This epic of a life larger than its legend is both intimate, based on family archives, and global in significance. His Majesty's Opponent establishes Sugata Bose among the giants of Indian and world history. In Biblio, historian Sabyasachi Bhattacharya has praised Bose for achieving "critical distance" from his subject. Historian and editor Rudrangshu Mukherjee has called His Majesty’s Opponent a "definitive biography", adding that "in terms of sheer craftsmanship and mastery over material, this is an achievement that will evoke the admiration and envy of any historian-biographer."
The man whom Indian nationalists perceived as the "George Washington of India" and who was President of the Indian National Congress in 1938–1939 is a legendary figure. Called Netaji ("leader") by his countrymen, Subhas Chandra Bose struggled all his life to liberate his people from British rule and, in pursuit of that goal, raised and led the Indian National Army against Allied Forces during World War II. His patriotism, as Gandhi asserted, was second to none, but his actions aroused controversy in India and condemnation in the West.
Now, in a definitive biography of the revered Indian nationalist, Sugata Bose deftly explores a charismatic personality whose public and private life encapsulated the contradictions of world history in the first half of the twentieth century. He brilliantly evokes Netaji's formation in the intellectual milieu of Calcutta and Cambridge, probes his thoughts and relations during years of exile, and analyzes his ascent to the peak of nationalist politics. Amidst riveting accounts of imprisonment and travels, we glimpse the profundity of his struggle: to unite Hindu and Muslim, men and women, and diverse linguistic groups within a single independent Indian nation. Finally, an authoritative account of his untimely death in a plane crash will put to rest rumors about the fate of this "deathless hero."
This epic of a life larger than its legend is both intimate, based on family archives, and global in significance. ‘His Majesty's Opponent’ establishes Bose among the giants of Indian and world history.
In Biblio, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya has praised Bose for achieving "critical distance" from his subject. Telegraph editor Rudrangshu Mukherjee has called ‘His Majesty’s Opponent’ a "definitive biography" adding that "in terms of sheer craftsmanship and mastery over material, this is an achievement that will evoke the admiration and envy of any historian-biographer." In The Hindustan Times, Ashok Malik has pronounced it a "template biography", "arrestingly written", "sympathetic but dispassionate and evokes in the reader just the right mix of emotion and regret that Bose's brilliant but truncated life deserves." The Cambridge historian David Motadel finds the book "captivating" in The Times Literary Supplement, while Soutik Biswas of Live Mint feels the biography is "magisterial", presenting "a vivid portrait of Netaji as a protean nationalist of fierce integrity and conviction". Biswas calls particular attention to Bose's "considerable acuity in examining the icon's complex love-hate relationship with Gandhi."
Published by Penguin in India and Harvard University Press in the rest of the world, ‘His Majesty’s Opponent’ was shortlisted for the Economist Crossword Book Award in 2011 under the non-fiction category. Translated into Bengali by Semanti Ghosh and published by Anando with the title ‘Deshnayak’ in 2013.
On December 26, 2004, giant tsunami waves destroyed communities around the Indian Ocean, from Indonesia to Kenya. Beyond the horrific death toll, this wall of water brought a telling reminder of the interconnectedness of the many countries on the ocean rim, and the insignificance of national boundaries. ‘A Hundred Horizons’ takes us to these shores, in a brilliant reinterpretation of how culture developed and history was made at the height of the British raj.
Between 1850 and 1950, the Indian Ocean teemed with people, commodities, and ideas: pilgrims and armies, commerce and labor, the politics of Mahatma Gandhi and the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore were all linked in surprising ways. Sugata Bose finds in these intricate social and economic webs evidence of the interdependence of the peoples of the lands beyond the horizon, from the Middle East to East Africa to Southeast Asia. In following this narrative, we discover that our usual ways of looking at history—through the lens of nationalism or globalization—are not adequate. The national ideal did not simply give way to inevitable globalization in the late twentieth century, as is often supposed; Bose reveals instead the vital importance of an intermediate historical space, where interregional geographic entities like the Indian Ocean rim foster nationalist identities and goals yet simultaneously facilitate interaction among communities.
