Controversies surrounding Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
When we discuss about the the possible death or disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose, there are three paths. In Path 1 there is no complication. The people following path 1 generally accept the Subhas died in the plane crash on 18 August 1945. These people include majority of the family members of Netaji, Indian Government and politicians and intellectuals and academia including eminent historians. The people following path 2 believe that the aircrash was concocted and Netaji, under the guise of it, he escaped to Russia, was tortured by Stalin there, and died in a Russian prison or Gulag. The people believing this include Prof. Purabi Roy whose subject of research pertained to this theory, Major General G.D Bakshi, Subramanyam Swami etc. Even though there are few documentary and oral evidences that Subhas went to Russia (like the story of Ardhendu Sarkar), there is no proof that he died there. The path 3 is where a hermit returned from Russia to India via China, Tibet and Nepal, as a mendicant - Pathik Faqir or Bhagwanji or whom the media calls as Gumnami Baba and who calls himself as the Mahakal, dead ghost, Mendicus, and "S". This theory has a lot of oral and documentary evidence in support of it. The forensic evidence also goes in favour because of the Handwriting match by three eminent handwriting experts who had ruled out any possibility of forgery. The DNA test result, which hitherto has been a major stumbling block, is now under scanner because of the RTI revelation that there is no electropherogram report available to back up the claim of the Government forensic Lab in Kolkata, giving credence to the suspicion of a DNA fraud as alleged by Anuj Dhar and Chandrachud Ghosh in Conundrum.
In a nutshell therefore Bhagwanji theory appears strongest but there is also a catch. While oral testimony of witnesses point to the death of Bhagwanji on 16 Sep, 1985, his disciples based out of Kolkata and researchers like Dr. Jayanta Choudhuri and Dr. Madhusudan Pal believe that this event was another disappearance act. Since this subject is linked to emotions and is inconclusive we therefore just present the hypotheses and let the readers draw their own conclusions and recommend them to read the researchers' works.
It is generally accepted that Netaji was married secretly to Emilie Schenkl and their daughter is Dr. Anit Pfuff. There are a collection of letters of Subhas Chandra Bose to Emilie Schenkl, published by Netaji Research Bureau. Netaji, while leaving Germany, apparently left a letter in Bengali addressed to Sarat Bose where he had requested him to take care of his wife and daughter in case anything untoward happened to him. There are however controversies regarding the date of marriage. Prof. Sugato Bose has fixed the marriage date as 26th December, 1937. Leonard Gordon in Brothers Against the Raj has put the marriage year as 1941. In a case against Jayasree Publications, Dr. Sisir Kumar Bose, in his affidavit, had put Netaji's marriage year as 1942. Rudolf Hartog in his book has stated that he had taken an interview of Emilie in which she mentioned that they were married as per Hindu rituals. Dr. Jayanta Choudhuri, Dr. Madhusudan Pal, and several other disciples of Bhagwanji categorically deny that Netaji was ever married. The way in which the Bose family learnt about the marriage is also subjected to controversies. Sarat Bose's daughter Roma stated that Emilie had handed over the letter written by Netaji in Bengali to his Mejda in Vienna Airport during his Europe trip of 1949. Roma's sister Geeta had claimed that the letter arrived by post to the Elgin road residence. In another version, Dr. Sisir Bose claimed that the letter was found in a cigar box. (source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Cry-to-unravel-Emilie-Schenkl-mystery/articleshow/50538887.cms)
It is argued that Netaji wanted to keep his marriage a private affair and did not disclose it to the world at large in order to protect his family. It is also stated that because Nazi Germany discouraged any marriage between a pure blood Aryan with a non German, the marriage was never registered. Therefore there are no documents or witnesses pertaining to the marriage.
