Findings on Netaji
by Professor (Dr) Purabi Roy
The following paper is reproduced with the permission of the author.-- email@example.com
Also see: Dr Roy's affidavit before Mukherjee Commission & Homepage of this site
Subhas Chandra Bose stood at the heart of the Indian national Freedom
Movement and remains its representative figure. He was an outstanding
personality and also a supreme popular leader. His genius lay in
understanding that among the people was a profound revolutionary spirit
which only waited to be called upon to ensure victory. He was very
conscious of the nature of bargain with the British, his uncompromising
attitude made him "number one enemy".
In 1921 Subhas Chandra Bose returned to India from England resigning from his princely career. After resigning his post in the Indian Civil Service, Subhas threw himself heart and soul under the lead and guide of Chittaranjan Das. Politics of C.R.Das was the mature expression of that political idealism which was in a nebulous state in young Bose's mind. C.R.Das's dedication to Swaraj or self Government was unambiguous and categorical. No wonder that Subhas felt that he had found his leader and dedicated to have his political training under him.
A large number of left wing nationalists all over the world thought that the Soviet revolution heralded an era of an unprecedented social and economic reconstruction. The progress and development of the socialist revolution in Russia had a very good influence upon the east. So, this was the time when India constitutes a special problem for the consideration of the Communist International in order to carry on an intensive propaganda and organizational work in the sub-continent. In March 1922 just after the sitting of the Enlarged Executive Committee of Comintern, Abani Mukherjee the Indian revolutionary was requested by Comrade Branler, the then member of Prenidium Comentern and Comrade Losovsky of Profintern, to go to India and to study the situation personally.
Abani came to India, in Calcutta he met Chitta Ranjan Das and virtually spent eleven months there. C.R.Das requested his young soldier Subhas to arrange a safe and secured place for Abani to live. These days brought Subhas and Abani more closer.
Abani after his return to USSR stated in his report to Comrade Petrov, Secretary, Eastern Section, Comintern, MOSCOW ...... "The right hand man of C.R.Das, Mr. S. Bose, being pro-communist, and a friend of ours, we have a good influence over the Swaraja party." (1)
A Careful study of various reports, debates and correspondences of Executive Committee Communist International (ECCI) related to India can provide a very systematic and clear idea and can reveal many unknown details about the Indian revolutionaries and freedom fighters in relation to USSR.
Report of Comrade Jhonstone to the Eastern Secretariat of Comintern in 1929 narrates ...... "a Socialist Youth Movement which is very strong but it is intellectual with no proletarians in it and it has no proletarian outlook. They are led by Young Nehru and Chandra Bose".... "The Socialist Youth base themselves on Socialism". (2)
If we go through the various reports of the Plenum materials i.e. Report on India at Tenth Plenum of "ECCI" dated 3-7-29 indicates ...... "The movement in Bengal was quite different. In Calcutta a small group of Communists proved so far incapable of emerging from the petty bourgeois mire, although efforts have been made by some Comrades. This is due also to the fact that of all the workers and Peasants' Parties the one of Bengal had the deepest "traditions" which linked it up with the left wing of Swarajism" (3)
The materials for the XII Plenum 1932, and for the XIII plenum 1933 of ECCI made a critical analyses of the 'national reformists' indicating their present activities. 1932 XII Plenum material states ........ "the left national reformists are strengthening their positions and head certain sections of the proletariat ...... the left national reformists taking advantage of the weakness of the Communist Party" (4)
It is interesting to observe the material for the XIII Plenum ECCI of 14.11.1933 where it has divided the bourgeois national Camp into three groups. According to the analyses the third group ...... "Consists of 'Left' Congressists Bose & Co, who while criticizing Gandhi from the "left" propose to participate in the legislative assemblies and are preparing new leaders. ...... . It will not be wonderful if the "left" Bose & Co and the right join together and try to form a Party similar to the former Swaraj party." (5)
In 1933 Bose reached Vienna for the purpose of recovering his health. In Europe he was practically in a state of externment. He was not permitted to go to England, USSR and America. But Subhas Bose was a firm believer in foreign propaganda for the achievement of India's freedom. He made an elaborate plan to set up Centres of Indian Nationalist propaganda in various European Countries with a view to bridge the gulf between the East and the West.
Indian revolutionaries in Europe like Shyamji Krishna Varma, Sardar Singh Rana, Madame Bhikaji Kama, continued with their untiring effort to build up contacts with the bolshevcks. Mikhail Pavlovich, close associate of Lenin was in Paris and had shouldered the responsibility to keep a regular relation with the revolutionaries of the east. Virendranath Chattopadhyaya who worked for the League Against Imperialism and For National Independence Berlin was a dedicated worker of Communist International. Apart from his regular contact with the Soviet Comrades in Leningrad and Moscow he had established a very good relation with the Soviet 'TASS' representatives in Berlin. Soviet 'TASS' representation in Berlin was one of the main sources to supply informations about India to USSR. Virendranath made the full use of it by introducing ACN Nambiar to the then 'TASS' representative Menkes in Berlin.
20 February 1930
Z.H. des Genossen Menkes
Lieber Genosse Menkes,
1) 1) ..........................
2) 2) ..........................
