The family of Subhas Chandra Bose had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for the declassification of the files supposedly comprising details of the secretive death of freedom fighter. Modi met one of the members of the family during his trip to Germany and assured him of personally looking into their demands. The case has created a huge controversy in India after news reports suggesting that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had asked the Intelligence Bureau to snoop on Netaji’s family for 20 years. In view of the recent revelations that family members of Netaji were kept under regular surveillance by the Government of India after independence, it is even more important to declassify all files pertaining to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Those files which have been released indicate that the surveillance was conducted over a long period from 1948 to 1968. Nehru passed away in May 1964. The news is factually incorrect that Nehru ordered surveillance of Bose family for two decades from 1948 to 1968. Moreover, Nehru died half a century ago and what purpose would it serve by finding the details other than tarnishing the image of Nehru clan?
Bose advocated complete unconditional independence for India, whereas the All-India Congress Committee wanted it in phases, through Dominion status. Bose was elected president of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive terms, but had to resign from the post following ideological conflicts with Mohandas K. Gandhi and after openly attacking the Congress’ foreign and internal policies. Bose believed that Gandhi’s tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure India’s independence, and advocated violent resistance. He established a separate political party, the All India Forward Bloc and continued to call for the full and immediate independence of India from British rule. He was imprisoned by the British authorities eleven times. His famous motto was: “Give me blood and I will give you freedom.”
The controversy over whether the Nehru government ordered surveillance on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s family seems set to escalate following so called disclosure that the first PM had personally sought information on their whereabouts. Everyone knows that the late Jawaharlal Nehru was feeling insecure what with the late Mahatma Gandhi going on fasting, hunger strike at the drop of the hat and wanted the Congress party to be dismantled. The fear that Subhash Chandra Bose may return, Sardar Vallabhai Patel was stronger than the late Nehru so he used the Russians to see to it that there is no challenge to his PM’s chair. And the Russians wanted only the late Nehru to be the head of India. The same continued even when Lal Bahadur Shastri was the PM and the Russians wanted the late Indira Gandhi to occupy the coveted post. So Shastriji was conveniently eliminated at Tashkent.
Right now there is outrage against Congress party accusing them of snooping Bose. No one knows what is hidden in the files. PM has asked what a particular person is doing in Japan (considering Japan was the last point from where Bose went missing) and it was a defeated fascist nation those days! Did Nehru ban this man from travelling? No, did he spy him through someone? We don’t know yet! How can we abuse our leaders without knowing full facts? Are we so uneducated and uncivilized? If we disrespect our founding leaders, guess we are in the slippery path to doom! Do we feel Modi is more trustworthy than Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru? Remember they were operating with such galaxy of leaders like Sardar/Pant / Azad / Jinnah ( until breakup)/ Rajaji / Bose ( until break up) and all always held each other in very high esteem and never abused each other as you have seemed to indicate! Their approach differed sometimes but never their intent and integrity!
Documents accessed by author Anuj Dhar for his book ‘India’s Biggest Cover-up’ show that Nehru, in a letter dated November 26, 1957 to the then foreign secretary Subimal Dutt sought to know what Bose’s nephew Amiya Nath Bose was doing in Tokyo. In response, India’s ambassador to Tokyo reported back assuring New Delhi that Amiya Bose had not “indulged in any undesirable activities”. Amiya Bose, son of Subhas’s brother Sarat Chandra Bose, was known to be close to Netaji. Right to Information disclosures to date have revealed that the Office of the Prime Minister alone holds 39 secret files relating to Netaji, while the Ministry of Home Affairs claims that the release of Netaji-related records may cause ‘a law and order problem in the country’, and prejudicially affect ‘relations with a foreign country’. There are known to be 64 files in the custody of West Bengal Government.
Modi should declassify these files. Those claiming that it is so-called state secret I think are politically motivated: there might be something showing involvement of Nehru and Patel in those files. It may not be prudent to de-classify all the State secrets. Any government may have to maintain confidentiality to preserve the integrity of the nation. Elements that are a threat to the hard won democracy and unity of the nation needs to be controlled. By any stretch of imagination, we cannot find fault for taking necessary precautionary measures. But, since the former PM is being targeted with a purpose, it is best to reveal the whole truth.