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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

remembering the great fighter ~ Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose

The history of freedom movement in India, often is  summarized in one pithy sentence: "Mahatma Gandhi gave us freedom through non-violence." For sure freedom was not that easy and there were so many sacrifices of persons with varied thought processes. The best and the bravest men and women of an enslaved nation hastened the demise of the mighty British empire by resisting them tooth and nail in the trenches of every part of the Nation.  They were brutally crushed by the Imperialist regime and have been relegated, not getting their due share in history.   

Give Me Blood! I Promise You Freedom!!   The British are engaged in a worldwide struggle and in the course of this struggle they have suffered defeat after defeat on so many fronts. The enemy having been thus considerably weakened, our fight for liberty has become very much easier than it was five years ago. Such a rare and God-given opportunity comes once in a century. That is why we have sworn to fully utilise this opportunity for liberating our motherland from the British yoke.  The first phase of our campaign is over. Our victorious troops, fighting side by side with Nipponese troops, have pushed back the enemy and are now fighting bravely on the sacred soil of our dear motherland.

excerpts of speech addressed at a rally of Indians in Burma, July 4, 1944 – the very famous words of one of the greatest sons of this soil - Subhas Chandra Bose,  very popularly known as Nethaji (lit. "Respected Leader").  From history books, we read that the great person Nethaji was born on 23rd Jan 1897 and lived till  18th Aug 1945 [this will remain disputed as the Nation yearns to know of the reality, the mystery shrouding his disappearance !] :  do you where was he born ? – it was not West Bengal, for sure. **

the man, the rebel with a cause, for sure was brilliant, innovative and out of the box – in 1942, in Berlin,  – six months after Adolf Hitler had assured Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that he could travel to Japan, he was still stuck in Germany. It was at that time,  Emilie Schenkl gave birth to their daughter, Anita. But duty beckoned the warrior. On February 8, 1943, Bose bade them farewell and boarded a German U-180 boat. He would not see them again.
declassified file on Nethaji & a letter communication on his sword

                    Seriously, there was some interesting news in Nov 1987,  that Rs.114 crores, a whooping sum at that time had been transferred from Burma, Japan and Singapore for construction of Netaji Memorial in Delhi !! There has been a controversy for decades as to whether the account of the plane crash is true, despite two Indian government investigations concluding that is how Bose met his end.  In 1969, Member of Parliament Samar Guha wrote to the then West Bengal chief secretary M M Basu about a “sensational report” of Netaji’s survival. Based on the letter, Basu had directed the state government’s home secretary to conduct a probe into the claims. The report Guha refers to an article that appeared in Jugantar which claims that a police officer had seen Netaji board a submarine in Singapore, not a plane, along with two Japanese officers. The officer went on to say that Netaji left his sword with him before leaving Singapore.

Interestingly, do you know that he was conferred with Bharat Ratna but the award was subsequently withdrawn. The award was established by the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, on January 2, 1954. The original statutes did not make allowance for posthumous awards but later added in 1955 statute. Subsequently, there have been ten posthumous awards, including the award to Subhash Chandra Bose in 1992, which was later withdrawn due to a legal technicality, the only case of an award being withdrawn. It was withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court of India directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the “posthumous” nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence of Bose’s death and thus it invalidated the “posthumous” award.

An UK website set up to catalogue the last days of Subhas Chandra Bose released the evidence given by a Taiwanese official who claimed to have prepared Netaji’s body for cremation after his death in a plane crash in 1945. The testimony, contained in UK Foreign Office file No FC1852/6 and dating back to 1956, is among the last few documents  released by set up to establish that the Indian freedom fighter died in the crash on the outskirts of an airfield in Taipei on August 18, 1945.  However, “Taiwanese official Tan Ti-Ti, who was in charge of issuing cremation permits in Taipei, together with that of other local officials, tries  put to rest any controversy about the last rites performed on Subhas Bose’s body,” the website said.   Those reports suggest that a  Japanese army officer who accompanied the body told Ti-Ti: “The deceased was Bose, the Indian leader (on occasions he mentioned him as the Indian commander) who, proceeding to Tokyo on important business, was injured when his plane was involved in an accident.”

Now to the Q– on his birth place :  it is the city of Cuttack, centred on a spit of land between the Kathajodi River and the Mahanadi River, bounded on the southeast by Old Jagannath Road.  It is less than 30 km from the State capital of Odisha, Bhubaneswar.  It was here our hero, Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose was born.  Bose was born on 23rd Jan 1897 at Oriya bazaar to Janaki Nath Bose, a famous lawyer and Prabhavati Devi.   The place known as Janakinath Bhawan, is now a museum and showcases the original letters written by Netaji along with other important materials used by Netaji.

Jai Hind. Saluting the great man – Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Jan 2018.

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