It is to be noted that Bhagwanji vehemently denied his own marriage, even refusing to discuss the topic. Researcher & writer Anuj Dhar and Chandrachud Ghosh in Conundrum, and Adheer Som in Gumnami Baba: A case History, who have advocated path 3, have argued that this was because Bhagwanji was trying to protect his wife and daughter. The question naturally arises as to protect from whom? It was already generally accepted that they were Netaji's family members. Also the discussion was with Bhagwanji's followers who were committed to secrecy about him. So why should there be a denial at all?
Even more intriguing is the fact that he was scathing about them, referring to them as Uron Pari (flying fairy – literally, a derogatory term) and Parizadi – daughter of the Pari – again, used in a derogatory way, while discussing what would happen if the Shaulmari Sadhu was widely recognized as Netaji. One normally does not refer to their wife and daughter in these terms. So either he was not Netaji, or he was not married, or he had genuinely forgotten about his marriage. Also his second statement was significant, that the letter was a forgery. He was referring to the letter addressed to Sarat Bose which Emilie sent to Sarat/handed over to him – saying, he used to write letters to his brothers only in English, he used to put a mangalik (an auspicious symbol) on the letter and used to write the address on top, not at the bottom. It only meant that he had read all the details about the case and yet he had referred to the subject as "dirty" topic, not worth discussion. Bhagwanji further said that "if somebody is responsible for a crucial, hazardous work, that person cannot indulge in romantic relationships. Else he would be completely ruined. If there is any secret work, any hazardous work, only one person needs to be involved, if there are two persons (man and wife) that work will never get done." (translated from the original Bengali in Oi Mahamanab Ase).
Surojit Dasgupta, one of the disciples, had filed a PIL in Calcutta High Court to discredit Netaji's marriage, by using the same arguments as Bhagwanji, viz.1) the original letter was not found and only an English translation is available, photocopy printed elsewhere did not match that of Netaji's handwriting, letter did not mention who he had married, where and how, there were questions on how it reached Sarat Bose etc. 2) the letter was a forgery (arguing along the same line as that of Bhagwanji's contention)
Path 1 – Very few who believe in path 1 of Netaji’s death in 1945 aircrash, have any doubt about his marriage
Path 2 – In accepting that Netaji died in Russia, there is no problem in accepting that he was married
Path 3 – There is a serious problem owing to the categorical denial of Bhagwanji and his claim that the letter, which is the only proof, was a forgery, and his derogatory references to the ladies in question
A sannyasi denies past life but does not deny facts associated with past life. A husband may, out of concern for the safety and security, deny marriage, but does not call it a “dirty affair” or use derogatory terms about the near and dear ones, or even bolster his argument by claiming that the letter was a forgery. His disciples were anyway sworn to secrecy. Bhagwanji argued, most reasonably, as to which sensible person would leave his wife and infant daughter to jump in the fire, leaving them in the lurch, and how was it possible that the Lady concerned accepted it without protest. Three statements are significant – 1) That any discussion about the marriage is a “Dirty" Topic 2) The letter that is the sole proof of the marriage is claimed forcefully to be false 3) He uses disparaging terms about his so called wife and daughter, thus completely disowning them.
Almost everything that have been written or said so far about Netaji's marriage, are on the basis of the original claim made from a section of the family. His statement to the Tokyo cadet that "I have no sons of my own, you are my sons", can also be interpreted both ways – either he was referring to a fact that he had no son but a daughter, or he was referring to having no son in a broader sense , i.e. he had no child of his own. His statement to Dr. Ba Maw, if the claim of the latter is right, is also significant. Dr. Ba Maw said, “I often have my mystical moments”, Bose once told me, “when I would like to give up everything and spend my life in prayer and meditation. But I must wait till India is liberated.” Again, when someone laughingly asked him when he intended to get married, he laughed back and replied, “As soon as India is free.” Why would Netaji deliberately lie here? He should have simply requested Dr. Ba Maw to keep it a secret.
