Friday, 30 May 2014

L'affaire Smriti Irani

L'affaire Smriti Irani
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
― Mark Twain

There have been many attacks and criticisms on the appointment of Smt. Smriti Irani as Human Resources Development (HRD, which includes Education) Minister. Some, especially from a section of the Congress, are motivated—don’t let go an opportunity to slam the government in power, now that you are in the opposition.

However, there are criticisms that are well-intentioned and also carry strong logic.

Then, there have been defenders too. Defend, whatever the government does, because you are either in the government, or belong to BJP or NDA, or are backers of BJP.

However, like many well-intentioned critics, there are many well-intentioned defenders, who too have strong logic on their side.

Let’s therefore look at the issue from both the sides. It would also have been noticed that not all critics and not all supporters have identical logic. There are differing reasons why a certain set of people oppose and why a certain group supports. Let’s therefore look at the various arguments of both the sides. And, for each argument of each of the sides, let’s also put a counterpoint.


Critics: HRD/Education ministry requires a well-educated person to head it, for he/she alone can appreciate the requirements and do justice to them.

Counterpoint: Concretely, “well-educated” means ...?

Critics: “Well-educated” means a person with some good degree from  a prestigious college or university.

Counterpoint: You mean a Ph.D. from Harvard, MIT, ...?

Critics: No. It could even be a graduation or post-graduation from IIT or ...

Counterpoint: Would graduation from Delhi University or any other university or college in India do?

Critics: Yes. But, more educated, with higher and higher degrees, the better. Even better if from relatively prestigious colleges/universities.

Counterpoint: What about BA from some little-known college say in Odisha, UP or Bihar?

Critics: Frankly, had the person been at least a graduate, irrespective of the nature of the degree or the college, the matter would NOT have been blown up into an issue—even if the graduation was through correspondence.

Counterpoint: Fine, so a graduate in any discipline from any college is fine in the sense one would not have made it an issue.

Critics: Yes.

Counterpoint: What about some diploma rather than graduation?

Critics: Well...

Counterpoint: Anyway, are we then saying that there may be a big difference between a 12-pass/junior college from Delhi University or some other college/university and a graduate even through correspondence from a little-known college say in Odisha, UP or Bihar—big enough to decide whether or not to make her/him an HRD minister?

Critics: At least graduation. Graduation does matter.

Counterpoint: Does being say a BCom contributes towards a person being a more capable HRD minister?

Why, even if the person is say a B.Tech.(Chemical) from IIT? He may perhaps throw some light on how to better courses in Chemical Engineering; but can he say anything authoritatively about the courses in Information Technology, Agricultural Engineering, MBBS, MBA, and so on?

Critics: A well-educated person, at least a graduate, is likely to grasp and analyse issues better, and take better decisions.

Counterpoint: So, the real qualities are: Is the person intelligent, analytical and capable of taking decisions? You are linking these qualities with graduation as the minimum qualification. That is fallacious. Even a double or triple post-graduate may NOT be intelligent and analytical. And, a Ph.D. may be averse to taking decisions. A person who may be at the bottom of her/his class may be more intelligent than the topper.

There are any number of examples of persons who didn’t earn a college degree but did brilliantly in their fields: Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, George Washington, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Tagore, Dhirubhai Ambani,... Benjamin Franklin had a total of only 4 years of schooling between 8 and 12 years of age, and then he was withdrawn from school as his father could not afford it. Yet, he was a genius in multiple fields: freedom fighter, administrator, diplomat, politician, writer, reformer, and most surprising of all—a great physicist and inventor!

Kamraj, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were not graduates. Sonia Gandhi, Maneka Gandhi, Uma Bharati, Gajapati Raju, Sharad Pawar and many other MPs are non-graduates.

Counterpoint: There are say 100 different items to tackle in HRD: Courses in Medicine, different branches of engineering; Arts, History, Geography; Literacy; Primary, Middle, Secondary and Higher Education; Research; Diplomas; Skill-building; ....

A highly educated person selected would at best be an expert in one or two of the 100 different fields. What about others?

Further, an expert in her/his field may actually be a very poor administrator or co-ordinator. And, even if she/he is also a good manager, she/he may be lacking in commitment, passion and change.

Counterpoint: The points to be considered and answered are the following.

What is Smriti Irani’s track-record? What has she done or achieved so far?

Well, she has been a top TV star. It is not a joke to survive intense competition in the field. Her survival in the TV industry and in rising to the top would not have been possible without talent, guts, hard-work, persistence, facing and tackling the odds, human-management skills, passion, devotion and commitment.

She then worked in a senior post in BJP organisation, and as Modi mentioned in his speech in Amethi, she did justice to the various tasks allocated to her in the organisation and in distant villages. Such success again requires talent, intelligence, analytical skills, guts, hard-work, persistence, ability to face and tackle odds, and managerial and competitive spirit to succeed in whatever is allocated.

She became BJP spokesperson, and did an excellent job of it on TV, with remarkable felicity in both Hindi and English. Does that not require intelligence, grasp, analytical skills, and guts to face up to difficult questions?

She was then sent to Amethi to fight against Rahul Gandhi. Anybody else would have taken it as a punishment and would have refused it. But, she took up the challenge and gave a good fought. Shows her application and willingness to take up challenges.

Would a graduation or a post-graduation or a Ph.D. ever given her the kind of skills, training and experience the above assignments gave her? Is such training more relevant to her as a minister or a degree?

Counterpoint: If educational expertise is necessary for HRD ministry, what about the others? Should Health Minister be necessarily a doctor; Defence Minister a person from Army, Navy or Air-force; Minister for Agriculture an agriculturist; IT Minister an expert in Information Technology; Aviation Minister a pilot; Minister of Mines a mining engineer; Commerce Minister a businessperson; Industry Minister an industrialist; Surface Transport Minister a civil engineer; Shipping Minister a naval engineer; ...

While an expertise would always be helpful, the necessary knowledge to manage the affairs of a ministry can be acquired if one is intelligent.

Of course, if one is both an expert and also measures up to the “Aspect-7” listed below, nothing like it.

Counterpoint: Qualities really relevant are the following:

Intelligence. Quick-learner. Grasp. Analytical Ability. Being Innovative.

Administrative/Managerial Competence. Person-management skills. Conflict management. Decision-taking ability.

Ability to motivate people with talent and expertise, and utilise their services. Ability to maximise utilisation of available human resources.

Ability to prioritise, set goals and ensure adherence to time-lines.

Hard-work. Passion. Commitment. Honesty. Integrity.

Defenders: Educational qualifications are irrelevant. Education does not matter.

Counterpoint: No. Educational qualifications are always helpful. Apart from education, the process of acquiring educational qualifications (being in a college/university) gives lots of helpful exposure.

So, education does matter. However, if relevant qualities have been acquired otherwise, that is also fine.

If there are two persons both with all the relevant qualities listed in “Aspect-7” and one is highly educated, while the other is a non-graduate, then surely the highly-educated person is preferable. However, if a non-graduate scores higher on “Aspect-7” compared to a Ph.D., then that non-graduate is preferable.

Counterpoint: A person may be highly educated and may even score well on “Aspect-7” above, except that she/he may lack drive, devotion, hard-work, passion and commitment. In that case she/he would not succeed.

Example: Kapil Sibal.

Of course, whether Smriti Irani was a good choice, only future can tell. But, let us hope for the best, and let us give her at least six months.

Rajnikant Puranik

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Article 370

Article 370
Article 370 is in the news, and Omar Abdullah, CM of J&K, has been tweeting and talking in its favour, even suggesting catastrophic consequences of its abolition.

The ground reality of Article 370 in J&K is that it does no good for the common man, in fact, for them it is counter-productive, while it hugely benefits the J&K elites, particularly the babus and the political elites, hence the opposition from them.

Let's look at its historical context and other aspects.

