History of India

Politics of India

Not only Mahatma Gandhi

Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose (1897 - 1945) had a very important impact on Indian nationalism. He saw himself as a student of Swami Vivekananda. Subhas Chandra Bose was Mahatma Gandhi's rival within the Congress. He was anti-British and very militant in his ideas. He opposed Gandhi's non-violence struggle and supported an aggressive revolt against the British. He also opposed the liberal democratic ideas of Europe but rather supported the communist and fascist ideas of Europe. He believed that Indians needed a strong totalitarian leader.

Bose began his political career by resigning from the British civil service and so from his point of view carving out the first step towards throwing the British out of India. After his resignation in 1921 he joined the Indian National Congress. He won the Congress leadership in 1939. His election for Presidency of Congress was the cause for the other leaders of Congress to resign and boycott him. Mahatma Gandhi then did not hold any official post in the Congress, but was a influential figure among the Congress leaders. Bose did not get Gandhi's support for his ideas and therefore he resigned from the Congress leadership and established within the Congress the Forward Bloc, a political movement which was a mixture of communism, socialism and Indian fascism. A year later Bose was arrested by the British but he managed to escape and arrived somehow in Nazi Germany. From Germany he broadcast Anti-British propaganda. In 1943 he arrived in Japan and with Japanese help established in Singapore 'Free India' government and the Indian National Army whose soldiers were Indians who lived in East Asia and also Indian defectors from the British army. During the Second World War this army penetrated east India and attacked British posts. But this army did not have major successes because of logistic reasons.

Many in India respected Bose and they called him 'Netaji' meaning honored leader. They especially admired his capability to form an army of Indians and so gave the Indians a feeling that they to are capable of creating their own army by themselves. One of the slogans used even today in every nationalist occasion, 'Jai Hind' (victory to India) was coined by Netaji. Even his rivals admired his nationalistic zealotry. Mahatma Gandhi saw in him a misguided patriot. But Bose was also a very controversial figure in India. Many disliked his fascist and anti-democratic ideas and the fact that he wanted to make India a totalitarian state under his leadership. He was seen by many as a traitor and as a Japanese and German puppet. Bose died in 1945 in a plane crash on his way to Tokyo.


Subhas Chandra Bose: A Biography

Aharon Daniel


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