India is today paying its heartfelt tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. While according to official documents, today marks the day when Netaji died in a tragic plane crash in 1945, there’s a section of society that feels that he disappeared in the crash and there is no legit proof of his death. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, certainly falls in the other category that feels that Netaji disappeared in the crash. On Sunday while remembering Netaji, Banerjee tweeted that people have the right to know what happened to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. "On this day, in 1945, Netaji went on a flight from Taihoku Airport in Taiwan, only to disappear forever. We still do not know what happened to him. People have a right to know about the great son of the soil," Banerjee tweeted.
The West Bengal Chief Minister is not alone. Seven decades on, the mysteries surrounding Netaji have acquired life of its own. The strongest among them is the legend of ‘Gumnami Baba’. Many believe that the reclusive sage living in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad was Netaji Bose.
The Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission's report on Gumnami Baba, tabled in the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet in July, reportedly said it could not determine whether Gumnami Baba was indeed Netaji in disguise. While saying that the findings were inclusive, the report of the Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission also highlights a few similarities between the two. Drawing parallels between Subhas Chandra Bose and Gumnami Baba, the Justice Vishnu Sahai report mentions that Gumnami Baba was also fluent in English, Bengali and Hindi -- like Netaji.
However, debunking the myth, the Justice Manoj Mukherjee Commission -- set up to prove Netaji's mysterious disappearance in 1945 -- in its report confirmed that the identity of 'Gumnami Baba' did not match with that of Bose. Also, critical examination of the belongings of the hermit from Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad, revealed no evidence to even remotely justify his links to Netaji.
Several reports have claimed that Netaji had boarded a plane from Taihoku Airport in Taiwan, which crashed leading to the death of the great leader. There is, however, no confirmation on his death as experts came up with different theories about his disappearance.
The Centre from time to time had constituted panels -- Shah Nawaz Committee in 1956, the Khosla Commisson in 1970, the Mukherjee Commisson in 2005 -- to shed light on the mysteries surrounding the death or the disappearance of Netaji, but none could render any answer.
On September 1, 2016, the Narendra Modi government declassified investigative reports of the Japanese government which concluded that Bose died in a plane crash in Taiwan. Many, however, continue to believe that Netaji survived the plane crash and lived in hiding.
Here are some of the facts that you should know about Netaji:
•Netaji was highly patriotic since childhood, he was the 9th child of his parents.
•An exceptionally brilliant student Netaji was placed 4th in order of merit in the examination of Indian Civil Service.
•He had resigned from the coveted civil service career to join the freedom struggle. Netaji was imprisoned 11 times in various jails in India during the freedom struggle.
•Bose was not a great fan of Gandhi’s non-violent policy to attain freedom from British rule. He advocated for stiffer ways to deal with the adroit Britishers.
•In 1941, he made a daring escape from house arrest in India, he then travelled from places to places to seek help from Adolf Hitler.
•Netaji is a respected name in Japan too. On August 23, 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Subhas Chandra Bose memorial hall in Kolkata.
•Bose had established Azad Hind Radio station in Germany and lead the Indian nationalist movement in East Asia.
•Bhagvad Gita was a great source of inspiration for Netaji. From his very young days he was inspired by Swami Vivekananda's teachings on universal brotherhood.
Remembering Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: 7 decades of 'Gumnami Baba' and other mysteries