Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa, One of the 14 children of a successful lawyer, Janakinath Bose, and his wife, Prabhavati Devi. A graduate of Kolkata’s Presidency College, he was subsequently sent by his father to England to prepare for entry into the prestigious Indian Civil Service.
Although he passed his ICS exam with flying colors, he jumped into the freedom struggle. Strongly influenced by Gandhi, Chittaranjan Das and the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, he joined the Indian National Congress and was jailed 11 times by the British between 1920 and 1941.
Netaji’s magnetic appeal aroused the youth of Bharat. For heroes to be made from the modern youth, Netaji’s escape from Bharat to Germany by land and to Japan through sea, strengthening the INA and the subsequent attack on the British army should be a must read for youngsters.
He was the first recognized Head of State of Independent India. The Provisional government of Free India was formed in 1943 and Netaji became Head. In its existence it received recognition from nine governments. They were: Japan, Burma, Croatia, Germany, the Philippines, Nanking China, Manchuto, Italy and Siam (Thailand).
This government was officially proclaimed in Singapore at a mass rally on 21 October 1943 where Netaji was unanimously elected as the Head of the State and the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army. While taking the oath he said:
In the name of God, I take this sacred oath that to liberate India and the three hundred eighty million of my countrymen. I, Subhash Chandra Bose, will continue the sacred war of freedom till the last breath of my life. I shall remain always a servant of India, and to look after the welfare of three hundred eighty million of Indian brothers and sisters shall be for me my highest duty. Even after winning freedom, I will always be prepared to shed even the last drop of my blood for the preservation of India’s freedom.
The Provisional Government of Free India had five Ministers with Netaji as the Head of the State, Prime Minister and Minister for War and advisers representing the Indian communities in East Asia. The first momentous decision which the new government took was its declaration of war on Britain and the United States, which was decided on the night of 22-23 October.
The fact that the INA was able to capture Rangoon, Imphal and Andaman and Nicobar islands ( named as Shaheed & Swaraj) against the British army speaks volumes for the raw courage of Netaji. Very few know that the great war cry of ‘Jai Hind’ was given to the nation by Netaji.
The ‘Do or Die’ used by Gandhiji during the Quit India Movement of 1942, was given by Netaji.
Highlighting Bose’s real contribution late R.C. Majumdar writes,
“It seldom falls to the lot of a historian to have his views, differing radically from those generally accepted without demur, confirmed by such an unimpeachable authority. As far back as 1948 I wrote in an article that the contribution made by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose towards the achievement of freedom in 1947 was no less, and perhaps, far more important than that of Mahatma Gandhi…” The ‘unimpeachable authority’ he cited happens to be Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of Britain at the time of India’s Independence. As this is of fundamental importance, and Majumdar’s conclusion so greatly at variance with conventional history, it is worth placing it on record. (See Volume III, pp. 609-10). When B.P. Chakravarti was acting as Governor of West Bengal, Lord Attlee visited India and stayed as his guest for three days at the Raj Bhavan. Chakravarti asked Attlee about the real grounds for granting Independence to India. Specifically, his question was, when the Quit India movement lay in ruins years before 1947, what was the need for the British to leave in such a hurry. Attlee’s response is most illuminating and important for history. Here is the Governor’s account of what Attlee told him:
“In reply Attlee cited several reasons, the most important were the activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose which weakened the very foundation of the attachment of the Indian land and naval forces to the British Government. Towards the end, I asked Lord Attlee about the extent to which the British decision to quit India was influenced by Gandhi’s activities. On hearing this question Attlee’s lips widened in a smile of disdain and he uttered, slowly, putting emphasis on each single letter-”mi-ni-mal”.” ( Ref : Three-volume History of the Freedom Movement in India, Also courtesy N.S.Rajaram )
The Navy had already shown its first sign of revolts and it was the fear of mutiny by the Indian armed forces that forced the issue of freedom.
Being a contemporary, it is quite possible that Nehru considered Netaji as a competitor for the PM’s post, but in fact, Netaji had repeatedly and emphatically declared in his public speeches in East Asia that if the INA succeeded in liberating India he would toss over that freedom to the people and retire into spiritual oblivion;
…and yet Govt of Independent India suppressed the facts associated with Netaji and gave credence to his “death theory”.
Moving forward from his famous call” Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom” , we need to deliberate on how to “Live and Work for a stronger Bharat” and expose all the forces that have so far suppressed the history and have degraded the contribution of many of our national heroes like Netaji.
P.S : Also read the article below by Dr.Dipak Basu, a Professor in International Economics, Nagasaki University, Japan for more information.
More on Netaji: Did Nehru suppress facts?
By Dr. Dipak Basu
After the publication of the article, ‘Was Stalin responsible for Netaji’s Death (Organiser, June 19, 2005), one of the readers Dr Hirendra Narayan Sankar has sent me his book ‘A, Homage to Netaji: A Commentary on his life & Activities’. There is some information which is very revealing.
