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Subhas in Kabul - his harrowing experience

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

On 17th January at 9 PM Subhas Chandra Bose reached Peshawar as Maulavi Ziauddin. A car was waiting for him at the station. He went to the predetermined place and stayed in Peshawar for two days. On 19th January, dressed as a Pathan, Subhas, along with Rahamat Khan, left by car for Jamrud. Near Jamrud fort the car took a small village road and reached a village called Garhi. The next day Rahamat and Subhas started walking towards Kabul. They were accompanied by two armed Pathans who were entrusted as their bodyguards. The friend who had accompanied them from Peshawar returned. From now on Subhas had to act like a deaf-mute as he did not know the language. Next day evening the travelers crossed the border of India and reached Add Sharief Dargah in a tribal village. The Pir of that Dargah had arranged for the proper stay for Subhas and his friend. The two Pathan bodyguards went back but three others replaced them. The way ahead was extremely hazardous and they had to walk very slowly. At 9 PM they reached Lalpura. There were some prearrangements made for their stay and hence they had a comfortable stay. The host was an influential Khan. Subhas was very anxious to reach his destination. He was told that they needed to walk a few miles along Kabul river to get a motorable road from where they could take a bus to Kabul. The Khan, who was a local leader and considerable influence in Afghanistan, gave them a letter of introduction in Persian which made it clear that they were acquaintances of the Khan and that nobody should disturb them. The letter read that Rahamat Khan and Ziauddin were residents of Lalpura and were going to the Dargah of Sakhi Saheb. The letter was shown to the CID constable who was harassing Subhas and Rahamat Khan (Bhagatram Talwar) in the Serai of Kabul. The constable took the gold wrist watch which was a gift from Janaki Nath Bose to Subhas. After leaving Lalpura, accompanied by armed guards, Subhas and his companion reached near Kabul river. There was no boat available to cross. The locals made a makeshift boat using some leather sacks. That helped them to cross the river. Now they reached Afghanistan. By traveling in this route they could avoid Daka, which was 50 miles away from Peshawar. People had to pay octroi here. The alternate route took them three days more to reach Kabul. Near a place called Thandi Subhas fell asleep on the roadside. Rahamat tried to stop buses and lorries. No bus or lorry stopped except one lorry which was full of luggage. Subhas and Rahamat had to climb up that lorry and sat on the boxes. It was extremely cold night. Snows were falling and they did not have adequate covering. Moreover sitting in the open was hazardous in a moving lorry as branches of the trees often lashed at them. They had to stop few times to drink tea. In this way they reached Batghake where they were supposed to pay duty and also pay some bribes. However in response to the questions Rahamat showed the letter of introduction of Khan of Lalpura and they were let go. They drank tea and climbed up the lorry. By evening 4 or 5 PM they reached Kabul. They took shelter in a Serai in an extremely filthy area. Subhas had tried to go to Moscow and hence contact the Moscow Embassy in Kabul. Rahamat did not know Parsi, he knew only Pushtu, whereas in Kabul almost everybody spoke Parsi, so they had a language problem. Atfirst they could not locate the Russian embassy even after a thorough search. The next day they found the Embassy but could not enter the same. For the next few days they waited near the gate hoping that the Consulate's car would be entering or leaving the premise. Rahamat Khan stopped the car of the Russian Ambassador and indicated that he had Subhas Chandra Bose with him, but the Ambassador did not believe him.

Not getting any help frim Russian Consulate made Subhas extremely dejected. He had hoped to go to Russia and seek help. He had no intention of going to Berlin. Next they tried the Italian Embassy and that worked out.

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