Flying the Flag of Revolution, The Indian Struggle for Independence

Flying the Flag of Revolution, Part 2 – The War of Independence Begins

The Indian soldiers working for the British discovered that they had been deceived into using ammunition cartridges greased with the fat of cows and pigs. This was an intolerable offense, in outright disregard of the Hindu reverence for cows and the Islamic attitude towards swine. The Indian soldiers were understandably incensed, and they soon launched a mutiny.

At that time, the commander-in-chief of the British army was Major-General George Anson.  He believed that the impudent Indian soldiers could be easily suppressed, and the moment that the revolt was launched, he attempted to extinguish their uprising with a single blow.

However, the reality was that the people of India had been burning with anger and indignation for so long, and their resistance was not easy to contain. In the end, the effort at Awadh was successfully stamped out by a man named Brigadier-General Henry Montgomery Lawrence.

Little did he know that this incident was only one small spark of a much larger flame.

Just one week later, on the 10th of May, another uprising was launched at Meerut, fourty-two miles away from Delhi. In the blink of an eye, the effort had spread throughout the north, and before long had reached central India.

This marked the beginnings of the First War of Independence, and the Indian people’s courageous fight against British rule.

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The Early Years, The Indian Struggle for Independence, The Youth Who Crave Revolution

The Youth Who Crave Revolution, Part 4 – Father Discourages Me From Joining the Army

I had been forced to abandon my attempts to become a soldier, and was sent back to my school in Chandannagar. Day in and day out, I whiled away my time in the classroom for what felt like an eternity, eagerly awaiting my chance to get back on the road in search of an army that would accept me. Even as I sat at my desk trying to listen to the teacher lecturing at the front of the room, my mind was consumed with dreams of launching a revolution that would lead India to freedom.

Eventually, I could wait no longer and decided to pay a visit to my father in the hopes of convincing him to let me pursue my dreams of joining the independence effort. I stood squarely in front of him and presented my argument, but he merely dismissed my plans as the transient whims of a young boy. The only advice he gave was that I dedicate myself to my schooling and graduate as soon as possible so that I could build up a successful professional career.

He tried all manner of method to discourage me from my goal, at first scolding me harshly and then attempting to persuade me through reason. My heart went out to him, but as much as I wanted to honour his words, no amount of urging could convince me to abandon my plans.

After our conversation, I secretly mailed out yet another application to the commanding officer of an army corps. After so many rejections and non-responses, fate was fulfilled and I finally received a reply. However, I was not around when the letter arrived, and it ended up in the hands of my father. Discovering that I had gone behind his back despite his repeated appeals, his reaction was severe.

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INA, The Early Years, The Indian Struggle for Independence, The Youth Who Crave Revolution

The Youth Who Crave Revolution, Part 2 – Rejected by the Army

I waited on the edge of my seat, anxious to hear back about my application to the army, but when the reply finally came, I was met with rejection. In the envelope, there was only a brief note informing me that they would not be accepting applications from Bengalis at the present time. I considered this no more than a minor obstacle, however, and brushed it aside determined not to let it deter me from my goal.

With my heart set on dedicating myself to the independence effort at all costs, I immediately changed my approach. If Fort William would not accept me, I would apply to the French forces at Pondicherry.

Knowing that if I simply mailed in another letter I would be forced to sit around agonizingly waiting for their reply, I instead traveled to Pondicherry to request admittance in person.

Upon my arrival, without a moment’s delay I went directly to the admissions officer and spoke with great determination,

“I am here to volunteer as a soldier.”

“There are no openings at the moment,” I was told. “Once a position opens up, we will contact you.”

That was all.

There was no way of knowing if and when I would receive word, and it was imperative that I become a soldier as soon as possible. The sooner I joined the force, the sooner India would be free.

I would not stand passively by and wait for the opportunity to come to me. For the time being, I took on employment as a clerk at Fort William with the intention of changing posts as soon as the chance arose. Meanwhile, I randomly sent out application after application to every cantonment I knew of, hoping that even just one would accept me. It did not matter where in India it was, as long as I was working for the achievement of free India.

I eagerly awaited their replies, but none came. Eventually, I could wait no longer and set out in search of some army that would accept me.