‘A Hundred Horizons’ merges statistics and myth, history and poetry, in a remarkable reconstruction of how a region’s culture, economy, politics, and imagination are woven together in time and place.
Praised for its “unusual breadth and ambition” in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Kumkum Chatterjee believes the book’s “most powerful idea” is that the “territorially delimited nation-state may not necessarily be the most relevant or appropriate entity for a better and more comprehensive understanding of nationalist identity and imagination. Bose seeks to show how Indian soldiers serving overseas, or Indian labor serving in the mines and plantations outside India, imagined and perceived an Indian homeland. Particularly interesting is the discussion of how the two iconic figures of Indian nationalism, Gandhi and Bose, during their stays in South Africa and Southeast Asia, respectively, derived valuable lessons about how to accommodate “internal” differences of caste, religion, class, etc. within anticolonial, nationalist movements.”
David Arnold in The Times Literary Supplement finds the book “timely” and “thought-provoking”, Martin Lewis in the Geographical Review calls it “an empirically rich work based on a careful and creative use of primary sources” with the writing “crisp and accessible… The author couches his arguments in social theory, but does so in a graciously understated way.”
Published by Permanent Black in India and Harvard University Press in the rest of the world in 2006; paperback in 2009.
Drawing on the newest and most sophisticated historical research and scholarship in the field, Modern South Asia provides a challenging insight for those with an intellectual curiosity about the region. After sketching the pre-modern history of the subcontinent, the book concentrates on the last three centuries.
In this comprehensive study, the authors interpret and debate the striking developments in contemporary South Asian history and historical writing, covering the entire spectrum of the region’s modern history – social, economic and political. The book provides new insights into the structure and ideology of the British raj, the meaning of subaltern resistance, the refashioning of social relations along the lines of caste, class, community and gender, the different strands of anti-colonial nationalism and the dynamics of decolonization.
The Telegraph has called the book a “tour de force that admirably synthesizes much of the new historical research without falling into the trap of new orthodoxies” while the Indian Review of Books recommends it as “an excellent university textbook.”
Published by Routledge in 1998; 3rd revised and expanded edition in 2011 (hardcover and paperback).
This book is a critical work of synthesis and interpretation on one of the central themes in modern Indian history - agrarian change under British colonial rule. Sugata Bose analyses the relationships between demography, commercialization, class structure and peasant resistance unfolding over the long term between 1770 and more recent times.
By integrating the histories of land and capital, he examines the relationship between capitalist 'development' of the wider economy under colonial rule and agrarian continuity and change. Drawing most of his empirical evidence from rural Bengal, the author makes comparisons with regional agrarian histories of other parts of South Asia. Thus, this study stands on its own in the field of modern Indian social and economic history in its chronological sweep and comparative context and makes the complex subject of India's peasantry accessible to students and the interested non-specialist.
Published by Cambridge University Press in the UK in 1993 and distributed by Foundation Books in India.
Sugata Bose develops a general typology of systems of agrarian production in Bengal to show how these responded to different types of pressure from the world economy, and treats in detail the effects of the world Depression on Bengal.
Separate chapters are devoted to the themes of agrarian conflict and religious strife in east Bengal, the agrarian dimension of mass nationalism in west Bengal and sharecroppers agitations in the frontier regions. The conclusion attempts a synthesis of the typology of agrarian social structure and the periodisation of peasant politics, placing this in the wider context of agrarian societies and protest in other parts of India and in South-east Asia. As well as being an outstanding contribution to Indian economic and social history, this book draws important conclusions about peasant politics in general and about the effects of international economic fluctuations on primary producing countries.