3) Mit der provisorischen Erledigung dieser Arbeiten wird der Genosse Nambiar beauftragt
4) Genosse Nambiar erhalt bis auf weiteres von der TASS eine Akkordbezahlung fiir das jeweillg gelieferte Material Zu den ublichen Tarifen der TASS. Die Frage einer eventuellen regelmassigen Berichterstattung durch Genossen nambiar under diesbezuglichen Bezahlung wird von der Leitung der TASS in Moskau Zu entscheiden sein.
.... Mit besten Griiben
LIGA GEGEN IMPERIALISMUS
Sd / V. Chattopadhyaya. (6)
In 1933 when Subhas Bose arrived in Berlind ACN Nambiar helped him to be in regular touch with the 'TASS' representatives in Berlin Z.H. Menkes and U.I. Annankova.
Bose was a firm believer in foreign propaganda, as an unofficial ambassador he started visiting the European countries. In 1933 he went to Romania where in Bucharest he met and enjoyed the hospitality of one of the best eye specialists Lt. Col. Dr. Narsingh Mulgand. The Maharashtrian doctor and Bose interchanged their ideas and set up a future plan.
From Romania Subhas Bose went to Poland. The Oriental Society in Warsaw invited him to a social gathering where he spoke about the desire for a Polish-Indian Society which would endeavour to foster Cultural and Commercial relations between India and Poland. He met in Warsaw the famous Orientalist Stanislav F. Mikhailsky who was exceedingly hospitable and presented his publications to Bose.
Subhas Bose took part in the convention of the students of Asia held at Rome in December 1935. The Conference was inaugurated by Signor Mussolini.
In February 1936 he went to Ireland. He always felt great admiration for the Irish struggle for freedom under De Valera whom he met in Dublin and was received by him cordially, and where he was given a state reception.
During his travel in Europe Bose felt that everywhere there is a colossal ignorance about India - but at the same time there is a general feeling of sympathy for and interest in India. He realised that this sympathy could easily be enlarged and developed if necessary steps were taken from the Indian side.
Bose's untiring effort to acquire international sympathy on the one hand and on the other hand setting out plans with the help of ACN Nambiar by maintaining a regular contact with USSR through 'TASS' representation in Berlin - all these were meticulously observed and noted and had been taken into account by the Comintern Indian Section. The letter of 'Gordon' to Charlie Johnson dated 23.03.1936 clearly indicates ...... "it is a good job that Bose is not allowed to return to India to further complicate a difficult situation for our Comrades". ...... "Enclosed is Report No.8. this contains some interesting information in connection with Bose" (unfortunately Report No.8 is not available in the archive author's comment) (7)
Finally, Bose started for home, but as soon as he reached Bombay he was again arrested. India expressed universal discontent at his continued incarceration by observing a Hartal on May 10, 1936. After a period of five years suffering he was unconditionally released on March 17, 1937.
Subhas Chandra Bose was a successful and worthy President of the Indian National Congress. As Congress President he did his best to stiffen the opposition of the Congress party to any compromise with Britain. Throughout 1938 he repeatedly advised the Congress Socialist party to broaden its platform and form a left bloc, for rallying all the radical and progressive elements in the Congress. This is the party did not do. Nevertheless he knew that within the Congress and among the people in general he had a very large measure of support and that all that he needed was an organised and disciplined party behind him. Besides, the left wing, or radical elements in the Congress, who were responsible for Subhas Chandra's re-election in 1939, were at a disadvantage because they were not organised under one leadership. India's primary political need in 1939 was an organised and disciplined left wing party in the Congress. So, Subhas Chandra Bose took the decision to resign the Presidentship and immediately proceeded to form a radical and entire left wing under one banner. This party was called the Forward Bloc, which sprang into existence in response to an historical necessity. On the otherside the Russo - German pact of 1939 was an event of the highest significance for India.
It made possible for the intellectuals, who any way were drawn to national socialism, to look upon Germany and Italy as forces which would bring about the end of British rule in India in friendship with the Soviet Union. During this period Subhas Chandra surveyed the whole war situation and came to the conclusion that Indian freedom fighters should have first hand knowledge as to what was happening abroad and should join the fight against British. After considering the various means with the Comrades of various organisations and parties he found no other alternative but to travel abroad. Initial detail plan of escape was primarily consulted and discussed with Niranjan Talib, editor "Desh Darpan". Sardar Baldev Singh, the former defence minister Government of India, introduced Talib to Achar Singh Chena of former Gadr Party. The executive committee of Communist Party of Lahore decided that Achar Singh whose Soviet name was Larkin, one of the organisers of Kirti in North West Frontier, should meet Subhas in order to chalk out the detail escape plan.
Comrade Achar Singh Chena and Comrade Ram Kishen came to meet Bhagat Ram Talwar in his village in North West Frontier. Bhagat Ram Talwar was member of Forward Bloc and was engaged in secret activities of Kirti Party.
Achar Singh met Bhagat Ram in June 1940 and requested him to help Subhas Chandra to reach the border of Soviet Union crossing through the tribal belt of Afghanistan.
After organizing the escape plan Achar Singh (Larkin) left for Soviet Union. In December 1940, Larkin submitted the thesis "The National Front in India" to Comrade Stalin.
Letter from the Head of the Cadre's Section Gulyaev and Senior Referent Kozlov to G.M. Dimitrov concerning Bhagat Ram Talwar and Subhas Chandra Bose confirms that the information received from Achar Singh Chena or Larkin coincides with the details. Further they write " Also under instructions from the Kirti Group, which is referred to everywhere in the document as the Executive Committee of the communist Party of Lahore, he arranged the move of Bose to Kabul, and then, in May 1941, he accompanied Shervan to Kabul (i.e. Harminder Sodi, the former student of KUTV) and finally he himself came to Kabul to establish contact with us." (8)
Bhagat Ram Talwar accompanied Subhas Chandra Bose to Kabul and started establishing contact with the Soviet and German emmisaries in Kabul.
