On 117th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, thirty family members of Netaji’s were evicted from Netaji Bhawan by West Bengal government. They were protesting against the declassification of files relating to disappearance and death of great leader of Indian struggle for independence, Subhas Chandra Bose. The honorific Netaji, which means ‘Respected Leader’, was first applied to Bose in Germany by the Indian soldiers and German officials in early 1942, is now widely used throughout India. For me, as a child, he remained attractively mysterious. I still remember his photographs in smart military outfit and dashing round glasses. He was unique and a class by himself. I had a brief conversation with my cousin who lives in Japan and he told me that Netaji is still very popular here. It was a pleasant surprise. I personally believe that Netaji has not got his due from India on a whole and his story needs to be told and understood in the context of the long march of Indian Independence. His charisma and service to the nation has still not been acknowledged as much compared to German’s tribute to Colonel Stauffenberg who headed “Operation Valkyrie” against Adolf Hitler.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was a very intelligent man and passed B.A. (Philosophy) from Presidency College in Kolkata. He became President of Congress and went on to form Indian National Army alias Azad Hind Fauz which captured Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Britishers. His famous slogan was “Give me blood and I will give you freedom.” Other slogans being were “Challo Dilli and Jai Hind.” But his disappearance or death in air plane crash still remains a mystery. Germans knew very well that Colonel Stauffenberg was shot along with all others who participated in “Operation Valkyrie” but India still wants its answers on Netaji. India’s PMO says that they have secret files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose disappearance and they cannot disclose them as it will affect India’s relation with foreign countries. Ummm…. Smell fishy. It is said that Mamta government have got sixty files on Netaji’s disappearance.
The following confession will through more light on this. Colonel Nizammudin, who claims to be the trusted lieutenant of Netaji, now 114 year old, said, “How can we say that Netaji was killed in an air crash when I was with him even after that incident.” He claims that Netaji was alive at the time of India’s Independence. He acted as his driver and dropped Netaji on the banks of Sitangpur river near Burma-Thailand border, thus corroborating Justice Mukherjee report that bose did not die in the plane crash and ashes at Renkoji temple were not his. Few men claim that Netaji was seen at Bangkok Airport on August 18, 1945. Whatever may be the reasons best known to Indian government, I personally believe that time can’t be much better than Pranab Da as President of India to disclose the truth on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose disappearance. He can pay homage to the gallant warrior of his motherland. The nation wants the answer. The only solace is that, at least, Netaji was alive to see India’s Independence. Amen.
By Anuj Sabharwal