Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti, also known as ‘Deshprem Divas’ is celebrated annually on 23rd of January to commemorate the birth of Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the most revered leaders of the Indian freedom movement. He was born in an elite and erudite Bengali family in Cuttack on 23rd January 1897. Netaji was a brilliant student with a B.A. degree in Philosophy and also cleared the Indian Civil Service (ICS) Examination in 1920 in England. He resigned from ICS in 1921 as a protest against the Imperial rule and returned to India to join the freedom movement. This year in 2021 Indians are celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of the great legend.
Netaji (Respected Leader)
Subhas Bose was named ‘Netaji’ which means ‘respected leader’ because of his selfless leadership, charismatic speeches and slogans and effective political strategies. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti is just not a date. It is a day of celebrating how significant he was in India’s struggle for independence. He was the founder of the Indian National Army, the ‘Azad Hind Fauj’. Netaji was an exemplary leader even when it comes to women empowerment. INA had its female wing too with women in command. He dreamt of unqualified Swaraj (self-governance) for India. Still today, we are motivated by his slogans ‘Jai Hind’ (Hail India) and ‘Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom’. Yes, numerous have given their lives and streams of bloodshed have flown to give us the independence and democracy which we are enjoying today.
Subhas Bose was a youth icon, leader of the younger radical wing of Indian National Congress. He was elected the President of Indian National Congress in 1938. In 1939 he quit Congress Party due to differences in political ideologies. While he was aiming at complete independence and advocated armed struggle and violent resistance, Congress was treading Mahatma Gandhi’s path of non-violence and peaceful negotiations. He then formed the Forward Bloc.
Netaji’s Undaunted Courage
Swami Vivekananda’s teachings have been influencing Netaji from his childhood. He believed in universal brotherhood and strength of the mind. In spite of being jailed and tortured several times by the British Government, he was fearless and unmoved, never wandering away from his political ideologies. He considered enemies of enemies to be friends. So he allied with Germany, Japan and Russia who were enemies to Great Britain in the Second World War. After World War II, he dramatically escaped from his house arrest to meet Hitler. His journey to Japanese held Sumatra by a German submarine is epic. He was the master of disguise. He revamped his army in South East Asia.
Even today, he is praised for his bravery by the world leaders. In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, visited Netaji’s house in Kolkata which has been converted to Subhas Chandra Bose Memorial. He spoke about how Japan was moved by his leadership.
The Indian National Army
The Indian National Army (INA), led by Netaji, had several bases of operations, even outside India, in Burma, Singapore, Japan. There are statues of Netaji Subhas Bose in London, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan to honour his leadership. Moirang, near Imphal, Manipur, was the headquarters of INA. Indian National Army hoisted the Tricolour for the second time on Indian soil on 14th April 1944. The first time, the Tricolour flag of Indian Independence was hoisted by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on 30th December 1943, in Port Blair, Andaman. Then Netaji was the Commander in Chief of INA and the Honorary President of Indian Government recognized by 18 countries. All these happened before the official declaration of Independence of India on 15th of August, 1947.
Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti Celebrations
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti is a celebration of the undaunted spirit of the leader. Schools and clubs hoist the Indian National Flag. In the states of West Bengal, Tripura and Odisha, most offices, schools and colleges remain closed observing a public holiday. He is remembered through plays and skits influenced by the stories and events from his life. People sing patriotic songs composed by him. As a mark of respect and honour for his valiant deeds and undaunted courage for the freedom of the nation; people visit certain places showcasing Netaji’s artefacts. Some of them are Netaji Museum in Kurseong, Netaji Bhawan in Kolkata, INA museum in Morang and Swatantra Sainani Museum in Delhi.
Netaji’s disappearance still remains a mystery; even though it is said that he died in a plane crash on 18th August 1945, in Taiwan. Yet there are incidents which make the whole story of his disappearance extremely doubtful and mysterious. The emotional outburst still continues even after years of independence. This is why observing Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti is so important to us Indians. There are hidden archives amidst which lies buried the true story of the lost gem of our nation. Whether he died in the plane crash or he died later, he is immortal; living in the hearts of all Indians. The stories from his life and his ideologies will keep on influencing us forever. Every child must be taught about Netaji. All must take part in observing Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti to keep the flame burning.
He himself had once said, “One individual may die for an idea, but that idea will, after his death incarnate itself in a thousand lives.”
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.