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Subhas Chandra Bose - The Transformative years

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The Search
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It was told to this group of spiritual aspirants that a Guru was the most important need for a spiritual life. Therefore Subhas in his right earnest began his search for truth, and in all sincerity tried to gain a Guru. Once a very aged Sannyasi (according to some version famous monk Bholananda Giriji) came to Cuttack. Subhas and his friends respectfully served him. The old Sannyasi advised him to eat vegetarian, recite certain slokas and respect the parents by prostrating before them daily. The third advice was the most difficult to follow for young Subhas, but he remained at it with a steadfastness that he had displayed in all his endeavours. Every morning he bowed down (made pranaam) before his parents. At first they were surprised and he was embarrassed. But soon it became an accepted norm. Afterwards he realized that these advices did not advance him much towards his spiritual goals. So he left everything else and stuck to Ramakrishna Vivekananda. The next endeavour was seva or service as per the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. He served anybody coming to his house and got a lot of satisfaction in fulfilling their needs.  He was not even sixteen when he started to work in the villages along with a group of like minded friends. In one village they conducted some educational work and were praised for their efforts. But in another Orissa village they were looked upon with suspicion. It dawned upon them that the villagers did not have a good experience with gentlemen before and that's why they were naturally suspicious of their motives. At this time Subhas did not have much knowledge about the political situations. He had witnessed agitations against the Partition of Bengal, that had triggered the Nationalist and Revolutionary Movements. He however developed a deep kinship with the revolutionaries and began keeping their photos cut from the newspapers in his room. One day, a police officer, who was a relative, saw the photos in his room and was scandalized. He informed Janakinath and the very next day all the photos were removed from his room. Subhas felt bad about it, but could do nothing. He had yet to grasp the full import of the freedom movement and what it meant. So when Janakinath proposed that he should go with him to the coronation festival of King Geroge V he readily acquiesced.  Imagine, the later day emperor of the revolutionaries in India participating in the coronation function of the British  emperor George V and deriving immense satisfaction from the event!
But things do take a turn and life has so many unexpected corners. In Subhas's life the first inspiration appeared in the form of Hemanta Sarkar, whom, a great man described in later life as his "bosom friend.". Benimadhab Das, who was in Krishnanagar school, wrote a letter to Subhas asking him to take care of his student Hemanta. Hemanta and Subhas met in 1912 and soon liked each other. Benimadhab was glad to know that. Hemanta was affiliated with a group in Calcutta that worked secretly in political activities. Through him, Subhas came in touch with this group and got to know about their activities.
Subhas's relationship with his mother Prabhavati Devi can be discussed now. He had great respect for his mother, who managed such a huge family and yet could find time for her children. She was the typical Indian woman of that age, pious, devoted, culturally accomplished, wise, loving mother and dutiful wife. "Subi" was her favourite. Subhas wrote many letters to her, some of which were full of wisdom rare for a boy of that age. As claimed in his book Indian Pilgrim, Subhas was an introvert and he developed a single track mind. He made Brahmacharya or celibacy his goal of life and had innumerable struggles to keep away the thoughts of sexual desires from his mind. That he succeeded was beyond any doubt. During the period of his intense sadhana he did not like the company of his teachers, barring a few who were devotees of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. He even thought little of the preachers who had not renounced their worldly lives like the Kulguru (the family preceptor) of his parents. He said that by reading Vivekananda he was able to get rid of all superstitions and thus developed the strength of mind. He practised Yoga to get rid of dreams pertaining to fear and anxiety, carnal desires etc. His family was  largely broad minded and had a close association with people from other religions, esp. the Muslims. Subhas therefore had developed a liberal view and could easily cultivate good relationship with everyone. He did not have any orthodoxy or narrow mindedness in matters of religion.  Subhas was however rebel in nature. In many cases he went against the wishes of his parents. He did not care about any taboos, esp. caste barriers. When he single-mindedly pursued spiritual life, his parents and family members who had high hopes on him, were disappointed, esp. as his studies were impacted. His parents thought that probably if he moved to Calcutta he would be cured of his obsession with a spiritual life. Despite all the extra curricular activities undertaken by him that left him little space for serious academic work, Subhas appeared in the Entrance (Xth standard) examination and earned the second place. His parents were once again happy. After that he was sent to Calcutta to further pursue his studies.
Birth of the Ideals
Sister Nivedita
Sister Nivedita and Aurobindo Ghosh laid down the spiritual foundation of Indian Independence Movement. Sister Nivedita worked tirelessly to awaken the youth to the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and planted the seeds of rebellion. Aurobindo came back from England to work for the upliftment of India. Eventually he acted as the mentor for the initial revolutionary movement following the Partition of Bengal. Aurobindo was acquitted in Alipore Bomb Case and retired from active politics. Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

