Before I start this article, I wish to declare that any opinion I express in this article are my very own and are based on information I have found online, read in newspapers, watched on television or gained in my conversations with people. I am no journalist. But I sure know some who base their ‘news’ on much less.
The culmination of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s life has been a topic of controversy since, well, since it happened. There have been numerous investigations and commissions set up to find out the whether he perished in a plane crash. Frankly, you don’t remember the year. Thanks to recent news, I do, and it was 1942-44. Yes, he was apparently plane-crashing throughout two years. Sounds fishy? Has been that way since it happened.
The Government of West Bengal and the Government of India have been in possession of a number of files related to Netaji which they have periodically refused to bring into public dominion: Congress because, well, “Congress was the party that got India freedom” when this happened, right? And BJP is citing the potential spoilage of certain International Relations as a cause for not providing public access to those files.
Last Friday, Mamata Banerjee declassified 64 ‘confidential’ files from the Government of West Bengal’s archives related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Yes, the public finally have access to some information in the form of cold hard facts about him. Be it for political purposes or a sudden sense of righteousness (which seems unlikely), this decision has given new fluidity to the landslide of revelations about Netaji and events surrounding his mysterious death. So much so that we need a clarification and a few other points:-
- By now it is quite evident that Netaji didn’t die in that plane crash, whichever year it was.
- A massive snooping operation undertaken by the British upon anyone remotely related to Netaji (Yes, you too Netaji’s third cousin’s neighbours ex-wife’s milkman) to track him was continued by the Indian government for as long as 20 years post independence. Perhaps they wanted his well-being. Or just didn’t notice random officers sending random reports from multiple locations, and sometimes, countries.
- If there was one person in hold of military power in the country at that point of time, it was him. Makes sense to keep him out of the country, considering that you wish absolute power to reside in your hand. Why else would you create a host of other military forces leading to a decentralised control over military? Add to the fact that he had been elected president of Indian National Congress twice, defeating Gandhiji’s preferred candidates and was then ousted from the post due to “differences” with Gandhiji and other senior congress members, it makes sense to distance him from the country.
- Some idiot had raised the question that if Netaji was alive even after the news of the crash, why didn’t he contact his family and what kind of a man does that make him? Consider this, the government of an entire country is after you and keeping tabs on literally everyone you know, and probably wants you dead. They definitely open and read every communication you send to your family, or they send to each other (yes, we are talking of a time when communication = letters). Would you risk it? Even after knowing how important you are to the nation’s future?
- According to newly surfaced information from some letters in those files, there is apparently a manuscript (written by him) which shows that he was alive and well after that crash and died much later.
- For the first time, a political party has admitted that the files might have international ramifications. A spokesperson has gone so far as saying that it will embarrass the Congress and the Left.
So why do I want it to happen? Do I want the already troubled nation of mine to land up in more trouble, this time of the international kind, almost half a century after these things happened?
No, my reasons are altogether different.
My country has seen a lot in these 68 years of independence. We are a beautiful nation and we have achieved a lot. Yet, we have been weak inside. Corruption and bureaucracy has eaten us from the inside, and relentless military/militant onslaught has eaten us from the outside, for years. For that, along with the democratic wisdom of the then present leaders, we needed an iron hand.
If a righteous leader, who could have provided a much needed strength to our international and military standing, whose actions were patriotic yet logical, who was unwilling to compromise on a percentage of independence, even if he had to delve into the muck of the world himself, who understood that the dynamics of the world are a solution to the strife of our homeland, was denied to us to retain political power, then we have been following the wrong leaders and learning the wrong history all along.
And to me, that makes a country.
Hence, that tells me that we might have been a wrong country these 68 years.
And for that, I want justice.
I want to know.