Published by Cambridge University Press in 1986; Indian edition by Orient Longman. Excerpts have been translated into Bengali in Sugata Bose, Andre Beteille and Binay Bhusan Chaudhuri, Banglar Krishi Samajer Garan (Delhi: International Council of Bengal Studies, and Calcutta: K.P. Bagchi, 1995)
This volume examines issues of history and political economy that are central to the problems of nationalism, democracy, and development.
The contributors, including Amartya Sen and Pranab Bardhan, question the dichotomy between secular nationalism and religious communalism and take issue with cultural critiques of modernity and nationalism.
Published by Oxford University Press in1997; eighth impression in 2009.
Purabi brings together 52 of Tagore’s poems and songs. This beautifully boxed collection includes an audio CD of Tagore songs and recitations both in English and Bengali.
The collection reveals a very different Tagore from the one the West has come to know, bringing to light a passionate poet who celebrated the wonders of this earth instead of just pondering the mysteries of the other world and whose irrepressible love of life was tinged with an acute awareness of its inexorable limits and tragedies. This beautifully boxed collection includes an audio CD of Tagore songs and recitations both in English and Bengali. Published by Seagull in Kolkata in 2007.
This book examines forms of cosmopolitanism in the high period of South Asian anti-colonialism, 1890-1947.
Essays argue that anti-colonial action stemmed not only from a teleological rush to realize the form of nation-states, but from the speculative aspiration to critique and transcend notions of universalism and the ultimate good brought by British rule. Published by Palgrave Macmillan in the UK in 2010.
This is the first book to analyze agrarian change in rural Bengal since the recent upsurge in agricultural growth which began in the mid-1980s.
A distinguished cast of contributors explore the complex linkages between agricultural growth, agrarian social change, government policy and local level practice. Published by Sage in Delhi in 1999.
This study draws on a variety of historiographical approaches to explore credit, a theme central to all discussions of the colonial economy in India.
Sugata Bose considers such questions as why peasants borrowed, how credit intruded into peasants' lives and transformed their world, how we may most usefully characterize the relationship between peasants and usurers, and how debtors perceive their creditors. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi in 1994.
It is comprised of seventeen studies by historians, sociologists, economists and political scientists, which examine developments within the subcontinent vis-a-vis the global context of capitalism. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi in 1990.
Edited volumes of primary sources
After a perilous ninety-day submarine voyage, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Southeast Asia on 6 May 1943 to lead the Indian independence movement. ‘Only when the blood of freedom loving Indians begins to flow’, he declared in one of his broadcasts in June 1943, ‘will India attain her freedom.’ In his last message, on 15 August 1945, he urged faith in India’s destiny and expressed confidence that ‘India shall be free and before long.’
Volume 12 of Netaji’s Collected Works brings together all his speeches and writings as leader of the Azad Hind movement from June 1943 to August 1945. His stirring speeches in Singapore, Malaya, and Burma electrified massive audiences of civilians and soldiers, united Indians of all religions, and inspired them to join the march towards Delhi. The Proclamation of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India) in Singapore on 21 October 1943 blends erudition and passion. Netaji’s radio address to the ‘Father of Our Nation’ provides the most detailed justification of his course of action and seeks the Mahatma’s blessings in the ‘holy war’ raging around Imphal and Kohima. The ‘Tokyo thesis’ delivered to university faculty and students in November 1944 highlights the three supreme challenges for free India national defence, eradication of poverty, and education for all. His letters most published here for the first time reveal Netaji’s special solicitude for the young women and men who joined the Indian National Army.
This volume is indispensable for all interested in modern South Asian history and politics, as well as nationalism and international relations in the twentieth century. Published by Permanent Black in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 2006.
On the night of 16-17 January 1941, Subhas Chandra Bose secretly left his Elgin Road home in Calcutta and was driven by his nephew, Sisir, in a car up to Gomoh railway junction in Bihar. Before his departure he wrote a few post-dated letters to be mailed on his return to Calcutta in order to give the British the false impression that he was still at home.
