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 Three : A Fair Lady Comes at Midnight
He came by night in the summer of 1962 - it was almost midnight. There were others with him, three to be precise, silhouettes beneath the moon. The tall, hooded figure had quietly entered the building known as ‘Lal Kothi” and then lost to the world forever. There were others hastily unloading the trucks, two Bengali helpers. But it was the man’s third companion that aroused the curiosity of Ram Swarup, the Mahant of the nearby Khairabad Temple, which the man had to pass during his nocturnal dashes to the world outside. “She was a fair Bengali Lady”, said the Mahant, who watched the goings-on from a discreet distance, more out of curiosity than any specific interest.
Later, the intelligentsia of the town claimed that this lady, who appeared literally from nowhere in 1962, and silently vanished subsequently, was none other than Lila Roy, one of the closest confidants of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, and the live wire of the women’s wing of the Indian National Army.
Mahant Ram Swaroop Dass: Swamiji lived in Lal Kothi for more than two and half years. He used to go some where on certain nights by a green Ambassador car, which was always well curtained. And, so was his premises that no peering eyes could penetrate the privacy of the apartment.
It was clearly evident to the Mahant, that the inmates of Lal Kothi were taking extra-ordinary security precautions. In any case to get near the building, one would have to walk at least ten yards to reach the bungalow through a big gate from untarred road, where vehicular traffic in the mid-sixties was a spectacular site. Only the monkey fraternity abounded in this area mingling with the populace as in the rest of Ayodhya.
Mahant Ram Swarop Dass had a rather vivid picture of the events of those times, though he could never delve deeply, nor did he consider it necessary to probe into the antecedents of the man, whom some people around referred to as Swamiji and so did he. The Mahant did spy upon the Bengali Lady on numerous occasions and the two lads apparently escorted the Man.
Then, the owner of the Lal Kothi, Mr. Vishnu Narain, was a flamboyant personality of Lucknow, a thriving banker and a multi- millionaire. He was the proprietor of Speed Motors, Lucknow. When asked, he had said, More than two decades ago a Bengali person aged about fifty [* probably Dr. P.M.Roy] approached me for an accommodation for a Swamiji in one of my Kothis of Ayodhya. I had allowed them to stay at Lal Kothi. While during their stay, the ‘Swamiji’ never appeared before anybody and always remained within the cloistered quarters of his room. This behavior of the inmates did lead me to believe that he was a mysterious man indeed.
The Mahant, since he lived in the locality at the time as now, revealed that Swamiji, Dr. Sanakanand Giri, a Bengali Sannyasi of high repute visited the man often. Swami Sanakanand was highly revered in the area and was the founder of the Sanatan Dharma Indoor Hospital, a charitable institution. “He was the only local person to have had visited the man – at regular intervals.” This is what the Mahant had said.
What took place in that musty room? The Mahant could not say anything, but certain he was and some others in Faizabad, that Swami Sanakanand Giri, embarked on a European tour at the behest of The Gumnami Baba. He returned later with a foreign Matador. Though the gadgets inside the van was confiscated and not allowed to pass through the Customs at New Delhi.
Once again it was the time to move. Events would move in rapid succession. The Swami’s meticulous planning and yearning to live way apart from the world once again aroused the curiosity of a person, a policeman for a change. The then Inspector of the Ayodhya Kotwali, Mr. Jitendra Bahadur Singh, was a visitor to Mahant Vaidei Ram Sharan of Hanumant Niwas, some 50 yards from the Lal Kothi, where the three roads met. Mahant Saran Dass managed to send discreet messages to the escorts of the man, that the inspector wants to meet Swamiji face to face, come what may. No reply was received at Hanumant Niwas. The Inspector wanted to live up to his name and planned a raid. He was determined to unmask the Swamiji in one swift, lightning strike; a counter-ambush of some sorts, not knowing that the grounds had already been vacated for any such eventuality.
The Inspector Bahadur Singh stormed in on one night with his troops only to find empty rooms. Swamiji had left with his escorts, the fair lady, huge trunks in the twilight on that very day leaving Mahant Ram Swarop a bewildered and puzzled man.
The man left the town and chose Basti as his next hideout.
End of Chapter Three
To be continued next Sunday ...
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