in commissions of inquiry.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose‘Netaji’ – a name which might rank as one of the most common prefixes for youth clubs. The locality where I grew up, also had its fair share of ‘Netaji Clubs,’ and two portraits adorned the sitting room wall of the Bengali families – Rabindranath Tagore and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. January 23 every year was the big day. On that shivering cold winter morning, year after year, we kids were wide awake well before dawn. As the prabhat pheri (literally morning walk, but not exactly) did its rounds along the winding roads of the city, the chant “Netaji tumi phire esho (Netaji you come back),” sounded almost a plead. The mystery surrounding his death gave him a different stature and different versions did their regular rounds. The conspiracy theories were especially interesting and almost convincing.

The Shanawaz Khan Committee (1956), GD Khosla Committee (1970-74) had reached the conclusion that Netaji Subash Chandra Bose died in a plane crash over Taiwan on August 18, 1945. The latest Manoj Kumar Mukherjee Commission report was rejected in the Parliament yesterday. It had deviated from the stand of the earlier commissions and stated that though Netaji is dead, he didn’t die in the said plane crash and the story was a hoax to help Netaji escape. The theory of Bhagwanji-Gumnami Baba being Netaji was also refuted. Gumnami Baba was a hermit, who died in Faizabad on September 16, 1985 and had striking similarities with the leader of the Indian National Army. Morarji Desai, the then Prime Minister had also rejected the GD Khosla Commission report in 1978.

Bengalis in the heart of their hearts wouldn’t like to know for sure that Netaji died and how. The mystery surrounding it helps maintain his heroism on a different plane from the other contemporary national leaders. Whether Netaji died on August 18, 1945 in Taiwan or forty years later in Uttar Pradesh or someplace and sometime else doesn’t matter much. What does is that the enigma lives on…

Mumbai Mirror: Netaji mystery still alive

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