Why was special provision made for J&K? Why Article 370? Let’s examine.

J&K had nominated four representatives to the Indian Constituent Assembly in June 1949—the nominations were made by Yuvraj Karan Singh on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State’s Interim Government led by Sheikh Abdullah.

The J&K representatives in the Indian Constituent Assembly chose to act differently from the other Princely States—at the behest of Sheikh Abdullah. While the other Princely States were agreeable to a common Constitution, J&K representatives stated they were not inclined to accept the future Constitution of India, and they would rather have their own separate State Constitution. This, they insisted, was allowed as per clause 7 of the Instrument of Accession. It is another matter that the representatives of the other States could also have taken the same position as J&K, for they too had signed the Instrument of Accession, which had the same content and format as that signed for J&K by the Maharaja. The J&K representatives also stated that till their new State Constitution was framed, they would be governed by the old Constitution Act of 1939.

It was to accommodate this that a special provision had to be made for J&K in the Constitution of India. That provision is Article 370. Of course, Article 370 was conceived as a temporary arrangement, with hopes of a full integration in time to come. The Article itself is labelled "Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir". J&K State Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1957, comprising 158 Sections, of which Section 3 says, “The State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.”

But why were such special provisions allowed. They could have been blocked by the Constituent Assembly?

Interestingly, poor Hari Singh (J&K Maharaja) was already out of the picture. Special provisions or no special provisions—he stood neither to gain nor to lose. It was Abdullah, who after getting rid of the Maharaja, was trying to secure and upgrade his status.

Nehru had brought in Gopalaswami Ayyangar as a Minister without Portfolio to look after the J&K affairs. Before his visit to Europe, Nehru had finalised the draft provisions relating to J&K with Sheikh Abdullah, which later became Article 370. He had entrusted to Gopalaswami Ayyangar the task of piloting these provisions through the Constituent Assembly. Ayyangar did the needful. His presentation provoked angry protests from all sides. 

Most were opposed to any discriminatory treatment for J&K. The proposal of Article 370 was torn to pieces by the Constituent Assembly. Ayyangar was the lone defender, and Maulana Azad was not able to effectively support him.

In the debate, Maulana Hasrat Mohani of UP stated that while he was not opposed to all the concessions that were being granted to his friend Sheikh Abdullah, why make such discrimination; if all those concessions were to be granted to the Kashmir, why not to the Baroda ruler too.

Even Ambedkar was opposed to it. Nehru had sent Abdullah to Dr Ambedkar to explain to him the position and to draft an appropriate Article for the Constitution. Ambedkar had reportedly remarked: “Mr Abdullah, you want that India should defend Kashmir, India should develop Kashmir and Kashmiris should have equal rights as the citizens of India, but you don’t want India and any citizen of India to have any rights in Kashmir. I am the Law minister of India. I cannot betray the interest of my country.”

Nehru, who was then abroad, rang up Patel and requested him to get the Article 370 through, and it was for that reason alone that Patel relented, as Sardar did not wish to embarrass Nehru in his absence. But Sardar Patel confided  to his secretary, V Shankar, “Jawaharlal royega [Nehru will regret this].”

Strangely, Nehru made a statement on Kashmir in 1952, when Sardar Patel was no more, “Sardar Patel was all the time dealing with these matters.” Gopalaswami Ayyangar, dismayed by the incorrect statement, confided to  V Shankar, “It is an ill return to the Sardar for the magnanimity he had shown in accepting Panditji’s point of view against his better judgment.”

There are many adverse consequences of  Article 370. Some of them are: 

(1)Regionalism, parochialism and secessionism. 

(2)Denial of fundamental right to an Indian citizen to settle in J&K permanently.

(3)Denial of fundamental right to an Indian citizen to purchase property in J&K. 

(4)Deprivation of right to vote to an Indian citizen, as he or she cannot become a citizen of J&K. 

(5)Denial of jobs—an Indian citizen, who is not also a citizen of J&K, cannot get a job in J&K. 

(6)A woman, who is a permanent citizen of the State, loses her property, including ancestral property, if she gets married to a man who is not a citizen of the State. Also, she can’t get a job in the State, nor can she get admission in colleges getting financial aid from the State or the Union Government. 

(7)Hindu immigrants who were ousted from their ancestral homes in West Pakistan at the time of partition and settled in J&K have not yet been given citizenship. This includes their children and grand children.

Of course, the biggest negative is that it has come in the way of full integration of the State, which has gravely harmed both the people of J&K and India.

Article 370 helps protect the corrupt J&K politicians from the more stringent central provisions, and keeps them out of reach of CAG. To the general public, it does not benefit. It is actually counter-productive. If J&K were like any other state in India, there would have been much more private investment in it, leading to prosperity.

Jagmohan, who had also been Governor of J&K, writes in his book, My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir: “Article 370 is nothing but a feeding ground for the parasites at the heart of paradise. It skins the poor. It deceives them with its mirage. It lines the pockets of the ‘power elites’. It fans the ego of the new ‘sultans’. In essence, it creates a land without justice...It suffocates the very idea of India and fogs the vision of a great social and cultural crucible from Kashmir to Kanyakumari...Over the years, Article 370 has become an instrument of exploitation at the hands of the ruling political elites and other vested interests in bureaucracy, business, the judiciary and bar...It breeds separatist forces which in turn sustain and strengthen Article 370. Apart from politicians, the richer classes have found it convenient to amass wealth and not allow healthy financial legislation to come to the State. The provisions of the Wealth Tax and other beneficial laws of the Union have not been allowed to operate in the State under the cover of Article 370...”


Above extracts from “Foundations of Misery, Part-I : India, 1947-1964” by Rajnikant Puranik.
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Netaji Subhas Mystery

Netaji Subhas Mystery
Original blog-post : 27 May 2014.

 First Revision : 23 January 2015
on the 118th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

This (Second) Revision : 3 October 2015

This block added after 14 Oct 2015

Historic Decision by PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Wednesday, 14 October 2015, when Netaji Subhas's family members met him, that the secret files related to Subhas Chandra Bose would be declassified by the Central Government beginning 23 January (birth date of Netaji) 2016, saying "there is no need to strangle history".

He said he would also urge foreign governments to declassify files on Netaji available with them by writing to them and personally taking up with foreign leaders, beginning with Russia: FM Sushma Swaraj has since moved the matter with Russia.

(This obviously overrides the related portions later in this blog.)

Suppression of Truth

Dynasty & the Suppression of Truth

Dynacracy, that is, Dynastic Democracy, is unfair, and is against the spirit of the constitution. It discounts merit and prevents competent from rising. The quality of leadership emerging out of a dynastic process can never really be good. For proof, check for yourself the unutterable underachievements of the underwhelming leadership of the dynasts, in the states or at the Centre, and how it has become worse and worse down the generation. If you look at the sequence from the beginning to hopefully the end—Nehru, Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul—you find a steep deterioration. In the descending geometric progression of generation-to-generation falling standards of the Nehru-Dynasty, Rahul Gandhi has scaled new heights, rather new depths. Dynacracy also thwarts internal democracy in political parties. Dynastic politics, nepotism, institutionalised corruption and non-accountability go together. Dynastic politics is always at the expense of the nation. It is the biggest menace. It’s the foundation of India’s misery.

Yet another major negative of Dynacracy is that it suppresses truth. Continuance of the dynacracy requires that the halo be maintained. That requires hiding the ugly, and highlighting the positive, which is mostly manufactured. Both hiding the ugly and highlighting the manufactured positive requires continued suppression of truth. But, that is possible as long as the power passes within the family from one generation to the next.

There are a flood of examples of the above. The grave blunders of Nehru, Indira, Rajiv were all suppressed, and the various institutions, government schemes, airports, ports, bridges, awards and so on continued to be named after these three who together with their descendents have been at the root of India's poverty, backwardness and misery. (For details, please check these: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)

It is this tendency that has kept the truth on 1962-debacle (Henderson-Brooks/Bhagat Report) and on Netaji Subhas from seeing the light of the day.

