Remembering Bose: The Enigmatic Hero, The Immortal Leader

Remembering Bose: The Enigmatic Hero, The Immortal Leader

History always nurtures a profound ambiguity in it. To know the true history, we need to unravel and deconstruct the multiple narratives moulded by different perspectives, often biased. “Reality is, after all, too big for our frail understanding to fully comprehend. Nevertheless, we have to build our life on the theory which contains the maximum truth.”, said one of the most prominent pillars of the independence of India, Subhas Chandra Bose, who initiated an organised armed struggle that culminated in the gain of freedom from the British Empire. This man believed in taking risks, and yes, without risks, there is no charm in life.

A Quick Snippet Of History

In past decades, researchers made a plethora of critical studies in an attempt to weave together the sequence of events. Amid alternative perspectives, distorted accounts, biased narratives and assumptions we often lose sight of the man Subhas Chandra Bose was. He was not only a leader but a gem of a student, a son, a loving husband, a father. Jailed eleven times in his life, he struggled for achieving a Purna Swaraj. Like a matchstick, he spread the fire of love for freedom and awakened the true potential of the human heart. This article briefly remembers and pays tribute to one of the greatest heroes of India’s struggle for independence.

Oaten’s Poem For Subhas Chandra Bose

Talking of Subhas Chandra Bose, a student brimming with love for freedom, how can we not speak of the Presidency College incident! In the words of Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay, a contemporary of Subhas Chandra Bose in the college, E.F. Oaten was a fine, handsome and cultured man, an eminent professor of history. For maltreating the students, Subhas demanded an apology from him. As he failed to get the apology, he called for a strike. Which resulted in the suspension of Subhas himself from the college for assaulting the professor. Because he made some racist comments about the “natives”. After years, Oaten wrote a poem for him,

Did I once suffer, Subhas, at your hands?

Your patriot’s heart is stilled, I would forget!

Let me recall but this, that while as yet.

The Raj that you once challenged in your land

Was mighty; Icarus-like your courage planned.

To mount the skies, and storm in battle set.

The ramparts of High Heaven, to claim the debt

Of freedom owed, on plain and rude demand.

High Heaven yielded, but in dignity.

Like Icarus, you sped towards the sea.

What is significant here is that, after ninety-four years of him being expelled, Presidency College brought him back with “full glory and honour”.

Research Around Bose’s Death

Stories and research work revolve around the incidents of his life and death. Fictional accounts narrate many conflicting versions of the mysteries around him. Amidst all these, we forget the hero, the braveheart who tried to achieve complete freedom with blood, sweat and toil. With the second world war going on, he left India, to travel to the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, to seek an alliance. Along with Imperial Japanese assistance, he re-organised the Azad Hind Fauj and later became the leader of the army. With exquisite clarity in thoughts and immense practicality in vision, he tried to bring together the whole world beside him to fight against the British Government in India.

The Disappearance

On this day, 18th August, in the year 1945, a plane crash took place in Formosa. What most of us believe is, this was the day Bose disappeared. Thanks to the Mukherjee Commission and the Netaji-files, the declaration of Netaji’s death on 18th August 1945, as every significant biography of Subhas Chandra Bose says, has to stand the test of investigation. There are a plethora of theories related to this ‘escape’ or ‘disappearance’ of Netaji.

The disappearance of Netaji, the non-conformist, has been a perennial source for unending mystery. Numerous accounts related to Bose have been represented in cinema in many languages, research work and books, but fleetingly until the present decades. It is interesting that as days pass by, the relevance of the hero, the maverick, the leader, does not cease but increases like never before. Bose had shown up as a totemic presence in Ami Subhash Bolchi (2011) which was a remake of the Marathi film Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy (2009) and in Raag Desh (2017) which shed light upon the trials of three INA soldiers in the year 1944.

Other Biopics

Way before that, two full-fledged biopics have depicted him, the Bengali movie was Subhas Chandra in 1966 and the other one, in Hindi, was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero, releasing in 2004. The latter one has the eternal lullaby “Ghumparani Mashi pishi moder bari eso”, as an integral part of the life of Subhas. He always longed for returning home but could not. Recently, the television miniseries named Bose: Dead/Alive (2017) tried to probe into the death mystery of Netaji. The most recent work on Bose is the movie Gumnaami (2019) which is endorsed as a dramatised version of the debate surrounding Netaji’s death and the return of Netaji as Gumnaami baba, brings forward a lot of arguments and counter-arguments. The complicated ideological and political stand of Subhas Chandra Bose and the mystery surrounding his disappearance make it challenging to portray the man on a page or screen.

Tribute To The Brave Hearted

There is a plethora of theories related to this ‘escape’ or ‘disappearance’ of Netaji. Following this incident, on February 18, 1946, the revolt of the Indian sailors demanding the release of all political prisoners which included the prisoners from Bose’s Indian National Army took place. Known as The Royal Indian Navy mutiny, the revolt was arguably one of the most significant events that convinced the British government that they couldn’t keep on ruling India.

Throughout his life, he has stood against the moderate methods of the Congress Party which were considered central to the gaining of India’s freedom. It is a continual process to know a hero fully. Let us pause for a moment to pay our heartiest tribute to Netaji, the immortal leader. The forgotten hero on the eve of 74th Independence week, on the day of his enigmatic escape 75 years back.

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