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Subhash Chandra Bose was
born to a Bengali family on
January 23, 1897 in Cuttack
to Janakinath Bose who was
a well reputed advocate
and Prabhavati Devi. He
was the ninth child of a total
of fourteen siblings.

Subhash Chandra Bose's nationalistic temprament first
came to light at the Presidency College, Calcutta where he
studied briefly, when he was rusticated for assaulting Professor Oaten for his anti-India comments in his classroom to
all his pupils. Bose later went on to top the matriculation
examination of Calcutta province in 1911 and passed his
B.A. in 1918 in philosophy from the Scottish Church College.
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During the mid-1930s Bose travelled in Europe, visiting Indian students
and European politicians, including Mussolini. He observed party organization and saw communism and fascism in action. By 1938, he had become a
leader of national stature and agreed to accept nomination as Congress
president. He stood for Swaraj (self-governance), as well as using force
against the British but this however meant a confrontation with Gandhi,
which also created a rift between him and Nehru.

On the outbreak of World War II,
Bose advocated a campaign of mass
civil disobedience to protest against
Viceroy Lord Linlithgow's decision
to declare war on India's behalf
without consulting the Congress
leadership. Bose organized mass
protests in Calcutta calling for the
'Holwell Monument', which then
stood at the corner of Dalhousie
Square, to be removed. Bose was
thrown into jail, but was released
following a seven-day hunger strike.
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Bose's house in Calcutta was kept
under surveillance by the CID following his release. With two court
cases pending, he felt the British
would not let him leave the country before the end of the war. Bose
planned an escape with the help
of his nephew Sisir K. Bose in a car
dressed as a Pathan sporting a
long beard which he grew overnight. This car which he used to
escape is displayed at his home in
Calcutta.

Bose escaped to Germany, via Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. In Germany,
he founded the Indian Legion consisting of 3000 soldiers out of Indian prisoners of war who had fought for the British in North Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces. Its members swore the following allegiance to Hitler and
Bose: "I swear by God this holy oath that I will obey the leader of the German
race and state, Adolf Hitler, as the commander of the German armed forces in
the fight for India, whose leader is Subhash Chandra Bose".
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Instead of rejoicing, Bose was worried. A admirer of Russia, Bose was devastated when Hitler's tanks rolled across the Soviet border. Matters worsened
when the now-retreating German army would be in no position to offer him
help in driving the British from India. So, in February 1943, Bose turned his
back on his legionnaires and slipped secretly away aboard a submarine
bound for Japan. Travelling onboard the German submarine U-180 around
the Cape of Good Hope to Imperial Japan (via Japanese submarine I-29). This
was the only civilian transfer between two submarines of two different Navies
in World War II.

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The idea of a liberation army was revived with the arrival of Subhash Chandra Bose in the Far East in 1943. Bose took control of the Indian National
Army (INA) amd was able to re-organize the fledgling army and gathered
massive support among the expatriate Indian population in south-east Asia.
At its height the INA consisted of some 85,000 regular troops, including a
separate women's unit headed by Capt. Lakshmi Swaminathan, which was
seen as a first of its kind in Asia.

Even when faced with military reverses, Bose was able to maintain
support for the Azad Hind movement. The INA along with the Japanese fought in key battles against the British Army of India. Spoken
as a part of a motivational speech for the Indian National Army at a
rally of Indians in Burma on July 4, 1944, Bose's most famous quote
was "Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!" In this, he urged
the people of India to join him in his fight against the British Raj.
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The INA's first commitment was in
the Japanese thrust towards Eastern
Indian frontiers of Manipur. The INA
and the Japanese also took possession of Andaman and Nicobar
Islands in 1942 and a year later, the
Provisional Government of the INA
was established in the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands. The islands
were renamed Shaheed (Martyr)
and Swaraj (Independence). On the
Indian mainland, the Indian Tricolour, modelled after the Indian National Congress, was raised for the
first time in the town in Moirang, in
Manipur.

It was the battle of Kohima and Imphal which had a significant impact on the
Indian National Army. The Japanese could no longer fund their armies, and
eventually surrendered. The INA were no match for the British troops, without the help of the Japanese, and therefore surrendered to the British as well.
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Mystery still surrounds the dissapearance and eventual death of Bose
though it is said that he is alleged to have died in a plane crash in Taipei,
Taiwan, on 18 August 1945 while en route to Tokyo. The Imperial Japanese
Army Air Force Bomber, he was travelling on had engine trouble and when it
crashed Bose was badly burned, dying in a local hospital few hours later.

The End.

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