The After Life of
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
 The Ayodhya Tale
Dedicated to: Santh Samrat of Sitapur
    Author: Dr. Alokesh Bagchi
    Series Editor: Nikhil Das

Chapter One : The Intellectual Rebel

The trail is cold. The leads are hot, hottest ever in the history of Independent India. On September 18th, 1985, a highly literate on one hand, and rustic on the other, hurriedly cremated a body on the high grounds of Guptar Ghat, on the banks of the sacred Saryu River. In this place Lord Rama himself and he alone had taken Jal Samadhi aeons ago.

The pyre was hastily lit exactly at 4:00 p.m.. But more of this episode later; for now will unfold a sordid spectacle that even loathing cannot choose but pity.

The investigations and piecing together of the exciting material, painstakingly collected, with enormous efforts night and day, led us to the inescapable belief that the man, who, presumably, left this world two days before the cremation, was one of the greatest personalities India ever had. And that he left this world unknown and unsung. Those who were around the leaping flames were not strictly the kind of persons to have gauged the importance of the person who once lived in that body, which was being so swiftly turned into ashes, into dust.

If he was a saint of such a high order, then why was he not buried, as the custom dictates? Why was his body consigned to flames in such an unusual manner, that too, after a delay of two (three?) full days and at whose explicit directives? The evidence, which came out later, suggested that Anupam Mishra, son of Dr. R.P.Mishra, had rushed to Calcutta and there he had established contact with Dr. Pabitra Mohan Roy, once the top functionary of the secret service of The Indian National Army.

There were many questions. Who was this person? What was the truth behind the legend concerning this mysterious personality, whom nobody had ever seen, but only heard from behind a curtain or closed door?

All the seven local characters, who were involved in the strange happenings around this Ďmystery maní, were real! Five of them were down to earth city dwellers and well-traveled professional men. They were holding back a lot of information, yet unanimously and unhesitantly declaring that "He was a Great Personality indeed."

In following the trail, one was forced to come to a conclusion that this was a person who possessed deep wisdom and strange powers. A person who had wrestled from the nature mastery over forces invisible and intangible. But a constant vigilance was needed to arrive at this conclusion, to discover it.

It was soon discovered that it was not an easy job to follow the trail. People were suspicious and preferred silence. But to really uncover the man behind this shroud of mystery it was imperative that his every move was properly scrutinized.

As far as the rustics were concerned, it was always a look of embarrassment. An agonising prolonged pause followed every piercing question. Fear and suspicion loomed large on their faces. At least two of them were known to have been close confidants of "the Man, who left his body".

People were afraid. "We do not wish to be interviewed" or photographed. But, perusing painstakingly though, something worthwhile always came out in the end.

Here, we were dealing with yet another classical example of a personality who would have excited the curiosity of men like Burnouf, Colebrooke and Max Muller. They all had proved succinctly that the "heathens" who lived in the subcontinent with their innumerable Gods and Goddesses were not, after all, as stupid as their own ignorance has presumed.

Panda Ram Keshore Mishra, Teertha Purohit of Ayodhya (the Holy Priest of Ayodhya), later proved it beyond reasonable doubt as to the real identity of the mysterious personality. For he was one of the privileged few who met the man face to face. The man they, presumably, cremated in a great hurry and in such an unusual site!

All through one was haunted by the fact that the characters around the cremated man were imposters attempting to construct a theological paradise and going about their own business as if they were Godís own estate agents. Was this strategy only a cover-up operation? On the basis of what we had discovered, we must say it was. The deception at the time though seemed complete.

The consistent projection of the man as the Dashnamee Sannyasi ( the monk with ten names ) - a reserved and reclusive saint who chose to deliver his oracular instructions from within a closed door or from behind the curtain - succeeded in grafting this assumed identity into the hearts of the spiritually inclined citizens of the district. But to the close circle, he was an Intellectual Rebel of the rarest of kind.

For spirituality was not the only subject that was being discussed between the ensconced man and his bank of faithfuls, but all vital links for his survival until death. Of course, none dared raising a subject or a topic, which the man did not initiate. It was always he, who chose the subject and often in a sporadic manner. None dared to question his antecedents or ask about his identity for that would be at their peril. "We feared him and his powers", said Mahatma Saran, a reputed carpenter of Ayodhya who played an intrinsic role in the later days of the Sannyasi who chose to leave the world unknown.

The more we sought for explanation, the more we retreated baffled. Here was yet another ragged mendicant bit with a difference. Even while having ensured his constant security, constant mobility and constant mistrust, in built-up areas and isolated places alike, he kept himself informed of, under his cover of a Sannyasi about politics of the Land. He knew everything about agitation in Assam, in the Punjab and in Nagaland and maintained a strength and serenity for which lesser mortals yearn these days.

Fear of the unknown powers of the man was the key to silence. At every level of investigations, whether related to the Teertha Purohit of Ayodhya or distinguished personalities like Dr. R.P.Mishra of Faizabad, certain vital facts, it seemed to us, were always kept secret. One was up against a secret cult, as if it were a society operating for decades under a deep cover and solely under his sole command, the overriding objective of which was to keep his identity unknown.

"Once some two hundred kilometers away from Ayodhya, I spoke about Baba to a friend of mine. This was the first and the last time I ever referred about him to anybody. For when I met him later, he was furious with me. I still wonder with awe as to how Babaji know what I had said. It was a severe scolding that I received from him. I did not have the courage to talk about him again; nor did he meet me for several years after this incident" - said Krishna Gopal Srivastava, an art teacher at The Rajkaran Vedic Inter College, one of The Chosen few.

Was it just a string of coincidences or was it the e.s.p. this man possessed? There was another story we all know. On December 20th 1942 while at Berlin, this same person who we introduce to be the Dashnamee Sannyasi, had a very disturbing dream that all was not well in Calcutta. For this day, the Japanese Air Force bombarded Calcutta - some 6,000 miles away. Next morning he asked his close confidant, Dr. Girija Mukherjee, to get an immediate feedback through the Axis Intelligence channels, about the bombing incident. His dream turned out to be true.

End of Chapter One

To be continued next Sunday ...

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