Tokyo (CNN)On December 23, 1912, an explosion rocked Delhi just as Lord Hardinge, the British viceroy of India, entered the new capital on the back of an elephant.
The Indian revolutionary who fought to overthrow British rule while living in Japan
The bomb was meant to kill him, but instead it peppered Hardinge's back with shrapnel, killed his attendant and cast a shadow over a day that was meant to mark the transition of India's capital to Delhi from Kolkata.
The mastermind of the attack was Rash Behari Bose, a 26-year-old Bengali revolutionary who initially posed as a British loyalist while secretly working to overthrow colonial rule.
The attack failed, but it gave Bose the opportunity to show the hundreds of people in attendance -- and the world -- that some Indians were prepared to expel the British by force.
The British government made India part of its empire in 1858 after suppressing a bloody and nationwide uprising known as the Indian Rebellion or Indian Mutiny -- a protest against the rule of the British East India Company, which operated on behalf of the Crown.
After the failed assassination attempt, Bose's five comrades were captured and took the stand in the Delhi Conspiracy trial, with one imprisoned for life and four others executed.
With a bounty on his head, Bose managed to flee India in 1915 to Japan, where he became a significant activist, reportedly introduced one of the country's most popular curries and laid the foundations for the Indian National Army.
Today, the names of prominent Indian freedom fighters such as Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru have found their place in world history, but few have heard of Rash Behari Bose.
Yet in Japan his story has become something of a legend.
Bose was born in a village in northeastern Bengal in 1886 and grew up amid the severe famines that struck India during British rule.
The country's colonial leaders had started to commercialize farming, collecting land revenue and encouraging the export of "cash crops" that contributed to severe food shortages when other harvests failed.
At the time, the average life expectancy for ordinary Indians was about 25 years compared to 44 in the United Kingdom.
The disparities nurtured a nationalist movement which led to the formation of the Indian National Congress, a party for Indians interested in reform and greater political autonomy.
Bose also wanted a greater say in his own future and was prepared to take up arms to get it, according to Elizabeth Eston and Lexi Kawabe, the authors of "Rash Behari Bose: The father of the Indian National Army."
After leaving school, he made unsuccessful attempts to join the Indian Army before landing a clerk's job with the Forest Research Institute at Dehradun, in the northern state of Uttarakhand.
Bose had wanted a role that would allow him to give the impression of being a loyal British subject while he worked on dismantling British rule from the inside, according to Eston and Kawabe.
With the Forest Research Institute he was able to travel around India and used the opportunity to secretly forge anti-colonial revolutionary networks, they wrote.
For several years, India's colonial rulers didn't suspect a thing.
Bose was still in his teens in 1905 when the British partitioned Bengal into two new provinces, supposedly for administrative reasons, though it appeared to be split along religious lines.
Like other Bengali Hindu nationalists, Bose was incensed.
Bengal had been a key location for India's anti-British opposition and Bengali Hindus saw the partition as a way for the British to weaken their power base. The move was largely supported by Muslims.