Qadam Qadam Badhaye Ja
Khushi Ke Geet Gaye Ja
Yeh Zindagi Hai Qaum Ki
Tu Qaum Pe Lutaye Ja

We all remember this song as the regimental quick march song of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army and presently of the Indian Army. Today, we will share the story of an unsung hero of our nation, for whom this song meant prayer and Netaji, his God.

Born in Ghatbhog, Khulna of undivided Bengal on December 12, 1894, Satyacharan Mukherjee, started his career as an accountant with the British government in India from Meerut (UP). During the World War II (1939) he was forced to go to the war front as a part of the British Indian Army and was taken a prisoner of war by the Japanese. 

During Netaji’s visit to Japan, he selected some of the Indian prisoners of war to form the INA and Satyacharan was one of them. From that very moment, Satyacharan took the oath to fight for his motherland under the able leadership of Netaji and make it free from the clutches of the British and in no time, he grew very close to Bose.

On the occasion of Netaji’s 122nd birth anniversary today, Satyacharan Mukherjee’s great-granddaughter Aratrika Mukherjee spoke exclusively to My Nation about his life. Aratrika revealed, “My Boro dadu shared a very close relationship with Netaji, who used to fondly address him as Mukherjee babu. He was the chief accountant of the INA. Boro dadu was a part of Netaji’s several private meetings which were held at night at the dinner table. Being the chief accountant, he had a major role to play in INA’s fund allocation.”

Life was not easy for freedom fighters as they had to undergo a lot of hardships. However, no amount of hardship could deter the soldier who had dedicated his soul to his motherland. Talking about Satyacharan’s experiences, Aratrika said, “There have been days when they used to feed on grass day after day as it was impossible to carry food or water in the war front. The juice of grass helped them quench their thirst but couldn’t fill their empty stomach.”

Satyacharan considered Netaji his guru and held him in high esteem. But he always remained very careful not to leak any information anywhere about him and his mission. He even made sure not to utter a word about the leader to his family in Kolkata till India attained independence. In fact, they didn’t know much about his role in the INA. After serving for four years in the INA, chief accountant Satyacharan asked for Netaji’s permission to return home in India as his wife Padmavati Debi was critically ill and there was no one else to look after her and their six children. Without a second thought, Netaji had granted him permission, which shows how much he respected the families of his soldiers.

Freedom fighter Satyacharan Mukherjee breathed his last in his Rashbehari residence (Kolkata) in 1977. The unsung hero of our nation remained loyal to his leader till his last breath and hence, years after Satyacharan’s death, several mysteries about Netaji remain a secret.