Kolkata, Sept 18: With the declassification of the much awaited 64 secret files related to the suspicious death of freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday, the question as to why these files were till now kept hidden has grown in to everybody’s mind. Be it intellectuals, politicians or common people, the burning question on everybody’s mind is why it took 60 years to reveal the secrets behind the long awaited mystery?
Though the Mamata Banerjee ruled state government revealed 64 classified files — containing 12,744 pages — related to Netaji’s mysterious death, there are several others that the Centre possesses, which the people of India are looking forward to. The photocopies of the files kept in a secret glass cabinet in Kolkata Police Museum, but it will only be disclosed to the public domain on Monday. However, members of the family of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, including grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose and former MP Krishna Bose, were the first recipients of the digitised files which were made in the form of a compact disc. (Also Read: Files reveal Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was alive after 1945, family spied upon: Mamata Banerjee)
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under the leadership of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had set up the third commission, Justice Manoj Mukherjee Commission in 1999, which took reference from the previous commissions — Shahnawaz Khan Committee set up in 1956 and the GD Khosla Commission report submitted in 1974 — set under the Congress regime, which stated the fact Netaji died in an air crash at Taihoku on 18 August 1945 and that the ashes were kept at Renkoji Temple in Japan. The Mukherjee commission had, in its report denied this.
If historical facts are to be believed, Netaji had escaped from his house arrest on January 16, 1941. The facts — declassified by the CIA in the early 1990s — reveals that Netaji escaped along with four Sikhs from 38/2 Elgin Road in Kolkata and all of them left in a wagon. As there is no mention of a relative in the report, but it is believed that Intelligence Bureau had all the details, including names, of the visitors to the Netaji’s residence on that date. (Also Read: Mamata Banerjee: 64 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s files to be made public)
Interestingly, it has been revealed that the one file containing definitive evidence on Netaji after 1945 has been destroyed. Only the first page of the file — File No. 12(226)/56-PM — regarding ‘Investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Subhas Chandra Bose’ is left. The rest of the files were destroyed in 1972 when the Congress was in power in Bengal and Siddharth Shankar Ray was Chief Minister, claims the report.
“I believe some historical missing link may be obtained if successive state governments haven’t already tampered with the files. While Congress had every reason to distort facts, so do Communists whose role as secret service agents in India during the Freedom movement is clear in the contents,” said Netaji researcher Jayanta Chowdhury, who had deposed before the Justice Manoj Mukherjee Commission and whose report had concluded that the Taihoku plane crash hadn’t happened. Jayanta added that there is also a file on role of Chief Ministers in the Netaji mystery. (Also Read: Supreme Court clears Justice Markandey Katju over Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji remarks)
There are other sources which claims on the existence of Bose after the so-called air crash as well as the story of Anita Pfaff, whom the extended Bose family has accepted as his daughter — but whose credence others question. Also, the name mentioned in the column for ‘father’ in Anita’s passport is the subject of one of the files.
The Calcutta High Court had sought a full report from the Centre on Netaji’s secret files and demanded an answer within two weeks on why it was yet to act on the orders of the Central Information Commission (CIC). In the latest development, the Home Ministry said that the Centre had handed over the files remaining with it to the National Archives of India to investigate the details.
With the developments related with Netaji’s secret files yet to take shape, the questions still remain the same — what took so long for the consecutive central and state governments to reveals the exact cause of the brave freedom fighter of India? Why did the Congress government try to bury the secrets in 2006 in the parliament, which was revealed by the Mukherjee commission regarding Netaji’s mysterious escape in 1945, often termed as so-called death? (Also Read: Why Netaji still rules the Bengalis’ heart)
Multiple questions are posed with the latest declassification of secret files by the Mamata Banerjee government. With each passing day, the nation is eagerly waiting for the answers that was dusted under the carpet for the last 70 years. On Monday, September 21, 2015, the nation will get a chance to face the hidden history, which perhaps might have changed the way we think about independence and our freedom fighters. But, until then, we are all waiting for a new narrative to an important pre-independence saga.
Inputs taken from — TNN, ANI, The Hindu, NDTV