The Saga of the Disappearance of Subhas Bose
Subhas Chandra Bose is one of the towering figures of the freedom movement. The fact that he differed from Gandhi and Nehru is well known and documented, but what is not well known is whether he died in 1945 or escaped to some other destination. Two commissions of enquiry concluded that Bose died in an aircrash in Taiwan. One of the commissions was headed by Shahnawaz Khan,a close confident of Bose. A third commission under Justice Mukherjee set up by the BJP government which concluded that Bose did not die in the air crash. The findings were not accepted by the Vajpayee government. In a private chat Justice Mukherjee added fuel to the fire by stating that he was of the opinion that a man called Gumnaam Baba who had died some time back was Netaji Subhas Bose. But he did not express this opinion in the official inquiry report.
What really happened? This matter has cropped up again as the central government has leaked two classified files that relate that the kin of Bose was under surveillance of the Intelligence Bureau on orders from the Congress government , probably Nehru himself for close to 2 decades after his purported death. This adds to the mystery of Bose's death. Why did Nehru order this surveillance? what was his motive? Did he know that Bose was alive ?
There are no clear cut answers, but most Indians are convinced that he did not die in the air crash and the entire story of the crash was a figment created by Bose to create a smoke screen about him. It is also confirmed that there are no records of any crash on the day Bose is supposed to have died. What happened.?
I am of the opinion that Bose escaped to Manchuria in a Japanese plane. He landed at a Soviet controlled airfield and was arrested. He had assumed that Stalin would help him free India from British rule. This was a naive idea and Bose should have known that Stalin would never forgive anybody who had shook the hands of Hitler. Probably Bose was taken to Moscow and imprisoned there. There is a sketchy report that the Indian ambassador Dr Radhakrishnan saw Bose in a prison cell. This however is highly unlikely as there is no reason for Dr Radhakrishnan who later became President of India to keep this information secret and not corroborate it. In any case Nehru died in 1964 and Dr Radhakrishnan could have spoken out then.
Many conjecture that Bose was taken later to Siberia and incarcerated there for 11 years before he died probably in 1958 or 59. What is the truth ? One fact is clear that the Congress government and Nehru had plenty to hide. Nehru in particular was mortally scared of Bose and there is a chance he could have connived with Russians to keep Bose in prison. Had Bose returned to india he would have become like a tiger and swept to power. Such was his magnetism. Nehru wanted to avoid that.
The mystery of Bose is not difficult to decipher in case the Indian government has a will. All the files can be declassified and I am sure the Russians will help also if approached. But vested interests who want to falsify history will not allow it. What stops the Modi government from making the files public. he is not beholden to the Congress. Why didn't Vajpayee who headed a BJP government make the files public? he was Prime Minister for 6 years.There are no answers as the government puts a veil on the happenings of that period. Who is the gainer?
The entire episode is murky and does no credit to the indian government. Narendra Modi came to power on a plank of good governance. It is good governance to remove the cobwebs surrounding the death of Bose. I hope he will not let the Indian people down.
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