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Subhash Chandra Bose was born into an affluent Bengali family on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa. Subhash’s public prosecutor father ensured that his son availed the best of education in eminent institutions such as Scottish Church College, Calcutta and Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University. In 1920, at the insistence of his parents, Bose appeared in the prestigious Indian Civil Service and secured the fourth place.
During this period the civil disobedience movement called by Mahatma Gandhi was sweeping across the country and Bose resigned from the ICS in April 1921 to join his fellow countrymen in the freedom struggle. He joined the youth wing of the Congress Party and soon rose up the party hierarchy by virtue of his eloquence and leadership skills. At an early stage of his life Subhas Bose accepted Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das as his political guru.
Over a span of 20 years, Bose was imprisoned eleven times by the British, the first one being in 1921. In 1924, after a brief period of incarceration, Bose was exiled to Mandalay in Burma. Subhash Bose was imprisoned again in 1930 and deported to Europe. During his stay in Europe from 1933 to 1936, Subhash Bose zealously espoused the cause of Indian freedom while meeting a number of prominent European statesmen. In 1937, Bose married Emilie Schenkl who was his secretary.
Subhash Bose was twice elected president of the Indian National Congress (1938 and 1939) but following his disagreements with Mahatma Gandhi he relinquished his post and formed a progressive group known as the Forward Block. The Second World War broke out in 1939 and Bose launched a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest against the Viceroy’s decision to declare war on India’s behalf. Bose was put behind the bars but because of his hunger strike he was later placed under house arrest.
Taking advantage of the laxity of the house guards and aided by his cousin Sishir Bose, Subhash managed to escape and traversing through enemy territories he reached Moscow. Bose tried to garner the help Nazi Germany but due to the indifferent attitude of Hitler and other German leaders he left for Japan and soon assumed the leadership of Indian National Army (INA) founded by Rash Behari Bose.
Bolstered by material assistance from the Japanese forces, the INA attacked the British forces in Manipur and Nagaland in northeastern India and hosted the National Flag in the town in Moirang, in Manipur. But with the defeat of Japan, the invasion by the INA soon petered out and Netaji was forced to retreat to Malaya. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose allegedly died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo on August 18, 1945.