Bose, Subhas Chandra, 1897-1945

One of the most brilliant Indians of his generation and an inflexible opponent of British rule. Bose had become President of the leading nationalist organization, the Indian National Congress by 1938. When its other leaders decided in 1939 not to take the chance the outbreak of war offered to organize nationwide opposition to British rule, he resigned the Presidency and was arrested as a dissident. He escaped from India via Afghanistan in 1941, made his way to Germany where he recruited some Indian POWs captured in the Western Desert by the Wehrmacht, and then traveled by U-Boat and Japanese submarine to Malaya in 1943. His idea was to organize the numerous body of Indians captured in Southeast Asia into an Indian National Army to fight alongside the Japanese in an invasion of India. He got together a force of three divisions, and in 1944 they took part in the Imphal-Kohima operation but understrength, badly-equipped and badly-treated by the Japanese who in practice treated them as hirelings rather than allies, they were ineffective. Many deserted as soon as they could to the British, who sensibly were not vindictive. Recognizing the collapse of his hopes, he tried in 1945 to take refuge in India, but was killed in an aircrash on the way there. To many Indians he remains a national hero. He was certainly the most striking and perhaps the most effective of the Southeast Asian nationalists to whom the war gave the chance to fight for freedom.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!