You give me blood, I will give you freedom
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose has been one of India’s most prominent freedom fighters and also one of the strongest voices whose ideologies continue to inspire and lead many of us even today. As a proud Indian, I have always admired Netaji’s philosophies, and his life has been much more than a source of inspiration and motivation for me. Be it Azad Hind Fauj’s unified, relentless spirit or their daredevilry and bravery even in war-like situations, Netaji and his leadership have proved to be a mentor like few others.
Having read countless books on the subject, I was naturally intrigued when this one came my way, especially since it was written by Krishna Bose, who happens to be his family member as well as a renowned and esteemed scholar too. Yes, surely the book is a well-researched mine of information, a brilliant ensemble of essays from around the world. Highlighting not only Netaji’s entire journey, the book also takes into account and describes the struggles he encountered all his life.
For me, what has brought the entire description together is how Krishna has minutely examined Netaji’s relationships with leaders across the globe. Be it Nehru or Tagore, or even international personalities such as Eamon de Valera or Adolf Hitler, Krishna’s depiction gave me a fresh insight, having supplicated all her claims and revelations with brilliant write-ups and photographs that provide enough material to confirm her thoughts and claims.
I was particularly impressed by Krishna’s ability to gain a fresh new perspective on Netaji’s political paths as well as his personal relationships. Yes, the military campaigns undertaken by Bose were as daring and valiant as the stalwart himself, and he managed to extricate the essence perfectly in spite of being a family member. Yes, I refer to her link to him here since I have to take a moment to note that somehow she has not let the relationship come in the way of her description and has put forth an account that is factual and specifically refrains from bias or one-sided deliverance of any sort.
From the Manipur battlefields, where the Indian National Army waged a war, to Singapore, where the INA was formed, to the Andaman, where he had raised our beloved tri-colour flag, to Taipei, which remains shrouded in mystery because that happens to be the place where his life was “presumably” cut short.
Having had the pleasure of knowing many distinguished personas first-hand, such as Basanti Debi (who also happens to be his adopted mother), Emilie Schenkel, Lakshmi Sahgal, Abid Hasan, and several others, each has brought his or her own hue to the narrative, helping us identify, resonate with, and complete the missing links in the life story of this amazing man.
If you ask me, this is by far one of the best portraits of Bose’s life, whether it’s his pursuit of our freedom struggle, his political journey, or his life in general. Although the essays and writings might appear a bit unchronicled and fragmented, for me they added up well in the end. Listing down everything from his struggles in Europe and Asia to visiting Manipur and also the Andamans, Krishna has even incorporated Netaji’s relationship with women, especially as far as important personalities such as Hedy Fulop Miller, Kitty Kurti, Naomi Vetter, and also women such as Prabhabati Bose, who is his mother, or Basanti Debi, who he addressed as his mom, or Emilie S, or even Bivabati Bose, are concerned.
A brilliantly written revisit, especially of a period we all want to read about and learn about, is always a pleasure to read for me, and this particular title has managed to tick all the boxes in terms of the information and research attached to it. Also, for me, the brownie points definitely came from the fact that Krishna made sure that the piece of translation surely retained all the essence of the original work since this one was originally written in Bengali.
Sumantra Bose, Krishna’s son, completed the translation, which, in my opinion, is the best possible choice in this case scenario for relaying the information as it has been compiled, having perfectly assimilated it and being unfiltered and free of any sort of bias.
Any reader who wants to know more about Netaji’s life from a much broader perspective should go no further, peeps, and grab this one, as this is possibly one of the best compilations on the life and trysts of Netaji as a leader you will find today. As a writer, I definitely give full marks to Krishna for managing to keep the voice of the narrative unequivocal as well as refraining from any prejudice. A flowing piece, this one will not come across as a dry narrative, but rather it has all the potential to even keep non-history lovers completely hooked.
You know that the last chapter, aka “Netaji’s Last Journey: The Taipei,” is something that I somehow cherish the most of all since I was actually able to picture the real-time incident that had transpired at that time pertaining to the mysteries surrounding Netaji’s last sighting.
a book that does complete justice to depicting Netaji’s trysts, his struggles, and everything pertaining to his life journey, portraying it unbiasedly.
So, I hope you enjoyed the book review Netaji by Krishna Bose.