There is merit in the claim when it is said that Netaji would still be venerated in public had he declared his marriage and therefore he had no reason to be secretive. Rahsbehari Bose was married to a Japanese lady Toshiko Soma. In Indian culture it is forbidden only for the sannyasis and brahmacharis to marry, Netaji was neither. He wanted to be celibate, one can become so even after marriage and after having children - Gandhiji was a notable example. Sri Ramakrishna was married and so were many other saints and sages revered by the people. In India everybody took it for granted that householders marry and they knew that Netaji was not a sannyasi. Netaji knew much more about Indian culture and people than the researchers who make such claims. Also he would not have kept quite for fear of popular backlash, that simply does not gel with his character. He never compromised with the truth. Indians do not have any problem with Nationalistic foreign ladies – like Sister Nivedita, Annie Besant, Nellie Sengupta who was wife of Netaji’s arch rival J.M Sengupta, were all foreigners who were held with respect. There is also merit in the argument that Netaji did not reveal his marriage to keep his wife and daughter safe as Nazi Germany would not like a pure blood German marrying an Asian, and also to protect them from the British intelligence, and that’s why he never tried to contact them. So unless we accept the premise that Netaji was metamorphosed into Bhagwanji, his marriage is not a controversy. However the moment we accept that Netaji was Bhagwanji, by his own statement his marriage becomes a big question mark.
Prof. Kapil Kumar, Director of the INA Museum in Red Fort in New Delhi, has shared his valuable insights into the issue of the alleged INA treasure loot. He sees a larger conspiracy behind Netaji mystery, centred around the pilferage of INA treasure by the interested parties.
in Oi Mahamanab Ase, the great man narrates a sordid tale of betrayal and plunder. "At the time of British American reoccupation, Governor of Azad Hind Bank at Taungyi, shan state, Yellappa, as asked, secretly packed all assets in boxes and brought to Loika. One spy informed and they were captured. Yellappa died of bombing. Captain Lakshmi, Lt. Gojendra Singh were arrested. Col. Bhagat was interned there before by Azad Hind Govt. at Taungyi also arrested, other soldiers, bank Officers captured. Major Yusuf Ali of British Army was in charge. Gopal Singh, collector of Netaji Fund was in possession of Rs 4 crores. Escaped to Siam."
The great man continues to claim that, "Indian Independence League became meddled with British spies and traitors. Chandramall and his friends Golam Ahmed, Taru Khan all of British intelligence service - all joined IIL, Tokyo. Ramamurthi, General Araki, Col. Friggis, all traitors and they were working under Col. Wilson of the British Army. Golam Ahmed and Taru Khan were employed in the Finance Dept. General Chatterjee (Finance Minister) was fooled by Ananda Mohan Sahay, secy. of the Azad Hind Govt. Golam Ahmed and Taru Khan were friends of A.M Sahay, Ramamurthi. A.M Sahay and Minister Ayer were close friends. All traitors and they were friendly with Imperial Jap. HQ and with British Intelligence at Tokyo."
He continues, "Minister Ayer was to follow the bomber with treasure. But he went to Tokyo handed over the treasure to Ramamurthi. Disposed of some, encashed part of the jewels, with the help of British Military of Tokyo and Jap foreign officials. J.N knows it. Murthi gave "J" only a small fraction of the fabulous wealth. No treasure was burnt. It is a fabrication. Imperial Jap Army, British men, India Govt. and party men all involved. That is why no action taken."
As per the MEA File No 25/4/NGO - Vol 1, the INA treasure that was deposited to the Embassy of Tokyo and which was sent to India with Mr. Damle, Jt. Secy, Food and Agriculture, contained broken pieces of jewelry and other articles worth Rs 90,000 only. The Government had sought waiver of customs duty on these articles and Prime Minister Nehru himself referred the matter to the Finance Ministry. The treasure, as per Nehru's letter, consisted of some gold. A letter of Lailamani Naidu in 1952 accuses Mr. Ayer of dividing the loot and handing over a small quantity to the Government. Ramamurthi had handed over around 20,000 Yen in cash to the Indian Embassy, apart from the Rs 90,00 worth of broken jewelry.
