Death of Rash Behari Bose - [January 21, 1945] This Day in History

21 January 1945

Death of revolutionary freedom fighter Rash Behari Bose.

What happened?

Rash Behari Bose

On 21 January 1945, Rash Behari Bose, revolutionary leader and founder of the Indian Independence League died in Tokyo, Japan. Read more about the life and contribution of Rash Behari Bose for the IAS exam


  • Rash Behari Bose was born in Subaldaha village, Bardhaman District in West Bengal on 25 May 1886.
  • He did his schooling at Subaldaha and then studied at Dupleix College, Chandernagore (Chandannagar).
  • Chandernagore was ruled by the French at that time and Bose was deeply influenced by the 1789 French Revolution.
  • He held several jobs and then settled on a clerical job at the Dehra Dun Forest Research Institute. He was, however, attracted to revolutionary ideas and radical movements.
  • He became acquainted with Jatin Mukherjee alias Bagha Jatin and got involved with the revolutionary freedom fighters of Bengal.
  • On 23 December 1912, an assassination attempt was made on Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy of India. Bose was the mastermind in this attack. Hardinge was hurt in the attack, though not killed. There was a big man-hunt to capture Bose and his accomplices but Bose never got caught. Three others involved Basant Kumar Biswas, Avadh Behari and Amir Chand were caught, tried and executed.
  • The attempt happened on the occasion of the transfer of India’s capital from Calcutta to Delhi. A homemade bomb was thrown into the Viceroy’s howdah when the procession was moving in the Chandni Chowk area.
  • This event came to be called the Delhi Conspiracy case or the Delhi-Lahore Conspiracy case.
  • Bose eluded capture by the police. He then turned to the Ghadar Movement which had its origins in the USA and composed of Indians abroad who were planning mutinies in the country on a large scale. Bose was selected as the leader of the movement. It, however, failed and many were arrested. Bose managed to elude arrest once again and fled to Japan in 1915.
  • In Japan, he got acquainted with many Pan-Asian groups. He married a Japanese girl and lived there for the rest of his life.
  • Bose was very active in Japan where he advocated the independence of India and urged the Japanese government to support the Indian nationalist movement. He learnt the Japanese language and worked as a writer and journalist.
  • He founded the Indian Independence League in 1942 during a conference in Tokyo convened by him. He also wished to raise an army for the cause of India’s freedom. This was the genesis of the Indian National Army.
  • At the League’s second conference in Bangkok, a resolution was adopted to call upon Subhas Chandra Bose as the leader of the movement.
  • The League exhorted the Indian prisoners of war taken by Japan during the Second World War to join the Indian National Army.
  • Bose was afflicted by tuberculosis in 1945 and he succumbed to the disease on 21 January 1945 in Tokyo.
  • The Japanese government had conferred on him the honour the ‘Order of the Rising Sun’.
Also on this day

1924: Birth of physicist and former Finance Minister, Madhu Dandavate.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

Also read the biographies of other freedom fighters:

Surya Sen
Pritilata Waddedar
Tatya Tope

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