Apart from mainstream leaders, we have always downplayed the importance of other leaders. We've been fed that Gandhi Ji was solely responsible for independence but then such a notion is wrong. It is high time we give importance to other leaders as well.

Fun fact: Bose was the one to give the title of "Father of the Nation" to Gandhi Ji. Unlikely isn't it?

#SubhasChandraBose #Netaji #IndianIndependence


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