As per MEA File no 25/15/NGO-53, V.B Sheth, former Secretary of Indian Independence League in Tokyo, had alleged that "Ramamurthi, took the jewels and precious articles belonging to INA, in three boxes, from S.A Ayer, and disposed of the valuables in Japan. He then became a multi millionaire and ran a very prosperous business. In Tokyo he was accused of evading customs duty to the tune of 2 mn yens. Ayer just took a blank receipt from Ramamurthi, after handing him the treasures. Ramamurthi disposed off the treasures by converting them to cash and colluded in this effort with the British Intelligence officers in the British military mission. Between 1946 and 1948, i.e. after receiving the treasure, Ramamurthi suddenly became very rich, and he was accused to run a black market in Tokyo in the garb of being a trader." The letter was dated 18th February, 1953 and was addressed to the Home Minister of India Government. V.B Sheth was also the director of Indo Japanese Friendship Association. Sheth also implicated Japanese military chiefs. A.M Nair, who was the liaison officer of IIL, said that the jewels did not accompany Bose as the plane was overloaded. Ayer followed in the next plane with the boxes and after reaching Tokyo when he heard of Netaji's death in a plane crash, he handed them over to Ramamurthi. Murthi since left Japan for India under mysterious circumstances. The jewels estimated at million dollars were never accounted for. Murthi had refused to make any accounting of the funds of IIL Japan, according to L.R Miglani. Murthi and his wife were arrested by Japanese police for violation of customs law.
On May 21, 1951, Tokyo Mission Head KK Chettur wrote to B.N Chakravarty on his suspicions about Ayer and Ramamurthi regarding misappropriation of INA wealth. Col. Figges of British Intelligence had invited Ramamurthi to settle down in UK, pointing to a tacit understanding between the two. Ayer was later appointed by Nehru as a key adviser for the publicity of his Five Year plans.
Dinanath, chairman of the Azad Hind Bank, on being interrogated by British intelligence soon after the war, revealed that Netaji left Rangoon with 63.5 kg of gold. An 18-page secret note, prepared for the Morarji Desai government in 1978, quotes Netaji's personal valet Kundan Singh as saying that the treasure was in "four steel cases". (source: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/north/story/netaji-files-subhas-chandra-bose-ina-treasure-jawaharlal-nehru-252969-2015-05-15).
Ashes in the Renkoji Temple and DNA Test
There had been frequent attempts by Government of India to bring back the ashes kept in the Renkoji temple. However none of the attempts succeeded in the face of staunch opposition, despite many correspondences between the Governments of India and Japan and requests from the Renkoji temple priests. In 1992, Netaji was conferred with the award of Bharat Ratna "posthumously" by the Government of India which led to a hue and cry. External Affairs Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee had sought the permission of Emilie Schenkl to bring back the ashes in 1993, but she refused to comply with the Government's request. In 2003 Mukherjee Commission had explored various options of conducting a DNA test on the ashes kept in Renkoji temple. However the experts in India (Dr. Lalji Singh of CCMB) and abroad had opined that there was practically no chance of extracting high quality DNA from the burnt bones that were subjected to a high temperature. Justice Mukherjee Commission report contains the details regarding the correspondences with experts on this matter. So there seems to be no way of testing the bone remnants and concluding with certainty if they belonged to Subhas Chandra Bose with the present day technology. Prime Ministers and political leaders like A.B Vajpayee and Indira Gandhi had payed tribute to the ashes kept in Renkoji Temple while others had avoided the same. There are occasional demands to bring back the ashes to India in the political and bureaucratic circles but this could not be done in the face of strong opposition by those who think that the ashes did not belong to Netaji. Among those who seek Government help to bring back the ashes include Dr. Anita Pfuff and the Bose family members like Prof. Sugato Bose. Since 2003 there has been no further attempts to conduct any DNA test on the ashes kept in the Renkoji temple.
