My heroes : Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

Source : Google photo

If you ask any Indian who brought freedom to India and you will most likely hear them say it was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who is also known as the forgotten hero.

But he was not forgotten by the people , only deliberately by the people in power in the post independent India led by the Congress party. If you ask why then you have to go back in history when Bose was elected the president of the Congress party and when he declared that Indians must fight for their freedom and not beg for it.

This brought him in conflict with Gandhi , Nehru and a few others who promoted the idea that begging for freedom through non violence was the only way so Bose resigned and moved to Singapore where he established the Indian National Army (INA) to fight the British tooth and nail . His battle cry was “ Give me your blood, I will give you the freedom.” that created the great national pride and thousands upon thousands of Indians who were in the British army joined INA and brought with them their arms and ammunitions . Hindus, Moslems,Sikhs and all joined the INA including women as young as 18 who were then trained to form the first women’s brigade called LaksmiBai Brigade.

Bose after escaping from his house arrest in Kolkata in his early days arrived in Berlin and met with Hitler to seek arms and ammunitions but Hitler had his own problems and could not help Bose. There were thousands of Indian troops of the British army in North Africa who had been captured by the Germans who joined Netaji Bose and the INA instead of languishing in prison camps but their problem of logistics to bring them all to India remained . Bose then reached Japan and asked Hirohito to help him.

He was very well received in Japan and got the help he needed and set up his base in northern Burma where the INA fought pitched battle in Imphal and other places and took control of Andaman islands as well. But the war was going badly for the Japanese as McArthur returned with more troops and ships so they could not help INA as much .The rest is history.

The constant British attack on the INA in Burma, lack of ammunition and food doomed the INA and they returned to Singapore and eventually disbanded. Netaji was presumed dead in a plane crash near Taipei but this was never confirmed.

His political enemies like Nehru and the party then made a determined effort to discredit the contribution of Bose and the INA in the freedom struggle and wrote to the British that if caught ,Bose will be surrendered to the British who will put him on trial. But Bose had vanished in thin air and no one knew what exactly happened to him.

When Atlee ,then the Prime Mister of Britain was asked why the British decided to leave India, his answer was very straight forward. He said that it was because of Bose and the INA. The British could handle Gandhi and Nehru and the rest of them but they were not prepared to meet the challenge posed by Netaji Bose and his 50000 strong INA who gave the British the fight of their life . What scared the British was the fact that most of the INA soldiers had defected from the British army with their weapons and they did not know how many more were planning to do the same at an opportune moment.

Gandhi and Nehru did not pose any threat to the British but Bose was an altogether different matter. The British were also taking heavy casualties in Europe so to fight Bose on Indian soil with depleted British troops that could also defect was a nightmare scenario for them . They just could not handle it.

The Indians have not forgotten Netaji Bose. His statues adorn every town square in the country and his great statue stands in front of the Red Fort in Delhi.His battle cry was “Let us go to Delhi”. Now his birthday is celebrated as a national holiday but it took the demise of the Congress party and its leaders like Nehru to finally recognise the contribution made by Bose and his struggle to make India free.

But the Congress party told the world otherwise and gave money to Attenborough to make the great propaganda film Gandhi in which no mention was made of Bose and Gandhi was portrayed as the apostle of non violence. The truth lies elsewhere . Indians were so angry at this travesty that the movie was not allowed to be premiered in India and chose Manila, Philippines instead. Still the world believed in the propaganda including Martin Luther King. Had King known who and what was Gandhi, he probably would have taken a very different view of the so called Mahatma.

One day a saintly person with long hair and beard was found to live in a small town called Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh whom they called “Gumnam baba” meaning the saint without a name. He did not receive visitors and a few people who were allowed to visit him could only talk to him behind a screen .This saint had a striking resemblance to Bose but he did not say who he was. Many imporatnt people went to see him and came away totally convinced that the saint without a name was no other than Bose himself.

When he died, he was cremated as per his wish and the ashes are burried in a mausoleum there . The mausoleum is covered with flowers daily . His personal belongings were in several boxes and suitcases that generated intense scrutiny. In them were found the letters ,photos, his pipe, his rolex watch, his numerous personal items that were photographed and uploaded to the internet that proves that the baba was indeed Netaji Bose. A DNA match with his living relatives would have been the absolute proof but this was not done and now he is dead. His belongings were mysteriously taken away and locked up somewhere.

No other leader in India evokes as much emotion as the mere mention of Bose who has now attained a Godlike status and he remains one of the greatest national heroes.

This is the photo of the saint without name and of Bose himself. You be the judge.

Netaji Bose to the left and Gumnam Baba to the right ( source Google photo)