Subhas Bose lived incognito and was busy in drawing the detail plan of work. "About Afghanistan he wrote ......" "The German Government will have to carefully consider their attitude towards the present Afghan Government. The present Afghan Government can give much secret and indirect help to us in our work. But if they refuse to help and try to obstruct, then what should be done ?" further in his plan he wrote ......About Russia; The attitude of Soviet Russia is very important for the above work for India's independence. A German - Soviet agreement on the question of India would be exceedingly desirable. If such an agreement takes place, then we may be able to send men and materials through Russia to Afghanistan and India" (9)
In Kabul his Russian contact did not work out well. Bhagat Ram introduced himself to the German diplomats as Rahamat Khan and also met Alberto Quaroni, the Italian representative in Kabul.
After six weeks stay Subhas Bose left Kabul with an Italian passport in the name of Orlando Mazzato with the Soviet transit visa. He reached Berlin via Tashkent and MOSCOW.
Meanwhile Soviet "TASS" representative in Kabul was very active in collecting related informations about the various interesting developments of Subhas Bose's escape. The Chief of 'TASS' in MOSCOW Y. Havinson was in constant touch with Comrade Ivanov the then "TASS" representative in Kabul.
Moscow was more curious about the activities and whereabouts of Subhas Bose than any other leader of Indian national Freedom Movement. (10)
On the otherside from the Soviet Diplomatic mission in Kabul a long report on Bose was sent to the Soviet authorities by the Soviet representatives Gulyaev and KOZLOV on 5.2.1941.
....... "From the very beginning of the War between USSR and Finland, Bose criticised the anti-Soviet Campaign. It should be noted that Bose was the only leader from INC who unconditionally supported the Soviet Union. ......... Bose tried to enter the Soviet Union twice, but couldn't succeed. Bose explained to Achar Singh to approach Com. Stalin for seeking armed help for India's struggle against Independence. .........
......... In order to vouch for his intentions to seek Soviet support for India's freedom movement, his speeches should be studied and not the changes in his political principles". (11)
On March 15, 1941, Schmidt the then secretary of the German mission in Kabul met Soviet representative Kozlov in order " to obtain a visa for an Italian citizen Orlando" (12) who was obviously Subhas Chandra Bose. In course of their conversation Chmidi referred ......... "the British home front was unstable and in particular the current situation in India was quite tense for England. This strained situation would be increased when Subhas Chandra Bose would visit Germany and Bose was a very influential figure in India". (13)
Bose left for Germany, Bhagat Ram Talwar remained in Afghanistan to carry on his secret activities. As Rahamat Khan he maintained a regular contact and collected detail informations from the German diplomats in Kanbul and as 'ROM' a dedicated Soviet loyalist conveyed them to "Zaman" or Mikhail Andreevich Allakhverdov the then KGB Officer of Soviet Embassy in Kabul. Besides this, he had one more duty to pass over all the relevant informations to the respective units of the Communist Party and Forward Bloc in India. For transmission purpose "Silver Moon" a secret pass Code was used by Subhas Bose in Germany and Talwar in Afghanistan.
In December 1942, time came, when USSR had no option but to inform her allies about their agent "ROM". This is how Bhagat Ram Talwar gave service to all the three allied forces during world war II. Strange enough that this huge net work of "Silver - Moon" secret code remained unnoticed and had never been suspected by the Germans in Afghanistan. As a result they were left in total darkness till the end of war. (14)
Subhas Bose did greatest work of his life in South East Asia. During the whole history of the British in India, it had not struck one single British General that at any stage in the future their number one enemy might appear on the Eastern frontier of India.
In 1943 before the dramatic appearance of Bose at Singapore, much speculations were going on among the allies. It was assumed by the British that Bose might leave for the East through the territory of the Soviet Union, and it was decided to intercept him on the way by approaching the Soviet authority for co-operation. On June 29, 1942 the British ambassador in Moscow Archibald Carr handed over an appeal of the British Government to the Soviet minister for external affairs V.M. Molotov.
"His Majesty's Government have good reason for believing that Subhas Chandra Bose, the notorious political Hindu agitator, who is now in Germany ......... is shortly planning to leave for the South East .........
His Majesty's Government would be grateful if the Soviet Government would take all possible steps to watch for any attempt by Bose to enter the territory of the Soviet Union, and in the event of his so doing, to detain him" (15)
Netaji took over the leadership of Indian Independence Movement in South East - Asia from Sri Rashbehari Bose and shouldered the responsibility of prosecuting the war of India's liberation from there. Netaji took over the complete command of the army and reorganised Azad Hind Fauz in July 1943. He proclaimed the formation of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. (Arzi Hukumate Azad HIND) on October 21, 1943 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands renamed as Saheed and Swarajya Islands respectively.
The recognition of the Provisional Government by the World Powers viz Japan, Burma, Germany, Italy, Thailand, Philippines, Manchukuko and also USSR declared the firm resolve of the Provisional Government to prosecute their struggle for India's freedom.
Now the question arises that how could USSR as a member of allied forces give recognition to the provisional Government of Azad Hind.