As per the book of Narayan Sanyal – “Netaji Rahasya Sandhane” - when he had met the chief priest of the Renkoji temple and his friends, the chief priest told him that when Nehru had visited the temple, he did not pay any homage to the ashes. Even when he was requested to burn an incense stick and was given one, he was irritated and after hastily sticking the incense stick to a corner of the table, he came out of the temple. In the visitor book he wrote a homage to Buddha - seeking that Buddha's message should become the cornerstone of a peaceful world, but he did not mention Netaji anywhere. His daughter Indira did the same when she came for an official visit to the temple. In the visitor's book she paid homage to Buddha, not to Netaji.
These points to only one fact - both of Indira and Nehru knew that the ashes do not belong to Netaji. Both of them knew that Netaji was alive and none of them, neither the father nor the daughter, had any respect for Netaji in their minds.
Bose as a Nazi collaborator
There was a raging debate in American media over the Chief of Staff of American Democrat Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Saikat Chakrabarty, wearing a T shirt that had Subhas Chandra Bose's picture. AoC's opponents had accused Saikat of worshiping and supporting a Nazi collaborator as Bose is known to be in the Western academic and intellectual world. While Bhulabhai Deshai in his spirited defence for INA soldiers had given a fitting reply to the British charges against Subhas Chandra Bose and INA, it is worthwhile to mention the notes of Girija Mukherjee who had been alongside Bose in Germany. Writes Girija, "Germany and Japan happened to be the only two countries with which England was at war, was it not natural that an Indian nationalist opposed to British rule, should try to secure their help against England? Netaji did so, as a National Revolutionary just as before him. Garibaldi, took help from the enemies of Austria to free and unify Italy, or Sun-yat-Sen did from Japan to destroy the imperial Dynasty in China or, for that matter, De-Valera and the Sinn Finns took aid from America to make Ireland free. One can give many examples in history, speak of the example of the help which the Western Powers sought and got from the Soviet Union to fight Nazi Germany although immediately after the war they regretted it and quarreled with the Soviet Union. All this proves that it is possible and can be considered moral to cooperate with an unpopular regime for specific national purposes, without being involved in the ideology of such a regime or in its internal political methods, however obnoxious they are. The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of 1939, which sparked off the war, was signed by the Soviet Union with a Fascist Power, in order, as the Soviet Government thought at time to safeguard the national interests of Russia; and the Allies went into war to defend a country, namely Poland, which had a dictatorial regime, also because, by doing so, they thought they were safeguarding their national interests. Greece of Metaxas, for whose defence so many young Englishmen gave up their lives, was also a Fascist country. The diplomatic history of the Great Powers is replete with examples of changing sides whenever the political exigencies demanded them, and, was it not a British Foreign Minister who said that England had neither eternal friends nor eternal enemies but she has only her national and imperial interests to defend? If such a political maxim was good for England, why should it be bad for India?"
To these, it may be added, Nazis were an evil cult no doubt, but can the Americans under Harry Truman and General MacArthur, who deliberately murdered almost two hundred thousand Japanese citizens by dropping their end product of billions of dollars of investment in Manhattan project over a country that had almost got ruined, be deemed as paragons of virtue? Can the British, who deliberately, according to Churchill's secret war by historian Madhusree Mukherjee, starved to death some 3-4 mn Bengalis, by denying them food, claim any sainthood? Aren't the British (and by supporting them the Americans) guilty of the same crime as that of the Nazis? Only difference is that the Allied forces won the war and the Nazis lost it. But weren't they of the same disposition, same crime? These pertinent questions were raised by an intrepid Indian Judge Radha Binod Pal, during the war criminal trial of the captured Japanese generals. he was the lone dissenter among the judges who had made up their mind in punishing the Japanese generals for their audacity to attack the White men's empire across Asia. Accusations of excesses in China and other places were just ruse. Atleast the February 10 incident of the B29 bomber dropping incendiary bombs on a hospital in Burma proved that the Americans were no less proficient in war crimes. And their subsequent exploits in Korea, Vietnam and Middle East proved it again and again. Only there was no international court of law to try them. There was no international court of law to put to trial Yahiya Khan, the butcher of Dhaka, who sent 3 mn Bengalis to death and gave a freedom pass to his soldiers to rape hundreds of thousands of hapless Bengali, mostly Hindu, women, and his mentor Bhutto. Pakistan was (until recently, till Bin laden was discovered from a hideout) one of the trusted allies of America.
