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Declassify Nejaji files

Declassify Nejaji files
Highlights

Among the enduring controversies in independent India has been the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose towards the end of the World War II and Jawaharlal Nehru’s alleged antipathy for him and his ‘conspiring’ to keep him out of the national discourse. There is little to suggest that Nehru and Bose were adversaries, leave alone enemies,

Nehru-bashing, combined with global cold war politics attacking Stalinist Russia, comes for periodic bashing

Among the enduring controversies in independent India has been the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose towards the end of the World War II and Jawaharlal Nehru’s alleged antipathy for him and his ‘conspiring’ to keep him out of the national discourse. There is little to suggest that Nehru and Bose were adversaries, leave alone enemies, except that when Bose defied Mahatma Gandhi over the Congress elections, Nehru was among the many who sided with Gandhi.

They may have differences ideologically, but to surmise that Nehru using his powers as the Prime Minister targeted Bose is doing both a disservice. Yet, Nehru-bashing combined with global cold war politics attacking Stalinist Russia comes for periodic bashing. The nation has been all too familiar with this, particularly when the Congress is out of power. It is sharp and more voluble now because the current dispensation in New Delhi is out to demolish everything Nehruvian.

Assuming Bose did not die in the air crash, an account of how long and where he lived incognito is another enduring tale, about one Ghumnami Baba who lived till 1985 in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. His mysterious living, death and cremation are being researched. With due respect to the Bose family and Netaji acolytes, it needs stressing that to sustain a controversy on it is doing disservice to him.

Netaji’s daughter, Dr Anita Pfaff, confirmed his death several years ago. She believed her father was killed in plane crash and did not subscribe to the ‘campaign’ to keep him alive due to motives other than to admire him for the good things he did for the country and to emulate his ideals. The Nehru-Netaji ‘rivalry’ is supposed to spill over to the former’s antipathy towards Bengal and Bengalis. Refugees from the partitioned Bengal did not get even a fraction of what the refugees from divided Punjab received. Indeed, a statistical case, with some justification, has been made out of Nehru’s bias towards Bengal and Bengalis.

But it is time to move on. That Bose was from Cuttack is overlooked, although now a villain has cropped up in the person of Biju Patnaik, who is alleged to have got the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to snoop over the entire Bose clan. Whatever may be the Nehru-Netaji relationship, that Bose was an ‘enemy’ of the British and hence under surveillance, is well known.

Knowledgeable intelligence professionals confirm that the IB, even after the independence, continued to train under and exchange data with the British MI5. This is no secret. Intelligence sharing among friendly nations’ network is normal, but is not talked about. There still are too many doubts that must be removed. It would be appropriate that the government makes public all relevant papers about Bose, an icon, and end frequent and unseemly controversies that do not help anybody.

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