Inexplicable, Continued Suppression of Truth

After the installation of the non-Congress government in May 2014, it was hoped that the Indian public would finally know what really happened to one of India's greatest sons—Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Modi had been eulogising Netaji in his speeches, and several ministers in his government had promised in their public speeches that the truth on Netaji would be brought out.

Lame Excuse: Relationship with Foreign Countries would be Affected!

Unfortunately, the current Modi-government is also stonewalling the demand for making public the classified government files on Netaji. Modi-government’s reply to an RTI query in the matter elicited the same reply as that of the UPA: relations with foreign countries would be affected!

It has been conjectured by several notables who have pieced together available evidence that the concerned foreign countries might be the UK, Russia, Japan and China. Would the disclosure therefore spoil relations with them? Not likely. Current Russian dispension cannot be blamed for what Stalin did. Can we blame the current USA or Barack Obama for what Nixon might have done to India? Or, can we blame the current UK Prime Minister for what Churchill did to India?

A BJP person himself—Dr Chandan Mitra, BJP's prominent spokesman and eminent journalist—had this to say during the discussions on the Mukherjee Commission’s Report in the Rajya Sabha in August, 2006: “Dr Chandan Mitra said he could not understand why certain Bose files were kept classified in the name of ties with certain friendly foreign countries. ‘Are the friendly countries more important or are the people of India more important?’ he asked. ‘It is not a political question, it is a question of our nationhood,’ he underscored and predicted that ‘the people of this country will not rest quiet even if it takes three more generations’ to get at the truth about Bose.”

So, relationship with other countries seems like a cover, a lame excuse. The most likely fallout of disclosure of the classified files on Netaji may be that the lies that Nehru told Indians on Netaji may be exposed! Perhaps, even Gandhiji was aware that Netaji had not died in that plane crash. Hence, it might rebound on him too! Possibly, the current government too wants to protect the reputation of Nehru and Gandhi, even at the cost of keeping the public in dark on Netaji. Even the babus in the Government, who continue to have loyalties to the “First Family”, are reluctant to let the truth come out.

Mamta's Declassification

On 18 September 2015 the West Bengal government released 64 files comprising 12,744 pages related to Subhas Chandra Bose. Many of them relate to snooping on Netaji family members by the government of India and West Bengal for over 20 years after the reported death of Netaji.

While releasing the said files, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called upon the Centre to also declassify files in its possession on Netaji.

Subsequently, on 28 September 2015, Mamata Banerjee has also declassified 401 cabinet files of the period 1938-47 that would throw light on the pre-independence era.

Files yet to be Declassified

Tacked to one of the dossiers submitted to the Khosla Commission was a note listing 30 secret files that were either missing or destroyed. These were part of Nehru’s own collection of confidential papers that were handled by Mohammed Yunus, who was later appointed Indira Gandhi’s special envoy. One of the destroyed files was titled, “Investigation into the Circumstances leading to the Death of Subhas Chandra Bose”. It's a mystery why Khosla never pursued the case of the missing files?

Samar Guha, MP, had alleged, among other things, that, "Most of the secret files about Netaji, that were maintained by Pandit Nehru himself as PM's special files, one of which included all communications connected with INA Defense Committee, were reported by the Government as either missing or destroyed. It will not be easy to presume that Netaji's communication to Nehru and a copy of Nehru's letter to Attlee have also been destroyed."

Writes Anuj Dhar: “ mistake the Home Ministry had actually admitted before Khosla [Commission of Enquiry] that about 30 classified papers and files on Subhas Bose were either missing or destroyed. The files and papers were once in the personal possession of Nehru, who had been assisted by his Confidential Secretary Mohammad Yunus in maintaining them. One look at the indices, and one knew that by no stretch of imagination could they be of ‘unwanted’ type... file 12(226)/56-PM—Investigation into the Circumstances Leading to the Death of Subhas Chandra Bose—was most sensitive of all...”

The Book also quotes a senior journalist, Deepak Sharma, in the Pioneer of 23 January 2001, reproducing a statement of a Home Ministry official: Whatever is relevant on Netaji will be shown to the Commission. But beyond a point, the files cannot be made public. It’s too explosive.”

Even though the Central Information Commission has asked for disclosure of the manuscript of the History of the Indian National Army lying unpublished in Government's custody since 1950, the same has not yet been disclosed.

Nearly 130 classified files on Netaji are claimed to be in the possession of various Central Government departments, including 37 in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Next Steps

Family members of Netaji have had meetings with the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in connection with declassification of files on Netaji. Their next meeting, along with representatives of organisations researching Netaji mystery, with the PM is scheduled for perhaps 14 October 2015. Hopefully, the meeting would open the way for declassification.
Petition on Netaji to PM
A petition comprising the following four major demands has been filed with the PM Narendra Modi by Team Mission Netaji:
(1)Acceptance of the finding of the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (1999-2005).
(2)Disclosure of all records on Netaji, including those held by intelligence agencies and PMO.
(3)Instituting a multi-disciplinary special investigation team (SIT) comprising historians, retired judges, intelligence officers, archivists and representatives of the family of Netaji as well as investigative researchers and civil society organisations to complete the probe on Netaji.
(4)Request to other countries to share information on Netaji with the Indian government.
The process of obtaining online signatures for the petition is on, and already over 12,000 signatures have been obtained.

Congress/Nehru's Crash Claim

It was claimed that Netaji Subhas had perished in a plane crash in Taipei on 18 August 1945; and that his ashes are enshrined in Tokyo's Renkoji temple. This was the version accepted by Nehru and the Congress, and was the conclusion of the first two Enquiry Commissions on Netaji, who had conveniently endorsed the government's position.

Reportedly, a Mitsubishi Ki-21 heavy bomber took off from Saigon airport at 2 pm on 17 August 1945. The bomber was being used for transportation, but it had no seats (it didn't have parachutes either). Passengers had to squat on floor on cushions. Inside the bomber were 13 people, including Bose and Lt Gen Tsunamasa Shidei of the Imperial Japanese Army. Bose was accompanied by his ADC and INA's Deputy Chief of Staff Lt Colonel Habibur Rahman.

The plane landed for refuelling in Taihoku, Formosa (now Taipei, Taiwan), after an overnight halt in Vietnam. Moments after the flight took off after refuelling on 18 August 1945, passengers heard a loud ‘bang’. Ground crew saw the portside engine fall off, and the plane crashed. The pilots and Lt Gen Shidei died instantly. Rahman, who miraculously survived, recalled that Netaji was doused in a splash of petrol when the plane crashed, and his clothes subsequently caught fire. Netaji was badly burnt, was taken to hospital, but passed away a few hours later, unable to survive his burn-injuries.

But, is the above story true?

Why Crash Claim Appears Dubious

No Official Confirmation by India or Britain

Though Nehru had repeatedly reiterated the crash-claim, there was no official confirmation either by Britain (in power then) or by the subsequent Indian government.
You ask me to send you proof of the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
I cannot send you any precise and direct proof.
~ Nehru to Suresh Bose in 1962.

Dead Body?

How come Netaji’s other colleagues, who were to follow him on another flight, never saw his body? Why were no photographs taken of Netaji’s injured state or his body in the hospital? Why was no death certificate issued?

Biography of an INA recruiting officer

An article in Mumbai Mirror of 28 August 2005 titled “Nehru ditched Bose!”, based on a biography of Dr VJ Dhanan, an INA recruiting officer, says that Bose had not died in that so-called air-crash on 18 August 1945 in Taiwan. The story was a concoction by the Japanese to keep Bose safe in exile. Soviet diplomats had claimed that Bose was in Russia.