In 1905, the Partition of Bengal came into effect that was to form the basis of a future partition of India. Bengal was split on the grounds of administrative efficiency, masking the real intention of dividing the Hindu Muslim population and fueling the ambition of a separate Muslim state, so as to considerably weaken the Hindu Nationalism that was taking shape. Viceroy Curzon was the architect of the split. Writes Dr. R.C Majumdar, "Curzon who undertook a tour of Bengal to ascertain the sentiment, evidently found corroboration to his theory that the newfound nationalism among the Bengali speaking population was dangerous to the interest of the British empire and it was imperative to weaken the Bengalis by dividing them. Also according to the British, the Islamic population were politically less advanced and were loyal to the crown and therefore it was necessary to separate them from the influence of the Hindus by pampering to their demands of a separation of the Muslim majority population."


Bengal, and the rest of India, erupted in protests. Almost all the local newspapers including moderate leader Surendranath Bannerjee's Bengali, had rebelled against the proposed partition. Even The English language dailies were not favorable to the decision. The movement soon grew in stature under the stewardship of Surendranath Bannerjee and other Nationalist leaders who had evolved from being dependent on prayers and petitions to take the battle to the enemy's camp through mass mobilization. The movement against the partition, for the first time in the history of British India, impressed common people who expressed their solidarity against what they perceived to be tyranny and oppression. It roused the social consciousness and made people, esp. the educated youth, aware of the evils of a foreign yoke. It also brought up a new class of leaders from the educated section of the Bengalis. Krishna Kumar Mitra, the editor of Sanjivani, suggested the idea of boycotting British goods and shunning all contacts with the Government. Swadeshi movement was given birth, together with the boycott of all foreign goods by the common men. Ashwini Kumar Datta, led the movement from Barishal. Mukunda Das, the bard, wrote his immortal songs like, "Chede dao reshmi chudi", asking Bengali women to shun all foreign made bangles, and went from village to village rousing common folks with his simple lyrics. Narendranath Sen, a moderate leader, who was also the editor of the Indian Mirror, brought in a resolution demanding the abstinence from purchase of the English goods. "Sandhya" of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay churned out fiery sermons against the foreign rule. The Dawn Society of Satish Chandra Mukherjee became one of the most active proponents of Swadeshi and Boycott movements. Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandi of Kasimbazar described partition as the greatest calamity fallen upon the Bengali speaking race since the commencement of the British rule. Rabindranath Tagore and his family members organized a Rakhi utsav to tie the knots of solidarity and brotherhood and Rabindranath composed his famous song, "Banglar Mati Banglar Jal" on the occasion. Dwijendralal Roy and Rajani Kanta Sen wrote a number of patriotic songs that instilled pride in one's culture and national heritage.


