It’s 23rd January 2017. Today, I have office. My office is in Sarat Bose Road, Kolkata. During my lunch hour, I suddenly made a plan to visit Netaji Bhawan and thanks to the geography that after Sarat Bose Road is the Elgin Road.
It’s only a 10 minutes journey from here to 38/2 Lala Lajpat Rai Sarani. While I visited this place today, I recollect my memories on 2007. It was second home and I went to library run by Netaji Research Bureau to read the book on Netaji and political thoughts in colonial era. I also took some of my friends there.
Taking the journey from nostalgia, Netaji Bhawan is now glamoured with antiques and the materials used by Netaji and his family. This house is now a museum, archive, library and the research centre. It is maintained by NRB. The house in Elgin Road was built by Netaji’s father, Janakinath Bose in 1909. Janakinath Bose was an Indian lawyer and advocate in late 18th Century. During his stay in Kolkata (Calcutta), Janakinath came in contact with contemporary leaders of the Brahmo Samaj, and was deeply influenced by their vision. In 1885, Janakinath Bose joined the bar in the court of Cuttack, now in Odisha (Cuttack District) where he practised, and went on to become an advocate. He was appointed Government Pleader and later given the title “Rai Bahadur” by the Imperial British Government in India, which he given up in protest against the unjust and misleading done by the British Government in India. His ancestral house is in Subhasgram.
Subhas Chandra Bose, during his young era, entered in national politics after the relinquished the prestigious ICS. Thereafter, he joined in Indian National Congress and later formed Forward Bloc. During Second World War, Bose was house arrested. It was 1941, 16th January, he escape with a car named Audi Wanderer. The car here is kept for public.
Netaji Museum was established here in 1961 by Netaji Research Bureau. It is now a biographical museum organized on the basis of a vast amount of materials relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose collected from all parts of the world during Second World War.
Now Netaji Bhawan is a depot of inspiration, enlightenment and South East Asian history. Netaji Bhawan attracts thousands of visitors.
You can see the appearance of Netaji Bhawan with its Oriental pillars and porticos that were dominant in colonial time. While you give your foot step, you can hear the sounds of the wooden staircases. It looks like a typical early 20th century Bengali residential house. A marble plaque bearing the name of J.N.BOSE, father of Subhas Chandra Bose, decorates the front entrance. A profile of Netaji’s face draws your attention.
In the main portico stands a facsimile in red stone of the Indian National Army Memorial with the motto “ITTEFAQ”,”ITMAD”,”KURBANI” inscribed on it. The monument of INA was constructed to honor the “Unknown Warrior” of the Indian National Army (INA). The words inscribed on the war memorial were its motto, which is Unity (Ittefaq), Faith (Etmad) and Sacrifice (Kurbani). It was built during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore as the Japanese and the INA had one enemy, the British and United States of America.
At the end of Second World War, Netaji laid the foundation stone on July 8, 1945, a few months before Singapore was recaptured by the British Armed Forces. The Japanese then erected the monument within a month. Subhas Bose, the Supreme Commander of INA and Head of State of the Provisional Government of Free India, proposed the construction of the monument. Later in 1945 after the Japanese retreat from Singapore and the subsequent surrender of the remaining divisions of the Indian National Army to the advancing British, the British commander Lord Louis Mountbatten ordered the memorial to be destroyed with the dynamite. His intention was to eliminate all traces of nationalist sentiments against British Imperialism.
In the museum, you climb up the wooden stairs to bedroom of Netaji on the first floor. You can find the room just as it had been in January 1941,when Netaji made his great escape from India. The large bedstead of Bose’s father, as well as Netaji’s own simple cot, clock, clothes, shoes, even his Ayurvedic medicines and the Holy Gita have been preserved.
The adjoining rooms of Netaji Bhawan contain the articles and furniture used by Sarat Chandra Bose and his family. The main attraction is the office room of subhas Chandra Bose, when he was in Kolkata during his President ship in Indian National Congress. The President ship is still painted in the shade of the Indian tricolour. His working desk, revolving chair, book-almirahs, his clothes, garlands can be seen.
To visit Netaji Bhawan, get a bus of South end or going to Rabindra Sadan from Netaji Shubhas Chandra Bose Airport. If you want to come by Metro railways get in Rabindra Sadan Metro Station or Netaji Bhawan metro station at Jagubazar Crossing. From Howrah, the busues that are going to South Kolkata touch the Sambhunath Pandit Hospital Lane. The famous landmark is FORUM MALL.
- Brothers Against the Raj by Leonard A. Gordon
- Mahanayak – A fictionalized biography of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose by Vishwas Patil
- An Indian Pilgrim by Subhas Chandra Bose
- Back from Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery by Anuj Dhar
- The Indian Struggle, 1920–1942 by Subhash Chandra Bose
- India’s Biggest Cover-up by Anuj Dhar
- Beacon Across Asia: Biography of Subhas Chandra Bose by Alexander Werth
Acknowledgement: Some of the images are taken from Google