Continues Girija Mukherjee, "Was it wrong for General de Gaulle to take Anglo-American help to liberate France? Were not Subhas Bose’s tactics and motives comparable to those of General de Gaulle? Were not his motives, his conscience, as clear as those of General de Gaulle and of the men who rescued France from the humiliation of remaining an occupied country?" He rued the fact that, Millions of people in our country who look upon Netaji Subhas Bose as one of the greatest heroes of our fight for freedom, will be shocked to know that both in Western and Eastern Europe, he is referred to as a Fascist, a Quisling and a Hitlerite stooge. In Germany, where Subhas Bose laid the foundation of INA between 1941 and 1943, his name is a taboo. Very seldom any mention of him is made in newspapers, and when mentioned at all, he is described as a Nazi." He continues, "This applies also to other Western European countries. In spite of a very handsome tribute paid to him by an inimical Englishman, Hugh Toye, in The Springing Tiger, people in many countries still go on referring to him as a Quisling, and when mild, as a Bengali revolutionary."
Girija Mukherjee rightly points out that "Subhas Bose, who imbibed in his youth the ideas of Tagore, Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Gandhi, was a profound humanist in the Hindu sense of the term as revealed in his letters written in Bengali, published in the book Patravali. These letters are eloquent testimonies of his deeply ingrained sense of liberalism and love of liberty." Bose was an ardent follower of Vivekananda. great scholars like Shankrai Prasad Basu, one of the foremost experts on Vivekananda, thinks that Subhas Chandra Bose was the rightful heir of Vivekananda's love for India and its people. There was no hatred in Subhas's ideology. He was a Kshatriya, war to him was a righteous battle against unrighteousness of a tyrannical and oppressive foreign rule. Didn't Mahabharat teach us that when ends are unselfish and noble, means don't matter?
Subhas himself writes: “When I first visited Germany in 1933, I had hopes that the new German nation which had risen to a consciousness of its national strength and self-respect would instinctively feel a deep sympathy for other nations struggling in the same direction. Today, I regret that I have to return to India with the conviction that the new nationalism of Germany is not only narrow and selfish but arrogant.” Referring to a speech made by Hitler, Bose writes:
“Herr Hitler has talked of the destiny of the white races to rule over the rest of the world. But the historical fact is, that up till now the Asiatics have dominated Europe more than have the Europeans dominated Asia ... We who are struggling for our own freedom desire that all nations should be free and that Europe and Asia should be at peace with one another. It, therefore, pains us that the new nationalism in Germany is inspired by selfishness and racial arrogance”.
In Germany his main supporter was Adam von Trott zu Solz, who, belonged to the Kreisau circle that had in 1944 plotted the assassination of Hitler. Neither Subhas Bose, nor the Indian Legion, had any direct connect with the Nazi top brass. Every matter was handled through the foreign office of von Trott. That itself absolves him from any charges of being a collaborator. Nazis helped him out of their own selfish interest. But this was one man whom they could not manipulate, who would not yield to them, who had a forceful personality whom they had to respect and perhaps fear. After all, who can intimidate a person who has conquered the fear of death?
