Rash Behari Bose, founder of INA, mentor to Netaji. a brilliant revolutionary, entrepreneur who set up the first Indian restaurant in Japan, the brains behind the entire INA movement.
Thread on his death anniversary today
There is a whole lot to Rash Behari Bose, one of the masterminds behind the plan to assassinate Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy, a key mover in the Ghadr conspiracy, meant to weaken the British army from inside, a master of disguise, camouflage and the founder of the INA
In many ways Rash Behari was the opposite of his more famed namesake, Subash Chandra Bose. Netaji was a brilliant orator, charismatic leader, who cud sway the masses. Rash Behari on the other hand was more subdued, the brains behind the scene, a strategist.
Not that Rash Behari Bose, was just a behind the scenes thinker, he was equally a man of action, mastermind behind the attack on Lord Hardinge, escaped the British 14 times, including in Japan, was one of the most wanted revolutionaries by the British Raj.
If Netaji came out in the fight as Garibaldi of the INA movement, Rash Behari’s part in the drama was more than that of a Mazzini”- Thakin Nu, ex-Prime Minister of Myanmar.
The man, who would receive the Order of the Rising Sun and lay the foundation for the Indian Army, was born in Subaldaha village of Burdwan district in 1886 to Binod Behari Bose. With his mother passing away when he was just a baby, he was bought up by his maternal aunt.
He did his education from the Dupleix College, Chandernagore, which then was under control of the French. From an early age, Rash Behari was influenced by both French and British political thought and the French revolution particularly motivated him.
His teacher Charu Chand also ignited the revolutionary in him. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s Ananda Math, was one of the books that shaped his ideological thought, the other one was Nabin Sen’s Plasir Yuddha, a collection of patriotic poems.
The speeches of Surendranath Banerjee, Swami Vivekananda deeply influenced him. For some time Rash Behari Bose went through a series of jobs, at Fort William, later the Govt. Press in Shimla and the Pasteur Institute in Kasauli.
He finally settled at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun, where he worked as a head clerk. It as here, that Rash Behari Bose soon got involved in the revolutionary activities, maintaining close contacts with the leaders in Bengal and Punjab.
He took advantage of the cover his job provided, to execute his plans for manufacturing bombs, as also coordinating with the other revolutionaries. In a way Rash Behari emerged as the link between the revolutionaries in Bengal with those in UP and Punjab.
Amarendra Chatterjee who was in charge of the Jugantar’s revolutionary activities in UP, Bihar and Odisha, got Rash Behari in contact with Jatin Mukherjee aka Bagha Jatin, its main leader.
The meeting with Bagha Jatin whom Bose described as a “real leader of men” was what gave the impetus to his revolutionary zeal.He planned for an 1857 sort of uprising, interacting with native Indian officers at Fort Williams.
In 1911, the British Government decided to change the capital from Kolkata to Delhi, a decision that was politically motivated in a way against the rising tide of nationalism in Bengal. The revolutionaries decided to strike by assassinating the then Viceroy Lord Hardinge.
Rash Behari was the mastermind behind this plan, and on Dec 23, 1912, a bomb was hurled at Hardinge, at a procession in Chandni Chowk, where he was travelling on an elephant. The mahout was killed, though Hardinge managed to escape with injuries.
Basant Kumar Biswas who threw the bomb was captured, convicted and executed, after a huge manhunt and crackdown on the revolutionaries. Rash Behari however managed to evade the British intelligence, went back to Dehradun, attended to his job like before, without any suspicion.
Soon the British were aware that he was the chief conspirator and he had a prize of 75,000 on his head, with his pictures in all public places. However the efforts were in vain, with Rash Behari managing to give cops the slip always.
Rash Behari‘s activities continued unabated, and the Ghadar revolution breaking out provided him the next opportunity. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Ghadar party began to plan an armed uprising against the British, with immigrants in US, Canada and Japan.
While these revolutionaries had the arms and money, they lacked the leadership, and Rash Behari Bose filled that gap. It was Vishnu Ganesh Pingle, a US returned Ghadarite who convinced Rash Behari to lead the movement in India.
Rash Behari had both the brains as well as the physical strength to pull off this uprising, and Feb 21, 1915, was when it was planned. As per plan Indian soldiers and officers in the British army, would revolt, capture British officers and take over. #RashBehariBose
With the massive crackdown, Rash Behari’s friends and associates felt he should leave the country and lead the revolutionary movement from abroad. One of his friends J.M.Chatterjee a barrister, raised the funds for his travel to Japan. #RashBehariBose
Using the alias of Raja P.N.T.Tagore, a distant relative of Rabindranath Tagore, he left for Japan in May 1915.