Negating Government attempts to communally divide the masses, Muslims joined a mass agitation in Raja Bazar, which was chaired by Abdul Rasool. A young, aspiring, would be ICS, Aurobindo Ghosh, had quit England's shore to come back to India and prepared himself for a long fight in Baroda. Later he came to Bengal to organize and stimulate people's consciousness against what he perceived to be a diabolic and oppressive rule, through his literary work as well as his active mentoring and organizing of the revolutionary societies. He worked closely with an Irish lioness, a disciple of the spiritual giant Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita. Nivedita did not let Curzon rest in peace and constantly attacked the Government through her many articles, with the support of her friend Ratcliffe of 'The Statesman'. When Curzon had proclaimed that Indians were habitual liars, and there was not a single protest from any of the Indians present, Sister Nivedita took it upon herself to show how Curzon himself had lied in Korea. She inspired the youth in the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and through her writings and speeches kindled the fire of patriotism. She also inspired a lot of young revolutionaries, kept close association with the luminaries and dignitaries on one hand and the revolutionary societies like Anushilon Samity on the other. In the Indian Review of March 1905 she wrote: 'This Swadeshi movement is an integral part of the National Righteousness. ...' A National College was set up in Jadavpur, of which Aurobindo became the first principal. These two unsheathed swords had shaped the way India's history was to progress and their successor was already chosen by the Providence. These events later shaped the destiny of Bengal and India and left a profound influence on the rebel Subhas.

Writes Dr. R.C Majumdar in his History of Freedom Movement, "Partition of Bengal and the movement that followed in its wake is significant in many ways. First, it reflected a deep sense of injustice and injury inflicted by a foreign rule that was insensitive to the plight and the pride of a people and a culture. Second, it resulted in the rise of leaders and reshaped their roles from being instruments of prayers and petitions to conducting and inspiring mass agitations. Third, it was mostly non violent in nature, despite the grievous injury and the highhandedness of the authorities. Fourth, it raised the consciousness of the masses and instilled patriotism, which later burst forth in the subsequent stages of the freedom movement. Bengal was the first to rise like an injured lion, and then the rest of India followed." Although the partition did not impact young Subhas who was only eight years old, its scars had left a deep impression on the people's psyche that influenced Subhas indirectly when he became politically conscious, about a decade later. Years later he would proclaim, "If Bengal dies, who lives. If Bengal lives, who dies!" He had warned against the devastating effects of Partition of India on Bengal.

After clearing Entrance examination Subhas came to Calcutta and was admitted to the Presidency College. But his parents' purpose of sending him to Calcutta was not very successful. In Calcutta also Subhas did not have much trouble in setting up a group of students who were like him in disposition, i.e. spiritually oriented and were followers of Ramakrishna Vivekananda ideology. Goal of his life was clear, he was not to immerse himself in usual pursuit of happiness and pleasure that students of his age would have done in his place. He had a higher ideal, of service to the mankind, of renunciation and of course, celibacy. He had a tough battle to fight, with his own tendencies and inclinations against his goal. Renouncing the thoughts of sexual desires esp. was not easy. That he succeeded to a large extent in overcoming the tides against him, of his family pressures and his internal struggles, testify for his immense will power, something that characterized him throughout his life. He understood that life had a purpose and for achieving this purpose it was essential to train the body and the mind through a process of rigorous discipline.  This stage of his life had prepared him for the later period of turbulence in his political life, esp. the periods of physical hardship in unbearable conditions in the prisons. He acknowledged that by accepting the ideals of Ramakrishna and Vivekananda he had been able to resolve many of his inner conflicts and problems. His main struggle, as admitted by him was in the field of controlling the sex impulses. He had later wondered if it was at all necessary to greatly repress so natural instincts, but in this respect Ramakrishna Vivekananda's strict injunctions were his mainstay. He took it for granted that renunciation of lust and greed was the most important factor in spiritual journey. He had his moments of dejection and despondency but he was largely successful on account of his indomitable spirit. This struggle helped in developing his mental stamina and strength and made him a person of a dogged tenacity. If he thought that a course was to be followed he would take that up, come what might, whatever be the price that he had to pay. This characteristics shaped his later life and was responsible for all the events that led to his emergence as the Netaji in the theater of the East Asian battlefields.

