The Netaji files declassified by the Centre on his 119th birth anniversary offer no new surprise, neither do they shed light on his disappearance. But over the years the tantalizing mixture of evidence and myth has kept the mystery alive. We bring you nuggets from documents already in the public domain to show why many don’t believe Netaji died in an air crash.
1. Was Netaji, Alive after 1945!
Purported Netaji message on December 26, 1945.
“I am at present under the shelter of a great world power. My heart is burning for India. I will go to India on the crest of a Third World War. The Third World War is coming soon. It may come in 10 years or even earlier… I will sit in judgment over those who are trying my men at Red Fort.”
Purported Netaji message on Jan 1, 1946.
“I am giving a very short speech about the Indian nation week to India for my brothers and sisters in India. We must get freedom within two years. The British imperialism is broken down and it must concede Independence to India. India will not be free by non-violence. But I am quite respectful of M K Gandhi…’
Purported Netaji message in Feb 1946.
“This is Subhas Chandra Bose speaking, Jai Hind. It is for the third time I am addressing my Indian brothers and sisters after Japan’s surrender.”
Were the radio broadcasts truly from Netaji? Or an imposter keeping the myth alive. It does leave the mystery open-ended.
2. Did Netaji move to Russia?
“Another piece of intelligence which connects Bose with NW Frontier is a letter written by the President of the Frontier Students Congress… that Bose was in TT and that the writer was going there himself. The date of the letter was not stated in the report. The information received from internal sources is puzzling and the same can be said about external information. On the 7th of January, the Russian paper Pravda denied in strong terms that Bose was in Russia. Before then, however, the Ghilzai Malang had been coupling a live Bose with Russia and in December, a report said that the governor of the Afghan province of Khost had been informed by the Russian ambassador in Kabul that there were many Congress refugees in Moscow and Bose was included in their number. There is little reason for such persons to bring Bose into fabricated stories. At the same time, the view that the Russian officials are disclosing or alleging that Bose is in Moscow is supplied in a report received from Tehran. This states that Moradoff, the Russian vice-consul general, disclosed in March that Bose was in Russia where he was secretly organizing a group of Russians and Indians to work on the same lines as the INA for the freedom of India…
“There is, however, a secret report which says that Nehru received a letter from Bose saying he was in Russia and that he wanted to escape to India. He would come via Chitral (Kashmir) where one of Sarat Bose’s sons should meet him. The information alleges that Gandhi and Sarat Bose are among those who are aware of this. The story is unlikely but the point has to be noted that if the story has any foundation in fact, it is probable that the letter from Bose arrived about the time Gandhi made his public statement. In January also, Sarat Bose is reported to have said he was convinced that his brother was alive.”
The report shows that foreign intelligence agencies were constantly trying to track Bose well after his alleged death
3. Did Netaji plan to attack India or at least act against our government?
Letter from Gandhiji’s secretary Khurshed Naoroji to Louis Fischer on July 22, 1946, at Princeton University, US, which contains a reference to Bose and was JMCI exhibit no. 228
“At heart, the Indian Army is sympathetic with the Indian National Army. If Bose comes with the help of Russia, neither Gandhiji, nor Congress, will be able to reason with the country. Also, if Russia for propaganda purposes declares itself an Asiatic country, then there is no hope of any European alliance acceptable to India.”
The reference to Bose and his ‘return to India’ indicates the writer’s knowledge about Netaji’s possible presence in Russia
4. Did Indian Government consider him an enemy? Sell him out?
Update: This point is being extensively debated- including the authenticity of the letter.
Letter from ex-MLA Prof Atul Sen to Jawaharlal Nehru on August 28, 1962, and Nehru’s reply on August 31, 1962
Atul Sen wrote: “I take the liberty of addressing these few lines to you in the matter of the widely prevalent belief that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is not dead. Mine is not mere belief but actual knowledge that Netaji is alive and is engaged in spiritual practice somewhere in India. Not the sadhu of Shoulmari, Cooch Behar, in West Bengal about whom some Calcutta politicians are making a fuss. I deliberately make the location a little vague because from the talks I had with him for months together not very long ago, I could understand that he is yet regarded as Enemy No.1 of the Allied Powers, and that there is a secret protocol that binds the government of India to deliver him to Allied ‘justice’ if found alive.” In reply, Nehru wrote: “I have never heard about any secret protocol about Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Certainly, the government of India has not bound themselves to any such thing. Even if any country asks the government of India to hand him over, it is not going to be agreed to.”
Nehru did not say that Bose had died in a plane crash. Nor did he say Bose was not a war criminal or comment on Netaji’s presence in India
5. Did Netaji Return To India later?
CIA document on Netaji’s ‘existence in India’
On February 20, 1946, at approximately 1345 hours… was interviewed… related a story concerning the possible return of one Subash (or Subhas) Chandra Bose. This individual is a former disposed president of the Indian National Congress 1938-39 and is believed to have died in an airplane crash after the war. However, there now exists a strong possibility that Bose is leading the rebellious group undermining the current Nehru government.”
US Intelligence reports points to the interrogation of an individual who knew about Netaji being alive and in India.