In October 1943 after proclaimation Netaji approached the Foreign Minister of the U.S.S.R. through the then Soviet ambassador in Tokyo.
Tokyo, the 16th November 1943.
His Excellency the Foreign Minister of the USSR.
I have the honour to inform Your Excellency that in accordance with the Will of all the freedom - loving Indians in India and abroad - and with the fullest support of all Indians residing in East Asia who number close upon three millions, and of their political organisation, The Indian Independence League as well as with the backing of the Indian National Army now stationed in East Asia - The provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India) was established on the 21st of October 1943, with its Headquarters temporarily at Syonan or Singapore.
In communicating this information to Your Excellency, I avail myself of this opportunity to express my sincere desire that there should exist between our two Governments and our two nations the most cordial relations of amity and friendship.
I also take this opportunity of assuring Your Excellency of my Warmest esteem.
SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE
Head of the State, Prime Minister
& Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. (16)
Japanese Foreign Office appointed Hachiya Teruo, Envoy Extraordinary to the provisional government of Azad Hind in Rangoon. About Hachiya British Comments : " he would probably have most intimate knowledge of any matters handled by Japanese govt. and Chandra Bose". When War was over, Hachiya was in British custody and he was interrogated by the Head Quarters SEATIC, Singapore. The British War Office records claim that Hachiya was appointed as the representative of Japanese Government to the provisional government of Azad Hind without credential. During course of interrogation Hachiya's statements prove .... that the Japanese Government did not appear to be in the habit of issuing credentials to its ambassadors to provisional governments; and ambassador by the name of KATO KOCHU was sent without credentials to the provisional government of OMSK in Siberia. (17)
Orientalist A. Kolesnikov mentions in his article, " Bose strove to establish contacts with the Soviet-Leadership. With this aim in view he sent the authorised representative of Interim Government, Kato Kochu, to Omsk with the rank of an Ambassador but without the proper Official documents. There is evidence to the effect that Kato-Kochu reached Omsk" (18)
When Azad Hind Fauj was sufficiently organised, disciplined and trained, Netaji moved the Head Quartersof the provisional government to Rangoon. Throughout 1944 the destiny of the patriots was pivoted at Rangoon with strong threads of penetration right on the Indian border with the war cry "Chalo Delhi". Two main approaches were opened to the Azad Hind Fauj - the one leading to Chittagong and Bengal and the other the northern route running to Manipur and Assam.
Given the choice of either of there two routes decision was to march on Imphal. In March 1944 the Azad Hind troops were already in India penetrated Imphal and attacked villages on the east-part of Kohima. The monsoon however turned the tide of events and ultimately Azad Hind Units had to withdraw from Imphal and Kohima front. Meantime the war situation in general had been worsening.
On July 18, the allied forces inflicted a defeat on the Japanese on Saipan Island. The Tojo Cabinet had resigned. It made no difference in so far as the provisional government of free India was concerned; Netaji started approaching to Soviet-power through various channels.
In July 1944 Netaji sent his message through 'Silver Moon' code with a request of Soviet help addressed to Man Mohan Nath Kaura (probably Kanwara) Sixteen Queens Way ( Janpath) Delhi, indicating to pass over his request to the Soviet Embassy in Kabul. (19)
In November 1944 he approached to the then Soviet ambassador Jacob Malik in Tokyo.
ARZI HUKUMATE AZAD HIND
(Provisional Government of the Independent India)
Hotel Imperial, Tokyo
Monday, November, 20, 1944
To His Excellency Ambassador of the Soviet Union, Tokyo
Now, when I am in Tokyo, I would like to use this opportunity to see your Excellency. Looking for this, I put a task in front of myself to find through your Excellency a support of the Soviet Government in the struggle of India for its independence.
2. The fact, that now we have close connections with Axis powers in our common struggle against British and Americans does not stop me. I am happy to say that Axis powers have a very clear idea about the peculiarity of problem of India and they have kindly recognized the Azad Hind (Independent India) Provisional Government. We are very thankful for it. Besides Japan, whose relationship with the Soviet Union has strictly neutral character, even the Government of Germany has understood in full and appreciated the fact, that we, the Hindu, were interested only in actions against England and America. The Government of Germany also understood and appreciated the fact that we were not interested in the actions against the Soviet Russia. In reality, the activity of my organization in Europe was only against England and America, but not against the Soviet Russia. It was lying in the base of our co-operation with Axis powers in Europe and in this connection we have the full understanding and approval from the side of the German Government and Fascist Italian Government.
3. I know, that there is an alliance between the Soviet Government and Governments of the England and USA now. But I am quite well understand the international policy to see that it can not prevent the Soviet Government from rendering us a support in our struggle for independence. With gratitude I recall the assistance rendered to me by the Soviet Government after I left India in 1941. I conveyed my gratitude for this to his Excellency Mr. Molotov, Minister of External Affairs, in my letter sent from Berlin, which, I hope, was received by him in a proper way.
4. During his life Lenin always from the bottom of his heart supported colonial countries in their struggle for independence. It also gives me an impulse. As I know, after Lenin's death the Soviet Government has not changed its policy concerning problems of subjugation of such countries as India at all.