Letter from Bose to Nehru &
Letter by Nehru to Attlee

Reportedly, Viceroy Wavell had mentioned that Nehru had received a letter from Bose after the date of his reported death.

As per the submission made by one Mr Shyamlal Jain of Meerut to the Khosla Commission, that was setup in 1970, he was called by Nehru to Asif Ali’s residence with typewriter on 26/27 December 1945, and was given a letter to type—the following letter.

Mr Clements Attlee
British Prime Minister
10 Downing Street,

Dear Mr Attlee,

I understand from most reliable source that Subhas Chandra Bose, your war criminal, has been allowed to enter Russian territory by Stalin. This is a 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.

Yours sincerely,
Jawaharlal Nehru

The above letter is a proof Bose did not die in the air-crash, and that Nehru knew it! What is, however, worth noting and shocking are the use of words "...Bose, your war criminal..." by Nehru in the above letter. Clearly show Nehru's disdain for Netaji and his insulting attitude. For Nehru, Bose was not a patriot who gave his all to the nation, he was a war criminal, meant to be treated as such!

Sardar Patel's Response

Ahmed Jaffer asked Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister in the Interim Government, on 31 October 1946  meeting whether the government had evidence on the death of Bose. Patel's laconic reply was: "No!" When pressed further, Patel replied: "The government are not in a position to make any authoritative statement on the subject." When Patel was confronted with Nehru's definitive statement that Bose had died, Patel reiterated that the government had no view in the matter either way.

Claims of Netaji's Close Relatives

Sarat Chandra Bose, the elder brother of Netaji, broke his two-year silence—during which he had been investigating the matter—over the reported-death of Netaji, by stating in late 1947: "Subhash is alive and Jawaharlal knows it." Sarat lived with this conviction till his death in 1950.

Emilie Schenkl, Netaji's wife, refused to buy the story of ‘death by plane crash’. Indeed, Emilie was so much against the said story that she refused to meet Pranab Mukherjee in 1995, the then External Affairs Minister (now the President), when he had approached her to discuss the possibility of transferring Subhas’s ‘ashes’ from Tokyo's Renkoji temple to India.

JMC's Categorical Statement

Report: "The Taiwan Government has informed the one-man Netaji Commission of Inquiry that there was no air crash at Taihoku on August 18, 1945, till date believed to have killed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.  Disclosing this to newspersons after a routine hearing of the [Justice Mukherjee] Commission [JMC] here, Justice M K Mukherjee said that the Taiwan Government has confirmed to the Commission during its recent visit to that country that no plane crashed at Taihoku between August 14 and September 20, 1945."

Declassified Files on Snooping

Most of the 64 files declassified by the West Bengal government on 18 September 2015 relate to snooping on the family members of Netaji. Their contents clearly establish that the Indian government as well as several foreign governments connected with Netaji believed Subhas was still alive, and that he had not perished in the plane-crash.

Enquiry Commissions

(1) Shah Nawaj Committee (SNC) or Netaji Inquiry Committee (NIC), 1956

I have no doubt in my mind—I did not have it then and I have no doubt today of the fact of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s death... There can be no enquiry about that.
~ Nehru in reply to a question put in the Parliament by HV Kamath on 5 March 1952.

I am quite clear in my own mind that all the enquiries we could make have been made and the result is a conviction that Shri Subhas Chandra Bose died as has been stated. There is an abundance of evidence on this, which I consider convincing. In the circumstances, I see absolutely no justification of appointing a commission to make further enquiries.
~ Nehru, 1953.

You ask me to send you proof of the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. I cannot send you any precise and direct proof.
~ Nehru to Suresh Bose in 1962.
Nehru did his best for a decade to stall all enquiries into the death of Netaji. But, when he could fend it off no longer, he decided to set up a committee that would give a report as he desired. A committee headed by Shah Nawaz Khan (24 January 1914 – 9 December 1983), a Congress MP and a former Lieutenant Colonel of INA, was appointed in 1956. Its other members were SN Maitra, ICS, nominated by the West Bengal Government, and Suresh Chandra Bose, a non-political elder brother of Netaji. The committee came to be known as the Shah Nawaj Committee (SNC) or the Netaji Inquiry Committee (NIC).

NIC interviewed 67 witnesses in India, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam between April and July 1956. The interviewees included the reported survivors of the alleged plane crash, one of whom was INA's Lt Colonel Habibur Rahman, who had since joined the Pakistan military establishment.

Two members of the NIC, Shah Nawaz Khan and SN Maitra, concluded Bose had died in the plane crash. However, Suresh Chandra Bose, the third member, differed, did not believe so and submitted a dissenting note. He claimed that certain crucial evidence was withheld from him, and that he was pressurized by the other members and also by the then WB Chief Minister BC Roy to sign the final report. Suresh Bose alleged: “My colleagues, both connected with the Government, have tried their utmost to secure and manipulate the evidence, so that it could easily conform with the Prime Minister’s statements.”

Incidentally, Shah Nawaz Khan held various ministerial posts between 1952 and 1977. Was he bought over?

(2) Khosla Commission 1970-74

Owing to persistent doubts and pressure from many quarters, a one-man commission of enquiry headed by a retired Chief Justice of the Punjab High Court, GD Khosla, was set up in 1970. It submitted its report in 1974. The delay was on account of other duties assigned to GD Khosla.

Justice Khosla concurred with the earlier report of the Shah Nawaz Committee on the main facts of Bose's death.

Justice Mukherjee Commission (please see below) was dismayed by the sheer negligence of the Khosla Commission in omitting to pursue several crucial leads Dr Satyanarain Sinha (details later below) had provided to unravel the Netaji mystery.

(3) Justice Mukherjee Commission (JMC) of Inquiry 1999-2005

Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry was set up in 1999 during the Vajpayee's NDA regime, following a Calcutta High Court Order. It was headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge Manoj Kumar Mukherjee. The commission studied hundreds of files on Bose's death drawn from several countries and visited Japan, Russia and Taiwan. It submitted its report in 2005.

The Commission's conclusions/recommendations were several:
(1)The oral accounts on the plane crash were not reliable.

(2)Bose had NOT died in the alleged plane-crash. Thanks to the cooperation extended by Taiwan, it could be confirmed by the JMC that no air-crash took place on 18 August 1945! The US state department too had corroborated the fact of no air-crash in Taiwan on that day.

(3)The plane-crash was a ruse to allow safe escape of Bose by Japan and Taiwan. There was a secret plan to ensure Bose's safe passage to the USSR with the knowledge of the Japanese authorities and Habibur Rahman (who had testified on the plane crash).

As per the Report: "...On a conspectus of all the facts and circumstances relevant to the above issues it stands established that emplaning at Saigon on August 17, 1945 Netaji succeeded in evading the Allied Forces and escaping out of their reach and as a camouflage thereof the entire make-believe story of the air crash, Netaji’s death therein and his cremation was engineered by the Japanese army authorities including the two doctors and Habibur Rahman and then aired on August 23, 1945..."

(4)The Indian government subsequently came to know of the escape, but chose to suppress the report.

(5)The ashes kept at the Renkoji temple in Japan, reported to be Bose's, were of Ichiro Okura, a Japanese soldier who died of cardiac arrest.

(6)JMC asked for a thorough probe into the so-called Russian connection that contends that Bose had been detained in a Siberian camp.

(7)JMC couldn't find any evidence that "Gumnami Baba"/Bhagwanji, a monk who lived in Faridabad until his death in 1985, was Bose in disguise. (However, later Justice Mukherjee had commented: “It is my personal feeling…But I am 100 per cent sure that he (the monk) is Netaji.")

