Today is the 119th birth anniversary of Subhash Chandra Bose who has been my idol and whom I have adored since my childhood as my hero. He has been the hero of millions who have drawn and will continue to draw inspiration from the courage and conviction involved in his personality that led to one of the most romantic and unbelievable chapter of the Indian freedom struggle. He showed how a braveheart can romance with his destiny and turn the tables when everything seems to be going wrong for him. His adventure in 1941 is a classic example of not losing one’s heart in adversity and treating it as a golden opportunity for him, thereby changing the course of his life and creating history for the world.
Born in 1897 at Cuttack, he grew up as a staunch nationalist who stood 4th in the all India merit list of Indian Civil Services in 1920 but instead of serving the British enslaving his nation, he joined the Indian National Congress to contribute to the freedom movement. He became immensely popular as a youth leader and his clear vision of taking on the oppressive and unreliable British government was well-appreciated in the ranks of the Congress party spearheading the freedom movement. He won the election of the Congress president in 1939 in the Tripury session of the Congress with a thumping majority, defeating Pattabhi Sitaramaiya who was supported by none other than Mahatma Gandhi. However, the non-cooperation of other leaders did not allow him to function properly and implement his strategy. He had to quit not only his post but also the party, thus apparently falling alone. Things got worsened when the British government put him under house-arrest at his residence at Kolkata, cutting all his communication with the external world.
In such a situation, anybody may lose his heart and sink into low spirits but here’s the man who emerged as a sparkling piece of gold out of the fire of difficult times, purified by them. History repeats itself. The way Shivaji had quite unbelievably escaped from the imprisonment of Aurangzeb in the seventeenth century, the same way Subhash Babu escaped from the house-arrest of the British on 17.01.1941, conning the watching policemen and crossing the borders of the nation thereafter in the disguise of a Pathan to organize a military campaign for the freedom of his motherland. He took command of the Indian National Army formed by another great patriot – Rash Bihari Bose and rechristened it as Aazaad Hind Fauz which sent shivers to the British rule before losing the fight in the end. Even the arrested military officers of Aazaad Hind Fauz had to be released by the British government under public pressure in India.
His daredevil escape, his military campaign and even his mysterious death in a plane-crash in 1945, all have a romantic flavour and while reading about them, the whole episode of this part of his life appears to be a fairy-tale. Believe it or not, it’s true notwithstanding. He got married in Germany to Emilie Schenkl and is survived by his daughter Anita Bose Pfaff.
Subhash Babu’s life has been a perennial source of inspiration for the youths in general and the patriots in particular throughout not just India but the whole world. The message of his life is – even while facing defeat, your mentality should be that of a winner only. Don’t bow before your destiny, romance with it and bring it to your terms with your self-confidence and inner strength.
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