Clement Richard Attlee, Prime Minister of United Kingdom (1945-1951) and Leader of Labour Party (1935-1955), was the man who officially completed the formalities of Transfer of Powers for India from the Colonial British Leaders to Congress leaders. His visit to India in 1956 created quite a bit of stir and probably would have changed most of the history that we might have read till now. In an informal discussion to the then acting Governor and High Court Chief Justice P.B Chakrabarty, he suggested that setting India free had more to do with Bose’s aggression than Gandhi’s peaceful persuasion. This piece of information has been confirmed by none other than the most reputed historian of India, Dr R.C Majumdar.
So with the above information at hand, let’s see how Congress leaders had handled Netaji’s case post his air crash theory in 1945. Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was quick to send S.A Ayer a senior ranked INA member, to conduct a preliminary inquiry on the air crash of Netaji Shubash Chandra Bose. After being briefed about the findings from the inquiry, in 1952 Nehru quickly made a statement in Lok Sabha confirming the government’s belief on Bose’s death in 1945 air crash at Taipei.
Unfortunately the first mistake occurred here was that the Congress Government failed to heed to the warnings sent by the then Japanese Ambassador K.K Chettur. In 1951 the ambassador had sent repetitive letters to the government pointing out that S A Ayer in collusion with Ramamurthi, Capt Thairatatte and Cl J G Figgs were busy distributing the INA treasures amongst themselves. This probably would have been the first scam of Independent India which should have been brought to light but unfortunately it wasn’t.
Again in 1955 due to over mounting pressure from Netaji’s supporters and family, Nehru quickly set up a formal Inquiry committee headed by Shahnawaz Khan. Prior to this both British and USA intelligence reports suggested their suspicions over the death of Netaji in an air crash. With glaring contradictions in Shahnawaz commission’s investigations, Suresh Chandra Bose was quick to file a dissent report on the same but then the report had no takers for publishing. Ignoring the dissent report by Netaji’s brother, in 1962 Nehru again went on to establish that the government was satisfied with the findings of Shahnawaz commission in the Lok Sabha.
The INA trails saw our first PM Jawaharlal Nehru donning the role of a barrister to defend members of INA. He went on to defend them as “misguided men” on the backdrop that British Empire had accused them of waging a war against the Crown. So technically if the British had considered most of the INA members as war criminals, is there a probability that “Bose was declared as a WAR CRIMINAL”?
Netaji’s relationship with Nehru was considered to be a little strained and this has been confirmed by several leaders including Lord Mountbatten. One cannot ignore the fact that Nehru’s government had been snooping over Netaji’s family members even during 1960’s, marking the fears of Nehru who thought the return of Bose might threaten his place as the PM of India. We need to clearly ask ourselves, why Ex-PM Nehru was unnaturally eager to close the case on Netaji’s disappearance and this could be marked as the second mistake.
After the death of Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri was probably the first PM of India who actually felt there was a huge suspicion in Netaji’s alleged death. In 1964, he went on to get this confirmed with the then West Bengal CM Prafulla Chandra Sen, who categorically denied any misconceptions in the investigations. Renewed efforts from MP Samar Guha and few other dedicated supporters of Netaji, translated into a one man commission headed by G D Khosla in 1970.
G D Khosla’s findings were not very different from the earlier commission and he categorically tried to prove the stand taken by Nehru’s government. In 1974 the findings of the commission was tabled and approved by Indira Gandhi’s government. Apart from this document which was authored by G D Khosla, he was also busy authoring the biography of PM Indira Gandhi outside the parliament. The third mistake, Why was the Congress governments successively appointed commissions headed by men who were loyalists of the Nehru family?
The biggest blow was delivered to Nehru family loyalists in Congress in 1978, when PM Moraji Desai set aside the findings of both G D Khosla and Shanawaz commissions as contradictory to the available evidence. This was the same time when Subramanian Swamy exposed the loot of INA treasure to Media persons suggesting that there was a reduction in the number of boxes of treasure (from two boxes to just one) brought in by S A Ayer. Post the fall of Janata Party’s government, we will see there is a back to square one scenario of the government’s stand in Netaji’s disappearance.
In 1995, PM Narashima Rao’s order of bringing back Netaji’s ashes from Japan kicked up quite a controversy. During this time, current President Pranab Mukherjee was sent as an emissary to get Anita Pfaff’s approval for the same. What Congress didn’t expect is the reaction from Emilie Schenkl (wife of Netaji), she was absolutely furious with the idea that was suggested by Government of India. Finally there was no approval obtained from Netaji’s kin in order to bring in the ashes from Renkoji Temple. This was the fourth mistake, even before proving Netaji’s death, Congress government tried to bring his ashes to India.
1996 saw successive PM changes to the Indian Political scenario, H D Deva Gowda was succeeded I K Gujaral who was in turn succeeded by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. With the changes leaning away from Congress, fresh noises started to mount within India, to prove the death of Netaji. In 1998 PM Vajpayee chaired a meeting with several political leaders to debate on Netaji’s death. in 1999 with Home Minister L K Advani’s consent a commission headed by Justice M K Mukherjee was appointed to probe into the mysteries surrounding Netaji’s air crash.
Some disturbing findings by Justice Mukherjee’s commission points out that in 1972, the Indira Gandhi government had destroyed a personal file maintained by PM Jawaharlal Nehru. This file contained copies of documents pertaining to Netaji’s disappearance which could have contained crucial evidences. The Justice Mukherjee’s commission did not stop there but it continued to pursue the case post 2004 but this was marked by yet another change in government. With Congress at the helm of affairs again, further funds and time was denied to Justice Mukherjee in continuing with his investigation. The fifth and final mistake of Congress was that, it not only destroyed evidence pertaining to Netaji’s disappearance but also prevented a proper inquiry commission from further conducting investigation.
Now the year is 2016, 71 years post Netaji Subhash Chandra bose’s disappearance. Today a scenario has arisen where Congress is certainly at a weakened position in both state and central level in India. This could possibly be the best case scenario, considering PM Narendra Modi has developed well established connections with Japan, Russia, Britian and leaders from all over the world. With favorable trends developing within India and outside India, this year could as well be marked as the year of Netaji that is if BJP keeps up its promise to expose 25 documents per month post the expose of 100 documents to the public domain on 23rd January 2016.