The Action Taken Report (ATR) was tabled in the Parliament on 17 May 2006 during UPA-I by Minister of State for Home S Regupathy along with the JMC Report. The ATR mentioned, inter alia, that the government had examined the Commission's report submitted to it on 8 November 2005 "in detail and has not agreed with the findings that Netaji did not die in a plane crash and the ashes in the Renkoji Temple were not of Netaji." As such, the Commission's report was rejected by the government without assigning any specific reasons.

Reportedly, the Commission did not receive cooperation from either the Indian government or the foreign countries it visited, except Taiwan. The hostile posture of the British, Russian, Japanese and Indian governments was intriguing and indicative of an international conspiracy to suppress the truth. The Indian government refused to share many important files and documents with the JMC under the pretext of them being sensitive. Disappointed, the JMC was forced to submit its unfinished work to the then Congress home minister Shivraj Patil.

If didn't die in air-crash,
What happened to Netaji?

The alternate conjecture is that Netaji had actually escaped to Russia.

It has been alleged that the Indian government and its political leadership were aware that it was likely that Netaji was alive and in captivity in USSR, but chose to ignore the information, and perhaps even actively collaborated to suppress the information after independence.

It is believed by many that Netaji breathed his last in Soviet custody years after the alleged crash in Taiwan.

Satyanarain Sinha's Surmise

Who was Dr Satyanarain Sinha?
Born in Chhapra, Bihar in 1910, Dr. Satyanarain Sinha was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India. He was a Congress MP elected to the Lok Sabha in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967 from Bihar. He had been the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.

Sinha sailed for Europe in 1930, and studied medicine in Vienna. He had an adventurous life. Reportedly, he had also once stayed at Sorrento near Naples with Maxim Gorky. He was fluent in several foreign languages, including German and Russian. He was a staff captain in the Soviet Army for two years during 1932-34; and also served as an interpreter for six months in Siberia where he befriended many Russian and German spies. He had joined Mussolini’s forces, and fought on the side of the Italians in the battle of 1935-36 in Ethiopia against the Allies.

He returned to India in 1936. After 1947, on behalf of the Indian government, he worked as an informal secret agent, and travelled to Germany, Italy, France and Yugoslavia. He joined IFS (Indian Foreign Service) in 1950, and served as First Secretary in the Indian legation in Berne, Switzerland. He resigned from IFS after 2 years and became an MP.
Sinha's Statements/Testimony
In an article in the Anand Bazar Patrika, Sinha, upon his return from Taiwan in 1964, had stated his reasons for concluding why the reported Bose plane-crash had not really happened.

Sinha had also published a book Netaji Mystery in September 1966. Here are some extracts from the same:

A number of friends ask: "Even if we take it for granted that Netaji did not die in plane-crash, what is the use of your reviving Netaji affairs if he is not returning to us in any case?"
...Concerning Netaji, such questions amount to an expression of betrayal to him...
One of my lawyer friends, a distinguished member of the Parliament, whom I asked to raise Netaji's question from the floor of the House, and to demand that (Prime Minister) Mr (Lal Bahadur) Shastri should make enquiries about him during his coming visit to Russia, was taken aback by my extraordinary request. He retorted: "Since Subhas Babu did not turn up amongst us for so many years, in the eyes of law he must be considered definitely dead, and thus, the Netaji affair cannot be reopened."...
…As the things stand today, not to enquire about Netaji's fate in Russia will be a blunder of national magnitude with far reaching consequence. Posterity will never forgive us for such a criminal negligence in the affairs of a national hero of the highest order...

Sinha had also deposed before the Khosla Commission. Here are some extracts:

Khosla Commission: I want you to be more specific about this information which you received. Who gave you the information and what were the exact words used by him as far as you can remember?

Sinha: Kuzlov was the name of the man who was connected with the training of Indians till 1934. The same man was later treated by Stalin as a Trotskyist and sent to Yakutsk prison. From there, after the war, he had come back. I met him in Moscow. He said that he had seen Bose in Cell No. 45 in Yakutsk.

Khosla Commission: Did he name Bose or did he say some important Indian?

Sinha: He knew Bose. He had been a Soviet agent in India in 30s. He had met Bose in Calcutta and he knew his residence.

Sinha deposed to the Commission that in a meeting with Nehru on 13 April 1950, he had given Nehru the information on Bose, but Nehru was disinterested. He had broached the matter again with Nehru on 16 January 1951 in Paris, but to no avail.

Sinha told the Commission that he was making the charges “with full responsibility", and he suspected the government didn't want matters regarding Bose to see the light of the day. 

Justice Mukherjee Commission was dismayed by the sheer negligence of the Khosla Commission in  omitting to pursue several crucial leads Sinha had provided to unravel the Netaji mystery.
Yakutsk Prison, Siberia: World’s Coldest & Harshest Prison Camp
As mentioned above, Subhas was perhaps sent to Yakutsk prison by Stalin. There were many camps, known as Gulags, each with 500-1000 prisoners of war or political dissidents living with minimal facilities, in Yakutsk by the river Lena in Siberia. Most of the captives couldn’t survive the harsh weather and primitive living conditions, and died building new shafts for coal mines, roads, dams, and so on, for which they were deployed in that coldest city on earth.

Did Dr Radhakrishnan know?

There is also a startling report—unconfirmed—that India's the then ambassador to Russia, Dr S Radhakrishnan, was permitted to see Netaji  from a distance in an undisclosed location in the Soviet Union. The details are not known.

In his book, Back from Dead, Anuj Dhar mentions that reportedly “the Ambassador was then taken to one of the labour camps in Siberia and he saw Bose from a distance of 10 metres. On his return, the Ambassador filed a report to the Prime Minister.” As per the book, many witnesses before Khosla Commission charged that Radhakrishnan and his predecessor Vijaylakshmi Pandit knew something about Bose’s presence in the USSR.

Incidentally, Radhakrishnan was proposed by Nehru as India’s first Vice President—a post that did not exist then as per the Constitution—upon his return from Russia. Radhakrishnan also became the first Bharat Ratna awardee.

Dr Satyanarain Sinha (for details, please see above) had also worked as an interpreter to Dr Radhakrishnan at Geneva. Dr Radhakrishnan was later ambassador to the USSR. Sinha had claimed that he had raised the issue of Netaji with Dr Radhakrishnan. Said Sinha: “He (Radhakrishnan) warned me that I should not meddle in these things. I asked him why. Then he said ‘you will be spoiling your career, you will not be anywhere’.”

Yadav's Statement

Anuj Dhar says in India’s Biggest Cover-up: “Wrinkles of angst and helplessness formed on former Ministry of External Affairs officer Rai Singh Yadav’s battered face as he thought back to the time when a Russian diplomat in Europe had teased him. ‘Your Quisling was with us!’ [meaning Netaji Subhas]...Our people did not wish to disturb relations. They knew Netaji was in Siberia. He had been left out in the cold!

Sarkar's Testimony in JMC

Anuj Dhar also mentions about one Mr Ardhendu Sarkar, a post graduate in mechanical engineering from the UK, who had been to USSR in 1962, as an employee of HEC—Heavy Engineering Corporation. His senior at the Plant in Ukraine was one Zerovin, a German, who had been brought to USSR in 1947 and was sent to Siberia for indoctrination. Zerovin told Sarkar that he had met Subhas Bose in a gulag there, where some VIPs had been lodged, and had even talked to him. When Sarkar brought this to the notice of the Indian Embassy in Moscow, he was asked to keep shut, mind his own business, and forget what he had heard. Thereafter, out of fear, Sarkar, never opened his mouth till his children grew up and were settled. Breaking his long silence, Sarkar testified before the Mukherjee Commission in 2000, and detailed the whole incident in Russia.

Mudie's Report

An interesting article on the web says: “...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 23 August 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 considering this, the British Prime Minister Clements Attlee decided ‘Let him remain where he is now’. This decision was taken in October 1945. It clearly indicates that he was alive even in October 1945, much after the reported death in an air-crash on 18 August 1945. In 1946, Nehru met Mountbatten in Singapore. On no occasion after this meeting, Nehru has been reported of praising the INA. He had agreed to the demand from the Indians in Singapore to place wreath and flowers at Netaji’s martyr dome there, but withdrew quite dramatically on the 11th hour...”

