Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

About Mission Netaji

As we watched intently the progess of the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry, we realised the magnitude of the bluff that the successive Governments had perpetuated on the people of the country. But people of this country are not fools. Talk to a man on the street. Take a random opinion poll. You will know that only a handful believe what the Government has been repeating for the last 60 years - Subhas Chandra Bose died in a plane crash in 1945.

What's wrong with it, you may ask. Was Bose a superhero that he could not die? Why would the Government and the witnesses lie? We asked the same questions ourselves. The intuitive answers to these questions have now become what we call 'folk history'. We resolved to go beyond and find answers based on evidence. No doubt a lot of nonsense have been churned out by zealots. And those in political power exploited such fantastic tales of the zealots to rubbish claims that contradicted their version. Historians-turned-sociologists-turned-psychologists propounded that the shock of Bose's death was too great for certain people to absorb and that led to the illusion that he will come back. The less said about such a lame line of argument, the better. If anything, it only shows the poverty of intelligence.

In late 2005, we found a lot of youngsters asking a lot of questions, to which we did not have good answers. We realised that if we wanted to find the answers, we need to get organised and start investigating in a systematic way. Mission Netaji was formed informally in the winter of 2005. We registered it as a trust in Delhi early in 2006. We took the straight route - started asking questions to the highest levels of the Governments, approached archives and kept meeting people who knew something.

Our key finding till now - even after 60 years, our Government -- and strangely, Governments of other countries too -- are more than keen to suppress any information regarding this issue. You have the right to ask questions, but you have no right to get answers. We are, however, not here to leave the pursuit in the midway and go home in frustration. The investigation will go on, and we hope to know the truth one day, soon.

We must mention the overwhelming support, in all forms, we have received from many quarters, especially the youth. They have joined us in streams since they want to know the truth, and want to be a part of this uncovering. We have also seen instances where Government officials who would 'officially' contest us, encouraged us 'unofficially'. We have found the Central Information Commission give utmost importance to our petitions.

MN, however, is not all about solving the mystery. With passing of time, we have also realised that the Bose's ideology and vision are all but lost from public memory. This has happened because those in charge of education have deliberately kept generations away from what he stood for, what he achieved and what he planned for a free India. Therefore, we have decided to make his works freely accessible. That is a huge task, and will take some time. But it is necessary because what Bose and other strands of revolutionary freedom movement stood for so many decades back are amazingly relevant even today.

 

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