Subhas Chandra Bose: Indian Nationalist with Fascist Links

Wikipedia Account distilled & re-shaped by Capt. Kumar Kirinde, with this title: “Subhas Chandra Bose: Leader of the Indian Independence League (IIL) and Indian National Army (INA)” …..

      Subhas Chandra Bose (January 1897–18 August 1945) was an Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempts during World War II to rid India of British rule with the help of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan left a troubled legacy.

Bose meets Adolf Hitler

The honorific Netaji (Hindustani: “Respected Leader”) was first applied to Bose in Germany in early 1942—by the Indian soldiers of the Indische Legion and by the German and Indian officials in the Special Bureau for India in Berlin. It is now used throughout India.

Subhas Bose was born into wealth and privilege in a large Bengali family in Orissa during the high noon of the British Raj. The early recipient of an unusually Anglo centric education, his teenage and young adult years were interspersed with brilliant academic success, oversize religious yearning, and stark rebellion against authority. In a college in which his five brothers had preceded him, he was expelled for participating in an assault on a professor. He was also rusticated from the University of Calcutta, but after reinstatement 18 months later he managed to study blamelessly and excel academically.

He was sent to England at his father’s urging to take the Indian Civil Service examination, he succeeded with distinction in the vital first exam but demurred at taking the more routine but clinching final exam.

 Subhas Bose (standing, right) with friends in England, 1920

He cited nationalism to be a higher calling than the civil service. Returning to India in 1921 to join the nationalist movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, Bose at first worked with C. R. Das in Bengal. He flowered under Das’s mentorship. He then followed Jawaharlal Nehru to leadership in a group within the Congress. The group was younger, less keen on constitutional reform, and more open to socialism. Bose rose precociously to become Congress president in 1938. After reelection in 1939, differences arose between Bose and Gandhi. The senior leadership in the Congress supported Gandhi, and Bose resigned as president, and was eventually ousted from the party. In July 1940, Bose was arrested by the Bengal government over a small protest, and later kept housebound under a strict police watch. In mid-January 1941, he escaped from India in dramatic cloak-and-dagger fashion, heading northwestward into Afghanistan.

In April 1941, Bose arrived in Nazi Germany, where the leadership offered unexpected, if equivocal, sympathy for India’s independence. In November 1941, German funds were used to open a Free India Centre in Berlin, and to set up a Free India Radio on which Bose broadcast nightly. A 3,000-strong Free India Legion was recruited from among Indian POWs captured by Gen. Erwin Rommel‘s Afrika Korps to serve under Bose.

  Bose with Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi Minister of Interior, head of the SS, and the Gestapo

 Gen. Rommel with soldiers of the  Free India Legion (referred to as Hitler’s Indian soldiers)                   Bose’s reputation as a politician, adversely affected in the previous two years, was refurbished somewhat. Throughout 1941 the Germans intermittently but inconclusively considered a land invasion of India. Although it was peripheral to their main goals in Eastern Europe, Bose remained optimistic about its likelihood. By the spring of 1942, however, the German army had become mired in Russia, and Japan had won quick victories in Asia. A German land invasion of India became untenable, and Bose became keen to move to Southeast Asia. Adolf Hitler, during his only meeting with Bose in late May 1942, suggested the same and offered to arrange a submarine.

During this time Bose became a father; his wife, or companion, Emilie Schenkl, whom he had met during an earlier visit to Europe in 1934, gave birth to a baby girl in November 1942.

    Subhas Chandra Bose with his wife Emilie Schenkl in Austria, 1937

Identifying strongly with the Axis powers, Bose boarded a German submarine in February 1943.[29][30] Off Madagascar, he was transferred to a Japanese submarine from which he disembarked in Japanese-held Sumatra in May 1943. His wife, child, and 3,000 Indian men remained in Germany, the latter left to an uncertain future.

The Indian National Army (INA) had been formed in 1942 from the Indian POWs of the British Indian army captured by the Japanese in the Battle of SingaporeAfter arrival in Singapore, Bose enlisted Indian civilians, chiefly Tamil ones, in Malaya and Singapore. The Japanese had [proceeded to generate] a number of puppet and provisional governments in the captured regions. With Japanese support, a Provisional Government of Free India under Bose was formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Although the Japanese military at all times exercised firm control over the islands, Bose’s visit in December 1943 was widely publicized.

