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Subhas Chandra Bose birth anniversary: When Netaji gave Gandhi the title of ‘Father of the Nation’

GS-1: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.


January 23 is Parakram Diwas, the birth anniversary (126th this year) of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He is famous for slogans such as "Jai Hind," "Give me blood and I will give you freedom," "Chalo Dilli," "Itmad (Faith), Ittefaq (Unity) and Kurbani (Sacrifice)".


Subhas Chandra Bose’s early life

  • Subhas Chandra Bose, born in 1897 to an upper-class Bengali family in Cuttack, was the ninth child of Janakinath and Prabhavati Bose
  • His father, a lawyer, sent him to an English-medium school where Bengali was not taught. 
  • However, his mother, a devout Hindu, exposed him to Bengali customs and pujas. 
  • He completed his secondary education at Ravenshaw Collegiate School, where he was taught Bengali and Sanskrit, and became influenced by the teachings of Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, and the themes of Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
  • He entered the Presidency College in Calcutta in 1913, and as a student, he fought with British authority by beating a teacher who made derogatory remarks about India in class. 
  • He was expelled but later resumed his studies at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta, and went to Cambridge University to prepare for the ICS exam in 1920.
  • But later he abandoned it to join the national movement for India's freedom, led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • He met with Gandhi in 1921 but left unsatisfied with his plan of action.
  • He then worked closely with Congress leader C R Das in Calcutta. He was given the responsibility for publicity of the Bengal province Congress Committee and was appointed principal of the National College.
  • He was also involved in the non-cooperation movement, writing for the nationalist cause and directing Congress volunteers. 
  • In February 1922, Gandhi called off the non-cooperation movement due to an outbreak of violence at Chauri Chaura, which resulted in disappointment and anger from Bose and Nehru who were in prison and had worked hard for the movement.


Gandhiji vs Bose ideological differences


Gandhiji’s ideology

Netaji’s ideology

Gandhiji was willing to wait a long time for Independence.

Netaji wanted immediate action, if not immediate results.

Emphasizes non-violence and peaceful resistance as a means to achieve Indian independence.

Advocates for a more militant approach to resist British rule.

Advocated for the use of non-violent methods such as strikes, boycotts, and satyagraha (non-violent resistance) to achieve independence.

Believed that non-violence would not be enough to achieve independence and advocated for the use of force.

Believed in the power of mass mobilization and civil disobedience to bring about social and political change.

Formed the Indian National Army (INA) to fight against British rule and believed in the use of armed struggle to achieve freedom.

Believed in the need for self-reliance, simplicity and the village economy. 

Believed in socialism and secularism. 

Wanted a decentralized society and disliked the modern state

Wanted a strong central government and saw the modern state as the only solution to India’s problems.

More focused on the upliftment of the poor and the underprivileged.

More focused on the struggle for Indian independence.

They were more popular among the general public and the Congress party.

They were popular among a smaller group of people, particularly among the younger and more radical members of the Indian independence movement.

Anti-materialistic and hostile to modern technology.

Saw technology and mass production as essential to survival and dignity.

Nehru vs Bose ideological differences

Nehru’s ideology

Netaji’s ideology

Emphasizes socialism, secularism, and non-alignment.

Advocates for a more militant approach to resist British rule and emphasis on nationalism and socialist values.

Based on socialism and secularism, which means the equal treatment of all citizens, regardless of religion, caste, or class.

Believed that the Indian economy should be planned and controlled by the government, and advocated for the nationalization of key industries.

He was also a strong advocate of non-alignment, which meant that India would not align itself with any major power bloc during the Cold War.

Believed that socialism and secularism should be secondary to nationalism values. He believed in the use of armed struggle to achieve freedom and advocated for a more militant approach to resist British rule and formed the Indian National Army (INA) to fight against British rule.

Believed that the struggle for Indian independence was the first priority and all other issues should be secondary to it.

More focused on building a modern, industrialized nation.

More focused on the struggle for Indian independence.

Nehru's ideas were more popular among the more moderate members of the Indian independence movement and Congress party.

Netaji's ideas were popular among a smaller group of people, particularly among the younger and more radical members of the Indian independence movement.