The year 1913 saw the emergence of a Subhas who had been shaped by the prevailing conditions in Calcutta. He formed a close group of spiritual seekers in line with Ramakrishna Vivekananda ideology. All the students of this group were good in studies and also wanted to work for the welfare of the others. They formed a study circle for exploring texts on philosophy, spirituality and nationalist history and used to share knowledge. They recruited new members to their groups and in the process met many people and made friends. They also visited places of national and historical importance like Murshidabad where they paid homage to the first fighter of freedom against the British, Siraj-ud-Daula. Hemanta was part of this group. They planned for setting up a large educational institution in line with the traditional Gurukuls. They visited Belur Math, went to meet Rabindranath Tagore, and were engaged in social activities. They shunned all political activities, esp. the revolutionary ones that were so prevalent at that time in Bengal. During that time Aurobindo Ghosh and Bagha Jatin were the most popular leaders in Bengal. Surendranath Bannerjee also had considerable influence. According to Subhas, Aurobindo's ideology helped in the better appreciation of how different Yoga paths can be harmonized to achieve the spiritual goals. In his spiritual outlook Subhas was attracted towards Sankara's philosophy of Advaita, but was not wholly appreciative of the doctrine of Maya. Vivekananda's teachings helped shape his spiritual ideas in line with the ideals of practical Vedanta - Seva or Service. Years later he would appreciate the doctrine of Achintya Bhedabheda as propounded by the followers of another great son of Bengal and Orissa - Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Vaishnava saint.

While staying in No 3 Mirzapur Street Mess of Suresh Bannerjee, Subhas met Bagha Jatin. That boarding house was a meeting point of the revolutionaries. Suresh Bannerjee's ideal was Ananda Math - a band of all renouncing monks dedicating themselves for the nation.

Subhas did not like his regular studies. The professors in Presidency college seemed to him to be devoid of any substance that could invigorate the students. He therefore devoted himself wholeheartedly in social services, like collecting edible staples by begging for distribution among poor. In doing all such outward activities like raising funds for flood relief, he got over his shyness and gradually became social. He also liked Prof. Prafulla Chandra Roy who was a well known figure in Chemistry, for his erudition and grasp of the subject, as well as for his compassionate nature and his love for his country.

During the summer vacation Subhas returned to Cuttack. His parents were outside Cuttack. When he heard that there was a cholera outbreak in a nearby village, he and his friends jumped to the occasion, took their homeopathic medicine boxes and went for the seva or the treatment of the affected villagers. Unfortunately the villagers, who were so accustomed to getting neglect and abuses from the officials and gentlemen alike, misinterpreted their gesture and did not fully cooperate. Moreover this group of young, inexperienced youths could not achieve much in terms of saving lives, however noble their intentions were. But this intrepid team tried their best. They had absolutely no fear of that deadly disease. They lived and ate together and survived on bare necessities. During this period of about a week, the real picture of rural India flashed in front of Subhas - the villages that were victims of neglect, apathy, tremendous poverty, illiteracy, superstitions, suffering from poor health and unhygienic conditions. This insight led him to develop a deep bond of sympathy with his fellow countrymen who were suffering under a foreign yoke that had only contempt and negligence in store for them.

