Today is 126th birth anniversary of a valiant leader of India –Puri
Jaswant Singh Puri/ January 23,2023
Popularly known as Netaji, Subhash Chandra Bose was born to Janaki Nath Bose and Probhabati on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Odisha. He lived here for the first sixteen years of his life. His contribution to the freedom struggle made him a famous hero of India.
Subhash Chandra was sent to the Baptist Missionary School before he was five. When he was twelve, he was admitted to the Ravenshaw Collegiate School, an Indian school where he found it comfortable to seek opportunities of social services.He read all he could about Vivekananda and his master, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, a saintly and ascetic figure. He started believing in the ideal of selfless service. He started reading Philosophy at the Presidency College, Calcutta in 1913. In 1918, he joined the University Training Corps and achieved first class honours in Philosophy. His father wanted that he should proceed to England and do his Indian Civil Service (I.C.S). He went to England and began to make English friends. He was impressed there and stated: “People here have a sense of time. Many are their defects but one must bow one’s head to their merits”. But his love for work, his abstinence and personal discipline made him envious of his compatriots. He got success in Civil Service Examination by attaining fourth place in 1920 which was an excellent achievement. But he resigned from the Indian Civil Service after a short period and offered himself to work for the Congress National College in Calcutta and the new nationalist paper ‘Swaraj’. He came back to India in July, 1921 and surrendered himself at the feet of MK Gandhi. Bose became impatient for revolution but he found non-violence instead of action-oriented and revolutionary plan. He went home to Calcutta to work under C.R. Das, the Bengali patriot who was a more aggressive nationalist than MK Gandhi. Bose thought him to be his Guru he had sought so long.
Bose delivered his first political speech in September, 1922 ‘about sincere work and patient suffering’ and abolishing of social evils. When Das became the Mayor of Calcutta, Subhash was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation. The constructive hard work of municipal affairs appealed to him. He was soon deported to Burma because he was suspected of having connection with secret revolutionary movements. He was released in 1927 and became the Mayor of Calcutta in 1930. He looked after the functions of the Bengal Congress after the demise of CR Das. He was imprisoned many times for his patriotic activities.
Subhash Chandra Bose wrote the book ‘The Indian Struggle’ in his enforced exile during 1920-34. He pleaded India’s cause with European leaders. He was re-elected President of the Congress in 1939 even though MK Gandhi had opposed him due to his political differences with MK Gandhi. Many of his left-wing followers founded the ‘Forward Block’. When he gave a call for an All India Protest against AICC resolution, the working committee sought disciplinary action against him and expelled him from the Presidentship of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee and deprived him of holding any Congress Office for three years. Subhash’s ideas of liberation were radical and believed that Gandhi’s method of attaining freedom would take time.
In 1940, he was again imprisoned for his rebellious activities. He escaped on January 26, 1941 from India in disguise and travelled countries like Kabul, Moscow, Japan and Germany. He made regular broadcasts from a German sponsored Azad Hind Radio. Being acquainted with many languages, he used to deliver patriotic speeches in English, Hindi, Bengali, Persian, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Pushtu.
Bose organized ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ (Indian National Army) in 1943. He visited Tokyo where Prime Minister Tojo declared that Japan had no territorial designs on India. He came back to Singapore and set up the Provisional Government of free India on October 21, 1943. The Indian National Army invaded India and occupied Imphal and Kohima. He started recognizing the INA and organized even a women regiment called the Rani Jhansi Regiment but Japan met a defeat in the World War II and INA also lost Japanese support. While Subhash Chandra fleeing South-east Asia in August 1945, it is believed that his plane crashed and he died in a Japanese hospital as a result of burn injuries. The efforts of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose along with Gandhi’sQuit India Movement resulted in the freedom of India.
Bose had no formal military training but he was a skilled organizer and anorator who gave the slogan ‘Jai Hind’ and suffused inspiration among the Indian soldiers with the words: “Give me blood, I will give you freedom.” He is the pride and dynamic hero of the Indian National Movement.
He got married secretly to Emilie Schenkl in 1937 without any ceremony or witness and was blessed with a daughter called Anita Bose Pfaff on 29 November, 1942. She is an Austrian born economist. She got married to Martin Pfaff and has been blessed with children named Thomas Krishna, Peter Arun Pfaff and Maya Pfaff.
It is really appreciable to know that Prime Minister unveiled 28 feet statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose installed at India Gate in New Delhi to mark his 125th birth anniversary on 8 September, 2022. It was placed under the canopy near India Gate. The statue was installed and placed in the same place where a hologram statue of Subhash Chandra Bose was unveiled earlier on Parakaram Diwas. The unveiling ceremony was accompanied by the tune of ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja’ – the traditional INA Song.
It is really a matter of respect and honour that Asia’s largest institute of sports is named after Netaji Subhash Chandra which is popularly known as the ‘Mecca’ of Indian Sports and situated at Patiala.
The author Jaswant Singh Puri himself worked as Project Officer at Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports, Patiala under Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, New Delhi. He was appointed under ‘Panchayat Yuva Krida Khel Abhiyaan’ (PYKKA) – through Mission Director Injeti Sriniwas, IAS, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, New Delhi. Also worked as Media Coordinator at N.I.S. Patiala for London Olympics 2012. The experiences learnt here still flash across my mind as it was an International multi-sport event. Also worked as Documentation Officer in the Publication Division of N.I.S. Patiala under Dr. L.S. Ranawat who was a thoroughly devoted, dedicated, disciplined and learned officer and worked whole heartedly for about 29 years. Later on, he joined as Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan Sports University, Jhunjhunu. During his tenure at NIS, he laid great stress on development of infrastructure for sports activities.
It is worth mentioning that the statue of Subhash Chandra Bose stands in its glory in the National Institute of Sports, Patiala.The Institute is named after him. His birthday is still celebrated with full ceremonies. It also deserves mentioning that the whole area of Institute of Sports along with Sheesh Mahal was a private residence of Late Maharaja Bhupindra Singh, grandfather of Captain Amarinder Singh. It is spread over 268 acres with sprawling lawns. The Institute is popularly known as Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports.
Note: This article is dedicated to Smt. Alka Puri, M.A. (Hindi, B.Ed.). She was the Secretary, Ladies Club, Punjabi University, Patiala during the tenure of Vice-Chancellor Dr. S.S. Johal who was awarded with prestigious award Padma Bhushan in 2004. Smt. Alka Puri was the wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and mother of Jaswant Singh Puri.
(The views expressed are personal)