"I presented to the Commissioner of Police, Calcutta, as one of Gurudev Tagore’s Secretaries, proceeding to Japan, and came out on a British passport" #RashBehariBose
En route Bose spent some time in Shanghai, and on June 1915 he landed in Japan. However by now he had become a wanted man and the British were pressurizing the Japanese authorities to extradite him.
He would spend his next 30 years in Japan, integrating with the society there, marrying a Japanese woman and where he pursued his dream of a Pan Asian alliance against British imperialism. #RashBehariBose
Mitsuru Toyama one of the influential rightist leaders in Japan, was the one who first offered him refuge. Though Japan at that time was an ally of Britain during WWI, Toyama was against it, as he felt the British were the ones making money out of Japan’s ports.
Though the Japanese authorities were pressurized to extradite Bose, none of the police dared to enter Toyama’s residence. Bose managed to evade, the police, but lived like a fugitive in Japan for a long time, changing his residence around 17 times. #RashBehariBose
It was during his stay in Japan, that he also met Heramblal Gupta and Bhagwan Singh of the Ghadr Party and in November 1915, he organized a meeting at Sayoken Hotel in Tokyo, which was also attended by Lala Lajpat Rai. #RashBehariBose
During his stay in Tokyo, Bose lived with the Soma family who owned the Nakamura-ya bakery there in the business district of Shinjuku. The narrow alleyways and bustling streets of Shinjuku gave him the perfect place to evade capture. #RashBehariBose
Aizo Soma, the patriarch believed in the concept of Pan Asianism and soon the family had a wonderful bonding with Bose. He also fell in love with Toshiko the eldest daughter, and soon they got married too. #RashBehariBose
He took up Japanese citizenship too, learnt the language and by now was fully integrated into the Japanese society too. However he did not forget the cause of India’s freedom and worked for it. #RashBehariBose
An entrepreneur himself he also introduced Indian curry into Japan, making Nakamura-ya the first ever restaurant to serve curry. With Bose now a Japanese citizen, he came out of his hiding and soon began to propagate the cause of Indian freedom among the Japanese elite.
Singapore fell to Japan in 1942 during World War II and around 32,000 Indian soldiers fighting for the British army were taken as prisoners of war by the Japanese, who by this time had taken over Malaya too, that had a substantial number of Indians. #RashBehariBose
Major Fujiwara who is in charge of Singapore, promised the Indian soldiers as well as civilians in Malaya-Singapore, that if they renounced their citizenship, he would offer them all the assistance in the fight against the British.
On 28th March 1942, he convened a conference in Tokyo and formed the Indian Independence League, this was to organize all Indians living outside into a revolutionary uprising against the British. #RashBehariBose
The ground work was done by him and he invited Indian representatives from Malaya, China, Japan and Thailand. Around the same time Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was coordinating with the Free India Army in Germany, Rash Behari planned to build up the Azad Hind Fauj on similar lines.
The second conference of the Indian Independence League was held in Bangkok in June 1942, attended by Indians living in Malaya, Burma, Indo-China, Hong Kong, and a memorandum was presented to Japan, demanding equal rights and status for Azad Hind Fauz.
The League membership swelled to around 1.2 lakhs and around 50,000 Indian soldiers who had served in the British army joined the Indian National Army. Many of these soldiers were fed up with the discrimination they faced from senior British officers.
Netaji accepted Rash Behari’s invite, and made that epic journey in a U-Boat from Germany, and reached Tokyo on June 20, 1943. From Tokyo, Netaji travelled to Singapore where he received a huge welcome from the Indians and Japanese there.
July 5, 1943, Rash Behari handed over the charge of Indian Independence League to Netaji. And restricted himself to the role of advisor, with Netaji now leading the League, as well as the INA. #RashBehariBose
Rash Behari spent his last days in Tokyo listening to radio broadcasts of the progress of the Fauj, hoping to hear the news of liberation of his beloved motherland. However on Jan 21, 1945 Rash Behari Bose passed away and was cremated with Buddhist rites.
In 1959 his ashes were bought to India by his daughter Tetsu Higuchi, and in a tribute, Babu Rajendra Prasad, the President praised him as "Önef those well-known patriots whose love for the Motherland and burning desire to see her free could never be curbed.
Rash Behari Bose did not live long enough to see India liberated, but the Indian National Army that he founded and built would play its role in the freedom of India. #Naman to a great son of Bharat and a true hero of India. #JaiHind #RashBehariBose
Rash Behari Bose with Netaji in Singapore, when he handed over command of INA to Netaji. 2 legends together.
#RashBehariBose #NetajiSubhasChandraBose
Rash Behari Bose with Gurudev Tagore in Japan, when the latter visited. Incidentally his alias while escaping to Japan, was name of Gurudev's distant relative. He told officials, he was Gurudev's secretary going there on work. #RashBehariBose

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