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Ila Bose - Subhas Chandra Bose's niece who played a stellar role in his career

Several people who had contributed significantly in Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's life remained behind the shadows. Their contributions were silent and almost like worship. One of them was Ila, Subhas Chandra Bose's niece, daughter of Sejda Suresh Chandra Bose. Ila was devoted to Subhas and was also his nurse during illness. It was Ila's devoted service that helped Subhas Chandra Bose recover quickly from his illness since he returned to India in 1936 and was placed under arrest/detention. When a critically ill Subhas had to go to Tripuri Congress he had with him his Ma Janani Prabhavati Devi and Bibhavati Devi, brother cardiologist Dr. Sunil Bose, and Ila Bose, his devoted niece who looked after his every affair. Subhas Chandra Bose had to stay for three weeks in Jamdoba to recover from the illness and Ila stayed with him during this entire period nursing him back to health. Ila's devotion led Subhas Chandra Bose to select her as one of his trusted aides during his daring escape. Ila was the chief advisor. It was her choice that led to the inclusion of Sishir Bose in the plan. She devised various plans to ward off, not only the British sleuths (about 62 of them kept a day and night vigil on Bose household), but also the prying and inquisitive relatives who knowingly or unknowingly could have risked a leakage of the plan. Ila, Aurobindo Bose and Dwinjendra Bose were the key enablers of this plan of escape. Aurobindo and Dwijendra had to endure extreme torture but thankfully Ila could evade the police because her role was kept extremely secret.

It was Ila who visited the Dakshineswar temple (driven by Sishir in his car) as instructed by her Rangakakababu or Rangku in short, and performed Puja there, presumably to seek the blessing of the Goddess for the success of the mission. She had arranged for chaining a noisy Alsatian dog of one of the Bose family members on the third floor on the day of escape, to prevent its spoiling the mission by barking. She partitioned the room with the help of curtains, and removed all initials from the pillow covers, bed sheets and vests. She provided him with his Ayruvedic medicines and tied his bedding, not forgetting to engrave the initial Z for Ziauddin. Just before departure on the night of 17th January, Subhas Chandra Bose kissed on Ila's forehead as was customary and said, "God bless you." She remained awake for that night to ensure that the light in his Rangakakababu's room remained on for an hour. Subhas, never forgetting her contribution, also blessed her in his letter from Kabul. Ila was most upset to hear the false news that Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested from Jharia, which later proved to be a false news.

She took charge of eating away the food given to Subhas Chandra Bose for the next ten days along with her other brothers and cousins who knew of the plan. Soon after Subhas's escape, Ila was married off to a railway official. Ila died as a result of complications developed during her childbirth in 1943. Thus ended a noble and dedicated life. It is to be noted that her sister Bela Bose Mitra also played a stellar role in the Netaji saga. Bela Bose's husband Haripada Mitra helped Dr. Pabitra Mohan Roy and other secret service agents to set up the transmitter and contact local revolutionaries and provide information to the Azad Hind Government. Haripada Mitra, Dr. Pabitra Mohan Roy, Jyotish Bose and Amrik Singh Gill were arrested and were ordered to be executed. Bela fearlessly carried out her husband's work and also fought for his and his associates' release by writing appeal to Gandhiji who took up her cause. After independence Bela tirelessly worked for the rehabilitation of the refugee women from East Pakistan, mostly Hindus, who were victims of abomination and extreme torture. She overworked herself and died at a young age of 32 in 1952. Ila and Bela have been forgotten by history but their contributions will remained etched in the hallowed portal of mother India for ever.

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