5. As far as my party concerned-Progressive bloc, - I can say, that at time when the Soviet foreign policy in Europe was blamed by approximately all parties of India in 1939-1940, we were the only people who openly supported the Soviet foreign police towards Germany and Finland. What is more, we belong to the left wing of the national movement in India and we have the most progressive views on social and economic problems. Going on, our party is the only one party in India, which up to the present day is carrying on uncompromising struggle against the British imperialism in collaboration with some other revolutionary groups.
6. I would like very much to see Your Excellency and to find with the help of Your Excellency a support of the Soviet Government in our struggle for independence. As far as the type of assistance, which the Soviet Government can render to us, is concerned, that is such question which should be settled down by the Soviet Government in connection with the present military situation. I would like only to add, that we are full of determination to make India absolutely free and those Governments who have recognized the Provisional Government of Independent India unconditionally agree with us in this question. I would like to assure you, Your Excellency, in my highest respect to you and hope to get your response soon.
Still sincerely yours,
SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE (20)
In May 21, 1945 the speech delivered at Bangkok where Netaji spoke about the Soviet support for India. "There was a time when German armies had advanced inside Russia right up to Stalingrad. I wonder how many people there were who, in those days, could imagine that the tide would turn, that one day the Soviet Army would be in Berlin. Germany's defeat is one of the surprises of this war. Clauzewitz was perfectly right when he said that 'war has many surprises'. But there are more surprises to come, and some of these surprises will not be welcome to our enemies. You know very well that I have been always of the opinion that if Germany collapsed, it would be a signal for the out break of an acute conflict between the Soviets and the Anglo-Americans. That conflict has already broken out and it will be intensified in the days to come. The time is not far off when our enemies will realize that though they have succeeded in overthrowing Germany, they have indirectly helped to bring into the arena of European politics another power, Soviet Russia, that may prove to be a greater menace to British and American Imperialism than Germany was. The Provisional Government of Azad Hind will continue to follow international developments with the closest interest and endeavour to take the fullest advantage of them. The fundamental principle of our foreign policy has been and will be : Britain's enemy is India's friend". (21)
This became more clear in San-Francsico conference where Molotov refused to submit to the Anglo American demands.
Netaji started to formulate his future course of action. During May-June 1945 series of meetings took place. " In course of these meetings Lt. Col A. C. Chatterjee suggested that a nucleus of the Provisional Government should be shifted to Yunan Province inorder to contact the communists who had more influence in that part of China and through this to contact the Soviet authorities in Siberia". (22)
The British WSIS report of June 1945 states " There is a great deal of task among Indian Public in Rangoon about the USSR and may are confident of a declaration of war on Britain by Russia, to whom Bose would immediately ally himself. There would then be no question of the next attempt failing. Thre has been considerable speculation regarding Russia's future position both by the Japanese and by Bose propagandists, one source going so far as to announce that Bose's PG had been officially recognised by the Soviet Union". (23)
Since the evacuation of Rangoon Bose had made many broadcasts - in one of these WSIS quotes " Bose has also spoken at length on the Wavell proposal which were described by Singapore radio as a diabolical plan to eternalize the British domination of India to strengthen the Indians war effort against Japan & her East Asiatic allies. A communique was issued by the PG on 19 June folloiwng a meeting of the Council of Ministers of 16 June. Its unanimous conclusions, as Bose himself expounded over the wireless, were as follows :
" that the motive for the Wavell offer was to exploit the military success acclaimed by Britain & America in Europe and Burma and to mobilise India's support for Britain's imperialist war in the Far East.
That in the Council's view there was an additional deeper motive behind the offer. It had now become apparent to the British government that other nations e.g. Soviet Russia might in future advocate the cause of India's independence and so the British Government considered it prudent to forestall such foreign support by including the Indian people to accept compromise". (24)
In July 1945, Bose's broadcasts continued where he spoke ...
" many might wonder how independence could be achieved after the recent set backs; the answer was that Though the rains here hold us back for the time being, do not forget that the roads to Delhi are many." (25)
August-16, 1945 Netaji informed 'I wish to go to Russia with some of my Cabinet members. I will go alone, if I have to. I would like the Japanese Government to see that my Cabinet members can follow me later". (26)
Finally in Saigon on August 17, 1945 a meeting was held in the house of Narain Das, the former local I.I.L. Chief about which Intelligence Bureau reports "Incidentally, we have not been able to get anything on the conference between Bose and certain Japanese officers in the house of one Narain Das". (27)
After this, there was an unbelievable announcement of his death in an air-crash on the 18th August 1945 at Taipei. The news reached India on August 24, since then British became active in fact finding.
Immediately after this news broke British started searching and examining all the necessary records left by the Japanese agency Hikari-Kikan in their various offices of East Asian Centres. After a long search British could discover only one record which states few details.
7 Ind Div ALF SIAM
24 Sep (1945)
Subject : Translation of messages re-death of Bose found in a file of reports belonging to the H. KIKAN.
1. HIKARI KIKAN SIGNAL RE : 'T'
18 Aug Urgent to Secret
TO : OC HIKARI KIKAN
FROM : Chief of Staff, Souther Army
Southern Army Signal 393.
Today at 1700 hrs. (17 Aug),. "T", with Lt-Gen. SHIDEI and others left here for Tokyo via FORMOSA and DATREN. Infrom Indian community of this.
Depending on circumstances, I expect to return in two or three days.
2. TO : OC KIKAN
FROM : Chief of Statt, Southern Army.
Southern Army Staff II Signal 66 20 Aug
"T", while on his way to the capital, as a result of an accident to his aircraft at TAIHOKU at 1400 hrs on the 18th, was seriously injured and died at midnight on the same date. His body has been flown to TOKYO by the Formosan Army.
