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A.C.N Nambiar - Second in command of Bose in Germany

A.C.N Nambiar was prevented from getting expelled from Germany on the charges of being a Communist by the representation of Subhas Chandra Bose, in 1933. He became close to Netaji and joined him in Germany by coming back from Paris in 1941 and he remained in charge of the Free India Centre in Germany as second in command of Bose until the end of the war in 1945. He was made an ambassador of India in Switzerland after independence. Because of Bose's intervention, German Government decided to compensate him liberally on account of the losses that he suffered. In 1945, after the German surrender he was arrested in Austria and was interrogated in September 1945 as a Nazi collaborator. After World War-II, he worked as counselor at the Indian Legation in Berne, as Indian ambassador to Scandinavia and then to West Germany. He worked as European correspondent of the Hindustan Times. There are accusations that he worked as a Soviet spy in the early stage of his career as per declassified British Government reports and that he was a reluctant recruit of Bose. Nehru had an intimate relationship with Nambiar and his good relationship continued with Indira Gandhi who called him as Nanu. Nambiar died in 1986.

Vappala Balachandran, wrote a book on him "A Life In Shadow: The Secret Story of ACN Nambiar". He describes Nambiar as an enigmatic personality, being under the influence of "honey traps" like Frau Neidermeyer while being in charge of the Free India Centre. Nambiar apparently sent misleading war reports to Bose which was intercepted by the British intelligence. He was also ambivalent about Bose's marriage, not coming out in the open about whether there was any marriage or not. He said that his relationship with Bose was formal and official while that with Nehru was personal and close.

Several important questions remained unanswered - 1) Why Subhas Bose helped Nambiar despite his dubious affiliations 2) why did he give him the important charge of being the second in command to him in the Free India Centre and his representative in Europe 3) Why did Nambiar keep quiet about Bose's marriage 4) Why and how did Nambiar become so close to Nehru There are two distinct possibilities - 1) Nambiar was an opportunist and he knew whom to ally with, thereby advancing his own career 2) Nambiar was Bose's man and he acted at his behest, even after independence. His mission was entirely secret and known to himself and his superior only. We would never know.

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