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 Two : Stalking the Rebel

He had no desire to found a school or collect a following and his ambition seemed to stretch no further than passing unobtrusively through life. He had nothing to add to whatever little he had said to the chosen few. But the mountain of materials left behind by him would speak volumes for posterity. This became clear as we gathered about this man.

Exactly 35 years ago the man had slipped into India from Nepal, the Trans-Himalayan Land of mystery and reached Lucknow city by night, when Babu Sanpurnanand was the Chief Minister. For a few years he stayed at a house situated in Shringar Nagar in the Alam Bagh area. We will discuss what miseries this man had to face here in the concluding chapters with present photographs.

He spent about six months at Khadia village, near the city. No one knew who he was or whence he came from? Inquisitive inquirers who addressed his escorts received no reply. He spoke to none and heeded to no sound.

Well, the outskirts of a city like Lucknow were hardly suitable for a person who wished to live incognito. Such a conduct would have won instant admirers in the early days, but the modern recluse these days can only find favorable conditions in sparse jungle spots, forest retreats and mountain caves.

Security was the overriding concern of this man in selecting a residence (Ashram). A close confidante of the man would brief another about his requirements. A hectic search would be launched for a suitable site, more often than not the most unsuitable site for meditation. Artificial ramparts would be built to the ancient buildings; high brick walls, and fences around the location to secure privacy. "B" knew "A" and not the man. A secret cell was constantly at work.

And so, he moved in the darkness of night in 1956 to Neemsaran of Sitapur, a pilgrim town and lived in hiding for six years. The pattern of his migration was always the same. Whenever he felt that his cover was going to be blown, he sped away in a heavily curtained car by night with all his possessions following in hired trucks. His helpers seemed to appear from nowhere for a swift getaway like ghosts in the night. Every site was chosen, keeping in mind his escape route to avoid detection. The entire operation was in fact orchestrated by the nameless personality, executed with military precision after his final clearance.

On the surface, he sought none and accepted none. Rumors often had it in the various locations that he was one of those who preferred to live in isolation in order to achieve his own spiritual liberation. None could foretell his movements.

In 1962, the trail pointed towards Ayodhya, where for the first few months, he stayed at Shankar Niwas, in Darshan Nagar village, in an abandoned palatial building. It was a safe house. But certain visitors from Bengal were expected.

There are no lingering sunsets in this part of the country. The night comes swiftly on the heels of evening. Dusk hardly stays. And so it was time for another move by night to the historic Lal Kothi in Ayodhya city, yet another veritable fortress with sprawling lawns in the front. The faithfuls had chosen the location well, had studied the neighborhood, the character and personality of the owner of the building – Mr. Vishnu Narain, a banker and a multimillionaire. Every site was chosen as if it were to act as an ambush spot, temporary base for a split-second attack and a swift getaway.

This time the "reecho party" headed for a much lonelier spot in another town and chose the isolated Shraistha Kothi in Basti which was once owned by The Raja of Basti. Here the monk spent time in solitude as time turned eight past hundred pages of the calendar. It is in this place the former M.P. Professor Samar Guha and SUKRIT ( Sunil Krishno Gupto ), the great lawyer, had spent several months with the man. The Kothi remained a deserted place even after fifteen years since the man slipped out by night with his numerous trunks most of which ever remained in a sedate and unpacked condition.

Alas! Destiny had some thing else in store. Something urgent occurred, that we cover later on, compelled this Gumnami Baba (also know as Dashnamee Sannyasi) to move again. This time through the labyrinthine lanes of Ayodhya city on the day of Dhanteras - two days before Deepawali (Festival of Lights) to Prahlad Dharamshala in a Fiat. The house belonged to Panda Ram Keshore Mishra. An Advocate, Mr. Durga Prasad Pandey accompanied by Mr. Harish Chandra Mishra, another Faizabad advocate had approached the Panda.

The advance guards paid the landlord (Pandas) rent in advance and hinted that it would be occupied for only two months or so. They kept their words. On the midnight of January 15th, 1975 the occupant disappeared destined for a new destination without anyone in the crowded locality becoming any wiser.

The man’s intelligence wing this time chose an inconspicuous and isolated house at the Gurudwara Brahmakund, where the first, ninth and tenth Gurus had sojourned for rest and recuperation. This desolate quarter belonged to Sardar Guru Bux Singh Sodhi. Here too, hasty fortifications were built, though it was not necessary. The rear portion of the building was atop a sheer cliff along the steady and silent quietness of the Saryu river. The selection was such that this temporary abode was like an inaccessible fort.

On May 15th, 1978, after a series of strange happenings, he vacated the Brahmakund Gurudwara residence and moved on to yet another solitary site, the ancient and abandoned Lucknow Kothi in Ayodhya itself.

Three main doors lead to this structure over five wide steps. He ordered that the two side entrants be sealed with bricks immediately. The idea was to have only one entrance to the structure facing the rising Sun. A high wall was simultaneously erected in the south boundary, although at the time there were no neighboring huts - only glades cut away by high walls all around.

Here he remained statuesque and impassive to the world, properly roofed and adequately protected, probably the safest place his faithfuls had ever located in the past to escape the most circumspect inquirers in the vicinity.

The mysterious mendicant, who cared not for earthly power because he had virtually renounced everything, had a terrible tragedy. Age had already caught up with him. He was reaching almost 90 years, when he slipped and suffered a fracture, so the legend goes on. It was a crisis for those in charge of his security. So once again by midnight, they moved him, some time in 1983, to a secluded apartment called ‘Ram Bhawan’ in Civil Lines, Faizabad.

End of Chapter Two

To be continued next Sunday ...

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