I have thanked the Formosan Army for their kindness. Further I have asked that proof of his death in the plane accident - remains, photographs, etc. be collected.
As for the Centre, I am getting Staff Officer TADA, who leaves SAIGON on the 20th to take up an appointment, to provide them with a detailed report. I wish secrecy to be maintained in handling the matter.
3. HIKARI KIKAN SIGNAL RE : "T"
24 Aug 1945
TO : OC Malay Branch (TN : 1 no clear)
OC SAIGON EMBARKATION POINT
Chief of Staff, Souther Army
FROM : OC HIKARI KIKAN.
Re-death of "T". Please ensure that Indian Communities are informed of the DOMEI despatch regarding "T"s death.
4. HIKARI Message 1020
27 Aug '45
TO : Chief of Staff, Souther Army
FROM : OC HIKARI KIKAN
Request urgently the report on the later progress of Col "HABIB RAMAN" !
After recovering Hikari Kikan's information the British made a thorough investigative report which concludes ............. seeing that all record had been destroyed both at Saigon and Bangkok, except that in Bangkok a file containing these messages was recovered. It may be that this had been deliberately left there for the British and constituted part of the deception plan. It is rather hard to say conclusively although all sources, both Japanese Indians, are emphatic that Bose is dead. Besides, Bose took with him 4 iron boxes of gold- probably 50 1bs in weight and while taking a farewell at Bangkok he indicated that he was not likely to return to that part of the world. All this suggests that he wanted to go underground and the Japanese had undertaken to give the necessary protection to do so.
A source has stated taht after his retreat from Rangoon Bose believed that he ought to start on a new road to Delhi.
Further investigation are proceeding.
for Maj. Gen Commander
HQ SACSEA Commission No. 1 Saigon" (28)
In the meantime Fortnightly Security Intelligence Summary No. 6 claims an INA miltary personnel in India ......"he provides much authentic inside information about INA for the Congress propaganda mill. Everything said by this man indicates the depth and determination of his devotion to "Netaji" and the goal he has given his followers. Particularly significant is his conviction that Subhas Bose is not dead but will return to lead his army at the opportune moment, and his belief that INA personnel who returned to India are biding their time until they rise against the British. 'We are his time bomb, and will burst when the right time comes. Our leader will return to lead us' ". (29)
In 1945 November and December meetings were held in Rangoon where INA members who formed majority of audience. In one meeting chair was left empty for 'Spirit of Bose' and in another the 'Spirit of Bose' was appointed chairman. The meeting continued amid shouts of usual INA slogans and speeches appear to have been along extreme INA lines.
On 31st December 1945 "National Herald" Delhi reported that Subhas Chandra Bose is in Russia.
In response to this Soviet daily 'Pravada' January 7, 1946, pg6 answered in an article named 'About an Indian Comedian' by D. Zaslavskii.
The British referred it back to "Foreign Office" from Moscow in January 1946 with comments.
Pravda of 7th January prints a half column article by Zaslavsky referring with heavy Sarcasm to an article in the Delhi National Herald of 31st December 1945.
1. This Newspaper, apparently on the basis of information received from the Lahore correspondent of the Nationalist who is stated to have had the stay from an 'Unnamed Soldier' relates that Subhas Chandra Bose had fled in Russia......... This Fascist sharpen according to the Indian newspaper, is free to travel around the Soviet-Union and inspect his army of 30,000 men and has had talks with responsible representatives of the Soviet Government who have given him "Concrete assurances".
2. Information from Indian newspaper occupies one quarter of space article and remainder consists of laboured refutations of the report and accusation against the Indian newspapers of conducting anti-Soviet lying compaign". (30)
In early 1946 various informations were available relating to the alleged death of Netaji; the result was not entirely satisfactory for it revealed many discripancies, which until clarified, would be difficult to arrive at any definite conclusion.
Major Toye's confidential comments on the subject. Death of Bose in C. S. D. I. C. report .... " what is concerning as most immediately is the information which is coming in indicating that there is a growing belief in India that Bose is alive and establishing that statements to the same effect are being made in this country and elsewhere......
Major Toye further states ....... 'It seems clear that Bose and his staff were trying to make a get way to Russia ......... Gandhi stated publicly at the beginning of January that he believed that Bose was alive and in hiding".
...... There is, however, a secret report which says that Nehru received a letter from Bose saying he was in Russia"......
.....The information alleges that Gandhi and Sarat Bose are among those who are aware of this..... In January also Sarat Bose is reported to have said that he was convinced that his brother was alive".
In the same report he writes "... The Governer of the Afghan province of Khost had been informed by the Russian Ambassador in Kabul that there were many Congress refugees in Moscow and Bose was included in their number. There is little reason for such persons to bring Bose into fabricated stories. At the same time the view that Bose is in Moscow is supplied in a report received from Teheran. This states Moradoff, the Russian Vice Consul General disclosed in March that Bose was in Russia where he was secretly organising a group of Russians and Indians to work on the same lines as the I.N.A. for the freedom of India.