After this experience Subhas came back to Calcutta and once again renewed his search for the sannyasis (monks). He heard about a young Punjabi sadhu who was staying about 60 miles away from Calcutta in a small town near the banks of the river. This sadhu was an epitome of renunciation. He stayed under tree shades and ate whatever he obtained by chance. He meditated during hot summer days by lighting fires, thus forgetting the body consciousness. He had a loving and gentle nature. Many people came to him but he never asked for anything beyond his needs for sustenance. This sannyasi had told Subhas that his guru was to be found elsewhere. So being even more conscious of the inner dispassion that was fueled by seeing the pure life of the sadhu, Subhas set off one day by borrowing some money from a friend, in search of a Guru, during the summer of 1914. He had with him Haripada Chattopadhyay, another friend. He never informed anybody and later wrote a small postcard to his family informing them of his decision. He went to the holy places of Mathura, Vrindavan, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gaya, Varanasi, and also saw the historic places like Delhi and Agra. They met sadhus and sannyasis of different ashramas and also tried to visit some of the Gurukuls where the inmates followed the ancient Hindu mode of studying by living in Guru's place. However they were disappointed by seeing the caste distinctions and other superstitions prevailing in these ashramas. Nowhere could they find true spirituality except in few places. And they could not find their goal, the Guru. In one of the ashramas they were refused a stay because they were thought to be revolutionaries. In another, they were denied food as they were fish eating Bengalis. In a third one they were not allowed to even drink water not all of them were Brahmins. They had a glimpse of the reasons for the downfall and deterioration of Hinduism in India that created for it thousand years of bondage and slavery. The sannyas ashrama, which was the mainstay of spirituality, which was the teacher, had so deviated from the pure advaitic tradition of Sankara that sannyasis or monks had made caste distinction as one of their policies. In Vrindavana they found one sannyasi advising them to embrace the life of householder. They met the Arya Samajists, the social reformers in Vrindavan and this led the local priests to become hostile to them. Thus they saw the bickering and the quarrel among the various sects of India, the bigotry and fanaticism prevalent among a section, and the general lack of spiritual atmosphere which they had been so desirous of finding. Only in Varanasi they had a great fortune of meeting Swami Brahmananda, the spiritual giant, who was the first president of the Ramakrishna order. A direct disciple and spiritual son of Sri Ramakrishna himself, Swami Brahmananda or Rakhal Maharaj knew Subhas's family intimately. They stayed with him for sometime. In the meanwhile Subhas's parents were extremely worried and they had been searching for him everywhere. From Varanasi, Subhas returned home, much to the relief of his family. Subsequently he fell ill on account of typhoid and thus spent his time in bed, while black clouds hovered on the horizon. The first world war had begun in Europe.

The Struggle
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Bagha Jatin and Rashbehari Bose - Two Architects of 1914 revolution. While Bagha Jatin focused on getting the consignment of arms for carrying out large scale attack on Government machinery, Rashbehari worked with Ghadar party and Berlin Committee to launch a coordinated assault from the army barracks across India. The meticulously planned conspiracy failed owing to treachery and Rashbehari had to escape to Japan while Jatin embraced martyrdom after a heroic trench battle. Image courtesy Wikipedia

After coming back to Presidency College Subhas got caught in the vortex of politics. So far he did not have any strong political viewpoint. He did not align with the viewpoints of the revolutionaries who wanted to carry out terror strikes on Government. He had more appetite for the non violent measures. Also he did not have much idea as to how the national consciousness would develop. His idea was that it would come through cultural renaissance and mass education. He also believed that India should have its own administration under British protection. But the ideas were not well developed. Two things shaped his political ideas. One was the treatment of the white men towards the natives and the other was the world war. He used to encounter in his daily lives the first, while commuting, in the buses and trams where natives were treated harshly, and abuses, kicks and insults were hurled at them, including at their womenfolk by the ruling classes. Any protest would land the native in jail and their fear of the white men prevented them from retaliating. But slowly the young men of the country rebelled.


One needs to look into the contemporary environment to develop more ideas about the transformation process. The future of the nation was possibly decided in 1893 in the parliament of religions when a young enlightened monk Swami Vivekananda taught his countrymen that they were not inferior, but rather they had a very rich inheritance and legacy that they had forgotten. The same monk, on coming back to India thundered across, from Colombo to Almora, exhorting the youth to Arise, Awake and Stop Not till the goal was reached - uttisthita jagrata, prapya varan nibodhata (Kathaponishad). Youth of India soon awoke from the self hypnotism. During the plague outbreak in Pune, commissioner W. C Rand was killed for his mistreatment of the natives. Chapekar brothers, the perpetrators, were sent to the gallows and Balgangadhar Tilak, their mentor, became the marked enemy of the empire. In 1901, the same monk, who was on a tour to East Bengal, inspired a group of young men to take up arms for the protection of the country. One of them was Hemchandra Ghosh, who was an indisputable leader of the Anushilon Samity and later Mukti Sangha and Bengal Volunteers and was a close associate of Subhas in his later years. In the larger scheme of the Universe things were moving faster. Sister Nivedita, an Irish disciple of the monk Vivekananda, mentored a group of revolutionaries against the injustices of the British Government, esp. that of Curzon who engineered the partition of Bengal. This enforced partition triggered a nationwide protest and the subsequent oppressive measures enraged the people and political leaders alike. The moderates of the congress under Dadabahi Naoraji, Surendranath Bannerjee and Gopalkrishna Gokhale were fast losing ground to the more militant section led by Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Aurobindo Ghosh and Lala Lajpat Rai. Aurobindo Ghosh and his brother Barindra Kumar Ghosh were instrumental in organizing the revolutionaries by inspiring the Bengali students who had been at the forefront of the anti partition movement. The Anushilon Samity, a secret group had been formed in 1902 to mentor and equip the revolutionaries by P.N Mitra, and later Bagha Jatin formed a splinter Jugantar group.


