The birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is celebrated on the 23rd of January. This will be his 121st birthday and many of his followers have called in to mark this day as the ‘Desh Prem Diwas’.

In the pantheon of nationalist freedom fighters, the name of Subhash Chandra Bose should come on the top. The layer of intrigue to the circumstances of his death has added to his immortality. He was called the ‘patriot of patriots’ by Mahatma Gandhi – which is commendable as both of them had opposing ideologies. Bose really did commit himself to full independence of India when others like Gandhi and his followers during Bose’s time were only seeking to gain dominion status for India. In his book ‘Nehru & Bose- Parallel Lives’, Rudrangshu  Mukherjee explores the complex relationship between the two towering personalities of Indian National Movement Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose. The leftward radicalism of Nehru and Bose was counterbalanced in the Indian National Congress by the rightwing guard of C.Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, and Vallabhbhai Patel. M.K. Gandhi was the ultimate leader of both the groups. The difference between Bose and Nehru was the former’s alacrity in departing from Gandhian ideals of non-violence to pursue the cause of Indian independence.

Bose appealed to Indians, especially the young ones for all the right reasons. He took to arms to bring down the mightiest empire in the world. He is called the Father of Indian National Army and he coined the term ‘JAI HIND’. When Bose realised that the British were to be pushed hard to leave India, he decided that enemy’s enemy was his friend and visited Japan and Germany to get their support. His diplomacy was realist and promised to deliver results speedily. We would have defeated the British completely had Japan not been weakened during that time. Bose died a hero – such is the privilege of those who die young. In our imaginations, they always remain uncorrupted, idealistic, and forever young. The public image of Nehru family ruined once they came to power. Maybe you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.

Bose never came back in public life to claim his due in the post-independence Indian politics, even though some conspiracy theories say he did. The Congress party dumped him altogether. But his nationalism and socialist views largely explain his continuing popularity. He was a man of action and one of the greatest freedom fighters ever born.


Feature Image Credits: SchoopWhoop

Oorja Tapan

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