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Rash Behari Bose: A Man who lived a life less ordinary

A life journey like the one lived by Rash Behari Boseman is less ordinary. It is only in novels or movies you would be enthralled by such conjecture of destiny. From being a clerk in British service, to be a ‘wanted’ man for an attempt of assassination of the viceroy to be bestowed as ‘Second Order of Merit of the Rising Sun.’ It doesn’t happen every day. India’s struggle for Independence had seen many heroes but RB Bose can be best categorised as ‘subterranean’. An unsung hero of the Indian freedom struggle. 

The epochs of history have kept his role in rendering the much needed ‘lifeblood’ to the national struggle somewhere in the esoteric spaces and obscure cracks. But is very difficult to not ascertain his presence and relevance in the greatest strife our country has witnessed. 

Nevertheless, his relentless role while being in a foreign land (in Japan) towards realising the dream of independent India establishes him parallel in stature to the likes of leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad and others.

Rash Behari Bose was born in the province of Bengal on 25 May 1886, at a village named Subaldaha in Vardhaman district. Amidst the intense political fervour, like the millions of other Bengalis was vehemently against the divisive move of the partition of Bengal by the British colonisers. 

Being an early revolutionist, Rash Behari Bose discreetly got involved with the various revolutionaries of Bengal. He was also associated with training the revolutionaries in making bombs, and in order to shun arrest after the Alipore bomb (1908) case, he had to leave Bengal for Dehradun. He worked as a clerk in the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. 

Later, on 23 December 1912, Delhi was adorned to welcome the then Viceroy Lord Hardinge on the occasion of the capital’s transfer from Calcutta to Delhi. However, the revolutionaries of the country like RB Bose had a different plan. 

The bomb attack on the Governor-General and Viceroy Lord Charles Hardinge in Delhi made him declared ‘Wanted’ by the government with a reward of Rs. 7,500 on his head. However, Bose went back to his government job at the Forest Research Institute and even organised an honorary reception for Hardinge a few months later. Although he was not directly involved in the assassination but had a crucial role in outlining and providing assistance for the whole conspiracy. 

However, his stint in the Ghadar movement was brief as the Britishers got acquainted with his plans of rebellion which eventually forced him to leave for Japan where the new chapter of his revolutionary activities was waiting to begin.

Bose’s revolutionary ideas found a renaissance in Japan after a long fugitive life. Here he made new contacts and relationships, thus slowly acclimatising himself to Japanese society. . The wealthy Soma family hid him in the basement of their Nakamuraya bakery, where he worked with the chefs to create an Indian curry that is still all the rage in Japan with six billion servings annually. Bose went on to marry Soma’s daughter and have two children with her. Later he married a Japanese woman who became the mother of his two kids. 

Finally, in March 1942 in Tokyo, the decision to set up the Indian Independence League was taken, and days later Bose decided to pass on the baton of the Indian Independence League to Subhash Chandra Bose. 

“Gandhi is a person whom I respect but he is an Indian saint and ‘a person of yesterday’ whereas Subhas Chandra Bose is the ‘person of today,” he once said.

Subhash Chandra Bose was entrusted with the responsibility of the post of the president of the league. It was under the leadership of RB Bose that the Indian prisoners who were being held hostage by Japan in Malaya and Burma were prompted to join the Indian Independence League and the Indian National Army (the military wing of the league). Bose, had a major role in the formation of the Indian National Army on 1 September 1942, which later came to be known as the Azad Hind Fauz along with Captain Mohan Singh and Sardar Pritam Singh played.

The recognition which was not granted to him in his own country was conferred to him by the Japanese government. Having recognised for his contribution, the Japanese government awarded him with the ‘Second Order of Merit of the Rising Sun’. The man less ordinary and significant character of the story of the struggle for India’s Independence died on 21 January 1945.

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