Subhas Chandra Bose was born on 23 January 1897 (at 12.10 pm) in Cuttack, Orissa Division, Bengal Province, to Prabhavati Devi and Janakinath Bose, an advocate. He was the ninth child of a total of fourteen siblings. After securing the second position in the matriculation examination in 1913, he got admitted to the Presidency College where he studied briefly. His nationalistic temperament came to light when he was expelled for assaulting Professor Oaten for the latter’s anti-India comments. He later joined the Scottish Church College at the University of Calcutta and passed his B.A. in 1918 in philosophy.
Bose left India in 1919 for England with a promise to his father that he would appear in the Indian Civil Services Examination (ICS). He went to study in Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and matriculated on 19 November 1919. He came fourth in the ICS examination and was selected but he did not want to work under an alien government which would mean serving the British. As he stood on the verge of taking the plunge by resigning from the Indian Civil Service in 1921, he wrote to his elder brother Sarat: “Only on the soil of sacrifice and suffering can we raise our national edifice”. Finally, he resigned from his civil service job on 23 April 1921 and returned to India.
Emilie Schenkl , was the wife, or companion, of Subhas Chandra Bose—a major leader of Indian nationalism—and the mother of their daughter, Anita Bose Pfaff. Schenkl, an Austrian, and her baby daughter were, however, left without support in wartime Europe by Bose, after he moved from Germany to southeast Asia in February 1943, and subsequently died at the end of the war. After the war, both were met by Bose’s brother Sarat Chandra Bose and his family in Vienna in 1948, and welcomed into the Bose family in an emotional meeting.
Bose advocated complete unconditional independence for India, whereas the All-India Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through Dominion status. Finally at the historic Lahore Congress convention, the Congress adopted Purna Swaraj (complete independence) as its motto. He was imprisoned and expelled from India. Defying the ban, he came back to India and was imprisoned again. Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms, but had to resign from the post following ideological conflicts with Mohandas K. Gandhi and after openly attacking the Congress’ foreign and internal policies.
Bose believed that Gandhi’s tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India’s independence, and advocated violent resistance. He was imprisoned by the British authorities eleven times. His famous motto was: “Give me blood and I will give you freedom“. Jai Hind, or, “Glory to India!” was another slogan used by him and later adopted by the Government of India and the Indian Armed Forces.
His stance did not change with the outbreak of the Second World War, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness. At the outset of the war, he left India, travelling to the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, seeking an alliance with each of them to attack the British government in India. With Imperial Japanese assistance, he re-organised and later led the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA), formed with Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from British Malaya, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British forces. With Japanese monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance, he formed the Azad Hind Government in exile, and regrouped and led the Indian National Army in failed military campaigns against the allies at Imphal and in Burma.
Swami Vivekananda‘s teachings on universalism, his nationalist thoughts and his emphasis on social service and reform had all inspired Subhas Chandra Bose from his very young days. He formed ,”The Provisional Government of Free India” , or, more simply, Free India(Azad Hind), was an Indian provisional government established in Singapore in 1943 and was supported by Japan. Azad Hind was a part of a political movement originating in the 1940s outside of India with the purpose of allying with Axis powers to free India from British Rule.
Founded on 21 October 1943, the government was inspired by the concepts of Subhash Chandra Bose who was also the leader of the government and the Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government in Exile. The government proclaimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in Southeast Asian British colonial territory and prospective authority over Indian territory to fall to the Japanese forces and the Indian National Army during the Japanese thrust towards India during the Second World War. The government of Azad Hind had its own currency, court and civil code, and in the eyes of some Indians its existence gave a greater legitimacy to the independence struggle against the British.
Immediately after the formation of the government-in-exile, Azad Hind declared war against the Anglo-American allied forces on the Indo-Burma Front. Its army, the “Azad Hind Fauj”, (Indian National Army or the INA) went into action against the British Indian Army and the allied forces alongside the Imperial Japanese Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The INA had its first major engagement at the battle of Imphal where, under the command of the Japanese Fifteenth Army, it breached the British defences in Kohima, reaching the salient of Moirang before suffering a castastrophic defeat as the Allied forces held, and Allied air dominance and compromised supply lines forced both the Japanese and the INA to retreat.
The existence of Azad Hind was essentially coterminous with the existence of the Indian National Army. While the government itself continued until the civil administration of the Andaman Islands was returned to the jurisdiction of the British towards the end of the war, the limited power of Azad Hind was effectively ended with the surrender of the last major contingent of INA troops in Rangoon. The supposed death of Bose is seen as the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement. Some historians contend that the Azad Hind was a free and independent government. The legacy of Azad Hind is, however, open to judgment.
After the war, the British Raj observed with alarm the transformation of the perception of Azad Hind from traitors and collaborators to “the greatest among the patriots”. Given the tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and the resentment and revolts it inspired, it is arguable that its overarching aim, to germinate public resentment and revolts within the Indian forces of the British Indian Army to overthrow the British Raj, was ultimately successful.
The true judgement of success or failure of the movement remains open to historians. However, the true extent to which the INA’s activities influenced the decision to leave India is mirrored by the views of Clement Attlee, the British prime minister at the time of India’s Independence. Attlee cites several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny which made the British realise that the support of the Indian armed forces could no longer be relied upon.