Narendra Modi has promised to begin declassification of files related to Netaji on the latter’s birth anniversary on January 23 next year. In a meeting with Bose’s family members on the evening of October 14, Modi assured he will also take up the matter with countries which maintained a database on Subhash Chandra Bose and but have not yet declassified the files.
By saying that one should not “strangle history”, the Prime Minister was perhaps referring to a previous revision of NCERT history books that saw the omission of the contribution by Netaji in India’s struggle for Independence.
This was another major issue for the family. They are trying to ensure that Netaji gets his due in history books across schools. “Netaji has no place in NCERT books. We want people to know about his freedom struggle and also about the role of the Indian National Army (INA) and the Azad Hind provincial government which was formed under his leadership. History should be written by giving due credit to him,” Abhijit Ray, Netaji’s grand-nephew told Indian Express
On June 24 this year, the NDA government had set out to rectify “errors” in NCERT history textbooks introduced by the UPA.
Some recommendations that were made included adding Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s role in history and omitting a picture of a Frenchman smoking a cigar on page 44 of the Class 10 book. Given the fact that one of India’s greatest leaders finds no place in history text books of the country underlines the political controversy surrounding him.
A few days ago, UK had technically rejected a plea
by Bose’s family members to declassify files on one of India’s greatest sons. Modi said he’ll ask foreign governments such as Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Russia to release documents available with them. He is due to be in Russia later this year. Most of the family members have debunked the air crash theory. “A story that he escaped to Russia has been there for sometime but the Bengal government files show that there could be a new Chinese angle to the story. And then some say he came back to India in disguise as ‘Gumnami Baba’. We do not have clinching evidence to prove any of these theories,” Chandra Bose another grand-nephew of Netaji said.
Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff welcomed Modi’s decision to declassify the files, saying it would put to rest speculation on her father’s disappearance.
“I am very happy that the Prime Minister has finally agreed that… files on my father would be declassified. It was indeed very gratifying that he received many members of our family for that occasion,” Pfaff told PTI from Berlin.
“A study of the files will hopefully give us insight into some of the historically interesting developments of decades ago and put to rest some of the varied speculations.”
Credit behind this sudden speed in the Netaji files could be given to West Bengal government which declassified 64 files
related to Bose kept in their possession. Though described as ‘chicken feed
‘ by prominent Netaji researcher Anuj Dhar, the files nevertheless confirmed that India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru had ordered snooping on Bose family members, which continued for 20 years. It is highly likely that files with the Centre, though some of them were destroyed by Indira Gandhi, still contain explosive details that might strike with a grey brush the impeccable image of some of India’s other great leaders.