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Netaji Was Alive in 1946?
by Dr. Rajinder Puri Bookmark and Share

The mystery surrounding the last days of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose has been fiercely debated for decades. The debate is likely to revive shortly. New circumstantial evidence has surfaced to suggest that Netaji was alive in 1946. It might be recalled that two commissions of inquiry probing Netaji’s death had stated that in 1944 he died in a plane crash in Taiwan. The Shah Nawaz Commission set up in 1956 concluded that Netaji had died in that plane crash. There was public criticism of this theory. To allay public misgiving the government in 1970 appointed the Justice GD Khosla Commission to probe Netaji’s death. It endorsed the plane crash theory. The public’s disbelief did not abate. 

Did Congress leaders know that Bose was alive in 1946? Otherwise, how ...

In 1999 the government was compelled to set up the Justice MK Mukherjee Commission. This Commission ruled out death due to the air crash stating that no plane crash had occurred. But the Commission for want of evidence failed to establish whether Netaji had lived beyond 1944. The Commission was impeded by the non-cooperation shown by the government. For instance, in 2000 the Ministry of Home Affairs refused the Commission access to documents related to Netaji citing “reasons of national and public interest”.

Meanwhile many theories, some bizarre, were publicized. Other theories relied on hearsay and could not be confirmed. One such arose from the claim by Mr. Ardhendu Sarkar, an employee of the public sector firm, Heavy Engineering Corporation. He had deposed before the Commission that in 1962, while on deputation in Ukraine, he had met a German named Zerovin who said that he had met and briefly conversed with Netaji in 1948 at a gulag in Siberia during custody. But when Mr. Sarkar informed the Indian Embassy in Moscow about this he was rudely snubbed. There were other wildly sounding theories about Netaji living incognito as a holy man in India. 

Later there emerged Mr. Ashok Rai who resides in Delhi and claims to have personally seen Netaji in Baluchistan in 1946. “Without the shadow of a doubt” he claims having seen Netaji in a military car with his hands behind his back and being escorted by four army officers. Mr. Rai was residing in Quetta with his parents and belonged to a very affluent and influential family highly respected in the city. His father, Mr. Somnath Rai, was a great admirer of Netaji and known to him. Mr. Ashok Rai’s uncle, Col. JR Nagar was a Sandhurst trained officer who had defected from the British army to join Netaji’s INA to be captured later as a British prisoner of war. According to Mr. Ashok Rai his father was very excited after he told him that he had seen Netaji in a car up close. His father took him to Sir Haze, a British officer and his friend. The younger Rai was closely questioned by Sir Haze and recounted his version. However, even Mr. Rai’s version cannot be verified by anybody else. But now there emerges a document that raises questions.

Mr. Somnath Rai frequently visited Pandit Nehru’s home, Anand Bhavan, in Allahabad. During this time the senior Mr. Rai accessed hundreds of Congress Party documents related to the freedom struggle. Unfortunately during the  Partition riots most of these were destroyed in a fire. However there was one photograph of Netaji recovered from Allahabad. Years later the photograph accidentally fell on the floor and a paper hidden in the frame behind the picture emerged. It was a sensational discovery.

It was a printed copy of the Congress Party Bulletin dated 1946 edited by Mr. Sadiq Ali who was then the party’s office secretary. The Bulletin among other things contained the notice of the time table for the Congress Party’s Presidential Election. The last date for filing nominations for the post was April 29, 1946. Five names were reportedly received of which two nominations were rejected. The three left in the field were Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel and JB Kripalani. The rejected names were those of Subhash Chandra Bose and Jai Prakash Narain.   The reasons cited for the rejection were that Bose was not a primary member of the Congress, and Jai Prakash Narain was not in the list of the Bihar delegates. Before the election voting on May 16, Patel and Kripalani withdrew from the contest and Nehru was elected President.

The question naturally arises:

Did Congress leaders know that Bose was alive in 1946? Otherwise how could his name have been proposed and then rejected only on the grounds of non-membership of the party? The original document is in safe custody of Mr. Ashok Rai.

The controversy surrounding the last days of Netaji will continue to haunt the nation till the truth comes out. There is an unpublished manuscript, History of Azad Hind Fauj, written by historian Mr. Praful Chandra Gupta in 1950.The work was commissioned by the Indian government to discover among other things the fate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. In response to an RTI application by Mr. Chandrachur Ghosh the Delhi High Court overruled the government and ordered it to either publish the unedited manuscript or provide it to the RTI applicant within four months. By then perhaps the public will know the final truth about the fate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. It might learn why the government hid the truth.   

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Comments on this Article

Comment We wish the mystery of s leader like Netaji ought to be solved

12/05/2021 09:06 AM

Comment History of Azad Hind Fauj, written by historian Mr. Praful Chandra Gupta in 1950. So has the manuscript been declassified? If so, where can I get the manuscript?