  • The competition between Bose and Nehru in politics emerged in the later 1930s, and was rooted in their distinct perspectives towards Gandhi and the Indian independence movement, as well as their contrasting opinions on Fascism and the Second World War.

Presidency and Rift in Congress

  • Although Bose was imprisoned for his involvement with the Bengal Volunteers, an underground revolutionary group, he was still elected as the mayor of Calcutta during the 1930 civil disobedience movement.
  • Bose was an influential leader in the Indian nationalist movement.
  • In February 1938, Subhas Bose took over as president of the Congress and during the next two years, he made a name for himself as a Congressman. 
  • At the Haripura session of the Congress, Bose made his presidential address, which is known to be the lengthiest and most important speech he ever made to the party. 
  • He made it clear that he stood for unqualified Swaraj and opposed the idea of an Indian federation under British rule.
  • His first disagreement with Gandhi happened in December 1938 when Bose was eager to form a coalition government in Bengal and this disagreement sowed the seeds of discord between them. 
  • The following year, Bose was hopeful for re-election as Congress president, but Gandhi was against it. 
  • Bose found support from younger members of the Congress and Rabindranath Tagore
  • An election was organized by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and Bose won comfortably, but Gandhi saw it as a personal defeat. 
  • Despite their differences, Bose respected Gandhi and wanted to win his confidence. However, due to rift with Gandhi, 12 of the 15 members of the Working Committee resigned, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, and Rajendra Prasad in response to Bose's re-election.
  • Patel had a personal and political rivalry with Bose and their relationship had been strained since the death of Patel's elder brother in 1933. 
  • Bose urged Gandhi to take a more adversarial stance towards the British Raj and help reconcile the party, but Gandhi remained unmoved in his position. 
  • Bose ultimately resigned from his post as president of the Congress party in April 1939, citing his failed efforts to find common ground with Gandhi.
  • He then proposed the creation of the "Forward Bloc" within the Congress Party to bring the radical-left elements together. His political aim was to convert the majority of Congress members towards his radical point of view and provide an alternative leadership based on uncompromising anti-imperialism in the current phase of Indian politics and undiluted socialism once freedom was achieved.
  • Despite the differences between Subhas Bose and Mahatma Gandhi, Bose was aware of Gandhi's significance as a leader, he was the first to call him the "father of the nation" during a speech from the Azad Hind Radio from Singapore in July 1944.

Life after leaving Congress

  • In September 1939, the Second World War began and it had a significant impact on the history of modern India. 
  • The difference in attitude towards the war was the final straw in the deteriorating relationship between Bose and the Congress leadership, particularly Nehru. 
  • Bose saw the war as an opportunity for India to launch a civil disobedience movement to win independence, but the Congress Working Committee (CWC) led by Nehru had a different stance, asking the British government to clarify its position on the war with regard to imperialism and democracy, and postponing the decision of the Congress on the matter. 
  • Bose was critical of the compromise position taken by the Congress and organized mass protests in Calcutta in 1940, leading to his arrest by the British government. He was released after going on a hunger strike.
  • In January 1941, he escaped from India by traveling in various disguises to avoid British surveillance. 
  • He made his way to Nazi Germany through Soviet-controlled Kabul where he received assistance to defeat the British. 
  • He was caught up in discussions with the Foreign and Propaganda Ministries. They discussed an intensive recruiting campaign among Indian prisoners of war (POWs). 
  • This plan was meant to be carried out in two phases – 
  • The formation and subsequent disbandment of the Indian National Army (INA) under Captain Mohan Singh Deb, and 
  • The formation of Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind under Subhas Chandra Bose, and reformation of the INA as its army.
  • In January 1942, the propaganda ministry announced the formation of the Indian National Army in Berlin
  • He then turned his focus to South East Asia, specifically Singapore, which was a British stronghold that had been taken over by Japan, which was showing increased interest in Indian independence from the British. 
  • However, leaving Europe during the peak of World War II was not easy. In February 1943, he left Germany with his aide Abid Hasan in a submarine, and traveled down the Atlantic Ocean, crossing the Cape of Good Hope in Africa before entering the Indian Ocean past Madagascar
  • He and Hasan were taken on a small rubber boat provided by the Japanese, before being taken to Sumatra and finally arriving in Tokyo by air, after a dangerous and grueling 90-day journey.

