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His Majesty's Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle Against Empire
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His Majesty's Opponent: Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle Against Empire

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  262 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published November 12th 2012 by Belknap Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Riku Sayuj

One attempt too many at defending political decisions and one slur too many at the other leaders (Nehru, Gandhi, Patel among others), all the while trying to portray Bose as a visionary who alone had the true picture of world politics and the future, makes this a bit of a propaganda book. At many times it resorts to ‘if’s to wonder about what Bose might have done or speculates on how he could have influenced various momentous events. At other times it is a string of ‘but’s to explain all the que
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An insightful and detailed account of one of the greater lights of India's freedom struggle. Also surprisingly balanced, considering the author is Bose's grandnephew (his father, Sisir Bose, played a significant role in helping Subhas escape from the country).

The author's analysis of Bose's role in the struggle for independence is satisfactory. However, his speculations regarding the impact Bose would have had had he been party to some pivotal decisions taken by Gandhi, Nehru and the Congress W
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sheila by: myself
Subhas Chandra Bose was a great intellectual and believer of freedom for India from British occupation. Netaji relentlessly fought to free India (he called it bondage) from British rule. While in exile he travelled to Russia, Germany, Austria, Italy Singapore and Japan to get support and financial aid to fight British rule. To silence Subhas Bose British government arrested him several times and imprisoned him without a fair trial. Sarat Bose (elder brother of Subhas Bose) and Dr. Sisir Bose (ne ...more
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Felt ashamed of myself while reading this book, for not having known enough of Netaji all these years. A Masters in Philosophy from Cambridge, quitting the Civil Services at the age of 24, languishing in a prison in Mandalay during his late 20s, edifying Gandhiji only to see him play politics to pull him down, falling in love in Europe, looking after Kamala Nehru during her convalescence, forming the Forward Bloc, daring escape from House arrest in Kolkata to Europe through Kabul, meeting the Fu ...more
Apratim Mukherjee
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always wanted to read a full biography of one of India's greatest freedom fighters-Subhash Chandra Bose.This biography is written by a member of Bose family.So it is expected to be biased(which it rightly is).This book attempts to give Bose his rightful place in Indian history.It tells about smallest details of his life ( which makes reading boring initially) .The author also clears some air on Netaji's disappearance.All in all its an excellent biography.I only docked a star for some irrelevan ...more
Nikhil Nayak
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book not only describes the events and happenings in Netaji's life but also explains the attitude, motive and thinking of Netaji behind those instances. This well written book explains who Netaji was, what influenced his thinking, what made him a man of such stature, what was his attitude, plan and solutions for the social, religious and economic problems, which India was facing that time.
Sugata Bose made a sincere effort to provide an unbiased explanation and details of Netaji’s political
Abhishek Ganguly
This comes straight from the horse's mouth.

Subhas Chandra Bose is an icon, a legend, a hero. Sugata Bose draws him as a person.
Reminiscent of Che Guevara's 'The Motorcycle Diaries', this book relies on passionate and practical telling of the events/circumstances around the youth's favourtie rebel.

The political events that lead to the rise of Netaji and the Azad Hind Fauj are depicted through terse, impartial analysis and Sugata Bose does his job as a historian rather than a member of Netaji's fa
Biju Balakrishnan
A sensational biography of our forgotten hero 'Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose'. Sugata Bose has beautifully narrated his journey from Calcutta, the early years, to Cambridge where he completed his studies. The Indian Civil Services laureate who abandons his civil service job and returns to India with a dream of liberating his people from British oppression.

The great escape to Germany via Afghanistan & Russia under the nose of British surveillance shows his courage and fearless attitude. A truly
A detailed account of Subhas Chandra Bose's fight to secure India's freedom from British rule, this book reads more like a history book than a biography, which I had expected it to be. As a result we are inundated with excruciating historical details, rather than an in depth understanding of Bose or Netaji (as he was fondly referred to) as a person and what drove him. Albeit there is a bit of that, but we never really get to discover the true person that he was - the book just seems to skim the ...more
Midhun Jose
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about the greatest warrior India has ever produced- Subhas Chandra Bose. He is not only a brave military hero, but also a great politician, a good visionary, a brilliant philosopher and moreover he was very humane as a person. He, probably, was more respectable and more efficient than Gandhi as a leader of Indian Freedom Struggle. He lived and died for Mother India. The political, social, economical and cultural history of India would be totally different for better if he had enough ...more
Priya Sambhar
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well its an honest book written by someone who was close to Subhash Chandra Bose ...
So it has many episodes which went missing from history of our country fight of freedom.
very informative book regarding world wars..those who are keen to know more about our freedom journey, they are going to adore this book...
Tariq Mahmood
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, india
Great book on Netaji. It was my first book on the great leader and left a strong impression on me. Netaji could have altered history if his INA had prevailed against the British Indian Army. The book is a must read for all readers of Indian independence movement.
Vishakh Thomas
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Quite a complete account. Well researched and thankfully shorn of any conspiracy theories. Not too reverential but lacking in critical analysis.
Worth a read.
Paulami Dey
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This book is an insightful and detailed description of a great life. this book is more like a text book with many references. If you are looking for thrill, then I am afraid that this book is not written for you. This book helps you to know many things which you were only assuming. This book is truthful, straight and chronological tale of the life and perhaps a bit of the after life of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Over all, reading this book gave me a good and nice feeling.
Ashok Krishna
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a young boy when I had my first introduction to ‘Netaji’ Subhas Chandra Bose, through a children’s magazine. Going through a pictographic portrayal of his life and struggle for Indian independence, I couldn’t make much about him at that time. With words like freedom, sacrifice, dedication and death not making much of a sense to my young mind, I didn’t understand him as a leader then. However, the adventures of his escape from house arrest, travel to Japan in a submarine and his death in a ...more
Al Johnson
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The derth of literature regarding Asia during WWII, much less the Indian/Burma theater is thankfully filled by Sugata Bose book. Joining Joyce Lebra and Peter Ward Fay in examinations of the Indian side of WWII, Professor Sugata bose has provided an in depth book looking at the forces that shaped the man who would in turn shape India during WWII. The narrative is excellent, and like a good Annales author, he looks at influences from the common man on up, yet doesn't exclusively do so. He is also ...more
Mandeep Kalra
An elegantly written biography of a fierce fighter for Indian freedom. However, having previously read some of Sugata Bose's excellent scholarly work, I felt a bit let down by this book. Bose makes no real historical argument or historiographical intervention. This book devolves into a hagiography of its subject. While I did learn a lot about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose from this book and do believe that his positives far outweigh his negatives, no human being is perfect, and this book makes him ...more
Ram Krishnan
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
His Majesty's Opponent by Sugata Bose gives a vivid biography of Nethaji SubashChandra Bose's life