Taihoku, Congress and Russian representatives in Teheran and Kabul are the most important objectives in this case as it stands now." (31)
The rumours were rife that Subhas Chandra Bose is in Russia. Finally at the request of Director of Intelligence Branch (DIB) the Indian Political Intelligence (IPI) had submitted report of this subject :
" On May 2, 1946 the Indian Political Intelligence (IPI) submitted the following note to the Indian Office Secret with 2227
VOL (8) 115/24 PO1(S)
2nd May 1946 587
India Office : Miss Hanchet
The D.I.B. during his recent visit to London mentioned the receipt from various places in India of information to the effect that Subhas Bose was alive in Russia. In some case circumstantial details have been added".. (32)
The enigma compelled the British to put an end to this controversy which made them preparing final death report but unfortunately there were two death reports. Some insight may be gleaned from these reports. The two death reports with their inherent discrepanicies and the conflicting statements of two different doctors who claimed to have treated Bose in a hospital on 18 August 1945.
First, a report by the office of the Military Adviser, attached to the United Kingdom Liaison Mission, in Japan, British Embassy, Tokyo. Drafted by lieutenant colonel J. G. Figgess on 25 July 1946..... "a very thorough investigation has been conducted in Tokyo to establish the precise details of the circumstances surrounding the reported death of Subhas Chandra Bose". (33)
Sub - Lieutenant (Medical) Tsuruta Toyoshi was said to have treated Subhas Bose in the Taihoku Medical Hospital. Tsuruta had issued a Certificate showing "death due to heart failure resulting from multiple burns and shock".
" As a result of a series of interrogation of individuals ....... it is confirmed as certain that S. C. Bose died in a TAIHOKU Military Hospital (NAMMON Ward) sometimes between 19 hours and 20 hours local time on the 18th August, 1945".
What may act as a supplement to the figgess report is the statement by Dr. Yoshimi Taniyoshi a Medical Officer of the Japanese Imperial Army, who claimed to have had Bose treated under his supervision. The statement was received originally from war crimes Liaison Officer Hong Kong when Dr. Yoshimi Taniyoshi was interned at the Staneley Gaol in Hong Kong. He signed his statement at Staneley Gaol on October 19, 1946 before A.R. Turner, war crime Liaison Section, Formosa. According to Yoshimi's statement at about 23 hrs he died.(34)
Regarding the death certificate Dr. Tsuruta said he had issued one, as mentioned in the Figgess report, where as in MI-2 report a second death certificate was issued by Dr. Yoshimi where he says.. " I therefore made out a death certificate, stating the causes of death to be extensive burning and shock".
The issue appears more puzzling when we look into the KGB dossier where lies the information after the Japanese Capitulation in the first half of September 1945 the information supplied by the Soviet TASS agency from Tokyo on the basis of the British sources, Subhas Chandra Bose who was in Japan died".
During the war period from 1942 onward a Soviet agent named V.G. Sayadiyants was living in Bombay and was engaged in selling Soviet-periodicals, literature and records. He had regular contact with the members and activists of communist Party of India. In 1946 August J. Nehru requested Sayadiyants to deliver his letter personally to comrade stalin.
Sayadiyants on his way to Moscow via Teheran left a (mote) of his political observation about India to the then Soviet Ambassador Sadchikov to Iran.
The report note to Teheran 1 Sept. 1946. (35)
A brief survey of political situation in India " Britain Capitulaties....."
Where he made a detail analytical study and suggested which suitable party or organisation will be appropriate to take over the charge after India's independence.
Congress, according to him had the most strong mass base. Public in general worship Gandhi as religious figure and had fanatic love for him and faith on Nehru. The party had a very solid financial support- from the big industry houses like Tata, Birla, Bajaj, the textile magnets and from other capitalists.
His next review was of Communist Party of India. Comrade Somenath Lahiri member of the Central Committee CPI made a short trip to USSR from July 23 to August-3, 1946. Lahiri felt that both Congress and League had defeatist attitude by joining hands with the British Imperialism.
His third investigative report is about Forward Bloc. He gave a long appriciative detail account of the formation, developments and activities of Forward Bloc. According to Sayadiyants Forward Bloc is not a party but a platform founded by Subhas Chandra Bose which attracted thousands and thousands of followers apart from present one hundred thousand membership.
One feels curious to know that what message was in Nehru's secret letter which was delivered to comrade Stalin by Sayadiyants ? What made the Soviet agent to indicate in his political note that Forward Bloc could be considered the only alternative organisation after India's Independence. Did he try to indicate something more ?
Many conjectures, speculations, incoherent reports prevail, an inquiry committee (1956) and later an inquiry commission (1972) were set up, but none of these attempts could satisfy with a conclusive proof.
The inquiry would have remained unchallenged if not Lord Peter Archer of Labour Party, British Parliament persuaded with his untiring effort to make the British Government to declassify few war office Records of MI2 related to Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian freedom struggle and the role of Indian National Army, Brose's relation with USSR and Germany at Public Record office, London.
Through out the Soviet history the Soviet Scholars were either ignorant or deliberately remained silent on this subject. 'Glasnost' and 'Perestroika'could melt the seventy years ice-berg of Soviet archives which made accessible many documents related to Subhas Chandra Bose and Comintern, Soviet 'TASS' agency and many interesting documents which have unfolded a new line of research. At present Russian scholars and researchers are showing immense interest on this subject which might help to throw more light on unknown facts.
Following this the Government of India took a revolutionary step to declassify around one thousand files on Indian National Army and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Even then still there are lacunae and many questions remain unanswered. Many documents are lying scattered & unaccessible in various archives of the world. Those untold stories of the unfinished revolution might suggest an answer to the inquiry - what really happened to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ?
