his socialistic leavings and insistence on inner-party democracy. In 1939, he
defeated Gandhi’s nominee Pattabhi Sitaramayya to be re-elected Congress
president. Faced with a campaign of non-cooperation against him launched
by the Mahatma, he resigned months later.
    Throughout this political crisis he received strong support, as ever, from
his brother Sarat Chandra Bose and from Rabindranath Tagore. The poet who
regarded Subhas as “Deshnayak” was confident that his apparent defeat
would turn into a permanent victory.
Escape and Association with INA
On July 2, 1940 Subhas was arrested for the 11th time. He was sent home on
December 5 after he had been on a fast-unto-death for 10 days. The
government had worked out “a-cat-and-mouse policy” of taking him back to
prison as soon as he had recovered his health. On the night of January 16–17,
1941 Subhas, however, made a planned escape. He was driven from his Elgin
Road home in Calcutta, by his nephew Sisir, to Gomoh in Bihar from where
he went on to Peshawar. He finally reached Germany.
    Subhas went to Europe primarily to gain access to Indian soldiers in the
British Indian Army, who were being held as prisoners of war. He had long
believed that subverting the loyalty of Indian soldiers to the Raj was a crucial
part of the final phase of the anti-imperialist movement. The German
invasion of the Soviet Union upset his plans for an armed thrust from the
north-west in support of India’s unarmed freedom fighters at home.
Disappointed, he left Europe for Southeast Asia by submarine, a journey
which took him 90 days to complete.
    Netaji assumed leadership of the Indian National Army (INA) as its
supreme commander. More than two million Indian civilians living in
Southeast Asia responded to his call for “total mobilization”. In his army of
liberation Punjabi, Muslim, Sikh and Pathan professional soldiers fought side
by side with Tamil and Malayalee rubber plantation workers. In his Azad
Hind Movement, Netaji was able to demonstrate, by example, how to achieve
Hindu-Muslim unity and amity and also give women their rightful role in
public affairs.
    He proclaimed the Provisional Government of Free India in Singapore