A few days before he escaped, Subhash Chandra Bose sought solitude and on the pretext, he avoided meeting British guards and grew a beard. He dressed like a Pathan ,on the night of his escape so that he could not be identified.
He escaped from the British surveillance at his house in Calcutta and on 9th January 1941, he escaped with his nephew in a car. The car is still being displayed at his Calcutta home.
Subhash Chandra Bose than reached Peshawar with the help of the Abwehr where he met Akbar Shah, Mohammed Shah and Bhagat Ram Talwar. On 26th January 1941, he began his journey to reach Russia through India’s northwest frontier with Afghanistan.
For this reason, he took the help of Akbar Shah, then a Forward Bloc member in the North West Frontier Province. To avoid being attacked by the Pashto speakers working for the British, Subhash Chandra Bose acted deaf and dumb and also grew his beard long.
He was helped by supporters of Aga Khan III to cross the border to Afghanistan where he traveled furthermore with the help of the people to the border with Soviet Russia.
After assuming the disguise of the Pashtun insurance agent to reach Afghanistan, he changed his guise and travelled to Moscow on an Italian passport. He then reached Rome and from there he travelled to Germany.
Once he reached Russia, he was transported to Moscow by the NKVD where he hoped the Russia’s traditional enmity with British would result in support for his plans for a popular rising in India.
However, he didn’t get a favorable response in Soviet Russia and was rapidly passed onto the German Ambassador in Moscow who had Bose flew to Berlin where he was to receive a hearing from the foreign ministry.
In Germany, he instituted the Special Bureau for India and broadcasted on the German sponsored Azad Hind Radio. He also founded the Free India Center in Berlin and also created the Indian Legion out of Indian prisoners of war. In all 3000 Indian prisoners were signed up for the Indian Legion.
He met Hitler in May 1942 and found out the Nazi leader was more interested in using Bose’s men to win propaganda victories than military ones. He knew Hitler would not be of any help.
As such, in February 1943, Subhash Chandra Bose turned his back on his legionaries and slipped secretly away aboard a submarine bound for Japan. This left the Indian Legion recruited leaderless and demoralized in Germany.