Volume 11 of Netaji Bose’s Collected Works opens with one such letter, written to his political colleague Hari Vishnu Kamath, who was then in prison. Two years later, on the eve of setting out on a perilous submarine journey from Europe to Asia on 8 February 1943, Subhas Chandra Bose wrote a touching letter in Bengali for his elder brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, which forms the last item in this volume: 'Today once again I am embarking on the path of danger. But this time towards home. I may not see the end of the road.'
Between these two journeys lies perhaps the most difficult, daring and controversial phase in the life of India's foremost anti-colonial revolutionary. His writings and broadcasts of this period cover a broad range of topics, including the nature and course of the Second World War, the need to distinguish between India's internal and external policy in the context of the international war crisis, plans for a final armed assault against British rule in India, dismay at and criticism of Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, the hypocrisy of Anglo-American notions of freedom and democracy, the role of Japan in East and Southeast Asia, the reasons for rejecting the Cripps offer of 1942, support for Mahatma Gandhi and the Quit India movement later that year and reflections on the future problems of reconstruction in free India.
This volume is indispensable for all interested in modern South Asian history and politics, as well as nationalism and international relations in the twentieth century. Published by Permanent Black in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 2002.
Between his resignation as Congress President in Calcutta on 29 April 1939 and his escape from his Elgin Road home on the night of 16-17 January 1941, Subbas Chandra Bose provided India with an alternative leadership in place of the old guard represented by the Gandhian High Command. His alternative was based on a commitment to anti-imperialism and future socialism.
This volume brings together the writings and speeches of a crucial phase in Bose's political life immediately prior to his emergence as the Netaji of lndia's army of liberation. The themes dealt with here include the role of the left within the Indian independence movement, the Second World War as a conflict between rival imperialisms and the need for Hindu–Muslim unity and Congress–Muslim League understanding. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1998.
Distilled from the authoritative, twelve-volume Collected Works, this collection stands a concise introduction to the thought of India's foremost militant nationalist. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1997.
This autobiography supplies the material with which to study the socio-cultural environment in which Subhas Chandra Bose grew up and the lineaments of his intellectual development. Bose was one of India's major militant nationalist leaders. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1997.
In Contemporary South Asia, the political scientist Subrata Mitra argues that "Bose's retrospective self-analysis, and meticulous accounts of his inner-struggle as a truant schoolboy searching for holy enlightenment, would be a useful reference point for those who tend to interpolate an amoral, fantastic streak in Bose from his subsequent alliance with Nazi Germany ..."
This volume narrates the political upheavals of the inter-war period, further enriched by Netaji's reflections on the key themes of Indian history and a finely etched assessment of Mahatma Gandhi's role in it. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1997.
In 1938 Subhas Chandra Bose reached the peak of his political life when he was elected President of the Indian National Congress. Leading the forces of uncompromising anti-colonialism and socialism, he defeated Gandhi's nominee in the bitterly contested election for Congress Presidency in 1939.
This volume brings together Bose's letters, writings, and speeches from January 1938 until just after his resignation as Congress President in April 1939. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1996.
This volume brings together the letters, writings and speeches from a fascinating period of mostly enforced European exile in the career of Subhas Chandra Bose. A wide array of topics are explored - imperialism, fascism, communism, psychology, philosophy, spirituality, urban planning, travel, Gandhi, Ireland, love and more. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1994.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was India's foremost militant nationalist, just as Gandhi and Nehru were its pacifist and moderate nationalists. His love life has always remained a carefully guarded secret. In this volume, for the first time, is revealed Bose's relationship with Emilie Schenkl, the Austrian he married in Europe. It contains 162 of his letters, written between 1934 and 1942, and published for the first time along with eighteen of Emilie Schenkl's letters that have survived. Published by Oxford University Press in Delhi and the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1994.
This volume includes the correspondence, statements, and speeches of Netaji from 1929 to 1932.
Published by the Netaji Research Bureau in Calcutta in 1989.