Writes Girija Mukherjee, "These extracts from one of the many letters of this kind on world problems prove, if proofs are necessary, that Netaji was not only not sympathetic to national socialism, but he was opposed to it from its very inception. If still he wanted to seek German aid, it was because, first, Germany was at war with ‘India’s enemy’, and, secondly, because—as he writes in the same letter— “according to our past experience the Germans were a very warmhearted people, particularly friendly to Indians” and finally because his plan of going to the Soviet Union had failed."
Wasn't he the only person in Hitler's Germany to stand face to face to Hitler and call out his bluff on India? Would a collaborator have dared to do the same anywhere in the world?
He said on May I, 1942:
“I am not an apologist of the three powers and it is not my task to defend what they have done or may do in future. That is a task which devolves on these nations themselves. My concern is, however, with India, and if I may add further, with India alone.”
Subhas Chandra and the Left Wing Right Wing Politics
Even though Subhas called himself as Leftist and Socialist and was enamored by Soviet Russia like so many youngsters of his day by the revolutionary spirit, he was not a communist. He wanted to find the synthesis of a best political idea that would be rooted in India, in its traditions. He was deeply spiritual and was as much socialist as Swami Vivekananda was, viz. humanist who could sincerely feel for the oppressed, for the poor and deprived, for the labour and the masses who toiled hard to earn their living and lived on pittance. His concern for the people was not political as was the case with the communists. His concern stemmed from genuine love for them, just like his guru Vivekananda’s. So to dub him as a Leftist or Communist would be a dangerous aberration bordering on folly. Similarly he was averse to the communal politics. He did not partner with the Muslim League or denounced the politics of Hindu Mahasabha or changed Jana Gana Mana to Subh Sukh Chain or inducted a large number of Muslim officers in Azad Hind to appease the Muslims as some of the Right Wingers would want to believe. He inherited his love for people cutting across communities from his Guru Deshbandhu and from the legacy of Ramakrishna Vivekananda. His temporary partnership with Muslim League was a tactical move, to counter the British politics of Divide and Rule and Congress’s foolishness to give in to it. He also admired the Nationalist Muslims who were no less patriotic, in his opinion, than Nationalist Hindus. His agitation against Hollwel monument, Siraj ud Daullah puja and other activities should be seen in the light of these tactical maneuvers whereby he made a last ditch attempt for the Muslim youth to give up the idea of two nation theory and join the mainstream politics. He knew that Congress and British would not hesitate for a divide of Bengal as that would suit the agenda for both – a weak and communally divided Bengal would have meant less supporters for carrying out anti British activities and a smaller support base for Subhas. He had to keep Bengal united because he foresaw the horrors that partition would have unfolded – it would have brought ruins for the people and economy of Bengal. It is to be noted that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in the initial stages had sought to govern a unified Bengal through a tactical alliance with the Krishak Praja Party of Fazlul Haq. His plan was largely sabotaged by the British in the wake of the Quit India Movement. Subhas met both Savarkar and Jinnah separately in 1940 in an attempt to forge an understanding. Had he been truly partisan, he would have met Jinnah but not Savarkar. According to Uma Mukerjee (The two Revolutionaries), Rashbehari Bose was in touch with Savarkar and both shared the vision of raising an army from among the Indian soldiers. Savarkar had plans of sending Hindu Nationalist youth to the British army so that they learnt to fight and rebel against the British at appropriate time. Netaji was critical of Hindu Mahasabha because of the latter’s refusal to join the mainstream national movement against the British. However he had praised Savarkar's dedication in his speech from Azad Hind radio in 1944. He also praised Hindu Mahasabha's staunch opposition to the Wavell plan in his speech on 19th June, 1945. To him the British was always the first enemy, not the Muslims, nor the Hindus. Hindu Muslim question could be settled later once British were ousted as they were the mischief