On his jayanti today, here are 10 facts and mysteries from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's life

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in his Calcutta house, 1920 (Facebook)

Colonized India had birthed not heroes, but superheroes – the kind that at times stared into the eyes of death and challenged it, like Bhagat Singh, and at times played hide-and-seek with it, like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose would often do. He was that unsung hero who fought tooth and nail for India’s independence as long as he could and then disappeared mysteriously. How we wished, he came back one last time and shared his truth with us, but that never happened. Netaji was born on 23 rd January 1897. This being his 121st birth anniversary , we thought of sharing 10 interesting facts of his life.

  1. An exceptionally brilliant student who secured top ranks throughout his academic career, effortlessly got through the Indian Civil Service held in England in 1920. A government job was as dear to middle class India then as it is now, but Subhash resigned within a year to channel his energies toward India’s struggle for freedom.
  2. Bose started showing his strong leadership skills and radical element long before he formed the INA. His first heated encounter with a British happened during his college days when he took on an English professor for manhandling a fellow Indian student. As the altercation intensified Bose landed a tight slap on the gora. Yes, there were ramifications he was faced with after.
  3. Bose had also served as the leader of the radical wing of Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Though he became Congress’ President in 1938, he was expelled from the position the very next year owing to his strong differences with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as his foreign and internal policies failed to amuse Bose.
  4. For his stand for absolute independence, Purna Swaraj , that didn’t sit well with the British, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was imprisoned eleven times for various durations between the periods 1921-1941.
  5. At the outset of World War II, he travelled across to countries like Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan seeking alliance against the British government in India. Both Hitler and the Japanese government were impressed by Bose’s ambition. ” The Japanese are deeply moved by Bose’s strong will to have led the Indian independence movement from British rule.” told Shinzo Abe to Bose’s family during his visit to Kolkata in 2007.
  6. Later, he formed the Indian National Army (INA) or the Azad Hind Fauj with the Indian prisoners-of-war in Japanese jails, and plantation workers in Singapore, British Malaya, and other parts of Southeast Asia.
  7. Subhas Chandra Bose looked at the Bhagvad Gita not as a mere religious text but a mammoth source of unparalleled inspiration. He was greatly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s vision on universal brotherhood, his nationalist opinions and his penchant for social reform.
  8. Our brave soldier had a romantic heart also, and he lost it to a beautiful German maiden Emilie Schenkl whom he had initially hired to take shorthand while Netaji was authoring the book The Indian Struggle. Bose is survived by a daughter named Anita Bose Pfaff.
  9. Many of Netaji’s relatives are active in the present political scene of India. His Nephew Sisir Bose is in the Indian National Congress, and Krishna Bose, his niece is a TMC member. Amiya Nath Bose is another nephew who has his affiliation towards the Janata Dal. Grand-nephew and grand-niece, Amit Mitra and Sugata Bose are TMC ministers, and Chandra Kumar Bose is a BJP candidate.
  10. His death remains a mystery till date. Though government documents speak of his death in a plane crash, many conspiracy theories have provided explanations of him being alive, returning to independent India and staying incognito as Gumnami Baba in a UP village. Many link his staged disappearance with the Nehru-Gandhi brigade as his return would have threatened Nehru’s candidature for the position of the Prime Minister of India. None of these conspiracy theories have been officially accepted so far.

We are eager to know your thoughts on this subject. Do you think we had lost Netaji to that fateful air crash? Had he returned to India, who, according to you would have been our first Prime Minister? Do sound off in the comment section below.