I convey my heartfelt homage to Rash Behari Bose on his 70th
Death Anniversary. He was a revolutionary leader against the British
Raj in India and was one of the key organisers of the Ghadar Revolution
and later, the Indian National Army.
Bose was born in Subaldaha village,
Burdwan, in the province of Bengal. He was educated in Chandannagar,
where his father, Vinodebehari Bose, was stationed. He later earned
degrees in the medical sciences as well as in Engineering from France
and Germany.
He was one of the key organizers of the
plan to assassinate Lord Charles Hardinge. He played a crucial role in
the Ghadar conspiracy, a conspiracy to attack British army from the
inside. Both times he managed to escape the authorities, owing to his
camouflaging skills. He was the master of disguise. He fled to Japan
under fake identity and changed his residence seventeen times. He was
the founding father of Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauz) that
Subhash Chandra Bose capitalized on later. He received second grade
Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government. He was Rash Behari
Bose, a revolutionary leader born in a small village of West Bengal.
Rash Behari Bose was born on 25th May
1886 in the Subaldaha Village of Burdwan District, West Bengal of
British India. At the age of three, his mother passed away in 1889 and
he was thus, brought up by his maternal aunt Vama Sundari. His early
education was under his grandfather, Kalicharan, in the village of
Subaldaha itself. For further education he joined Dupleix College at
Chandannagar, which was under the French rule. As a result, both British
and French culture and sensibilities had their play in shaping Rash
Behari’s future. It was his teacher in the college, Charu Chand, a man
possessed with some radical notions that inspired Rash Behari to think
along the lines of revolutionism. Consistently shifting through
different jobs as a copy holder in press, guardian tutor, and as a clerk
didn’t allow his college education to be completed. However, education
was never his forte; it was the revolutionary thinking towards which he
was more interested.
It was during the partition of Bengal
(1905) that Rash Behari got involved in the revolutionary activities.
Rash Behari Bose, along with Aurobindo Ghosh and Jatin Banerjee, led the
public outburst against the British but had to flee from Bengal
following an act gone wrong. The incident went on to be known as the
Alipore Bomb case. In 1912, a plan was made to take down the Governor
General and a Viceroy to India, Lord Charles Hardinge, in Delhi. On
December 23rd 1912, when the possession of Lord Hardinge reached Chandni
Chowk (Delhi), a bomb aimed at Hardinge ended up killing a man to his
right and 20 other spectators. Basanta Kumar Bisbas, who threw the bomb
disguised as a lady was arrested and hanged in Ambala jail. But Rash
Behari, one of the conspirators, managed to avoid arrest owing to clever
disguise. He was also one of the leading figures involved in the Ghadar
Conspiracy, a plan by which Indian sepoy would infiltrate the British
army and attack from the inside; loot the treasure and free the
prisoners, all at the same time. However this plan could not transform
into action following a spy who managed to pass the information to the
police. Many of the suspects were arrested but Rash Behari managed to
escape yet again.
It was on 12th May 1915 that Rash Behari
left Calcutta and went to Japan. From 1915-1918, he changed his
residence seventeen times and lived like a fugitive. In 1918, he married
Tosiko, daughter of Pan-Asian supporters Soma Aizo and Soma Kotsuko,
who were supportive of Rash Behari’s efforts and became a Japanese
citizen in 1923. Rash Behari and Tosiko had a son, Masahide, and a
daughter, Tetaku. It was his relation with the Japanese that helped him
in persuading the authorities to stand by Indian Nationalists and
actively support India’s freedom struggle from abroad. Following a
conference held in Tokyo on 28th March 1942, it was decided to establish
the Indian Independence League. After a few days it was decided to make
Subhash Chandra Bose as its president. The Indian prisoners that were
captured by the Japanese in Malaya and Burma were encouraged to join the
Indian Independence League and the Indian National Army. It was the
efforts of Rash Behari, along with Captain Mohan Singh and Sardar Pritam
Singh, due to which Indian National Army came into existence on
September 1, 1942. It was also known as Azad Hind Fauz.

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