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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

remembering the Great Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose today - 2019

After their first defeat at the hands of British in 1757, there arose many instances  when Indian patriots formed groups and fought hard and bitter battles exhibiting selfless sacrifice.  Alongside hundreds of Velu Thampi, Peshwa Baji Rao, Sardar Shyam Sing, Rani Laximibhai, Tantia Tope, Maharaj of Dumraon, Nana Sahib, there are many hundreds hidden whose exploits, history did not record or were neglected by the British historians and later partisan historians.  

Years later in the foreign land came another clarion call for organizing Indians in self-defence and fighting for Independence occurred.  In a conference at Tokyo in March  -Giani Pritam Singh, Swami Satyanand Puri, Capt, Mohammed Akram and K. A. N. Iyer crashed and died while proceeding for attendance. Delegates to the Conference came from Hongkong, Shanghai and Japan, Malaya and other places.  Rash Behari Bose presided. The Conference decided to start the Indian Independence movement amongst Indians in East Asia. It was also decided to raise an Azad Hind Fauj and resolved  that military action against the rulers of India will be taken by the Indian National Army.  The next conference was at Bangkok in June 1942, under Rash Behari Bose. The Indian National Army was formed on September 1, 1942. Capt. Mohan Singh was appointed G.O.C.   A large body of nearly 7,000 well disciplined troops was raised, the training and fighting being done with British Arms, The  Army was governed by the Indian National Army Act which was specially prepared in August 1942.

The history of freedom movement in India, often is  summarized in one pithy sentence: "Mahatma Gandhi gave us freedom through non-violence." For sure freedom was not that easy and there were so many sacrifices of persons with varied thought processes. The best and the bravest men and women of an enslaved nation hastened the demise of the mighty British empire by resisting them tooth and nail in the trenches of every part of the Nation.  They were brutally crushed by the Imperialist regime and have been relegated, not getting their due share in history.   

Give Me Blood!   I Promise You Freedom!!   The British are engaged in a worldwide struggle and in the course of this struggle they have suffered defeat after defeat on so many fronts. The enemy having been thus considerably weakened, our fight for liberty has become very much easier than it was five years ago. Such a rare and God-given opportunity comes once in a century. That is why we have sworn to fully utilise this opportunity for liberating our motherland from the British yoke.  The first phase of our campaign is over. Our victorious troops, fighting side by side with Nipponese troops, have pushed back the enemy and are now fighting bravely on the sacred soil of our dear motherland.

excerpts of speech addressed at a rally of Indians in Burma, July 4, 1944 – the very famous words of one of the greatest sons of this soil - Subhas Chandra Bose,  very popularly known as Nethaji (lit. "Respected Leader").  From history books, we read that the great person Nethaji was born on 23rd Jan 1897 and lived till  18th Aug 1945 [this will remain disputed as the Nation yearns to know of the reality, the mystery shrouding his disappearance !] :   He was not born in Bengal but in Cuttack, in Odisha. 

History records that Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but resigned from the post following ideological conflicts with Mahatma Gandhi. Bose believed that Mahatma Gandhi's tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India's independence, and advocated violent resistance. He established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. He was imprisoned by the British authorities eleven times.  His stance did not change with the outbreak of the second world war, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness. At the outset of the war, he fled India and travelled to the Soviet Union, Germany and Japan seeking an alliance with the aim of attacking the British in India. With Japanese assistance he re-organised and later led the Indian National Army, formed from Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from Malaya, Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British forces. With Japanese monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance, he formed the Azad Hind Government in exile, regrouped and led the Indian National Army to battle against the allies in Imphal & Burma during the World War II

the man, the rebel with a cause, for sure was brilliant, innovative and out of the box – in 1942, in Berlin,  – six months after Adolf Hitler had assured Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that he could travel to Japan, he was still stuck in Germany. It was at that time,  Emilie Schenkl gave birth to their daughter, Anita. But duty beckoned the warrior. On February 8, 1943, Bose bade them farewell and boarded a German U-180 boat. He would not see them again.

Interestingly, do you know that he was conferred with Bharat Ratna but the award was subsequently withdrawn. The award was established by the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, on January 2, 1954. The original statutes did not make allowance for posthumous awards but later added in 1955 statute. Subsequently, there have been ten posthumous awards, including the award to Subhash Chandra Bose in 1992, which was later withdrawn due to a legal technicality, the only case of an award being withdrawnIt was withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court of India directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the “posthumous” nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence of Bose’s death and thus it invalidated the “posthumous” award.

There is some little connection of this Great Person to Chennai and in particular Triplicane, associated with many freedom fighters including SubrahmanyaBharathi, Sathyamurthi and more.  Long ago, the famous road – Pycrofts Road was renamed BarathiyarSalai, winding  from Presidency College / Marina Ground to the present EA Mall.  There is this landmark house, where  Nethaji  stayed in Sept 3,4,5 of 1939 and again 2 days in Jan 1940 : when Nethaji visited

~ and this is no simple vintage car – a National treasure – the Audi Wanderer W24 now kept at Netaji Bhavan in Kolkata.  In 1941, the 1937 Audi Wanderer W24 transported Netaji from his Elgin Road residence in Kolkata (then in Bihar) to Gomoh railway station to catch the Kalka Mail to Delhi despite 24x7 surveillance by the British.

Saluting the Great Man ~ Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose

With fervour – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Jan 2019.

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