I was always fascinated by him. Maybe because there was some mystery surrounding his death and somehow his eyes reminded me of Swami Vivekananda. The round glasses and cap were his tribute probably to Gandhiji. He gave two clarion calls during the freedom struggle – “Jai Hind” and “Delhi Chalo”. He also was the one who demanded “Poorna Swaraj”, complete freedom for India rather than a dominion status that the Indian National Congress was ready to accept.
A brilliant student who cleared the civil services examination easily, a voracious reader, someone who wanted to see his motherland free of the British at the same time, a near ascetic, who was deeply influenced by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He created the “Azad Hind Fauj” a precursor to the Indian army and tried to take help from the Japanese to attack the British army and free India. The fact that he was able to mobilise 50000 soldiers at that time just goes to show what a charismatic leader he must have been. The British declared him a war criminal and in 1945, he died in a plane crash …. Or maybe not. No one knows and there is no conclusive proof. He seems to have married a German lady and had a daughter, who has written a biography of his.
Gandhiji called him a prince amongst patriots and he really had huge following amongst the masses. He was twice the President of the Indian National Congress and was expelled in1939, due to his socialist leanings. To this day, many of us wonder, if he had lived when India gained independence and had become the Prime Minister, how would the country have progressed ? I still remember while growing up, there would always be rumors that he was alive and there once was a strong rumor that he was going to show up at the Republic Day parade. It didn’t happen… Then the death of the Gumnami baba of Faizabad, with 23 boxes of his memorabilia. …. Mystery, and more of it.
Today is your birthday, and Netaji, we miss you sorely. There is really no one who stands as a tall leader, with strong integrity, great character and your special charisma. Did you die in 1945 or in 1985 or sometime in between ? For many of us, it’s a loss, that you couldn’t be around to lead us after Independence …. Jai Hind and your beloved motherland is getting ready for another revolution, come by, in your new life and help lead this revolution. Happy Birthday Netaji.
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