Netaji's life after death - sightings of Netaji by different people, Netaji mystery deepens
There are several instances of sightings of Netaji by confirmed and unconfirmed sources that were presented in the three commissions. Some of these incidents are narrated here. These are discussed at length by Anuj Dhar, a reputed researcher on the topic of Netaji's possible afterlife in his books Conundrum: Subhas Bose's Life after Death (co authored by Chandrachud Ghosh) and India's Biggest Cover Up. Many of these are also covered at length in Prof. Samar Guha's Netaji: Dead or Alive, in the Netaji files in the National Archives among the declassified documents on Netaji, in newspaper reports and in several contemporary books on the Netaji mystery, including that of Dr. Satyanarayan Sinha, Shyamal Basu, in Charanik's Oi Mahamanab Ase, in the books and articles written by researchers like Dr. Madhusudan Pal, Keshab Bhattacharya and Dr. Jayanta Choudhuri. Many other researchers, known or unknown, are working in this field, some of their efforts are taking fruit in the form of new information, photos and documents. Since the reputed historians have not bothered to touch this area, it is left up to these "guerrilla" researchers to dig deeper into the Netaji mystery and unearth valuable jewels.
1. An American journalist/stinger of Chicago Tribune, Alfred Wag, told Pandit Nehru on August 29, 1945 in Delhi that after the Japanese broadcast 'Bose was alive and seen 4 days ago in Saigon’. Wagg also said that Bose should be treated as a war criminal because his men fought and killed many Americans and extorted money from the poor (Hindustan Standard - 30/8/1945). On Sept 11, 1945 Nehru himself told API at Jhansi, ’Like many other people, he did not believe the story about the reported death of Subhas Chandra Bose... 'I have received a number of reports, which have raised me in great doubt and I disbelieve the authenticity of the news’. Niranjan Singh Talib of Punjab Congress told the Khosla Commission that in 1947 he met Wagg at the then Defence Minister Baldev Singh's house, where Wagg showed him some pictures of Netaji taken after his supposed death in the crash. Incidentally in Oi Mahamanab Ase a great man narrates that "unfortunately, surprisingly and accidentally He (Subhas Bose) met, was met, by several Anglo American personnel and Jap petty (unknown) officers at a small hotel near Saigon, quite someday after the crash and Death news." Vandana Garhwal, a Netaji researcher, has dug up the longest of Wagg's statements on Netaj, where Wagg claimed that the French had been mysteriously jumping their paratroopers into an area of Siam which was of little value to them. Wagg was told that it was another effort by the Allied forces to trap Bose (courtesy: Gumnami Baba: A Case History, by Adheer Som).
2. The declassified files reveal an interesting event. The file no 870/11/P/16/92 contains a series of broadcasts over radio, heard by P.C Kar who was monitoring the radio transmissions in Governor House in 1945. He told the Governor R.G Casey that these broadcasts were picked up on 31 m band and possibly were transmitted from Radio Manchuria. The first broadcast came on Dec 26 1945 and it said - " I am at present in the shelter of great world powers. My heart is burning for India. I will go to India on the crest of a Third world war. It may come in ten years or even earlier. Then I will sit upon judgement upon those trying my men at the Red Fort." The second broadcast was on Jan 1 1946 and said, " We must get freedom within next two years. The British imperialism has broken down and it must concede independence to India. India will not be free by means of non violence. But I am quite respectful to Mr. Gandhi. The Third broadcast was in February 1946, "I am Subhas Chandra Bose speaking, Jai Hind. This is the third time I am addressing my Indian brothers and sisters after Japan's surrender...The PM of England is going to send Mr. Pethick Lawrence and two other members with no object in view other than let the British imperialism a permanent settlement by all means to suck the blood of India."
3. The declassified files also refer to a communication by Khurshed Naoroji to Mountbatten, saying, 'At heart the Indian Army is sympathetic to INA. If Bose comes with the help of Russia, neither Gandhiji, nor Nehru nor Congress will be able to reason with the country.'
4. Gallacher, British Communist leader, said that he had definite information that Bose secretly visited UK in 1946 to meet de Valera, president of Ireland, who was a great personal friend.
5. In 1948, De Valera, as president of Ireland came to visit India. When asked about Bose he said that he hoped to meet him in India.