The first to strike on behalf of the revolutionaries was a sixteen year old lad, Khudiram Bose, and his friend Prafulla Chaki who were deputed to kill the notorious magistrate Kingsford in Muzaffarpur in 1908. Kingsford survived the attack but in a stroke of misfortune two British ladies, who were using the vehicle of the magistrate, were killed. Khudiram was caught and was hanged and Prafulla shot himself before being caught. The police soon nailed down the conspiracy and caught Barindra and several other revolutionaries in the Maniktolla bomb case. Bhupendra Nath Datta, editor of the fiery Jugantar publications, and youngest brother of Swami Vivekananda, was arrested and put behind the bar for a year. Later he went underground and escaped to America with the help of Sister Nivedita and Josephine MacLeod. Aurobindo, who was at that time editor of the Vande Mataram publication, was arrested. He was dubbed as the enemy number one and British police left no stones unturned to hang him in the Alipore Bomb Case. But two events saved Aurobindo from the gallows. One was that a traitor named Narendranath Gosai who had become an approver, was killed in the jail hospital by two young revolutionaries - Satyen Bose and Kanailal Datta. Satyen and Kanai were sent to the gallows and they embraced martyrdom quite cheerfully. The other was that Aurobindo's lawyer was a young barrister named Chittaranjan Das, an extraordinary person who would later leave his huge income and property to lead the Non Cooperation Movement in Bengal, form the Swarajists as a separate group from Congress, would become a force to reckon with for the Britishers - having more impact and decisiveness than Gandhi, and would also become the political guru and mentor of Subhas Chandra Bose. He said in his parting argument in the court - "My appeal to you therefore is that a man like this who is being charged with the offences imputed to him stands not only before the bar in this Court but stands before the bar of the High Court of History and my appeal to you is this: That long after this controversy is hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, this agitation ceases, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone his words will be echoed and re-echoed not only in India, but across distant seas and lands." Aurobindo was free but Barindra, Ullaskar Datta and several others served deportation to the notorious cellular jail in the Andamans. Aurobindo withdrew himself from political activities and escaped to the French occupied Pondicherry and became a Yogi.

From Left: Khudiram Bose, Barrister Chittaranjan Das, Kanailal Datta, Satyen Bose & Kanailal after assassinating Naren Gosai, Prafulla Chaki and Barindra Kumar Ghosh - image courtesy wikipedia. Khudiram and Prafulla Chaki wanted to kill the notorious district magistrate Kingsford but ended up killing two European ladies. Khudiram, a young boy of 16 years, was sent to the gallows. In the Alipore bomb case that followed, Kanailal and Satyen shot dead traitor Naren Gosai in the prison hospital in a daring attempt to save Aurobindo. A young barrister Chittaranjan's passionate appeal and defence of Aurobindo won history's recognition.

