Do declassified files solve Subhas Chandra Bose mystery?

Primepost News Desk

Did the fiery nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose die in a plane crash on August 18, 1945 or not? For over 70 years, the freedom fighter who is said to have perished in the accident at Taihoku in Taiwan, the Bose mystery has been haunting the country.

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A majority of people, including his family members and many political leaders, believe Bose had survived the crash and lived at least another ten or so years incognito. But, then, why did not he disclose his identity after Independence? Where was he hiding and what was he doing? If he had been alive for some years post-independence, could not anybody recognize him and report to the Jawaharlal Nehru government?

There are more questions about Bose’s death than answers and it Netaji’s disappearance has remained one of the greatest mysteries of all time not only in India but also in the world. More interesting is, government after government and several official committees appointed to ferret out the truth have not been able to come out with satisfactory answers, let alone conclusions.  Meanwhile, unsubstantiated reports and speculations had spread across the country about Bose’s whereabouts, triggering fresh debates and demands for new probes into his mysterious vanishing. Some of the ‘sighting’ claims made by people were as bizarre as they were ludicrous.

With the NDA government assuming power and BJP’s eagerness to give our national leaders of all hues their due place in history, the almost forgotten or closed file of Bose mystery was reopened. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Bose family members a few months ago has revived political and people’s interest in unraveling the mystery of Netaji’s disappearance. Modi has even set up a panel to look into all the issues related to Bose. In the last few months, there has been demand, and pressure, on the central government to declassify hundreds of Bose files which had been never disclosed on the plea that if revealed they would harm India’s relations with other countries.

Amidst the controversies, the West Bengal government made public 64 classified files related to Bose on Friday. They would be displayed at the Police Museum in Kolkata.

She said since childhood she had been curious to know the mystery behind the disappearance of Netaji, and when, where and how the leader spent his remaining years and died.

The Chief Minister said: “I think, like me, the whole world is interested to get to the bottom of this mystery. I have gone through a few pages of these reports and it indicates that Netaji was alive even after August 1945. I have no idea on the contents of the reports available with the Union government. But those reports might disclose many more unknown stories. Immediately after I came to know about these files, I asked the police to make them public. I had asked the police commissioner to make certain arrangements inside the Kolkata Police Museum in North Kolkata so that students, tourists from all over the world and research scholars can sit here for hours and go through them.” However, she hastened to add that she was not aware of these files/reports when she came to power in 2011.

Addressing the media in Kolkata, the Chief Minister said she had done her duty (by making public Bose files) and now the central government has to follow suit by declassifying about 130 files that are in its possession.

Responding to Mamata’s challenge, BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh told PTI news agency that “We would urge the state government not to play politics on this issue. The files that the state has declassified may not have international implications. But the files that are with the Centre have implications on relations with foreign countries.”

Will the NDA government pick up Mamata’s gauntlet or will it maintain the status quo? More suspense to the mystery.

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