Bose speaking in Tokyo during a visit to Japan in 1943

Charismatic and driven, Bose displayed unflagging enthusiasm for the cause of liberating India. The INA under Bose became a model of diversity by region, ethnicity, religion, and gender.

Bose inspecting troops of the INA

However, the Japanese considered Bose to be militarily unskilled and unrealistic,[x] and Bose’s military effort was short-lived. In late 1944 and early 1945, the British Indian Army first halted and then devastatingly reversed the Japanese attack on India. Almost half the Japanese forces and fully half the participating INA contingent were killed. The INA was driven down the Malay Peninsula and surrendered with the recapture of Singapore. Bose chose not to surrender with his forces or with the Japanese. He aimed to escape to Manchuria with a view to seeking a future in the Soviet Union which he believed to be turning anti-British. En route to Manchuria, his plane crashed in Taiwan, and he died from third-degree burnsSome Indians did not believe that the crash had occurred. Many among them, especially in Bengal, believed Bose would return to gain India’s independence.

The Indian National Congress, the main instrument of Indian nationalism, praised Bose’s patriotism but distanced itself from his tactics and ideology — in particular his collaboration with fascism. The British Raj, never seriously threatened by the INA, charged 300 INA officers with treason in the INA trials, but eventually backtracked in the face both of popular sentiment and [in pursuit]of its own ends.    A memorial to Subhas Chandra Bose in the compound of the Renkōji Temple, Tokyo. Bose’s ashes are stored in the temple in a golden pagoda. Bose died on 18 August 1945. His ashes arrived in Japan in early September 1945; after a memorial service, they were accepted by the temple on 18 September 1945

 KWK_26-4-2021 …………. Pics and Captions from  …. Bio-Data on Capt Kumar Kirinde =


The daughter of Subhas Chandra Bose, Anita Bose Pfaff  and the former President of IndiaPranab Mukherjee 


Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, communal relations, disparagement, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, life stories, military strategy, nationalism, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes, World War II

4 responses to “  Subhas Chandra Bose: Indian Nationalist with Fascist Links

  1. Senaka Weeraratna

    Bose Not Gandhi Ended British Rule In India: Ambedkar

    In an interview given to BBC in February 1955, B.R. Ambedkar elucidated the reason why the British left India in 1947. Subsequently, Attlee agreed Netaji was the toughest challenge the Empire faced. Several defense and intelligence experts agreed, too.

    Bose Not Gandhi Ended British Rule –

    Why even after 70 years of his disappearance the people of India are so keen on finding out the truth about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose? A part of the answer has to do with what Netaji did for us.
    Declassified records, testimonies of those who had a ringside view of events coupled with sheer commonsense make it quite evident that Netaji dealt a body blow to the British Raj. As such, for us to brush under the carpet the poignant issue of his fate — how and where he actually died — would constitute a gross affront to his memory and all those associated with him.

    For reasons political, the authorities in India will never acknowledge the paramount role of Netaji in forcing the colonial British to transfer the power in 1947. Perhaps one has heard about it from someone in the family already. In a nutshell, there was not much freedom “fight” going on in India in when the Second World War started in 1939. While Bose saw in it the opportunity of a lifetime and he wanted the Congress to serve a six-month ultimatum on the British to leave India, the party under Mahatma Gandhi’s lead would not do anything to increase pressure on the colonial authorities.

    Ousted from the Congress, Bose left India and became the head of the Indian National Army. Many in India still scoff at the INA, contrasting it with the professional well-trained, much bigger Indian Army, ignoring the odds Bose had overcome to organise it in such a short time.

    As the INA geared up to take on the British Indian Army in battlefields, the Mahatma launched the Quit India movement in 1942, which was similar to what Bose had demanded in 1939. The movement was launched in right earnest. But, unfortunately, it was crushed within three weeks and, in a few months, it was all over.

    That Gandhi did wonders for India is true. But to say that the Quit India movement led to Independence would be stretching it too far. So what really clicked? A most logical explanation was given by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, whose birth anniversary we are observing today.

    In a no-holds-barred interview with BBC’s Francis Watson in February 1955, Babasaheb elucidated the reason why the British left India in 1947.

