Within a period of seven decades, we have
forgotten the significance of 21 October 1943. It is the glorious day on which
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose formed his Provisional Government to liberate the
country from the imperialist yoke. The day is, thus, a landmark in the annals
of our national movement and it reveals the fiery spirit of a legendary hero.
The Provincial Government
On 1 August 1943, Burma was granted freedom
by Japan. Netaji hailed the occasion with a dream of Indian freedom. He
exclaimed, “Just as the peacock-emblem flies over the Government House in
Rangoon, so will the tricolour soon fly over the Red Fortress of Delhi.” Then,
on 17 October, he joined the celebration of Philipino Independence. Now, he
realised that his turn would come soon and, hence, he was getting ready to
constitute the Provisional Government in Singapore. For this purpose, he
totally re-organised the Indian Independence League and the Indian National
Army. The formation of the Provisional Government was a matter of practical
The Provisional Government eventually came
up on 21 October 1943. He appointed, at first, four Ministers, styling himself
“Head of the State, Prime Minister and Minister of War and Foreign Affairs”.
The three other Ministers were SA Ayer (Publicity and propaganda), Lt. Col. AC
Chatterjee and AM Sahay (Secretary with the status of Minister). There were
eight military representatives and eight civilian advisers headed by Rash
Behari Bose, the immortal revolutionary, who had long ago fled to Japan after
leading a number of terrorist activities in India.
The historic proclamation
The proclamation was drafted before the
dawn of 20 October. Netaji took some papers and started writing swiftly in
pencil. There was never a backward glance or subsequent correction. The
manuscript was handed over to the typist sheet by sheet and after being typed
it needed no change at all. He prepared the complete manuscript in a feat of
concentration, his eyes never leaving the papers. This suggests Netaji was
prepared for the occasion for a pretty long time and that the draft of the
proclamation was engrafted in his heart long before the situation demanded
actual paper work.
In a voice choked with emotion, he took the
oath:- 'In the name of God, I take this sacred oath that to liberate India and
the thirty-eight crores of my countrymen, I, Subhash Chandra Bose, will
continue the sacred war of freedom till the last breath of my life. I shall
remain always a servant of India, and to look after the welfare of thirty-eight
crores of Indian brothers and sisters shall be for me my highest duty. Even
after winning freedom, I will always be prepared to shed even the last drop of
my blood for the preservation of India's freedom."