Monday, 15 August 2011

“My coming out not in India’s interest”:Anuj Dhar

Bhagwanji had entered India in the 1950′s from Nepal with the help of Mahadeo Prasad Misra, a Sanskrit teacher working in Nepal.
Misra is no more, but many details on Bhagwanji’s early days in India are known to his grandson Rajkumar, 50, who grew up seeing Bhagwanji. These details are now part of the documentation that Mukherjee Commission has on the Netaji case.
The key figure, however, was Rajkumar’s mother Saraswati Devi who died in November 2000, little before she could depose before the Commission. Saraswati Devi served Bhagwanji from 1955, but it was only after his death in 1985, that she conceded Bhagwanji was indeed Netaji.
In 1955-56, Rajkumar and his widowed mother came to live with Misra, who was staying in a rented house at Sringar Nagar in Lucknow with Bhagwanji.
Soon, they moved to Neemsar, a place close to the Indo-Nepal border, where they took shelter in a run-down Shiva temple. It was here in April 1962 that Atul Sen, an associate of Netaji, met and recognised the leader in his disguise.
Sen returned to Kolkata soon after, and reported the matter to Indian National Army (INA) Secret Service agent Dr Pabitra Mohan Roy and historian Dr R C Majumdar.
Dr Pabitra Mohan Roy had on Netaji’s order undertaken a submarine journey from Burma to India to prepare the ground for INA’s assault on Kohima. However, he was caught and sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted on Gandhiji’s request to the British.
During those days Dr Pabitra had worked closely with Netaji; whatever the circumstances, he could not have mistaken the leader for anyone else. So indeed, when the doctor met Bhagwanji in Neemsar, the former was convinced of the man who stood before him.
Later, in a letter written to Bhagwanji, the doctor acknowledged the leader: “…I wish to say something – your own words – ‘You are my intelligence officer – without fear or favour must… act.’ …I will have to tell you about myself – what exactly do I think of myself – Keeping in mind Ma Kaali, Bharatmata (Mother India) and your feet, with a firm mind… I can tell you that just like in the past, I have the same unflinching faith and unwavering obedience, total dedication and loyalty towards you and…I am determined to always remain so. Give me your blessings.”
In December 1962, Dr Pabitra took into confidence Leela Roy, one of Netaji close friends and ‘didi’ to all revolutionary freedom fighters. Leela Roy acted quickly and by January 1963 had established contact with Bhagwanji.
In March, she along with Dr Pabitra, Shaila Sen (identity unknown) and Samar Guha (Netaji’s follower who is 82) called on Bhagwanji, a meeting where Srikant Sharma , 93, was also present. Sharma was one of Bhawanji trusted men and he recalls Bhagwanji’s reluctance to meet Leela Roy. Bhagwanji sent word through Sharma: “My coming out is neither in the country’s interest nor in my interest.”
Later, Bhagwanji did meet Leela Roy, which a man close to her confirms on the conditions of anonymity.
Leela Roy remained a great source of help to him until her death in 1970. However, before she died, Leela Roy wrote to Netaji’s dearest friend Dilip Roy on September 7, 1963 (on Bhagwanji’s order): “I wanted to tell you something about your friend… he is alive – in India.”

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