    “I don’t know how Mr Attlee suddenly agreed to give India independence,” wondered Ambedkar, recalling then British Prime Minister’s decision to agree to the transfer of power in 1947. “That is a secret that he will disclose in his autobiography. None expected that he would do that,” he added.

    In October 1956, two months before Ambedkar passed away, Clement Attlee disclosed in a confidential private talk that very secret. It would take two decades before the secret would trickle into the public domain.

    Babasaheb would not have been surprised with Sir Attlee’s admission, for he had foreseen it. He told the BBC in 1955 that from his “own analysis” he had concluded that “two things led the Labour party to take this decision” [to free India].

    Ambedkar continued: “The national army that was raised by Subhas Chandra Bose. The British had been ruling the country in the firm belief that whatever may happen in the country or whatever the politicians do, they will never be able to change the loyalty of soldiers. That was one prop on which they were carrying on the administration. And that was completely dashed to pieces. They found that soldiers could be seduced to form a party — a battalion to blow off the British.”

    Today, as we assess the other data on record and factor in the views of experts ranging from National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Major General GD Bakshi, Babasaheb’s words ring nothing but true.

    Sir Norman Smith, Director, Intelligence Bureau, noted in a secret report of November 1945: “The situation in respect of the Indian National Army is one which warrants disquiet. There has seldom been a matter which has attracted so much Indian public interest and, it is safe to say, sympathy… the threat to the security of the Indian Army is one which it would be unwise to ignore.”

    Lt General SK Sinha, former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir and Assam, one of the only three Indian officers posted in the Directorate of Military Operations in New Delhi in 1946, made this observation in 1976. “There was considerable sympathy for the INA within the Army… It is true that fears of another 1857 had begun to haunt the British in 1946.”

    Agreeing with this contention were a number of British MPs who met British Prime Minister Clement Attlee in February 1946. “There are two alternative ways of meeting this common desire (a) that we should arrange to get out, (b) that we should wait to be driven out. In regard to (b), the loyalty of the Indian Army is open to question; the INA have become national heroes…”

    Even in his ‘defeat’, Netaji delivered a massive blow to the British rule in India. And then when India needed him most, he ‘disappeared’.

    Don’t we owe it to Subhas Bose to know what became of him, now that we know so much that the previous generations did not?

    (Below: Ambedkar’s interview to BBC. He talks about Bose and INA 09:40 onwards.)

  2. Senaka Weeraratna

    Did Japan contribute to Sri Lanka and India to gain independence?

  3. Truth is King

    Bose did not end British rule. He died after a plane crash in Taipei in August 1945. Gandhi didn’t end British rule either. It was Lord Mountbatten who ended British rule against the wishes of Churchill who was both an Imperialist and Colonialist. It would have been impossible for India to end British rule without Mountbatten. Of course, Bose sympathisers won’t agree but the fact remains Bose was dead two years before independence and a dead man could not end British rule. Mountbatten ended it.

    Japan did not invade India or Ceylon so the argument it contributed to their independence doesn’t stand up. Remember the Japanese pre-empted their invasions of Malaya and the Dutch East Indies with radio propaganda claiming they would liberate these countries and grant them their independence, but it was a lie. After a few months of occupation, Indonesians realised the Japanese had no intention of granting them independence, and their rule was brutal and harsh. They introduced forced labour, the best rice went to Japan, while many Indonesians starved. If the Japanese had won WW2, India and Ceylon would not have gained independence and would probably be speaking Japanese today.. In Singapore, tens of thousands of Chinese were rounded up and killed and buried in mass graves. A Buddhist monk was killed by the Japanese after he was caught hiding Chinese people in a temple. So giving the Japanese credit for independence in Ceylon and India is going well-beyond what is fair and reasonable.


      Mountbatten committed the greatest crime in South Asian History when he presided over the partition of British India using the colonial strategy of ‘ Divide and Rule’ leading to the deaths of Millions of Hindus and Moslems.
      Karmic retribution followed when he himself was blown up in a boat by a bomb planted by an Irish terrorist group.
      The legacy of Mountbatten epitomizes British Imperialism at its worst for stoking antagonisms between Muslims and Hindus to avoid another Indian Mutiny (1857) when both these communities fought together under one flag to liberate their country from British occupation.

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