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Death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

 One of the greatest selfless leaders with vision during freedom movement was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It is believed that he died on 18 August 1945 (today’s date) after his Japanese plane crashed in Japanese-occupied Formosa (now Taiwan). However, many Indians refused to believe the circumstances of his death.  Conspiracy theories appeared within hours of his death and have persisted since then, keeping alive various myths. Whether he died in plane crash or not but considering his date of birth, 23 January 1897 now his chance of survival is bleak.
Netaji Subhas with heart and soul was Indian and he never tolerated any foreigner talking against Indians. In this context an incident may be mentioned. He beat a British Professor E.F. Otten in the Presidency College of Calcutta in 1916 for Prof Otten’s racist remark against Indians and for this Subhas Chandra had to suffer also, however with the intervention of Indian scholars and others, the matter was resolved. Subhas Chandra was a brilliant student and his brilliancy may be assumed when he went to England in 1919 to compete Indian Civil Service (as desired by his parents) and subsequently in 1920, he came out fourth in order of merit with highest mark in English but he was deeply disturbed by the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre and left his Civil Service probation in midway and returned India. After returning, Subhas Chandra joined Indian National Congress subsequently, he started working under Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, whom he always respected as political mentor. In those days Netaji and other youth leaders were in favour of complete freedom but other  leaders were in favour of  "dominion status for India within the British rule" and this difference sharply cropped up in  1928 Gauhati (now Guwahati) Session of the Congress.
    While Subhas Chandra Bose was Congress President many admired him for his vibrant role and that is why he was elected President of Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms but had to resign in the mid of second term due to ideological difference with Gandhiji as Mahatma Gandhi’s preferred candidate Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was defeated.  Total votes pulled by Subhas Chandra were 1580 against 1375 by Sitaramaiah. Gandhiji was upset for his candidate’s defeat and openly ventilated his dissatisfaction albeit Subhas Chandra was democratically elected. It is believed that albeit Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was a Telugu person hailing from southern part of India but many persons of southern region of India voted in favour of Netaji Subhas. Anyhow, while Netaji was Congress President many remarkable works were carried out under his leadership - one was his initiative to keep Assam with India as then Muslim League leaders’ had different game plan. In 1938, Assam was passing through a great political turmoil as there was a serious political problem - Muslim League vs. Congress. During that time, Gopinath Bordoloi invited Subhas Chandra Bose (President of Congress that time) to visit Assam so that chaotic political situation is settled. Subhas Chandra immediately rushed to Assam and strongly advocated the formation of the ministry under the leadership of Gopinath Bordoloi.  As a sequel, Assamese youths were happy and a booklet on Subhas Chandra was published by some enthusiastic students of Cotton College in 1939, under the umbrella of All Assam Progressive Youth Association (AAPYA, formed that time). Further, they decided to invite Subhas Chandra Bose to inaugurate the association, which he gladly accepted.
   While Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was Head of Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj, Dr. (Mrs.) LakshmiSwaminathan met him in Singapore and decided to join in the freedom movement as she was impressed with the charismatic speech of Netaji Subhas. She as   Captain Lakshmi    headed a regiment called Jhansi Rani Laxmi Bai Regiment.  It was the first regiment headed by a lady in Asia. Later on, she married to Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal (leading personality of INA) and subsequently known as Dr. Lakshmi Sahgal.  From historical documents etc. it is evident that Netaji’s contribution in freedom movement is immense. In this context Clement Richard Attlee, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955 may be quoted, “Netaji was the toughest challenge to the British Empire faced”.
Open Editorial Article contributed by 
Dr. Shankar Chatterjee

Former Prof &Head (CPME)
NIRD &PR, Hyderabad-500 030, Telangana, India
E-mail: <shankarjagu@gmail.com>