One wonders why Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave so much importance to declassify the files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. In the manner and swiftness the files are released on-line is indicative of high importance of the subject matter.
Journalist turned researcher Anuj Dhar has written the most well-known books concerning the controversy surrounding the fate of Subhas Chandra Bose. India’s Biggest Cover-up (2012), Vitasta Publishing and latest one is What Happened to Netaji (2016), by the same publisher. He is a co-founder of a group called ‘Mission Netaji’.
I had not read the books earlier – only watched videos of some of his talks. I really wanted to meet him to ask some tough questions. Fortunately, I got the opportunity recently – as he is on a US tour till October 24.
I had invited many people to attend his talks, so that they could interact with him directly. Those who could not make it, missed a great opportunity indeed, to learn about the intriguing affairs related to Netaji’s disappearance.
One history professor at a major American university reacted – ‘crackpot conspiracy theories about the fascist collaborator with the Axis’! So, there are people who still think that he was a fascist, since he met with Hitler, and took help of Japan to fight the British. But, people forget the fact that his only goal was India’s independence from the British; he simply tried to use ‘enemy’s enemy is your friend’ theory.
The communists in India already declared him as ‘Tojo’s dog’ (Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo)! Propaganda was created in India, on the eve of INA marching into Indian soil from Burma that India would soon be under Japanese rule!
Some staunch Hindutva people think that he was a Muslim apologist.
Some say he became a communist and atheist.
I’ve read Netaji’s complete works in Bengali (Jayshree Prakashan) which tracks his journey till early 1940s and, one cannot find even a hint of such shades of character in him. And, much more information is available today to refute these tags put on Netaji.
Some people think that it is the frustrated Bengalis who are in denial of his death and, like some other public heroes, they are still waiting for a sort of ‘resurrection’! Actually speaking, many Bengalis have forgotten Netaji long back, when they took the path of communism in the form of Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI-M(Marxist) and CPI-ML (Marxist-Leninist) and more! Even most of his family members today, do not bother about the new evidences and instead, firmly stick to the plane crash theory. Few family members finally, are keen to get to the truth.
Two out of 3 probe panels (headed by people closely associated with the Nehru establishment) – to investigate Netaji’s disappearance issue concluded that Netaji indeed died in the plane crash on August 18, 1945. However, the last one, Justice M. K. Mukherjee Commission (1990) declared that Netaji did not die in the plane crash. Instead of supporting him to take the next step, the Congress Government summarily rejected it, without giving any reason or explanation. This is a major problem. What would possibly go wrong, to allow a commission headed by a Supreme Court justice, to go whole hog, to figure out what really happened to Netaji?
Anuj has obtained the official information from the Taiwan government in 2005, stating that it has no records of a plane crash during the period of 14 August to 25 October 1945, at the old Matsuyama Airport, now the Taipei Domestic Airport.
And, one of the recently declassified files clearly shows that people in Indian Government ordered snooping on Netaji’s family members for no apparent reason. The only explanation can be that scores of intelligence officers were snooping to obtain information on the whereabouts of Netaji, if any. Nowhere in the world has any intelligence organization invested so much on a dead person!
These revelations make one think that there is a huge cover up, or else, who is afraid of digging out the truth?
Anuj is asked – are you trying to make a career out of this imaginary theory that Netaji did no die in the plane crash? Well – perhaps his hard work may give him a good career, if he is able to successfully complete his job; but the fact remains that his team needs to get access to thousands of top secret documents in various ministries and intelligence establishment. The files so far published by the Prime Minister are just the tip of the iceberg!
Then some other skeptics ask – already it is proven that Netaji was in Siberia and he was killed by Stalin! That’s a tough one – because so many stories of so-called sightings of Netaji in Russia are there, even with theories attached to President Dr. S. Radhakrishnan and Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri – fascinating claims without any solid proof.
Even Gandhiji thought Netaji was alive after the so-called plane crash! And, one cannot be convinced that it was just his ‘inner voice’ and not based on actual information!
Then comes the theory of Netaji living in India as a saint. There were several such holy men suspected as Netaji. Many said it was actually propaganda to confuse people and eventually reject any such possibility as silly speculation.
But then, the Gumnami Baba theory is making the subject matter very complex. Many eyewitnesses say that he could not be anyone but Netaji. Apparently the holy man died in 1985 and was cremated unceremoniously.
Some compelling evidences show that whoever he was, he had some serious business, related to Netaji. According to a local journalist, who has written extensively on both Netaji and Gumnami Baba, after the death of the holy man, Netaji’s niece Lalita Bose came to Faizabad in 1986. When she saw the items in his room, she broke down and said that they were her uncle’s.
The evidence is so clinching that one skeptic said that the Indian intelligence planted a Netaji look-alike, with a bunch of interesting items, possessed by him.
Fortunately hundreds of these articles – books, clothes, watch, binocular, glasses etc. which were in his possession, are still available. Lalita Bose and Faizabad’s Subhash Chandra Bose Vichaar Manch moved the court to ascertain his identity and protect his legacy. The court ordered to construct a memorial to keep the items found from the residence and also ordered to set up of a judicial commission.
In June, this year the Uttar Pradesh government has set up a judicial commission headed by Justice Vishnu Sahai, former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, to figure out the identity of Gumnami Baba alias Bhagwanji.
What are the implications if and when the hidden truth about Netaji’s disappearance and subsequent possible cover–up comes out?
First of all, history will then do justice to one of the most important political leaders and also India’s popular motto: SateyamebaJayate – ‘truth alone triumphs’ – will be upheld!
It will reveal how the Nehru-Gandhi family and their supporters did not allow the facts to come to light, due to vested interests.
It will show the true face of many past and current political leaders and not just Pandit Nehru. Many believe that the country was taken in the wrong direction for lack of leadership which was grabbed via very unusual circumstances and behind-the-scene deals. Otherwise, it is unthinkable that 70 years after independence, India is till home to most poor and illiterate people.
A new debate on which movement really brought independence to India – Gandhiji and Congress Party’s non-cooperation movement or armed struggle of Netaji and others, is a hot topic these days. And, some of these documents may throw more light, to see if in reality Netaji was suppressed by the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Congress Party and, due to that not only Netaji, but many other great freedom leaders did not get their rightful place in Indian history books, as well as in the hearts and minds of the people of the nation.
With the release of more declassified documents and all the items of the baba, much more information will come to light in the near future and the Indian government will have to provide full cooperation for the truth to prevail. After all, some of the items found in his possession, if revealed to public, are going to be a huge game-changer for the political establishment of India.
But, if somehow it turns out that Gumnami baba was indeed Netaji – I will leave to you to figure out the implications!
In the meantime, interested people can read Anuj’s books to know what he has uncovered so far and attend his talks in various parts of the USA and India.