The INA and World War II

  • The Indian Independence Movement had already been launched in East Asia by the late Rash Behari Bose, a veteran nationalist exiled in Japan.
  • Bose arrived in Singapore and established Azad Hind Government in Singapore on October 21, 1943, with a Cabinet of Ministers and Advisers with the aim of creating a free India through an armed struggle against the British.
  • He became president of the Azad Hind Government.
  • Bose sought assistance from Japan and the government handed over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the new state. 
  • Bose announced that Azad Hind was joining Japan in the war against the U.S. and Britain. 
  • He formed the Indian National Army (INA) and expanded it to three divisions. The army mainly consisted of Indian prisoners of war captured by Japan during the Malayan campaign. 
  • It also established diplomatic relations with nine other countries including Germany, Italy, and the Empire of Japan.
  • On October 21, 1943, the government declared war on Britain for the liberation of India, and adopted the Congress's flag and a new national anthem
  • The war cry was "Chalo Delhi" and "Jai Hind" became the acknowledged greeting among Indians.
  • His speeches were convincing and he was popular among Indians and other nations in East Asia.
  • He created various institutions like the Azad Hind Dal, Rani of Jhansi Regiment, Indian Independence Leagues, Balak Sena to help the campaign.
  • Material resources were donated in plenty and crores of cash poured into the coffers of the National Bank of Azad Hind
  • On January 6, 1944, the Headquarters of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind and the Supreme Command of the Indian National Army (I.N.A.) were moved to Rangoon.
  • On February 4, the soldiers of the I.N.A. crossed the border and entered India. By June, they had surrounded Imphal and were attacking its outer walls. 
  • Due to bad weather, they had to withdraw into Burma. The I.N.A. continued to fight various battles in Burma until the fall of Rangoon on May 1, 1945, and their final surrender to British forces in Malaya on September 5, 1945. 
  • The I.N.A. was known for promoting unity among Indians and disregarding religious, communal, and other differences. The leader of the I.N.A., Netaji, believed in absolute sincerity to the cause, total sacrifice, and leadership with the spirit of Bushido. Despite the outcome, those involved in the movement had no regrets. 
  • On August 14, 1945, Netaji spoke at a gathering in Singapore and stated that the sacrifice of the I.N.A. would be worth it for the freedom of Indians. He also believed that the military campaign in East Asia would create a political consciousness among the British Indian Army and have a significant impact on India. 
  • This was later confirmed by British Prime Minister Attlee.

Death and Mystery

  • Scholars generally agree that Subhas Chandra Bose died from severe burns on 18 August 1945 after his plane, which was carrying too much weight, crashed in Taiwan, which was under Japanese rule at the time. 
  • However, many of his supporters, particularly in Bengal, have refused to accept the fact and circumstances of his death. 
  • Conspiracy theories surrounding his death emerged shortly after and have persisted, perpetuating various myths about Bose.

[Ref- IE]

Fact File

PM Modi renames 21 islands in Andaman and Nicobar on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose anniversary

  • Recently, the Prime Minister named 21 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after Param Vir Chakra awardees and unveiled the model of a proposed memorial dedicated to Subhas Chandra Bose on the occasion of his birth anniversary.
  • By naming the 21 islands after the Paramveer awardees, these historical moments will serve as an inspiration for future generations.
  • In 2018Prime Minister renamed Ross Island as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep during his visit, Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep.
  • The names Swaraj and Shaheed, but they were not given importance even after Independence.

  • In addition to honor Bose's contributions, the Prime Minister has taken various steps during his premiership, such as building a memorial and museum in Andaman, inaugurating a Netaji museum at the Red Fort in 2019, and installing a statue of Bose at India Gate.
  • The Prime Minister also emphasized that one of Netaji's most significant accomplishments was the establishment of the first independent government of India in Andaman and Nicobar in 1943
  • He also mentioned that Bose was the one who had raised the Indian flag for the first time at the same spot where it is flown today in Andaman. 


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