Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rashbehari Bose; rebel who never slept

What will be the first reaction of a youngster if he is ever asked of Rashbehari Bose? The answer will surely be negative and his next approach would be to steer clear of the questioner. But this would not have been, had the history of India been written in a free and fair way. Sadly, approach of the Indian governance has always been to despise the role of revolutionary activities in Indian freedom struggle and herald non-violent movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. What can be done then? It’s the duty of the present generation to bring the unsung heroes of independence struggle to limelight.

Rashbehari Bose (May 25, 1886–January 21, 1945), if truth be told, is one of the greatest revolutionary leaders who vowed to fight against the British Raj in India. He was one of the foremost organizers of Hindu-German conspiracy to overthrow British Raj and also of Indian National Army, later on. From his young days, Rashbehari was interested in radical activities to overthrow the iniquitous British Raj but he had to leave Bengal (for the time being) to shun the Alipore Bomb Case (1908).

In Dehradun he worked as Head Clerk in Forest Research Institute and being inspired by Jatindra Nath Banerjee a.k.a. Niralamba Swami, Jatindra Nath Mukherjee or Bagha Jatin and also Amarendra Chatterjee, got involved with the revolutionaries of Bengal. However, following the failed effort of to assassin Lord Hardinge, he went to hiding soon. Whatever happened, nothing could kill his zeal. Hindu–German Conspiracy, series of plans formulated between 1914 and 1917 to instigate a Pan-Indian rebellion against the British Raj during World War I, happened during this time and he got involved.

Even if this plan failed also, Rashbehari was soon recognized as the key person to the then British administration. It is to be noted that the conspirators included revolutionaries from India, Ghadar Party in United States, Indian Independence Committee in Germany. Basic idea of Jugantar Party was to make a rebellion among Indian soldiers in different cantonments and there was hope, since British Empire became highly engaged with World War I, it would not be able to quell the rebellion. But the conspiracy failed, majority of revolutionaries got arrested and also killed brutally. Nevertheless Rashbehari became successful to escape and arrive at Japan in 1915.

A rebel never sleeps and being the perfect example of this maxim, Rashbehari continued his efforts to help Indian independence movement from abroad. Owing to continual pressures of British Empire on Japanese government for his extradition, he married a Japanese lady, daughter of well-known Pan-Asian leaders, and turned into a legitimate citizen of Japan in 1923. During intervening years, he along with AM Nair was instrumental to fortify Indian independence struggle.

In 1942, Rashbehari Bose convened an international conference in Tokyo, capital and largest city of Japan, from March 28-30 that led to the formation of Indian Independence League. The conference also adopted a resolution that an army would be raised for national liberation of India. The second conference took place on June 22, 1942 in Bangkok, capital of Thailand. The conference was historical indeed as it decided to invite Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to join the League and become its president. Bear in mind that all these endeavors led to the formation of INA (Indian National Army) under the leadership of Netaji.

But his falling health could not let him perceive the glory and he died soon after, on January 21, 1945. He was honored by the Government of Japan with Order of the Rising Sun (2nd Grade).

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