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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose birth anniversary: Mystery of his death and Gumnami Baba

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Kolkata, Jan 22: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is India's most famous as well as controversial freedom fighter who founded Azad Hind Fauz. He continues to intrigue curious minds after his mysterious disappearance on a cold winter morning.

The government of India recently has decided to celebrate the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, on 23rd January, as 'Parakram Diwas' every year.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose birth anniversary: Mystery of his death and Gumnami Baba

Bose was born in Cuttack, Odisha on January 23, 1897. He was a brilliant student who went to England to study - where he was also preparing for Indian Civil Services. He got selected in the ICS in 1920, but chose not to work for an alien government.

Bose kept moving from jail to jail between 1924 and 1938. In 1930, Bose became the mayor of Calcutta even as he was jailed. He was released after he got sick and needed to travel abroad for treatment. That is when he took his call for freedom to other shores.

In September 1944, his famous dialogue "Tum mujhe khoon do mein tumhe azadi dunga" (Give me your blood, I'll give you your freedom) triggered a new wave of patriotism. He established a provisional government of Azad Hind in 1944 with a slogan 'Chalo Delhi'.

On September 19, 1945, the Japanese government submitted a preliminary report (CLO-M No. 12) to MacArthur's office. Among other details it stated that Bose was injured in an air crash on August 18, 1945 and died the same evening.

Mystery of the death

Just a few years before India became independent, Bose vanished. Japanese Domei news agency said Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died on August 18 in a plane crash at the Japanese-controlled Matsuyama military airport in Taihoku (now Taiwan). The incident left many Indians in a state of shock and disbelief.

Even after 75 years, the controversy surrounding the death of Bose refuses to die down. A few believe that he did not die during the accident. Other theories say that he spent his last days in Uttar Pradesh while some say he lived abroad.

Who is Gumnami Baba

Several reports have claimed that Gumnami Baba was a monk or saint who was living mysteriously at Ram Bhawan in Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad near Ayodhya. Many believed that Baba was none other than Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

In a 2013 India TV report (published on February 2), Baba's landlord Gurubasant Singh, his son Shakti Singh and Baba's neighbour Hira claimed or indicated on record that Baba was Bose himself. Many people also claim that Baba used to talk with everyone hiding behind a curtain and always tried to avoid the public.

He died on the night of September 16, 1985, and was cremated on September 18 in the presence of 13 of his followers at the Guptar Ghat of Ayodhya.

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    Lalita Bose, one of the relatives of Netaji, confirmed that one of the books found at Gumnami Baba's place has her mother's hand-written note. She used to say that her father (Netaji's brother) told her that her Chachaji (Netaji) is alive and living somewhere in disguise (monk or sadhu).

    One of the letters found at Gumnami Baba's place was written by Basanti Devi, wife of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, who considered Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as her own son."

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