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Indian Independence: World War II Source 5b

Biographical note on Subhas Chandra Bose, 14 Jul 1943

(L/WS/1/1576: ff.79-80)

Subhas Chandra Bose with a colleague at Tokyo

Subhas Chandra Bose with a colleague at Tokyo


(The following biographical note is attached to the report: "Recent Activities of Subhas Chandra Bose" in Source 5)

Subhas Chandra Bose. Born 1897, the son of a leading citizen of Cuttack, Orissa. Expelled from the Presidency College, Calcutta, in 1915 and came to England 1919, where he took the Mental and Moral Science Tropic at Cambridge, and entered the I.C.S. Resigned from I.C.S. 1921 to join the non-cooperation movement, and was arrested for taking a leading part in the Calcutta hartal during the Prince of Wales' visit to India. When Calcutta Corporation came under Congress of Calcutta and was again arrested and deported to Mandalay jail where he spent two years as a state prisoner. Elected member of the Bengal Legislative Council while in prison, he was finally released in 1926 to go to Europe for medical treatment as his health had broken down. Soon gained control of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee. From 1929 to 1936 he was in constant conflict with the Government of India and was frequently arrested and released, making two visits to Europe in the intervals of these arrests. While in Vienna in 1934 wrote his book The Indian Struggle 1920-34 in which he bitterly criticised the tactics of Gandhi, Nehru and the Congress High Command. Elected President of the All-India Congress in 1938, re-elected in 1939 but resigned. He put himself at the head of the Congress extremists, founding the Forward Bloc in Bengal in 1939. Arrested in July 1940, released in December, but kept under police supervision, from which he escaped to Berlin in January 1941. His activities in Germany chiefly consisted in broadcasting. In May 1943 he arrived in East Asia and is now in Singapore, where the H.Q. of the Independence League has lately been established. A man already shown in his broadcasts and in interviews granted to Axis journalists that he means business. His influence in India is at present hard to assess, but since he has little chance of being recognised by Gandhi and the Congress High Command it seems unlikely that he will be able to win over the whole of Congress to his plans for national revolution.