He identified from the beginning that India's development will be the development of its labor, downtrodden people.

The British were more afraid of him than any other Indian freedom struggle leader, they wanted to keep him under as much as possible lest his organizational skills and strategy may undermine their rule

Had he been there and given full control in charge of the Congress, the pakistan issue
Anand Veeraraghav
Sugata Bose describes the life of his great uncle, Subhas Chandra Bose, founder of the Azad Hind Fauj,or Free Indian Army, known commonly as the Indian National Army. In the climax of the biography, we learn of Bose's difficult journey from a Bengali prison to Kabul and from then to Berlin, where he met Adolf hitler. Despite not approving of Hitler's policies regarding his own people or the German invasion of the USSR, Bose allied himself with the Axis Powers and set off to Japan. From Japan, he ...more
Pranav O
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No one else could have written this book better than Sugata Bose himself. The book while giving a deep insight into one of the highest intellectual properties India had during its freedom movement also describes the chain of events, congress' role and its shortcomings. Bose's respect for Gandhiji and how both differ in their school of thoughts has been brilliantly portrayed. The formation of Indian National Army, Burma campaign, his strategy with the axis powers have been portrayed in detail. Th ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Subhas Chandra Bose seemed to single handedly enable and guide the movement of Indian independence from the British. Featuring weighty historical fact (and evidence around his death) Sugata Bose has further solidified 'Netaji' ("Revered Leader") as a legend of the Indian political movement. The insights into Gandhi are also interesting. Quite academic in places, but also some good fun. I like the stories of Netaji's travels with the Japanese submarine fleet, the Captain giving Bose his personal ...more
Pradeep Kaushik
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an insight into the life of most resolute and resourceful enemy of British empire in India history. I knew that he was a great patriot, but didn't know that he had this great peronality. It was an amazing read.

Some of the excerpts that I liked very much:

'There, there in the distance - beyond that river, beyond those jungles, beyond those hills lies the promised land - the soil from which we sprang- the land to which we shall return'(Order of the day, March 1944)

'In this mortal world everyth
The Book Outline
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Sugata Bose has avoided the detailed reports of the various commissions set up by the Government of independent India to investigate the disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose, which may feel misleading to a section of readers, the book is a truly remarkable biography, brilliantly written with a historian's dispassion.

Read the review of His Majesty's Opponent at
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding piece of research and a scholarly effort. Despite being a close relative of Subhas Chandra Bose, the author has objectively evaluated the life of one of the pioneers of Indian Independence. He has brought out hitherto unknown facets of Bose and in doing so shows how well rounded a personality Bose had been. He was one of the most secular leaders and it is a pity that our country lost his services too early for its own good. Must read for every Indian.
Rommo Mitra
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
The Legend...the hero of India's uprising...the hope of millions and a true patriot. Bose...everybody wishes to know how he disappeared which is still a mystery or kept as a mystery.People should be more conscious about what his dream he sacrificed everything for his nation and how he wanted to see India after independence. His life is still a true inspiration to millions of youth. I wished to follow his life thoroughly...and this book is surely a great help to quench my thirst.
Sanjay Podder
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was explosed to the side of Netaji I was not aware of. His attempts to take people of all religion in the national freedom struggle. His diplomatic attempts in Europe during his exile. This is a must read to understand one of India's finest leader and his unparallel contribution leading to India's independence.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
hagiographic. properly biased, not in favour of Mr. Bose but against all other contemporary politicians of that period. look like there were only three people who were concerned with indian freedom: Subhas Chandra Bose, Sarat Chandra Bose and Rabindra nath tagore and rest were just working for their own prosperity. i would not like to read anything like that. abondoned in between.
Boi Kart
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That's a great book for me. I read it many times.

You can also buy it from, I get this book from here.

Link :
Sahas N
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much info about the legend and Indian Freedom Struggle.Though the starting chapter was too boring, the book keeps one engrossed once the legend of Netaji starts.Not knew that it was Netaji who first referred Gandhiji as "Father of our Nation".
Abhishek Addy
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book is a detailed biography of Netaji, from his student days to ultimately his untimely death and gives us a clear picture of his struggles, his ideals and his vision for a free India, something which ultimately came two years after his death.
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Sugata Bose is the Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University.
He was born in Calcutta, India. He studied at the Presidency College, Kolkata. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge under Eric Stokes. He is the grandnephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and grandson of Nationalist leader Sarat Chandra Bose.
He is the author of several books on the economic, soc
More about Sugata Bose...