6. In 1946, Deben Sen, an ex M.P, while travelling with Joglekar, a trade union leader of Bombay, was going to attend a Labour Conference in France. They saw a Netaji lookalike in Marseilles airport, surrounded by white bodyguards. He was dressed in military uniform. Deben knew Netaji intimately in India. When Deben Sen tried to approach him, he just signed him not to come nearby. Deben Sen informed Sarat Chandra Bose who advised him not to mention this story publicly. Deben later revealed this incident to Chapalakanta Bhattacharya of Hindusthan Standard Patrika, who reported the same to G.D Khosla. Khosla ignored this testimony. In fact, Gallacher had mentioned that Bose visited Ireland to see De Valera during this time. His statement lent support to Deben's accidental meeting of Netaji. In Khosla commission report the same incident is narrated in a different way, that Deben met Netaji standing near a bathroom in the airport
7. Ardhendu Sarkar, a Bengali engineer working for Heavy engineering corporation in Ukraine had a most fascinating story to tell. Sarkar worked in Machine Building Plant in Gorlovska near the city Doniesk. While working on a site in USSR, his colleague Zerovin, a German Jew, who was the deputy chief of the plant in which he was working, told Sarkar that he had met Bose in Berlin in 1941 and therefore knew him quite well. Zerovin said that he was captured by the Russians after the fall of Berlin and was sent to a reorientation camp in Siberia. The camp was in Siberian-Mongolian border. Zerovin said that in that reorientation camp which was meant for foreign politicians and professionals, he met Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose was given a diplomat status by Russia and had a car and two private Mongolian bodyguards who might have been KGB men. It appeared to him that Bose was well looked after. Zerovin approached Bose and told him that he had met him in Berlin, Bose replied that it was quite likely. Bose also told him that he was likely to return to India soon. When they began to speak in German, the Mongolian bodyguard intervened and said "not allowed". Zerovin also warned Sarkar not to disclose the incident in Russia as it would endanger them both. Ardhendu reported this to the second secretary in charge of the Indian consulate in Moscow with the result that he had to lose his job and had to come back to India. Nobody would believe him and he almost lost his career. Sarkar told Samar Guha about this incident and also revealed that Bose was present in Russia atleast until 1961
8. In 1956 Muthuramalingam Thevar, who was a staunch Bose loyalist and was called the Bose of the South, later a Forward Block leader, made a most astonishing claim to Hindusthan Standards. He said that in 1950 he managed to cross over to China on being requested by an ailing Sarat Bose. There he met Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in January 1950, and even stayed with him for sometime in an unknown location in China. He claimed that he could show evidence of his travel to China if requested
9. Balraj Trikha made a claim that he saw Netaji Subhas in a military uniform in Saigon airport in 1971. Trikha was no Netaji admirer or sensationalist. On behalf of him the claim was made by Prem Bhatia, Indian High Commissioner in Singapore, in front of Khosla commission. However Justice Khosla discredited the evidence as deliberate falsification because Balraj Trikha failed to appear before the commission for cross examination when summoned
10. Main witness of the air crash theory Habibur Rahman told Sunil Krishna Gupta privately while he came to testify in front of Shah Nawaz committee, "let him (Netaji) come back, we'll have double gain - we'll have him and it will expose those who are trying to declare him as dead."
11. Samar Guha, the veteran parliamentarian and long time fighter for establishing the rightful place of Netaji in the history of India, declared in parliament that Netaji was alive and he knew it. Only he could not disclose his identity and location. After this Guha was discredited for publishing a fake photograph of an aged Netaji which he claimed was given to him by his political opponent. Out of frustration he revealed to his friends, "if he (Netaji) does not want to come out what can I do."
12. Atul Sen, veteran parliamentarian and a long time associate of Netaji wrote to Nehru (after meeting a certain sadhu in Neemsar in 1962) that, Netaji was alive and if Nehru could guarantee that his would not be handed over to the allied forces, he (Atul), would convince Netaji to come out of his hiding. Nehru's answer was most enigmatic. The PM, who had claimed just 6 years back in parliament that there was no doubt that Bose was dead, said that, there was no question of handing him over to the allied forces. He never responded to the first statement, viz. that Netaji was alive. When the Shaulmari episode had come up, Nehru even sent Surendra Mohan Ghoshal, another associate of Netaji, to see for himself if the sadhu Saradananda was indeed Netaji. Surendra, after meeting the sadhu, said that he was not Netaji. Why would a prime minister, confident of the death of his political adversary, would send a trusted emissary to check on a false trail, unless he himself was not sure
13. After gaining independence, a jubilant Sheikh Mujib made a significant statement in front of a large gathering - That Bangladesh has gained independence proves that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is alive. Later he explained his statement that he meant that the spirit of Netaji i.e. love for freedom was alive