1. Report of Indian Situation and my one and half year's work there dated 22.08.24 by Abani Mukherjee
ASAN : RAR 137
Indo-Russian Relations : 1917-1947
Part - I 1917-1928
Edited and Compiled by Roy, Dutta Gupta, Vasudevan.
The Asiatic Society, Calcutta 1999.
2. Report of Johnstone to the Eastern Secretariat, ECCI on India dated 12.02.29
ASAN : RAR 224
Indo-Russian Relations : 1917-1947
Part - II 1929-1947
Edited and Compiled by Roy, Dutta Gupta, Vasudevan.
The Asiatic Society, Calcutta 2000.
3. Report on India at the Tenth Plenum of ECCI, dated 03.07.29.
ASAN : RAR 199
4. Eastern Secretariat Letter of dated 17.08.32 materials for the Twelfth Plenum of the ECCI on India.
ASAN : RAR 200
5. Material for the XIII Plenum, ECCI, dated 14.11.33
ASAN : RAR 202
6. GARF Fond 4459, Opis 38c No 35
10 I - 24 - XII - 1930
7. Letter of "Gordon" to Charlie Johnson dt. 23.3.36
ASAN : RAR 100
Indo-Russian Relations Part - II 1929-1947.
8. Letter from I Kozlov to G. M. Dimitrov Concerning Bhagat Ram, Subhas Chandra Bose & Others, dated October 1941.
ASAN : RAR 345
9. War Office (WO) 208 / 804
Public Record Office ( PRO ) London.
10. GARF - Fond 4459, Opis 38, Ed. Khra 118 March 4, 1941 Moscow.
11. National Archives of India, Government of India ACC No. 6757.
14. U. L. KUZNETS " MARODORI " Vikhodiyat iz igri.
MOSCOW, Interpraks 1992.
15. The archive of foreign policy PF.0.6. 1943 OI, P-19, dt. 19.1.30.
A. V. Raikov - Subhas Chandra Bose in Germany. Article.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, Calcutta 1998.
16. From former KGB (FSB) archive. Moscow.
17. WO 203 / 4673 HS / SEAC / 591 dt. 19.10.45 Public Record Office ( PRO ) London.
18. A KOLESNIKOV - Destiny and Death. Subhas Chandra Bose.
" Patriot " ezhenedelnaiya gazeta January No. 3 1997. Moscow.
19. From former KGB (FSB) archive. Moscow.
21. Selected Speeches of Subhas Chandra Bose " Soviet Support for India " Pg. 228-229
Publications Division. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India 1962.
22. CSDIC ( I ) Section Report - 1089 ON B 1189. London.
23. WO 208/804 Sec 'D' TO MI 2 (A)
WSIS 10005 / 190 / GSI (b) 22.6.1945
Public Record Office (PRO). London.
24. WO 208 / 804 Secret SEAC & India Command WSIS NO. 191
29 June, 1945. Public Record Office (PRO) London.
25. WO 208 / 804 Restricted WSIS No. 193 July, 1945.
Public Record Office (PRO) London.
26. Tatsuo Hayashida - Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
His Great Struggle and Martyrdom. Pg - 106
English translation edited by Biswanath Chatterjee.
Allied Publishers. 1970.
27. National Archives of India Secret No. C-5 Intelligence Bureau (H.D) New Delhi-3, dt. 19 Feb, 1946, New Delhi.
28. No 63 / 2 / 10 GSI (b) HQ SACSEA
Commission No. 1 SAIGON 18th October 1945. India.
29. WO 208 / 804 A
From SACSEA, Public Record Office (PRO), London.
30. Indo-Soviet Relations ( N 277 - / 136 / 36 ) 371 / 56774 - 1946.
Public Record Office (PRO), London.
31. COMB, SECTION
CONFIDENTIAL NO MS / 5 / 5
C. S. D. I. C, Red Fort Delhi Dt. 21.1.46
Subject Death of Bose.
National Archives of India (NAI). New Delhi.
32. Pradip Bose : Subhas Bose and India Today
A New Tryst with Destiny (1999) Pg. 279.
Deep and Deep Publications Pvt. Ltd.
F-159 Rajouri Garden, New Delhi - 110027
33. Copy - United Kingdom Liaison Mission in Japan.
British Embassy, Tokyo - OFFICE OF MILITARY ADVISER
Report on the Death of Subhas Chandra Bose
Sgd J. G. Figgess Lt. Colonel Tokyo, 25th July, 1946. London.
34. WO 208 / 3812 MI2, 20 Jan 1947
Register No MD / JAG / FS (A) 1223
Hong Kong 19th Oct. 1946.
Public Record Office (PRO), London.
35. MID. Fond 0179. Year - 1946
1a, 1a, d 8
12th Sept - 28th October 1946, Moscow.
List of Archives from which the Documents have been collected
GARF (Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Rossiskoi Federatsii)
State Archive of the Russian Federation.
MID (Ministerstvo Inostrannykh Del)
Ministry of External Affairs.
RGASPI (Rossiskii Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Sotsio Politicheskoi Istorii)
Russian State Archive of Socio. Political History.
In the article marked as ASAN
which indicates Asiatic Society's Accession Number.
KGB (Kommunisticheskaya Gosudarstvennaya bezonasnost)
State Communist Security Service
This at present FSB.
U. K :
PRO Public Record Office, London.
NAI National Archives of India, New Delhi.