PRADIPTA TAPADAR | PTI
Amid a fresh row over Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s death, his daughter on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention for a DNA test of the ashes believed to be of the leader, and claimed “certain people” in the earlier governments never wanted the mystery to be solved.
Anita Bose Pfaff lauded Modi for his efforts to unravel the mystery surrounding the legendary freedom fighter’s death.
She said she shared the belief that her father had died in the air crash on August 18, 1945, unless there was proof to the contrary.
Pfaff said she would like to meet the prime minister and the Japanese authorities to request them to allow a DNA test of the ashes, believed to be Bose’s, kept at the Renkoji temple in Japan. “Until proved otherwise, I do believe he died in the plane crash on August 18, 1945. But many people don’t believe it. I certainly would like the mystery settled.
“I think the best way to solve the mystery is to conduct a DNA testA on the ashes kept in Renkoji temple in Japan. DNA tests would prove if it was actually him or not,” Pfaff told PTI in a telephonic interview from Germany.
She said she wanted to meet Modi and thank him for his efforts to untangle the mystery over Netaji’s death by declassifying some files in the possession of the central government.
Pfaff said she would also appeal to the Japanese government to declassify files relating to her father, if they have any in their possession.
Her comments come in the backdrop of a recent controversy over a tweet by the Press Information Bureau on August 18 which said: “#PIB remembers the great freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his death anniversary. #Netaji #subhashchandrabose.”
It was withdrawn after protests by a section of Netaji’s family, which is divided over when and how the leader, whom Mahatma Gandhi once called “prince among the patriots”, died.
When asked whether successive governments, including those of the Congress, had deliberately chosen to “neglect” resolving the mystery, Pfaff, a noted economist based in Germany, said she did not have any evidence that they did so. “But certain people in previous governments never wanted the mystery to be solved and neglected it,” she added.
“The previous governments said declassification of files would harm diplomatic relations between countries. Had the previous governments released the evidences and documents available to them in public domain, it would not have created such a huge mystery,” she said.
Different theories have swirled around Netaji’s disappearance in 1945, with one being that he returned to India and lived under the guise of ‘Gumnami Baba’, a reclusive Sadhu, in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad.
Pfaff, however, does not believe it. “Netaji’s disappearance gave birth to several unrealistic stories, as mysteries always fascinate and attract people,” she noted.
Sharply reacting to the PIB’s tweet, Chandra Kumar Bose, a BJP leader and grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose, said it was not the “right approach” as the mystery over the leader’s death was yet to be resolved.
Any announcement regarding the death of Netaji should only be made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi based on documentary evidence.
The PIB tweet was, however, welcomed by author Ashis Ray, another grandnephew of Bose. Academician Sugata Bose and his mother Krishna Bose, both former parliamentarians, are among the Bose family members who are of the opinion that the leader died in the air crash.
According to several accounts, Bose had boarded a plane on the fateful day in 1945 at Taihoku airport in Taiwan which crashed leading to his death. However, many people, particularly in Bengal, believe he survived the crash and lived a life of anonymity in hiding.