Patel's Statement to Khosla Commission

Usman Patel, Netaji’s bodyguard, told the Khosla Commission in 1971 that Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Maulana Azad had come to an agreement with the British that if Netaji were to enter India, he would be handed over and charged. Patel told Khosla that Maulana Azad had confirmed this to him. Incidentally, Usman Patel was not allowed to depose before the first commission of enquiry on Netaji: Shah Nawaz Commission.

No Efforts to Locate Subhas!

The sad part is why no efforts were made to bring Bose back, if indeed he was with the Russians?

Requests of many countries for their missing persons had been repeatedly stonewalled by USSR, but they finally extracted the required information through sheer persistence and diplomatic pressure. In sharp contrast, rather than USSR, it was India itself, its Congress Governments from Nehru downwards, which stonewalled even making requests to the Russians. When Dr Satyanarayan Sinha implored Nehru at a diplomatic gathering to informally raise the Bose-issue with the Soviet ambassador, Nehru dismissed the suggestion as “talk of chandukhana” [gossip in a den of opium addicts].

India's Independence :
Thanks Mainly to Subhas/INA

Comments Narendra Singh Sarila in his book, The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India’s Partition: “In South-east Asia, Bose blossomed, and,...played an important role in demoralizing the British military establishment in India. Indeed, it is a toss-up whether Gandhiji’s or Bose’s influence during the period 1945-46—even after Bose’s death—played a more important role in destabilizing British rule in India.”

An article on the web states: “Later, Atlee, in a private visit to Calcutta, told the Governor of Bengal that it was Bose who brought independence to India.” There are reasonable grounds to believe that the Subhas Bose INA’s military onslaught on the British and the INA Red Fort trials of 1945-46 and its consequence were a major factor in the British decision to quit India, and not the Quit India movement of Congress.

You have fulfilled a noble task by persuading Dr. Majumdar to write this history of Bengal and publishing it ... In the preface of the book Dr. Majumdar has written that he could not accept the thesis that Indian independence was brought about solely, or predominantly by the non-violent civil disobedience movement of Gandhi. When I was the acting Governor, Lord Atlee, who had given us independence by withdrawing the British rule from India, spent two days in the Governor's palace at Calcutta during his tour of India. At that time I had a prolonged discussion with him regarding the real factors that had led the British to quit India. My direct question to him was that since Gandhi's "Quit India" movement had tapered off quite some time ago and in 1947 no such new compelling situation had arisen that would necessitate a hasty British departure, why did they have to leave? In his reply Atlee cited several reasons, the principal among them being the erosion of loyalty to the British Crown among the Indian army and navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji. Toward the end of our discussion I asked Atlee what was the extent of Gandhi's influence upon the British decision to quit India. Hearing this question, Atlee's lips became twisted in a sarcastic smile as he slowly chewed out the word, "m-i-n-i-m-a-l!"

~ Chief justice P.B. Chakrabarty of Calcutta High Court,
who had also served as the acting Governor of West Bengal in India, in his letter addressed to the publisher of Dr. R.C. Majumdar's book "A History of Bengal". The Chief Justice also wrote: "Apart from revisionist historians, it was none other than Lord Clement Atlee himself, the British Prime Minster responsible for conceding independence to India, who gave a shattering blow to the myth sought to be perpetuated by court historians, that Gandhi and his movement had led the country to freedom. "

To the above one can add two more reasons: (a)Indian Naval Mutiny of 1946 and Jabalpur Army Mutiny of 1946, both provoked partially by the INA trials, convincing the British that they could no longer trust the Indian Army to suppress Indians, and continue to rule over  them. (b)The precarious economic condition of the UK as a consequence of WW-II, and the maintenance of their colonies becoming a huge drag on the UK exchequer.

Therefore, in gaining independence for the country, the credit has to go to Netaji Bose—far more than to Gandhi or the Congress. Nehru figures much lower. True to Nehru-Gandhi tradition, however, only Quit India Movement is highlighted as the cause of independence—which is a lie. That happened in 1942—many, many years prior to grant of independence—and fizzled out in mere months.

But, look at the ungrateful nation brought up on the Nehru-Indira culture of giving importance only to self—the dynasty: no importance is attached to non-dynasty greats. They give importance to Gandhiji too, because, one, they can’t afford to ignore him, two, it was Gandhiji who undemocratically and unfairly favoured Nehru and ensured he became prime minister upon independence.

There is no memorial to Subhas Bose in the capital! And, what to speak of memorials or samadhis, Nehru-Gandhis refused to even put Netaji Bose’s portrait in the Central House of the Parliament, that had portraits of other leaders.

As per an article on the web, in a confidential memo dated 11 February 1949 under the signature of Major General P N Khandoori the government recommended: ”The photos of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose be not displayed at prominent places, Unit Lines, Canteens, Quarter Guards or Recreation rooms.”

Only in 1978, when the first non-Congress Government came to the Centre that Netaji’s portrait was put up!  Incidentally, in a BBC opinion poll in December 2004 for a popular Indian hero, while Mahatma Gandhi topped with 36% of the votes, Bose came second with 21%, and Nehru drew a blank!

Dr Radhakrishnan was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1954, Rajaji in 1954, Nehru in 1955—when he was himself the PM—Govind Ballabh Pant in1957, BC Roy in 1961, Zakir Hussain in 1963, Indira Gandhi in 1971—when she was herself the PM—VV Giri in 1975, Kamaraj in 1976, Vinoba Bhave in 1983 and MGR in 1988! But, Subhas Chandra Bose, being not as great as these worthies (!!), got it later! And, that too when the Dynasty was not in the saddle. It has been that personal in our feudal democracy. Bose was awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992, which was later withdrawn on a legal technicality, in response to a Supreme Court directive: Government was asked to submit conclusive evidence of Netaji's death—which it could not—on a PIL as to how the award could be posthumous.

Congress/Nehru's Vested Interest in Non-Return of Netaji

Some say that although Nehru camouflaged the act under the pretentions of his lofty principles of being anti-fascist, he knew that if Subhas returned, his [Nehru’s] position would greatly suffer. Everyone respected and admired the guts of Subhas Chandra Bose.

If Subhas had returned there was no way Nehru would have become the prime minister. And, even if by hook or by crook, through the support of Mahatma, he would have become PM, like he did by overriding Sardar Patel, he would have been surely defeated by Subhas in the first elections of 1952, so popular was Subhas. He was also younger to Nehru.

Subhas & INA vs. Nehru & Congress

Congress had all through opposed Subhas and INA, but a lot is made of Nehru donning his lawyer’s robes to fight for INA soldiers in their trial by the British in 1945. The actual reality was that elections were imminent, and INA and Bose being the people’s favourites, Congress and Nehru wanted to get cheap popularity by projecting themselves as pro-INA to win elections.

Says Anuj Dhar in India’s Biggest Cover-up:
“The British saw through the Congressmen’s change of heart. Commander-in-Chief of British Indian armed forces General Claude Auchinleck wrote to Field Marshal Viscount Wavell on 24 November 1945 that ‘the present INA trials are agitating all sections of Indian public opinion deeply and have also provided the Congress with an excellent election cry.’...Captain Badhwar reported that the Congress leaders’ turnaround had little to do with any love for their ousted former president [Bose] or the people who fought under his command...He [Asaf Ali—CWC member] travelled across India and discovered that people were overwhelmingly in support of the INA. ‘This inflamed feeling forced Congress to take the line it did,’ Badhwar said...Ali was positive that as and when Congress came to power, they ‘would have no hesitation in removing all INA from the Services and even in putting some of them to trial.’...The top Congress leadership’s duplicitous disapproval of Bose and INA was exposed by numerous pre-1947 statements made by its leaders, especially Nehru.”