14. Netaji's erstwhile driver in Azad Hind Government, Nizamuddin, claimed that he met N.G Swami, one of the top secret service men of Netaji's Azad Hind Government, in Varanasi in 1971. Swami told him that Netaji was alive and was in U.P as a sadhu
15. Aswini Kumar Gupta, Jt. editor of Hindustan Standard, stated that in May 1951, when he was in the Naga Hills area, he met Naga leader Mr. Phizo. Phizo told him that he was informed beforehand that a plane crash involving Netaji would be announced, but he was not to believe it. Mr. Gupta further told that he heard from the Mishmi tribal leaders, that they were told by the Chinese Commanders that one great Indian leader was with them. The Chinese took them to an interior place where they saw a person resembling Netaji's picture, attired in military uniform sitting in a tent and the Chinese told them that he was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
16. Moradoff, the Russian Vice Consul General in Tehran, disclosed that Bose was in Russia where he was secretly organizing a group of Russians to work for the freedom of India
17. Mawu Angami, (Witness No. 202 in Khosla commission) a Naga political leader, associated with Phizo for several years, claimed that he met Netaji Subhas chandra Bose in Penang in April 1958, through some INA personnel in Burma. However he had no previous knowledge of how Bose looked like apart from some photographs, so his deposition was rejected by Khosla on the grounds of being unreliable
18. There are many random sightings of Netaji reported in the Khosla commission, e.g by a taxi driver in Delhi who saw Netaji dressed as a sadhu. He had seen Subhas Bose earlier in 1939. One Swami Nirvanananda saw a person in Siliguri along with two Germans in a jeep in 1962, who introduced himself as Subhas Bose. One Mahesh Chander (Witness No. 25 in Khosla Commission) claimed to have seen Bose near Jadugir-ka-bagh, Meerut, on 7-10-67 and accompanied him to Benaras. He had met Bose briefly earlier in 1939. However Justice Khosla had not taken heed of these evidences as they appeared to him as unreliable and mere rumor mongering.
19. There is also evidence of S.M Goswami who weaved a tale which somewhat resembles the facts presented in the book Oi Mahamanab Ase. He mentioned about Netaji being in China and acting as an adviser to Mao. He claimed that Netaji was trained in guerrilla warfare and raised an army of 4-5 mn strong and called it as Asian Liberation Army. It was this army that participated in the Korean war and in Vietnam war and had defeated the American forces. Netaji was given to rule over a territory across the Himalayas in an autonomous region in eastern Tibet which he had developed beautifully with all modern amenities of warfare. Netaji had a goal of unifying Bengal and India as he was deeply disturbed by the partition of India and what he felt as the treachery of Nehru and other Indian politicians. However there were several improbable claims made by Goswami like Hitler fought in the Korean war side by side with Netaji or Netaji Subhas wanted to attack India in 1962 to unify Bengal and since British and American forces were called upon by Nehru he on behalf of China declared a unilateral ceasefire. These and other such claims made his deposition extremely unreliable in front of Khosla Commission
20. J.B.P More, the famous Paris based historian had found a French secret intelligence report dated 11 Dec 1947 in the National Archives of France. More states that the French intelligence report did not believe that Netaji died in an aircrash. Instead it had mentioned that Bose's present whereabouts were unknown as late as Dec, 1947. “He escaped from Indo-China border alive and his whereabouts were unknown as late as December 11, 1947, as reported in the secret document. This implies that he was alive somewhere but not dead in 1947,” said More in the ET report citing the French report written for the “Haut Commisariat de France for Indochina” SDECE Indochinese Base BCRI No.41283 csah Ex No. 616, under the title: “Archival Information on Subhas Chandra Bose.” More said that: “In this report, it is clearly stated that he was the ex-chief of the Indian Independence League and a member of Hikari Kikan, a Japanese organisation. It is further stated clearly that he escaped from Indochina, though it does not state how.” (source: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/here-is-why-this-french-researcher-believes-netaji-didnt-die-in-1945-4754305/) This somewhat tallies with what Alfred Wagg had claimed in 1945
J.B.P More had also informed that there was another French secret service report dated Sep 26, 1945, sent by the Control Commission of the Allies in Saigon to the Supreme Allied Commander in Singapore (Lord Mountbatten). It stated that seven persons including “three big personalities” were arrested by the authorities. It added that they were also members of Hikari-Kikan. More believed that one of those persons was Bose and another was his step grandfather Leon Puruchandy, who was a close associate of Bose. This was because Mr. Puruchandy was arrested in September 1945 and was released three months later. But he was severely tortured and slipped into amnesia and his condition, after the release, was in a vegetative state till his death in 1968. He was possibly given such a harsh treatment to know the whereabouts of Bose who had escaped from Indo China. Bose apparently stayed in Leon Puruchandy's house on the night of 17th August in Saigon, and not in Tourane as was claimed by Habibur Rahman and the Japanese witnesses of the plane crash
