ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Rediscovery of Netaji

A Review Essay on the Life of Subhas Chandra Bose

Netaji: Living Dangerously by Kingshuk Nag,published by Paranjoy, Authors UpFront, 2016, pp 184,₹295.

The Bose Brothers and Indian Independence: An Insider's Account by Madhuri Bose,Sage Publishers, 2016, pp xxx + 264,₹750.

Netaji’s life story is well-known, and much has been written about it. Yet, for me, he has remained enigmatic. It is well known that Subhas Bose declined to join the Indian Civil Services (ICS). After proceeding more than half way through his one year ICS probationary training in Britain, in 1921, he decided to discontinue and declined to sign the covenant to become an ICS officer. The mystic and revolutionary Aurobindo Ghosh had done the same thing almost 30 years earlier in 1892, declining to join the ICS, for which he had been selected, by not turning up for his riding test and thereby failing his ICS probation.

It is worthwhile asking that, rather than handing in his papers, had Subhas Bose continued as an ICS officer, would Indian history have been different?

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