Singapore: Singapore President S R Nathan has launched a book on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, recalling that a speech by the Indian freedom fighter in 1940s` had changed his perspective of British rule.
"From that speech, my perspective of British rule, even in Malaya, took an opposite turn and has remained so to this day," said Nathan at the launch of the biography book in Singapore yesterday.
Nathan said one of Bose`s speeches then was his first political education, recalling how Bose had detailed acts of cruelty committed by the British in India during their raj.
The President said Bose was a "key Asian nationalist" and a man of "single-minded purpose" who made important contributions to the struggle of freedom in both India and Singapore.
Bose led overseas Indian independent movement, and politicised Indian labourers in Singapore when he arrived in July 1943.
Nathan also recalled that first emergency was declared in Malaya at the Indian labourer operated Dublin Estate in northern peninsular state of Kedah, because of Bose`s presence and exhortation, inspiring the Indians to stand up against the British.
"So after the war, when the British returned, it was no longer a docile labour force. It was revitalised," Nathan was quoted as saying in a report by The Straits Times today.
The book on Bose`s life is authored by Harvard history professor Sugata Bose, a grand nephew of the leader who died in a plane crash in August 1945, and did not witness India`s independence two years later.
The 388-page tome, `His Majesty`s Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India`s Struggle Against Empire` was published by Harvard University Press.
Born in 1897 in Orissa, Bose was educated at Cambridge University but gave up a chance to enter the elite Indian civil service, opting for his lifelong struggle for the Independence of India.
Bose began an exile life in Europe in 1941, dramatically escaped from a Calcutta trial under British surveillance, and was in Singapore in 1943, where he revived the Indian National Army and Indian Independence League, the two anti-colonial groups operating from outside India.
Bose carried out his struggle in Malaya, which then included Singapore, during the Japanese regime of the 1940s.