Death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

 One of the
greatest selfless leaders with vision during freedom movement was Netaji Subhas
Chandra Bose. It is believed that he died on 18 August 1945 (today’s date) after
his Japanese plane crashed in Japanese-occupied Formosa (now Taiwan). However,
many Indians refused to believe the circumstances of his death.
 Conspiracy theories appeared within hours of
his death and have persisted since then, keeping alive various myths. Whether
he died in plane crash or not but considering his date of birth, 23 January
1897 now his chance of survival is bleak.

Netaji Subhas with heart and soul was
Indian and he never tolerated any foreigner talking against Indians. In this
context an incident may be mentioned. He beat a British Professor E.F. Otten in
the Presidency College of Calcutta in 1916 for Prof Otten’s racist remark
against Indians and for this Subhas Chandra had to suffer also, however with
the intervention of Indian scholars and others, the matter was resolved. Subhas
Chandra was a brilliant student and his brilliancy may be assumed when he went
to England in 1919 to compete Indian Civil Service (as desired by his parents)
and subsequently in 1920, he came out fourth in order of merit with highest
mark in English but he was deeply disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre
and left his Civil Service probation in midway and returned India. After
returning, Subhas Chandra joined Indian National Congress subsequently, he started
working under Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, whom he always respected as
political mentor. In those days Netaji and other youth leaders were in favour
of complete freedom but other  leaders
were in favour of
  “dominion status
for India within the British rule” and this difference sharply cropped up
in
  1928 Gauhati (now Guwahati) Session
of the Congress.

    While Subhas Chandra Bose was Congress President
many admired him for his vibrant role and that is why he was elected President
of Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but had to resign in the
mid of second term due to ideological difference with Gandhiji as Mahatma
Gandhi’s preferred candidate Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was defeated.  Total votes pulled by Subhas Chandra were
1580 against 1375 by Sitaramaiah. Gandhiji was upset for his candidate’s defeat
and openly ventilated his dissatisfaction albeit
Subhas Chandra was democratically elected. It is believed that albeit Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was a Telugu person
hailing from southern part of India but many persons of southern region of
India voted in favour of Netaji Subhas. Anyhow, while Netaji was Congress
President many remarkable works were carried out under his leadership – one was
his initiative to keep Assam with India as then Muslim League leaders’ had
different game plan. In 1938, Assam was passing through a great political
turmoil as there was a serious political problem – Muslim League vs. Congress.
During that time, Gopinath Bordoloi invited Subhas Chandra Bose (President of
Congress that time) to visit Assam so that chaotic political situation is
settled. Subhas Chandra immediately rushed to Assam and strongly advocated the
formation of the ministry under the leadership of Gopinath Bordoloi.  As a sequel, Assamese youths were happy and a
booklet on Subhas Chandra was published by some enthusiastic students of Cotton
College in 1939, under the umbrella of All Assam Progressive Youth Association
(AAPYA, formed that time). Further, they decided to invite Subhas Chandra Bose
to inaugurate the association, which he gladly accepted.
   While Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was Head of
Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj, Dr. (Mrs.) LakshmiSwaminathan met
him in Singapore and decided to join in the freedom movement as she was
impressed with the charismatic speech of Netaji Subhas. She as   Captain Lakshmi    headed a regiment called Jhansi Rani Laxmi
Bai Regiment.  It was the first regiment
headed by a lady in Asia. Later on, she married to Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal
(leading personality of INA) and subsequently known as Dr. Lakshmi Sahgal.  From historical documents etc. it is evident
that Netaji’s contribution in freedom movement is immense. In this context Clement
Richard Attlee, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to
1951 and the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955 may be quoted, “Netaji
was the toughest challenge to the British Empire faced”.
Open Editorial Article contributed by 
Dr. Shankar Chatterjee

Former Prof &Head (CPME)
NIRD &PR, Hyderabad-500 030, Telangana, India
E-mail: <shankarjagu@gmail.com>