As expected from Nehru and the Congress, rather that honouring and rewarding them, the INA-veterans were debarred from the Indian Army by the Government of independent India! Why? Because, that was the way the British and Mountbatten wanted, as INA soldiers had fought against them. And, Nehru being an anglophile and being indebted to Mountbatten, did their bidding. That was in sharp contrast to Jinnah who had inducted Muslim INA soldiers into the Pakistani army. The INA personnel remained ineligible for the Freedom Fighters Pension till 1972.

Captain Ram Singh Thakur (1914–2002) was an INA soldier of Nepali origin. He was also a musician and a composer. His famous patriotic compositions include "Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja, khushi kē geet gāē jā, yē zīndagi hai qâum kī, tū qâum pē lūtāē jā..." and "Subh Sukh Chain". His final years were difficult. He was also initially denied the status of a freedom fighter by the government.

The Government of India had hoped, by prosecuting members of the INA, to reinforce the morale of the Indian army. It succeeded only in creating unease, in making the soldiers feel slightly ashamed that they themselves had supported the British. If Bose and his men had been on the right side-and all India now confirmed that they were-then Indians in the Indian army must have been on the wrong side. It slowly dawned upon the Government of India that the backbone of the British rule, the Indian army, might now no longer be trustworthy. The ghost of Subhas Bose, like Hamlet's father, walked the battlements of the Red Fort (where the INA soldiers were being tried), and his suddenly amplified figure overawed the conference that was to lead to independence.

~ Michael Edwardes in his book "Last Years of British India"

Nehru & Netaji’s Stolen War Chest

No Indian leader could raise as much amount in the 20th century as Netaji Subhas did for India’s freedom. He appealed to the patriotism of an estimated two million Indians in erstwhile British colonies conquered by his Japanese allies for donations to finance his government-in-exile and the Indian National Army (INA). Netaji’s personality, his emotive speeches and his unswerving commitment to Indian independence moved the diaspora. Numerous housewives gave away their gold in the cause of freedom. Reportedly, one Habib Sahib gifted all his property of over a crore of rupees; and VK Chelliah Nadar, a Rangoon-based businessman and an INA funder, deposited Rs 42 crores and 2,800 gold coins in the Azad Hind Bank!

After Rangoon, where Azad Hind Bank was headquartered, fell to the Allies in 1945, Netaji retreated to Bangkok on 24 April 1945 carrying with him the treasury, including gold bars and ornaments, in steel boxes. Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers on 15 August 1945, and the 40,000-strong INA followed suit. On 18 August 1945 Netaji boarded a Japanese bomber in Saigon bound for Manchuria, carrying the INA treasure, along with his aide Habibur Rahman. The plane reportedly crashed in Taiwan. The retrieved treasure from the crash site was handed over by the Japanese army to SA Ayer and M Rama Murti of the IIL (Indian Independence League—which had come under Netaji) at Tokyo.

Local Indians in Tokyo suspected that Rama Murti and SA Ayer had jointly defalcated the INA treasure—there was enough circumstantial evidence. Inexplicably, India did nothing to get back the treasure, and rather than setting up an enquiry or hauling up Murti and Aiyer, the government absorbed Aiyer as a director of publicity with the Bombay state, while Murti continued to lead an affluent life-style in Tokyo, in sharp contrast to the devastation all around.

Sir Benegal Rama Rau, the first head of the Indian liaison mission in Tokyo, wrote to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs), headed by the PM Nehru himself, in India on 4 December 1947 alleging that the INA treasure had been embezzled by Murti. Strangely, the MEA responded it could not be interested in the INA funds! It seems it wasn’t just a case of indifference, it was much, much more than that.

KK Chettur, who headed the Tokyo mission/embassy during 1951-52, took up the matter of misappropriation of the INA treasure vigorously. (Incidentally, Jaya Jaitley is Chettur’s daughter. She has penned an excellent, worth-reading article “#NehruSnooped: Truth behind Netaji files” in the connection in In response, the government sent SA Aiyer on a secret mission to Tokyo. He advised collection of the retrieved treasury from Murti saying it was in his safe custody. Chettur suspected Aiyer-Murti collusion in returning part amount just to close the matter. He recommended to the government a thorough probe in the matter on 22 June 1951. But, nothing came of it. The Indian embassy collected whatever there was at Murti's residence as the INA treasure in October 1951. The same was secretly brought into India from Japan, and was also inspected by Nehru who reportedly made a snide comment: “poor show”. Nehru quoted from Aiyer's report in the parliament in 1952 affirming Netaji’s death in an air crash in Taipei. Aiyer was later appointed adviser, integrated publicity programme, for the Five Year Plan.

RD Sathe, an undersecretary in the MEA, wrote a two-page secret note on 1 November 1951 titled “INA Treasures and their handling by Messrs Iyer and Ramamurthi” pointing out the circumstances of the mysterious disappearance of the massive INA treasure and the highly suspicious role of Aiyar(Iyer)-Murti duo; and the token return of a paltry portion from it that raised even more questions. Sathe’s note was signed by Jawaharlal Nehru on 5 November 1951 in token of having read it. But, like the earlier notes of Rau and Chettur, Sathe’s note too was just filed away by the Nehru’s government. However, the matter refused to die.

The Indian ambassador in Tokyo, AK Dar, sent a four-page secret note to the MEA in 1955 advocating a public inquiry into the matter of the disappearance of the INA treasure. He opined that even if the government was not able to get the treasure back, at least the culprits or the likely culprits would be known. He further said that the government’s 10-year long indifference in the matter had not only helped the guilty party escape, but had done injustice to the great work and sacrifice of Netaji. Even the Shah Nawaz Committee set up in 1956 to probe Netaji's disappearance had recommended an inquiry into all the assets of Netaji's government-in-exile including the INA treasure

Yet Nehru did nothing! And, that’s baffling.

It was not a small amount. The total treasure, had it been recovered, would have been worth several hundred crore rupees today. Was Nehru’s government protecting the embezzlers? Why did Nehru’s government accommodate a suspect embezzler SA Aiyar in the government service, and even depute him on a secret mission, as mentioned above? Was Aiyar’s report confirming death of Netaji a quid-pro-quo? Was Nehru afraid Aiyar-Murti duo may spill the beans on the alleged fiction of Netaji’s death in the air-crash if they were hauled up?

All such suspicions would remain until the government comes clean on the whole issue of disappearance of Netaji and his INA treasure and declassifies all relevant documents. The government contention that no public interest is served by declassification of Netaji’s files strains credulity. Netaji's grand-nephew Chandra Bose has rightly commented: “Declassification of all government files is a must to dispel all the theories about Subhas Chandra Bose and clear mysteries like the disappearance of the INA Treasure.”

Was 'Gumnami Baba' Subhas?

Gumnami Baba, aka Bhagwanji, was a monk who lived in Lucknow, Faizabad, Sitapur, Basti and Ayodhya in UP for over 30 years till his death on 16 September 1985. He maintained contact with Dr Pavitra Mohan Roy, the former top Secret Service agent of the INA.

Personal effects (German binoculars, Gold-rimmed spectacles identical to that of Subhas, Bengali books, the original copy of the summons issued to Suresh Chandra Bose to appear before the Khosla Commission, an album containing family photographs of Netaji Subhas, newspaper clippings about Netaji’s ‘death’ probe, letters from Netaji’s followers, and so on) left behind by Bhagwanji seem to indicate he was perhaps Bose himself!

The Mukherjee Commission had referred the handwriting samples of Bhagwanji and Bose to Dr B Lal, a forensic expert. His report was that the two matched! Although the Mukherjee Commission could not get any definite evidence to establish Gumnami baba was indeed Netaji, Justice Mukherjee personally believed it to be so, as he admitted later.

