Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Bhagwanji said: "I am Subhas" --- By Anuj Dhar

There had been at least four known occasions when Bhagwanji said he was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
People before whom he spoke are alive and include his Faizabad landlord, Gurbasant Singh, and doctor, Priyabrat Banerjee. However, a big proof of it is in a letter he wrote to a man called Prasad. (The letter was not posted, and hence, was found among Bhagwanji's belongings preserved in the Faizabad treasury since 1987.)
In the seven-page letter, Bhagwanji says he has no more links to his past life, and he is dead to family and friends. In a reference to the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee and the Khosla Commission of Inquiry, he says there is "no point in constituting loaded dice commissions to find out what happened to him…" He says, "…his death is …an impregnable mystery…"
Two inferences are also thrown up in his remarks on a Gujarati businessman, Manu Bhai Bhimani's resume, which, evidently, Netaji's nephew Sisir Bose had verified:
Bhagwanji addresses Sarat Bose, Netaji's elder brother, as 'mejda'.

He refutes Bhimani's claim on a plan that few people apart from Netaji himself would have known.
Bhimani had supported Netaji as Congress president in 1939-40.
Dr Priyabrat Banerjee, who took over from his father as Bhagwanji's physician, in an interview with, recalls a family get-together at Bhagwanji's house in 1975, when the latter said: "Dekho to, kahi main Subhas Chandra Bose to nahi hoon?" (Look, am I not Subhas Chandra Bose?) When the senior Dr T Banerjee persisted, Bhagwanji said: "Hoon!" (Yes, I am he!)
Bhagwanji also said: "Despite having a nation I have none, despite having a home I am homeless, despite having a people, I have no one…"
Durga Prasad Pandey, who was Netaji's companion for many years, also recalls a meeting in 1967 when Bhagwanji said: "Take me to be Netaji if you will."
Pandey had earlier written to Bhagwanji asking him to reveal his true identity. In his reply, the latter had said: "I am a bonafide dashnamme sanyasi (saint with 10 names), and, you well know, that, a man under the Holy Orders incurs civil death according to the civil law. And a sanyasi is dead to his former life…"
When Pandey persisted, he was allowed to see and talk to Bhagwanji. Pandey had seen Netaji from close quarters in 1939, and so, he insists he could not have mistaken the leader, despite the old age and long beard.
Bhagwanji's landlord at Faizabad, Gurubasant Singh, also remembers an interview during which the former said his mission was to see India free, and since the task was achieved, he had taken sanyas (renounced his worldly life). Many rumours were afloat then that Bhagwanji was Netaji, and Gurubasant had sought an interview to verify them.
Srikant Sharma, who was among the few to have met Bhagwanji face-to-face, says the latter told him many personal things about Netaji, Leela Roy and also about the great escape from Kolkata to Berlin in 1941, details of which are known to very few.
Sharma is a deponent before the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry probing Netaji's disappearance.


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