When the Khosla Commission was appointed in 1970, Shyamlal Jain from Meerut gave his statements to the commission. He was asked by Nehru to come to Asif Ali’s residence with the typewriter on December 26, 1945. He was given a letter with a vague signature at its bottom. It had the following content:
“Netaji reached Darien in Manchuria at 1.30 pm on August 23, 1945, from Saigon by plane. The plane was a Japanese bomber. He had plenty of gold bars and ornaments with him. After disembarking, he ate banana and drank tea. He and four others, one of them a Japanese officer Shidei got into a jeep and went towards the Russian border. After about three hours, the jeep came back and gave the pilot instructions to fly back to Tokyo.”
Nehru asked Jain to type a letter to the then British Prime Minister Clement Attlee. The letter had the following content:
Dear Mr Attlee,
I understand from most reliable source that Stalin has allowed Subash Chandra Bose, your war criminal, to enter Russian territory. This is clear treachery and betrayal of faith by the Russians as Russia has been an ally of the British-Americans, which she should not have done. Please take care of it and do what you consider proper and fit.
On August 23, 1945 the home member of the Indian government, Sir R.F. Mudie prepared a report (ref: top Secret Letter no. 57 dated August 23 1945) as to how to handle Netaji. It was addressed to Sir E. Jenkins. The Viceroy submitted this report to the English Cabinet. ‘Russia may accept Bose under special circumstances. If that is the case, we shouldn’t demand him back was the Cabinet’s decision on this’. After consideration of this, the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee decided to let him remain where he was now. This decision was taken in 1945. It clearly indicates that he was alive even in October 1945.
In 1946, Nehru met Mountbatten in Singapore. On no occasion after this meeting, Nehru has been reported as praising the INA. He had agreed to the demand from the Indians in Singapore to place a wreath and flowers at Netaji’s memorial there, but withdrew quite dramatically at the 11th hour.
Hari Vishnu Kamath, MP, demanded a probe into Netaji’s disappearance in Parliament in 1952. Nehru didn’t agree to this at first ! (Ref; page 103, Annexure 21, Appendix I to Parliamentary Debates, Fifth Session 1952). When those who demanded the probe made amendments for a non-official commission under Dr Radhavinod Pal, who was one of the 11 Judges in the Tokyo trial of the Japanese war-time Prime Minister Tojo and his associates in 1948; all of a sudden, Nehru instituted the Shah Nawaz Commission on April 5, 1956! What is most interesting is that the commission was neither allowed to visit the place of accident nor did the government seek the permission of the Formosa government to do so.
In 1952, S.A.Aiyer, a senior government official and Nehru’s friend, visited Tokyo, after which he handed over a personal note to Nehru. The letter as it is, is given below: “This time I could gather a very important information. Col. Tada told me that after the end of the War when Japan surrendered, Terauchi took all responsibility to help Netaji and asked him (Tada) go to Kaka Bose (His Excellency Bose) and tell him to reach Russian territoryall help will be given to him. It was arranged that Chandra Bose will fly in the plane in which Shidei was going. General Shidei will look after Chandra Bose upto Dairen, and there after, he could fall back on his own resources to contact the Russians. The Japanese would announce to the would that Bose had disappeared from Dairen. That would absolve them of all responsibility in the eyes of the Allies.”
Guha claimed that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and others were aware of Netaji’s imprisonment in the erstwhile Soviet Union after World War II. But they did not want him to return to India, as it would wreck the government and the Congress party. He claimed that Jawaharlal Nehru, who had defended the INA leader, became a changed person and never spoke of that Army and Netaji after visiting Singapore in 1946 at the invitation of Lord Louis Mountbatten.
Nehru didn’t inform Parliament about this despite controversies for a long time. He didn’t even hand over, his own files on Netaji to the commission (Ref: Prime Minister’s Special File)
This is the official death certificate of Netaji issued by the Health and Hygiene Bureau in Formosa, where it was necessary to produce the death certificate for cremation: Person died-Ichiro Okura
Date of birth-1900 April 9
Cause of death-Cardiac arrest
Date of death-19 August 4:00 pm
Date of permission for cremation – 21August 1945
Date of cremation – 22August 1945
Person requesting for the cremation-Dr Thaneoshi Yoshimi;
The time of death in Habibur Rahman’s statements to different commissions vary between 5 pm August 18 to 12 am August 19, and not at all 19 August 4:00 pm!
Netaji was reported to be alive even after 1945 by the British intelligence from Teheran and Kabul quoting Russian embassy officials. This was even stated in the Shah Nawaz commission report (File No.10/Mis/ INA-pp 38, 39). Reports of the officers appointed by Mountbatten and McArthur, and the reports of BACIS (British American Counter Intelligence Service) have all completely discarded any possibility of such a plane crash happening. They all provided statements that Habibur Rahman hasn’t told the truth.
The statements by the INA officials, Japanese military officials, British intelligence reports, and The Top Secret Files published by the British government in 1976 all say, Netaji was alive in Soviet Russia.
The INA meeting in Kanpur from July 15 to 18, 1947 had requested Nehru to take the INA soldiers in the Indian army. Even Mohammad Ali Jinnah kept his word by posting the INA members in his army; but Nehru didn’t.
