In the first week of August 1999, Bengal Online received a guestbook entry from Dr. Alokesh Bagchi.
His comments related to our Gallery items on Netaji Subhas Bose. At that time we had two separate
articles of our own on Netaji. The first one was a very sketchy introduction
that I prepared (for a local newspaper) and read at a dinner party in Sydney held to commemorate the Birth
Centenary of Netaji. The second one is a more in-depth account of the Supreme Commander of INA titled The True Leader of India. Dr. Bagchi must have read both and in his comment
he remarked that Netaji was alive. He listens to Bengali songs etc...
Regular visitors of Bengal Online would recall that we published Dr. Bagchi's comments as
Letter of the Week on our home page for one full week. The plain yet youthful tone of the feedback
caught my attention. It aroused my curiosity! I, like many Indians in general and Bengalees in particular,
was not fully convinced, of Netaji's reported death at Japan's Nanmoon hospital on 18th August 1945.
The fact that his companion Habibur Rahman survived to verify his death, was not and should not be taken as a conclusive evidence.
One thing always perplexed me - why did Netaji and Habibur had a secret meeting with General Isoda, Hachaiya
and Field Marshal Terauchi before they boarded a plane at the Saigon Airport.
Why did Netaji not take a more senior official of INA with him to that secret meeting even though they waited outside. Why did the plane
changed its pre-charted course twice? Was it just a mere coincidence that Habibur survived to authenticate his
demise? Did he then utter the well-rehearsed news of Netaji's injury and death like a parrot? This may have been
designed merely to convince the then masters of India that there's no point chasing him. Nobody needed convincing
that Bose was well-versed in assuming new status and identity.
My head started spinning! If Netaji was really alive and in India, why would he remain in obscurity in his free India. But
it hardly ever occurred to me that even though the British rulers were his life-long enemies, his real
enemies were none other than his own people, his beloved Indians. His own collegues in politics, his rivals
in the Indian leadership - who didn't hesitate to despatch him from the position of Congress President.
And this happened whilst he was very much alive and amongst them. What were they capable of when they had some reason to
presume he was dead. It is not then impossible that they were the ones who conspired with the British, during
the transfer of power, to bury him permanently behind the shrouds of the Taihoku plane crash, thus making
him a living martyr. Supreme sacrifice was Netaji's motto, is it impossible that he chose to remain
oblivious to his living compatriots so they could provide leadership without the fear of a resurrected
leader from the ashes of Netaji! My thoughts raced on ...
I advised Dr. Bagchi by email that his comments were posted on the front page of our site and asked him as
to what proof he has got to claim that Netaji was still alive. I must admit, that was a grave mistake on my part
(not really though, Alokesh)! I say this because, the following morning when I went to check my email I had a whole host
of letters, pictures, articles, High Court rullings etc. It took my 56K modem almost 8 hours to download all
that. I was annoyed at first. Then I began to look at some of the details. To my utter surprise, I started to
become more and more curious about what Dr. Bagchi had in his possession. To a researcher these materials can
lead to questions after questions for which there are no readily available answers. Here too, I must admit that I
am not that researcher.
I read his Ayodhaya Tale with interest. I spent the whole night reading the extremely curious
(and almost unbelievable) tale of this saint of Ayodhaya who had been variously identified as Baba, Anam
Santh, Gumnam Baba, Dasnami Santh, Gumnami Santh, Gumbaba etc. I checked a sample Inventory
of Items found in Gumnami Baba's residence catalogued, after his presumed death in 1985, by a Commision
set up under an order from the UP High Court following a petition from two citezens of India - one of
whom was Ms. Lolita Bose.
If nothing else, this list of personal belongings or items used by Gumbaba, if correct and complete, alone can point to the
undeniable existence of a person who was either Netaji or a first class imposter of Netaji who was
accepted as Netaji by the likes of Leela Roy, Pobitra Mohan Roy and Samar Guha. There are letters from
close associates, relatives and family members of Netaji Subhas Bose in this Archive which is kept hidden,
from the public view, according to Dr. Bagchi, at the UP Treasury. Naturally the
question arises, why has the Indian Government paid no attention to this material. Why did the Netaji
Research Bureau run by Netaji's nephew Sisir Bose not look at it? There can be two possible solutions
to this puzzle. Firstly, they don't want to. If this scenario is accepted as true, then hell will
break loose! Shame India, shame on you!
The second possibility is that both institutions had a chance
to examine this material and they must have concluded that the identity of Gumnami Baba is indeed
distinct and bore no earthly connection to Netaji. Well, if this was the case, where is the
Government's anthology on it? Where is the account given by the NRB? It certainly is not some material
that can be easily dismissed without any explanation whatsoever. There lied the mystery!
Promptly I decided to communicate more with Alokesh. I questioned him, harassed him and often abused
him for not supplying more details quickly enough, even though my hard disk started crying
out for lack of capacity because of the tons of materials he kept sending daily. Some items were
duplicated or triplicated because of tranmission errors on either end. My telephone remained jammed
with Alokesh's papers in any case.
I knew even if these stories proved to be not hundred percent, in every respect, it surely deserved public
scrutiny. This opportunity they deserved a long while ago - even though they were persistently denied for some
unknown reasons. These reasons may be deliberate or may have resulted from the indifferent and utterly
contemptable behaviour of an organisation called the Indian Government. I decided to collate them and publish on Bengal Online.
However, I felt it was necessary to sort out a few basic questions. Immediately, I sent a number of
questions to Alokesh. The first of which was 'being a laproscopic surgeon, how did he get involved
in the life of a past political leader' who presumably died a generation before he was born. The answer to this resulted in
The Beginning. The rest of the questions and Alokesh's anwers are presented as the
Netajigate proper will start serilising from next Sunday. The first part will comprise the Tale of Ayodhaya. Each chapter of which
is breathtaking. This will be followed by a sample of Inventory of Personal Effects. Finally, when Gumnami Baba presumably died in 1985, a new chapter
of this saga begins. The Sitapur Tale will introduce you to this newly 'incarnated' Santh Samrath. Whole of this story describes the life and
(alleged/presumed) death of one and the same person - to Indians he is Netaji Subash Chandra Bose alias Signor Orlando Mazzitto alias Anam Santh alias
Santh Samrath alias ... alias ...?
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