Soumyarshi Giri
11/28/2019 05:26 AM


07/12/2015 13:22 PM

Comment Declassification of files may prove that Japan and British jointly played a foul game with Netaji;
In WW-I, Japan was an ally of British. Before WW-II, Japan-US trade war and political war started, this led to actual war between US and Japan. So British became an enemy to Japan by diplomatic manipulation as US - British alliance was there. After WW-II, Japan revived their old connection with British via spies. Japanese and British spies were enough linked before WW-II. Japanese spies agreed to eliminate Netaji. Motive was to appease the British and purchase security for Japan royal family. Thus, Japan handed over Netaji to British and British executed him in secrete. The false news of air crash was Japan’s fabrication. In any controversial case, liar is to be suspected first.
Netaji’s plan to start second independence war with the help of USSR was known to Japan. There was enough scope for British and Japanese spies to develop a common minimum program against pro-communist agenda of Netaji. Why should Japanese imperialism agree to patronize emergence of independent India as a permanent communist ally? Is it not more logical to fulfill British condition and purchase favor? Why Japan royal family was not tried as a war criminal? What is the mystery behind this favor?
There is another point about gumnami baba. Who was he? Gumnami baba was a dummy created as a part of common minimum program of Japanese imperialism and British imperialism. In axis camp, creation of dummy by plastic surgery was a common practice. Hitler and Mussolini were having number of dummies. Japan sold Netaji-dummy to British. British deputed this dummy at faizabad of Uttar Pradesh, with a purpose to create confusion that as if Netaji’s death or life is doubtful. The confusion prevented the nation to be doubtful about role of Japan or British. So gumnami baba of faizabad is a common creation of Japanese spies and British spies. Never had he told the truth. If he had told anything, that must be lie. In a controversial case, liar is to be suspected. So, Japan sold Netaji to British and British executed him in secret. Japan sold Netaji-dummy to British and British deputed him at faizabad of Uttar-Pradesh. Japan surrendered to US-UK side on 15th august 1945. Netaji’s last flight was on 18th august 1945. A surrendered Japan was no longer an ally of azad hind. They worked as per their new mentors, the British.

asit guin
10/03/2014 07:09 AM

Comment My 2 questions-
Q:1-If netaji died in a plane crash according to the Shah Nawaz Commision,(and as we all know that he didn't die)then why it is still a secret that how he died?
Q:2-Why we are not able to know what actually happened after 1945?

Priyanjali Chakraborty
10/24/2013 11:23 AM

Comment The Transfer of Power Agreement and the conditions the British laid down were the basic reasons for this treatment of NSC Bose.
No KKkangress "leader"was fit to wipe his shoes anyway.
The older generation knew and suppressed everything.
The PMO files on Bose were probably destroyed much before the NDA got there.
The Presidential Proclamation of Emergency of F.A.Ahmed is "missing" and archives lost to fire "äccidents" periodically.......

04/23/2012 10:02 AM

Comment I have made some serious studies regarding the alleged death of Netaji. An artice(6 pages) authored by me in this matter has been forwared to you by email through the Statesman. I would like to have your comment, and also to communicate with you directly.

Ajay Kumar Majhi
04/20/2012 06:20 AM

Comment Hello Mr. P. rao,

I had went on the same lines of thoughts as expressed in your comment, for a moment after reading the article.

consider this:
Subhash Chandra Bose was believed to be alive by many, including many in british ruling establishment in 1946 and many yer beyond. Reason - the quality of the great leader that was capable to handle all such odds. He escaped from home imprisionment and surfaced in Germany, then he surfaced in Burma while there was war in full swing all the way from Germany to Burma !
Many believed that he would 'resurface' and his disappearance was merely a tactic.
Unlike in today's politics, the probability of 'his supporters proposing his name to rattle party establishment' is nearly zero. Moreover, just a few years back he won against Gandhiji to become congress president (have a hint of his popularity).

What is amazing here is the reason provided for rejection behind his nomination. It is not that his whereabouts are missing or because it was not clear if Netaji was alive. The reason of rejection seems to be silly and MAY BE ILL CONCIEVED to keep him out of race.

The vital questions are:

1. Why the real reason about Netaji being understood as dead is not quoted in the letter.
2. Why the letter was hidden behind the photo frame ?

I am sure with today's media standards any story can be made out of it. But have a logical approach without trying to force any conclusion. The above two questions raise all the doubts.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
04/16/2012 14:50 PM

Comment The proposal of Bose for Congress President in 1946 looks more like a case of some die hard supporter proposing the name in absentia to rattle the party establishment. It does not indicate Bose is alive at that time.

P. Rao
04/15/2012 22:16 PM

Comment A well researched informative essay which should hopefully stir the emotions of Indians for one of the greatest heroes in history. Thank you sir.

04/15/2012 12:38 PM

Comment Dear Sir, I hope your "Word" comes true and help unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of one of the most beloved leaders of India and world history.

Anil K Prasad
04/15/2012 02:47 AM

Comment Thank you, Rajendra Puri ji for your expose. Like the fate of another social stalwart from Bengal, Sri Chaitanya, Bose's disappearence has been an enigma. Truth is God. Like humans come to their own peril when God is denied, Truth always have its vengeance. Machiavelian political philosophy may be true in a shorter time frame, but History do not pardon anybody. It stares on the face of civilization. Thank you, Rajendra Puri ji. I for one never shall forget your bold political cartoons in the Statesman. Your new avatar as a Boloji columnist is like a lone crusader "In times of Cholera". Thank you Sir.

04/14/2012 13:24 PM

Comment :( :( :( :( :(

First, I feel like crying reading all this for the great hero who fought for us.

Second, I feel it was fate of India that at each crucial point the heros were turned down by fate or by conspiracy... and it is happening similar till date.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
04/14/2012 11:19 AM

Comment Oh God, what am I reading in this essay? Can't believe, nor disbelieve!!!!

Kumarendra Mallick
04/14/2012 10:13 AM

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