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The Early Years, The Indian Struggle for Independence, The Youth Who Crave Revolution

The Youth Who Crave Revolution, Part 1 – Birth and Childhood

I was born on May 25, 1886 in a small village by the name of Subaldaha, located in the state of Burdwan, West Bengal. When I was still just a young child, my mother and I left my birth home and went to live with my uncle in Palarabighati, Hooghly. Meanwhile my father, Vinodbehari, worked alone in Kolkata as a secretary for the government newspaper. I lived out most of my childhood in there in Hoogly, until my father bought a house for us in Chandannagar where we were able to live together as a family for some time.

Once I became old enough to start attending school, I left our home in Chandannagar and went to stay at my uncle’s home in Kolkata. It was there that I began my elementary level education and immediately found myself becoming captivated by books about the Indian independence movement. Their pages overflowed with the dreams of the Indian people and the future of our great country. The words I read surged through every vein in my body, just as they had for the passionate souls who worked at the frontlines of the revolution, throwing their mind, body and soul selflessly into the effort to free India.

I was so strongly impacted by these books that while I was still just a young boy of thirteen years, I abandoned my schooling and became determined that from this day forth, I would dedicate myself wholeheartedly to the revolution effort. I would volunteer as a soldier and fight for the freedom of India. The first chance I got, I submitted my application to Fort William with my mind set on joining the Indian armed forces. Then, I waited on the edge of my seat for their response.

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Author's Comments

Introduction: The Indian Revolutionary in Japan

When you hear the name Bose, who do you think of?

When people ask me about my research interests and I mention Bose, most simply shrug their shoulders. Among those who do have some vague familiarity with this name, it is Subhas Chandra Bose who tends to come to mind, and they briefly describe him as the man credited with launching the Imphal Campaign and the leading of India to independence.

Among those who I have talked to, there are only a very small handful who have heard of Rash Behari Bose, and even then, it is not uncommon for them to overlap him with Subhas – a man of no familial relation who coincidentally happened to share the same last name. Unable to definitively separate the two historical figures in their minds, many cannot explain with any certainty just who exactly Rash Behari Bose was.

This is an astonishing reality in light of the fact that if not for the efforts of Rash Behari Bose, India and Japan (and by extension perhaps the entire world at large) would not be as they are today. This is the great extent to which Rash Behari Bose’s contributions have impacted us, and it is for this very reason that the present situation is highly regrettable.

Follow along on this blog as the words of Rash Behari Bose are brought back to life, in English, for the very first time in history.

I am embarrassed to say that until November of 2016, even I could not clearly differentiate between the two. But as fate would have it, I was fortunate enough at that time to encounter the literary collections of Rash Behari Bose. I dedicatedly worked my way through his publications, and found myself becoming captivated not only by his life story and depictions of historical events, but also by the universally applicable human truths that are clearly laid out in his writings.

I was astonished to find the range of invaluable knowledge that lay buried in the pages of his books, spanning across vast realms of human history and culture including philosophy, religion, psychology, ethics, and sociology. His words are not a thing of the past. They are not limited to days gone by, only to be rendered irrelevant in the present day. Rather, they describe universal human truths that were as applicable a thousand years ago as they are today, laying out clear solutions to problems that we face even in our modern lives, and to the future struggles that will undoubtedly be tackled by our children and grandchildren to come.

With this realization coursing through my mind, I came to feel that it would be a shame for Bose’s works to continue to lie dormant – unread, unknown, and inaccessible to the majority of the population. You see, although Rash Behari Bose was born and raised in India, he had fled to Japan in 1915 to escape persecution by the British authorities. It is for this reason that his vast collection of publications exist only in the Japanese language. Not only this, but to complicate matters further, they are written in an old style of Japanese that is no longer in use, making his books a challenge even for modern Japanese readers to decipher.

I decided to dedicate myself to working through each of his texts, accurately rewriting his old language, word for word, into modern Japanese, and then translating them into English. On this blog, I will continue to post the contents of his books while I work my way through them. I will write in the first person as though Bose himself is speaking directly to you.

Please note that while these blog posts remain faithful to the contents of the actual books, they are not the complete, detailed and accurate translations that will appear in the finalized publication.

Once all my transcriptions and translations are complete, I will be publishing them in a series of books. But until then, please follow along on this blog as the words of Rash Behari Bose are brought back to life, in English, for the very first time in history.

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