21. In 2013, Rathin Maharaj, in charge of the Ramakrishna Mission Moscow chapter said that he had knowledge of Netaji spending his lives in a Siberian prison. The monk claimed that Vijayalakshmi Pandit saw Netaji in the prison in a very poor condition of health. He claimed that there were documents in Russian archive which could have corroborated the story, which were later stolen. Researcher Liliana Malkova, who was in Belur Math, agreed with the monk but said that there was no record of Netaji's presence in Russia and it was unlikely that he died in a Russian prison. It is to be noted that historian and researcher Dr. Purabi Roy had claimed that Netaji had died in a Russian prison. Historian Hari Vasudevan claimed that Subhas Chandra Bose's emissary had been traced in Moscow. He along with Purabi Roy and Sovanlal Duttagupta, had gone to Russia to hunt through the Russian archives for evidence on Netaji (source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Russia-holds-clue-to-Netaji-riddle-Historian/articleshow/18359505.cms)
22. As per declassified files, Narendra Sindkar, had filed an affidavit in Justice Mukherjee Commission, claiming that Netaji was in Russia. Narendra was in Moscow from 1966 to 1991 as an announcer in Radio Moscow. He came in close contact with Communist Party members from India. He was acquainted with Nikhil Chattopdhyay, son of Birendranath Chattopadhyay, who was an Indian revolutionary and brother of Sarojini Naidu, who took refuge in Russia in the early 1920s. Nikhil apparently served as an interpreter for Subhas Chandra Bose when he had traveled to Berlin via Moscow, in 1941. According to the affidavit Nikhil had claimed that Nehru conspired to keep Netaji in Russia in a long exile. As Netaji had reached Russia via Manchuria, Stalin, Molotov, Beria and Vorochilov had consulted the India experts, notably the communist Party members unsympathetic to Bose. They had advised to consult Krishna Menon in London through the Soviet Embassy. Menon had asserted in favour of Nehru. Nikhil and his wife Titiana had top contacts in KGB and they had arranged for secret meeting with Netaji in Omsk, in 1968. It is to be noted that any enquiry on Netaji's Russian connections had hit a stonewall. Only bits and pieces of information could come out on account of the efforts by Indian researchers like Dr. Purabi Roy and Hari Vasudevan, who went to Russia on a trip sponsored by the Asiatic Society - that there was a plenipotentiary of INA in Omsk. Major General Alexander Kolesnikov as per claims of Dr. Roy, had indicated to her that Subhas Bose was in Russia in 1946 and there was a discussion between Molotov and Stalin as to what to do with him. There is a claim that a certain person appearing in a photo taken during Tashkent treaty in 1966, was actually Netaji and facial recognition found certain matches. But there was nothing conclusive about the so called Tashkent man
23. Sarat Bose himself did not believe that Subhas had died in the plane crash. After he had come back from his Europe trip in 1949, Sarat Bose had written an article in Nation paper claiming that Subhas Bose was in Red China, as per 'No Secrets', written by Anuj Dhar. Swiss journalist Lily Abegg, who was in Japan during the war, told Sarat Bose that she met American and British intelligence officials who told her that Subhas did not die in any plane crash. The same was corroborated by the Japanese military officers whom she had met. Mumbai based tabloid Blitz carried a news headlined that British report Bose alive in Red Continent in 1949. Debnath Das had told Khosla commission that one of the plans of Netaji was to go to Yunan province of China, the HQ of Mao Tse Tung, to seek his help in carrying out the campaign against the British
24. Prof. Samar Guha highlights in a letter to Gorbachev in 1988 (available in netajipapers.gov.in) that in a secret report the British intelligence had stated that Ghilzai Malang (Ghilzai was a tribe in Afghanistan and Malang meant monk) had been coupling with live Bose in Russia and in December 1945 a report said that the Governor of Afghan province 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
25. In the same letter to President Gorbachev Prof. Guha had alleged that Dr. S Radhakrishnan, who was the second Indian Ambassador in Moscow, confided in his close friend Dr. S. Das, then head of philosophy department in Calcutta University, and Dr. R.C Majumdar, noted historian, that he came to know that Bose was kept captive in Stalin's Russia
26. Dr. Y.S Yurlova of the Soviet Institute of the Oriental Studies told press reporters in Calcutta in 1990 that the Soviet Government possessed certain top secret documents on Subhas Chandra Bose
27. There is an interesting anecdote of Sayantan Dasgupta, one of the founder members of Mission Netaji, as to how he stumbled upon the possible Vietnam connections of Netaji Subhas. Full text of his findings is given here - https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/evidence-shows-netaji-could-have-been-alive-in-vietnam-much-after-his-official-death-250577.html
The photo in the article reminds one of a statement made by a great man in Oi Mahamanab Ase - "Ho Chi Minh's pride of nine generals and a shadow behind them."
Report on the denial of the reported aircrash by the Taiwan authorities - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4236189.stm
"Taiwan has now told a Indian investigation that there were no plane crashes in Taipei between 14 August and 20 September 1945".