One of the three members in the Shah Nawaz commission was Netaji’s brother Suresh Chandra Bose. He didn’t agree to the report of the commission. He even wrote to Nehru that his brother didn’t reach Tailhoku; so he didn’t die there! Nehru wrote back to him; “There is no precise or direct proof of Netaji’s death”.
Netaji’s confidential personal assistant, E.Bhaskaran gave this statement before the Shah Nawaz commission about a letter by Netaji, addressed to John Thivi, administer in the Azad Hind government, written on August 17, 1945 at 3 am. The letter contains these words:
‘I am writing this letter, because I am going for a long journey. Who knows I won’t get into a plane accident.’
The British intelligence has reported that Nehru knew where Netaji was. Nehru took the foreign affairs portfolio himself and appointed none other than Vijayalakshmi Pandit as the ambassador to Russia! After her term was over Dr S. Radhakrishnan became the representative in Russia. Dr. Saroj Das in Calcutta University told his friend Dr R.C. Muzumdar that Radhakrishnan had told him that Netaji was in Russia. Radhakrishnan couldn’t come before the Khosla commission due to ill health and treatment in Madras.
Former Indian ambassador Dr Satyanarayana Sinha once met Goga, the son of Abani Mukherjee, the founder of the Communist Party of India, who told him that his father and Netaji were prisoners in adjacent cells in Siberia. He also told Sinha that Netaji had assumed the name ‘Khilsai Malang’ there. (Abani Mukherjee was the companion of Virendranath Chattopadhyay, who is the brother of Sarojini Naidu). Dr Sinha came back to India and reported this fresh news to Nehru. But to his great surprise and frustration, Sinha was unexpectedly scolded by Nehru and ever since, the relationship between the two deteriorated. Sinha has written this down in his book. He has even described this incident before the Khosla commission. There are more details on page 318 of Netaji Dead or Alive?’ by Samar Guha.
The Hindu, 25.07.1995 wrote,: “Prof. (Samar) Guha also wanted the Center to seek documents from Russia, Britain, Japan, and Taiwan. A fresh and thorough investigation is necessary. The Gorbachev regime has allowed access to secret documents under Glasnost. He claimed that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and others were aware of Netaji’s imprisonment in the erstwhile Soviet Union after World War II. But they did not want him to return to India, as it would wreck the government and the Congress party. He claimed that Jawaharlal Nehru became a changed person and never spoke of the INA and Netaji after visiting Singapore in 1946 at the invitation of Lord Louis Mountbatten. The British authorities too had passed on vital information to the government of Clement Attlee about Netaji’s disappearance. But the government of India never took up the matter with the British Government.”
According to Prof. Purabi Roy of Jadavpur University, Netaji went to Manchuria from Singapore and was received in Manchuria by the Consul General of the Azad Hind Government’s consulate at Omsk city, Kato Kachu, on August 22-23,1945. “Kato Kachu was, according to Japanese researchers, actually an Indian. That name was an alias.”
Alexander Kolesnikov, a former major-general of the Warsaw Pact, who accessed the files in Paddolsk Military Archive, situated 40 km from Moscow in October 1996, says Josef Stalin, the General-Secretary of the CPSU, and his cabinet were considering various options to deal with Bose in 1946. During a meeting with an Indian Parliamentary delegation to the Russian Federation in 1996, he gave a written account of all his findings. The delegation, which included the late Chitta Basu and Sri Jayanta Roy of the Forward Bloc, brought the writing back to India. This account is the basis of the affidavit before the Mukherjee commission submitted by Prof. Purabi Roy of Jadavpur University who was sent as part of the Asiatic Society’s three- member team to the Oriental Institute, Moscow to study Indian documents from 1917-1947. Since Paddolsk was out of bounds for her being a foreigner, Kolesnikov was assigned the job. The affidavit of Prof. Purabi Roy is on the internet (www.hindustantime.com/news/specials/Netaji/purabi.htm).
CIA more forthcoming on ‘secret’ Netaji files as on 6th Dec 2014
Some documents (in possession of The Sunday Guardian) released by the CIA, under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) earlier this year, clearly cast doubts on the reported death of Bose. In fact, one of the CIA reports was filed in 1964, a long time after Netaji disappeared in 1945. The CIA response came following an FOIA application filed by NRI Abhishek Bose, author Anuj Dhar and Chandra Kumar Bose, Netaji’s grandnephew, last year.
In its reply dated 28 January 2014, the CIA enclosed four declassified documents. Among them, the oldest one goes back to May 1946, in which a confirmation of Netaji’s death has been sought from the Secretary of State in Washington DC. “The hold which Bose had over the Indian imagination was tremendous and that if he should return to this country, trouble would result,” it reads.
In a response dated July 1945, which was almost a year after Netaji’s reported death in an alleged air crash in Taiwan, it was stated that “a search of our files indicates that there is no information available regarding subject’s death that would shed any light on the reliability of the reports”.
In another report dated January 1949, the agency noted the rumour that Bose was “still alive”. In November 1950, a highly placed source informed the CIA that Bose was in Siberia, waiting for a comeback. “It is now currently rumoured in the Delhi area that ‘Netaji’, which is Bose’s nickname, is still alive and is in Siberia, where he is waiting for a chance to make a big come back.