mongers who fueled division and antagonism that had been latent. He was a bitter critic of the League and its communal politics in his speeches and addresses. The same is revealed by Ehsan Qadri, an initial supporter of the IIL who later turned out to be against INA. Qadri despised Subhas because he was critical of Muslim League. Subhas had to ward off dangerous partisans like Iqbal Shidai, a staunch League supporter who was in the race to form a Legion with Italian support. The Muslim officers who were under him were mostly as loyal to him as the Hindus – his close confidantes Abid Hasan who accompanied him or Habibur Rahman, who was the only person holding the key to the secret behind his alleged death or disappearance. RW is quick to point out that some of those officers like Shaukat Malik, Kiani or Habibur himself, joined Pakistan later. But a great man, years later revealed in Oi Mahamanab Ase – The adjutant (Habibur Rahman) was a perfect man, he stood his ground till the end. Probably because he was so near perfect that he did not have a place in the independent India under Congress Right Wingers, the Gandhian wing that hated Subhas intensely. Also historical records reveal that how shabbily the INA men and officers who were believed to be close to Subhas was treated under Nehru. He bought some of them by offering lucrative posts and others were left in the lurch. Had Hindu Mahasabha played a bigger and better role in the Nationalistic Movement post 1942 and had it come out openly in support for INA as Muslim League did for its Muslim officers under trial, it would not have to undergo the ignominy of a decisive defeat in the 1946 elections and Congress could not have gained an upper hand so easily. Subhas was a unifying agent, not a divider, nor an appeaser. As to the minor points like changing Jana Gana Mana to Subh Sukh Chain, Jana Gana Mana was adopted for the first time for the Indian Legion. For Azad Hind he just wanted to keep the spirit and make the song acceptable to all the communities in line with his vision of Hindustani being the preferred mode of communication. It is to be noted that RW had a problem with Jana Gana Mana also, a section of them had questioned the intention of Rabindranath in penning it, that it was a eulogy written to commemorate the visit of the king George V, while in reality Motilal Nehru adopted the first five stanzas of the poem originally written by Rabindranath as a tribute to the Nation’s spirit and its undaunted journey since Time immemorial being governed by a divine power and witness to its innumerable rise and falls. It is to be also noted that the same section of the RW had not even spared Swami Vivekananda. Sankari Prasad Basu writes in Bibekanando O Somokalin Bharatbarsho, volume 3 as to how the conservative orthodox Hindus and their mouthpieces like Bangobasi, had attacked Vivekananda relentlessly, questioned the right of a Shudra to become a sannyasi and even raised objections to his food habits like eating meat and his association with the so called Mlecchas. One of their representatives had even remarked after Vivekananda’s death that had there been a Hindu rule in the country he (Vivekananda) would be sent to the gallows for supposedly bringing disgrace upon his own people (Shankar – Aschoryo Bibekananda). So RW or LW or Centrists, have no right to usurp either Subhas or Vivekananda. These great souls had a class of their own. They stood for the entire humanity, not for any particular dogma, nor for any vested interest group. In the words of Kaka Kelkar, as narrated by Vishwas Patil in his "Mahanayak", Subhas neither belonged to the left, nor to the right, he was only "upright". To that if we may add that he was merely "Righteous".
And Left Wing has no right either to gloat. We all remember the despicable role that Communist party played in the Subhas saga by sabotaging his activities, by dubbing him as Tojo's dog or Indian Quisling. In fact Hindu Mahasabha was much more sober in its appraisal of Subhas, unlike some of the virulent Right Wingers of today. Its leader Santosh Mukherjee sharply rebuked a leftist when he referred to Subhas as Quisling, telling him that Quisling sold his own country to enemies, Subhas had sold his everything for his own country. Irrespective of whatever the Communists and their anti National stooges propagate, V.D Savarkar was a true and ardent nationalist and Bose respected him for that. Even though Communists in their later avatars have tried to become lovers of Subhas, their credibility is anyway at an all time low to seriously believe in them.