The mantle of revolutionary movement was taken up by two other leaders - the first of them was Jatindranath Mukherjee, also called Bagha Jatin, as he single handedly fought and killed a tiger. Bagha Jatin, an extra ordinary gentleman, was an organizer per excellence and he soon set up a network of revolutionary activities across Bengal, remaining behind the scene as a Government worker. A series of attacks rattled the Bengal Government. The killing of Deputy Superintendent of Police Samsul Alam by Biren Datta Gupta and Public Prosecutor Ashutosh Biswas by a handicapped Charu Chandra Bose, were daring acts planned and coordinated by Jatin. In 1910 he was caught in the Howrah conspiracy case but was let go in the absence of any evidence. Jatin worked silently in strengthening the revolutionary organizations through the Jugantar network. In 1911, because of the revolutionary activities, the British Government shifted the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. But the activities continued unabated. The Rodda arms heist in 1914 was a major success in the history of armed revolutionary activities. The architects included Haridas Datta, Srish Mitra, Bipin Behari Ganguli, Prabhudayal Himmatsinghka, Srish Pal, Anukul Mukherjee, Girin Bannerjee and the revolutionaries of Jugantar, Anushilon Samity and Mukti Sangha. It was a well coordinated and synchronized activity that also had Jatin's touch, as he was the leader coordinator among all the various groups that operated. The Mauser pistols and the bullets looted with the help of a single bullock cart were later used to fuel many revolutionary activities, including the battle in Balasore, and the arms used in the Kakori conspiracy case years later.


The second important leader who emerged from the shadows to organize an attack on Lord Hardinge in 1912 was none other than Rashbehari Bose. Rashbehari, together with the fellow revolutionaries like Vishnu Pingle and Sachindranath Sanyal, with the help of Ghadar party, tried to organize a mass uprising of the Indian army men across the barracks and cantonments in February 1914 in Singapore, Benaras, Punjab and other cantonments and barracks. Jatindranath had sought help from Germany to send a consignment of arms for triggering a war with the British and was supposed to receive the consignment in the Orissa coast. Jatin had earlier hatched a similar plan to rouse the Sikhs and Jat soldiers in the Eastern Command to mutiny. The coordinated plans failed owing to betrayal, and Pingle, Sanyal and other Ghadar party members were arrested. Pingle and Ghadar party leaders like Kartar Singh were hanged, while Sanyal was deported to the Andamans. Many soldiers in the barracks lost their lives esp. in Singapore where the rebellion was almost successful. Rashbehari made a daring escape to Japan and with the help of Mitusuyo Toyama of the Black Dragon society he could eventually settle in Japan and carry out his struggles to enlist the help of East Asia for the Indian cause. Many years later the paths of Rashbehari and Subhas Chandra Bose would cross and they would embrace each other. About Jatindranath, a young Subhas asked his friend Hemanta, whether he was a "Mukta Purush", an enlightened being. Subhas believed that only an enlightened person would be able to lead India to freedom. Hemanta had replied that Jatin was the living personification of Gita. The younger Subhas in 1908 was so inspired and affected by the death sentence of Khudiram Bose that he led the students of his school hostel to observe a day of "arandhan" or "no cooking". The silent protest was supported by head master Benimadhab Das, but when the authorities heard it, they were furious and this was believed to be one of the reasons for the transfer order of Benimadhab from Cuttack.

Such was the condition of Bengal and Calcutta when Subhas was searching for his destiny. It was quite natural therefore that the future leader of India would be caught in the whirlwinds and his entire perspective would change. The British Government would become his mortal enemy and his country would become his priority number one in life, at the expense of everything else, including his family and career. But the most unfortunate incident which helped shape his direction was a terrible injustice meted out to him by the British authorities when he had committed no wrong.

Rashbehari and wife Toshiko. Rashbehari continued his anti British activities from Japan and worked tirelessly to raise awareness among East Asian nations for India's struggle. He received cooperation from Black Dragon Society of Japan. His wife Toshiko supported him wholeheartedly even at the cost of her own health. Image courtesy wikipedia
Sachindranath Sanyal, right hand man of Rashbehari in carrying out the revolution of 1914. Eventually caught and deported. Continued his anti British activities and created Hindustan Republican Army. Image courtesy twitter
Ghadarites and martyrs of 1914 revolution. Vishnu Ganesh Pingle, Kartar Singh helped Rashbehari actively in coordinating the 1914 revolution.  Image courtesy Wikipedia

If we want to make India really great, we must build up a political democracy on the pedestal of a democratic society. Privileges based on birth, caste or creed should go, and equal opportunities should be thrown open to all irrespective of caste, creed or religion.

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