7th March, 1941, two Special Operations Executives (SOE), of the British Intelligence, stationed in Turkey received official communication from the Prime Minister’s office in London. After reading the official order, both the SOEs contacted their headquarters in order to confirm if the communication is true only to get an affirmation. There was a reason that the British intelligence officers wanted to confirm the authenticity of the order. It was one of those rare orders where the intelligence officers were ordered to assassinate a politician. The order was to find and kill the Indian politician Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
In January, 1941, Bose disappeared from his under the vigil home, where he was put under house arrest by the British. In an unprecedented manner he travelled through India, Afghanistan and USSR to reach Germany in April. The British intelligence reported in March that Bose was in Afghanistan and was planning to reach Germany through the Middle-East. Intelligence also reported a possibility of a future army formation by Bose with the help of Germany. It was an alarming situation for the British empire. Rarely, anyone had challenged the mighty empire the way Bose was challenging.
The British Intelligence officers kept on trying to locate Bose’s location and route for the next few weeks only to taste failure. Bose did not take the route via Middle-East and went to Moscow from Afghanistan to take a flight from Moscow to Berlin.
The fear of the British Empire was not unfounded. Netaji did actually form an army and waged a war in a manner which had no parallel in history.
This order also establishes the fact that the British, among all the Indian leaders, feared Bose the most. He is the only Indian leader whose assassination was ordered by the British government, an honour never bestowed upon Gandhi, Nehru, Azad, Patel or any other illustrious leader of the freedom struggle in India.