The revolutionary leader of India's War of Independence Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's 100th birthday was celebrated throughout India and by Indians all over the world on Thursday the 23rd of January 1997. Millions of proud Indians paid tribute to their hero who founded the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) to drive the British rulers out of India.
Netaji Subhas was born in a refined Bengali family of Cuttack (in the Indian State of Orrisha). He went to a missionary English school. He did not like the upmarket uniform, the un-Indian formal mannerism and the underlying foreignness of the environment and later transferred to a Bengali school. Here he came in close contact with headmaster of the school who harboured the dream of free India. He was the catalyst in sowing the seeds of independent India and revolutionary ideals in the impressionist mind of the youngster.
As a brilliant student Bose was admitted to the Presidency College in Calcutta . He was rusticated for his leadership role in the violent defiance of the egotistical Englishman, Professor Otten, who treated Indian students with contempt, abuse and disdain. Barred from being admitted to any college or university Netaji later met up with the legendary Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, then Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, who gladly allowed him to enrol in the Scottish Church College. On completion of his degree in philosophy, his father persuaded him to go to England to sit for the Indian Civil Service (ICS) exams on the grounds that he needed to understand the British rulers and their methods more closely from within. He passed the exams in flying colours and was offered an ICS role from which he resigned and on his return to Calcutta established and became the Principal of the National College.
His revolutionary ideals and the dream of independence continued to burn him inside. He came in close contact of another Bengali leader C.R. Das. Inspired by the call of Mahatma Gandhi's Khadi Movement, he started selling Khaddar (dhoti made of homespun cotton) in the streets of Calcutta - an act that caused much displeasure with the rulers and he was put behind bars. Netaji was by now fully convinced that civil disobedience alone was not going to be enough to bring freedom to India. Armed revolution was the answer! He joined and later was appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the National Volunteer Corps.
At the outbreak of the Second World War he visited Germany and met up with Hitler and other Italian and Japanese leaders. He sought their assistance in the fight for India's freedom. Netaji declared open war against the British rulers of India. The Indian National Army (INA) fought shoulder to shoulder against the allied forces in Burma and eastern front of India. Fifty years after India's independence Indians are still asking questions about Netaji (beloved leader) Subhas's sudden and mysterious disappearance following a meeting with Japanese Field Marshal Terauchi in Saigon. According to the official news, Netaji was killed in a plane crash near the Taihoku airport. A popular conspiracy theory, however, disputes that version and suspects that he was assassinated by the British rulers. Another view is that he was slain by the Japanese forces due to his rejection of their conditions of assistance in exchange of economic and political favours to Japan by independent India.
Greatly influenced and inspired by the lives and teachings of India's great philosophers like Ramkrishna, Vivekananda, Naveen Chandra
Sen and Sakharam Deuskar, Netaji loved his motherland and its people. His life of formidable courage, determination and dedication to the
call of duty remains as a beacon for all oppressed people of the world.