Rash Behari Bose
Bose before 1945
Born(1886-05-25)25 May 1886[1][2]
Village-Subaldaha, Burdwan, Bengal Presidency, British India[1][2]
(present-day Village Subaldaha, Block-Raina 2, District-Purba Bardhaman West Bengal, India)
Died21 January 1945(1945-01-21) (aged 58)
CitizenshipBritish Indian (1886–1915)
Stateless (1915–1923)
Japan (1923–1945; his death)
Organisation(s)Jugantar, Indian Independence League, Indian National Army
MovementIndian Independence movement, Ghadar Revolution, Indian National Army
SpouseToshiko Bose (1916–1924; her death)[3]
RelativesAizō Sōma (father-in-law)
Kokkō Sōma (mother-in-law)

Rash Behari Bose (/rɑːʃ bihɑːri ˈbs/ ; 25 May 1886 – 21 January 1945) was an Indian revolutionary leader who fought against the British Empire. He was one of the key organisers of the Ghadar Mutiny and founded the Indian Independence League. Bose also led the Indian National Army (INA) which was formed in 1942 under Mohan Singh.[4]

He was behind the Delhi-Lahore Conspiracy to assassinate the Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge, in 1912.[5] After the failed assassination attempt, Bose fled to Imperial Japan.[5] He sided with Imperial Japan against Britain in World War II.[5]

Birth and ancestry

Rash Behari Bose was born in Subaldaha village of Purba Bardhaman district, now in West Bengal, India, on 25 May 1886.[6] Bose grew up during the severe pandemics and famines of the British Raj. It fuelled his dislike for British rule.[1][2] His father's name was Binod Behari Bose and mother was Bhubaneswari Devi. Tinkori Dasi was Rashbehari Bose's foster mother.[citation needed]

Early life

Bose and his sister, Sushila, spent their childhood in Subaldaha. They lived with their father and also in the house of Bidhu Mukhi, the widowed sister-in-law of their grandfather, Kalicharan Bose. His early education was completed under the supervision of Kalicharan in the village of Pathsala at what is presently Subaldaha Rashbehari Bose F.P School.[citation needed]

Bose was drawn towards the revolutionary movement on hearing stories from his grandfather and teacher (Bakkeswar) at Subaldaha. He was the cynosure of all villagers and was known for his stubborn attitude. His nickname was Rasu. It is heard from villagers that he was at Subaldaha till he was 12 or 14 years old.[citation needed]

His father, Binod Behari Bose, was stationed in Hooghly district for few years. During this time, Bose had to move to his maternal house in Chandernagar.[citation needed] There Bose studied at Dupleix College with his cousin and friend Shrish Chandra Ghosh. The principal, Charu Chandra Roy, inspired them into revolutionary politics. Later, he joined Morton School in Calcutta. He subsequently earned degrees in medical sciences and engineering.[citation needed]

Revolutionary activities

Main articles: Delhi conspiracy case and Gadar Conspiracy

Bose left Bengal to avoid the Alipore bomb case trials of 1908.[citation needed] At Dehradun, he worked as a head clerk at the Forest Research Institute. There, through Amarendra Chatterjee of the Jugantar, he secretly got involved with the revolutionaries of Bengal and he came across revolutionaries of the Arya Samaj in the United Provinces (currently Uttar Pradesh) and the Punjab.[7]

1912 assassination attempt on Lord Hardinge

Following the Delhi-Lahore Conspiracy, which attempted the assassination of Lord Hardinge on 23 December 1912, Bose was forced to go into hiding. He was hunted by the colonial police due to his participation in the failed assassination attempt, Hardinge being at that time the Governor General and Viceroy.[citation needed] He returned to Dehradun by the night train and joined the office the next day as though nothing had happened. He organised a meeting of loyal citizens of Dehradun to condemn the dastardly attack on the Viceroy.[citation needed][clarification needed]

During the flood relief work in Bengal in 1913, Bose came in contact with Jatin Mukherjee in whom he "discovered a real leader of men," who "added a new impulse" to Bose's failing zeal.[8] Thus, during World War (WW1) he became one of the leading figures of the Ghadar Mutiny, an attempt to trigger a mutiny in India in February 1915. Trusted and tried Ghadrites were sent to several cantonments to infiltrate into the army. The idea of the Gadar leaders was that with the war raging in Europe most of the soldiers had gone out of India and the rest could be easily won over. The revolution failed and most of the revolutionaries were arrested. But Bose managed to escape British intelligence and reached Japan in 1915.[citation needed]

Indian National Army

Bose had reached Japan under the alias of Priyanath Thakur, a relative of Rabindranath Thakur, an Indian poet.[3] There, Bose found shelter with various Pan-Asian groups. From 1915 to 1918, he changed residences and identities numerous times, as the British kept pressing the Japanese government for his extradition. He married the daughter of Aizō Sōma and Kokkō Sōma, the owners of Nakamuraya bakery in Tokyo and noted Pan-Asian supporters in 1918, and became a Japanese citizen in 1923, living as a journalist and writer. It is also significant that he was instrumental in introducing Indian-style curry in Japan. Though more expensive than the usual "British-style" curry, it became quite popular, with Rash Bihari becoming known as "Bose of Nakamuraya".[citation needed]

