June 17, 2017: When we look through the pages of Indian history, we come across myriads of names of brave souls to whom we remain indebted till date, for freeing India from the control of the British Raj. We take pride in the names of those great revolutionaries of India who dedicated themselves to the sole purpose of overthrowing the British Raj. But the name of Rash Behari Bose slips through our mind and he remains one of the unsung heroes of the freedom struggle of India.
The contribution of Rash Behari Bose in India’s struggle for freedom is a notable one. That makes him a legendary revolutionary and therefore snippets from his life and work, deserve a mention to rekindle the memory of “fiery” Behari in the fleeting mind of the Indians.
Childhood and Youth
Born on 25th May in Burdwan district of rural Bengal in the year 1886, Bose was brought up and completed his education in Chandannagar, the town that was under French rule during that period. Since his childhood, Bose had been a stubborn child with a bit of temper, which fuelled his revolutionary instincts at a tender age. Bose, still young, was implicated in Alipore Bomb Case around 1908; after which he went to Dehradun in North India and joined the Forest Research Institute as a head clerk. In spite of working for the British government, the fire of a revolutionist in him was alive and burning, which made him get in touch with the revolutionaries of the Jugantar movement secretly.
Failed Attempt of Assassination
The imperial capital of New Delhi was inaugurated in the year 1912. The celebrations were interrupted by an attempt of assassinating Lord Charles Hardinge- the then Viceroy of India. In an attempt to showcase his disapproval against the British, Bose had participated and actively involved himself in the bombing. After its failure, most of the revolutionaries were convicted and executed. Bose somehow managed to escape undamaged.
Life in Hiding and the episode of the Ghadar Uprising
After the failed attempt of assassination, Rash Behari had to remain hidden. He was even declared ‘wanted’ by the British Government. Later on, Bose participated in the Ghadar revolution around 1913-15 and became a prominent leader, attempting to incite a pan-India mutiny.
With the epic rise of the revolutionary activities, the British government launched a large-scale offensive with newer strategies. Many revolutionaries, nationalists, and national leaders were arrested and executed.
However, hunting down and capturing Bose was not a piece of cake due to his artful skills of concealing the master-bomber that he was. He went back to Dehradun to rejoin his position. But he had to come back to his hometown and remain underground for one year, fearing British captivity. Later, the Ghadar movement failed and the wrath of the British government led to the rise of inhuman British assault. Hiding in India became impossible and Bose sailed for Japan.
Life in Japan and formation of IIL and Azad Hind Fauj
In Japan, Bose was able to establish strong contacts, ensuring his safety from the claws of the British. Later he got married to the daughter of the owner of Nakamuraya bakery and the couple birthed two children before the death of Bose’s wife.
After his wife’s demise, Bose devoted himself to active politics. He crafted the foundation of the IIL- Indian Independence League, with an objective to form the ‘Azad Hind Fauj.’ In the year 1943, on 5th July, Rash Behari handed over the remains of the IIL to Subhas Chandra Bose, making his younger namesake the President of the IIL and designating himself as the adviser.
Honoring the legend
The government of Japan awarded Rash Behari the “Second Order of the Merit of the Rising Sun” before his demise on 21st January, 1945 in Tokyo. With great honor, the imperial coach was sent to carry his body. Long after the death of the legendary Rash Behari Bose, his remnants were brought to India by his daughter in 1959 and a tribute was paid to the noble son of our Nation by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who was the president of India during that period.
We, the citizens of India, remain indebted to Rash Behari Bose and yet we allow the memory of his diversified contributions to our nation, slip through the mind and fade into oblivion. Such an honorable national icon deserves better and we must always pay the proper tributes to such a hero.