Lokmanya Keshav Gangadhar Tilak is considered the Father of the Indian Independence Movement. When moderate leaders were still wandering to decide the nature of the Indian Freedom Struggle, Lokmanya Tilak became the first leader to advocate for the Swaraj rule in India. He ignited nationalist feelings among the young sons of Bharat. His Swaraj call to eliminate the British rule in India provided the ground for a series of young revolutionary leaders.
Among other revolutionary leaders, Rash Behari Bose was the one, who throughout history remained involved in the Indian Independence Movement. He organised the revolutionary movement in India to enlighten the Indian souls to fight the despotic British rule. Rash Behari Bose’s idea of independence matches the revolutionary idea of Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad. Rash Behari Bose’s philosophy of freedom movement can be understood from his life’s successive decisions. Bose’s life was devoted to Bharat Mata and struggle for freedom, which made him the Godfather of the Indian Independence Movement.
First Big Strike by Rash Behari Bose
Rash Behari Bose was born on 25th May 1886 in the Subaldaha village of Bardhaman, West Bengal. His birth matches the origin of the Indian Freedom Movement. After spending early childhood in village, Rash Behari Bose moved to Kolkata. Later earning a Medical as well as Engineering degree from France and Germany, he moved back to Kolkata. But, at that time Bengal had become the hotbed of revolutionary actions and the region was under the close watch of British regime.
To shun the Alipore bomb case trials, Rash Behari Bose left Bengal and started to work as a head clerk at the Forest Research Institute at Dehradun. But, ignited with revolutionary ideas, he continued to get secretly involved in the Bengal revolutionaries’ activities. Maintaining the secrecy of Jugantar and Anushhiljan Samiti, he remained in touch with revolutionary leaders like Jatin Mukherjee (Bagha Jatin) and Amarendra Chatterjee.
His first and one of the biggest strikes was an attempt to assassinate Lord Hardinge, the then Viceroy of India, in 1912 at the Chandni Chowk, Delhi. On the occasion of transferring the capital of British India from Calcutta to Delhi, Lord Hardinge sitting on the Elephant was walking in the celebration procession. When the procession reached Chandni Chowk of Delhi, Basanta Kumar Biswas threw the homemade bomb at Lord Hardinge. Although Lord Viceroy escaped death, but he was seriously injured.
Rash Behari was directly involved in the assassination attempt of Governor General and Viceroy Lord Charles Hardinge. Considering the involvement, a mass witch hunt started against revolutionary leaders in the country. Rash Behari Bose returned to Dehradun at night and joined the office acting like he knew nothing about such an incident. Even he organised a meeting to condemn the attack on Viceroy.
Ghadar Revolution – First Attempt to Ignite an Armed Struggle
Rash Behari Bose reached Bengal in 1913. During the flood relief work, he came in contact with one of the biggest revolutionaries, Jatin Mukherjee (Bagha Jatin). Bose considered Bagha Jatin as the real leader of men who added a new impulse to fading nationalistic revolutionary zeal.
Consequently, he got involved in the Ghadar Revolution. Considering the engagement of British soldiers in World War 1, a plan was initiated to launch a mutiny in the British Indian Army in February 1915. It was the international coordination of the Ghadar Party in United States, Berlin Committee in Germany, Indian revolutionaries, and German Foreign Officer through the consulate in San Francisco.
But, Kripal Singh, a British spy, infiltrated the top position of Ghadar activities and passed information to Punjab Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Subsequently, the revolutionary plans failed. Further, Britishers launched successive acts like Ingress into India Ordinance 1914 and Defence of India Act 1915 to crush the revolutionaries.
Due to the suppressive act against revolutionaries, many leaders were forced to leave the country. To escape the British intelligence, Rash Behari also reached Japan in 1915.
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Indian Independence League and Indian National Army
With the help of Rabindranath Thakur, he reached Japan and started to organize the Indian Freedom Movement there. In Japan, Aizo Soma, one of the key patrons of the freedom struggle in Japan, provided shelter to Rash Behari Bose. Aizo Soma also married his daughter, Toshiko Soma, to Rash Behari Bose.
Marrying Toshiko Soma helped Bose to intensify preparation for freedom here in India. As he got citizenship in Japan and coordinated with Japanese authorities to support the struggle. With the help of AM Nair, Bose persuaded Japanese authorities to support the cause.
When the Quit India Movement was intensifying here in India, he convened a conference in Tokyo on 28-30 March 1942, which resulted in the formation of the Indian Independence League. At the conference, he also moved a motion to raise an army for Indian Independence.
In the second conference of the League in Bangkok on 22 June 1942, he moved a resolution to invite Subhas Chandra Bose to join the League.
As the second World War was operational and the British Army was retreating, Rash Behari Bose persuaded Indian prisoners of war captured by Japan to join the Indian National Army (INA). Taking his call, many Indian soldiers also joined the Indian National Army and fought to liberate India from the clutches of the British.
Working on the militarisation policy of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, he raised the INA. When he founded the Japanese branch of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1938, VD Savarkar was the President of Hindu Mahasabha, India. Veer Savarkar was the common link between Rash Behari Bose and Subhash Chandra Bose. They coordinated the freedom struggle from outside India, constantly creating pressure on Britishers.
The meeting of three staunch nationalists created wonders in the freedom struggle. They constantly waged war against the British to free India. Throughout the freedom movement, they kept the flame of freedom burning and worked tirelessly to achieve India’s freedom. It would be true to say that while Lokmanya Tilak was the Father of the Indian Freedom Struggle, Ras Behari Bose was the ‘Godfather’ of the Indian Independence Movement.
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