The alleged death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945, has long been a subject of dispute. There has been three Government sponsored commissions and numerous private investigations to find out if he died of the crash or survived it. The last commission concluded in its report in May 2006, that Bose’s death was staged to facilitate an escape to the USSR, a report which was immediately discarded by the government.
It has also been alleged at various times that the Indian government and political leadership was aware that Bose may have been alive, but chose to ignore and suppress this. The Taiwanese authorities even said that Bose could not have died in a plane crash in their country. They government of Taiwan even claimed that the crash never happened! Numerous news reports have come out which support this claim and show Bose’ involvement in politics and his incognito meetings with friends and family.
Bhagwanji (aka, Gumnami baba), a mysterious monk who till 1985, lived in Faizabad, was believed to be Bose, living incognito. Mission Netaji, a Delhi-based Indian non-profit trust dug out some documents connected to Bose’s disappearance. Several Indian ministries, including the Indian Prime Minister’s Office, refused to make public the documents under the RTI campaign launched by this organization, on the grounds that their disclosure will affect India’s relations with foreign countries.
Justice Manoj Kumar Mukherjee, the head of a committee probed into the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, overturned the findings of previous panels, and claimed that the news of Bose’s death in Taipei was a cover-up for his escape to the USSR. Mukherjee commission reports were discarded by the UPA government in 2006, a move which was deeply criticized. The report stated that, unlike popular belief, the sanyasi of Faizabad (Bhagwanji) was not Bose as there was no clinching evidence to prove it. However, he unofficially stated in the black box of history, a documentary, that he believed Bhagwanji was none other than Bose.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was among the few Indian leaders who united Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in a common secular struggle, whose fearless militancy and commanding intellectual gifts had made him hugely popular. The indifference shown by the government towards a leader of his calibre is indeed worrisome. So is and the petty politics played with the people who tried to practice their right to information and asked the government questions, answers to which have been systematically hidden. A man how chooses to stand different from the main stream politics of his time, goes out of his country and rages back with an army of 45,000 Indian soldiers from outside India, must not be forgotten. More importantly, what must be remembered is his idea of an India for its people and against tyranny.
It is indeed a matter of shame that the death of a gallant man and a firebrand socialist leader like Netaji continues to remain a mystery, despite the facts and documents available right there in the pockets of some who have chosen to keep us wondering. How different are they from the British tyrants who chopped and burnt Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s dead body overnight and threw in Sutlej in order to avoid mass uproar? How different are they from the oppressors, who had cut down the Jamoon tree behind which Chandrashekhar Azad attained martyrdom, in order to prohibit people from worshipping the tree?
Here are some other historic news clips which show that Netaji was alive and active even after his alleged death –