While the whole nation was engaged in the August movement, the struggle for independence was carried on by Subhash Chandra Bose outside the frontiers of India.
Indians were fighting tooth and nail to liberate their motherland from outside. The Indian National Army and Subhash Chandra Bose were playing their significant role in the freedom struggle of India.
Subhash Chandra was one of the foremost among the nationalist leaders of India, brave and youthful he possessed excellent organising capacity.
Born on 23rd January, 1897 at Cuttack town to a pleader father Subhash Chandra was selected into the Indian Civil Service after a brilliant academic career. In the service when he was called upon to take an oath of allegiance to the crown, he refused to do so and left the job in 1921. During his college career he had shown what he was going to be when he beat an English man black and blue for his having criticised the culture of India.
After leaving the service Subhash joined the non-cooperation Movement but was not satisfied with the principle of non-violence of Gandhiji and supported Motilal and C.R. Das in the venture of organising the Swarajist party. Subhash was appointed the Chief Executive officer of Calcutta by C.R. Das, the Mayore of Calcutta. The progressive activities of Subhash invited the displeasure of the Government and were deported to Mandalay.
Subhash represented the young and extremist elements in the Congress. He was elected as the President of the Congress in 1938 and again in 1939. He could not make any compromise with Gandhi and thus resigned his President-ship and organized the famous Forward Block. During Second World War he was put under house arrest in his ancestral house in Elgin Road; Calcutta but escaped and reached Japan.
In a romantic and daring journey changing names and looking different he proceeded from there to Moscow and finally reached Berlin in March 1941. The German dictator Adolf Hitler did not like to help him for the cause of Indian independence.
In Germany the Indian community hailed him as Netaji and greeted him with the slogan “Jai Hind”. From Berlin Radio he regularly broadcasted to India urging his countrymen to rise against the British. He very soon felt that South-East Asia would be a suitable ground for his grand scheme of raising a national army to free India from the British yoke. The golden opportunity for him came when Japan joined the war.
At that time Rash Behari Bose was busy in organizing a notable organization in the name of Indian Independence League in Japan to help the end of British rule in India. Rash Behari Bose convened two conferences one at Tokyo in March, 1942 and the second in Bangkok in Jun 1942. The revolutionaries assembled in the conferences decided to form an Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauz) for the liberation of India from the British rule.
The army was to be formed with Indians in the South-East Asian Countries and Indian soldiers of the British Army captured by the Japanese. Capt. Mohan Singh was primarily responsible for raising the army. Rash Behari Bose was made the President of the Council of Action. Shortly afterwards Rash Behari dismissed Mohan Singh whose personal ambition endangered the I.N.A. Rash Behari then played a pivotal role in organizing the movement. Subhash Bose was invited to take up the leadership.
In February 1943, Subhash left Germany from Kiel port in a Submarine. Through risk, suffering and untold hardship he finally reached Tokyo in June 1943. He held discussion with the Japanese authorities in the course of which the latter promised the independence of India after the war. From Tokyo he went to Singapore where he was warmly welcomed by Rash Behari and the latter handed over the leadership to Subhash.
Subhash became the President of the Indian National Army as well as the President of Indian Independence League. Addressing a huge meeting at Singapore on 4th July, 1943 Rash Behari said “In your presence to-day I resign my office and appoint Desh Sevak Subhash Chandra Bose as President of the Indian Independence League.”
However Rash Behari remained a courageous and selfless freedom fighter till his death on 21st January 1945. It was Rash Behari who prepared the stage in the East and South-East Asia for Subhash Chandra Bose to play on his significant role which India observed. Paying tribute to Rash Behari on the day of his death Subhash described him as the father of the Indian Independence Movement.
Gradually the number of the I.N.A. men began to grow greatly. Assuming the command of the I.N.A. he gave his famous battle cry “Delhi Chalo” (on to Delhi). He worked out a master plan of campaign for the INA with the ultimate goal of reaching Delhi. A provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India) was set up.
Its object was “to launch and to conduct the struggle that will bring about the expulsion of the British and of other allies from the soil of India.” Addressing the army he said “We have a grim fight ahead us for the enemy is powerful, unscrupulous and ruthless. In this final march to freedom you will have to face hunger, privation, forced marches and death. Only when you pass this test will freedom be yours.”
The INA revealed Subhash Bose’s greatness as a military leader and an organizer too. One of the INA Brigades advanced with the Japanese army upto the frontiers of India. The Indian national flag was hoisted in Kohima in March 1944. But with the change of fortune in the war and the retreat and defeat of the Japanese the INA collapsed. The role of INA had far reaching influences on the Indian political scene.
When the stories of their remarkable courage and sacrifice came to the knowledge of the Indian people at the end of the war, the nation came under a wave of revolutionary upsurge. The British Government could realise that patriotism for Indians was greater than their service to a foreign power. Subhash was the greatest enemy of the Viceroy Lord Wavell.
The communists described him as an agent of the “Facist Powers”. Gandhiji admired the courage and resourcefulness displayed by Subhash in making his escape from India. Inspite of his principle of violence Subhash Chandra Bose’s grand scheme of India’s liberation and the high idealism through INA movement inspired the people of India in an unprecedented manner.
The organisation of the Azad Hind forces and their exploits are a milestone in the history of the Indian struggle for freedom; the formation of which was the brain child of Subhash Chandra Bose.
In the midst of conflict between the Congress and the League the Government instituted a public trial of the Azad Hind Fouz soldiers on charges of treason. The trial only helped to rouse the people’s patriotic emotion. The exploits of INA led by Netaji stirred the whole nation and the country was thrilled with excitement. The congress engaged a set of lawyers including. Jawaharlal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru and Bhulabhai Desai to defend the leaders on trial.
The INA leaders in the first instance were convicted but their sentences were soon remitted and ultimately they were set free. However some INA officers were not released for which there was a public resentment. Demonstrations were organized in different parts of the country. Sarat Chandra Bose, the brother of Subhash Chandra mobilized the public sentiment in support of the INA and made elaborate arrangements for the celebration of the anniversary of the foundation of the Azad Hind Government on 21st October, 1943.
The trial of the INA officers in the historic Red Fort became a “tribute to the martial courage of Indians, a symbol of her sense of total independence, a matter more of pride than of justice.”
In February, 1946 a serious mutiny broke out in the Royal Indian Navy at Bombay. British troops were called in to crush the rebellious navy men as the Indian soldiers refused to open fire at their brethren. The British Commander-in-Chief General Archinleck warned the army. Nehru declared “Our armed forces have every right to revolt against the foreign ruler in order to achieve the freedom of our country.”
The Government had no other way out than to think over the matter of releasing Colonel Shah Nawaz, Major G.S. Dhillon and Captain Prem Sehgal along with other trials who were the heroes of the hour. By the release of these trials the people could believe that it-was a great victory for Indians. Gradually the situation in the Indian Army tended to take a serious turn before it ended a few days later owing to the efforts of Sardar Patel.
The mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy made it clear that the British Indian Empire could no longer depend on the Indian staff. The realization virtually precipitated the process leading to the transfer of power. The entire history of the Indian National Army was thus the outcome of the matser brain and the heroic activities of Subhash Chandra Bose supported by Rash Behari Bose.