Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: References to the USSR will always keep truth under wraps
New Delhi, May 2: Will the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose files ever be de-classified? Why are successive governments not de-classifying the files relating to Bose despite there being nation wide requests for the same?
Several persons who have done a lot of research on the life and times of Netaji say that the country must know everything about their hero.
V Balachandran, former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat who is currently writing a much awaited biography of A C N Nambiar, Netaji's deputy in Berlin during the Second World War says that the bureaucrats do not want the files de-classified fearing that something in it could lead up to the erstwhile USSR.
In this intereview with OneIndia, Balachandran says that some uncomfortable references to the erstwhile Soviet Union may be keeping the government away from de-classifying the files.
Why were the British spying on Netaji Bose?
Netaji had felt that the freedom struggle by peaceful means led by Mahatma Gandhi was reaching a dead end. He felt that only pacifism will not win India independence. The second world war changed a lot and dismantled several countries. Netaji sought help from many nations as they were worried.
Netaji felt that we need to find some other way to fight independence and this had become a bone of contention with Gandhiji. He felt that if he does not seek the help of other nations, the fight for independence would never be won.
He also contacted Adolf Hitler, who assured him of support but on the other hand he was also trying to strike peace with the British.
All these factors led to the British getting very worried about Bose. They decided to keep a watch on him.
Was India kept in the loop about the spying by the British?
The British hardly kept anyone in the loop. Bose had sought the help of the USSR. Although Bose did not support either communism or Nazism, he still sought help from both Germany and USSR. This was only because he felt that the British have to be defeated by all means.
All these factors led to extended snooping by the British. India then shamelessly followed the British policy and their intelligence targets became ours.
How was Netaji put under surveillance?
From 1919 onwards Britain considered the "Red Menace" as their top security challenge. Our bureaucracy and the fledgling IB that we inherited from imperial Britain also continued that policy till 1975 when Mrs.Indira Gandhi gave them a strong admonition for watching Communists and not Communalists during the annual IB conference, which I had attended.
Bose was kept under watch since April 1924. In 1922, the Indian revolutionary Abani Mukherjee was sent by the Comintern to India. Purabi Roy, Netaji's biographer says that he spent nearly eleven months in Calcutta meeting Chittaranjan Das and Subhas Bose.
Amiya Nath Bose, Netaji Bose's nephew had also mentioned in his blog that it was Communist leader Soli Batliwala who was the link between the Communist Party of India and Subhas Chandra Bose in 1939 to forward the latter's proposal to the Soviet Union.
A full picture will be available only if we declassify all our IB and Bose records. High decibel TV debates are not enough.
After reading through all those voluminous documents, what can you conclude on the death of Netaji?
It is still a big mystery as there is no clear indicator about how exactly he died. The official version of the government is that he died in the aircrash. Many have questioned this version.
During the Second World War, the Japanese had surrendered and Bose realized that there was no point in seeking their help. At this time he found that the USSR was the only nation which was standing up against the West and hence he had sought their help.
The aircrash theory which has become the official version is disputed since he went to USSR by land and not by air. Bose had even told his deputy Nambiar that they should not surrender to the West at any cost and should go to the USSR and seek their help. All Netaji wanted was independence for India.
Why was the Indian government in a hurry to declare his death had occurred in an aircrash?
Here there could be something to suspect the USSR and certain events over there are suspicious. There may be references suggesting some USSR hand behind the entire mystery. This could have led to such a hurried conclusion.
Will the files be de-classified?
I believe that it is the bureacrats who do not want the files to be de-classified. No political leader will ever go over it as they feel that there could be a lot of problems if the files become public.
Bose till date is a great hero. In fact when he got to know about the partition, he wanted to come back to India and prevent it. He gave equal importance to every religion and that is what makes him greater.
Bose is an enigmatic person. He was an extremely glamorous person and the mystery surrounding his death has only added to the charisma.
There was a version that he was alive until recently and lived as a sanyasi (saint).
He was a man of action and would have never sat hiding like a baba. He was not the kind who would sat as a sansyasi. His character was such that he would not sit quiet even for 5 minutes. He was a man who always believed in action. Hence that version is childish.