Bose, along with A. M. Nair, was instrumental in persuading the Japanese authorities to stand by the Indian revolutionaries, whom Japan ultimately to officially supported. He convened a conference in Tokyo on 28–30 March 1942, which decided to establish the Indian Independence League. There he also moved a motion to raise an army for Indian independence. He convened the second conference of the League at Bangkok on 22 June 1942, at which a resolution was adopted to invite Subhas Chandra Bose to join the League and take command as its president.[citation needed]

The Indian prisoners of war captured by the Japanese in the Malaya and Burma fronts were encouraged to join the Indian Independence League and become the soldiers of the Indian National Army (INA), formed on 1 September 1942 as the military wing of Rash Behari Bose's Indian National League. He selected the flag for the Azad Hind movement and handed over the flag and the power to Subhas Chandra Bose but his organizational structure remained which was built on the organizational spadework of Rash Behari Bose. Rash Behari Bose built the Indian National Army (also called 'Azad Hind Fauj'). Prior to his death caused by tuberculosis, the Japanese Government honoured him with the Order of the Rising Sun (2nd grade).[citation needed]

Personal life

Bose met Toshiko Soma when he was hiding at her house in Shinjuku City. She was the daughter of Aizō Sōma and Kokkō Sōma, the owners of Nakamuraya bakery (ja:中村屋) in Tokyo and noted Pan-Asian supporters in 1918. At that time, Bose was a fugitive with the British searching for him. Their initial contact was during those intense moments of hiding though without any interactions. In 1916, when Bose was a fugitive no more, he invited the Soma family to his house as a gesture of gratitude. That was the first instance of their interaction in a social context.[3]

However, Bose stuck out like a sore thumb in Japan. People would consider them with suspicion. Mitsuru Toyama, as a solution proposed to the Soma's a marriage between Toshiko and Rashbehari. He thought that marriage with a Japanese citizen would make it easy for Bose to apply for citizenship. Despite their initial reservations, the Somas agreed to the match. When asked, Toshiko took three weeks to give her consent.[3]

They had a happy marriage lasting eight years. Bose taught Toshiko Bengali and how to wear a sari. Bose got Japanese citizenship in 1923. Toshiko's health declined soon after and it claimed her life in 1924. After her death, he never remarried. They were buried together after Bose's death.[9]

They had two children together. Masahide Bose (Bharatchandra) was born in 1920. He died in World War II aged 24. Their daughter Tetsuko was born in 1922.[3]


In 1943, the Japanese government honoured Bose with the highest title available to a foreigner, the Order of the Rising Sun, 2nd class.[10]

Rash Behari Bose on a 1967 stamp of India

On 26 December 1967, the Posts and Telegraphs Department of India issued a special postage stamp in honour of Rash Behari Bose.[11][12] In the city of Kolkata, West Bengal, a street has been named Rash Behari Avenue in his honour.

In popular culture

In the 2019 Indian Bengali-language television series titled Netaji which depicts the life of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Fahim Mirza played the role of Rash Behari Bose.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bose, Bejon Behari (1959). Karmabir Rash Behari (in Bengali). Ila Bose. p. 48.
  2. ^ a b c Sengupta, Subodhchandra; Bose, Anjali (1976). Samsad Bangali Charitabhidhan. Calcutta: Sishu Sahitya Samsad. p. 486.
  3. ^ a b c d e f বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়, পারিজাত. "বাংলা থেকে রান্না-শাড়ি পরা, জাপানি বউকে শিখিয়েছিলেন রাসবিহারী বসু". Anandabazar Patrika (in Bengali). Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  4. ^ Emiko Jozuka (10 May 2020). "The Indian revolutionary who fought to overthrow British rule from 3,700 miles away". CNN. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  5. ^ a b c McQuade, Joseph (2024). Fugitive of Empire: Rash Behari Bose, Japan and the Indian Independence Struggle. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-776828-0.
  6. ^ Mukherjee, Uma (1966). Two Great Indian Revolutionaries. p. 97.
  7. ^ Uma Mukherjee (1966). Two great Indian revolutionaries: Rash Behari Bose & Jyotindra Nath Mukherjee. Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay. p. 101.
  8. ^ Uma Mukherjee (1966). Two great Indian revolutionaries: Rash Behari Bose & Jyotindra Nath Mukherjee. Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay. p. 119.
  9. ^ Nathan, Richard (12 March 2021). "Changing Nations: The Japanese Girl With a Book". Red Circle Authors.
  10. ^ "Remembering heroes of Indian freedom struggle: Rash Behari Bose". Archived from the original on 23 January 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  11. ^ "A commemorative postage stamp on Rash Behari Bose". istampgallery. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Rashbehari Basu commemorative stamp". Indian Post. Retrieved 13 October 2020.

Further reading

Media related to Rash Behari Bose at Wikimedia Commons