Author pooh-poohs Gumnami Baba rumours about Netaji

Author pooh-poohs Gumnami Baba rumours about Netaji
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Even as the nation observes the 74th death anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, London-based author Ashis Ray came down heavily on certain sections of the society trying to portray Gumnani Baba as Netaji.

Even as the nation observes the 74th death anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, London-based author Ashis Ray came down heavily on certain sections of the society trying to portray Gumnani Baba as Netaji.

"It is criminal defamation to say Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose became Gumnami Baba," charged Ashis Ray, author of Laid to Rest: The Controversy Over Subhas Chandra Bose's Death, a critically acclaimed book published by Roli Books.

Ray elaborates, "The so-called Gumnami Baba was a suspected murderer. To even remotely suggest he was Subhas Bose is the greatest insult to one of the leading lights of the Indian freedom movement, who sacrificed his life for the independence of his country.

This slander must stop. Indian authorities need to take action against peddlers of such character assassination, who make money from spreading calumny and misleading innocent people."

In a chapter entitled 'Cock-and-Bull Stories' in Laid to Rest, Ray writes, Krishna Dutt Upadhyay (the Baba's real name) allegedly murdered a colleague called Brahmadev Shastri in 1958 and then vanished from the scene.

Ray's book provides the most detailed and definitive account of Bose's death as a result of a plane crash in Taipei on 18 August 1945. It has been described as the "white paper" on the subject which the Indian government never produced.

It has a foreword by Prof Anita Bose Pfaff, the Germany-based only child of Netaji and it is based on 11 different official and unofficial investigations - four Indian, three British, three Japanese and one Taiwanese - most of them unknown to the general public and each and every one reaching the same conclusion.

In her foreword to the book, Prof Anita Bose Pfaff says the documents contained in the book "agree on the major facts regarding the plane crash and the consequent death of Netaji".

She goes on to record that "the only consistent story about Netaji's demise remains his death in a plane crash on 18 August 1945". She has been pleading with the Indian government to bring her father's mortal remains to India from Tokyo, where they have been preserved at a Buddhist temple for the past 74 years, for a final disposal as per Hindu rites.

Ray points out that an offer to transfer the ashes to India was made by a British military officer Lieutenant Colonel John Figgess as far back as 25 July 1946.

He said: "Figgess, who was stationed in Tokyo, was asked to investigate Bose's death by Lord Louis Mountbatten at the then Viceroy of India Lord Archibald Wavell's request. The final sentence in Figgess' inquiry report said, 'If it is considered desirable, the ashes can be returned to the relatives in India'." But the British administration in India took no action on the offer."

The book 'Laid to Rest…' is the most comprehensive compilation of hard evidence ever presented on the still hotly debated demise of one of the heroes of the Indian freedom movement.

It pieces together a plethora of first-hand, eye-witness accounts on the plane crash at Taipei that killed Subhas Chandra Bose, his end in a Japanese military hospital, his cremation and the transfer of his ashes to Japan, where it remains till date.

In a veritable tour de force, the book presents irrefutable, overwhelming testimonies from survivors of the crash, people who were at Bose's bedside when he passed away, attendees at the cremation and couriers of the mortal remains to Tokyo and ultimately to its Renkoji temple.

Indian, Japanese and Taiwanese nationals unite to provide an unimpeachable and unanimous verdict.

The publication decimates every conspiracy theory; and takes successive Indian governments to task for ignoring the plaintive cry of Bose's Austrian widow and economist daughter to apply closure to a needless and never-ending controversy.

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