Bhagawanji's birth date was 23rd January, the same as Netaji's.

It appears that Bhagwanji might indeed have been Netaji, though it’s a mystery why he chose to remain “Gumnami”, and why the state and central governments of the day allowed such a state of affairs!

Lal Bahadur Shastri's Mysterious Death inter-related with Unravelling Netaji's Mystery?

Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died on 11 January 1966 at Tashkent, then in the USSR, where he had gone for Indo-Pak talks with the president of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan. Though he reportedly died of heart attack, his death was shrouded in mystery. Apparently, no post-mortem was conducted to ascertain the real cause of death either in the USSR or in India—and that was abnormal. It has been alleged that he died of poisoning, as his body, when brought to India, had turned blue—although that might have been so from embalming. His last meal in the night was sent from the home of TN Kaul, the Indian ambassador. Shastri’s family suspected foul play.

Request for access to papers relating to Shastri’s death under the RTI (Right to Information Act) have been turned down—that raises further suspicion. There appears to be an undisclosed policy not to disclose anything that might in any small or big way impact the Dynasty.

On 2 October 2015, the birth anniversary of late Lal Bhahdur Shastri, the family members of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose pressed for declassification of files on Shastriji, kept in India and Russia to unravel the mystery of his death.

"Lal Bahadur Shastri was one of the greatest sons of India and certainly one of the best prime ministers India ever had! It is unfortunate that he passed away at Tashkent on January 11, 1966, under mysterious circumstances. Till today the truth has been hidden from the nation," Netaji's grand-nephew Chandra Kumar Bose said on a Facebook post.

Chandra Kumar Bose said in his post that "Lal Bahadur Shastri had promised Amiya Nath Bose, Netaji's nephew, in Kolkata on 23 December 1965, that during his visit to Russia, he would try to find out whether Netaji was in Russia." Further, Shastriji had also promised Amiya Nath Bose he would set up a proper inquiry commission on Netaji Subhas upon his return from Russia in January 1966.

Is it possible that Shastriji's mysterious death in Tashkent, then in the USSR, is in some way inter-related with his knowledge on Netaji's death in Russia, and his planned further probe in the matter?

Unanswered Questions

Of course, one could question if weightage can be given to the various reports on Bose, unless the same are authoritatively confirmed. Much of the confusion and suspicions are on account of the government being too secretive. Why not share the information with the public. It would help remove doubts, and check circulation of wild rumours.

There are certainly many things that are queer, and unless the Government comes clean on them, and makes full disclosure, along with all the relevant documents, doubts would persist.

There are far too many unanswered questions. For example:
On Plane-crash.
Why was Nehru so assertive about the death of Bose in the crash, when conclusive evidence was missing, and many other aspects had come to light?
Indifference to truth on Netaji.
Why Nehru’s Government made no attempt to search for Netaji and try and get him back?

Why the Indian Government itself did not take an initiative to get at the truth through Britain, Russia, Japan, China and Taiwan? Or, was it deliberate? They knew the facts, but didn't wish them to become public.
Ignoring/Belittling Netaji.
Why Nehru and Indira didn't allow even the putting up of portrait of Netaji in Parliament?

Why Nehru and Indira tried their best to ensure NO importance was accorded to Netaji?

Why the Nehru-Indira dynasty never thought it fit to award Bharat Ratna to Netaji?
Ignoring INA's Role.
Why the INA soldiers were NOT absorbed in the Indian Army? (Even Pakistan had done so.)

Why the contribution of INA to India's freedom not acknowledged?

Why the INA soldiers not rewarded?

Not just not rewarded, why were some of them even harassed by the government?
Reluctance to set-up Enquiry Commissions. "Managing"/Ignoring their Reports.
Why Nehru’s Government tried its best to stall an enquiry? When you read Anuj Dhar’s India’s Biggest Cover-up you are amazed by the road-blocks Nehru put up and the way he dragged his feet on setting up a Commission of Enquiry. When, under public pressure, Government did set up an enquiry commission, why did it try to influence its outcome, and made sure it said what the Government wanted it to say? Why Shah Nawaz behaved in a partisan manner? Why manipulate a Commission you have agreed to setup? Why was Suresh Bose allegedly offered monetary incentives, and even Governorship, to desist from dissenting from the Shan Nawaz Report? Why Shah Nawaz  and the other government officials on the Committee suddenly turned hostile towards Suresh Bose the moment they came to know that he would submit a dissenting report—asking him to even vacate the Committee’s office?

When the Home Ministry admitted before Khosla Commission of Enquiry that about 30 classified papers and files on Subhas Bose were either missing or destroyed, including a file titled "Investigation into the Circumstances Leading to the Death of Subhas Chandra Bose", why Justice Khosla chose not to pursue the case of the missing files?

Further, why did Justice Khosla ignore the crucial leads provided by Dr Satyanarain Sinha? (Justice Mukherjee Commission was dismayed by the sheer negligence of the Khosla Commission in omitting to pursue several crucial leads Dr Satyanarain Sinha had provided to unravel the Netaji mystery.)

Why the 2005-report of the third enquiry setup under the Court Order was rejected by the Congress when it came to power, without assigning any reasons?
If indeed Gumnami Baba (Bhagawanji) was Netaji:
How come the government took no steps to ascertain the truth when Bhagwanji was alive?

Or, in case it did, why has it been secretive about it? What was the government’s relationship with Bhagwanji?

Why nothing was done to get at the truth even after Bhagwanji’s death, especially after personal effects of the deceased pointed to his being perhaps Netaji? And, in case the truth was already known or was found out, why was it not made public? Why was Bhagwanji not rehabilitated or welcomed as Netaji? Why were even his relatives kept in the dark?

Why did Bhagwanji prefer to remain unknown or ”Gumnami”? What were his constraints that he didn't wish to reveal his real self?

How could such a tragedy unfold for one of the greatest sons of India, even as his compatriots and political leaders remained mute, indifferent witnesses for decades?
Doesn't snooping, now proven through the declassified documents, reveal a sinister plan to suppress the truth on Netaji?

Shouldn't the accountability be formally established?
Shouldn't the wrong-doing be formally recorded as part of our recent official history?
In case Netaji had NOT died in the plane-crash:
Who all knew that to be the case?
Did they include Nehru? Gandhiji? Dr Radhakrishnan? Who else?
If yes, why did they suppress the fact?
What was their compulsion?
What were their motives?
Keeping Netaji Files Classified: Real Reasons?
Can any credibility be attached to government's reason (relations with certain countries would be affected) for non-declassification of Netaji files?

Whose reputation is the government trying to protect by non-declassification?
Is it only one person or are many more persons involved?
Is it Nehru?
Do additional persons include Gandhi, Patel, Radhakrishnan, and so on?
Could it also be to protect the image of Netaji himself?
Knowledge of Truth on Netaji & Its Suppression/Non-Disclosure by Others
Would Indira, Rajiv, Rao, Vajpayee, Pranab Mukherjee and many others have known the truth on Netaji?
Why did they all choose to not disclose the truth?
Shastriji & Netaji
Is it possible that Lal Bahadur Shastriji's mysterious death in Tashkent, then in the USSR, is in some way inter-related with his knowledge on Netaji's death in Russia, and his planned further probe in the matter?
Would the truth be finally known?
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has practically proven himself to be far superior to the previous holders of that critical office, it is also a fact that Modi has fallen short on many promises and expectations. One of the promises was declassification of Netaji files. Would Modi and the BJP choose to enhance their image, and measure up to their promise? Or, would they demonstrate their meekness, and shamelessly take a u-turn? Is disappointment in store for all patriots who seek to know the truth?

Let us hope Modi would come good on his promise, and the truth would finally be known!

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Rajnikant Puranik